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1 June 2003 COLONY SEX RATIOS VARY WITH BREEDING SYSTEM BUT NOT RELATEDNESS ASYMMETRY IN THE FACULTATIVELY POLYGYNOUS ANT PHEIDOLE PALLIDULA
Denis Fournier, Laurent Keller, Luc Passera, Serge Aron
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Abstract

We investigated sex allocation in a Mediterranean population of the facultatively polygynous (multiple queen per colony) ant Pheidole pallidula. This species shows a strong split sex ratio, with most colonies producing almost exclusively a single-sex brood. Our genetic (microsatellite) analyses reveal that P. pallidula has an unusual breeding system, with colonies being headed by a single or a few unrelated queens. As expected in such a breeding system, our results show no variation in relatedness asymmetry between monogynous (single queen per colony) and polygynous colonies. Nevertheless, sex allocation was tightly associated with the breeding structure, with monogynous colonies producing a male-biased brood and polygynous colonies almost only females. In addition, sex allocation was closely correlated with colony total sexual productivity. Overall, our data show that when colonies become more productive (and presumably larger) they shift from monogyny to polygyny and from male production to female production, a pattern that has never been reported in social insects.

Denis Fournier, Laurent Keller, Luc Passera, and Serge Aron "COLONY SEX RATIOS VARY WITH BREEDING SYSTEM BUT NOT RELATEDNESS ASYMMETRY IN THE FACULTATIVELY POLYGYNOUS ANT PHEIDOLE PALLIDULA," Evolution 57(6), 1336-1342, (1 June 2003). https://doi.org/10.1554/02-643
Received: 28 October 2002; Accepted: 6 January 2003; Published: 1 June 2003
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KEYWORDS
ants
kin selection
Polygyny
queen-worker conflict
split sex ratio
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