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|Title:||Polymorphic social organization in an ant.|
|Citation:||PROC BIOL SCI, 2009, 276 (1677), pp. 4423-4431|
|Abstract:||Identifying species exhibiting variation in social organization is an important step towards explaining the genetic and environmental factors underlying social evolution. In most studied populations of the ant Leptothorax acervorum, reproduction is shared among queens in multiple queen colonies (polygyny). By contrast, reports from other populations, but based on weaker evidence, suggest a single queen may monopolize all reproduction in multiple queen colonies (functional monogyny). Here we identify a marked polymorphism in social organization in this species, by conclusively showing that functional monogyny is exhibited in a Spanish population, showing that the social organization is stable and not purely a consequence of daughter queens overwintering, that daughter queen re-adoption is frequent and queen turnover is low. Importantly, we show that polygynous and functionally monogynous populations are not genetically distinct from one another based on mtDNA and nDNA. This suggests a recent evolutionary divergence between social phenotypes. Finally, when functionally monogynous and polygynous colonies were kept under identical laboratory conditions, social organization did not change, suggesting a genetic basis for the polymorphism. We discuss the implications of these findings to the study of reproductive skew.|
|Appears in Collections:||Published Articles, Dept. of Biology|
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