Sciolus wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:22 am
tenchboy wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:31 am
All I have to add is that yes, I have heard of this before and from sufficiently reliable sources and over a sufficiently long period of time to believe that it could indeed be true.
I have no personal observational evidence to back it up however: I don't ever remember seeing an en masse
attack by the rest of the swarm following the death of one of its members.
Come on tb, get out in the fields and do the experiment.
Isn't is fairly well established that trees emit pheromones is response to various environmental insults such as disease, parasites and grazing? I don't see why most lifeforms that communicate chemically wouldn't do this.
In relation to the bolded bit, traits that evolve by natural selection tend to do so only if there's sufficient benefit to the individual organism in question or its genes (generally offspring or close relatives) to offset the costs.
Social wasps are mostly non-reproductive individuals protecting the queen, so they might be expected to have behaviours to benefit other individuals around them which will tend to be from the same colony. In the case of trees, I expect that it's often the case that the other individuals around them contain a high proportion of siblings and offspring, as their seeds can't disperse over long distances without some help.
But that's not always the case. For instance, lot of insects or marine invertebrates have a planktonic life stage where they go drifting around in the wind or ocean currents, in which case the organisms around them would be competitors rather than comrades in the struggle for existence. Things like grasses often have tiny, wind-dispersed seeds, with the same consequence.
Given their fairly uniquely high levels of genetic relatedness I'd consider wasps as among the most likely organisms to have a mechanism like that. Super interesting stuff.