Ploidy of the eusocial beetle Austroplatypus incompertus (Schedl) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) and implications for the evolution of eusociality


In the hymenopterans, haplodiploidy, leading to high-genetic relatedness amongst full sisters has been regarded as critical to kin selection and inclusive fitness hypotheses that explain the evolution of eusociality and altruistic behaviours. Recent evidence for independent origins of eusociality in phylogenetically diverse taxa has led to the controversy regarding the general importance of relatedness to eusociality and its evolution. Here, we developed a highly polymorphic microsatellite marker to test whether the eusocial ambrosia beetle Austroplatypus incompertus (Schedl) is haplodiploid or diplodiploid. We found that both males and females of A. incompertus are diploid, signifying that altruistic behaviour resulting from relatedness asymmetries did not play a role in the evolution of eusocialty in this species. This provides additional evidence against the haplodiploidy hypothesis and implicates alternative hypotheses for the evolution of eusociality.

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We are grateful to Richard Frankham, Stephen Hoggard and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the draft of the manuscript. This research was partially supported by an Australian Research Council grant (DP0879229).

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Correspondence to S. M. Smith.

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Smith, S.M., Beattie, A.J., Kent, D.S. et al. Ploidy of the eusocial beetle Austroplatypus incompertus (Schedl) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) and implications for the evolution of eusociality. Insect. Soc. 56, 285–288 (2009).

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  • Coleoptera
  • Eusociality
  • Diplodiploidy
  • Kin selection
  • Evolution