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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Life Span Evolution in Eusocial Workers—A Theoretical Approach to Understanding the Effects of Extrinsic Mortality in a Hierarchical System
Resources for somatic maintenance of the colony can either be invested into quality or quantity of workers. First, any investment that would generate a longer intrinsic life span for workers is lost if the individual dies from external causes while foraging. As a consequence, risky environments favor the evolution of workers with a shorter life span. Second, shorter-lived workers require less investment than long-lived ones, allowing the colony to allocate these resources to sexual reproduction or colony growth.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0061813
 

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Interesting article; I wish there was a dumbed down version though as I find a lot of the language and structure a tall reach. I think there is something here in coloring our views on large colony numbers going into winter. Have just talked to a medical doctor who has started into bees in the last 3 years. He is seeing some of his strongest hives die this winter. I think the article suggests that bees with different breeding and production predilections could have advantages under different weather conditions. Of course that can be so variable year to year that flexibility is still a strong asset compared to rigid specialization.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The simple version is in Bro. Adam's books from Buckfast Abbey. Karl discovered the same things decades ago.
 
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