Polyandry and colony genetic structure in the primitive and Nothomyrmecia macrops

Sanetra, M., and Crozier, R.H. (2001) Polyandry and colony genetic structure in the primitive and Nothomyrmecia macrops. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 14 (3). pp. 368-378.

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The Australian endemic ant Nothomyrmecia macrops is considered one of the most ‘primitive’ among living ants. We investigated the genetic structure of colonies to determine queen mating frequencies and nestmate relatedness. An average of 18.8 individuals from each of 32 colonies, and sperm extracted from 34 foraging queens, were genotyped using five highly variable microsatellite markers. Queens were typically singly (65%) or doubly mated (30%), but triple mating (5%) also occurred. The mean effective number of male mates for queens was 1.37. No relationship between colony size and queen mate number was found. Nestmate workers were related by b=0.61 ± 0.03, significantly above the threshold under Hamilton’s rule over which, all else being equal, altruistic behaviour persists, but queens and their mates were unrelated. In 25% of the colonies we detected a few workers that could not have been produced by the resident queen, although there was no evidence for worker reproduction. Polyandry is for the first time recorded in a species with very small mature colonies, which is inconsistent with the sperm-limitation hypothesis for the mediation of polyandry levels. Facultative polyandry is therefore not confined to the highly advanced ant genera, but may have arisen at an early stage in ant social evolution.

Item ID: 13255
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1420-9101
Keywords: microsatellites; nestmate relatedness; Nothomyrmecia macrops; polyandry; primitive ants; sperm-typing
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2013 05:11
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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