Social and genetic structure of a supercolonial weaver ant, Polyrhachis robsoni, with dimorphic queens

van Zweden, J.S., Carew, M.E., Henshaw, M.T., Robson, S.K.A., and Crozier, R.H. (2007) Social and genetic structure of a supercolonial weaver ant, Polyrhachis robsoni, with dimorphic queens. Insectes Sociaux, 54 (1). pp. 34-41.

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Abstract

We studied a population of the Australian weaver ant Polyrachis robsoni with regard to variation in the morphology of its winged queens using six newly-developed microsatellite markers. Morphometrically the queens fell clearly into two groups, macrogynes and microgynes, with the latter an isometric reduction of the former. Aggression tests showed that hostility between ants from different nests was minimal. Nests frequently contained numbers of both queen types, with microgynes about twice as numerous as macrogynes. Nestmate workers, microgynes, and macrogynes, were significantly related to others within their caste, with macrogynes more highly related than the other castes. Relatedness values between these groups of nestmates were also significant. Pairwise relatedness values were consistent with both queen morphs producing workers. At the population level, microgynes from different nests were also significantly related and there was a weak inverse relationship between pairwise relatedness value between individuals and distance between nests. We conclude that this species is supercolonial and that the two queen morphs are part of the same population.

Item ID: 2284
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1420-9098
Keywords: Polyrhachis weaver ants; microsatellites; dimorphic queens; dispersal; relatedness; supercolonies
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2009 04:03
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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