Evol Ecol Res 1: 1003-1007 (1999)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Development of colony phenotype in social insects controlled by frequency-dependent thresholds among workers

Steven A. Frank

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA

e-mail: safrank@uci.edu


The frequency of workers adopting different behaviours often depends on thresholds. If too few workers are foraging, for example, then those workers with relatively low foraging thresholds begin to collect food. The regulation of colony phenotype is controlled by frequency-dependent feedback among worker threshold values. I show that, for a given average threshold value among workers, variability in thresholds influences the frequency of workers that adopt a particular behaviour. This conclusion applies whenever the tendency of a developmental unit to adopt a particular phenotype depends on the frequency of other units with that phenotype. Social insects are unusual, however, because the distribution of thresholds among developmental units (workers) depends on the number of times the queen has mated.

Keywords: foraging, multiple mating, ontogeny, regulatory network.

IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.


        © 1999 Steven A. Frank. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

       Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.

       All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.