Ant queens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are attracted to fungal pathogens during the initial stage of colony founding

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_2C41DF8FA454
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
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Title
Ant queens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are attracted to fungal pathogens during the initial stage of colony founding
Journal
Myrmecological News
Author(s)
Brütsch T., Felden A., Reber A., Chapuisat M.
ISSN
1994-4136
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2014
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
20
Pages
71-76
Language
english
Abstract
Ant queens that attempt to disperse and found new colonies independently face high mortality risks. The exposure of queens to soil entomopathogens during claustral colony founding may be particularly harmful, as founding queens lack the protection conferred by mature colonies. Here, we tested the hypotheses that founding queens (I) detect and avoid nest sites that are contaminated by fungal pathogens, and (II) tend to associate with other queens to benefit from social immunity when nest sites are contaminated. Surprisingly, in nest choice assays, young Formica selysi BONDROIT, 1918 queens had an initial preference for nest sites contaminated by two common soil entomopathogenic fungi, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum. Founding queens showed a similar preference for the related but non-entomopathogenic fungus Fusarium graminearum. In contrast, founding queens had no significant preference for the more distantly related nonentomopathogenic fungus Petromyces alliaceus, nor for heat-killed spores of B. bassiana. Finally, founding queens did not increase the rate of queen association in presence of B. bassiana. The surprising preference of founding queens for nest sites contaminated by live entomopathogenic fungi suggests that parasites manipulate their hosts or that the presence of specific fungi is a cue associated with suitable nesting sites.
Keywords
Colony founding, social immunity, pathogen avoidance, pleometrosis
Create date
03/02/2014 17:46
Last modification date
20/08/2019 13:11
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