Colony growth in incipient colonies of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren)

Monday, November 17, 2014: 8:48 AM
F152 (Oregon Convention Center)
Hester Dingle , Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Joshua R. King , University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Despite the heavy study due to the ecological and economic importance of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), certain aspects of their ecology have been overlooked. This study may provide detailed insight into the early stages of colony growth, to supplement data from previous studies that focused on mature colony characteristics. Newly-mated monogyne and polygyne queens were collected in the field and reared in the lab. Egg-laying rates for newly mated queens were continuously recorded along with periodic measurement of colony health and productivity. At the end of the experiment, queens were genotyped to identify social form. Preliminary results suggest, based on wet weight post mating flight, a small percentage of polygyne queens can found their own colony. These queens are a potential source for the appearance of polygyne colonies in monogyne populations through dispersal events.