Article: article from journal or magazin.
Mate availability and male dispersal in the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) (=Iridomyrmex humilis)
In the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (=Iridomyrmex humilis) only males disperse whereas female sexuals (unmated winged queens) stay in their mother nest where they mate. This study investigated (1) whether dispersing males are accepted into foreign colonies, (2) whether they can mate with resident female sexuals, and (3) whether the propensity of males to disperse is affected by the expectation of mating in their mother nest. Field experiments demonstrated that males were accepted into foreign colonies only when these colonies contained female sexuals or queen pupae. Before and after the time of (sic) female sexuals, workers attacked and killed most of the foreign males. Laboratory experiments snowed that males that successfully enter foreign colonies can mate with resident female sexuals. The propensity of males to disperse was significantly influenced by the presence of female sexuals in their nest. Males were more likely to fly out from colonies containing no female sexuals than from those with them. These results are consistent with males preferentially dispersing when there is little or no opportunity to mate in their mother nest. Thus there are two mating strategies available for males: staying in their mother nest when an opportunity to mate arises or dispersing and attempting to mate in a foreign nest when there are no female sexuals in their mother nest. This latter behaviour could mediate gene flow between colonies and account for the lack of significant inbreeding previously documented in this species.
hymenoptera formicidae reproduction colonies sexuals system flight
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