Social insects

Wax on, wax off: Nest soil facilitates indirect transfer of recognition cues between ant nestmates

Social animals use recognition cues to discriminate between group members and non-members. These recognition cues may be conceptualized as a label, which is compared to a neural representation of acceptable cue combinations termed the template. In …

Eusociality evolved in full sib families only

The paper by Nowak et al. has the evolution of eusociality as its title, but it is mostly about something else. It argues against inclusive fitness theory and offers an alternative modelling approach that is claimed to be more fundamental and …

Queen pheromones: The chemical crown governing insect social life

Group-living species produce signals that alter the behavior and even the physiology of their social partners. Social insects possess especially sophisticated chemical communication systems that govern every aspect of colony life, including the …

Identification of an ant queen pheromone regulating worker sterility

The selective forces that shape and maintain eusocial societies are an enduring puzzle in evolutionary biology. Ordinarily sterile workers can usually reproduce given the right conditions, so the factors regulating reproductive division of labour may …

Selfish strategies and honest signalling: reproductive conflicts in ant queen associations

Social insects offer unique opportunities to test predictions regarding the evolution of cooperation, life histories and communication. Colony founding by groups of unrelated queens, some of which are later killed, may select for selfish reproductive …