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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Nesting patterns, ecological correlates of polygyny and social organization in the neotropical arboreal ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae)

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Oliveira, P. S. [1] ; Camargo, R. X. [1] ; Fourcassie, V. [2]
Total Authors: 3
[1] Univ Estadual Campinas, Dept Biol Anim, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[2] Univ Toulouse 3, CNRS, Ctr Rech Cognit Anim, UMR 5169, F-31062 Toulouse - France
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: Insectes Sociaux; v. 58, n. 2, p. 207-217, MAY 2011.
Web of Science Citations: 10

Queen number varies in the population of O. hastatus in SE Brazil. Here, we evaluate how nesting ecology and colony structure are associated in this species, and investigate how reproduction is shared among nestmate queens. Queen number per colony is positively correlated with nesting space (root cluster of epiphytic bromeliads), and larger nest sites host larger ant colonies. Plant samplings revealed that suitable nest sites are limited and that nesting space at ant-occupied bromeliads differs in size and height from the general bromeliad community. Dissections revealed that queens in polygynous colonies are inseminated, have developed ovaries, and produce eggs. Behavioral observations showed that reproduction in polygynous colonies is mediated by queen-queen agonistic interactions that include egg cannibalism. Dominant queens usually produced more eggs. Field observations indicate that colonies can be initiated through haplometrosis. Polygyny in O. hastatus may result either from groups of cofounding queens (pleometrosis) or from adoption of newly mated queens by established colonies (secondary polygyny). Clumping of bromeliads increases nest space and probably adds stability through a strong root system, which may promote microhabitat selection by queens and favor pleometrosis. Rainstorms that frequently knock down bromeliads can be a source of colony break-up and may promote polygyny. Bromeliads are limited nest sites and may represent a risk for young queens leaving a suitable nest, thus favoring secondary polygyny. Although proximate mechanisms mediating queen number are poorly understood, this study suggests that heterogeneous microhabitat conditions probably contribute to the coexistence of variable forms of social structure in O. hastatus. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 00/00442-3 - Ecology and social behavior of Odontomachus hastatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae)
Grantee:Rafael Xavier de Camargo
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master