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Relationship of queen number and queen relatedness in multiple-queen colonies of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta



Relationship of queen number and queen relatedness in multiple-queen colonies of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta



Ecological Entomology 22(2): 150-157



1. The relationship between the number of queens per nest and their relatedness was examined in the polygyne (multiple queens per nest) social form of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. 2. No significant relationship between these two variables was found. Moreover, the overall average relatedness among nestmate queens was not significantly different from zero. 3. These findings indicate that polygyne nests of S. invicta do not represent closed societies. Furthermore, they are consistent with continual acceptance of non-nestmate queens throughout a colony's lifetime. This strategy differs from the expectation of kin selection theory that only related queens should be accepted as new reproductives within polygyne colonies. 4. The postulated acceptance of non-nestmate queens is associated with a decrease in the number of parasites, predators and diseases and a concomitant increase in the density of nests in introduced populations, suggesting that the permissive environment experienced by introduced fire ants may have decreased the relative importance of kinship as a stabilizing factor in the evolution of polygyny.

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Accession: 002942323

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2311.1997.t01-1-00052.x


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