International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Proximate mechanisms behind the reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off in a facultative eusocial orchid bee

Author(s):
Alice Caroline Séguret, Alice Caroline Séguret , Fernando Fleites-Ayil , Eckart Stolle , Anja Buttstedt , Klaus Hartfelder , Antonella Soro , José-Javier G. Quezada-Euán , Robert J. Paxton
Institution(s):
Institute for Biology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany; Institute for Biology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany ; Departamento de Apicultura Tropical, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad Autonóma de Yucatán, Anillo Periférico, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico ; Institute for Biology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany ; B CUBE Center for Molecular Bioengineering, Technical University Dresden, Dresden, Germany ; Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil ; Institute for Biology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany ; Departamento de Apicultura Tropical, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad Autonóma de Yucatán, Anillo Periférico, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico ; Institute for Biology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany
Individuals typically have limited resources at their disposal which they must allocate to both reproduction and self-maintenance, giving rise to a trade-off between fecundity and longevity. Eusocial insects constitute an exception to this rule as social queens produce most of the colony’s offspring, but also exhibit long lifespans compared to workers. This positive association between fecundity and lifespan in eusocial species suggests a link between the evolution of sociality and an apparent reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off. However, the proximate mechanisms behind this apparent reversal remain poorly understood. The orchid bee Euglossa viridissima is a facultative social species: individuals within a same population can exhibit either social or solitary behaviour. This makes it an excellent system for investigating the proximate mechanisms underlying the apparent reversal of the trade-off in social individuals in comparison to their otherwise seemingly identical solitary counterparts. Following a semi-field design whereby females were artificially induced to nest in wooden boxes but still forage in the wild, individuals of distinct social status (solitary, social), caste (queen, worker) and age groups (young, old) were sampled for subsequent comparison of gene expression, juvenile hormone titres, and levels of oxidative stress markers so as to determine how these parameters might underpin differences in fecundity and lifespan related to social status, caste and age. Solitary females had lower JH levels than queens and workers but there was no significant effect of age, social status or caste on levels of oxidative stress markers. Transcriptomic data support these physiological results. These analyses provide insight into physiological and molecular mechanisms associated with early stages in the transition from solitary to social living and the apparent ability of queens of advanced eusocial species to maximise both reproduction and longevity.
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