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Data from: Between-year variation in population sex ratio increases with complexity of the breeding system in Hymenoptera

Citation

Kümmerli, Rolf; Keller, Laurent (2011), Data from: Between-year variation in population sex ratio increases with complexity of the breeding system in Hymenoptera, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8590

Abstract

While adaptive adjustment of sex ratio in function of colony kin structure and food availability commonly occurs in social Hymenoptera, long-term studies have revealed substantial unexplained between-year variation in sex ratio at the population level. In order to identify factors that contribute to increased between-year variation in population sex ratio, we conducted a comparative analysis across 47 Hymenoptera species differing in their breeding system. We found that between-year variation in population sex ratio steadily increased as one moves from solitary species, to primitively eusocial species, to single-queen eusocial species, to multiple-queen eusocial species. Specifically, between-year variation in population sex ratio was low (6.6% of total possible variation) in solitary species, which is consistent with the view that in solitary species sex ratio can only vary in response to fluctuations in ecological factors such as food availability. In contrast, we found significantly higher (19.5%) between-year variation in population sex ratio in multiple-queen eusocial species, which supports the view that in these species sex ratio can also fluctuate in response to temporal changes in social factors such as queen number, queen-worker control over sex ratio, and factors influencing caste determination. The simultaneous adjustment of sex ratio in response to temporal fluctuations in ecological and social factors seems to preclude the existence of a single sex ratio optimum. The absence of such an optimum may reflect an additional cost associated with the evolution of complex breeding systems in Hymenoptera societies.

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