Patterns of longevity across a sociality gradient in vespid wasps

Amy L. Toth, Seirian Sumner, Robert L. Jeanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The reversal of the fecundity/longevity tradeoff in social insects is striking, but we lack understanding of when and how this reversal evolved. Vespid wasps are excellent models for studying social evolution because species show different levels of sociality from solitary to primitively to advanced eusocial. We provide the first synthesis of existing, but scanty, data available on longevity in vespids. We explore whether the fecundity/longevity tradeoff reversal is exaggerated in species with more derived sociality. Although the reversal is evident in primitively social wasps, the available data suggest it may be stronger in large-colonied species, which show a trend toward shorter worker longevity. More data are needed on additional species and underlying mechanisms, but vespids hold promise for understanding the evolution of the fecundity/longevity tradeoff reversal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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