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Trends Ecol Evol. 1997 Dec;12(12):468-74.

Secondarily solitary: the evolutionary loss of social behavior.

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  • 1Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Unit 0948, APO AA 34002-0948, USA.


Studies of social behavior frequently assume that evolution proceeds from a solitary state to a social one, and social to social lineages give rise to line are also social, excluding parasitic taxa. Recent phylogenetic studies of some bees contradict this assumption, and more examples are known or hypothesized in other animals. Social behaviour can be lost to give rise to species that are secondarily solitary. Studies of the conditions to the suppression or loss of social behavior can help to illuminate those factors that lead to its origins and maintenance.

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