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Kin selection theory predicts conflict in social Hymenoptera between the queen and workers over male parentage because each party is more closely related to its own male offspring. Some aspects of the reproductive biology of the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris support kin selection theory but others arguably do not. We present a novel hypothesis for how… (More)
Each evening, a few workers of a Brazilian ant doom themselves to die overnight by remaining outside the nest to seal its entrance. This striking behaviour is a novel form of worker self-sacrifice.
A recent study shows that, in social insects where workers suppress or 'police' the reproduction of nestmate workers, only a subset of workers act as police. This confirms that policing can serve a collective rather than a selfish interest.
Inclusive fitness theory explains why workers in insect societies sometimes kill their queen. As the theory predicts, workers in a wasp species are more likely to act matricidally when more highly related to potential worker offspring.
Eusocial insects provide special insights into the genetic pathways influencing aging because of their long-lived queens and flexible aging schedules. Using qRT-PCR in the primitively eusocial bumble bee Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus), we investigated expression levels of four candidate genes associated with taxonomically widespread age-related pathways… (More)