Cover: Division of labour is a fundamental aspect of insect societies and other social systems. In colonies of the clonal raider ant Ooceraea biroi, for example, some worker ants form a tight nest cluster where the larvae are nursed, while others leave the nest to explore and forage for food. Each ant in this picture is tagged with two colour dots to facilitate individual behavioural observations. This Special Issue integrates recent research on the ultimate and proximate underpinnings of social behaviour across a wide range of biological systems (Kronauer and Levine, pp. 4–5). Photo: Daniel Kronauer.
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SPECIAL ISSUE: Evolution of social behaviour
Genetic conflicts: the usual suspects and beyond
Summary: Diverse genetic conflicts shape a myriad of biological processes, from host–pathogen interactions to successful inheritance of chromosomes. Despite this diversity, common evolutionary and biochemical principles may dictate the course of the majority of these conflicts.
The ecology and evolution of social behavior in microbes
Summary: To avoid misleading conclusions, the study of microbial social behavior must be grounded in ecology and account for eco-evolutionary feedback. Recent developments may facilitate this experimentally and inform theoretical frameworks.
Machine vision methods for analyzing social interactions
Summary: We review recent developments in machine vision for automatic, quantitative analysis of social behavior that have changed the scale and resolution with which we can dissect interactions between animals.
The neurogenetics of group behavior in Drosophila melanogaster
Summary: We highlight studies that exploited computational tools and the genetic accessibility and rich social life of Drosophila melanogaster to reveal molecular and neuronal determinants of social networks and collective behavior.
Phylogeny, environment and sexual communication across the Drosophila genus
Summary: We explore the relationship between life history, phylogeny and social communication of the Drosophila genus.
Caste development and evolution in ants: it's all about size
Summary: Morphological castes in ants vary as a function of size, which has far-reaching consequences for caste development and evolution.
Evolution of the asexual queen succession system and its underlying mechanisms in termites
Summary: Termite queens conditionally use sexual and asexual reproduction, where queens produce neotenic queens by parthenogenesis but use sexual reproduction to produce other colony members.
Individual versus collective cognition in social insects
Summary: This Review discusses how social insect colonies draw on both the cognition of their individual members and the interaction networks between these individuals to form collective cognition.
When social behaviour is moulded in clay: on growth and form of social insect nests
Summary: Ants and termites collectively build large nests with complex architecture. Here, we review the organisation of these structures and the mechanisms involved in their construction.
Modification of feeding circuits in the evolution of social behavior
Summary: Social behaviors are linked to foraging behavior on a behavioral and mechanistic level, and we propose that modifications of feeding circuits are crucial in the evolution of social behaviors.
Cognitive skills and the evolution of social systems
Summary: Animals interacting successfully use cognitive skills such as recognizing individuals, their social rank and logic as described here in a cichlid fish, and the neural bases of these skills are identified.
Intergenerational transmission of sociality: the role of parents in shaping social behavior in monogamous and non-monogamous species
Summary: In this paper, we review the ways in which parents shape social behavior in offspring, in both monogamous and non-monogamous mammals.
How social learning adds up to a culture: from birdsong to human public opinion
Summary: We review recent converging studies, across birdsongs and human cultures, about how social learning adds up to a stable but rich culture.
New funding schemes for junior faculty staff
In celebration of our 100th anniversary, JEB has launched two new grants to support junior faculty staff working in animal comparative physiology and biomechanics who are within five years of setting up their first lab/research group. Check out our ECR Visiting Fellowships and Research Partnership Kickstart Travel Grants. First deadline for applications is 15 July 2023.
JEB@100: an interview with Monitoring Editor Sanjay Sane
Sanjay Sane tells us about his first experience of publishing with the journal and why he thinks JEB is going to play a key role in our understanding of the current climate crisis and its implications for biodiversity.
The Forest of Biologists
The Forest of Biologists is a biodiversity initiative created by The Company of Biologists, with support from the Woodland Trust. For every Research and Review article published in Journal of Experimental Biology a native tree is planted in a UK forest. In addition to this we are protecting and restoring ancient woodland and are dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers. Visit our virtual forest to learn more.
Celebrating 100 years of discovery
This Special Issue focuses on broad biological questions addressed through the lens of comparative biomechanics. Crosscutting through time, this series of Reviews, Commentaries and Research Articles addresses questions from the vantage points of the history of the field, today’s research, and the future of comparative biomechanics. Read the Editorial by Sheila Patek, Monica Daley and Sanjay Sane.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues Review the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Crucial DNA at crux of insect wing size evolution
Keity Farfán-Pira and colleagues have revealed that a tiny region of regulatory DNA in the vestigial gene governs whether insect wings are large or small and has played a key role in the evolution of insect wing size.