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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Claustral Founding by Multiple Newly Mated Queens of Mixed Social Form

Authors
item Vander Meer, Robert
item Preston, Catherine

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 2, 2003
Publication Date: October 30, 2003
Citation: Vander Meer, R.K., Preston, C.A. 2003. Claustral Founding by Multiple Newly Mated Queens of Mixed Social Form. Proceedings of Annual Red Imported Fire Ant Conference. p. 37.

Technical Abstract: The polygyne social form (multiple queens) of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta is becoming more prevalent within its range in the United States. The increased mound density and worker populations associated with the polygyne form translate into an increased impact on humans. The spread of the polygyne form has been documented to occur through budding from existing polygyne populations, but this does not appear to account for the widespread occurrence of this social form. Monogyne and polygyne social forms of S. invicta share the same mating flights, thus there is potential for pleometrotic associations between newly mated queens of the same or different social forms, providing a possible mechanism for the increase of polygyne S. invicta colonies. We investigated the ability of newly mated queens of the polygyne and monogyne social forms to claustrally found colonies alone or in groups of five. In addition, we studied whether or not newly mated queens of mixed social forms could successfully found colonies. As expected, monogyne queens did well, with a 55% success rate founding colonies individually and 35% when with 4 other monogyne queens. However, polygyne queens were unable to found colonies individually or in groups with other polygyne queens. In pleometrotic situations with mixed social forms with monogyne queens in the majority, a monogyne queen was always the sole survivor. However, when polygyne newly mated queens were in the majority they became the surviving queens after colony foundation. It appears from these results that pleometrotic colony foundation with mixed social forms can provide another mechanism for the spread of the polygyne form well beyond existing polygyne populations.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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