Although most insect colonies are headed by a singly mated queen, some ant, wasp and bee taxa have evolved high levels of multiple mating or 'polyandry'. We argue here that a contributing factor towards the evolution of polyandry is that the resulting genetic diversity within colonies provides them with a system of genetically based task specialization, enabling them to respond resiliently to environmental perturbation. An alternate view is that genetic contributions to task specialization are a side effect of multiple mating, which evolved through other causes, and that genetically based task specialization now makes little or no contribution to colony fitness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics