Social polymorphism in the sweat bee Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) calceatum
Springer Verlag (Germany) for International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) / Birkhäuser Basel
The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made
Temperate-zone socially polymorphic sweat bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) are ideal model systems for elucidating the origins of eusociality, a major evolutionary transition. Bees express either social or solitary behaviour in different parts of their range, and social phenotype typically correlates with season length. Despite their obvious utility, however, socially polymorphic sweat bees have received relatively little attention with respect to understanding the origins of eusociality. Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) calceatum is a widespread sweat bee that is thought to be socially polymorphic, with important potential as an experimental model species. We first determined the social phenotype of L. calceatum at three sites located at different latitudes within the UK. We then investigated sociality in detail across two years at the southernmost site. We found that L. calceatum exhibits latitudinal social polymorphism within the UK; bees were solitary at our two northern sites but the majority of nests were social at our southern site. Sociality in the south was characterised by a relatively small mean of two and 3.5 workers per nest in each year, respectively, and a small to medium mean caste-size dimorphism of 6.6 %. Foundresses were smaller in our more northern and high altitude populations. Sociality is clearly less specialised than in some closely related obligately social species but probably more specialied than other polymorphic sweat bees. Our research provides a starting point for future experimental work to investigate mechanisms underlying social polymorphism in L. calceatum.
This work formed part of a studentship (1119965) awarded to PJD funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the University of Sussex, supervised by JF.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 63, pp. 327 - 338