The insect police: Why social insects punish cheating comrades

Colonies of social insects, such as bees and ants, typically consist of one or more 'queens ' and the 'workers' that support their reproduction. In some social insect colonies, however, workers do lay unfertilised eggs - which develop into males - essentially "cheating" on the other workers who are investing in only the queen's reproduction. Such action can be severely penalized by other workers - in honeybees, where this behavior was first shown, workers remove worker-laid eggs within hours by eating them, and, in some ants, more draconian methods lead to the mutilation of the culprit caught in the act of laying. In the open access journal, PLoS Biology, Rob Hammond and Laurent Keller explain how these policemen arise.

The apparently altruistic behavior of workers in supporting their queen is generally explained by 'kin selection', whereby the worker obtains more 'reproductive payoffs' indirectly by producing the queen's offspring than by having their own. Kin selection revolves around relatedness because relatedness determines the magnitude of the payoffs. Based on a detailed comparative phylogenetic analysis of 50 species of ants, wasps, Hammond and Keller now demonstrate that the 'policing' behavior of workers cannot be accounted for just by relatedness as traditionally thought - but that it is necessary to consider how the efficiency of the colony influences behavior. The key appears to be that energy invested by workers into laying eggs - which would otherwise be used in foraging and legitimate brood rearing - can detract from the overall efficiency and growth of the colony.

To test this, Hammond and Keller estimated the extent to which workers produce their own male offspring and whether this was determined by how related the workers are to each other (e.g. some colonies are run by more than one queen); the 'efficiency hypothesis' predicts no such relationship. Contrary to expectations, they found evidence that a genetic incentive for worker

Contact: Paul Ocampo
Public Library of Science

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Essential smell gene may provide key to new insect repellents
2. Increasing international insect threat to stored food
3. New model explains why costly insect outbreaks hard to predict
4. New study in moths shows insects not entirely ruled by instinct
5. Origin of West Indian insect eater much older than previously thought
6. Flies may taste bitter better, first map of insect tongue reveals
7. Changes to insect-seeking calls of horseshoe bats may drive new species formation
8. Yale researchers discover new potential asthma therapeutic targets related to parasites and insects
9. K-State researchers share $1 million grant to study insect pests
10. Male susceptibility to disease may play role in evolution of insect societies
11. Study suggests insect-derived antimicrobial peptides could be used as drug-delivery vehicles

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/26/2020)... ... August 24, 2020 , ... ... of chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, today announced that Dr. Stacie Canan has ... Discovery. , Dr. Canan previously served as Executive Director of Global Health at ...
(Date:8/26/2020)... ... August 25, 2020 , ... ... for drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and consumer health products, today announced ... Boston Virtual Conference & Expo, taking place between Aug. 31 – September 4, ...
(Date:8/23/2020)... ... August 21, 2020 , ... The August edition ... and is now available on the company’s global website. Crystallography Times—an electronic newsletter ... presenting current news and crystallographic research. , The latest issue of Crystallography ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/31/2020)... ... 29, 2020 , ... DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences announced today ... new plant operation will provide the local animal production industry with customized solutions ... will improve the flexibility of our offerings to the Chinese animal nutrition market,” ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... (PRWEB) , ... August 11, ... ... a biopharmaceutical cold chain validation engineering firm, is making available for free ... the need to incorporate concurrent transport simulation testing into today’s biologics licensing ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... ... 03, 2020 , ... Introducing Ardent Animal Health – MediVet Biologics rebrands company ... Known as MediVet Biologics since its formation in 2016, the company is relaunching ... Health will build on its base of innovative therapies for osteoarthritis and cancer. ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... , ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... can combine up to three different materials for use with CRM, neurostimulation, vascular, ... to three materials to meet specific design requirements, performance, and cost criteria; especially ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: