Evolution of a Social Fluid
Socially exchanged fluids like milk and seminal fluid are hotbeds of evolutionary innovation. They provide a private communication channel to influence members of the same species!
In social insects that engage in trophallaxis, we’ve shown that the contents of trophallactic fluid, when fed to larvae, can influence their development.
By pairing proteomics, behavioral observations and bioinformatic tools, we harness the variation present across different forms of social insects to see how the trophallactic fluid has evolved over different natural histories, different colony types, and different modes of caste determination.