Genotypic differences in brood rearing in honey bee colonies: context-specific?

Gene E. Robinson, Robert Page, Naomi Arensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three experiments were performed to determine whether brood care in honey bee colonies is influenced by colony genetic structure and by social context. In experiment 1, there were significant genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on observations of individually labeled workers of known age belonging to two visually distinguishable subfamilies. In experiment 2, no genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing drones or workers was detected, in the same colonies that were used in experiment 1. In experiment 3, there again were significant genotypic differences in the likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on electrophoretic analyses of workers from a set of colonies with allozyme subfamily markers. There also was an overall significant trend for colonies to show greater subfamily differences in queen rearing when the queens were sisters (half- and super-sisters) rather than unrelated, but these differences were not consistent from trial to trial for some colonies. Results of experiments 1 and 3 demonstrate genotypic differences in queen rearing, which has been reported previously based on more limited behavioral observations. Results from all three experiments suggest that genotypic differences in brood care are influenced by social context and may be more pronounced when workers have a theoretical opportunity to practice nepotism. Finally, we failed to detect persistent interindividual differences in bees from either subfamily in the tendency to rear queen brood, using two different statistical tests. This indicates that the probability of queen rearing was influenced by genotypic differences but not by the effect of prior queen-rearing experience. These results suggest that subfamilies within a colony can specialize on a particular task, such as queen rearing, without individual workers performing that task for extended periods of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1994
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

queen rearing
brood rearing
Honey
honey bee colonies
Bees
honey
bee
rearing
Genetic Structures
Isoenzymes
experiment
queen insects
drones (insects)
nepotism
allozymes
Apoidea
allozyme
statistical analysis
genetic structure

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Division of labor
  • Genetics
  • Nepotism
  • Social insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Genotypic differences in brood rearing in honey bee colonies : context-specific? / Robinson, Gene E.; Page, Robert; Arensen, Naomi.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 34, No. 2, 02.1994, p. 125-137.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Robinson, Gene E. ; Page, Robert ; Arensen, Naomi. / Genotypic differences in brood rearing in honey bee colonies : context-specific?. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 1994 ; Vol. 34, No. 2. pp. 125-137.
@article{f2b7360d59474b0896cdcbb936ee3ab0,
title = "Genotypic differences in brood rearing in honey bee colonies: context-specific?",
abstract = "Three experiments were performed to determine whether brood care in honey bee colonies is influenced by colony genetic structure and by social context. In experiment 1, there were significant genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on observations of individually labeled workers of known age belonging to two visually distinguishable subfamilies. In experiment 2, no genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing drones or workers was detected, in the same colonies that were used in experiment 1. In experiment 3, there again were significant genotypic differences in the likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on electrophoretic analyses of workers from a set of colonies with allozyme subfamily markers. There also was an overall significant trend for colonies to show greater subfamily differences in queen rearing when the queens were sisters (half- and super-sisters) rather than unrelated, but these differences were not consistent from trial to trial for some colonies. Results of experiments 1 and 3 demonstrate genotypic differences in queen rearing, which has been reported previously based on more limited behavioral observations. Results from all three experiments suggest that genotypic differences in brood care are influenced by social context and may be more pronounced when workers have a theoretical opportunity to practice nepotism. Finally, we failed to detect persistent interindividual differences in bees from either subfamily in the tendency to rear queen brood, using two different statistical tests. This indicates that the probability of queen rearing was influenced by genotypic differences but not by the effect of prior queen-rearing experience. These results suggest that subfamilies within a colony can specialize on a particular task, such as queen rearing, without individual workers performing that task for extended periods of time.",
keywords = "Apis mellifera, Division of labor, Genetics, Nepotism, Social insects",
author = "Robinson, {Gene E.} and Robert Page and Naomi Arensen",
year = "1994",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1007/BF00164183",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "34",
pages = "125--137",
journal = "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology",
issn = "0340-5443",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Genotypic differences in brood rearing in honey bee colonies

T2 - context-specific?

AU - Robinson, Gene E.

AU - Page, Robert

AU - Arensen, Naomi

PY - 1994/2

Y1 - 1994/2

N2 - Three experiments were performed to determine whether brood care in honey bee colonies is influenced by colony genetic structure and by social context. In experiment 1, there were significant genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on observations of individually labeled workers of known age belonging to two visually distinguishable subfamilies. In experiment 2, no genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing drones or workers was detected, in the same colonies that were used in experiment 1. In experiment 3, there again were significant genotypic differences in the likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on electrophoretic analyses of workers from a set of colonies with allozyme subfamily markers. There also was an overall significant trend for colonies to show greater subfamily differences in queen rearing when the queens were sisters (half- and super-sisters) rather than unrelated, but these differences were not consistent from trial to trial for some colonies. Results of experiments 1 and 3 demonstrate genotypic differences in queen rearing, which has been reported previously based on more limited behavioral observations. Results from all three experiments suggest that genotypic differences in brood care are influenced by social context and may be more pronounced when workers have a theoretical opportunity to practice nepotism. Finally, we failed to detect persistent interindividual differences in bees from either subfamily in the tendency to rear queen brood, using two different statistical tests. This indicates that the probability of queen rearing was influenced by genotypic differences but not by the effect of prior queen-rearing experience. These results suggest that subfamilies within a colony can specialize on a particular task, such as queen rearing, without individual workers performing that task for extended periods of time.

AB - Three experiments were performed to determine whether brood care in honey bee colonies is influenced by colony genetic structure and by social context. In experiment 1, there were significant genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on observations of individually labeled workers of known age belonging to two visually distinguishable subfamilies. In experiment 2, no genotypic biases in the relative likelihood of rearing drones or workers was detected, in the same colonies that were used in experiment 1. In experiment 3, there again were significant genotypic differences in the likelihood of rearing queens or workers, based on electrophoretic analyses of workers from a set of colonies with allozyme subfamily markers. There also was an overall significant trend for colonies to show greater subfamily differences in queen rearing when the queens were sisters (half- and super-sisters) rather than unrelated, but these differences were not consistent from trial to trial for some colonies. Results of experiments 1 and 3 demonstrate genotypic differences in queen rearing, which has been reported previously based on more limited behavioral observations. Results from all three experiments suggest that genotypic differences in brood care are influenced by social context and may be more pronounced when workers have a theoretical opportunity to practice nepotism. Finally, we failed to detect persistent interindividual differences in bees from either subfamily in the tendency to rear queen brood, using two different statistical tests. This indicates that the probability of queen rearing was influenced by genotypic differences but not by the effect of prior queen-rearing experience. These results suggest that subfamilies within a colony can specialize on a particular task, such as queen rearing, without individual workers performing that task for extended periods of time.

KW - Apis mellifera

KW - Division of labor

KW - Genetics

KW - Nepotism

KW - Social insects

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0028163450&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0028163450&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/BF00164183

DO - 10.1007/BF00164183

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0028163450

VL - 34

SP - 125

EP - 137

JO - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

JF - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

SN - 0340-5443

IS - 2

ER -