Intraspecific Defense: Advantage of Social Cooperation Among Paper Wasp Foundresses

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Science  31 Mar 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4336, pp. 1463-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4336.1463


Foundress associations and high frequencies of conspecific nest usurpation are most common where densities of Polistes metricus are high. Here nest usurpation occurs primarily in single-foundress colonies resulting in multiple-foundress colonies having significantly greater productivities than single-foundress colonies. This is not true at low densities. Conspecific pressures and not predation or parasitism provide an advantage to cooperating wasp foundresses in P. metricus.