Article: article from journal or magazin.
Sex allocation conflict in ants: when the queen rules.
Insect societies are paramount examples of cooperation, yet they also harbor internal conflicts whose resolution depends on the power of the opponents. The male-haploid, female-diploid sex-determining system of ants causes workers to be more related to sisters than to brothers, whereas queens are equally related to daughters and sons. Workers should thus allocate more resources to females than to males, while queens should favor an equal investment in each sex. Female-biased sex allocation and manipulation of the sex ratio during brood development suggest that workers prevail in many ant species. Here, we show that queens of Formica selysi strongly influenced colony sex allocation by biasing the sex ratio of their eggs. Most colonies specialized in the production of a single sex. Queens in female-specialist colonies laid a high proportion of diploid eggs, whereas queens in male-specialist colonies laid almost exclusively haploid eggs, which constrains worker manipulation. However, the change in sex ratio between the egg and pupae stages suggests that workers eliminated some male brood, and the population sex-investment ratio was between the queens' and workers' equilibria. Altogether, these data provide evidence for an ongoing conflict between queens and workers, with a prominent influence of queens as a result of their control of egg sex ratio.
Animals, Ants/physiology, Conflict (Psychology), Female, Hierarchy, Social, Microsatellite Repeats/genetics, Ploidies, Reproduction/physiology, Sex Ratio, Switzerland
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