Comparative physiology and biochemistry of a mutualism

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  • 相利共生の比較生理生化学
  • ソウ リ キョウセイ ノ ヒカク セイリ セイカガク

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The evolution of cooperation remains a central paradox in biology. Inter-specific cooperation, called mutualism, is ubiquitous in nature. However, there are conflicts of interest among interacting partners, and theoretically, the emergence of selfish, non-rewarding cheaters will lead the collapse of interactions. To avoid the spreads of cheaters, the interacting individuals are needed to optimize its cooperative behavior by flexible decision-making processes based on the previous cooperative experiences, environmental factors, available resources, and social information. Recent studies in mutualism between plants-pollinators, lycaenid butterflies-ants, and cleaner-client fishes began to elucidate the proximate mechanisms underlying the flexible cooperative behaviors. These researches emphasize the importance of learning based cooperation and common neuroendocrine regulation of the cooperative behavior. Under the ecologically relevant conditions, further physiological approaches on cooperative behavior and the rules of decision-making will provide new insights into the theoretical framework of evolution and stability of mutualistic interactions.



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