Temporary Queens in Metapolybia Wasps: Nonreproductive Helpers Without Altruism?

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Science  28 Apr 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4340, pp. 441-443
DOI: 10.1126/science.200.4340.441


In Metapolybia aztecoides some mated females produce only workers, losing in competition with other similar egg-layers before producing either males or queens. Worker production by these ultimately nonreproductive females may incidentally benefit others without lowering individual fitness (without "altruism"). It could be a by-product of mutualism rather than of kin selection or parental manipulation.