Fighting for a harem of queens: Physiology of reproduction in Cardiocondyla male ants

Jürgen Heinze, Berthold Hoelldobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several species of the ant genus Cardiocondyla produce dimorphic males, which exhibit sharply different mating strategies. Winged males typically disperse to mate outside the nest, whereas wingless, ergatoid males stay in the nest and aggressively employ their mandibles against competing ergatoid males to monopolize the virgin queens eclosing in the nest. Such aggressive mating strategy would only be adaptive if the males had unlimited sperm supply. Histological studies showed that, contrary to the rule in the Hymenoptera order, the ergatoid Cardiocondyla males are indeed able to produce sperm during their entire adult life. Winged males, on the other hand, have only a limited sperm supply since spermatogenesis ceases in the late pupal stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8412-8414
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume90
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 1993
Externally publishedYes

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Ants
Reproduction
Spermatozoa
Hymenoptera
Spermatogenesis
Mandible

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

Cite this

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abstract = "Several species of the ant genus Cardiocondyla produce dimorphic males, which exhibit sharply different mating strategies. Winged males typically disperse to mate outside the nest, whereas wingless, ergatoid males stay in the nest and aggressively employ their mandibles against competing ergatoid males to monopolize the virgin queens eclosing in the nest. Such aggressive mating strategy would only be adaptive if the males had unlimited sperm supply. Histological studies showed that, contrary to the rule in the Hymenoptera order, the ergatoid Cardiocondyla males are indeed able to produce sperm during their entire adult life. Winged males, on the other hand, have only a limited sperm supply since spermatogenesis ceases in the late pupal stage.",
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