Reproductive skew and queen relatedness in an ant with primary polygyny

J. Heinze, B. Trunzer, B. Hölldobler, J. H.C. Delabie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Queens of the neotropical ponerine ant Pachycondyla cf. 'inversa' may cooperate during colony founding. Pleometrosis leads to permanent primary polygyny, with queens still co-existing in the same nest when the colony has become mature. Using multilocus DNA-fingerprinting we examined the genetic structure of colonies. Nestmate queens are typically not close relatives. Excepting one pair of queens, which appeared to be closely related, the band-sharing coefficients of co-occurring queens were similar to the background similarity among individuals from different nests. In mature colonies, queens typically contribute equally to workers and sexuals. Only in one of seven colonies did one queen produce significantly more workers than the other. Polygynous ants with unrelated queens might provide an interesting system to test predictions from kin selection theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Pachycondyla
  • Pleometrosis
  • Polygyny
  • Relatedness
  • Reproductive skew

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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