Behaviour and Social Evolution of Wasps: The Communal Aggregation Hypothesis

Overview


In this book, Itô presents data on tropical wasps which suggest that kin-selection has been overemphasized as an evolutionary explanation of sociality. He concentrates on the Vespidae (paper wasps and hornets), a group much discussed by evolutionary biologists because it exhibits all stages of social evolution: subsociality, primitive eusociality, and advanced eusociality. The author reports field observations by himself and others in Central America, Asia, and Australia, showing that multiple egg-layers in a ...
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Overview


In this book, Itô presents data on tropical wasps which suggest that kin-selection has been overemphasized as an evolutionary explanation of sociality. He concentrates on the Vespidae (paper wasps and hornets), a group much discussed by evolutionary biologists because it exhibits all stages of social evolution: subsociality, primitive eusociality, and advanced eusociality. The author reports field observations by himself and others in Central America, Asia, and Australia, showing that multiple egg-layers in a nest are not uncommon. Because coexistence of many 'queens' leads to lower relatedness among colony members than in single-queen colonies, he suggests that kin-selection may not be the most powerful force determining observed social patterns. Instead, subsocial wasps may first have aggregated for defense purposes in habitats with a high risk of predation, with mutualistic associations among many queens. Through parental manipulation and then kin selection, differentiation into within-generation castes may have followed. Of interest to all students of ecology, evolution, and behavior, this book beautifully demonstrates the author's ability to combine wide-ranging data with thoughtful questions.
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Meet the Author

Nagoya University
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Systematics and sociality of wasps
2.1 The Hymenoptera 4
2.2 The Vespidae 4
2.3 Terminology 8
2.4 Hypothetical routes towards eusociality in the Hymenoptera 9
3 Theories on the evolution of eusociality
3.1 Charles Darwin's dilemma 13
3.2 Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness and kin-selection 14
3.3 Parental manipulation and mutualistic aggregation hypotheses 15
4 Problems with the kin-selection hypothesis
4.1 Facts which contradict the 3/4 relatedness hypothesis 18
4.2 The dominance-hierarchy/functional haplometrosis hypothesis 21
5 Comparison of dominance relations and proportion of multi-female nests in the Polistinae
5.1 Intranidal dominance relations 23
5.2 Proportion of multi-female nests 25
6 Ropalidia fasciata in Okinawa, Japan: a species with flexible social relations
6.1 Life history 35
6.2 Mean fitness of cofoundresses in relation to foundress group size 37
6.3 Interactions among cofoundresses 39
6.4 Coexistence of multiple foundresses 41
6.5 Severe aggression observed in a satellite nest 45
6.6 Summary 50
6.7 Appendix: some other Ropalidia species 51
7 Social relations in wasp colonies in the wet tropics: polistine wasps in Panama
7.1 A typically aggressive society: Polistes canadensis 53
7.2 A typically 'peaceful' social system: Polistes versicolor 57
7.3 Changes in the social systems of two Mischocyttarus species: 'peaceful' to aggressive society 59
8 Role of multiple comb construction and the perennial nature of nests: polistine wasps in Australia
8.1 Ropalidia revolutionalis 66
8.2 Polistine wasps in Darwin: Ropalidia sp. nr. variegata, R. gregaria gregaria, and Polistes bernardii richardsi 68
8.3 Three methods of nest foundation: Polistes humilis 74
8.4 Ropalidia plebeiana: a species which constructs 'towns' and divides the nest by biting it with the mandibles 76
9 Multi-queen societies: swarm-founding wasps in the tropics
9.1 Neotropical swarm-founding wasps 80
9.2 Swarm-founding Ropalidia: subgenus Icarielia 86
9.3 Relations among adult females on a nest 89
9.4 Metapolybia aztecoides: co-operation or altruism? 90
10 Social lives of the other social wasps
10.1 Pleometrosis and swarm-founding in the Vespinae 94
10.2 Social structure of the Stenogastrinae 97
10.3 Social life of the Belonogaster 104
11 Origin of pleometrosis: altruism or mutualism?
11.1 Mutualistic co-operation under conditions in which haplometrosis is almost impossible 106
11.2 A model of mutualistic aggregation 109
11.3 Eusocial insects other than wasps 112
11.4 Conclusion 121
12 Manipulation of progeny by mother groups: an hypothesis for the evolution of multi-queen societies
12.1 A problem: evolution of multi-queen societies in swarm-founding Polistinae 123
12.2 Intranidal dominance relations among females in some Mischocyttarus and Ropalidia after the emergence of progeny females 124
12.3 Conditions favouring manipulation of progeny by foundress groups 126
13 Kin-selection and multi-queen social systems: conclusion 128
References 134
Author index 151
Index of scientific names 154
Subject index 157
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