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Bees as Superorganisms: An Evolutionary Reality by Prof. Dr. Robin F. A. Moritz, Prof. Dr. Edward E. Southwick

By Prof. Dr. Robin F. A. Moritz, Prof. Dr. Edward E. Southwick (auth.)

The honeybee (Apis melli/era L. ) is without doubt one of the higher studied organisms on the planet. there are many books at the biology of the honeybee for all, the scientist, the beekeeper, and the layman. In view of this flood of courses one is tempted to invite: why does it require one other one? the answer's basic: a brand new one isn't really required and we don't intend to give a brand new publication on "the honeybee". this could fairly simply upload a few extra inches to the already overloaded bookshelf with no sub­ stantial new info. in its place, we intend to give a publication at the honeybee colony. This in fact instantly releases the following query: so what's the distinction? even supposing the variation may well glance insignificant firstly look, we strive to lead the reader with a essentially diverse method during the biology of honeybees and eusocial insect societies regularly. The biology of person colony participants is simply addressed whilst it is important to provide an explanation for colonial mechanisms, and the colony as a complete, as a organic unit, that is the main target of this treatise. either one of us felt that every one present textbooks on bee biology positioned an excessive amount of emphasis at the person employee, queen or drone within the colony. usually it's com­ pletely missed that the colony is a truly major (if now not the main major) organic constitution in bee biology.

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The only example for honeybees is given in the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis, where individually fit workers cause poor colonies (Hillesheim et al. 1989; Moritz 1989). However, before we deal with this problem in detail, it is necessary to understand some genetics of superorganisms. We therefore will return to this problem in detail in Chapter 8, after having dealt with the genetics (Chap. 7). 1 Sociality in Bees The majority of bees live in a solitary or primitively social organization, far from representing a superorganism.

In every provisioned cell an egg is placed on a food ball of pollen and nectar (Fig. 5). After oviposition, each cell is sealed and the larva develops to a prepupal diapause stage with a cocoon in which it overwinters. The female deposits fertilized female 32 Evolution of Superorganisms Fig. 5. Female Megachile rotundata placing a leaf piece in the nest hole. P. Nye) eggs in the first constructed inner cells and male eggs in the outer cells of each tunnel. The sex ratio depends strongly on the length and size of the nesting hole, but generally tends to be male-biased by 1: 2 (females to males, Westrich 1988b).

Though his model does not fit the case of L. malachurum with a clear-cut reproductive hierarchy (although it may be applicable to drone production by laying workers), it fits nicely the case of Exoneura bicolor where more than one female founds a nest (Schwarz 1987, 1988a) with progressive feeding of the brood. There is no evidence of any intranidal kin recognition in this species (Schwarz 1988b). Other models were less precise (Roubaud 1916; Wheeler 1918; Riischkamp 1921) than Legewie's and focussed on trophallaxis as the central cue for the evolution of sociality.

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