Carrion is a highly ephemeral and nutrient rich resource, characterized by extreme biotic and abiotic stressors. We hypothesized that specific constraints of the carrion ecosystem, and especially its nutrient richness, ephemerality, and competition with microbes, have promoted the evolution of social behaviors in necrophagous insects. We show that group living is prevalent among early succession carrion breeding insects, suggesting that this trait has emerged as an adaptation to facilitate survival in the highly competitive environment of fresh carrion. We then highlight how developmental niche construction allows larvae to compete with microbes, efficiently feed on fresh cadavers, and rapidly reach maturity. We observed that larval societies and parental care are two different strategies responding to similar competitive and environmental constraints. We conclude that intra and interspecific competition on carrion are mitigated by social behavior.

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