Evolution of caste is a central issue in the biology of social insects. Comparative studies on their morphology so far suggest the following three patterns: (1) a positive correlation between queen-worker size dimorphism and the divergence in reproductive ability between castes, (2) a negative correlation among workers between morphological diversity and reproductive ability, and (3) a positive correlation between queen-worker body shape difference and the diversity in worker morphology. We conducted morphological comparisons between castes in Pachycondyla luteipes, workers of which are monomorphic and lack their reproductive ability. Although the size distribution broadly overlapped, mean head width, head length, and scape length were significantly different between queens and workers. Conversely, in eye length, petiole width, and Weber's length, the size differences were reversed. The allometries (head length/head width, scape length/head width, and Weber's length/head width) were also significantly different between queens and workers. Morphological examinations showed that the body shape was different between queens and workers, and the head part of workers was disproportionately larger than that of queens. This pattern of queen-worker dimorphism is novel in ants with monomorphic workers and a clear exception to the last pattern. This study suggests that it is possible that the loss of individual-level selection, the lack of reproductive ability, influences morphological modification in ants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics