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Coordination Between the Sexes Constrains the Optimization of Reproductive Timing in Honey Bee Colonies.


ABSTRACT: Honeybees are an excellent model system for examining how trade-offs shape reproductive timing in organisms with seasonal environments. Honeybee colonies reproduce two ways: producing swarms comprising a queen and thousands of workers or producing males (drones). There is an energetic trade-off between producing workers, which contribute to colony growth, and drones, which contribute only to reproduction. The timing of drone production therefore determines both the drones' likelihood of mating and when colonies reach sufficient size to swarm. Using a linear programming model, we ask when a colony should produce drones and swarms to maximize reproductive success. We find the optimal behavior for each colony is to produce all drones prior to swarming, an impossible solution on a population scale because queens and drones would never co-occur. Reproductive timing is therefore not solely determined by energetic trade-offs but by the game theoretic problem of coordinating the production of reproductives among colonies.

SUBMITTER: Lemanski NJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5453950 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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