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Lady MacBee

Young queens in one stingless species often usurp their thrones

7:05pm, October 19, 2010

In a chronically tough job market for stingless bee queens, those with no prospects at home try stealing a crown elsewhere.

Genetic analysis reveals that even when Mom still holds the throne in a colony of Brazil’s Melipona scutellaris bees, the roughly 20 percent of her daughters who are maturing as candidate queens still have a chance to rule their own colonies, says evolutionary biologist Tom Wenseleers of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Excess junior royalty spreads out and on occasion manages to usurp other colonies of the same species, he and his colleagues report in a paper posted online

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