Accurate information on the age of wild-caught animals is valuable for a variety of areas, but can be particularly difficult to obtain for small holometablous insects, whose body characteristics are typically fixed at the time of pupal eclosion. Here we evaluate the ability of pteridines and lipofuscins to predict the age of individual free-living insects in a diversity of taxa [(Oecophylla smaragdina & Polyrhachis sexpinosa (Formicidae), Drosophila melanogaster & D. serrata (Drosophilidae)] and use these techniques to evaluate life-history predictions arising from the social systems found in these species.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Polyrhachis sexpinosa (Spiny weaver ant)
Species 2: Hymenoptera Formicidae Oecophylla smaragdina (Green-tree ant, Weaver ant)
Species 3: Diptera Drosophilidae Drosophila serrata
Keywords: age-grading, life history
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