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Calibrating the Laboratory to Nature

Calibrating the Laboratory to Nature

(p.163) 8 Calibrating the Laboratory to Nature
Adaptation in Metapopulations
Michael J. Wade
University of Chicago Press

This chapter contains a discussion of why their life history made willow beetles a perfect field system for studying the evolution of social behaviors. This is an organism that lives in groups and interacts with its kin. When aggregated, the larvae display several primitively ‘social’ traits, including synchronous molting, chemical defence against predators, and the ability, like ants, to follow the trails of other larvae. Like Tribolium, they are also at times intensely ‘anti-social’ or cannibalistic. Thus, their kin structure had ecological and genetic consequences for the group. A decade of field studies with Felix Breden allowed tests of the predicted that the ecology should influence selection within and between larval groups, while the genetics should determine the efficacy of each level of selection.

Keywords:   cannibalism, egg-laying behaviour, feeding sites, genetic variation for cannibalism, grouping of larvae, mating behaviour, selection within and between field groups, spatial scale of among-group variation, variation in genetic relatedness within groups

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