'Paper Wasps and Sexual Selection' Topic of Amanda Izzo's Seminar
Jan. 24, 2012
DAVIS--Wasp researcher Amanda “Mandy” Izzo will present a seminar on how paper wasps select their mates at a seminar from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 27 in 6 Olson Hall.
Amanda "Mandy" Izzo in wasp gear. She will be presenting a seminar Friday noon, Jan. 27 in 6 Olson Hall.
Izzo's topic is “Spotting the Top Male: Sexual Selection in a Lekking Paper Wasp." (Lekking means to engage in courtship displays.)
The seminar is sponsored by the Animal Behavior Graduate Group, which is hosting a series of winter quarter seminars every Friday noon in 6 Olson Hall. The series began Jan. 13 and will continue through March 16 in 6 Olson Hall. (Download flier)
“Sexual selection has seen many advances over the past several decades, yet many questions remain,” said Izzo in her abstract. "Polistes dominulus paper wasps are a good system in which to study sexual selection, as males have a lek-based mating system and sexually dimorphic abdominal spots.”
“Here, I demonstrate that these spots are used in both inter- and intra-sexual selection. Males with smaller, elliptically-shaped spots are more dominant over male rivals and are more preferred by females than males with larger, irregularly shaped spots. Additionally, the spots are condition-dependent and advertise quality.
Polistes dominulus paper wasp on leaf. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
“Further, spots function as signals: males with experimentally reduced abdominal spots win a greater proportion of fights and are preferred by females as mates over control males. Finally, female choice for attractive spots results in direct benefits to females. Females mated to males advertising high quality survive hibernation longer than females mated to males that advertise low quality. These results demonstrate that male ornaments are an important mediator of mating dynamics in paper wasps, and that females can gain direct benefits in non-economic mating systems. ”
Izzo finished her doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology in the summer of 2011 at the University of Michigan, where she worked with Elizabeth Tibbetts on wasp communication and sexual selection.
Izzo initially accepted a postdoctoral researcher position in the UC Davis Department of Entomology involving honey bees but is now affiliated with the UC Davis Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and hopes to work on animal coloration projects.
Izzo holds a master’s degree in biology from California State University, Northridge (2005) and a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley (2001).
She received the W. D. Hamilton Award for Outstanding Student Presentation at the Society for the Study of Evolution's 2010 meeting in Portland, Ore., and was named a recipient in 2010 of the Rackham Graduate School's Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan.
Izzo's publications include:
- & Tibbetts. Spotting the top male: sexually selected signals in maple Polistes dominulus wasps. In press, Animal Behavior
- Izzo & Gray, 2011. Heterospecific courtship and sequential mate choice in sister species of field crickets. Animal Behaviour. 8(1): 259-264
- Tibbetts, Izzo, & Huang, 2011. Behavioral and physiological factors associated with juvenile hormone in Polistes wasp foundresses. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 65(5): 1123-1131
- Tibbetts & Izzo, 2010. Social punishment of dishonest signalers caused by mismatch between signal and behavior. Current Biology. 20:1637-1640
- Tibbetts & Izzo, 2009. Endocrine mediated phenotypic plasticity: condition-dependent effects of juvenile hormone on dominance and fertility of wasp queens. Hormones and Behavior. 56: 527-531
- Izzo, Wells, Huang & Tibbetts, 2009. Cuticular hydrocarbons correlate with fertility, not dominance, in a paper wasp, Polistes dominulus. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. 64(5): 857-864.
- Izzo & Gray, 2004. Cricket song in sympatry: Species Specificity of Song without Reproductive Character Displacement in Gryllus rubens. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 97(4): 831-837
(Editor's Note: Olson Hall is near Shields Library; see campus map)
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology