Reproductive skew and split sex ratios in social Hymenoptera

Bourke, Andrew F. G. ORCID: (2001) Reproductive skew and split sex ratios in social Hymenoptera. Evolution, 55 (10). pp. 2131-2136. ISSN 1558-5646

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I present a model demonstrating that, in social Hymenoptera, split sex allocation can influence the evolution of reproductive partitioning (skew). In a facultatively polygynous population (with one to several queens per colony), workers vary in their relative relatedness to females (relatedness asymmetry). Split sex-ratio theory predicts that workers in monogynous (single-queen) colonies should concentrate on female production, as their relatedness asymmetry is relatively high, whereas workers in the polygynous colonies should concentrate on male production, as their relatedness asymmetry is relatively low. By contrast, queens in all colonies value males more highly per capita than they value females, because the worker-controlled population sex ratio is too female-biased from the queens' standpoint. Consider a polygynous colony in a facultatively polygynous population of perennial, social Hymenoptera with split sex ratios. A mutant queen achieving reproductive monopoly would gain from increasing her share of offspring but, because the workers would assess her colony as monogynous, would lose from the workers rearing a greater proportion of less-valuable females from the colony's brood. This sets an upper limit on skew. Therefore, in social Hymenoptera, skew evolution is potentially affected by queen-worker conflict over sex allocation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 13:38
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 01:25
DOI: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2001.tb01328.x

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