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Flashcards in Social Insects Deck (6)
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What are the types of sociality in insects? (5) Give an example of each

1. solitary - spider hawk wasp
2. communal - wasps and bees (digger bees)
3. quasisocial - Euglossine bees
4. semisocial - Halictid bees
5. eusocial - some wasps and most bees, all ants and termites


What four criteria must be met for a species to be eusocial?

- common nest site
- cooperative brood care
- reproductive castes/ reproductive division of labor
- overlapping generations


What are the advantages of eusociality?

- parallel vs. serial operations (fewer mistakes are made when labor is divided among specialists)
- concentration of energy through sheer numbers ( economy of scale) (contruct and maintain nests, defend colony, retrieve food and other resources)
- caste differentiation allows for divisions of labor


What are the disadvantages of eusociality?

- most individuals sacrifice their ability to reproduce
- colony attracts more predators
- large numbers make them more susceptible to picking up diseases


What is the haplodiploid theory of eusociality?

females are diploid and males are haploid. the queeen can control sex ratio by selectively fertilizing eggs.
- it is more effective to aid the queen in producing more sisters than in self reproduction ( own offspring would be less closely related than sisters who are related by 75% as opposed to 50%)


What are some communications used by eusocial insects?

- alarm pheromone - nest defense cause recruits workers en masse
- nest identification/nestmate recognition
- queen pheromones 0 regulate activity + suppress reproduction in workers
- propaganda substance - some ant species raid nests of conspecifics. invading queen produces alarm pheromone to drive workers out --> sits on the host queen for 3 days to acumulate her scent and then kills her so that when workers return they will care for raiding queens brood.