Abstract. Lasioglossum laevissimum was studied in Calgary, Alberta, where it is eusocial with one worker brood. Estimates of relatedness were obtained among various categories of nestmate based upon four polymorphic enzyme loci, two of which exhibited significant levels of linkage disequilibrium. Relatedness estimates among workers and among reproductive brood females were very close to the expected 0.75 value that obtains when nests are headed by one, singly mated queen. However, relatedness between workers and the reproductive brood females they reared was significantly lower than 0.75. A low frequency of orphaning with subsequent monopolisation of oviposition by one worker brood female in orphaned nests may explain these results. Workers were significantly more and queens significantly less closely related to male reproductives than expected if all males were to have resulted from queen-laid eggs. Orphaning and worker-produced males contribute to this result. The sex investment ratio was 1:2.2 in favour of females, in excellent agreement with the predictions based upon relative relatednesses between workers and reproductive brood males and females. Adaptive intercolony variation in investment ratios was detected: the sex ratio was more heavily female-biased in nests in which the relative relatedness asymmetry between workers and reproductive brood was more female-biased. The study species is the most weakly eusocial hymenopteran for which relatedness estimates and sex ratio data are available. With high relatedness among nestmates and a strongly female- biased sex ratio, this study suggests the importance of indirect fitness contributions in the early stages of social evolution.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.