Male maturation response to selection of the pollen-hoarding syndrome in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Olav Rueppell, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Division of labour in social insect colonies relies on behavioural functional differentiation (specialization) of individuals with similar genomes. However, individual behavioural traits do not evolve independently of each other (behavioural syndromes). A prime example is the suite of behavioural differences in honeybee workers that has evolved in response to bidirectional selection on pollen hoarding of honeybee colonies (pollen-hoarding syndrome). More generally, these differences reflect functional differentiation between nectar and pollen foragers. We demonstrate here that this pollen-hoarding syndrome extends to drones. Similar to what has been shown in workers, drones from the high-pollen-hoarding strain had a higher locomotion activity after emergence, and they initiated flight earlier than did males derived from the low-pollen-hoarding strain, with hybrids intermediate. However, these two behavioural traits were unlinked at the individual level. We also found that social environment (the colony) affects the age at which drones initiate flight. The indirect selection responses of male behaviour suggest that male and worker evolution are not independent and may constrain each other’s evolution. Furthermore, we identified three distinct peaks in the probability of flight initiation over the course of the experiment and a decreased phenotypic variability in the ‘hybrid’ males, contrary to quantitative genetic expectations.

Additional Information

Animal Behaviour, 71: 227-234
Language: English
Date: 2006
Social insects, Pollen-hoarding syndrome, Social environment, Male maturation, Behavioral syndromes

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