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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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Communication between hosts and social parasites

Communication between hosts and social parasites

(p.55) CHAPTER 4 Communication between hosts and social parasites
Sociobiology of Communication

Davod R. Nash

Jacobus J. Boomsma

Oxford University Press

All parasites need to evade host defences to be successful. Social parasites, however, face unique challenges and opportunities. Their hosts are particularly well defended against intruders, but their social communication systems provide an alternative means of exploitation, if social parasites can evolve ways to subvert this system for their own ends. This chapter briefly reviews the range of tactics used by social parasites to exploit their hosts, and the communication channels and strategies used. Detailed analysis is presented of a few key systems that have been particularly well studied (Maculinea butterflies, Microdon flies, and slave-making and inquiline ants). The chapter examines general patterns of how social parasites use communication with their hosts to enhance their success, and the consequences that this has for the coevolutionary interaction between social parasites and their hosts.

Keywords:   social parasite, insignificance, camouflage, mimicry, appeasement, propaganda, Maculinea, Microdon

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