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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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The extended phenotype within the colony and how it obscures social communication

The extended phenotype within the colony and how it obscures social communication

Chapter:
(p.171) CHAPTER 10 The extended phenotype within the colony and how it obscures social communication
Source:
Sociobiology of Communication
Author(s):

David P Hughes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.003.0010

Societies of social insects are paragons of communication. Multiple channels exist between different members and the transmitted information ranges from specifying the location of foraging areas to who controls reproduction. Whole colonies can also communicate with other colonies or even vertebrates. But what if the individuals within a society are not, in a word, themselves? This chapter explores how adaptive manipulation of host behaviour by parasites, i.e., the extended phenotype of parasites obscures social communication, and it asks how it influences other members of the society. Since manipulated kin are at best cheaters and at worst potential infective agents can the society recognise them? Knowing how a highly complicated example of social communication is broken or subverted by parasites can provide considerable insight into the evolution of communication. The chapter discusses conflict and communication in this system in the context of the debate over the nature of the organism.

Keywords:   selfish gene, social insects, conflict, behavioural manipulation, parasites, superorganism, organism

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