Transitions in social complexity along elevational gradients reveal a combined impact of season length and development time on social evolution

Sarah D. Kocher, Löic Pellissier, Carl Veller, Jessica Purcell, Martin A. Nowak, Michel Chapuisat, Naomi E. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Eusociality is taxonomically rare, yet associated with great ecological success. Surprisingly, studies of environmental conditions favouring eusociality are often contradictory. Harsh conditions associated with increasing altitude and latitude seem to favour increased sociality in bumblebees and ants, but the reverse pattern is found in halictid bees and polistine wasps. Here, we compare thelife histories and distributionsofpopulationsof176 speciesofHymenoptera from the Swiss Alps. We show that differences in altitudinal distributions and development times among social forms can explain these contrasting patterns: highly social taxa develop more quickly than intermediate social taxa, and are thus able to complete the reproductive cycle in shorter seasons at higher elevations. This dual impactofaltitude and development time onsociality illustrates that ecological constraints can elicit dynamic shifts in behaviour, and helps explain the complex distribution of sociality across ecological gradients. copy; 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20140627
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume281
Issue number1787
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Keywords

  • Altitude
  • Development time
  • Hymenoptera
  • Social behaviour
  • Species distributions

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Transitions in social complexity along elevational gradients reveal a combined impact of season length and development time on social evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this