Colony Genetic Structure (colony + genetic_structure)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Polyandry and colony genetic structure in the primitive ant Nothomyrmecia macrops

M. Sanetra
The Australian endemic ant Nothomyrmecia macrops is considered one of the most ,primitive' among living ants. We investigated the genetic structure of colonies to determine queen mating frequencies and nestmate relatedness. An average of 18.8 individuals from each of 32 colonies, and sperm extracted from 34 foraging queens, were genotyped using five highly variable microsatellite markers. Queens were typically singly (65%) or doubly mated (30%), but triple mating (5%) also occurred. The mean effective number of male mates for queens was 1.37. No relationship between colony size and queen mate number was found. Nestmate workers were related by b=0.61 0.03, significantly above the threshold under Hamilton's rule over which, all else being equal, altruistic behaviour persists, but queens and their mates were unrelated. In 25% of the colonies we detected a few workers that could not have been produced by the resident queen, although there was no evidence for worker reproduction. Polyandry is for the first time recorded in a species with very small mature colonies, which is inconsistent with the sperm-limitation hypothesis for the mediation of polyandry levels. Facultative polyandry is therefore not confined to the highly advanced ant genera, but may have arisen at an early stage in ant social evolution. [source]

Microsatellite markers for the polygamous termite Nasutitermes corniger (Isoptera: Termitidae)

Abstract We developed eight highly variable microsatellite markers for the termite Nasutitermes corniger. Allele number per locus ranged from nine to 34, and expected heterozygosity from 0.45 to 0.94, in samples from seven sites in the former canal zone of Panama. The utility of these markers was assessed for five congeners varying in phylogenetic distance to N. corniger. The markers will be useful for fine-scale examination of population and colony genetic structure in N. corniger and other closely related species. [source]

Genetic and behavioural evidence for a city-wide supercolony of the invasive Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southeastern Australia

Elissa L Suhr
Abstract The success of invasive ants is frequently attributed to genetic and behavioural shifts in colony structure during or after introduction. The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), a global invader, differs in colony genetic structure and behaviour between native populations in South America and introduced populations in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and North America. However, little is known about its colony structure in Australia. We investigated the genetic structure and behaviour of L. humile across Melbourne, Victoria by quantifying variation at four microsatellite loci and assaying intraspecific aggression at neighbourhood (30,200 m), fine (1,3.3 km) and regional (5,82 km) spatial scales. Hierarchical analyses across these scales revealed that most genetic variation occurred among workers within nests (,98%). However, although low genetic differentiation occurred among workers between nests at the fine and regional scales (,2%), negligible differentiation was detected among workers from neighbouring nests. Spatial genetic autocorrelation analysis confirmed that neighbouring nests were genetically more similar to each other. Lack of aggression within and across these scales supported the view that L. humile is unicolonial and forms a large supercolony across Melbourne. Comparisons of genetic structure of L. humile among single nests sampled from Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth with Melbourne showed no greater levels of genetic differentiation or dissimilar spatial structure, suggesting an Australia-wide supercolony. [source]

Pirate ants (Polyergus breviceps) and sympatric hosts (Formica occulta and Formica sp. cf. argentea): host specificity and coevolutionary dynamics

The pace and trajectory of coevolutionary arms races between parasites and their hosts are strongly influenced by the number of interacting species. In environments where a parasite has access to more than one host species, the parasite population may become divided in preference for a particular host. In the present study, we show that individual colonies of the pirate ant Polyergus breviceps differ in host preference during raiding, with each colony specializing on only one of two available Formica host species. Moreover, through genetic analyses, we show that the two hosts differ in their colony genetic structure. Formica occulta colonies were monogynous, whereas Formica sp. cf. argentea colonies were polygynous and polydomous (colonies occupy multiple nest sites). This difference has important implications for coevolutionary dynamics in this system because raids against individual nests of polydomous colonies have less impact on overall host colony fitness than do attacks on intact colonies. We also used primers that we designed for four microsatellite loci isolated from P. breviceps to verify that colonies of this species, like other pirate ants, are comprised of simple families headed by one singly mated queen. 2007 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2007, 91, 565,572. [source]