A1 Journal article (refereed)
Ecological conditions alter cooperative behaviour and its costs in a chemically defended sawfly (2018)

Lindstedt, C., Miettinen, A., Freitak, D., Ketola, T., Lopez Sepulcre, A., Mäntylä, E., & Pakkanen, H. (2018). Ecological conditions alter cooperative behaviour and its costs in a chemically defended sawfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences, 285(1884), Article 20180466. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0466

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Publication details

All authors or editorsLindstedt, Carita; Miettinen, Antti; Freitak, Dalial; Ketola, Tarmo; Lopez Sepulcre, Andres; Mäntylä, Elina; Pakkanen, Hannu

Journal or seriesProceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences



Publication year2018


Issue number1884

Article number20180466

PublisherThe Royal Society Publishing

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Research data linkhttp://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3885sv0

Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access


The evolution of cooperation and social behaviour is often studied in isolation from the ecology of organisms. Yet, the selective environment under which individuals evolve is much more complex in nature, consisting of ecological and abiotic interactions in addition to social ones. Here, we measured the life-history costs of cooperative chemical defence in a gregarious social herbivore, Diprion pini pine sawfly larvae, and how these costs vary under different ecological conditions. We ran a rearing experiment where we manipulated diet (resin content) and attack intensity by repeatedly harassing larvae to produce a chemical defence. We show that forcing individuals to allocate more to cooperative defence (high attack intensity) incurred a clear cost by decreasing individual survival and potency of chemical defence. Cooperative behaviour and the magnitude of its costs were further shaped by host plant quality. The number of individuals participating in group defence, immune responses and female growth decreased on a high resin diet under high attack intensity. We also found some benefits of cheating: non-defending males had higher growth rates across treatments. Taken together, these results suggest that ecological interactions can shape the adaptive value of cooperative behaviour and maintain variation in the frequency of cooperation and cheating.

Keywordsanimal behaviourdefence mechanisms (biological phenomena)mimicrysawfliessocial behaviourHymenoptera

Free keywordsantipredator defence; automimicry; life-history costs

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2018

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-11-05 at 00:07