• Investigating queen influence on worker behaviour using comparisons of queenless and queenright workers (Supplimentary Material)

      Awde, David Neil; Richards, Miriam H. (Springer, 2018-04-16)
      Female eusocial sweat bees are capable of behaving as queens or workers. Relatively few females become queens, and those that do can directly manipulate the reproductive behaviour of other females in the nest. We collected Lasioglossum (Dialictus) laevissimum workers from nests with and without queens (queenright and queenless nests, respectively) to investigate the influence queens exert on worker behaviour via direct manipulation. Overall, very few L. laevissimum workers (17%) had developed ovaries in Ontario, but queenright and queenless workers were equally likely to have developed ovaries and worn mandibles. However, queenless workers were more likely to be mated than queenright workers. These results suggest first, that queens inhibit egg-laying in most, but not all workers, and second, that queen behaviour during the first few days of workers’ adult lives exerts a lasting influence on worker behaviour. We also compared social traits of L. laevissimum and other Dialictus species using principal components analysis. A strong correlation between worker reproduction and male availability suggests that queen manipulation of the worker brood sex ratio has evolved as an indirect mechanism for queens to discourage worker reproduction. This item is the data set used to produce this study.
    • Vitellogenin expression corresponds with reproductive status and caste in a primitively eusocial bee, Lasioglossum laevissimum

      Awde, David N; Skandalis, Adonis; Richards, Miriam H (2020)
      Vitellogenin (vg) expression is consistently associated with variation in insect phenotypes, particularly egg-laying. Primitively eusocial species, such as eusocial sweat bees, have behaviourally totipotent castes, in which each female is capable of high levels of ovarian development. Few studies have investigated vg expression patterns in primitively eusocial insects, and only one study has focused on a primitively eusocial bee. Here we use a primitively eusocial sweat bee, Lasioglossum laevissimum, and Real Time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) to investigate the relationship between vg expression, castes, and variation in phenotypes associated with castes differences. These assays showed that females with high ovarian development had the highest levels of vg expression, and that vg expression levels reflected the reproductive status of females first and caste second. This is in contrast to vg expression patterns observed in advanced eusocial queens and workers, which differ in vg expression based on caste and have caste-specific vg expression patterns. Furthermore, future queens (gynes) do not have ovarian development and had similar vg expression levels to early spring foundresses, which do have ovarian development, supporting Vg’s function as a transporter of lipids and amino acids before diapause.