A fully reproductive fighting morph in a soldier clade of gall-inducing thrips (Oncothrips morrisi)

Brenda D. Kranz, Michael P. Schwarz, Taryn E. Wills, Thomas W. Chapman, David C. Morris, Bernard J. Crespi

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    23 Citations (Scopus)


    We present the first life history data for Oncothrips morrisi, a species in a clade of haplodiploid, Australian gall-inducing thrips that has a micropteran fighting morph in the first generation of the gall. Micropterans in other species in the clade have lower fecundity than their mother, and these species are considered eusocial. There is no such reproductive skew in O. morrisi, and the species is not eusocial by any definition. The volume of O. morrisi galls is between 4 and 20 times greater in than eusocial species in the clade and the dispersing-brood size varies between 5 and 15 times larger than that of other species. The lack of skew in O. morrisi could be associated with large gall volume, reducing competition between females for space and feeding sites for their offspring. As O. morrisi is in a lineage basal to eusocial Oncothrips, we also discuss selective factors for the evolution of a non-dispersing fighting morph in this clade. The costs involved in dispersal and latency to reproduction may have lowered the selective threshold for the evolution of a non-dispersing morph. Once non-dispersal evolved, selection to defend one's offspring may have promoted the evolution of soldier-like morphology and behaviour.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-161
    Number of pages11
    JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Gall thrips
    • Micropterous
    • Reproductive skew
    • Social evolution
    • Soldiers


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