Deals with plasticity in division of labor and the processes that regulate it, focusing on highly eusocial species that are among those exhibiting the most complex forms of division of labor, especially honey bees Apis mellifera and ants. After describing the patterns of division of labor within insect colonies, the author outlines the social and ecological factors that affect division of labor and review the types of worker behavioral responses that occur when these factors change. He then discusses mechanisms that are involved in the regulation of division of labor, devoting special attention to recent hormonal and genetic studies of honey bees. The paper concludes with a discussion of several new theoretical approaches to the study of division of labor. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-665
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


  • Behavioral genetics
  • Behavioral physiology
  • Colony organization
  • Juvenile hormone
  • Social insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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