Origins of aminergic regulation of behavior in complex insect social systems

J. Frances Kamhi*, Sara Arganda, Corrie S. Moreau, James F. A. Traniello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Neuromodulators are conserved across insect taxa, but how biogenic amines and their receptors in ancestral solitary forms have been co-opted to control behaviors in derived socially complex species is largely unknown. Here we explore patterns associated with the functions of octopamine (OA), serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) in solitary ancestral insects and their derived functions in eusocial ants, bees, wasps and termites. Synthesizing current findings that reveal potential ancestral roles of monoamines in insects, we identify physiological processes and conserved behaviors under aminergic control, consider how biogenic amines may have evolved to modulate complex social behavior, and present focal research areas that warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • neuromodulation
  • biogenic amines
  • eusocial
  • social brain evolution
  • collective intelligence

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