Paternal signature in kin recognition cues of a social insect : concealed in juveniles, revealed in adults

Abstract : The evolution of group living selects for recognition mechanisms ensuring that cooperative and aggressive behaviours are directed towards the appropriate individuals, but also that adult group members avoid the costs of siblingmating. In insects, information about encountered individuals is typically displayed by the chemical cues present on the waxy layer covering their cuticle: the cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) [1–3]. CHC profiles have been shown to reflect information about different aspects of an individual’s identity, such as the species [4] or the sex [5]. Inter-individual variation in CHC profiles is common in nature and typically due to various not mutually exclusive sources. For instance, CHC profiles have been shown to change over the course of an individual’s life cycle, e.g. owing to aging [6] or to changes in individual tasks within colonies of eusocial insects [7], they can be influenced by the environment, such as the nesting substrate [8,9], nutritional condition [10,11] or social interactions with conspecifics, which mediates the active or passive transfer of chemical compounds between individuals [12–14]. Finally, CHC profiles can also vary owing to genetic differences between individuals (e.g. [15,16]). A heritable component to variation in CHCs is important for long-term similarities of CHC profiles among individuals originating from the same family or colony and thus, for CHCs to represent informative and sufficiently stable cues for individual identity and kin recognition (e.g. [3,17]).
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Janine W. Y. Wong, Joël Meunier, Christophe Lucas, Mathias Kolliker. Paternal signature in kin recognition cues of a social insect : concealed in juveniles, revealed in adults. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2014, 281 (1793), pp.20141236. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2014.1236⟩. ⟨hal-01294398⟩



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