A new study has mounted perhaps the most intricate, detailed look ever at the diversity in structure and form of bees, offering new insights in a long-standing debate over how complex social behaviors arose in certain branches of bees’ evolutionary tree. The report offers strong evidence that complex social behavior developed just once in pollen-carrying bees, rather than twice or more, separately, in different evolutionary branches—but researchers say the case is far from closed.
Meet Hollis Woodard, Ph.D., assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, expert in bumble bee sociality, passionate ambassador for public science outreach, and the subject of the next installment of our "Standout Early Career Professionals" series.
Learning how cuckoo bumble bees cheat the eusocial system can tell scientists a lot about how insect sociality evolves and how hosts and parasites coevolve. But, as other bees face declines, cuckoo bees will only get more difficult to study.
Insects that are “eusocial” live in colonies with closely related nestmates and display social behavior, including a division of labor. The best-known examples are honey bees, termites, and ants. All […]