|Vander Meer, Robert|
|Alonso, Leeanne - CONSERVATION INTRNL|
|Anderson, James - USDA, ARS|
Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2001
Publication Date: March 5, 2001
Citation: Vander Meer, R.K., Alonso, L.E., Anderson, J. 2001. Adoption of Polygyne-Derived Newly Mated Queens by Queenless Monogyne and Polygyne Solenopsis invicta Colonies. 2001 Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings. p. 50. San Antonio, Texas. February 28-March 2, 2001. Technical Abstract: We reported earlier that queens, either monogyne or polygyne of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, have a remarkable affect on conspecific recognition. After removal of their colony queen(s) workers quickly become non-aggressive toward non-nestmate workers and to introduced newly mated queens. We demonstrate here that queenless workers readily adopt multiple monogyne-or polygyne-derived newly mated queens, although usually over time the number of maintained queens is reduced to one. However, sometimes-orphaned colonies will adopt and maintain more than one queen, thus creating a "polygyne" colony. Newly mated queens adopted by workers have a distinct advantage over their claustrally founding cohorts in biomass production and a ready-made worker force to shield them from negative outside forces. A complex genetic scenario dictates that monogyne workers should execute all monogyne and polygyne-derived newly mated queens and that polygyne workers should execute all monogyne derived newly mated queens, but accept a proportion of polygyne-derived queens. We demonstrate here that the genetic rules do not apply to queenless worker groups, since workers from both social forms readily accept monogyne- derived newly mated queens. Polygyne workers adopting polygyne-derived newly mated queens have a greater probability of adopting additional polygyne-derived newly mated queens, than the other possibilities. We suggest that the behavioral/adoption phenomenon we report here opens the door to alternative explanations of some of the events that have led to the widespread occurrence of polygyny in the United States.