Mating frequency, genetic structure, and sex ratio in the intermorphic female producing ant species Myrmecina nipponica

Takahiro Murakami, L. Wang, S. Higashi

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Abstract

1. Myrmecina nipponica has two types of colonies: a queen colony type, in which the reproductive females are queens and new colonies are made by independent founding, and an intermorphic female colony type, in which reproductive females belong to a wingless intermediate morphology between queen and worker, and where colonies multiply through colonial budding. 2. The mating frequencies of reproductive females in both types indicate monoandry. The relatedness among nestmates in both types was almost 0.75, however relatedness between mother and daughter in intermorphic female colonies was slightly higher than that of queen colonies. 3. The sex ratio (corrected investment female ratio) was 0.70 at the population level, suggesting that the sex ratio is controlled by workers in this species, however the ratio differed greatly between the two types of colonies. Queen colonies (n = 37) had a female-biased sex ratio of 0.77 while intermorphic female colonies (n = 33) had a ratio of 0.56. 4. Each reproductive intermorphic female was accompanied by an average of 2.9 workers (including virgin intermorphic females) in the colonial budding, and when the investment to those workers was added to the female investment, the sex ratio reached 0.81. 5. The frequency distribution of sex ratio was bimodal, with many colonies producing exclusively males or females, however mean estimated relatedness within colonies was almost 0.75. These data are inconsistent with the genetic variation hypothesis, which is one of the predominant hypotheses accounting for the between-colony variation in sex ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Entomology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 12 2000
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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