social insect

noun
|Updated on: 31 May 2018

Definition of social insect

: an insect (such as a termite or bee) that lives in a colony or community with other individuals of the same species
  • … a number of other entomologists prefer to view ant colonies and the societies of other social insects as more like superorganisms than communities of individualized organisms.
  • —Robert L. O'Connell
  • The evolution of worker behavior in the social insects is usually explained by kin selection: although workers do not produce offspring, they do reproduce their genes by aiding the reproduction of relatives.
  • —David C. Queller et al.

Recent Examples of social insect from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social insect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of social insect

1847

in the meaning defined above

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