According to kin selection theory, the colony kin structure of eusocial insects motivates workers' altruistic behaviors and therefore their sterility or restricted reproduction . Indeed, theory and cross-species comparison confirm that workers engage in their own reproduction depending on relatedness among colony members [2, 3]. We show that in a honeybee colony, the workers switch from their typical altruistic role to a more selfish one if at their larval stage there are environmental cues of an upcoming decline in intracolony relatedness. This happens inevitably when a colony multiplies by swarming and replaces the mother queen with her daughter, because the mother queen's workers are faced with rearing the sister queen's offspring related to them half as much as between sisters. Workers developing from the mother queen's eggs immediately after swarming, in a temporarily queenless colony, had more ovarioles in their ovaries and less-developed hypopharyngeal glands producing brood food than control workers reared in queenright conditions. These "rebel" workers were more engaged in laying their own male-determined eggs than in rearing offspring, whether or not the sister queen was present in the colony. The finding of this previously unknown rebel strategy confirms that kin selection shapes both cooperation and conflict in honeybee societies.
The least understood aspects of the nutritional needs of bees are the elemental composition of pollen and the bees’ need for a stoichiometrically balanced diet containing the required proportions of nutrients. Reduced plant diversity has been proposed as an indirect factor responsible for the pollinator crisis. We suggest stoichiometric mismatch resulting from a nutritionally unbalanced diet as a potential direct factor. The concentrations and stoichiometric ratios of C, N, S, P, K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn, and Cu were studied in the bodies of honeybees of various castes and sexes and in the nectar and pollen of various plant species. A literature review of the elemental composition of pollen was performed. We identified possible co-limitations of bee growth and development resulting mainly from the scarcity of Na, S, Cu, P and K, and possibly Zn and N, in pollen. Particular castes and sexes face specific limitations. Concentrations of potentially limiting elements in pollen revealed high taxonomic diversity. High floral diversity may be necessary to maintain populations of pollen eaters. Single-species crop plantations, even if these species are rich in nectar and pollen, might limit bee growth and development, not allowing for gathering nutrients in adequate proportions. However, particular plant species may play greater roles than others in balancing honeybee diets. Therefore, we suggest specific plant species that may (1) ensure optimal growth and production of individuals by producing pollen that is exceptionally well balanced stoichiometrically (e.g., clover) or (2) prevent growth and development of honeybees by producing pollen that is extremely unbalanced for bees (e.g., sunflower). Since pollen is generally poor in Na, this element must be supplemented using “dirty water”. Nectar cannot supplement the diet with limiting elements. Stoichiometric mismatch should be considered in intervention strategies aimed at improving the nutritional base for bees.
The spread of invasive alien plants has considerable environmental and economic consequences, and is one of the most challenging ecological problems. The spread of invasive alien plant species depends largely on long-distance dispersal, which is typically linked with human activity. The increasing domination of the internet will have impacts upon almost all components of our lives, including potential consequences for the spread of invasive species. To determine whether the rise of Internet commerce has any consequences for the spread of invasive alien plant species, we studied the sale of thirteen of some of the most harmful Europe invasive alien plant species sold as decorative plants from twenty-eight large, well known gardening shops in Poland that sold both via the Internet and through traditional customer sales. We also analyzed temporal changes in the number of invasive plants sold in the largest Polish internet auction portal. When sold through the Internet invasive alien plant species were transported considerably longer distances than for traditional sales. For internet sales, seeds of invasive alien plant species were transported further than were live plants saplings; this was not the case for traditional sales. Also, with e-commerce the shape of distance distribution were flattened with low skewness comparing with traditional sale where the distributions were peaked and right-skewed. Thus, e-commerce created novel modes of long-distance dispersal, while traditional sale resembled more natural dispersal modes. Moreover, analysis of sale in the biggest Polish internet auction portal showed that the number of alien specimens sold via the internet has increased markedly over recent years. Therefore internet commerce is likely to increase the rate at which ecological communities become homogenized and increase spread of invasive species by increasing the rate of long distance dispersal.
In the honeybee, diploid larvae fed with royal jelly develop into reproductive queens, whereas larvae fed with royal jelly for three days only and subsequently with honey and pollen develop into facultatively sterile workers. A recent study showed that worker larvae fed in a queenless colony develop into another female polyphenic form: rebel workers. These rebel workers are more queenlike and have greater reproductive potential than normal workers. However, it was unclear whether larvae orphaned at any time during their feeding period can develop into rebels. To answer this question, the anatomical features of newly emerged workers reared in queenless conditions at different ages during the larval period were evaluated. Our results showed that larvae orphaned during the final four or more days of their feeding life develop into rebel workers with more ovarioles in their ovaries, smaller hypopharyngeal glands, and larger mandibular and Dufour’s glands compared with typical workers with low reproductive potential that were reared with a queen or orphaned at the third to last or a later day of feeding life.
-Honeybee workers develop from fertilised eggs, but those reared in a queenless colony develop into 'rebel' workers, which are more queen-like than typical workers. Rebels develop after an old queen leaves with a swarm and before a new queen hatches. We hypothesised that larval food lacking queen mandibular pheromones trigger the rebel phenotype. Larvae reared under queenright or queenless conditions were additionally fed with water or a drop of macerated queen mandibular glands. After following development of the bees and subjecting them to dissection, we found that those reared with a queen or fed the macerated glands under queenless conditions developed into typical workers. Only those workers reared without a queen and without macerated glands added to their food developed into rebels; these rebels had more ovarioles, smaller hypopharyngeal glands, and larger mandibular and Dufour's glands than did typical workers. This is the first evidence that larval perception of the presence or absence of queen pheromones causes an alternative development strategy.Apis mellifera / honeybee / queen pheromones / queen recognition / rebel workers
Brain lateralization is hypothesized to improve the efficiency of information processing. Here, we found that some Myrmeleon bore antlion larvae showed individual asymmetry in righting from a supine to normal position over one side of their body, which can be considered a reflection of greater brain lateralization. We demonstrated that these behaviourally asymmetrical individuals showed improved learning abilities, providing novel evidence that brain lateralization leads to beneficial effects on cognitive functions.
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