Comb Architecture of the Eusocial Bees Arises from Simple Rules Used During Cell Building

Benjamin P. Oldroyd, Stephen Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The brood cells of a colony of eusocial bees are a core part of its existence. Not only do the cells provide a nursery for the brood, but they also provide the structure on which the colony lives. As such, the comb structure is itself under natural selection to provide an environment in which a colony can thrive. Via examples from the stingless bees and the honey bees, we show that aspects of nest construction arise from simple rules followed by workers as they build cells and that these rules are species specific. Slight changes in the rules followed by cell builders can cause radical shifts in the final nest architecture, and these are often used by humans as species diagnostic traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-121
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Insect Physiology
Volume49
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Cells
  • Combs
  • Eusocial bees
  • Extended phenotype
  • Hymenoptera
  • Insect nests
  • Stigmergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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