Article: article from journal or magazin.
Species- and nestmate brood discrimination in the sibling wood ant species Formica paralugubris and Formica lugubris
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Formica lugubris and E paralugubris are sympatric sibling species of wood ants, both of which are widely distributed in Switzerland. Until 1996 they were considered the same species, E lugubris. To investigate whether the two species can be distinguished based on discrimination cues used by the workers we used the pupa-carrying test first introduced by Rainer Rosengren. In this test workers of discriminator colonies are faced with two kinds of pupae and their preferences for one of the types are recorded based on differential retrieval. Interspecific comparisons showed that ants preferred conspecific worker pupae to those of the sibling species regardless whether the pupae were con-colonial or hetero-colonial. Hence, this test can be used as a taxonomic tool to identify wood ants hardly distinguishable by morphological characters. In intraspecific comparisons the highly polygynous (many queens per colony) E paralugubris, the polygynous form of E lugubris and the monogynous (single queen per nest) to weakly polygynous form of E lugubris expressed different trends in their preference behaviour (with nestmate recognition in 14%, 20% and 31% of replicates, respectively). Only F paralugubris presented no significant nestmate recognition.
CUTICULAR HYDROCARBON PROFILES, SOCIAL PARASITISM, QUEEN NUMBER, POLYGYNOUS COLONIES, ARGENTINE ANTS, RECOGNITION, HYMENOPTERA, WORKERS, EVOLUTION, POPULATIONS
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