Colony structure in three species of the ant genus Myrmecia

Qian, Zeng-Qiang, Robson, Simon K.A., Schlüns, Ellen A., Schlüns, Helge, Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C., Steiner, Florian M., and Crozier, Ross H. (2010) Colony structure in three species of the ant genus Myrmecia. In: Abstracts for the XVI Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insect, p. 154. From: IUSSI 2010 XVI Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insect, 8-13 August 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Abstract

Ants of the genus Myrmecia have retained many biological traits that are considered to be basal in the family Formicidae. Studying these ants may provide valuable insight into the early stages of formicid social evolution. Using microsatellites, we investigated colony structure in three Myrmecia species, viz. M. brevinoda, M. pilosula, and a newly discovered cryptic species of the M. pilosula complex, Myrmecia sp. We observed, as a first ever for the genus Myrmecia, the co-occurrence of polydomy, polygyny and polyandry, in all three species. Mating frequencies of queens varied strongly within species, but the maximum frequencies were high in all of them, ranging from 9 to 12. Queens within colonies were lowly related in M. brevinoda and M. pilosula, but unrelated in Myrmecia sp. In M. pilosula and M. sp., the colony founding mode could be budding, as indicated by Mantel tests. Our data for M. brevinoda are in support of the "genetic-variability" hypothesis that polygyny and polyandry should be negatively correlated due to their costs and the benefits of the resulting genetic variability.

Item ID: 17007
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
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ISBN: 978-87-92100-00-9
Date Deposited: 10 May 2011 23:29
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060304 Ethology and Sociobiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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