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The evolution of activity breaks in the nest cycle of annual eusocial bees: A simple model of delayed exponential growth

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-48196
  • Abstract: Background Social insects show considerable variability not only in social organisation but also in the temporal pattern of nest cycles. In annual eusocial sweat bees, nest cycles typically consist of a sequence of distinct phases of activity (queen or workers collect food, construct, and provision brood cells) and inactivity (nest is closed). Since the flight season is limited to the time of the year with sufficiently high temperatures and resource availability, every break reduces the potential for foraging and, thus, theAbstract: Background Social insects show considerable variability not only in social organisation but also in the temporal pattern of nest cycles. In annual eusocial sweat bees, nest cycles typically consist of a sequence of distinct phases of activity (queen or workers collect food, construct, and provision brood cells) and inactivity (nest is closed). Since the flight season is limited to the time of the year with sufficiently high temperatures and resource availability, every break reduces the potential for foraging and, thus, the productivity of a colony. This apparent waste of time has not gained much attention. Results We present a model that explains the evolution of activity breaks by assuming differential mortality during active and inactive phases and a limited rate of development of larvae, both reasonable assumptions. The model predicts a systematic temporal structure of breaks at certain times in the season which increase the fitness of a colony. The predicted pattern of these breaks is in excellent accordance with field data on the nest cycle of the halictid Lasioglossum malachurum. Conclusion Activity breaks are a counter-intuitive outcome of varying mortality rates that maximise the reproductive output of primitively eusocial nests.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Oliver Mitesser, Norbert Weissel, Erhard Strohm, Hans J. Poethke
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-48196
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Fakultät für Biologie / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Year of Completion:2006
Source:In: BMC Evolutionary Biology (2006) 6, 45-52
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Release Date:2010/05/19