Order of Eclosion and Reproductive Differentiation in a Social Allodapine Bee

M. P. Schwarz, K. J. O’keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of naturally occuring nests of Exoneura bicolor are occupied by more than one adult female. During overwintering periods inseminated females with large ovaries inhibit ovarian enlargement of their female nestmates. In this study we examine ovarian development among nestmates as a function of body size and order of adult eclosion. We show that order of eclosion is a more important determinant of ovarian rank than body size and that the period of time separating first and later eclosion events does not appear to influence relative ovary size in early stages of reproductive differentiation. Although first and later eclosion events may be separated by a few days or less, reproductive hierarchies are maintained for at least 3 months and probably longer, suggesting that reproductive ranks are stable. We discuss four possible factors that may contribute to the stability of reproductive hierarchies in E. bicolor and then consider why hierarchies are based on order of eclosion, rather than age or body size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalEthology Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Allodapini Exoneura bicolor
  • Behavior
  • Caste differentiation
  • Dominance hierarchies
  • Hymenoptera
  • Sociality


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