By Edward O. Wilson, Bert Hölldobler
The Leafcutter Ants is the main designated and authoritative description of any ant species ever produced. With a textual content appropriate for either a lay and a systematic viewers, the booklet offers an unforgettable journey of Earth's such a lot advanced animal societies. each one colony of leafcutters comprises as many as 5 million employees, all of the daughters of a unmarried queen that could dwell over a decade.
A vast nest can stretch thirty toes throughout, upward push 5 toes or extra above the floor, and encompass thousands of chambers that stretch twenty-five ft under the floor floor. certainly, the leafcutters have parlayed their instinctive civilization right into a digital domination of woodland, grassland, and cropland—from Louisiana to Patagonia. encouraged by means of a bit of the authors' acclaimed The Superorganism, this brilliantly illustrated paintings presents the final word clarification of what a social order with a half-billion years of animal evolution has completed.
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Additional resources for The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct
Others suggest that plasticity stimulates evolutionary diversification by generating novelty (West-Eberhard 2003, Schlichting © 2009 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC What is Phenotypic Plasticity and Why is it Important? % 2004), and/or via genetic accommodation. An example is dung beetles, where plasticity in body size may have subsequently stimulated evolution of testis size and alternative mating tactics (Simmons et al. 2007). Phenotypic plasticity may act as an evolutionary capacitor to shield genetic variation from elimination, only to release it under extreme environmental conditions (Masel 2005, Feder 2007).
A key to understanding how phenotypic plasticity can evolve is the concept of interchangeability (Fig. 8). Most traits are both genetic and environmentally influenced (Roundtree and Nijhout 1994, Bradshaw and Holzapfel 2001). An example is the pigment melanin, which is the end product of well-known enzyme chains (Baraboy 1999, Sugumaran 2002, Ito 2003). The sequence instructions for these enzymes are coded by DNA and are heritable (True 2003). Phenotypic Plasticity of Insects Fig. 7 Contd. © 2009 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC What is Phenotypic Plasticity and Why is it Important?
In contrast, plasticity may be favored in r-strategists because of their high rates of dispersal into new habitats. Polygenic quantitative traits should be more plastic than single locus traits (Roff 1996). Some models suggest that heterozygosity inhibits plasticity, because heterozygosity buffers environmental effects (see Scheiner 1993), but others disagree (Pigliucci 2005). If individuals cannot exhibit a reaction norm but groups can, then that reaction norm could feasibly evolve via group selection (Via et al.