Data from: Strong, but incomplete, mate choice discrimination between two closely related species of paper wasp
Miller, Sara et al. (2018), Data from: Strong, but incomplete, mate choice discrimination between two closely related species of paper wasp, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5hv83rt
Paper wasps (genus: Polistes) are one of the most species rich genera of social insect. Prior studies have found that male coloration, male color pattern, territory choice, and female caste are potential drivers of intraspecific mate choice in paper wasps. However, there has been no formal assessment of interspecific mate choice in this group, therefore the mechanisms driving diversification in paper wasps remains an open question. This study measured interspecific and intraspecific mating behavior between two closely related species of paper wasps, Polistes fuscatus and Polistes metricus. These two species have ample opportunity to interbreed as P. fuscatus and P. metricus forage, nest, and mate in the same habitats. We tested the strength of reproductive isolation between these species using no choice and choice mating trials. Our results show strong, symmetric, prezygotic isolation between P. fuscatus and P. metricus. Males discriminated between conspecifics and heterospecifics but attempted to mate with females of the other species in approximately 10% of heterospecific mating trials. Female wasps were more discriminating than males and likely evaluated species identity and male quality through visual or olfactory cues. We additionally report sexual dimorphism in P. metricus body size.