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Diversity and genetic structure of the wood ant Formica lugubris in unmanaged forests
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Wood ant species show differences in their social structure, especially in the level of polygyny (number of laying queens per nest) and polydomy (number of nest per colony), both within and between species. We demonstrate here for the first time that Formica lugubris displays two different social forms in close proximity in alpine unmanaged forests of the Swiss National Park. The genetic data (7 microsatellite loci) and field data indicate that one population is mostly monogynous to weakly polygynous (r = 0.438) and monodomous, the second one being polygynous (r = 0.113) and polydomous. Within this latter population new nests are founded by budding, leading to the observed high density of nests. These two different social structures, possibly being two expressions of a same continuum, could be explained by several ecological or environmental factors (e.g. habitat saturation, resource competition) and also historical effects.
POPULATION-STRUCTURE, SOCIOGENETIC ORGANIZATION, FRAGMENTED LANDSCAPE, SOCIAL-ORGANIZATION, QUEEN DISPERSAL, BREEDING SYSTEM, F-STATISTICS, HYMENOPTERA, NUMBER, EVOLUTION
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