University of Cambridge > > Ecology Lunchtime Series > Colony defense by post-reproductive adults and young nymphs in a social aphid

Colony defense by post-reproductive adults and young nymphs in a social aphid

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Belinda Gallardo.

Eusociality involves a reproductive division of labor among the members of a society. In social insects, much attention has been paid to life-long sterile castes. However, altruistic behavior of post-reproductive sterile individuals has not been well documented, although recently been suggested in humans and whales. Here I show the post-reproductive altruism in a social aphid. The aphid Quadrartus yoshinomiyai forms galls on its host plant. Wingless adults of this species experience a long post-reproductive life span. These post-reproductive adults self-sacrificingly defend the colony by sticking themselves to intruding predators with waxy secretion. In addition, first-instar nymphs also perform altruistic colony defense. I will discuss the ecological factors and life-history traits favoring such a novel social system.

This talk is part of the Ecology Lunchtime Series series.

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