Morphological caste differences and non-sterility of workers in Brachygastra Augusti (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Epiponini), a neotropical swarm-founding wasp
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Morphological caste differences and ovary conditions were analyzed in four colonies of Brachygastra augusti collected in different stages of the colony cycle. Differences between castes are distinct suggesting pre-imaginal determination. Many intermediates (non-inseminated ovary-developed females) were found. Because these intermediate females were morphologically similar to workers, it is suggested that they are young ovary-developed workers. Because there is a more evident overlap between queens and workers in the colony in pre-emergence of workers stage, and in three colonies in latter stages, especially in worker-production colonies, it is suggested that smaller queens are probably less viable than larger queens as observed in previously studied epiponines.