Direct Fitness Options for Workers in the Indian Paper Wasp Ropalidia marginata

Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 12:30 pm

Inclusive fitness theory is a widely invoked mechanism for explaining the evolution of altruistic workers in insect societies. Inclusive fitness is the sum of direct and indirect fitness components. In testing this theory, however, the indirect component of inclusive fitness has received much attention while the direct component has been rather neglected. This is especially inappropriate for primitively eusocial species where workers are often potentially capable of direct reproduction. And in the tropics, they have abundant opportunities to avail this option. For this reason, our current research is focused on direct fitness options for workers in the primitively eusocial Indian paper wasp Ropalidia marginata. Our research reveals important and fascinating roles for direct fitness in promoting the evolution of social behavior.

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