Cooperative colony founding and experimental primary polygyny in the ponerine ant Pachycondyla villosa

B. Trunzer, J. Heinze, B. Hölldobler

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In the ponerine ant, Pachycondyla villosa, 40% of all collected founding colonies were pleometrotic associations with two (24%) or three (16%) queens. The egg-laying rate of solitary founding queens did not differ from that of queens in the two-queen groups, whereas individual queens in the three-queen groups laid significantly fewer eggs. Twenty-one weeks after collection pleometrotic associations contained significantly more workers than nests founded by haplometrosis. During the founding phase only one queen per founding association left the nest to forage. Within pleometrotic founding groups the number of eggs laid by individual queens did not differ, and no aggressive behavior occurred, even in the presence of workers. P. villosa seems to he one of the rare cases, where pleometrosis can lead to primary polygyny at least in the laboratory, with the queens coexisting in mature colonies without antagonistic behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-276
Number of pages10
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998



  • Colony founding
  • Pachycondyla villosa
  • Pleometrosis
  • Ponerinae
  • Primary polygyny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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