The Dynamic Scenario of Social Evolution
Armed with knowledge of individual and colony development in a population context, it is possible to construct a dynamic scenario of caste differentiation (which is the essence of sociality) and to hypothesize how natural selection fosters gyne production late in the colony cycle. An earlier model of vespid social evolution, the “ovarian ground plan” hypothesis, sheds light on several central issues. A central feature of the dynamic scenario, presented here as the “diapause ground plan hypothesis,” builds on the reproductive ground plan idea and adds a new and significant component to the mix of ideas. These ground plan models have common elements, and other elements are complementary. When the components are synthesized appropriately, a picture emerges in which many mysteries of social vespid evolution can be seen, perhaps for the first time, in proper perspective. This chapter begins with descriptions of the ovarian ground plan and reproductive ground plan ideas. These are followed by discussions of life cycles of solitary wasps and the diapause ground plan. The dynamic scenario of polistine social evolution then emerges as a conceptual synthesis.
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