Life history evolution in social insects: A female perspective

Negroni, M. A., Jongepier, E., Feldmeyer, B., Kramer, B. H. & Foitzik, S. 1-Aug-2016 In : Current opinion in insect science. 16, p. 51-57 7 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  • Matteo Antoine Negroni
  • Evelien Jongepier
  • Barbara Feldmeyer
  • Boris H. Kramer
  • Susanne Foitzik

Social insects are known for their unusual life histories with fecund, long-lived queens and sterile, short-lived workers. We review ultimate factors underlying variation in life history strategies in female social insects, whose social life reshapes common trade-offs, such as the one between fecundity and longevity. Interspecific life history variation is associated with colony size, mediated by changes in division of labour and extrinsic mortality. In addition to the ratio of juvenile to adult mortality, social factors such as queen number influence life history trajectories. We discuss two hypotheses explaining why queen fecundity and lifespan is higher in single-queen societies and suggest further research directions on the evolution of life history variation in social insects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in insect science
StatePublished - 1-Aug-2016

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