Social evolution in ants



Biologists since Darwin have been intrigued and confounded by the complex issues involved in the evolution and ecology of the social behavior of insects. The self-sacrifice of sterile workers in ant colonies has been particularly difficult for evolutionary biologists to explain. In this important new book, Andrew Bourke and Nigel Franks not only present a detailed overview of the current state of scientific knowledge about Social evolution in ants, but also show how studies on ants have contributed to an understanding of many fundamental topics in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology.

One of the substantial contributions of Social evolution in ants is its clear explanation of kin selection theory and sex ratio theory and their applications to social evolution in insects. Working to dispel lingering skepticism about the validity of kin selection and, more broadly, of "selfish gene" theory, Bourke and Franks show how these ideas underpin the evolution of both cooperation and conflict within ant societies. In addition, using simple algebra, they provide detailed explanations of key mathematical models. Finally, the authors discuss two relatively little-known topics in ant social biology: life history strategy and mating systems.

This comprehensive, up-to-date, and well-referenced work will appeal to all researchers in social insect biology and to scholars and students in the fields of entomology, behavioral ecology, and evolution.

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  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • 31 Kin Selection
    • 31.1 Introduction
    • 51.2 Natural Selection as Gene Selection
    • 101.3 The Problem of Altruism
    • 121.4 Kin Selection and Hamilton's Rule
    • 241.5 Inclusive Fitness
    • 271.6 Kin Selection Works at All Gene Frequencies
    • 311.7 Gene Expression in Kin Selection Theory
    • 321.8 The Gene for Altruism and the Interests of the Rest of the Genome
    • 351.9 Parental Manipulation Theory
    • 361.10 Conclusion
    • 371.11 Summary
  • 392 Levels-of-selection Theory, Gene Selectionism, and Insect Societies
    • 392.1 Introduction
    • 392.2 Colony-level, Group, Kin, and Gene Selection
    • 502.3 Two Examples of Colony-level Selection
    • 532.4 Levels-of-selection Theory
    • 562.5 Gene Selectionism, Levels-of-selection Theory, the Evolution of Individuality, and Suppression of Within-unit Conflict
    • 642.6 The Superorganism
    • 662.7 Conclusion
    • 672.8 Summary
  • 693 Kin Selection, Haplodiploidy, and the Evolution of Eusociality in Ants
    • 693.1 Introduction
    • 703.2 Concepts in the Origin and Evolution of Eusociality
    • 733.3 The Origin of Eusociality in Ants
    • 743.4 The Epigenetic Theory of Insect Sociality
    • 773.5 The Haplodiploidy Hypothesis