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Final Report - SENSE (Social evolution: novel insights from the neglected sphecid wasps)

Project ID: 220876
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE


This is the final report of the SENSE project, which is funded under the European Commission (EC) Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project studied the evolution from solitary to social lifestyles in sphecid wasps. It conducted field experiments and molecular genetics laboratory studies of the Mediterranean ground-nesting wasp. Central among theories about social traits that have been developed - to justify the success of mother-daughter social systems - are the 'inclusive fitness' or 'kin selection' theory. The project focused on how the female sphecidae are active during the Mediterranean summer, dig tunnels in the soil and hunt small beetles to feed to their larvae.

The results show that Cerceris rubida species has variable genetic markers; within the population nest mates exhibit very low levels of being related. This means that the area spread of selection seems to have no role in favouring the social behaviour in this species.

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