Communication in social insects usually serves the good of the whole society and thus increases the inclusive fitness of all individuals. Hence, cheating and dishonesty are not expected when nestmates are to be alarmed or recruited to food sources. However, kin selection predicts a conflict of interest among individuals about the partitioning of reproduction. Dishonest communication may then be advantageous. Workers usually do not lay eggs in the presence of a fertile queen, but in many species they do so when the queen is removed. This effect has been explained by manipulative, i.e. dishonest, queen control or honest fertility signalling. Numerous studies have documented qualitative and quantitative differences in the pheromone blends of reproductives and non-reproductives. We examine these data for signs of honest signalling, conflict and manipulation.
Journal of Experimental Biology, 2009, Vol 212, Issue Pt 12, p. 1775-9