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Behavioural Profiles in Polistes Dominulus (Christ) Wasp Societies: a Quantitative Study

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Differentiation among individuals was studied in 9 colonies of Polistes dominulus wasps, in which the behaviour of each individual wasp was recorded. Multivariate methods of analysis were used to establish the relationships existing between the various behavioural items chosen to describe individual behaviour, and the most characteristic profiles were determined by means of the dynamic clouds classification algorithm. Four main profiles were detected: sitting at the back of the nest, active general behaviour on the comb, foraging for prey, and building activity. Two factors seemed to have determined the development of the individual behavioural profiles: the order of emergence determined the active integration of individuals into the colony; and the age-factor determined which behavioural profiles would be successively adopted by each wasp. A profile characterized by a high level of general activity on the comb was found to occupy a central position in the development of individual behaviour towards engagement in foraging activities.

Affiliations: 1: (CNRS, Laboratoire d'Ethologie UPR 38, 31, Chemin Joseph Aiguier, BP 79, 13402 Marseille Cedex 09, France

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