A34: Richards, M.H. and L. Packer. 1994. Trophic aspects of caste determination in Halictus ligatus, a primitively eusocial sweat bee. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 34:385-391.
Abstract: Caste determination in primitively eusocial sweat bees is thought to be due to an interacting suite of factors, including size of the larval provision mass, time of year, and social context of the nest into which a young female emerges. Newly emerged gynes are significantly fatter than newly emerged workers, suggesting the existence of larval caste determination cues. Since photoperiod, temperature, and interactions with nestmates were unlikely to affect larval caste determination, we compared the sizes and contents of larval provision masses destined to produce either workers or gynes. Gyne-destined larvae consumed pollen masses that were larger and contained slightly more sugar than those of worker-destined larvae. We suggest that sugar content is one cue which prompts the development of fat reserves in gyne-destined females but not in worker-destined females. The amount of fat possessed by a newly emerged female influences her chances of successfully entering diapause shortly after emergence. Therefore, small, lean females may be more susceptible to behavioural control by queens and more likely to become workers, while large, fat females would be more likely to become gynes.