Development of winged Wasmannia auropunctata queens due to methoprene

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Yoselyn Rodríguez-Cruz , Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón, PR
Yarira Ortiz-Alvarado , Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Bert Rivera-Marchand , Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, PR
Development of virgin queens in socials insects ensures mating and reproduction.  In previous studies we found absence of flight in alate queens of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata.  Although all examined queens had seemingly functional wings they did not fly.  Contrastingly all observed males flew upon opening their nest box.  It is not clear if the lack of flight is due to endocrine factors.  In this study we will to determine the effect of JHIII in the development of alate queens by applying methoprene a JHIII analog.  Nests with alate queens will be collected from the field during the mating season (spring/summer) and placed in an artificial nest in the laboratory.  All assays will be done the day after collections, in order to give the nest a chance of acclimation.  Methoprene will be applied to half of the alate queens and the other half will receive an application of the solvent acetone.  Behavioral observations will be made before methoprene treatment and six to eight hours after application.  Since JHIII is associated with maturation, ovary development and egg production we expect loss of wings as in other ants, and productions of unfertilized eggs from virgin queens.  The results of this study will expand our knowledge of the relation of JHII and queen development in social insects.