Queen number influences the timing of the sexual production in colonies of Cardiocondyla ants Journal Article


Author(s): Suefuji, Masaki; Cremer, Sylvia; Oettler, Jan; Heinze, Jürgen
Article Title: Queen number influences the timing of the sexual production in colonies of Cardiocondyla ants
Affiliation
Abstract: Wingless males of the ant genus Cardiocondyla engage in fatal fighting for access to female sexual nestmates. Older, heavily sclerotized males are usually capable of eliminating all younger rivals, whose cuticle is still soft. In Cardiocondyla sp. A, this type of local mate competition (LMC) has turned the standard pattern of brood production of social insects upside down, in that mother queens in multi-queen colonies produce extremely long-lived sons very early in the life cycle of the colony. Here, we investigated the emergence pattern of sexuals in two species with LMC, in which males are much less long-lived. Queens of Cardiocondyla obscurior and Cardiocondyla minutior reared their first sons significantly earlier in multi-queen than in single-queen societies. In addition, first female sexuals also emerged earlier in multi-queen colonies, so that early males had mating opportunities. Hence, the timing of sexual production appears to be well predicted by evolutionary theory, in particular by local mate and queen–queen competition.
Keywords: local mate competition; fatal fighting; emergence order; Formicidae
Journal Title: Biology Letters
Volume: 4
Issue 6
ISSN: 1744-957X
Publisher: Royal Society, The  
Date Published: 2008-12-23
Start Page: 670
End Page: 673
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0355
Open access: no