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The making of a queen

Tags: arizona state university

[Source: ScienceDaily] - Social status in paper wasps is established earlier in life than scientists thought, says a study published this month in the journal PLoS ONE.

While many social insects have distinct social classes that differ in appearance and are fixed from birth, paper wasp society is more fluid -- all castes look alike, and any female can climb the social ladder and become a queen. Now, molecular analysis reveals that paper wasp social hierarchy is less flexible than it appears. Queens diverge from their lower-status sisters long before they reach adulthood, scientists say.

For more information: The Making of a Queen: Road to Royalty Begins Early in Paper Wasps