Low queen mating frequency in the seed-harvester ant Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex) pima: Implications for the evolution of polyandry

C. Tate Holbrook, Christoph Peter Strehl, Robert A. Johnson, Juergen Gadau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The evolution of polyandry is a central problem in the study of insect mating systems, and both material and genetic benefits have been proposed to offset the presumed costs of multiple mating. Although most eusocial Hymenoptera queens mate with just one or occasionally two males, high levels of polyandry are exhibited by several taxa, including seed-harvester ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex. Previous studies of queen mating frequency in Pogonomyrmex have focused on monogynous (one queen per colony) species in the subgenus Pogonomyrmex. We performed a genetic mother-offspring analysis of mating frequency in Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex) pima, a queen-dimorphic species with dealate and intermorph queens that differ in colony structure (intermorph colonies contain multiple queens). Our results demonstrate that both dealate and intermorph queens of P. (E.) pima are typically single maters, unlike their congeners analyzed thus far. Polyandry appears to be a derived trait in Pogonomyrmex, but comparative tests between P. (E.) pima queen morphs and across the genus provide no evidence that it evolved as an adaptation to increase genetic diversity within colonies or to obtain more sperm, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Genetic diversity
  • Multiple mating
  • Queen number
  • Social insects
  • Sperm limitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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