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Foreword - Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Gadagkar, R (2021) Foreword - Encyclopedia of Social Insects. [Book Chapter]

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/97...


The Biblical proverb, Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise, epitomizes human attitude toward social insects throughout much of history. The societies of insects have inspired us to draw lessons, issue injunctions, influence politics, and formulate moral principles. And yet, much of this has been based on partially correct, incorrect, and sometimes dead-wrong ideas about the biology of social insects. A particularly embarrassing example concerns the uncritical assumption, held by almost everyone until as recently as early eighteenth century, that the queen of the honey bee colony must be a king, and, to make matters worse, the use of that mistaken identity to deprive women of a place in public and political life. The “leader of the beehive” is neither a male nor indeed a leader, in almost any sense of the term. Most complex behavior in social insects is self- organized in a decentralized, bottom-up manner, with little scope or evidence of top-down control. The metaphoric transfer of power from the males to the females and from the royalty to the subjects is the result of two centuries of the scientific study of insect societies presented in this encyclopedia.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Springer Nature
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2021 09:22
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 09:22
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/68428

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