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LACK OF WORKER POLICING IN THE CAPE HONEYBEE (APIS MELLIFERA CAPENSIS)

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In honeybees (Apis mellifera) laying worker offspring is rare. One mechanism to suppress worker reproduction is through worker policing, i.e. workers remove unfertilised eggs laid by other workers. This behaviour has been shown to be adaptive as soon as the queen performs polyandrous matings. The average relatedness to the queen's drones is higher than to the worker laid offspring. In the Cape honeybee (A. m. capensis) reproductive workers lay fertilised eggs which develop into females. In this case the average worker relatedness to sexual reproductives reared from worker or queen offspring is identical. Worker policing has been predicted by evolutionary theory to be less expressed in A. m. capensis colonies than in other honeybees. We found genetic evidence that worker policing is not common in the Cape honeybee. Laying worker offspring was identified in queen right colonies using microsatellite DNA analysis.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853999501766
1999-10-01
2015-06-02

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