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Animal behaviour

Rank crime and punishment

In paper wasps, facial markings are cheap ‘status badges’ that would seem to be susceptible to cheating. But wasps punish those whose markings lie. Social competition is, it appears, a strong selective force.

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Figure 1: Badge of status.

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Strassmann, J. Rank crime and punishment. Nature 432, 160–161 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/432160b

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