The evolution of social groupings in insects, especially wasps, is compared to that of social amoebae (cellular slime moulds). They both show a gamut of colony sizes, from solitary forms to complex colonies with a division of labour. The various ideas as to how there might have been an evolution of complexity within insect societies, such as the role of genetic relatedness, the role of mutualism, the origin of sterility, the manipulation and exploitation of some individuals by others within a colony, are discussed, and then applied to social amoebae. The result is both interesting and instructive: despite some differences, there are many striking parallels, which suggests that there are some common denominators in the formation and evolution of a social existence among organisms.
Volume 44 | Issue 5
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