Wasps provide decisive support to their extended families by babysitting in neighboring nests, according to a new study by a team of biologists from the University of Bristol, Exeter and UCL published today (February 15, 2021). Natural ecology և evolution,
The findings suggest that animals should often seek help from more distant relatives if their closest relatives need it less.
Dr. Patrick Kennedy, lead author և Marie Curie School of Biological Sciences Researcher University of Bristolsaid. “These snakes can act like wealthy members of their family by touching their second cousins. If you can do more to help your immediate family, you can look to a larger family. ”
By carefully observing the wasps of the 20,000 newborns and their caregivers in the colonies around the Panama Canal, the research team was able to determine the usefulness of workers in colonies of various sizes. They have shown that workers become less useful as the number of members in the colony increases due to excess aid.
Andy Redford, Professor of Behavioral Ecology and co-author from Bristol, explained: “Helping more needy distant relatives. For those who live with fewer caregivers, workers can generally pass on more copies of their genes. We believe that such principles of declining profitability may explain the seemingly paradoxical effects of altruism on many other social animals. ”
Dr. Kennedy added: “The fact that these paper reeds are helping other colonies in Central and South America is really strange if you think that most wasps, ants and bees are extremely hostile from the outside. To solve this puzzling behavior, we combined mathematical modeling with our detailed field observations. ”
Dr. Kennedy continued. “It simply came to our notice then. But it was worth it, because our results show that working donkeys can become redundant at home. A small deer in a colony that has many larvae, but many other workers become almost useless.
Since Darwin, biologists have been trying to understand how “altruism” develops in animals. At first glance, selfish acts of helping other people do not seem to allow individuals to pass on their genes.
Professor Redford said: “In 1964, the legendary biologist VD Hamilton clarified the cardinal rule of animal altruism. A great help to your family as they share many of your genes. “Copies of your genes will win over the population.”
But the retrospective paper mix studied by the team puzzled Hamilton back in 1964. In Brazil, he was surprised to find that Polystes donkeys left their immediate family on their nests and flew to help their neighbors, who were in closer contact.
Co-author Seirian ‘@WaspWoman’ Sumner, a professor of behavioral ecology at University College London, showed that more than half of Panamanian workers helped many nests. Wasps usually attacked outsiders with malice, so this nanny suggested that something unusual was happening.
Professor Samner explained. “Snakes offer amazing windows into the evolution of self-sacrifice. There is so much going on in the nut. “Power struggle, self-sacrifice, groups fighting the possibility of survival. If we want to understand how societies develop, we need to look deeper into donkeys.”
Reference. “Declining incomes push altruists to help a large family” Kennedy, S. Samner, P. Botan, N. Welton, A.D. Higginson և AN Radford, 2021 On February 15, Natural ecology և evolution,
DOI: 10.1038 / s41559-020-01382-z:
This fieldwork was supported by the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution of Retrospective Research in Panama.