Variance-based selection may explain general mating patterns in social insects

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Olav Rueppell, Associate Professor (Creator)
Jan Rychtar, Assistant Professor (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Female mating frequency is one of the key parameters of social insect evolution. Several hypotheses have been suggested to explain multiple mating and considerable empirical research has led to conflicting results. Building on several earlier analyses, we present a simple general model that links the number of queen matings to variance in colony performance and this variance to average colony fitness. The model predicts selection for multiple mating if the average colony succeeds in a focal task, and selection for single mating if the average colony fails, irrespective of the proximate mechanism that links genetic diversity to colony fitness. Empirical support comes from interspecific comparisons, e.g. between the bee genera Apis and Bombus, and from data on several ant species, but more comprehensive empirical tests are needed.

Additional Information

Biology Letters, 4: 270-273
Language: English
Date: 2008
polyandry, social evolution, division of labour, genetic diversity, disease resistance, social insects

Email this document to