Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 62, Issue 9, pp 1489–1498 | Cite as

Cofoundress relatedness and group productivity in colonies of social Dunatothrips (Insecta: Thysanoptera) on Australian Acacia

  • Jeremy M. BonoEmail author
  • Bernard J. Crespi
Original Paper


Facultative joint colony founding by social insects provides opportunities to analyze the roles of genetic and ecological factors in the evolution of cooperation. Although cooperative nesting is observed in range of social insect taxa, the most detailed studies of this behavior have been conducted with Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps). Here, we show that foundress associations in the haplodiploid social thrips Dunatothrips aneurae (Insecta: Thysanoptera) are most often comprised of close relatives (sisters), though groups with unrelated foundresses are also found. Associations among relatives appear to be facilitated by limited female dispersal, which results in viscous population structure. In addition, we found that per capita productivity declined with increasing group size, sex ratios were female-biased, and some female offspring apparently remained in their natal domicile for some time following eclosion. D. aneurae thus exhibits a suite of similarities with eusocial Hymenoptera, providing evidence for the convergent evolution of associated social and life-history traits in Hymenoptera and Thysanoptera.


Pleometrosis Evolution of cooperation Sex ratio Social evolution Life history 



We would like to thank Mike Schwarz and Tom Chapman for providing lab space and organizing field logistics as well as Laurence Mound and David Morris for the help in collecting samples. We also thank David Queller for his assistance with the maximum likelihood analysis and three anonymous reviewers for the constructive comments on the manuscript. This research was funded by an NSF International Research Fellowship to J.M.B and an NSERC grant to B.J.C.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Department of BiosciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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