Kin recognition in social insects has become a central issue in sociobiology because studies of the recognition abilities of social insects provide a test of kin selection theory. W.D. Hamilton1 formalized kin selection theory by showing how individuals can gain fitness by increasing the reproductive output of relatives (kin). The social interactions of individuals, or groups, should be influenced by the genetic structure of the population. The ability to recognize kin can increase the adaptive value of social behavior by modulating it according to genetic relationship. From this, the specific prediction emerges: if individuals can distinguish among others with which they interact on the basis of the degree to which they are related, then behavior should be biased preferentially toward more closely related reproductive individuals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics