Data from: Royal Darwinian demons: enforced changes in reproductive efforts do not affect the life expectancy of ant queens
Cite this dataset
Schrempf, Alexandra et al. (2016). Data from: Royal Darwinian demons: enforced changes in reproductive efforts do not affect the life expectancy of ant queens [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5c4rk
One of the central tenets of life-history theory is that organisms cannot simultaneously maximize all fitness components. This results in the fundamental trade-off between reproduction and life span known from numerous animals, including humans. Social insects are a well-known exception to this rule: reproductive queens outlive nonreproductive workers. Here, we take a step forward and show that under identical social and environmental conditions the fecundity-longevity trade-off is absent also within the queen caste. A change in reproduction did not alter life expectancy, and even a strong enforced increase in reproductive efforts did not reduce residual life span. Generally, egg-laying rate and life span were positively correlated. Queens of perennial social insects thus seem to maximize at the same time two fitness parameters that are normally negatively correlated. Even though they are not immortal, they best approach a hypothetical “Darwinian demon” in the animal kingdom.