Social status and reproductive success in queenless ant colonies

B. Trunzer, J. Heinze, B. Hölldobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Workers in queenless colonies of the ponerine ant Pachycondyla villosa establish linear or near-linear rank orders by antennation bouts and overt aggression. In these hierarchies, top-ranking individuals were reliably among the most productive egg-layers, but several lower ranking workers also laid considerable numbers of eggs. Though many of the subordinates' eggs were eaten by the α-workers, we could show by multilocus DNA-fingerprinting that low-ranking individuals occasionally succeeded in producing adult males. However, the most dominant workers always had the highest reproductive success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1105
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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