Cooperation and conflict in an Insect society

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (1995) Cooperation and conflict in an Insect society Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, 75 . pp. 333-352. ISSN 0970-4140

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Cooperation and conflict are inevitable consequences whenever a group of individuals get together, be they groups of self-replicating molecules or groups of warring nations. This paper gives an overview of my research using the tropical primitively eusocial paper wasp Ropalidia marginata, aimed at understanding the factors that modulate cooperation and conflict in an insect society. Hamilton's rule provides an excellent theoretical framework not only for investigating the role of genetic relatedness in modulating the levels of cooperation and conflict, as has been done so extensively in the last 30 years, but also for focussing on other factors, when genetic relatedness may be relatively unimportant. Polyandry or multiple mating by queens of R. marginata and serial polygyny or the frequent change in queens, breakdown the genetic asymmetries created by hap10diploidya nd make it genetically less advantageousto be a worker, than theoretically expected. Intra-colony kin recognition abilities appear not to be so well developed as to facilitate nepotism in the face of intra-colony genetic variability. Artificial colonies with highly elevated levels of genetic variability appear to be indistinguishable from natural colonies. We have therefore investigated the possibility that social behaviour in insects ocietiesi s at leasti n part mutualistic. The responseo f waspst o alien conspecificsi n the context of their nestS and outside, suggestt hat factors other than genetic relatednesss uch as inter-individual assessmentsfa, cilitated by impressive cognitive abilities, may playa significant role in modulating the levels of cooperation and conflict.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to The Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
Keywords:Cooperation; Conflict; Insect Society; Kin Recognition
ID Code:75456
Deposited On:23 Dec 2011 06:54
Last Modified:18 May 2016 19:28

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