Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 13–20

Effects of intracolony variability in behavioral development on plasticity of division of labor in honey bee colonies

  • Tugrul Giray
  • Gene E. Robinson
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00167054

Cite this article as:
Giray, T. & Robinson, G.E. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1994) 35: 13. doi:10.1007/BF00167054

Abstract

There is a genetic component to plasticity in age polyethism in honey bee colonies, such that workers of some genotypes become precocious foragers more readily than do workers of other genotypes, in colonies lacking older bees. Using colonies composed of workers from two identifiable genotype groups, we determined that intracolony differences in the likelihood of becoming a precocious forager are a consequence of differences in rates of behavioral development that are also evident under conditions leading to normal development. An alternative hypothesis, that differences in the likelihood of becoming a precocious forager are due to differences in general sensitivity to altered colony conditions, was not supported. In three out of three trials, workers from the genotype group that was more likely to exhibit precocious foraging in single cohort colonies also foraged at relatively younger ages in colonies in which workers exhibited normal behavioral development. In contrast, in three out of three trials, workers from the genotype group that was more likely to exhibit precocious foraging in single-cohort colonies did not show disproportionately more overaged nursing in colonies in which workers exhibited delayed development. These results indicate that genotypic differences in plasticity in age-related division of labor are based on genotypic differences in rates of behavioral development.

Key words

Apis mellifera Norm of reaction Genetic variability Social insects 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tugrul Giray
    • 1
  • Gene E. Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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