The Social Behavior of the Bees: A Comparative Study

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Harvard University Press, 1974 - Nature - 404 pages
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Although the honeybee is without doubt man's favorite social insect, and the most studied by him, there are twenty thousand other species of bees, many of which are social. This book is the first to offer a systematic account of social behavior in the entire super family Apoidea. Of all the social insects, the various species of bees exhibit perhaps the broadest spectrum of social behavior, including intermediate stages which are scarce or totally extinct in other groups; in this respect the bees are particularly appropriate subjects for evolutionary study.

With the aid of more than 200 illustrations, Charles Michener characterizes and describes all levels of social organization in the bees‚e"from simple aggregations of solitary nests to elaborate, eusocial colonies. He reviews the entire repertoire of social behavior in bees and gives detailed attention to mechanisms of communication, division of labor, determination of sex and caste, maintenance and control of nest conditions, and organization of defense. In a major chapter the evolutionary context of the bee societies is extensively explored; the author examines the selective advantages and disadvantages entailed in evolving nonreproductive castes, the problem of multiple, independent origins of eusociaI behavior, and the question of ‚eoedirection‚e in the evolution of social behavior. The final section is an account of the life history and behavioral attributes of each of the groups of social bees.

 

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Contents

The Origin and History of Bees
20
Systematic Positions of Social Bees
27
Comparative Social Behavior
35
The Social Significance of the Nest
60
Caste Differences
78
Caste Determination
95
Control of Gyne Production
108
Division of Labor among
119
Defense
209
Parasitic and Robber
224
Robber species
230
An analysis of social levels
236
Natural History
255
Primitively Eusocial Behavior
268
Primitively Eusocial Behavior
274
Allodapine Bees
301

Colony Multiplication
131
Foraging and Orientation
138
Communication Concerning Food
152
The Handling and Transfer
181
The Control of Physical Conditions
197
Apis mellifera
203
Bumblebees
314
Stingless Honeybees
329
True Honeybees
347
Scientific Names
369
Literature Cited
375
Index
395

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About the author (1974)

Charles D. Michener is curator emeritus, Entomology Division, University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, and professor emeritus, Entomology Program, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas. His books include The Social Behavior of Bees.

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