I found your post was
very interesting. Your points about the different tasks of honey bees is quite insightful,
especially your points about age polytheism, having different tasks as honey
bees age. I also enjoyed the compresence you made between ants, honey bees, and
wasps. One point of yours that I would like to expand on is your definition of eusociality.
You pointed out three factors that define an insect as eusocial, but some
insects display “one or two or these features; in which case they would be
known as quasi-social or semi-social”. However, there are many more ways to define socialization in insects. There
are different categories of insects that fall between solitary or eusocial,
these are: sub-social insects, communal
insects, semi-social Insects, primitively eusocial
are only a step above solitary insects. Sub-social insects provide some
parental care for their own offspring. This may include providing shelter or
protection for eggs, or even staying with larvae for a time. Most sub-social
insects do not use nests as shelter for young, there are a few exceptions
through. One example of a sub-social insects are the giant water bugs. The
female giant water bug deposits her eggs on the back of male water bugs. The
male job is then to care and protect these eggs until they hatch.
sub-social there are communal insects. Communal insects share nesting sites
with others, but only during one specific stage of the insect’s life cycle.
However, unlike eusocial insects, communal insects do not care for offspring. An
example of a communal insect is the eastern tent caterpillar. These caterpillars
build tents that they share and tell each other were to find food by creating
chemical trails to follow.
more advance form of socialization can be found in quasi-social insects. These
insects share the responsibilities that come with caring for young. A single
generation will share a common nest. Certain orchard bees can be seen as
quasi-social. These bees live in a colony made up of only females and their
offspring, where they share the responsibility of brood care.
Semi-social insects are very similar to eusocial
insects. Semi-social insects form colonies that live in a communal nest and
share brood care responsibilities and, like eusocial insects, some members of
the colony are non-reproductive workers. One key difference between semi-social
and eusocial insects is that semi-social colonies will only be made up of one
generation. Paper wasps are an example of semi-social insects. Adult paper
wasps construct nests or use abandoned nests to raise their young in. Once the
wasp’s offspring reach adulthood all reproductive members of the colony leave
to create new nests. However, non-reproductive workers stay in the original
nest, where they expand and fix the nest space as well as care for the brood of
new colonies that may move in.
there are primitively eusocial insects. The only difference between primitively eusocial and true eusocial insects lies the appearance of
caste member. In true eusocial insects, the colony’s queen and/or king are
morphological different from un-reproductive workers, but in primitively eusocial insects all
colony members look the same. Some sweet bees are considered primitively
eusocial. Interestingly, there is some debate on wither bumblebees are primitively eusocial and true eusocial insects. Bumblebee queens are
slightly bigger than workers, but some argue that this distinction is not different
enough for them to be classified as true eusocial insects.