Why is eusociality an almost exclusively terrestrial phenomenon?

Ruxton, Graeme D. and Humphries, Stuart and Morrell, Lesley J. and Wilkinson, David M. (2014) Why is eusociality an almost exclusively terrestrial phenomenon? Journal of Animal Ecology, 83 (6). pp. 1248-1255. ISSN 0021-8790

Full content URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-26...

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Why is eusociality an almost exclusively terrestrial phenomenon?

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Abstract

Eusociality has evolved multiple times across diverse terrestrial taxa, and eusocial species fundamentally shape many terrestrial ecosystems. However, eusocial species are far less common and have much less ecological impact, in aquatic than terrestrial environments. Here, we offer a potential explanation for these observations. It appears that a precondition for the evolution of eusociality is the defence and repeated feeding of offspring in a nest or other protected cavity, and so eusocial species must be able to exploit a predator-safe, long-lasting (multigenerational) expandable nest. We argue that a range of factors mean that opportunities for such nests are much more widespread and the advantages more compelling in terrestrial than aquatic ecosystems. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Keywords:ants, Shrimp, Social insects, sociality, Termites, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:15245
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 11:18

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