The Evolution of Personally Disadvantageous Punishment Among Cofoundresses of the Ant Acromyrmex Versicolor

Economics Working Paper No. 317

77 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 1998

See all articles by Gregory B. Pollock

Gregory B. Pollock

University of Bonn - Institute of Economic Theory III

Antonio Cabrales

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Steven W. Rissing

Arizona State University West

Abstract

Cofoundresses of the desert fungus garden ant Acromyrmex versicolor exhibit a forager specialist who subsumes all foraging risk prior to first worker eclosion (Rissing et al. 1989). In an experiment designed to mimic a "cheater" who refuses foraging assignment when her lot, cofoundresses delayed/failed to replace their forager, often leading to demise of their garden (Rissing et al. 1996). The cheater on task assignment is harmed, but so too is the punisher, as all will die without a healthy garden. In this paper we study through simulation the cofoundress interaction with haploid, asexual genotypes which either replace a cheater or not (punishment), under both foundress viscosity (likely for A. versicolor) and random assortment. We find replacement superior to punishment only when there is no foraging risk and cheating is not costly to group survival. Generally, punishment is evolutionarily superior, especially as forager risk increases, under both forms of dispersal.

JEL Classification: Z00, C70

Suggested Citation

Pollock, Gregory B. and Cabrales, Antonio and Rissing, Steven W., The Evolution of Personally Disadvantageous Punishment Among Cofoundresses of the Ant Acromyrmex Versicolor. Economics Working Paper No. 317. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=135391 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.135391

Gregory B. Pollock

University of Bonn - Institute of Economic Theory III ( email )

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Antonio Cabrales (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
(34-93) 542 27 65 (Phone)
(34-93) 542 17 46 (Fax)

Steven W. Rissing

Arizona State University West ( email )

Phoenix, AZ 85069
United States

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