Article: article from journal or magazin.
Sham nepotism as a result of intrinsic differences in brood viability in ants.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences
In animal societies, cooperation for the common wealth and latent conflicts due to the selfish interests of individuals are in delicate balance. In many ant species, colonies contain multiple breeders and workers interact with nestmates of varying degrees of relatedness. Therefore, workers could increase their inclusive fitness by preferentially caring for their closest relatives, yet evidence for nepotism in insect societies remains scarce and controversial. We experimentally demonstrate that workers of the ant Formica exsecta do not discriminate between highly related and unrelated brood, but that brood viability differs between queens. We further show that differences in brood viability are sufficient to explain a relatedness pattern that has previously been interpreted as evidence for nepotism. Hence, our findings support the view that nepotism remains elusive in social insects and emphasize the need for further controlled experiments.
Animals, Ants/genetics, Ants/physiology, Behavior, Animal, Genotype, Social Behavior
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