A unified model of Hymenopteran preadaptations that trigger the evolutionary transition to eusociality

Andres E. Quinones, Ido Pen

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

24 Citaten (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


Explaining the origin of eusociality, with strict division of labour between workers and reproductives, remains one of evolutionary biology's greatest challenges. Specific combinations of genetic, behavioural and demographic traits in Hymenoptera are thought to explain their relatively high frequency of eusociality, but quantitative models integrating such preadaptations are lacking. Here we use mathematical models to show that the joint evolution of helping behaviour and maternal sex ratio adjustment can synergistically trigger both a behavioural change from solitary to eusocial breeding, and a demographic change from a life cycle with two reproductive broods to a life cycle in which an unmated cohort of female workers precedes a final generation of dispersing reproductives. Specific suits of preadaptations are particularly favourable to the evolution of eusociality: lifetime monogamy, bivoltinism with male generation overlap, hibernation of mated females and haplodiploidy with maternal sex ratio adjustment. The joint effects of these preadaptations may explain the abundance of eusociality in the Hymenoptera and its virtual absence in other haplodiploid lineages.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftNature Communications
StatusPublished - 23-jun-2017

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