Final Assignment: the biology of bees!

k10336As a way to review for the final exam, the questions in this assignment apply concepts we’ve discussed to honey bees. Please submit this final homework assignment to the usual email address with the subject line “Final Assignment” by 4pm on Monday, May 2nd so that we can discuss these questions during class time if there is any interest in doing so.

Read chapters 1 – 4 of The Bee: A Natural History and answer the following questions with clear explanations. Mention (no need to formally cite) any sources of additional information you use in formulating your explanations.

12862_2013_Article_2375_Fig2_HTML1. Chapter 3 gives a nice description of the extent to which different bees are social. What is eusociality and how do you think group selection may have given rise to eusocial bees?
2. According to Wikipedia…

When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. Honey bees are the only species of bees to die after stinging. This is clearly of detriment to an individual honey bee but could be highly beneficial to the hive.

How can the origins of this be explained with the evolution concepts we’ve discussed?
3. According to the reading, do honey bees and bumble bees share a common ancestor? Reference the specific part of the book that informs your answer.
4. The process by which an ancestral bee gave rise to the various species of honey bee is called
a. adaptive radiation b. deep time c. phylogeny d. symbiosis

Although the genetics of bees differs from that of humans, we can still use our knowledge of genetics and the Central Dogma to understand how the inheritance of traits occurs in honey bees. Using the chart and explanation in the book, answer the following questions.
1. How many sets of chromosomes does a queen honey bee have? How many chromosomes does a worker bee have? How many chromosomes does a drone bee have?  Continue reading