Tuesday, 28 October 2003

This presentation is part of : Display Presentations, Section Cb. Apiculture and Social Insects

Claustral founding success for the two social forms of Solenopsis invicta within pleometrotic associations

Robert K. Vander Meer1, Catherine A. Preston1, and Gary N. Fritz2. (1) USDA-ARS CMAVE, Imported Fire Ants and Household Insects, 1600/1700 SW 23rd Drive, Gainesville, FL, (2) Eastern Illinois University, Department of Biological Sciences, 600 Lincoln Ave, Charleston, IL

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, displacing the monogyne social form (single queen). The increased mound density and population biomass associated with the polygyne form translates to an increase in their impact on humans. However, the spread of polygyne colonies is occurring at a rate greater than expected if new colonies are only formed by budding. Polygyne queens are putatively incapable of initiating colony formation on their own, due primarily to their very low body mass (Keller and Passera 1989). However, it was recently shown that single polygyne queens were able to initiate colonies claustrally in the laboratory, with approximately 65% of mated polygyne queens rearing at least one worker, and with twelve workers on average (DeHeer 2002); however, the fate of these colonies after the eclosion of the first egg mass was not determined. We investigated the ability of newly mated queens of the polygyne social form to claustrally found colonies alone, in groups of five, or claustrally in mixed monogyne and polygyne groups of five newly mated queens. The results show enhanced colony foundation success when polygyne newly mated queens founded colonies with monogyne newly mated queens.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant)
Keywords: colony foundation

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