Alternative reproductive tactics in the queen-size-dimorphic ant Leptothorax rugatulus (Emery) and their consequences for genetic population structure

O. Rüppell, J. Heinze, B. Hölldobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the results of a comprehensive investigation of the queen size dimorphism in the North American ant Leptothorax rugatulus. Employing allozymes and microsatellites as genetic markers, we found no evidence that the gene pools of large (macrogynes) and small (microgynes) queens are distinct. Queens in polygynous colonies are related to each other, supporting the hypothesis that colonies with more than one queen commonly arise by the adoption of daughter queens into their natal colonies. The higher fat content of macrogynes, their predominance in monogynous societies and in small founding colonies, and their greater flight activity favor the view that macrogynes predominantly found colonies independently, while microgynes are specialized for dependent colony founding by readoption. When comparing the genetic structure of three different subpopulations, we found that the alternative life histories had no significant effect on population viscosity at the scale investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Life history evolution
  • Microgynes
  • Population structure
  • Reproductive tactics
  • Size polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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