Abstract

Understanding the ecology and evolution of insect societies requires greater knowledge of how sociality affects the performance of whole colonies. Metabolic scaling theory, based largely on the body mass scaling of metabolic rate, has successfully predicted many aspects of the physiology and life history of individual (or unitary) organisms. Here we show, using a diverse set of social insect species, that this same theory predicts the size dependence of basic features of the physiology (i.e., metabolic rate, reproductive allocation) and life history (i.e., survival, growth, and reproduction) of whole colonies. The similarity in the size dependence of these features in unitary organisms and whole colonies points to commonalities in functional organization. Thus, it raises an important question of how such evolutionary convergence could arise through the process of natural selection.

Department(s)

Biological Sciences

Keywords and Phrases

Allometry; Colony; Metabolic Theory Of Ecology; Metabolism; Scaling

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0027-8424; 1091-6490

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2010 Hou et al., All rights reserved.

PubMed ID

20133582

Included in

Biology Commons

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