Confounding social and mating systems predictably lead to biased results when examining the evolution of cooperative breeding in cichlids: A response to Tanaka et al.

Published on Jun 1, 2019in Ethology1.467
· DOI :10.1111/ETH.12883
Cody J. Dey12
Estimated H-index: 12
(McMaster University),
Constance M. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(McMaster University)
+ 3 AuthorsJohn L. Fitzpatrick33
Estimated H-index: 33
(University of Manchester)
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Unravelling the evolution of complex social organization in animals is an important aim, not least because it helps to understand the evolutionary roots of human sociality. Recent advances in comparative methods allow to approach this question in a phylogenetic context. The validity of such comparative approaches depends strongly on the quality of information regarding the behaviour, sociality, and reproduction of animals in natural systems, and on the quality of the phylogenetic reconstruction....
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The evolutionary transition to cooperative breeding often involves high levels of monogamy and therefore indirect fitness benefits to helpers. Here, an alternative pathway is shown for cichlid fishes, involving direct fitness benefits derived from ecological factors such as group living.
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Cooperative breeding has been studied intensively in many species of birds and mammals but remain less well studied in fish. We report a remarkable new example of a cooperatively breeding cichlid from Lake Tanganyika, Neolamprologus obscurus. Using field observations and microsatellite DNA analyses, we studied group structure, helping behavior, relatedness, and dispersal of this species. We present four major observations. First, large territorial breeding males mated with one to eight breeding ...
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Comparative studies of social insects and birds show that the evolution of cooperative and eusocial breeding systems has been confined to species where females mate completely or almost exclusively with a single male, indicating that high levels of average kinship between group members are necessary for the evolution of reproductive altruism. In this paper, we show that in mammals, the evolution of cooperative breeding has been restricted to socially monogamous species which currently represent ...
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A phylogenetic analysis of breeding behaviour in birds shows that cooperation is more likely when promiscuity is low — a circumstance in which helpers can be more certain that they are offering aid to relatives. Intermediate levels of promiscuity favour the ability to distinguish relatives from non-relatives. At high levels of promiscuity, no form of cooperation is favoured. Levels of promiscuity therefore provide an explanation for differences between species in levels of cooperation.
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All evidence currently available indicates that obligatory sterile eusocial castes only arose via the association of lifetime monogamous parents and offspring. This is consistent with Hamilton’s rule (brs . roc), but implies that relatedness cancels out of the equation because average relatedness to siblings (rs )a nd offspring (ro) are both predictably 0.5. This equality implies that any infinitesimally small benefit of helping at the maternal nest (b), relative to the cost in personal reproduc...
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Close relatedness has long been considered crucial to the evolution of eusociality. However, it has recently been suggested that close relatedness may be a consequence, rather than a cause, of eusociality. We tested this idea with a comparative analysis of female mating frequencies in 267 species of eusocial bees, wasps, and ants. We found that mating with a single male, which maximizes relatedness, is ancestral for all eight independent eusocial lineages that we investigated. Mating with multip...
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