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Patterns of split sex ratio in ants have multiple evolutionary causes based on different within-colony conflicts.
Split sex ratio-a pattern where colonies within a population specialize in either male or queen production-is a widespread phenomenon in ants and other social Hymenoptera. It has often been attributed to variation in colony kin structure, which affects the degree of queen-worker conflict over optimal sex allocation. However, recent findings suggest that split sex ratio is a more diverse phenomenon, which can evolve for multiple reasons. Here, we provide an overview of the main conditions favouring split sex ratio. We show that each split sex-ratio type arises due to a different combination of factors determining colony kin structure, queen or worker control over sex ratio and the type of conflict between colony members.
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