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Working-class royalty: bees beat the caste system
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 00:17 authored by Tom Wenseleers, Francis Ratnieks, Marcia de F Ribiero, Denise de A Alves, Vera-Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca
The struggle among social classes or castes is well known in humans. Here, we show that caste inequality similarly affects societies of ants, bees and wasps, where castes are morphologically distinct and workers have greatly reduced reproductive potential compared with queens. In social insects, an individual normally has no control over its own fate, whether queen or worker, as this is socially determined during rearing. Here, for the first time, we quantify a strategy for overcoming social control. In the stingless bee Schwarziana quadripunctata, some individuals reared in worker cells avoid a worker fate by developing into fully functional dwarf queens.
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- Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications
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