JOINT NESTING IN A DIGGER WASP AS AN EVOLUTIONARILY STABLE PREADAPTATION TO SOCIAL LIFE by H. JANE BROCKMANN 1) and RICHARD DAWKINS 2) (Animal Behaviour Research Group, Department of Zoology, Oxford, England) (With 5 Figures) (Acc. 20-II-1979) To reconstruct the evolution of any complex adaptation from an earlier form we must postulate a continuous series of intermediates. Each must arise plausibly and be successful. The evolution of eusociality in insects has been much debated (WHEELER, 1928; EVANS, 1958; MICHENER, 1958; HAMILTON, 1964, 1972; ALEXANDER, 1974 ; WEST EBERI3ARD, 1975, 1978; SAKAGAMI & MAETA, 1977). In evaluating the likelihood of proposed intermediate stages, we can look in detail at modern insects that might resemble them. Solitary Hymenoptera that occasionally 'share' nests represent plausible candidates for the earliest stages ( MICHENER, 1958). This paper provides a detailed description and theoretical interpretation of joint nesting in one such wasp, Sphex ichneumoneu.s L., the great golden digger wasp (Sphecidae, Sphec- inae ; for general accounts of sphecid biology see EVANS, 1966b, and EVANS & WEST EBERHARD, 1970). We conclude that joint nesting in solitary wasps could possibly resemble an early stage in the evolution of social life, but for a different reason
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1979
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