Population and colony structure of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus

J. Gadau, J. Heinze, B. Hölldobler, M. Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The colony and population structure of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, were investigated by multilocus DNA fingerprinting using simple repeat motifs as probes [e.g. (GATA)4]. The mating frequency of 15 queens was determined by comparing the fingerprint patterns of the queen and 17-33 of her progeny workers. C. floridanus queens are most probably singly mated, i.e. this species is monandrous and monogynous (one queen per colony). C. floridanus occurs in all counties of mainland Florida and also inhabits most of the Key islands in the southern part of Florida. We tested whether the two mainland populations and the island populations are genetically isolated. Wright's F(ST) and Nei's D-value of genetic distance were calculated from intercolonial bandsharing-coefficients. The population of C. floridanus is substructured (F(ST) = 0.19 ± 0.09) and the highest degree of genetic distance was found between one of the mainland populations and the island populations (D = 0.35). Our fingerprinting technique could successfully be transferred to 12 other Camponotus species and here also revealed sufficient variability to analyse the genetic structure. In three of these species (C. ligniperdus, C. herculeanus and C. gigas) we could determine the mating frequency of the queen in one or two colonies, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Camponotus floridanus
  • F(ST)
  • bandsharing-coefficient
  • mating frequency
  • multilocus DNA fingerprinting
  • population structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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