Myrmecina nipponica Wheeler is a terrestrial ant nesting chiefly in the soil in forest. It is a specialized predator of oribatid mites, but also scavenges on a broad spectrum of other arthropods. In the studied population at Cape Manazuru in central Japan, M. nipponica colonies are typically monogynous, and previous dissections of queens suggested that these individuals were not inseminated, thus suggesting these ants can reproduce via thelytokous parthenogenesis. To test for thelytokous parthenogenesis in M. nipponica the spermathecae of queens (dealate gynes) from worker-containing colonies were histologically examined in detail. All specimens examined (n = 5) had no spermatozoa in the spermatheca. In addition, a total of four colony-founding queens were reared in isolation in the laboratory to test whether non-inseminated females were capable of egg laying and to test whether female offspring emerged from this brood. In all of four culture replicates, only new workers were produced from the eggs those queens had laid and male offspring was absent. After the breeding experiment, the queens' spermathecae were histologically examined and no sperm were detected in their spermathecae. These results reveal that M. nipponica queens of the Manazuru population are capable of producing female offspring thelytokously. Sexual reproduction by typical gynes and also by intermorphs has been known from other local populations of M. nipponica; therefore, this species shows geographical polymorphism in sexuality.
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Vol. 31 • No. 9