Article: article from journal or magazin.
Sex allocation in mound-building ants: The roles of resources and queen replenishment
571LD Times Cited:13 Cited References Count:30 --- Old month value: Jul
Social Hymenoptera have become key organisms for tests of sex-ratio theory. We assess the role of resources for explaining sex-ratio variation in a highly male-biased population of the ant Formica exsecta. Key predictions of two of the three leading hypotheses invoking an effect of resource availability on sex ratios in social insects are not upheld. One prediction of the multifaceted parental-investment hypothesis is that colonies with greater brood production will rear a greater proportion of their diploid offspring as reproductive females (gynes), rather than workers, This study shows the positive correlation between female-biased sex ratio and the production of brood by female-producing colonies was not the outcome of a trade-off in the production of workers vs. gynes. The main prediction of the constant-female hypothesis is that investment in gynes should be constant. We found extreme variation among colonies in the number of gynes produced. By contrast, all the predictions of the queen-replenishment hypothesis were supported. The queen-replenishment hypothesis predicts that colonies produce gynes only when queen number is so low that colony production of brood is reduced, or colony survival threatened. We found that, as predicted by this hypothesis, female-producing colonies had fewer queens and produced a lower biomass of brood than male-producing colonies. In contrast, male-producing colonies had lower production per queen, and were more likely to be limited by external resources. This suggests that queen number limits production in female-producing colonies. These data provide evidence of adaptive adjustment of resources to worker, gyne, and male brood.
ants formica exsecta formicidae hymenoptera local resource competition polygyny reproductive allocation resource limitation sex ratio social insects relatedness asymmetry solenopsis-invicta formica-exsecta fire ant ratios colonies populations hymenoptera investment strategies
Web of science
Last modification date