Kin Structure (kin + structure)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Cryptic Kin Selection: Kin Structure in Vertebrate Populations and Opportunities for Kin-Directed Cooperation

ETHOLOGY, Issue 3 2010
Ben J. Hatchwell
Animal societies of varying complexity have been the favoured testing ground for inclusive fitness theory, and there is now abundant evidence that kin selection has played a critical role in the evolution of cooperative behaviour. One of the key theoretical and empirical findings underlying this conclusion is that cooperative systems have a degree of kin structure, often the product of delayed dispersal, that facilitates interactions with relatives. However, recent population genetic studies have revealed that many non-cooperative animals also have kin-structured populations, providing more cryptic opportunities for kin selection to operate. In this article, I first review the evidence that kin structure is widespread among non-cooperative vertebrates, and then consider the various contexts in which kin selection may occur in such taxa, including: leks, brood parasitism, crèches, breeding associations, territoriality and population dynamics, foraging and predator deterrence. I describe the evidence that kin-selected benefits arise from interacting with kin in each of these contexts, notwithstanding the potential costs of kin competition and inbreeding. I conclude that as the tools required to determine population genetic structure are readily available, measurement of kin structure and the potential for kin selection on a routine basis is likely to reveal that this process has been an important driver of evolutionary adaptation in many non-cooperative as well as cooperative species. [source]


Kin structure and queen execution in the Argentine ant Linepithema humile

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, Issue 6 2001
M. Reuter
Every spring, workers of the Argentine Ant Linepithema humile kill a large proportion of queens within their nests. Although this behaviour inflicts a high energetic cost on the colonies, its biological significance has remained elusive so far. An earlier study showed that the probability of a queen being executed is not related to her weight, fecundity, or age. Here we test the hypothesis that workers collectively eliminate queens to which they are less related, thereby increasing their inclusive fitness. We found no evidence for this hypothesis. Workers of a nest were on average not significantly less related to executed queens than to surviving ones. Moreover, a population genetic analysis revealed that workers were not genetically differentiated between nests. This means that workers of a given nest are equally related to any queen in the population and that there can be no increase in average worker,queen relatedness by selective elimination of queens. Finally, our genetic analyses also showed that, in contrast to workers, queens were significantly genetically differentiated between nests and that there was significant isolation by distance for queens. [source]


Mating frequency and genetic relatedness of workers in the hornet Vespa analis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

ENTOMOLOGICAL SCIENCE, Issue 3 2003
Jun-ichi TAKAHASHI
Abstract Mating frequency of Vespa analis queens and the genetic relatedness of their workers was analyzed by DNA microsatellite genotyping. Of 20 colonies studied, 18 had a queen inseminated by a single male and two had queens each inseminated by two males. The estimated effective number of matings was 1.05 ± 0.037 (mean ± SE), with 75,85% of the offspring of the two multiply mated queens sired by a single male. The pedigree relatedness between nestmate workers averaged over the 20 colonies was estimated to be 0.74 ± 0.008, almost identical to the predicted value of 0.75 for colonies headed by a singly mated queen. Multiple matrilines; that is, the presence of workers not related to the current queens, were detected in six colonies, suggesting that queen replacement occurred via usurpation of the founding queens in these six colonies. These results demonstrate that the kin structure of V. analis is similar to that reported in other vespid species. [source]


Cryptic Kin Selection: Kin Structure in Vertebrate Populations and Opportunities for Kin-Directed Cooperation

ETHOLOGY, Issue 3 2010
Ben J. Hatchwell
Animal societies of varying complexity have been the favoured testing ground for inclusive fitness theory, and there is now abundant evidence that kin selection has played a critical role in the evolution of cooperative behaviour. One of the key theoretical and empirical findings underlying this conclusion is that cooperative systems have a degree of kin structure, often the product of delayed dispersal, that facilitates interactions with relatives. However, recent population genetic studies have revealed that many non-cooperative animals also have kin-structured populations, providing more cryptic opportunities for kin selection to operate. In this article, I first review the evidence that kin structure is widespread among non-cooperative vertebrates, and then consider the various contexts in which kin selection may occur in such taxa, including: leks, brood parasitism, crèches, breeding associations, territoriality and population dynamics, foraging and predator deterrence. I describe the evidence that kin-selected benefits arise from interacting with kin in each of these contexts, notwithstanding the potential costs of kin competition and inbreeding. I conclude that as the tools required to determine population genetic structure are readily available, measurement of kin structure and the potential for kin selection on a routine basis is likely to reveal that this process has been an important driver of evolutionary adaptation in many non-cooperative as well as cooperative species. [source]


SEX-RATIO CONFLICT BETWEEN QUEENS AND WORKERS IN EUSOCIAL HYMENOPTERA: MECHANISMS, COSTS, AND THE EVOLUTION OF SPLIT COLONY SEX RATIOS

EVOLUTION, Issue 12 2005
Ken R. Helms
Abstract Because workers in the eusocial Hymenoptera are more closely related to sisters than to brothers, theory predicts that natural selection should act on them to bias (change) sex allocation to favor reproductive females over males. However, selection should also act on queens to prevent worker bias. We use a simulation approach to analyze the coevolution of this conflict in colonies with single, once-mated queens. We assume that queens bias the primary (egg) sex ratio and workers bias the secondary (adult) sex ratio, both at some cost to colony productivity. Workers can bias either by eliminating males or by directly increasing female caste determination. Although variation among colonies in kin structure is absent, simulations often result in bimodal (split) colony sex ratios. This occurs because of the evolution of two alternative queen or two alternative worker biasing strategies, one that biases strongly and another that does not bias at all. Alternative strategies evolve because the mechanisms of biasing result in accelerating benefits per unit cost with increasing bias, resulting in greater fitness for strategies that bias more and bias less than the population equilibrium. Strategies biasing more gain from increased biasing efficiency whereas strategies biasing less gain from decreased biasing cost. Our study predicts that whether queens or workers evolve alternative strategies depends upon the mechanisms that workers use to bias the sex ratio, the relative cost of queen and worker biasing, and the rates at which queen and worker strategies evolve. Our study also predicts that population and colony level sex allocation, as well as colony productivity, will differ diagnostically according to whether queens or workers evolve alternative biasing strategies and according to what mechanism workers use to bias sex allocation. [source]


Reproductive parameters vary with social and ecological factors in the polygynous ant Formica exsecta

OIKOS, Issue 4 2008
Rolf Kümmerli
Due to their haplo-diploid sex determination system and the resulting conflict over optimal sex allocation between queens and workers, social Hymenoptera have become important model species to study variation in sex allocation. While many studies indeed reported sex allocation to be affected by social factors such as colony kin structure or queen number, others, however, found that sex allocation was impacted by ecological factors such as food availability. In this paper, we present one of the rare studies that simultaneously investigated the effects of social and ecological factors on social insect nest reproductive parameters (sex and reproductive allocation, nest productivity) across several years. We found that the sex ratio was extremely male biased in a polygynous (multiple queens per nest) population of the ant Formica exsecta. Nest-level sex allocation followed the pattern predicted by the queen-replenishment hypothesis, which holds that gynes (new queens) should only be produced and recruited in nests with low queen number (i.e. reduced local resource competition) to ensure nest survival. Accordingly, queen number (social factor) was the main determinant on whether a nest produced gynes or males. However, ecological factors had a large impact on nest productivity and therefore on a nest's resource pool, which determines the degree of local resource competition among co-breeding queens and at what threshold in queen number nests should switch from male to gyne production. Additionally, our genetic data revealed that gynes are recruited back to their parental nests after mating. However, our genetic data are also consistent with some adult queens dispersing on foot from nests where they were produced to nests that never produced queens. As worker production is reduced in gyne-producing nests, queen migration might be offset by workers moving in the other direction, leading to a nest network characterized by reproductive division of labour. Altogether our study shows that both, social and ecological factors can influence long-term nest reproductive strategies in insect societies. [source]


Population genetics of the black ant Formica lemani (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Issue 2 2009
PERTTU SEPPÄ
Colony kin structure and spatial population structure were studied in multiple populations of the ant Formica lemani, using allozymes and DNA microsatellites. Average genetic relatedness between nestmate workers varied little between populations (r = 0.51,0.76), indicating that the average colony kin structure was relatively simple. Worker genotypes could not be explained with a single breeding pair in all nests, however, and the distribution of relatedness estimates across nests was bimodal, suggesting that single- and multi-queen colonies co-occur. We studied spatial population structure in a successional boreal forest system, which is a mixture of different aged habitats. Newly clear-cut open habitat patches are quickly colonized by F. lemani, where it is able to persist for a limited number of generations. Newly-founded populations showed signs of a founder effect and spatial substructuring, whereas older populations were more homogenous. This suggests that new populations are founded by a limited number of colonizers arriving from more than one source. Genetic differentiation among local populations was minor, indicating strong migration between them. There were, however, indications of both isolation by distance and populations becoming more isolated as habitat patches grew older. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 97, 247,258. [source]