Supplementary Material for: Cumulative Effects of Foraging Behavior and Social Dominance on Brain Development in a Facultatively Social Bee <b><i>(Ceratina australensis)</i></b>

2015-04-28T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Rehan S.M. Bulova S.J. O''Donnell S.
In social insects, both task performance (foraging) and dominance are associated with increased brain investment, particularly in the mushroom bodies. Whether and how these factors interact is unknown. Here we present data on a system where task performance and social behavior can be analyzed simultaneously: the small carpenter bee <i>Ceratina australensis.</i> We show that foraging and dominance have separate and combined cumulative effects on mushroom body calyx investment. Female<i> C. australensis</i> nest solitarily and socially in the same populations at the same time. Social colonies comprise two sisters: the social primary, which monopolizes foraging and reproduction, and the social secondary, which is neither a forager nor reproductive but rather remains at the nest as a guard. We compare the brains of solitary females that forage and reproduce but do not engage in social interactions with those of social individuals while controlling for age, reproductive status, and foraging experience. Mushroom body calyx volume was positively correlated with wing wear, a proxy for foraging experience. We also found that, although total brain volume did not vary among reproductive strategies (solitary vs. social nesters), socially dominant primaries had larger mushroom body calyx volumes (corrected for both brain and body size variation) than solitary females; socially subordinate secondaries (that are neither dominant nor foragers) had the least-developed mushroom body calyces. These data demonstrate that sociality itself does not explain mushroom body volume; however, achieving and maintaining dominance status in a group was associated with mushroom body calyx enlargement. Dominance and foraging effects were cumulative; dominant social primary foragers had larger mushroom body volumes than solitary foragers, and solitary foragers had larger mushroom body volumes than nonforaging social secondary guards. This is the first evidence for cumulative effects on brain development by dominance and task performance.