Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Skew in ovarian activation depends on domicile size in phyllode-glueing thrips

Gilbert, J. D.J.; Wells, A.; Simpson, S. J.


Profile Image

Dr James Gilbert
Lecturer in Zoology/ Deputy Programme Leader, Zoology

A. Wells

S. J. Simpson


Costs and benefits of group living are a fundamental topic in behavioural ecology. Resource availability affects individuals’ breeding prospects alone and in groups, as well as how reproduction is distributed within groups (“reproductive skew”). Here, we provide correlational evidence in facultatively social thrips that breeding resources are associated with (1) whether solitary or social living is favoured, and (2) the degree of ovarian skew. Dunatothrips aneurae (Thysanoptera, Phlaeothripidae) cooperatively build silk “domiciles” on Australian Acacias, feeding exclusively from internal phyllode surfaces. Per capita productivity scaled differently with group size depending on domicile volume - females in small domiciles did better alone than in groups, whereas in large domiciles single and group-nesting females did equally well. Ovarian dissections revealed that in small domiciles some females were nonreproductive, indicating ovarian (i.e. reproductive) skew. Skew increased as domicile size decreased and group size increased. Breeders had smaller oocyte volume in smaller domiciles, especially those containing nonreproductives. These findings suggest group formation and reproductive skew in D. aneurae may be influenced by reproductive competition for breeding resources. Nonreproductive females in small domiciles may be reproductively suppressed, subfertile, or accumulating resources to reproduce.


Gilbert, J. D., Wells, A., & Simpson, S. J. (2018). Skew in ovarian activation depends on domicile size in phyllode-glueing thrips. Scientific reports, 8(1), Article 3597.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 31, 2017
Online Publication Date Feb 26, 2018
Publication Date Dec 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 27, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 22, 2018
Journal Scientific reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Article Number 3597
Keywords Cooperative breeding, Reproductive skew, Social evolution, Pleometrosis, Competition
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article which has been accepted for future publication in: Scientific reports. The article itself is not yet available for consultation.


Article (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

You might also like

Downloadable Citations