Mating and longevity in ant males Journal Article

Author(s): Metzler, Sina; Heinze, Jürgen; Schrempf, Alexandra
Article Title: Mating and longevity in ant males
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Across multicellular organisms, the costs of reproduction and self-maintenance result in a life history trade-off between fecundity and longevity. Queens of perennial social Hymenoptera are both highly fertile and long-lived, and thus, this fundamental trade-off is lacking. Whether social insect males similarly evade the fecundity/longevity trade-off remains largely unstudied. Wingless males of the ant genus Cardiocondyla stay in their natal colonies throughout their relatively long lives and mate with multiple female sexuals. Here, we show that Cardiocondyla obscurior males that were allowed to mate with large numbers of female sexuals had a shortened life span compared to males that mated at a low frequency or virgin males. Although frequent mating negatively affects longevity, males clearly benefit from a “live fast, die young strategy” by inseminating as many female sexuals as possible at a cost to their own survival.
Keywords: Reproduction; Cardiocondyla; life span; trade-off
Journal Title: Ecology and Evolution
Volume: 6
Issue 24
ISSN: 2045-7758
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell  
Date Published: 2016-12-01
Start Page: 8903
End Page: 8906
Copyright Statement: CC BY 4.0
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2474
Notes: German Science Foundation. Grant Number: SCHR 1135/2-1. We thank M. Adam for handling part of the setups and J. Zoellner for behavioral observations.
Open access: yes (OA journal)