Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Vander Meer, Robert - Bob
item Alonso, Leeanne
item Anderson, James

Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2001
Publication Date: 3/5/2001
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.

Interpretive Summary:

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.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page