Kin Selection Theory (kin + selection_theory)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2005
T. Wenseleers
Abstract Mutual policing is an important mechanism for maintaining social harmony in group-living organisms. In some ants, bees, and wasps, workers police male eggs laid by other workers in order to maintain the reproductive primacy of the queen. Kin selection theory predicts that multiple mating by the queen is one factor that can selectively favor worker policing. This is because when the queen is mated to multiple males, workers are more closely related to queen's sons than to the sons of other workers. Here we provide an additional test of worker policing theory in Vespinae wasps. We show that the yellowjacket Vespula rufa is characterized by low mating frequency, and that a significant percentage of the males are workers' sons. This supports theoretical predictions for paternities below 2, and contrasts with other Vespula species, in which paternities are higher and few or no adult males are worker produced, probably due to worker policing, which has been shown in one species, Vespula vulgaris. Behavioral observations support the hypothesis that V. rufa has much reduced worker policing compared to other Vespula. In addition, a significant proportion of worker-laid eggs were policed by the queen. [source]

Kin Associations during Nest Founding in an Allodapine Bee Exoneura robusta: do Females Distinguish between Relatives and Familiar Nestmates?

ETHOLOGY, Issue 2 2000
Nicholas J. Bull
True recognition of kin can have important fitness consequences in terms of directing altruistic behaviours toward close relatives (nepotism) and avoiding inbreeding. However, recent evidence suggests that some social insect species cannot or do not distinguish their closest relatives from among nestmates in important fitness-based contexts. Such findings are relevant to kin selection theories where individuals are expected to preferentially rear close relatives in order to gain inclusive fitness benefits. Here, allozyme markers are used to examine whether female Exoneura robusta individuals preferentially nest with their closest kin when given a choice of familiar previous nestmates. The results suggest these bees do not prefer kin over non-kin nestmates. Kin associations during nest founding in this species are probably due to philopatry and/or association with previously familiar nestmates. [source]

Mating structure and male production in Vespa analis and Vespa simillima (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Abstract We estimated queen mating frequency, genetic relatedness between workers and worker reproduction in the hornets Vespa analis and Vespa simillima using microsatellite DNA genotyping. The 20 V. analis colonies studied each contained a queen inseminated by a single male. Of the 15 V. simillima colonies studied, nine had a queen inseminated by a single male, four had a queen inseminated by two males, and two had a queen inseminated by three males. The estimated effective number of matings was 1.33 0.74 (mean SD), with 75,85% of the offspring of the six multiply mated queens sired by single males. The values for genetic relatedness between the workers of V. analis and V. simillima were 0.739 0.004 and 0.698 0.013 (mean SD), respectively. We conclude that V. analis and V. simillima colonies are genetically monogynous and monandrous. When high relatedness between the workers occurs within colonies, kin selection theory predicts a potential conflict between queens and workers over male production. To determine whether males were derived from queens or workers, males from V. analis and V. simillima colonies were genotyped at four microsatellite loci and the level of ovary activation in workers was determined. None of the 787 V. analis workers and only 15 of 3520 V. simillima workers had developed ovaries. Furthermore, the genotyping identified no worker-produced males in any colony. The presence of reproductive workers correlated positively with the number of workers within the colony. These results suggest that eusocial colonies with an annual life cycle tend to break down socially when they become large and are close to dying. [source]

Social semantics: how useful has group selection been?

Abstract In our social semantics review (J. Evol. Biol., 2007, 415,432), we discussed some of the misconceptions and sources of confusion associated with group selection. Wilson (2007, this issue) claims that we made three errors regarding group selection. Here, we aim to expand upon the relevant points from our review in order to refute this claim. The last 45 years of research provide clear evidence of the relative use of the kin and group selection approaches. Kin selection methodologies are more tractable, allowing the construction of models that can be applied more easily to specific biological examples, including those chosen by Wilson to illustrate the utility of the group selection approach. In contrast, the group selection approach is not only less useful, but also appears to frequently have negative consequences by fostering confusion that leads to wasted effort. More generally, kin selection theory allows the construction of a unified conceptual overview that can be applied across all taxa, whereas there is no formal theory of group selection. [source]

Extreme queen-mating frequency and colony fission in African army ants

Abstract Army ants have long been suspected to represent an independent origin of multiple queen-mating in the social Hymenoptera. Using microsatellite markers, we show that queens of the African army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus have the highest absolute (17.3) and effective (17.5) queen-mating frequencies reported so far for ants. This confirms that obligate multiple queen-mating in social insects is associated with large colony size and advanced social organization, but also raises several novel questions. First, these high estimates place army ants in the range of mating frequencies of honeybees, which have so far been regarded as odd exceptions within the social Hymenoptera. Army ants and honeybees are fundamentally different in morphology and life history, but are the only social insects known that combine obligate multiple mating with reproduction by colony fission and extremely male-biased sex ratios. This implies that the very high numbers of matings in both groups may be due partly to the relatively low costs of additional matings. Second, we were able to trace recent events of colony fission in four of the investigated colonies, where the genotypes of the two queens were only compatible with a mother,daughter relationship. A direct comparison of male production between colonies with offspring from one and two queens, respectively, suggested strongly that new queens do not produce a sexual brood until all workers of the old queen have died, which is consistent with kin selection theory. [source]