Polyandry in two South American harvester ants

R. G. Pol, J. Lopez De Casenave, H. Feldhaar, F. A. Milesi, Juergen Gadau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although monandry (single mating) is the ancestral state in social hymenopteran insects, effective mating frequencies greater than 2 have been confirmed for a fair amount of ant species: Cataglyphis cursor, the leaf-cutters of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex, army ants of the genera Eciton, Dorylus, Aenictus and Neivamyrmex, and some North American seed harvester species of the genus Pogonomyrmex. This last genus spreads throughout open arid habitats from Patagonia to southwestern Canada. Whereas some North American Pogonomyrmex species are thoroughly studied, we know much less about these ants in South America. The objective of this study was to estimate the effective mating frequency of Pogonomyrmex inermis and P. pronotalis, two Pogonomyrmex sensu stricto species from the central Monte desert of Argentina. A total of 477 P. pronotalis workers from 24 colonies and 402 P. inermis workers from 20 colonies were analyzed using six and four highly polymorphic microsatellites, respectively. The multilocus analysis revealed that all colonies were monogynous and all queens multiply-mated. The effective mating frequency was 8.75 and 6.52 for queens of P. pronotalis and P. inermis, respectively; those values increased up to 15.66 and 9.78, respectively, when corrected for sampling errors. This is the first demonstration that queens in at least some members of the South American Pogonomyrmex sensu stricto are strictly polyandrous, with mating numbers per queen at least as high as those previously found for North American species. We suggest that multiple mating probably arose early in the evolution of the genus Pogonomyrmex and may be the basis of its ecological success and wide distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Fingerprint

Pogonomyrmex
polyandry
ant
queen insects
mating frequency
Formicidae
Cataglyphis cursor
Dorylus
Eciton
Argentina
multiple mating
Acromyrmex
Atta
cutters
social insects
harvesters
desert
harvester ants
deserts
insect

Keywords

  • Ants
  • Mating frequency
  • Microsatellites
  • Monte desert
  • Pogonomyrmex inermis
  • Pogonomyrmex pronotalis
  • Polyandry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

Cite this

Pol, R. G., De Casenave, J. L., Feldhaar, H., Milesi, F. A., & Gadau, J. (2008). Polyandry in two South American harvester ants. Insectes Sociaux, 55(1), 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-007-0975-0

Polyandry in two South American harvester ants. / Pol, R. G.; De Casenave, J. Lopez; Feldhaar, H.; Milesi, F. A.; Gadau, Juergen.

In: Insectes Sociaux, Vol. 55, No. 1, 02.2008, p. 91-97.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pol, RG, De Casenave, JL, Feldhaar, H, Milesi, FA & Gadau, J 2008, 'Polyandry in two South American harvester ants', Insectes Sociaux, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-007-0975-0
Pol, R. G. ; De Casenave, J. Lopez ; Feldhaar, H. ; Milesi, F. A. ; Gadau, Juergen. / Polyandry in two South American harvester ants. In: Insectes Sociaux. 2008 ; Vol. 55, No. 1. pp. 91-97.
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