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Solitary bees reduce investment in communication compared with their social relatives

Author(s): Wittwer, Bernadette; Hefetz, Abraham; Simon, Tovit; Murphy, Li EK; Elgar, Mark A; et al

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Abstract: Social animals must communicate to define group membership and coordinate social organization. For social insects, communication is predominantly mediated through chemical signals, and as social complexity increases, so does the requirement for a greater diversity of signals. This relationship is particularly true for advanced eusocial insects, including ants, bees, and wasps, whose chemical communication systems have been well-characterized. However, we know surprisingly little about how these communication systems evolve during the transition between solitary and group living. Here, we demonstrate that the sensory systems associated with signal perception are evolutionarily labile. In particular, we show that differences in signal production and perception are tightly associated with changes in social behavior in halictid bees. Our results suggest that social species require a greater investment in communication than their solitary counterparts and that species that have reverted from eusociality to solitary living have repeatedly reduced investment in these potentially costly sensory perception systems.
Publication Date: 20-Jun-2017
Electronic Publication Date: 22-May-2017
Citation: Wittwer, Bernadette, Hefetz, Abraham, Simon, Tovit, Murphy, Li EK, Elgar, Mark A, Pierce, Naomi E, Kocher, Sarah D. (2017). Solitary bees reduce investment in communication compared with their social relatives. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (25), 6569 - 6574. doi:10.1073/pnas.1620780114
DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1620780114
ISSN: 0027-8424
EISSN: 1091-6490
Pages: 6569 - 6574
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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