Queen longevity and fecundity affect conflict with workers over resource inheritance in a social insect

Almond, Edward J., Huggins, Timothy J., Crowther, Liam P., Parker, Joel D. and Bourke, Andrew F.G. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5891-8816 (2019) Queen longevity and fecundity affect conflict with workers over resource inheritance in a social insect. The American Naturalist, 193 (2). pp. 256-266. ISSN 0003-0147

[thumbnail of Accepted manuscript]
PDF (Accepted manuscript) - Accepted Version
Download (616kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Almond_etal_2019_TAN]
PDF (Almond_etal_2019_TAN) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Resource inheritance is a major source of conflict in animal societies. However, the assumptions and predictions of models of conflict over resource inheritance have not been systematically tested within a single system. We developed an inclusive fitness model for annual eusocial Hymenoptera that predicts a zone of conflict in which future reproductive workers are selected to enforce nest inheritance before the queen is selected to cede the nest. We experimentally tested key elements of this model in the bumble bee Bombus terrestris. In colonies from which queens were sequentially removed, queen tenure was significantly negatively associated with worker male production, confirming that workers gain direct fitness by usurping the queen. In unmanipulated colonies, queen fecundity decreased significantly over the latter part of the colony cycle, confirming that workers' indirect fitness from maintaining queens declines over time. Finally, in an experiment simulating loss of queen fecundity by removal of queens' eggs, worker-to-queen aggression increased significantly and aggressive workers were significantly more likely to become egg-layers, consistent with workers monitoring queen fecundity to assess the net benefit of future reproduction. Overall, by upholding key assumptions and predictions of the model, our results provide novel empirical support for kin-selected conflict over resource inheritance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: bumblebee,kin selection,resource inheritance,social insect,worker reproduction,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2018 10:30
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 00:44
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/69238
DOI: 10.1086/701299


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item