Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Predator pressures maintain bees’ social life

21.12.2007
The complex organisation of some insect societies is thought to have developed to such a level that these animals can no longer survive on their own. Research published in the online open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology suggests that rather than organisational, genetic, or biological complexity defining a ‘point of no return’ for social living, pressures of predation create advantages to not living alone.

The ancient systems of sociality in bees, wasps, termites, and ants seem to have become an obligatory way of life for these organisms as there are almost no examples of species reverting to solitary lifestyles. "This has prompted the notion of a 'point of no return' whereby evolutionary changes in behaviour, genetics, and shape in adaptation to a social lifestyle prohibit the insects from living without their society — a queen bee losing her workers would be like a human being losing a vital organ", explains Luke Chenoweth of Flinders University, Australia.

Most social insects have developed a system in which there is a division of labour between castes of related individuals. Reproductive queens rely on sterile workers, usually their daughters, to feed them and nurture their young, but in a few examples of social bees all females in a colony retain the ability to breed but some do not, a phenomenon known as totipotency. Chenoweth and colleagues investigated Halterapis nigrinervis, an African species thought to provide a rare example of a bee with totipotent social ancestors that has reverted to a solitary lifestyle. By investigating this species the researchers hoped to reveal the factors that allow or prevent reversion to a solitary lifestyle.

The researchers collected nests from various habitats. Surprisingly they found that over half contained multiple females and those containing multiple females were more likely to have bee larvae in them. “The results mean that H. nigrinervis is social and that there are consequently no known losses of sociality in this group of bees.” As these bees lack the social and behavioural complexity of honeybees and many other social insects, the fact that they do not seem to live solitarily in any circumstances suggests that ecological pressures rather than biological factors maintain sociality.

... more about:
»Social »maintain »pressures »sociality

The researchers hypothesise that sociality in H. nigrinervis is maintained by predation: multiple females not only offer greater protection to the brood in the nest but also should an adult fall foul of predators, nest-mates will raise their young. While many social insects might retain the potential to raise young alone, the benefits of protection against predation result in sociality being maintained.

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/

Further reports about: Social maintain pressures sociality

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>