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The Evolution of Social Wasps

James H. Hunt

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780195307979
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894192 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307979.001.0001
The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Social behavior occurs in some of the smallest animals as well as some the largest, and the transition from solitary life to sociality is an unsolved evolutionary mystery. The Evolution of Social Wasps examines social behavior in a single lineage of insects, wasps of the family Vespidae. It presents empirical knowledge of social wasps from two approaches: one that focuses on phylogeny and life history; and one that focuses on individual ontogeny, colony development, and population dynamics. It also provides an extensive summary of the existing literature while demonstrating how it can be clouded by theory. This approach to the conflicting literature on sociality highlights how often repeated models can become fixed in the thinking of the scientific community. Instead, it presents a mechanistic scenario for the evolution of sociality in wasps that changes our perspective on kin selection, the paradigm that has dominated thinking about social evolution since the 1970s.

Keywords: social behavior; animals; solitary life; sociality; insects; wasps; Vespidae; phylogeny; ontogeny; colony development

Book.  282 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Plant Feeders and Parasitoids in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Pollen Wasps, Potter Wasps, and Hover Wasps in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Paper Wasps and Vespines in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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The Historical Scenario of Social Evolution in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Individuals in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Colonies in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Populations in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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The Dynamic Scenario of Social Evolution in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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Kin Selection in The Evolution of Social Wasps

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