Metabolic division of labor in social insects

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cois.2023.101085. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

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Authors

Matteo A Negroni, Adria C LeBoeuf 

Abstract

Social insects are known for reproductive and behavioral division of labor, but little attention has been paid to metabolic forms of division of labor. Metabolic division of labor is the partitioning of complementary metabolic tasks between individuals, and it is widespread in social insects. We define two forms of metabolic division of labor, homosynergetic and heterosynergetic, we pinpoint trophallaxis, trophic eggs and cannibalism as the primary transfers underlying the homosynergetic form and discuss their evolution. We argue that homosynergetic metabolic division of labor underpins fundamental aspects of colony physiology and may be a necessary feature of superorganismal systems, impacting many life history traits. Investigating metabolic division of labor is necessary to understand major evolutionary transition(s) to superorganismality in social insects.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/X26C7X

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

social insects, metabolism, division of labor, cross-feeding, auxotrophy, social physiology, superorganism

Dates

Published: 2023-01-14 05:11

Last Updated: 2023-05-11 10:20

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
None

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Not applicable

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