Data from: Who needs 'lazy' workers? Inactive workers act as a 'reserve' labor force replacing active workers, but inactive workers are not replaced when they are removed

Daniel Charbonneau, Takao Sasaki & Anna Dornhaus
Social insect colonies are highly successful, self-organized complex systems. Surprisingly however, most social insect colonies contain large numbers of highly inactive workers. Although this may seem inefficient, it may be that inactive workers actually contribute to colony function. Indeed, the most commonly proposed explanation for inactive workers is that they form a ‘reserve’ labor force that becomes active when needed, thus helping mitigate the effects of colony workload fluctuations or worker loss. Thus, it may...
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