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.
In a colony of eastern subterranean termites, as many as 70,000 termites may die every day. Dealing with all those corpses is critical to colony health, and a new study reveals how the primary methods for termite undertakers—burying corpses or eating them—vary by caste.
A new review of ant research illuminates how ant behavior is driven by a cascade of individual decisions among colony members. Insights on ant movement and encounter rates also suggest parallels to collective behavior in another population under the microscope in 2020: humans.
A researcher studying termites' digging techniques says that understanding individual roles in collective activities can shine a light on the evolution of such behavior and how social insects perform simple tasks to ultimately construct complex structures.
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.