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1 October 2009 On the Evolution of Dispersal and Altruism in Aphids
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How competitive interactions and population structure promote or inhibit cooperation in animal groups remains a key challenge in social evolution. In eusocial aphids, there is no single explanation for what predisposes some lineages of aphids to sociality, and not others. Because the assumption has been that most aphid species occur in essentially clonal groups, the roles of intra- and interspecific competition and population structure in aphid sociality have been given little consideration. Here, I used microsatellites to evaluate the patterns of variation in the clonal group structure of both social and nonsocial aphid species. Multiclonal groups are consistent features across sites and host plants, and all species—social or not—can be found in groups composed of large fractions of multiple clones, and even multiple species. Between-group dispersal in gall-forming aphids is ubiquitous, implying that factors acting ultimately to increase between-done interactions and decrease within-group relatedness were present in aphids prior to the origins of sociality. By demonstrating that between-group dispersal is common in aphids, and thus interactions between clones are also common, these results suggest that understanding the ecological dynamics of dispersal and competition may offer unique insights into the evolutionary puzzle of sociality in aphids.

© 2009 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Patrick Abbot "On the Evolution of Dispersal and Altruism in Aphids," Evolution 63(10), 2687-2696, (1 October 2009).
Received: 27 January 2009; Accepted: 1 May 2009; Published: 1 October 2009

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