alexa Unicolonial ants: where do they come from, what are they and where are they going?
General Science

General Science

Entomology, Ornithology & Herpetology: Current Research

Author(s): Helanter H, Strassmann JE, Carrillo J, Queller DC

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Abstract Unicolonial ant populations are the most extensive cooperative units known in nature, forming networks of interconnected nests extending sometimes hundreds of kilometers. Within such a supercolony, worker altruistic behavior might be maladaptive, because it seems to aid random members of the population instead of relatives. However, recent genetic and behavioral data show that, viewed on a sufficiently large scale, unicolonial ants do have colony boundaries that define very large kin groups. It seems likely that they are family groups that continue to express their kin-selected behavior as they grow to extreme sizes. However, at extreme sizes, kin selection theory predicts that these behaviors are maladapted and evolutionarily unstable, a prediction that is supported by their twiggy phylogenetic distribution. This article was published in Trends Ecol Evol and referenced in Entomology, Ornithology & Herpetology: Current Research

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