Dominance hierarchy in different stages of development in colonies of the primitively eusocial wasp Mischocyttarus cassununga (Hymenoptera, Vespidae)
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Seven colonies of Mischocyttarus cassununga were studied under field conditions at Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, MG, in southeastern Brazil: in pre-emergence, post-emergence and decline stages, during 145.8 hours. Dominance interactions among the females were quantified to verify the dynamics of succession in the social hierarchy of the colonies. Early pre-emergence colonies present more intense aggressive interactions than late pre-emergence ones, because the females are engaged in securing the role of main egg layer in the nest. In post-emergence (pre-male) colonies the dominance hierarchy is more defined and the frequency of dominance and subordination behaviors were lower than in pre-emergence stages: most of the agonistic behaviors are restricted to the first ranked females (potentially queens) and the subordinate individuals play the role of workers in the nests. In the post-emergence, post-male, and decline stages the hierarchy is still maintained by the aggressive behaviors of the 1st-ranked female but because the presence of males and future nest foundresses these interactions are not well defined in a linear way.