Why join a neighbour: fitness consequences of colony fusions in termites

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorKorb, J.
dc.contributor.authorRoux, E. A.
dc.date.accessioned2021-12-23T16:07:39Z-
dc.date.available2021-12-23T16:07:39Z-
dc.date.issued2012
dc.identifier.issn1010061X
dc.identifier.urihttps://osnascholar.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/unios/7984-
dc.description.abstractThe evolution of life is characterized by major evolutionary transitions during which independent units cooperated and formed a new level of selection. Relatedness is a common mechanism that reduces conflict in such cooperative associations. One of the latest transitions is the evolution of social insect colonies. As expected, they are composed of kin and mechanisms have evolved that prevent the intrusion of nonrelatives. Yet, there are exceptions an extreme case is the fusion of unrelated colonies. What are the advantages of fusions that have colonies with a high potential for conflict as a consequence? Here, we investigated fitness costs and benefits of colony fusions in a lower termite species, Cryptotermes secundus, in which more than 25% of all colonies in the field are fused. We found two benefits of colony fusion depending on colony size: very small colonies had an increased probability of survival when they fused, yet for most colony sizes mainly a few workers profit from colony fusions as their chance to become reproductives increased. This individual benefit was often costly for other colony members: colony growth was reduced and the current reproductives had an increased chance of dying when fusions were aggressive. Our study suggests that fusion of colonies often is the result of selfish worker interests to become reproductives, and this might have been important for the termites' social evolution. Our results uniquely shows that selfish interests among related colony members can lead to the formation of groups with increased potential for conflict among less related members.
dc.description.sponsorshipGerman Science Foundation (DFG)German Research Foundation (DFG) [KO1895/2]; We thank three anonymous referees for helpful comments, Parks and Wildlife Commission and Environment Australia for permission to collect (permits 15656) and export (permits WT2004-5769) the termites. The project was supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG; KO1895/2).
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherWILEY
dc.relation.ispartofJOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY
dc.subjectCOMPETITION
dc.subjectconflict
dc.subjectCOOPERATION
dc.subjectEcology
dc.subjectEnvironmental Sciences & Ecology
dc.subjectEvolutionary Biology
dc.subjectfusion
dc.subjectGenetics & Heredity
dc.subjectmajor evolutionary transitions
dc.subjectPARASITISM
dc.subjectQUEEN
dc.subjectSIZE
dc.subjectSOCIAL EVOLUTION
dc.subjectsocial insects
dc.subjecttermites
dc.subjectWORKERS
dc.titleWhy join a neighbour: fitness consequences of colony fusions in termites
dc.typejournal article
dc.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02617.x
dc.identifier.isiISI:000310550400002
dc.description.volume25
dc.description.issue11
dc.description.startpage2161
dc.description.endpage2170
dc.identifier.eissn14209101
dc.publisher.place111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA
dcterms.isPartOf.abbreviationJ. Evol. Biol.
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