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Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies

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Title: Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies
Authors: Hasegawa, Eisuke Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Ishii, Yasunori Browse this author
Tada, Koichiro Browse this author
Kobayashi, Kazuya Browse this author
Yoshimura, Jin Browse this author
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Journal Title: Scientific Reports
Volume: 6
Start Page: 20846
Publisher DOI: 10.1038/srep20846
Abstract: Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli. Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection? Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity.
Rights: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Type: article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2115/61238
Appears in Collections:農学院・農学研究院 (Graduate School of Agriculture / Faculty of Agriculture) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 長谷川 英祐

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