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Authors: Teggers, Eva-Maria
Deegener, Falk
Libbrecht, Romain
Title: Fecundity determines the outcome of founding queen associations in ants
Online publication date: 13-Sep-2021
Language: english
Abstract: Animal cooperation evolved because of its benefits to the cooperators. Pleometrosis in ants—the cooperation of queens to found a colony—benefits colony growth, but also incurs costs for some of the cooperators because only one queen usually survives the association. While several traits in queens influence queen survival, they tend to be confounded and it is unclear which factor specifically determines the outcome of pleometrosis. In this study, we used the ant Lasius niger to monitor offspring production in colonies founded by one or two queens. Then, we experimentally paired queens that differed in fecundity but not in size, and vice versa, to disentangle the effect of these factors on queen survival. Finally, we investigated how fecundity and size differed between queens depending on whether they were chosen as pleometrotic partners. Our results indicate that pleometrosis increased and accelerated worker production via a nutritional boost to the larvae. The most fecund queens more frequently survived the associations, even when controlling for size and worker parentage, and queens selected as pleometrotic partners were less fecund. Our results are consistent with fecundity being central to the onset and outcome of pleometrosis, a classic example of cooperation among unrelated animals.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
590 Tiere (Zoologie)
590 Zoological sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Scientific reports
Pages or article number: 2986
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 2045-2322
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-82559-9
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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