Advertisement

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 1111–1120 | Cite as

Survival and productivity benefits to social nesting in the sweat bee Megalopta genalis (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)

  • Adam R. Smith
  • William T. Wcislo
  • Sean O’Donnell
Original Paper

Abstract

Facultatively solitary and eusocial species allow for direct tests of the benefits of group living. We used the facultatively social sweat bee Megalopta genalis to test several benefits of group living. We surveyed natural nests modified for observation in the field weekly for 5 weeks in 2003. First, we demonstrate that social and solitary nesting are alternative behaviors, rather than different points on one developmental trajectory. Next, we show that solitary nests suffered significantly higher rates of nest failure than did social nests. Nest failure apparently resulted from solitary foundress mortality and subsequent brood orphanage. Social nests had significantly higher productivity, measured as new brood cells provisioned during the study, than did solitary nests. After accounting for nest failures, per capita productivity did not change with group size. Our results support key predictions of Assured Fitness Return models, suggesting such indirect fitness benefits favor eusocial nesting in M. genalis. We compared field collections of natural nests to our observation nest data to show that without accounting for nest failures, M. genalis appear to suffer a per capita productivity decrease with increasing group size. Calculating per capita productivity from collected nests without accounting for the differential probabilities of survival across group sizes leads to an overestimate of solitary nest productivity.

Keywords

Per capita productivity Social flexibility Assured fitness returns Ecological constraints Halictidae Augochlorini 

Notes

Acknowledgments

ARS was supported by an AW Mellon Foundation Exploratory Award from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS), and research funds from WTW. S.O’D. was supported by NSF grant IBN-0347315. Victor Gonzalez participated through STRI’s “Behind the scenes” volunteer program and helped with constructing the glass-topped observation nests and making observations, while Gogi Kalka and Andre Riveros helped find nests in the field. Andrew Bouwma shared an unpublished manuscript and Simon Tierney and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments. The staff of STRI and the Organization for Tropical Studies provided logistical support. Research on BCI was conducted under scientific permit no. 75-99 from the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Panamá, and research at La Selva was conducted under permission from MINAE in accordance with the laws of Costa Rica.

References

  1. Arneson L, Wcislo WT (2003) Dominant–subordinate relationships in a facultatively social, nocturnal bee, Megalopta genalis (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 76:183–193Google Scholar
  2. Bouwma AJ, Howard KJ, Jeanne RL (2005) Parasitism in a social wasp: effect of gregarines on foraging behavior, colony productivity, and adult mortality. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 59:222–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouwma AJ, Nordheim EV, Jeanne RL (2006) Per-capita productivity in a social wasp: no evidence for an effect of colony size. Insectes Soc 53:412–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bull NJ, Schwarz MP (1996) The habitat saturation hypothesis and sociality in an allodapine bee: cooperative nesting is not “making the best of a bad situation”. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 39:267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bull NJ, Schwarz MP (1997) Rearing of non descendent offspring in an allodapine bee, Exoneura bicolor Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Xylocopinae). Aust J Entomol 36:391–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bull NJ, Schwarz MP (2001) Brood insurance via protogyny: a source of female-biased sex allocation. Proc R Soc Lond B 268:1869–1874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chadab R (1979) Army-ant predation on social wasps. PhD dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CTGoogle Scholar
  8. Clouse R (2001) Some effects of group size on the output of beginning nests of Mischocyttarus mexicanus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Fla Entmol 84:418–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coelho BWT (2002) The biology of the primitively eusocial Augochloropsis iris (Schrottky, 1902) (Hymenoptera, Halictidae) Insectes Soc 49:181–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Danforth BN (2002) Evolution of sociality in a primitively eusocial lineage of bees. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:286–290PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Danforth BN, Eickwort GC (1997) The evolution of social behavior in the augochlorine sweat bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) based on a phylogenetic analysis of the genera. In: Choe JC, Crespi BJ (eds) Social behavior in insects and arachnids Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 270–292Google Scholar
  12. Danforth BN, Brady SG, Sipes SD, Pearson A (2004) Single-copy nuclear genes recover Cretaceous-age divergences in bees. Syst Biol 53(2):309–326PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eickwort GC, Eickwort KR, Eickwort JM, Gordon JM, Eickwort A (1996) Solitary behavior in a high-altitude population of the social sweat bee Halictus rubicundus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 38:227–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Field J, Foster W, Shreeves G, Sumner, S (1998) Ecological constraints on independent nesting in facultatively eusocial hover wasps. Proc R Soc Lond B 265:973–977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Field J, Shreeves G, Sumner S (1999) Group size, queuing and helping decisions in facultatively eusocial hover wasps. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 45:378–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Field J, Shreeves G, Sumner S, Casiraghi M (2000) Insurance-based advantage to helpers in a tropical hover wasp. Nature 404:869–870PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forbes SH, Adam RMM, Bitney C, Kukuk PF (2002) Extended parental care in communal social groups. J Insect Sci 2:22–28PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gadagkar R (1990) Evolution of eusociality: the advantage of assured fitness returns. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B. DOI 10.1098/rstb.1990.0146
  19. Gadagkar R (1991) Demographic predisposition to the evolution of eusociality: a hierarchy of models. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88:10993–10997PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gotwald Jr WH (1995) Army ants: the biology of social predation. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  21. Hogendoorn K, Zammit J (2001) Benefits of cooperative breeding through increased colony survival in an allodapine bee. Insectes Soc 48:392–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hogendoorn K, Watiniasih NL, Schwarz MP (2001) Extended alloparental care in the almost solitary bee Exoneurella eremophila (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 50:275–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Joyce NC, Schwarz MP (2006) Sociality in the Aultralian allodapine bee Brevineura elongate: small colony sizes despite large benefits to group living. J Insect Behav 19:45–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Karsai I, Wenzel JW (1998) Productivity, individual-level and colony-level flexibility, and organization of work as consequences of colony size. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95:8665–8669PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kelber A, Warrant EJ, Pfaff M, Wallén R, Theobald JC, Wcislo W, Raguso R (2006) Light intensity limits foraging activity in nocturnal and crepuscular bees. Behav Ecol 17:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kukuk PF, Ward SA, Jozwiak A (1998) Mutualistic benefits generate an unequal distribution of risky activities among unrelated group members. Naturwissenschaften 85:445–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leigh Jr EG (1999) Tropical forest ecology: a view from Barro Colorado Island. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin N, Michener CD (1972) Evolution and selection in social insects. Q Rev Biol 47:131–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maynard Smith J, Szathmáry E (1995) The major transitions in evolution. WH Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. McDade LA, Bawa KS, Hespenheide HH, Hartshorn GS (eds) (1994) La Selva: ecology and natural history of a neotropical rain forest. Univ of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  31. Michener CD (1964) Reproductive efficiency in relation to colony size in hymenopterous societies. Insectes Soc 11:317–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Michener CD (1974) Social behavior of the bees. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  33. Michener CD (1990) Reproduction and castes in social halictine Bees. In: Engles W (ed) Social insects: an evolutionary approach to castes and reproduction. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 77–121Google Scholar
  34. Mueller UG (1996) Life history and evolution of the primitively eusocial bee Augochlorella striata (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). J Kans Entomol Soc 69 suppl:116–138Google Scholar
  35. Queller DC (1989) The evolution of eusociality: reproductive head starts of workers. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:3224–3226PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Queller DC (1994) Extended parental care and the origin of eusociality. Proc R Soc Lond B 256:105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Queller DC (1996) The origin and maintenance of eusociality: the advantage of extended parental care. In: Turillazzi S, West-Eberhard MJ (eds) Natural history and evolution of paper wasps. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 218–234Google Scholar
  38. Rau P (1933) Jungle bees and wasps of Barro Colorado Island. Von Hoffmann, St LouisGoogle Scholar
  39. Richards MH, von Wettberg EJ, Rutgers AC (2003) A novel social polymorphism in a primitively eusocial bee. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:7175–7180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schwarz MP (1994) Female-biased sex ratios in a facultatively social bee and their implications for social evolution. Evolution 48:1684–1697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schwarz MP, Silberbauer LX, Hurst PS (1997) Intrinsic and extrinsic factors associated with social evolution in allodapine bees. In: Choe JC, Crespi BJ (eds) Social behavior in insects and arachnids. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 333–346Google Scholar
  42. Schwarz MP, Bull NJ, Hogendoorn K (1998) Evolution of sociality in the allodapine bees: a review of sex allocation, ecology, and evolution. Insectes Soc 45:349–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shreeves GE, Cant MA, Bolton A, Field J (2003) Insurance-based advantages for subordinate co-foundresses in a temperate paper wasp. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:1617–1622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith AR (2005) The social biology of the sweat bee Megalopta genalis. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle WAGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith AR, WT Wcislo, S O’Donnell (2003) Assured fitness returns favor sociality in a mass-provisioning sweat bee, Megalopta genalis (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 54:22–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Soucy SL, Danforth BN (2002) Phylogeography of the socially polymorphic sweat bee Halictus rubicundus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Evolution 56:330–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Strassmann JE, Queller DC (1989) Ecological determinants of social evolution. In: Breed MD, Page Jr RE (eds) The genetics of social evolution. Westview, Boulder COGoogle Scholar
  48. Tibbets EA, Reeve HK (2003) Benefits of foundress associations in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus: increased productivity and survival, but no assurance of fitness returns. Behav Ecol 14:510–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tierney SM, Schwarz MP, Adams M (1997) Social behaviour in an Australian allodapine bee Exoneura (Brevineura) xanthoclypeata (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Aust J Zool 45:385–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tierney SM, Cronin AL, Loussert N, Schwarz MP (2000) The biology of Brevineura froggatti and phylogenetic conservatism in Australian allodapine bees (Apidae, Allodapini). Insectes Soc 47:96–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tierney SM, Schwarz MP, Neville T, Schwarz PM (2002) Sociality in the phylogenetically basal allodapine bee genus Macrogalea (Apidae, Xylocopinae): implications for social evolution in the tribe Allodapini. Biol J Linn Soc 76:211–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Thompson S, Schwarz MP (2006) Sociality and sex allocation in a tropical allodapine bee, Macrogalea candida. Biol J Linn Soc 89(2): 355–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Warrant EJ, Kelber A, Gislén A, Greiner B, Ribi W, Wcislo W (2004) Nocturnal vision and landmark orientation in a tropical sweat bee. Curr Biol 14:1309–1318PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wcislo WT (1997) Behavioral environments of sweat bees (Halictinae) in relation to variability in social organization. In: Choe JC, Crespi BJ (eds) Social behavior in insects and arachnids. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 316–332Google Scholar
  55. Wcislo WT (2000) Environmental hierarchy, behavioral contexts, and social evolution in insects, pp 49–84 In: Ecologia e comportamento de insetos (RP Martins, TM Lewinsohn and MS Barbeitos, eds) Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (Oecologia Brasiliensis supplement, vol 8)Google Scholar
  56. Wcislo WT, Danforth BN (1997) Secondarily solitary: the evolutionary loss of social behavior. Trends Ecol Evol 12:468–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wcislo WT, Arneson L, Roesch K, Gonzalez V, Smith A, Fernandez H (2004) The evolution of nocturnal behaviour in sweat bees, Megalopta genalis and M. ecuadoria (Hymenoptera: Halictidae): an escape from competitiors and enemies? Biol J Linn Soc 83:377–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wcislo WT, Gonzalez VH (2006) Social and ecological contexts of trophallaxis in facultatively social, nocturnal sweat bees, Megalopta genalis and M. ecuadoria (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Insectes Soc 53:220–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wenzel JW, Pickering J (1991) Cooperative foraging, productivity, and the central limit theorem. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88:36–38PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. West-Eberhard MJ (1975) The evolution of social behavior by kin selection. Q Rev Biol 50:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. West-Eberhard MJ (1978) Polygyny and the evolution of social behavior in wasps. J Kans Entomol Soc 51:832–856Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam R. Smith
    • 2
  • William T. Wcislo
    • 2
  • Sean O’Donnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Behavior Area, Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteAPOUSA

Personalised recommendations