Worker-queen conflict and the evolution of social insects

G. Oster, I. Eshel, D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A general expression for the inclusive fitness of haplodiploids is developed. The optimal investment of colony resources in eusocial Hymenoptera is then derived by maximizing the inclusive fitnesses of workers and queens subject to an ergonomic constraint. Because of assymmetries in the coefficients of relatedness, there is a genotypic "conflict of interest" between the queen and her daughters. We show how the inclusive fitness formula can be used to investigate this situation and to determine who is controlling the colony investment policy. Finally, we show that the optimization of inclusive fitness is consistent with the equilibria of a detailed genetic model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-85
Number of pages37
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1977


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