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Wasps queue for top job

help out less. This new study, however, shows that more distantly related wasps aren't in fact lazier.

Instead, the team led by Dr Field, found that it is the likelihood of future reproduction that primarily determines a wasp's behaviour - the more likely they are to spawn their own young in the future, the lazier they become.

The tests were carried out on the non-aggressive tropical hairy-faced hover wasp - Liostenogaster flavolineata. Both the wasp's rank and the size of the group were manipulated to show how these variables affected the amount of help each individual contributed to the group. The team changed the position of individual wasps in the social hierarchy by removing higher ranked, older wasps, thus promoting their younger relatives.

Regardless of age, a wasp's contribution to feeding the queen's young depended only on its position in the queue to inherit queenship. Lower-ranked helpers, and helpers in smaller groups, worked hardest.


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Source:University College London


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