Science.gov

Sample records for queen fire ant

  1. Pheromonal Control of Dealation and Oogenesis in Virgin Queen Fire Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, David J. C.; Blum, Murray S.

    1981-04-01

    In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, sexually mature virgin females are prevented from shedding their wings and becoming functional egg layers by the presence of the mated queen. Experimental data suggest that this inhibitory effect results from the action of a relatively nonvolatile primer pheromone (or pheromones) produced by the mated queen and distributed by the workers. Target ants are both virgin queens and workers.

  2. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-01-01

    Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used in managing pest insects, including the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. There is increasing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal concentrations have profound effects on social insects. However, the sublethal effect of neonicotinoids on S. invicta has never been investigated. In this study, the newly mated queens were fed with water containing 0.01 or 0.25 μg/ml imidacloprid. Imidacloprid at both concentrations did not cause any increase in queen mortality during the founding stage; however, it significantly reduced queens' brood tending ability. In the 0.25 μg/ml imidacloprid treatment, the time to larval emergence was significantly delayed and no pupae or adult workers were produced. This study provides clear evidence that imidacloprid at sublethal concentrations has a significant detrimental impact on S. invicta queens and the development of incipient colonies. PMID:26643971

  3. Effect of irradiation on queen survivorship and reproduction in the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta,(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a generic phytosanitary irradiation dose for ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants are common hitchhiker pests on traded agricultural commodities that could be controlled by postharvest irradiation treatment. We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren to determine the dose sufficient for its control. Virgin or fertile queens...

  4. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vander Meer, Robert K.; Preston, Catherine A.; Hefetz, Abraham

    2008-12-01

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, worker ability to recognize conspecific nonnestmates decreases if the colony queen is removed, such that they do not recognize conspecific nonnestmates as different. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the presence of the colony queen influences the concentration of octopamine, a neuromodulator, in worker ants, which in turn has an effect on nestmate recognition acuity in workers. We demonstrate that queenless workers exhibit reduced brain octopamine levels and reduced discriminatory acuteness; however, feeding queenless workers octopamine restored both. Dopamine levels are influenced by honeybee queen pheromones; however, levels of this biogenic amine were unchanged in our experiments. This is the first demonstration of a link between the presence of the colony queen, a worker biogenic amine, and conspecific nestmate recognition, a powerful expression of colony cohesion and territoriality.

  5. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, Robert K; Preston, Catherine A; Hefetz, Abraham

    2008-12-01

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, worker ability to recognize conspecific nonnestmates decreases if the colony queen is removed, such that they do not recognize conspecific nonnestmates as different. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the presence of the colony queen influences the concentration of octopamine, a neuromodulator, in worker ants, which in turn has an effect on nestmate recognition acuity in workers. We demonstrate that queenless workers exhibit reduced brain octopamine levels and reduced discriminatory acuteness; however, feeding queenless workers octopamine restored both. Dopamine levels are influenced by honeybee queen pheromones; however, levels of this biogenic amine were unchanged in our experiments. This is the first demonstration of a link between the presence of the colony queen, a worker biogenic amine, and conspecific nestmate recognition, a powerful expression of colony cohesion and territoriality. PMID:18704354

  6. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Lei; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-01-01

    Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used in managing pest insects, including the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. There is increasing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal concentrations have profound effects on social insects. However, the sublethal effect of neonicotinoids on S. invicta has never been investigated. In this study, the newly mated queens were fed with water containing 0.01 or 0.25 μg/ml imidacloprid. Imidacloprid at both concentrations did not cause any increase in queen mortality during the founding stage; however, it significantly reduced queens’ brood tending ability. In the 0.25 μg/ml imidacloprid treatment, the time to larval emergence was significantly delayed and no pupae or adult workers were produced. This study provides clear evidence that imidacloprid at sublethal concentrations has a significant detrimental impact on S. invicta queens and the development of incipient colonies. PMID:26643971

  7. Venom alkaloid and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are associated with social organization, queen fertility status, and queen genotype in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Eliyahu, Dorit; Ross, Kenneth G; Haight, Kevin L; Keller, Laurent; Liebig, Jürgen

    2011-11-01

    Queens in social insect colonies advertise their presence in the colony to: a) attract workers' attention and care; b) gain acceptance by workers as replacement or supplemental reproductives; c) prevent reproductive development in nestmates. We analyzed the chemical content of whole body surface extracts of adult queens of different developmental and reproductive stages, and of adult workers from monogyne (single colony queen) and polygyne (multiple colony queens) forms of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. We found that the composition of the most abundant components, venom alkaloids, differed between queens and workers, as well as between reproductive and non-reproductive queens. Additionally, workers of the two forms could be distinguished by alkaloid composition. Finally, sexually mature, non-reproductive queens from polygyne colonies differed in their proportions of cis-piperidine alkaloids, depending on their Gp-9 genotype, although the difference disappeared once they became functional reproductives. Among the unsaturated cuticular hydrocarbons characteristic of queens, there were differences in amounts of alkenes/alkadienes between non-reproductive polygyne queens of different Gp-9 genotypes, between non-reproductive and reproductive queens, and between polygyne and monogyne reproductive queens, with the amounts increasing at a relatively higher rate through reproductive ontogeny in queens bearing the Gp-9 b allele. Given that the genotype-specific piperidine differences reflect differences in rates of reproductive maturation between queens, we speculate that these abundant and unique compounds have been co-opted to serve in fertility signaling, while the cuticular hydrocarbons now play a complementary role in regulation of social organization by signaling queen Gp-9 genotype. PMID:22095515

  8. A queen pheromone induces workers to kill sexual larvae in colonies of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Klobuchar, Emily A; Deslippe, Richard J

    2002-07-01

    We conducted five bioassays to study how queens control the execution of sexual larvae by workers in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In each assay, subset colonies were made from many large polygyne colonies, and the 20 sexual larvae they contained were monitored over time. Sexual larvae mostly survived in queenless colonies, but were mostly killed in colonies with a single dealated queen, regardless of whether or not the queen was fertilized. The larvae were also killed when fresh corpses of queens were added to queenless colonies. Whereas acetone extracts of queens did not produce a significant increase in killings, extracts in buffered saline induced workers to execute most sexual larvae, indicating successful extraction of an execution pheromone. We identified the probable storage location of the chemical as the poison sac, and found both fresh (1 day) and old (21 day) extracts of poison sacs to be equally effective in inducing executions. The pheromone is stable at room temperature, perhaps because venom alkaloids also present in the extracts keep the pheromone from degrading. It is apparently either proteinaceous or associated with a proteinaceous molecule, a novel finding, as no queen pheromone of a proteinaceous nature has been previously demonstrated in ants. PMID:12216859

  9. A queen pheromone induces workers to kill sexual larvae in colonies of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klobuchar, Emily; Deslippe, Richard

    2002-05-01

    We conducted five bioassays to study how queens control the execution of sexual larvae by workers in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In each assay, subset colonies were made from many large polygyne colonies, and the 20 sexual larvae they contained were monitored over time. Sexual larvae mostly survived in queenless colonies, but were mostly killed in colonies with a single dealated queen, regardless of whether or not the queen was fertilized. The larvae were also killed when fresh corpses of queens were added to queenless colonies. Whereas acetone extracts of queens did not produce a significant increase in killings, extracts in buffered saline induced workers to execute most sexual larvae, indicating successful extraction of an execution pheromone. We identified the probable storage location of the chemical as the poison sac, and found both fresh (1 day) and old (21 day) extracts of poison sacs to be equally effective in inducing executions. The pheromone is stable at room temperature, perhaps because venom alkaloids also present in the extracts keep the pheromone from degrading. It is apparently either proteinaceous or associated with a proteinaceous molecule, a novel finding, as no queen pheromone of a proteinaceous nature has been previously demonstrated in ants.

  10. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used in managing pest ants, including the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. There is increasing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal concentrations have profound effects on social insects. However, the sublethal effect of neonicot...

  11. Social chromosome variants differentially affect queen determination and the survival of workers in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Buechel, Séverine D; Wurm, Yanick; Keller, Laurent

    2014-10-01

    Intraspecific variation in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known. An exception is the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in which the existence of two distinct forms of social colony organization is under the control of the two variants of a pair of social chromosomes, SB and Sb. Colonies containing exclusively SB/SB workers accept only one single queen and she must be SB/SB. By contrast, when colonies contain more than 10% of SB/Sb workers, they accept several queens but only SB/Sb queens. The variants of the social chromosome are associated with several additional important phenotypic differences, including the size, fecundity and dispersal strategies of queens, aggressiveness of workers, and sperm count in males. However, little is known about whether social chromosome variants affect fitness in other life stages. Here, we perform experiments to determine whether differential selection occurs during development and in adult workers. We find evidence that the Sb variant of the social chromosome increases the likelihood of female brood to develop into queens and that adult SB/Sb workers, the workers that cull SB/SB queens, are overrepresented in comparison to SB/SB workers. This demonstrates that supergenes such as the social chromosome can have complex effects on phenotypes at various stages of development. PMID:25211290

  12. Males are here to stay: fertilization enhances viable egg production by clonal queens of the little fire ant ( Wasmannia auropunctata)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyakawa, Misato O.; Mikheyev, Alexander S.

    2015-04-01

    Evolution of reproduction strategies is affected by both phylogenetic and physiological constraints. Although clonality may benefit females, it may not be selected if a male contribution is necessary to start egg laying and embryo development. In little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, sexual populations employ a typical Hymenopteran system of reproduction. In clonal populations, however, queens and males are produced with only maternal and paternal genomes, respectively, whereas sterile workers are produced sexually. Although this system requires both sexes for worker production, previous work has shown that workers may also be produced clonally by the queens. If so, why are males maintained in this species? Our data suggest that fertilization is necessary to increase the hatching rate of eggs. Although clonal queens can indeed produce both workers and queens without mating, the hatching rate is far below the level necessary to maintain functional colonies. On the other hand, virgin queens from populations exhibiting the original Hymenopteran reproduction system also show low hatching rates, but produce only haploid male eggs. Reasons for the existence of W. auropunctata males have been disputed. However, our data suggest that physiological constraints, such as the requirement for insemination, must be considered in regard to evolution of reproduction systems, in addition to ecological data and theoretical considerations of fitness.

  13. Dynamic changes in host-virus interactions associated with colony founding and social environment in fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Manfredini, Fabio; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Grozinger, Christina M

    2016-01-01

    The dynamics of host-parasite interactions can change dramatically over the course of a chronic infection as the internal (physiological) and external (environmental) conditions of the host change. When queens of social insects found a colony, they experience changes in both their physiological state (they develop their ovaries and begin laying eggs) and the social environment (they suddenly stop interacting with the other members of the mother colony), making this an excellent model system for examining how these factors interact with chronic infections. We investigated the dynamics of host-viral interactions in queens of Solenopsis invicta (fire ant) as they transition from mating to colony founding/brood rearing to the emergence of the first workers. We examined these dynamics in naturally infected queens in two different social environments, where queens either founded colonies as individuals or as pairs. We hypothesized that stress associated with colony founding plays an important role in the dynamics of host-parasite interactions. We also hypothesized that different viruses have different modalities of interaction with the host that can be quantified by physiological measures and genomic analysis of gene expression in the host. We found that the two most prevalent viruses, SINV-1 and SINV-2, are associated with different fitness costs that are mirrored by different patterns of gene expression in the host. In fact SINV-2, the virus that imposes the significant reduction of a queen's reproductive output is also associated with larger changes of global gene expression in the host. These results show the complexity of interactions between S. invicta and two viral parasites. Our findings also show that chronic infections by viral parasites in insects are dynamic processes that may pose different challenges in the host, laying the groundwork for interesting ecological and evolutionary considerations. PMID:26811788

  14. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, workers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. ...

  15. Identification, expression, and immuno-reactivity of Sol i 2 & Sol i 4 venom proteins of queen red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Lockwood, Stephanie A; Haghipour-Peasley, Jilla; Hoffman, Donald R; Deslippe, Richard J

    2012-10-01

    We report on two low-molecular weight proteins that are stored in the venom of queen red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). Translated amino acid sequences identified one protein to have 74.8% identity with the Sol i 2w worker allergen, and the other protein was found to have 96/97% identity with Sol i 4.01w/4.02w worker allergens. Both Sol i 2 and Sol i 4 queen and worker proteins were expressed using pEXP1-DEST vector in SHuffle™ T7 Express lysY Escherichia coli. Proteins were expressed at significant concentrations, as opposed to the μg/ml amounts by our previous expression methods, enabling further study of these proteins. Sol i 2q protein bound weakly to human IgE, sera pooled from allergic patients, whereas Sol i 2w, Sol i 4.01w, and Sol i 4q proteins bound strongly. Despite Sol i 2w and Sol i 2q proteins having 74.8% identity, the queen protein is less immuno-reactive than the worker allergen. This finding is consistent with allergic individuals being less sensitive to queen than worker venom. PMID:22683679

  16. A histochemical and X-ray microanalysis study of calcium changes in insect flight muscle degeneration in Solenopsis, the queen fire ant

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, R.G.; Davis, W.L.; Vinson, S.B.

    1982-04-01

    Potassium pyroantimonate histochemistry, coupled with ethyleneglycoltetraacetic acid (EGTA)-chelation and X-ray microprobe analysis, was employed to localize intracellular calcium binding sites in the normal and degenerating flight musculature in queens of Solenopsis, the fire ant. In normal animals, calcium distribution was light to moderate within myofibrils and mitochondria. In the early contracture stages of the insemination-induced degeneration, both myofilament and mitochondrial calcium loading was markedly increased. In the terminal stages of myofibril breakdown, only Z-lines (isolated or in clusters) with an associated filamentous residue persisted. These complexes were also intensely calcium positive. This study further documents the presence of increased sarcoplasmic calcium during muscle necrosis. Surface membrane defects, mitochondrial calcium overload, and calcium-activated proteases may all be involved in this ''normal'' breakdown process.

  17. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types-claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32-38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55-63% higher wing loading, and 32-33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  18. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Helms, Jackson A.; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types—claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32–38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55–63% higher wing loading, and 32–33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  19. Chemical communication of queen supergene status in an ant.

    PubMed

    Trible, W; Ross, K G

    2016-03-01

    Traits of interest to evolutionary biologists often have complex genetic architectures, the nature of which can confound traditional experimental study at single levels of analysis. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the presence of a Mendelian 'supergene' is both necessary and sufficient to induce a shift in a fundamental property of social organization, from single-queen (monogyne) to multiple-queen (polygyne) colonies. This selfish genetic element, termed the Social b (Sb) supergene, contains > 600 genes that collectively promote its fitness by inducing the characteristic polygyne syndrome, in part by causing polygyne workers to accept only queens bearing the Sb element (a behaviour termed 'worker Sb discrimination'). Here, we employ a newly developed behavioural assay to reveal that polygyne workers, many of which bear the Sb element, employ chemical cues on the cuticle of queens to achieve worker Sb discrimination, but we found no evidence for such pheromonally mediated worker Sb discrimination in monogyne workers, which universally lack the Sb element. This polygyne worker Sb discrimination was then verified through a 'green beard' effect previously described in this system. We thus have demonstrated that the Sb element is required both for production of relevant chemical cues of queens and for expression of the behaviours of workers that collectively result in worker Sb discrimination. This information fills a critical gap in the map between genotype and complex phenotype in S. invicta by restricting the search for candidate genes and molecules involved in producing this complex social trait to factors associated with the Sb element itself. PMID:26644320

  20. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... and the patient will develop difficulty breathing in addition to weakness. Patients who develop anaphylaxis and have a significant history of systemic reactions to fire ant stings should be checked for ...

  1. Behavioral plasticity in ant queens: environmental manipulation induces aggression among normally peaceful queens in the socially polymorphic ant Leptothorax acervorum.

    PubMed

    Trettin, Jürgen; Seyferth, Thomas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    The behavioral traits that shape the structure of animal societies vary considerably among species but appear to be less flexible within species or at least within populations. Populations of the ant Leptothorax acervorum differ in how queens interact with other queens. Nestmate queens from extended, homogeneous habitats tolerate each other and contribute quite equally to the offspring of the colony (polygyny: low reproductive skew). In contrast, nestmate queens from patchy habitats establish social hierarchies by biting and antennal boxing, and eventually only the top-ranking queen of the colony lays eggs (functional monogyny: high reproductive skew). Here we investigate whether queen-queen behavior is fixed within populations or whether aggression and high skew can be elicited by manipulation of socio-environmental factors in colonies from low skew populations. An increase of queen/worker ratio and to a lesser extent food limitation elicited queen-queen antagonism in polygynous colonies from Nürnberger Reichswald similar to that underlying social and reproductive hierarchies in high-skew populations from Spain, Japan, and Alaska. In manipulated colonies, queens differed more in ovarian status than in control colonies. This indicates that queens are in principle capable of adapting the magnitude of reproductive skew to environmental changes in behavioral rather than evolutionary time. PMID:24743352

  2. Bioturbation by Fire Ants in the Coastal Prairie of Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

    Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) were introduced to the US in the early part of the last century. They have spread throughout the southeastern US in the absence of native competitors and predators with a range limited by abiotic factors. Each fire ant mound contains thousands of individuals, can be large, and can be numerous enough to comprise a dominant feature of the landscape. Studies of this species have focused upon its spread, formation of single- and multiple-queen colonies, genetic structure, and impact on native fauna and human health. Some studies have analyzed native fire ant-soil interactions, but few studies have examined the process of bioturbation by introduced fire ants in native ecosystems. Fire ants on the coastal prairie of Texas primarily are of the multiple-queen type that exhibit a much higher density of mounds than the single-queen type. Consequently, mound-building activities by fire ants can have a marked effect upon soil structure and nutrient content and may affect soil organisms and plants. Fire ant activity, mound density, mound dispersion, soil texture, soil permeability, soil moisture content, and soil nutrients were measured. Fire ants mounds are visible aboveground from April-November. Density of mounds was 117-738/ha, and average mound lifespan was 3.6 months with only 9% of the mounds remaining active throughout the entire season. Mounds were dispersed randomly. Foraging activity by fire ants was from June through October with a peak in July. Annual soil turnover was estimated by collecting and weighing mounds. There was no effect of ant mounds on soil texture, but water infiltration was higher in areas with ant mounds. Early-season samples showed no nutrient differences, but late-season samples showed that ant mounds contained higher amounts of micronutrients than random samples of soil. These data are compared to similar data on effects of mounds from native ants and from native and introduced ants in different habitats.

  3. Alternative mating behaviors of the queen polymorphic ant Temnothorax longispinosus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howard, Kenneth J.; Kennedy, David

    2007-11-01

    Mating behaviors of ants fall into two categories: female calling, in which a female alate releases pheromones that attract males, and male swarming, in which large male aggregations attract females. Female calling is common in species with queens that return to their natal nest to found colonies dependently after mating, while male swarming is common in species with queens that disperse to found independently. In some species that display both founding strategies, a queen-size polymorphism has evolved in which dependent-founding queens are smaller than independent-founding queens. Dependent founding is likely difficult if gynes (virgin queens) are mating in distant swarms. Therefore, a queen may adopt one or the other mating strategy based on its size and founding behavior. We investigated mating behaviors in the queen-polymorphic ant, Temnothorax longispinosus. Observations in laboratory mating arenas indicated that small gynes exhibited significantly lower flight activity than large gynes. Both forms mated in male swarms, and neither form exhibited female calling. The reduced flight activity of the small morph may facilitate returning to the natal nest after mating, provided the mating swarm is located nearby. Therefore, alternative colony-founding behaviors may be possible without the evolution of female-calling behavior; however, the reduced flight activity of small morphs may require that mating swarms are not distant from the natal nest.

  4. Alternative mating behaviors of the queen polymorphic ant Temnothorax longispinosus.

    PubMed

    Howard, Kenneth J; Kennedy, David

    2007-11-01

    Mating behaviors of ants fall into two categories: female calling, in which a female alate releases pheromones that attract males, and male swarming, in which large male aggregations attract females. Female calling is common in species with queens that return to their natal nest to found colonies dependently after mating, while male swarming is common in species with queens that disperse to found independently. In some species that display both founding strategies, a queen-size polymorphism has evolved in which dependent-founding queens are smaller than independent-founding queens. Dependent founding is likely difficult if gynes (virgin queens) are mating in distant swarms. Therefore, a queen may adopt one or the other mating strategy based on its size and founding behavior. We investigated mating behaviors in the queen-polymorphic ant, Temnothorax longispinosus. Observations in laboratory mating arenas indicated that small gynes exhibited significantly lower flight activity than large gynes. Both forms mated in male swarms, and neither form exhibited female calling. The reduced flight activity of the small morph may facilitate returning to the natal nest after mating, provided the mating swarm is located nearby. Therefore, alternative colony-founding behaviors may be possible without the evolution of female-calling behavior; however, the reduced flight activity of small morphs may require that mating swarms are not distant from the natal nest. PMID:17653686

  5. Mating triggers dynamic immune regulations in wood ant queens.

    PubMed

    Castella, G; Christe, P; Chapuisat, M

    2009-03-01

    Mating can affect female immunity in multiple ways. On the one hand, the immune system may be activated by pathogens transmitted during mating, sperm and seminal proteins, or wounds inflicted by males. On the other hand, immune defences may also be down-regulated to reallocate resources to reproduction. Ants are interesting models to study post-mating immune regulation because queens mate early in life, store sperm for many years, and use it until their death many years later, while males typically die after mating. This long-term commitment between queens and their mates limits the opportunity for sexual conflict but raises the new constraint of long-term sperm survival. In this study, we examine experimentally the effect of mating on immunity in wood ant queens. Specifically, we compared the phenoloxidase and antibacterial activities of mated and virgin Formica paralugubris queens. Queens had reduced levels of active phenoloxidase after mating, but elevated antibacterial activity 7 days after mating. These results indicate that the process of mating, dealation and ovary activation triggers dynamic patterns of immune regulation in ant queens that probably reflect functional responses to mating and pathogen exposure that are independent of sexual conflict. PMID:19170815

  6. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... In extreme cases, a rapid fall in blood pressure may result in shock and loss of consciousness. Symptoms of anaphylaxis require emergency medical treatment. Given the severity of a potential reaction, an accurate diagnosis for fire ant allergy is key to being prepared for ...

  7. Molecular variation at a candidate gene implicated in the regulation of fire ant social behavior.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant Solenopsis invicta and its close relatives display a profound social polymorphism involving differences in colony queen number. Colonies are headed by either a single reproductive queen (monogyne form) or multiple queens (polygyne form). This variation in social organization is associ...

  8. How many gamergates is an ant queen worth?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monnin, Thibaud; Peeters, Christian

    2008-02-01

    Ant reproductives exhibit different morphological adaptations linked to dispersal and fertility. By reviewing the literature on taxa where workers can reproduce sexually (i.e. become gamergates) we show that (1) species with a single gamergate generally have lost the winged queen caste, whereas only half of the species with several gamergates have, and (2) single-gamergate species have smaller colonies than multiple-gamergate species. Comparison with “classical” ants without gamergates, where having one vs having several winged queens are two distinct syndromes, suggests that having one vs having several gamergates are not. Gamergate number does not affect the success of colony fission, but retention of the queen caste permits the option of independent foundation.

  9. Identification of an ant queen pheromone regulating worker sterility.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2010-12-22

    The selective forces that shape and maintain eusocial societies are an enduring puzzle in evolutionary biology. Ordinarily sterile workers can usually reproduce given the right conditions, so the factors regulating reproductive division of labour may provide insight into why eusociality has persisted over evolutionary time. Queen-produced pheromones that affect worker reproduction have been implicated in diverse taxa, including ants, termites, wasps and possibly mole rats, but to date have only been definitively identified in the honeybee. Using the black garden ant Lasius niger, we isolate the first sterility-regulating ant queen pheromone. The pheromone is a cuticular hydrocarbon that comprises the majority of the chemical profile of queens and their eggs, and also affects worker behaviour, by reducing aggression towards objects bearing the pheromone. We further show that the pheromone elicits a strong response in worker antennae and that its production by queens is selectively reduced following an immune challenge. These results suggest that the pheromone has a central role in colony organization and support the hypothesis that worker sterility represents altruistic self-restraint in response to an honest quality signal. PMID:20591861

  10. Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and...

  11. Surface lipids of queen-laid eggs do not regulate queen production in a fission-performing ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruel, Camille; Lenoir, Alain; Cerdá, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël

    2013-01-01

    In animal societies, most collective and individual decision making depends on the presence of reproductive individuals. The efficient transmission of information among reproductive and non-reproductive individuals is therefore a determinant of colony organization. In social insects, the presence of a queen modulates multiple colonial activities. In many species, it negatively affects worker reproduction and the development of diploid larvae into future queens. The queen mostly signals her presence through pheromone emission, but the means by which these chemicals are distributed in the colony are still unclear. In several ant species, queen-laid eggs are the vehicle of the queen signal. The aim of this study was to investigate whether queen-laid eggs of the ant Aphaenogaster senilis possess queen-specific cuticular hydrocarbons and/or Dufour or poison gland compounds, and whether the presence of eggs inhibited larval development into queens. Our results show that the queen- and worker-laid eggs shared cuticular and Dufour hydrocarbons with the adults; however, their poison gland compounds were not similar. Queen-laid eggs had more dimethylalkanes and possessed a queen-specific mixture of cuticular hydrocarbons composed of 3,11 + 3,9 + 3,7-dimethylnonacosane, in higher proportions than did worker-laid eggs. Even though the queen-laid eggs were biochemically similar to the queen, their addition to experimentally queenless groups did not prevent the development of new queens. More studies are needed on the means by which queen ant pheromones are transmitted in the colony, and how these mechanisms correlates with life history traits.

  12. Surface lipids of queen-laid eggs do not regulate queen production in a fission-performing ant.

    PubMed

    Ruel, Camille; Lenoir, Alain; Cerdá, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël

    2013-01-01

    In animal societies, most collective and individual decision making depends on the presence of reproductive individuals. The efficient transmission of information among reproductive and non-reproductive individuals is therefore a determinant of colony organization. In social insects, the presence of a queen modulates multiple colonial activities. In many species, it negatively affects worker reproduction and the development of diploid larvae into future queens. The queen mostly signals her presence through pheromone emission, but the means by which these chemicals are distributed in the colony are still unclear. In several ant species, queen-laid eggs are the vehicle of the queen signal. The aim of this study was to investigate whether queen-laid eggs of the ant Aphaenogaster senilis possess queen-specific cuticular hydrocarbons and/or Dufour or poison gland compounds, and whether the presence of eggs inhibited larval development into queens. Our results show that the queen- and worker-laid eggs shared cuticular and Dufour hydrocarbons with the adults; however, their poison gland compounds were not similar. Queen-laid eggs had more dimethylalkanes and possessed a queen-specific mixture of cuticular hydrocarbons composed of 3,11 + 3,9 + 3,7-dimethylnonacosane, in higher proportions than did worker-laid eggs. Even though the queen-laid eggs were biochemically similar to the queen, their addition to experimentally queenless groups did not prevent the development of new queens. More studies are needed on the means by which queen ant pheromones are transmitted in the colony, and how these mechanisms correlates with life history traits. PMID:23224071

  13. The evolution of queen pheromones in the ant genus Lasius.

    PubMed

    Holman, L; Lanfear, R; d'Ettorre, P

    2013-07-01

    Queen pheromones are among the most important chemical messages regulating insect societies yet they remain largely undiscovered, hindering research into interesting proximate and ultimate questions. Identifying queen pheromones in multiple species would give new insight into the selective pressures and evolutionary constraints acting on these ubiquitous signals. Here, we present experimental and comparative evidence that 3-methylalkanes, hydrocarbons present on the queen's cuticle, are a queen pheromone throughout the ant genus Lasius. Interspecific variation in the chemical profile is consistent with 3-methylalkanes evolving more slowly than other types of hydrocarbons, perhaps due to differential selection or evolutionary constraints. We argue that the sensory ecology of the worker response imposes strong stabilizing selection on queen pheromones relative to other hydrocarbons. 3-Methylalkanes are also strongly physiologically and genetically coupled with fecundity in at least one Lasius species, which may translate into evolutionary constraints. Our results highlight how honest signalling could minimize evolutionary conflict over reproduction, promoting the evolution and maintenance of eusociality. PMID:23662630

  14. Evolution of Fire Ant Control

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The imported fire ants that entered the United States over 70 years ago have spread within the country to over 129.5 million ha. Efforts to stop the expansion and suppress fire ant populations have resulted in changing methods of control. Initial efforts focused on treating individual nests with h...

  15. Fire ant baits and biocontrol with pathogens update

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The insect growth regulator (IGR) methoprene (isopropyl-(2E,4E,7R,S)-11-methoxy-3,7,11-trimethyldodeca-2,4-dienoate) has been shown to have deleterious effects on red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta. It interferes with normal development of worker caste brood and reduces queen egg production...

  16. CHEMISTRY OF THE FECES OF THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS, SOLENOPSIS INVICTA BUREN (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In an ant colony, feces are not just metabolic waste; they often affect colony functions. Knowledge on the chemistry of the feces may be helpful in understanding their effect on the ant behavior. Feces of workers, larvae, alates and queens of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, were...

  17. Release and establishment of the little decapitating fly Pseudacteon cultellatus on imported fire ants in Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The little decapitating fly Pseudacteon cultellatus from Argentina was released as a self-sustaining biological control agent against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in Florida to parasitize small fire ant workers associated with multiple-queen colonies. This fly appears to be establi...

  18. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Tofilski, Adam; Heinze, Jürgen; Ratnieks, Francis L. W.

    2006-03-01

    How biological systems resolve internal conflicts is a major evolutionary question. Social insect workers cooperate but also pursue individual interests, such as laying male eggs. The rewards of this individual selfishness can be reduced by policing, such as by killing worker-laid eggs. However, selfish individuals may evade policing. What factors prevent individuals from being able to evade policing? In the ant Pachycondyla inversa, workers kill (police) worker-laid eggs. Because the colony keeps eggs in piles and worker-laid and queen-laid eggs are chemically distinct, worker-laid eggs might become more acceptable once placed in the egg pile by odour transfer from touching queen-laid eggs. Here, we show that such “cue scrambling” does not occur. Worker-laid eggs that were sandwiched between three queen-laid eggs for 45 min were not more acceptable in a policing bioassay than control worker-laid eggs. Chemical analyses also showed that the surface hydrocarbon profile of these eggs was unchanged. Policing, therefore, is stable against this potential cheating mechanism probably because queen-laid eggs are made chemically distinct using chemicals, that are not easily transferred by physical contact.

  19. MANAGING IMPORTED FIRE ANTS IN URBAN AREAS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The two species of imported fire ants (red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri) and their sexually reproducing hybrid are invasive insects whose stings can cause serious medical problems. Imported fire ants interfere with outdoor activities and ha...

  20. Biological Control of Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Since 1998, the Alabama Fire Ant Management Program has been releasing natural enemies of imported fire ants. These natural enemies are being studied to determine their impact on fire ants. It is hoped that eventually the overall number of fire ants in Alabama can be reduced through biological cont...

  1. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks.

  2. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations.

    PubMed

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks. PMID:26501413

  3. A new method for distinguishing colony social forms of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two distinct forms of colony social organization occur in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: Colonies of the monogyne social form are headed by a single egg-laying queen, whereas those of the polygyne social form contain multiple egg-laying queens. This major difference in social organization is ass...

  4. A new method for distinguishing colony social forms of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two distinct forms of colony social organization occur in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: Colonies of the monogyne social form are headed by a single egg-laying queen, whereas those of the polygyne social form contain multiple egg-laying queens. Recent studies have demonstrated that genetic variati...

  5. Queen movement during colony emigration in the facultatively polygynous ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pezon, Antoine; Denis, Damien; Cerdan, Philippe; Valenzuela, Jorge; Fresneau, Dominique

    2005-01-01

    In ants, nest relocations are frequent but nevertheless perilous, especially for the reproductive caste. During emigrations, queens are exposed to predation and face the risk of becoming lost. Therefore the optimal strategy should be to move the queen(s) swiftly to a better location, while maintaining maximum worker protection at all times in the new and old nests. The timing of that event is a crucial strategic issue for the colony and may depend on queen number. In monogynous colonies, the queen is vital for colony survival, whereas in polygynous colonies a queen is less essential, if not dispensable. We tested the null hypothesis that queen movement occurs at random within the sequence of emigration events in both monogynous and polygynous colonies of the ponerine ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis. Our study, based on 16 monogynous and 16 polygynous colony emigrations, demonstrates for the first time that regardless of the number of queens per colony, the emigration serial number of a queen occurs in the middle of all emigration events and adult ant emigration events, but not during brood transport events. It therefore appears that the number of workers in both nests plays an essential role in the timing of queen movement. Our results correspond to a robust colony-level strategy since queen emigration is related neither to colony size nor to queen number. Such an optimal strategy is characteristic of ant societies working as highly integrated units and represents a new instance of group-level adaptive behaviors in social insect colonies.

  6. Are invasive fire ants kept in check by native aerial insectivores?

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron P; Ames, Tayna; Bridge, Eli S

    2016-05-01

    Aerial predator-prey interactions may impact populations of many terrestrial species. Here, we use altitude loggers to study aerial foraging in a native insectivore, the purple martin (Progne subis), in the southern USA. Purple martins fed primarily on mating queens and males of the invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), and doubled their foraging efficiency by doing so. Across the USA, purple martins likely eat billions of fire ant queens each year, potentially impacting the spread of this species. Alternatively, predation on fire ants may help sustain populations of purple martins and other aerial insectivores. PMID:27194285

  7. Dynamics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    Fire ant aggregations are an inherently active system. Each ant harvests its own energy and can convert it into motion. The motion of individual ants contributes non-trivially to the bulk material properties of the aggregation. We have measured some of these properties using plate-plate rheology, where the response to an applied external force or deformation is measured. In this talk, we will present data pertaining to the aggregation behavior in the absence of any external force. We quantify the aggregation dynamics by monitoring the rotation of the top plate and by measuring the normal force. We then compare the results with visualizations of 2D aggregations.

  8. Evolution of specialized spermatheca morphology in ant queens: insight from comparative developmental biology between ants and polistine wasps.

    PubMed

    Gotoh, Ayako; Billen, Johan; Hashim, Rosli; Ito, Fuminori

    2009-11-01

    In many ant species, the queens can keep spermatozoa alive in their spermatheca for several years, which goes along with unique morphological characteristics of the queen's spermatheca. The relative spermatheca size in ant queens is prominently larger than that in social wasps. Furthermore, the epithelium lining the spermatheca reservoir of ants consists of columnar cells in the hilar region and squamous cells in the distal region, whereas it is formed by columnar cells only in social wasps. To study the evolution of the unique spermatheca morphology in ant queens, we compared the various processes during spermatheca development between two ponerine ant species of the genus Pachycondyla (=Brachyponera) and three polistine wasp species of the genus Polistes. From histological observations, we can define four developmental events in the ant queens: (1) invagination of the spermatheca primordium, (2) the reservoir wall thickness becomes unequal, (3) the reservoir diameter doubles as the lining epithelial cells become flattened except for the hilar region, and (4) the increase in thickness of the reservoir epithelium is limited to the hilar region which doubles in thickness. In polistine wasps, the second and the third developmental events are absent and the entire epithelium of the spermatheca wall becomes thick in the final step. We therefore conclude that for ant queens the second and third steps are crucial for the enlargement of the spermatheca size, and that the second to the fourth steps are crucial for the specialization of the reservoir wall structure. PMID:19720157

  9. Presence of the fire ant pathogen Kneallhazia solenopsae in fire ant decapitating phorid flies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pathogens and parasites from South America are being evaluated for the biological control of imported fire ants in the U.S. Fire ant decapitating flies that developed in fire ants infected with the fire ant pathogen Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae also acquired the pathogen. K. soleno...

  10. To b or not to b: a pheromone-binding protein regulates colony social organization in fire ants.

    PubMed

    Krieger, Michael J B

    2005-01-01

    A major distinction in the social organization of ant societies is the number of reproductive queens that reside in a single colony. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta exists in two distinct social forms, one with colonies headed by a single reproductive queen and the other containing several to hundreds of egg-laying queens. This variation in social organization has been shown to be associated with genotypes at the gene Gp-9. Specifically, single-queen colonies have only the B allelic variant of this gene, whereas multiple-queen colonies always have the b variant as well. Subsequent studies revealed that Gp-9 shares the highest sequence similarity with genes encoding pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs). In other insects, PBPs serve as central molecular components in the process of chemical recognition of conspecifics. Fire ant workers regulate the number of egg-laying queens in a colony by accepting queens that produce appropriate chemical signals and destroying those that do not. The likely role of GP-9 in chemoreception suggests that the essential distinction in colony queen number between the single and multiple-queen form originates from differences in workers' abilities to recognize queens. Other, closely related fire ant species seem to regulate colony social organization in a similar fashion. PMID:15612031

  11. Biological control of red imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two species of Imported Fire Ants (IFA), the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and the Black Imported Fire Ant, S. richteri Forel, were introduced into the United States in the early 1900s and currently inhabit over 320 million acres in the southern United States and Puerto Rico. Red ...

  12. Queen influence on workers behavior of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Forel, 1908).

    PubMed

    Sousa-Souto, L; Souza, D J

    2006-05-01

    In an ant colony, the queen is the single reproducer and can interact with her workers via pheromones and cuticular compounds. However, in most species queen importance is not restricted to reproduction: in the initial development of the colony, her presence might play a more important role. In this work, we studied the effects of queen absence on workers behavior displayed in the foraging arena. Ants mortality and refuse accumulation was also measured daily. The results showed that queen absence did not alter either workers behavior or foraging efficiency. However, we observed increased ant mortality accompanied by a decrease in refuse dumping outside the nest. These results corroborate the hypothesis that environmental factors are more important than intrinsical factors in the allocation of external tasks. Probably, the queen could only influence internal activities of the colony. PMID:16862305

  13. Queen Specific Exocrine Glands in Legionary Ants and Their Possible Function in Sexual Selection

    PubMed Central

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents. PMID:26986740

  14. Queen Specific Exocrine Glands in Legionary Ants and Their Possible Function in Sexual Selection.

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents. PMID:26986740

  15. Queen sex pheromone of the slave-making ant, Polyergus breviceps.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, Les; Tröger, Armin G; Francke, Wittko; McElfresh, J Steven; Topoff, Howard; Aliabadi, Ali; Millar, Jocelyn G

    2007-05-01

    Workers of the slave-making ant, Polyergus breviceps, raid nests of Formica ants and return with Formica pupae that mature into worker ants in the slave-makers' colony. These Formica workers then tend the Polyergus brood, workers, and reproductives. During raids in the mating season, winged virgin Polyergus queens accompany the workers in the raiding columns. During the raid, the virgin queens release a pheromone that attracts males that quickly mate with the queens. We report the identification, synthesis, and bioassay of the sex attractant pheromone of the queens as an approximately 1:6 ratio of (R)-3-ethyl-4-methylpentan-1-ol and methyl 6-methylsalicylate. The ants produce exclusively the (R)-enantiomer of the alcohol, and the (S)-enantiomer has no biological activity, neither inhibiting nor increasing attraction to blends of methyl 6-methylsalicylate with the (R)-enantiomer. PMID:17393281

  16. Selection against Aerial Dispersal in Ants: Two Non-Flying Queen Phenotypes in Pogonomyrmex laticeps

    PubMed Central

    Peeters, Christian; Keller, Roberto A.; Johnson, Robert A.

    2012-01-01

    The South American seed-harvester ant Pogonomyrmex laticeps has dimorphic queens: ergatoid (permanently wingless) and brachypterous (short, non-functional wings). Surveys in western Argentina indicated that colonies near Chilecito, La Rioja Province, produced only ergatoid queens, while those near Punta Balasto, Catamarca Province (263 km away), produced only brachypterous queens. Brachypterous queens were significantly larger than ergatoid queens for 10 of 11 external characters, but both phenotypes had comparable reproductive potential, i.e., a spermatheca and a similar number of ovarioles. Using normal winged queens of the closely related P. uruguayensis for comparison, we determined that both queen phenotypes in P. laticeps had a full set of dorsal thoracic sclerites, albeit each sclerite was much reduced, whereas workers had a thorax without distinct dorsal sclerites. Sclerites were fused and immobile in ergatoid queens, while they were separable and fully articulated in brachypterous queens. Both phenotypes lacked the big indirect flight muscles, but brachypterous queens retained the tiny direct flight muscles. Overall, this dimorphism across populations indicates that there are alternative solutions to selective pressures against flying queens. We lack field data about colony founding strategy (independent or dependent) for either queen phenotype, but colonies at both sites produced numerous gynes, and we infer that all foundresses initiate colonies independently and are obligate foragers. PMID:23110094

  17. Octopamine and cooperation: octopamine regulates the disappearance of cooperative behaviours between genetically unrelated founding queens in the ant.

    PubMed

    Koyama, Satoshi; Matsui, Shingo; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Sasaki, Ken

    2015-06-01

    We investigated whether octopamine (OA) is associated with the disappearance of cooperation in Polyrhachis moesta ant queens. Queens of P. moesta facultatively found the colony with genetically unrelated queens. The founding queens perform frequent food exchange with these non-related queens and partake in cooperative brood rearing, whereas single colony queens exclude non-related queens via aggressive behaviour. Thus, aggression is a factor that reduces cooperation. Given that aggression is generally associated with brain OA in insects, we hypothesized that OA controls the behavioural change in cooperation in the ant queen, via an increase in aggression. To test this hypothesis, we compared the amounts of OA and related substances in the brain between founding and colony queens, and observed the interaction of founding queens following oral OA administration. The brain OA levels in colony queens were significantly higher than those in founding queens. Oral administration of OA to founding queens caused significantly less trophallaxis and allogrooming behaviour than in the control founding queens, but with no significant increase in aggression. These results suggest that OA promotes the disappearance of cooperation in founding queens of P. moesta. This is the first study to reveal the neuroendocrine mechanism of cooperation in ant queens. PMID:26085498

  18. Thelytokous parthenogenesis by queens in the dacetine ant Pyramica membranifera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ito, Fuminori; Touyama, Yoshifumi; Gotoh, Ayako; Kitahiro, Shungo; Billen, Johan

    2010-08-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis in which diploid females are produced from unfertilized eggs, was recently reported for some ant species. Here, we document thelytokous reproduction by queens in the polygynous species Pyramica membranifera. Queens that emerged in the laboratory were kept with or without workers under laboratory conditions. Independent colony founding was successful for a few queens if prey was provided. All artificial colonies, which started with a newly emerged queen and workers produced new workers and some of the colonies also produced female sexuals. Some of the female sexuals shed their wings in the laboratory and started formation of new polygynous colonies. Workers had no ovaries and thus, were obligatorily sterile.

  19. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

    Suckling, David M; Stringer, Lloyd D; Bunn, Barry; El-Sayed, Ashraf M; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2010-07-01

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is considered one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world. Toxic bait systems are used widely for control, but they also affect non-target ant species and cannot be used in sensitive ecosystems such as organic farms and national parks. The fire ant uses recruitment pheromones to organize the retrieval of large food resources back to the colony, with Z,E-alpha-farnesene responsible for the orientation of workers along trails. We prepared Z,E-alpha-farnesene, (91% purity) from extracted E,E-alpha-farnesene and demonstrated disruption of worker trail orientation after presentation of an oversupply of this compound from filter paper point sources (30 microg). Trails were established between queen-right colony cells and food sources in plastic tubs. Trail-following behavior was recorded by overhead webcam, and ants were digitized before and after presentation of the treatment, using two software approaches. The linear regression statistic, r(2) was calculated. Ants initially showed high linear trail integrity (r(2) = 0.75). Within seconds of presentation of the Z,E-alpha-farnesene treatment, the trailing ants showed little or no further evidence of trail following behavior in the vicinity of the pheromone source. These results show that trailing fire ants become disorientated in the presence of large amounts of Z,E-alpha-farnesene. Disrupting fire ant recruitment to resources may have a negative effect on colony size or other effects yet to be determined. This phenomenon was demonstrated recently for the Argentine ant, where trails were disrupted for two weeks by using their formulated trail pheromone, Z-9-hexadecenal. Further research is needed to establish the long term effects and control potential for trail disruption in S. invicta. PMID:20549330

  20. Chemical recognition of partner plant species by foundress ant queens in Macaranga-Crematogaster myrmecophytism.

    PubMed

    Inui, Y; Itioka, T; Murase, K; Yamaoka, R; Itino, T

    2001-10-01

    The partnership in the Crematogaster-Macaranga ant-plant interaction is highly species-specific. Because a mutualistic relationship on a Macaranga plant starts with colonization by a foundress queen of a partner Crematogaster species, we hypothesized that the foundress queens select their partner plant species by chemical recognition. We tested this hypothesis with four sympatric Macaranga species and their Crematogaster plant-ant species. We demonstrated that foundress Crematogaster queens can recognize their partner Macaranga species by contact with the surface of the seedlings, that they can recognize compounds from the stem surface of seedlings of their partner plant species, and that the gas chromatographic profiles are characteristic of the plant species. These findings support the hypothesis that foundress queens of the Crematogaster plant-ant species select their partner Macaranga species by recognizing nonvolatile chemical characteristics of the stem surfaces of seedlings. PMID:11710609

  1. Avoid mistakes when choosing a new home: Nest choice and adoption of Leptothorax ant queens.

    PubMed

    Bernadou, Abel; Ruther, Joachim; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-08-01

    In ants, mating and colony founding are critical steps in the life of ant queens. Outside of their nests, young queens are exposed to intense predation. Therefore, they are expected to have evolved behavior to accurately and quickly locate a nesting place. However, data on the early life history of female reproductives are still lacking. Leptothorax gredleri is a suitable model organism to study the behavior of young queens. Reproductives can be reared under artificial conditions and readily mate in the laboratory. After mating, L. gredleri queens have the options to found solitarily, seek adoption into another colony, or return into their natal nest. In this study, we investigated the decision-making processes of female sexuals before and after mating. In particular, we tested whether female sexuals use chemical cues to find their way back to the nest, studied if they prefer their own nest over other nesting sites and followed the adoption dynamics of mated queens over 8 weeks (plus hibernation and spring). We showed that female sexuals and freshly mated queens spent more time on substrate previously used by workers from their own colony and from another colony than on a blank substrate. This discriminatory capability of queens appears to be lost in old, reproductive queens. Nest choice experiments showed that female sexuals and freshly mated queens can distinguish their own nest while old mated queens do not. When reintroduced in their maternal colony, young queens were readily adopted, but a few weeks later aggression against young queens led to their emigration from the maternal nest and eventually also death. PMID:26086676

  2. Fire ant-detecting canines: a complementary method in detecting red imported fire ants.

    PubMed

    Lin, Hui-Min; Chi, Wei-Lien; Lin, Chung-Chi; Tseng, Yu-Ching; Chen, Wang-Ting; Kung, Yu-Ling; Lien, Yi-Yang; Chen, Yang-Yuan

    2011-02-01

    In this investigation, detection dogs are trained and used in identifying red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and their nests. The methodology could assist in reducing the frequency and scope of chemical treatments for red imported fire ant management and thus reduce labor costs and chemical use as well as improve control and quarantine efficiency. Three dogs previously trained for customs quarantine were retrained to detect the scents of red imported fire ants. After passing tests involving different numbers of live red imported fire ants and three other ant species--Crematogaster rogenhoferi Mayr, Paratrechina longicornis Latreille, and Pheidole megacephala F.--placed in containers, ajoint field survey for red imported fire ant nests by detection dogs and bait traps was conducted to demonstrate their use as a supplement to conventional detection methods. The most significant findings in this report are (1) with 10 or more red imported fire ants in scent containers, the dogs had >98% chance in tracing the red imported fire ant. Upon the introduction of other ant species, the dogs still achieved on average, a 93% correct red imported fire ant indication rate. Moreover, the dogs demonstrated great competence in pinpointing emerging and smaller red imported fire ant nests in red imported fire ant-infested areas that had been previously confirmed by bait trap stations. (2) Along with the bait trap method, we also discovered that approximately 90% of red imported fire ants foraged within a distance of 14 m away from their nests. The results prove detection dogs to be most effective for red imported fire ant control in areas that have been previously treated with pesticides and therefore containing a low density of remaining red imported fire ant nests. Furthermore, as a complement to other red imported fire ant monitoring methods, this strategy will significantly increase the efficacy of red imported fire ant control in cases of individual mount treatment

  3. Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive neighbors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassill, Deby L.; Vo, Kim; Becker, Brandie

    2008-07-01

    Feigning death is a method of self-defense employed among a wide range of prey species when threatened by predator species. This paper reports on death-feigning behavior by the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, during intraspecific aggression among neighboring fire ant workers. Days-old workers responded to aggression by death feigning, weeks-old workers responded by fleeing and months-old workers responded by fighting back. By feigning death, days-old workers were four times more likely to survive aggression than older workers. From a proximate perspective, retaliation by young workers against aggressive older workers is certain to fail. With their relatively soft exoskeleton, young workers would be prone to injury and death and unable to execute an effective attack of biting or stinging older workers with harder exoskeletons. From an ultimate perspective, death feigning allows young workers to survive and contribute to brood care and colony growth, both of which are essential to queen survival and fitness.

  4. Gene expression and variation in social aggression by queens of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus.

    PubMed

    Helmkampf, Martin; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Kang, Yun; Fewell, Jennifer; Gadau, Jürgen

    2016-08-01

    A key requirement for social cooperation is the mitigation and/or social regulation of aggression towards other group members. Populations of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus show the alternate social phenotypes of queens founding nests alone (haplometrosis) or in groups of unrelated yet cooperative individuals (pleometrosis). Pleometrotic queens display an associated reduction in aggression. To understand the proximate drivers behind this variation, we placed foundresses of the two populations into social environments with queens from the same or the alternate population, and measured their behaviour and head gene expression profiles. A proportion of queens from both populations behaved aggressively, but haplometrotic queens were significantly more likely to perform aggressive acts, and conflict escalated more frequently in pairs of haplometrotic queens. Whole-head RNA sequencing revealed variation in gene expression patterns, with the two populations showing moderate differentiation in overall transcriptional profile, suggesting that genetic differences underlie the two founding strategies. The largest detected difference, however, was associated with aggression, regardless of queen founding type. Several modules of coregulated genes, involved in metabolism, immune system and neuronal function, were found to be upregulated in highly aggressive queens. Conversely, nonaggressive queens exhibited a striking pattern of upregulation in chemosensory genes. Our results highlight that the social phenotypes of cooperative vs. solitary nest founding tap into a set of gene regulatory networks that seem to govern aggression level. We also present a number of highly connected hub genes associated with aggression, providing opportunity to further study the genetic underpinnings of social conflict and tolerance. PMID:27178446

  5. Transcriptomic Signatures Mirror the Lack of the Fecundity/Longevity Trade-Off in Ant Queens.

    PubMed

    von Wyschetzki, Katharina; Rueppell, Olav; Oettler, Jan; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-12-01

    Life-history theory predicts a trade-off between reproductive investment and self-maintenance. The negative association between fertility and longevity found throughout multicellular organisms supports this prediction. As an important exception, the reproductives of many eusocial insects (ants, bees, and termites) are simultaneously very long-lived and highly fertile. Here, we examine the proximate basis for this exceptional relationship by comparing whole-body transcriptomes of differently aged queens of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. We show that the sets of genes differentially expressed with age significantly overlap with age-related expression changes previously found in female Drosophila melanogaster. We identified several developmental processes, such as the generation of neurons, as common signatures of aging. More generally, however, gene expression in ant queens and flies changes with age mainly in opposite directions. In contrast to flies, reproduction-associated genes were upregulated and genes associated with metabolic processes and muscle contraction were downregulated in old relative to young ant queens. Furthermore, we searched for putative C. obscurior longevity candidates associated with the previously reported lifespan-prolonging effect of mating by comparing the transcriptomes of queens that differed in mating and reproductive status. We found 21 genes, including the putative aging candidate NLaz (an insect homolog of APOD), which were consistently more highly expressed in short-lived, unmated queens than in long-lived, mated queens. Our study provides clear evidence that the alternative regulation of conserved molecular pathways that mediate the interplay among mating, egg laying, and aging underlies the lack of the fecundity/longevity trade-off in ant queens. PMID:26341296

  6. Queen pheromones modulate DNA methyltransferase activity in bee and ant workers.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

    DNA methylation is emerging as an important regulator of polyphenism in the social insects. Research has concentrated on differences in methylation between queens and workers, though we hypothesized that methylation is involved in mediating other flexible phenotypes, including pheromone-dependent changes in worker behaviour and physiology. Here, we find that exposure to queen pheromone affects the expression of two DNA methyltransferase genes in Apis mellifera honeybees and in two species of Lasius ants, but not in Bombus terrestris bumblebees. These results suggest that queen pheromones influence the worker methylome, pointing to a novel proximate mechanism for these key social signals. PMID:26814223

  7. CONTROL FIRE ANTS BY USING DECAPITATING FLIES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Researchers with the USDA, ARS Biological Control of Pests Research Unit are rearing Pseudacteon curvatus, a tiny fly in the family Phoridae that parasitizes and kills imported fire ants. The flies only attack fire ants, and are not attracted to vegetables (12 kinds), fruit (13 kinds), raw meat (7 ...

  8. The Complexity of Fire Ant Nestmate Recognition

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri, were inadvertently introduced into the United States in the early 1900s and currently inhabit over 129 million hectares in Puerto Rico and twelve southern states from Texas to Virginia. Imported fire ants have also become established in isolated...

  9. Area-wide Suppression of Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants, Solenopsis richteri and Solenopsis invicta, infest over 129.5 million ha in the USA. Fire ants, with their tremendous reproduction, mobility, and ability to occupy a wide range of habitats make their eradication very difficult. In the USA, rapid and extensive spread of these stinging an...

  10. Sampling High-Altitude and Stratified Mating Flights of Red Imported Fire Ant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    With the exception of an airplane equipped with nets, no method has been developed that successfully samples red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, sexuals in mating/dispersal flights throughout their potential altitudinal trajectories. We developed and tested a method for sampling queens ...

  11. Selfish strategies and honest signalling: reproductive conflicts in ant queen associations.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Dreier, Stephanie; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2010-07-01

    Social insects offer unique opportunities to test predictions regarding the evolution of cooperation, life histories and communication. Colony founding by groups of unrelated queens, some of which are later killed, may select for selfish reproductive strategies, honest signalling and punishment. Here, we use a brood transfer experiment to test whether cofounding queens of the ant Lasius niger 'selfishly' adjust their productivity when sharing the nest with future competitors. We simultaneously analysed queen cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles to investigate whether queens honestly signal their reproductive output or produce dishonest, manipulative signals, providing a novel test of the evolutionary significance of queen pheromones. Queens produced fewer workers when their colony contained ample brood, but only in the presence of competitors, suggesting selfish conservation of resources. Several CHCs correlated with reproductive maturation, and to a lesser extent with productivity; the same hydrocarbons were more abundant on queens that were not killed, suggesting that workers select productive queens using these chemical cues. Our results highlight the role of honest signalling in the evolution of cooperation: whenever cheaters can be reliably identified, they may incur sanctions that reduce the incentive to be selfish. PMID:20181562

  12. Selfish strategies and honest signalling: reproductive conflicts in ant queen associations

    PubMed Central

    Holman, Luke; Dreier, Stephanie; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2010-01-01

    Social insects offer unique opportunities to test predictions regarding the evolution of cooperation, life histories and communication. Colony founding by groups of unrelated queens, some of which are later killed, may select for selfish reproductive strategies, honest signalling and punishment. Here, we use a brood transfer experiment to test whether cofounding queens of the ant Lasius niger ‘selfishly’ adjust their productivity when sharing the nest with future competitors. We simultaneously analysed queen cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles to investigate whether queens honestly signal their reproductive output or produce dishonest, manipulative signals, providing a novel test of the evolutionary significance of queen pheromones. Queens produced fewer workers when their colony contained ample brood, but only in the presence of competitors, suggesting selfish conservation of resources. Several CHCs correlated with reproductive maturation, and to a lesser extent with productivity; the same hydrocarbons were more abundant on queens that were not killed, suggesting that workers select productive queens using these chemical cues. Our results highlight the role of honest signalling in the evolution of cooperation: whenever cheaters can be reliably identified, they may incur sanctions that reduce the incentive to be selfish. PMID:20181562

  13. Queens defense by workers in the highly polygynous ant Crematogaster pygmaea (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae).

    PubMed

    Martins Segundo, Glauco Bezerra; de Biseau, Jean-Christophe; Quinet, Yves

    2012-11-01

    Some aspects of the biology of Crematogaster pygmaea, a highly polydomous and polygynous ant, are more commonly found in monogynous species. One such characteristic is the high attractiveness of its queens. In this study, this attractiveness was assessed under varying experimental conditions to investigate the factors responsible for its expression and variation, and to identify the nature of queen attractiveness. It was shown (1) that C. pygmaea queens are highly attractive to the workers that cluster on and around them (retinue), (2) that the attractiveness of C. pygmaea queens is context-dependent, i.e., it increases with increasing degree of potential danger to the queen, (3) that the attractiveness signal of C. pygmaea queens is chemically based, and (4) that this signal is persistent and apparently not colony-specific. The proposed hypothesis is that the C. pygmaea queens constantly release an attractiveness signal that is "read" by the workers, in a dependent way linked to the context, and that the main function of this attractiveness is to protect queens. This protection would have a high adaptive value in the context of the social structure and the reproductive strategies in C. pygmaea. PMID:23026145

  14. Usefulness of fire ant genetics in insecticide efficacy trials

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mature fire ant colonies contain an average of 80,000 worker ants. For this study, eight fire ant workers were randomly sampled from each colony. DNA fingerprints for each individual ant were generated using 21 simple sequence repeats (SSR) markers that were developed from fire ant DNA by other lab...

  15. Mating with an allopatric male triggers immune response and decreases longevity of ant queens.

    PubMed

    Schrempf, A; von Wyschetzki, K; Klein, A; Schrader, L; Oettler, J; Heinze, J

    2015-07-01

    In species with lifelong pair bonding, the reproductive interests of the mating partners are aligned, and males and females are expected to jointly maximize their reproductive success. Mating increases both longevity and fecundity of female reproductives (queens) of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, indicating a tight co-evolution of mating partners. Here, we show that mating with a male from their own population increases lifespan and reproductive success of queens more than mating with a male from a different population, with whom they could not co-evolve. A comparison of transcriptomes revealed an increased expression of genes involved in immunity processes in queens, which mated with males from a different population. Increased immune response might be proximately associated with decreased lifespan. Our study suggests a synergistic co-evolution between the sexes and sheds light on the proximate mechanisms underlying the decreased fitness of allopatrically mated queens. PMID:26059759

  16. Virgin ant queens mate with their own sons to avoid failure at colony foundation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Christine Vanessa; Frohschammer, Sabine; Schrempf, Alexandra; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Mother-son mating (oedipal mating) is practically non-existent in social Hymenoptera, as queens typically avoid inbreeding, mate only early in life and do not mate again after having begun to lay eggs. In the ant genus Cardiocondyla mating occurs among sib in the natal nests. Sex ratios are extremely female-biased and young queens face the risk of remaining without mating partners. Here, we show that virgin queens of Cardiocondyla argyrotricha produce sons from their own unfertilized eggs and later mate with them to produce female offspring from fertilized eggs. Oedipal mating may allow C. argyrotricha queens to found new colonies when no mating partners are available and thus maintains their unusual life history combining monogyny, mating in the nest, and low male production. Our result indicates that a trait that sporadically occurs in solitary haplodiploid animals may evolve also in social Hymenoptera under appropriate ecological and social conditions.

  17. Sex pheromone of queens of the slave-making ant, Polyergus breviceps.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, Les; Aliabadi, Ali; McElfresh, J Stephen; Topoff, Howard; Millar, Jocelyn G

    2004-06-01

    The sex attractant pheromone produced in mandibular glands of queens of the slave-making ant Polyergus breviceps has been identified as a blend of methyl 6-methylsalicylate and 3-ethyl-4-methylpentanol. In field trials, each compound alone was completely unattractive to males, whereas blends of the two compounds attracted hundreds of males within a couple of hours. PMID:15303331

  18. Multilocus Evolution in Fire Ants: Effects of Selection, Gene Flow and Recombination

    PubMed Central

    Ross, K. G.

    1997-01-01

    The reproductive success of individual fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta) previously has been shown to be strongly influenced by their genotype at a single enzyme-encoding gene, designated Pgm-3. This paper presents evidence that a second, tightly linked gene, designated Gp-9, is under similarly strong selection in these ants. Selection appears to act independently on the two genes and is detectable in only one of the two social forms of this species (the ``polygyne'' social form, in which nests contain multiple fertile queens). Strong directional selection on Pgm-3 in this form involves worker destruction of all queens with genotype Pgm-3(AA) before they reproduce. Selection on Gp-9 is more complex, involving both lethality of all Gp-9(bb) females and a strong or even complete survival advantage to reproductive queens with the heterozygous genotype Gp-9(Bb). Pgm-3 and Gp-9 are tightly linked (r(f) = 0.0016) and exhibit strong gametic phase disequilibrium in introduced populations in the U.S. This disequilibrium seems not to have stemmed from the founder event associated with the introduction, because the same associations of alleles found in the U.S. apparently occur also in two native populations in Argentina. Rather, selection acting independently on Pgm-3 and Gp-9, in conjunction with gene flow from the alternate, ``monogyne'' social form (in which nests contain a single fertile queen), may explain the origin of disequilibrium between the two loci in polygyne fire ants. PMID:9093850

  19. Chemical profiles of mated and virgin queens, egg-laying intermorphs and workers of the ant Crematogaster smithi.

    PubMed

    Oettler, Jan; Schmitt, Thomas; Herzner, Gudrun; Heinze, Jürgen

    2008-04-01

    Many colonies of the North American ant Crematogaster smithi contain a "third female caste" in addition to queens and workers. These "intermorphs" are morphological intermediate of queens and workers and have well-developed ovaries but lack a spermatheca for the storage of sperm. They are specialised for laying large numbers of unfertilised, viable eggs, most of which serve as food for larvae and adults, though a few may eventually develop into males. Based on the assumption that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in social insects honestly signal the reproductive status of an individual we investigated the CHC of mated mature queens, virgin queens, intermorphs and workers. We expected intermorphs to show chemical profiles intermediate between those of mated queens and non-reproductive workers. A discriminant analysis of the chemical profiles reliably separated queens, virgin queens, and workers, but failed to distinguish between queens and intermorphs even though workers were apparently capable of doing so. PMID:18321526

  20. Biological activity of the enantiomers of 3-methylhentriacontane, a queen pheromone of the ant Lasius niger.

    PubMed

    Motais de Narbonne, Marine; van Zweden, Jelle S; Bello, Jan E; Wenseleers, Tom; Millar, Jocelyn G; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2016-06-01

    Queen pheromones are essential for regulation of the reproductive division of labor in eusocial insect species. Although only the queen is able to lay fertilized eggs and produce females, in some cases workers may develop their ovaries and lay male-destined eggs, thus reducing the overall colony efficiency. As long as the queen is healthy, it is usually in the workers' collective interest to work for the colony and remain sterile. Queens signal their fertility via pheromones, which may have a primer effect, affecting the physiology of workers, or a releaser effect, influencing worker behavior. The queen pheromone of the ant Lasius niger was among the first queen pheromones of social insects to be identified. Its major component is 3-methylhentriacontane (3-MeC31), which is present in relatively large amounts on the queen's cuticle and on her eggs. 3-MeC31 regulates worker reproduction by inhibiting ovarian development. Most monomethyl-branched hydrocarbons can exist in two stereoisomeric forms. The correct stereochemistry is fundamental to the activity of most bioactive molecules, but this has rarely been investigated for methyl-branched hydrocarbons. Here, we tested the bioactivity of the (S)- and (R)-enantiomers of 3-MeC31, and found that whereas both enantiomers were effective in suppressing worker ovarian development, (S)-3-MeC31 appeared to be more effective at suppressing aggressive behavior by workers. This suggests that the natural pheromone may be a mixture of the two enantiomers. The enantiomeric ratio produced by queens remains unknown because of the small amounts of the compound available from each queen. PMID:26994182

  1. Winged queens replaced by reproductives smaller than workers in Mystrium ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molet, Mathieu; Peeters, Christian; Fisher, Brian L.

    2007-04-01

    In ants, winged queens that are specialized for independent colony foundation can be replaced by wingless reproductives better adapted for colony fission. We studied this shift in reproductive strategy by comparing two Mystrium species from Madagascar using morphometry, allometry and dissections. Mystrium rogeri has a single dealate queen in each colony with a larger thorax than workers and similar mandibles that allow these queens to hunt during non-claustral foundation. In contrast, Mystrium ‘red’ lacks winged queens and half of the female adults belong to a wingless ‘intermorph’ caste smaller and allometrically distinct from the workers. Intermorphs have functional ovaries and spermatheca while those of workers are degenerate. Intermorphs care for brood and a few mate and reproduce making them an all-purpose caste that takes charge of both work and reproduction. However, their mandibles are reduced and inappropriate for hunting centipedes, unlike the workers’ mandibles. This together with their small thorax disallow them to perform independent colony foundation, and colonies reproduce by fission. M. rogeri workers have mandibles polymorphic in size and shape, which allow for all tasks from brood care to hunting. In M. ‘red’, colonial investment in reproduction has shifted from producing expensive winged queens to more numerous helpers. M. ‘red’ intermorphs are the first case of reproductives smaller than workers in ants and illustrate their potential to diversify their caste system for better colonial economy.

  2. Influence of toxic bait type and starvation on worker and queen mortality in laboratory colonies of Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Mathieson, Melissa; Toft, Richard; Lester, Philip J

    2012-08-01

    The efficacy of toxic baits should be judged by their ability to kill entire ant colonies, including the colony queen or queens. We studied the efficacy of four toxic baits to the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). These baits were Xstinguish that has the toxicant fipronil, Exterm-an-Ant that contains both boric acid and sodium borate, and Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena that both have indoxacarb. Experimental nests contained 300 workers and 10 queen ants that were starved for either 24 or 48 h before toxic bait exposure. The efficacy of the toxic baits was strongly influenced by starvation. In no treatment with 24-h starvation did we observe 100% worker death. After 24-h starvation three of the baits did not result in any queen deaths, with only Exterm-an-Ant producing an average of 25% mortality. In contrast, 100% queen and worker mortality was observed in colonies starved for 48 h and given Xstinguish or Exterm-an-Ant. The baits Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena were not effective against Argentine ants in these trials, resulting in <60% mortality in all treatments. Because of the strong influence of starvation on bait uptake, control efficacy may be maximized by applying bait when ants are likely to be starved. Our results suggest queen mortality must be assessed in tests for toxic bait efficacy. Our data indicate that of these four baits, Xstinguish and Exterm-an-Ant are the best options for control of Argentine ants in New Zealand. PMID:22928290

  3. Impact of red imported fire ant infestation on northern bobwhite quail abundance trends in southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, C.R.; Willey, R.D.; Myers, P.E.; Horton, P.M.; Buffa, J.

    2000-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus L.) populations are declining throughout their range. One factor contributing to the decline in the southeastern United States may be the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren). Recent research in Texas has documented that red imported fire ants can have a significant impact on northern bobwhite quail. That research was conducted in areas where fire ants are predominately polygynous (multiple queen). Polygynous infestations have much higher mound densities than the monogynous (single queen) form. In most of the southeastern United States, fire ants are predominately monogynous. We determined if there was a relationship between the invasion of monogynous red imported fire ants and abundance trends in northern bobwhite quail in the southeastern United States. For Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina we compared average northern bobwhite quail abundance based on Christmas Bird Count data for each county before and after fire ant invasion, and conducted regression analyses on bobwhite quail abundance and year preinvasion, and abundance and year postinvasion. Regionally, northern bobwhite quail were more abundant before (0.067 ??0.018 bobwhite quail per observer hour) than after fire ants invaded (0.019 ?? 0.006; Z = -3.746, df = 18, P 30-yr variation in invasion dates.

  4. Effect of cuticular abrasion and recovery on water loss rates in queens of the desert harvester ant Messor pergandei.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A; Kaiser, Alexander; Quinlan, Michael; Sharp, William

    2011-10-15

    Factors that affect water loss rates (WLRs) are poorly known for organisms in natural habitats. Seed-harvester ant queens provide an ideal system for examining such factors because WLRs for mated queens excavated from their incipient nests are twofold to threefold higher than those of alate queens. Indirect data suggest that this increase results from soil particles abrading the cuticle during nest excavation. This study provides direct support for the cuticle abrasion hypothesis by measuring total mass-specific WLRs, cuticular abrasion, cuticular transpiration, respiratory water loss and metabolic rate for queens of the ant Messor pergandei at three stages: unmated alate queens, newly mated dealate queens (undug foundresses) and mated queens excavated from their incipient nest (dug foundresses); in addition we examined these processes in artificially abraded alate queens. Alate queens had low WLRs and low levels of cuticle abrasion, whereas dug foundresses had high WLRs and high levels of cuticle abrasion. Total WLR and cuticular transpiration were lowest for alate queens, intermediate for undug foundresses and highest for dug foundresses. Respiratory water loss contributed ~10% of the total WLR and was lower for alate queens and undug foundresses than for dug foundresses. Metabolic rate did not vary across stages. Total WLR and cuticular transpiration of artificially abraded alate queens increased, whereas respiratory water loss and metabolic rate were unaffected. Overall, increased cuticular transpiration accounted for essentially all the increased total water loss in undug and dug foundresses and artificially abraded queens. Artificially abraded queens and dug foundresses showed partial recovery after 14 days. PMID:21957113

  5. Dynamics and elasticity of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto; Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David

    2015-03-01

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, form aggregations that are able to drip and spread like simple liquids, but that can also store energy and maintain a shape like elastic solids. They are an active material where the constituent particles constantly transform chemical energy into work. We find that fire ant aggregations shear thin and exhibit a stress cutoff below which they are able to oppose the applied stress. In the linear regime, the dynamics is fractal-like with both storage and shear moduli that overlap for over three orders of magnitude and that are power law with frequency. This dynamic behavior, characteristic of polymer gels and the gelation point, gives way to a predominantly elastic regime at higher ant densities. In comparison, dead ants are always solid-like.

  6. Opposable spines facilitate fine and gross object manipulation in fire ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassill, Deby; Greco, Anthony; Silwal, Rajesh; Wang, Xuefeng

    2007-04-01

    Ants inhabit diverse terrestrial biomes from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic tundra. One factor contributing to the ants’ successful colonization of diverse geographical regions is their ability to manipulate objects when excavating nests, capturing, transporting and rendering prey or grooming, feeding and transporting helpless brood. This paper is the first to report the form and function of opposable spines on the foretarsi of queens and workers used during fine motor and gross motor object manipulation in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In conjunction with their mandibles, queens and workers used their foretarsi to grasp and rotate eggs, push or pull thread-like objects out of their way or push excavated soil pellets behind them for disposal by other workers. Opposable spines were found on the foretarsi of workers from seven of eight other ant species suggesting that they might be a common feature in the Formicidae.

  7. Fatty Amines from Little Black Ants, Monomorium minimum, and Their Biological Activities Against Red Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Chen, Jian

    2015-08-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, are significant invasive pests. Certain native ant species can compete with S. invicta, such as the little black ant, Monomorium minimum. Defensive secretions may contribute to the competition capacity of native ants. The chemistry of ant defensive secretions in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to extensive research. The insecticidal alkaloids, 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolines have been reported to dominate the venom of M. minimum. In this study, analysis of defensive secretions of workers and queens of M. minimum revealed two primary amines, decylamine and dodecylamine. Neither amine has been reported previously from natural sources. Toxicity and digging suppression by these two amines against S. invicta were examined. Decylamine had higher toxicity to S. invicta workers than dodecylamine, a quicker knockdown effect, and suppressed the digging behavior of S. invicta workers at lower concentration. However, the amount of fatty amines in an individual ant was not enough to knockdown a fire ant or suppress its digging behavior. These amines most likely work in concert with other components in the chemical defense of M. minimum. PMID:26254063

  8. GLYCEROL IN NEST MATERIAL OF RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Red imported fire ant is a nest-building ant species. Workers build the nest by excavating soils. It was reported that red imported fire ants incorporated ant-derived compounds in their nest soil, such as cuticular hydrocarbons (Vander Meer R. K. unpublished data) and venom alkaloids (Blum, M. S. ...

  9. Extensional Rheology of Fire Ant Aggregates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Franklin, Scott; Kern, Matthew; Phonekeo, Sulisay; Hu, David

    We explore the extensional rheology and self-healing of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) aggregations, mechanically entangled ensembles used to form rafts, bivouacs or bridges. Macroscopic experiments create quasi-two dimensional piles and measure the force required to impose a constant end-velocity. This force fluctuates, reminiscent of similar experiments on geometrically cohesive granular materials. Heterogeneous chains develop, with isolated ants often the sole link between top and bottom. Finally, the maximum pile strength scales sub-linearly with the number of ants, with the maximum force per ant decreasing as the pile grows. We reproduce these behaviors with a simple model that represents ants feet as discs connected by a spring (the ''leg''). Discs move randomly, and stick to one another when in contact. Discs in contact un-stick at random with a probability that decreases as the spring (leg) is stretched, modeling an ant's tendency to hold on longer when stretched. Simulations qualitatively reproduces the fluctuating force, chain formation and sublinear scaling of maximum force with particle number and give insight into underlying mechanisms that govern the ants' behaviors. Funded in part by NSF DMR #1133722.

  10. Tolerating an infection: an indirect benefit of co-founding queen associations in the ant Lasius niger

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pull, Christopher D.; Hughes, William O. H.; Brown, Mark J. F.

    2013-12-01

    Pathogens exert a strong selection pressure on organisms to evolve effective immune defences. In addition to individual immunity, social organisms can act cooperatively to produce collective defences. In many ant species, queens have the option to found a colony alone or in groups with other, often unrelated, conspecifics. These associations are transient, usually lasting only as long as each queen benefits from the presence of others. In fact, once the first workers emerge, queens fight to the death for dominance. One potential advantage of co-founding may be that queens benefit from collective disease defences, such as mutual grooming, that act against common soil pathogens. We test this hypothesis by exposing single and co-founding queens to a fungal parasite, in order to assess whether queens in co-founding associations have improved survival. Surprisingly, co-foundresses exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium did not engage in cooperative disease defences, and consequently, we find no direct benefit of multiple queens on survival. However, an indirect benefit was observed, with parasite-exposed queens producing more brood when they co-founded, than when they were alone. We suggest this is due to a trade-off between reproduction and immunity. Additionally, we report an extraordinary ability of the queens to tolerate an infection for long periods after parasite exposure. Our study suggests that there are no social immunity benefits for co-founding ant queens, but that in parasite-rich environments, the presence of additional queens may nevertheless improve the chances of colony founding success.

  11. Tolerating an infection: an indirect benefit of co-founding queen associations in the ant Lasius niger.

    PubMed

    Pull, Christopher D; Hughes, William O H; Brown, Mark J F

    2013-12-01

    Pathogens exert a strong selection pressure on organisms to evolve effective immune defences. In addition to individual immunity, social organisms can act cooperatively to produce collective defences. In many ant species, queens have the option to found a colony alone or in groups with other, often unrelated, conspecifics. These associations are transient, usually lasting only as long as each queen benefits from the presence of others. In fact, once the first workers emerge, queens fight to the death for dominance. One potential advantage of co-founding may be that queens benefit from collective disease defences, such as mutual grooming, that act against common soil pathogens. We test this hypothesis by exposing single and co-founding queens to a fungal parasite, in order to assess whether queens in co-founding associations have improved survival. Surprisingly, co-foundresses exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium did not engage in cooperative disease defences, and consequently, we find no direct benefit of multiple queens on survival. However, an indirect benefit was observed, with parasite-exposed queens producing more brood when they co-founded, than when they were alone. We suggest this is due to a trade-off between reproduction and immunity. Additionally, we report an extraordinary ability of the queens to tolerate an infection for long periods after parasite exposure. Our study suggests that there are no social immunity benefits for co-founding ant queens, but that in parasite-rich environments, the presence of additional queens may nevertheless improve the chances of colony founding success. PMID:24233126

  12. Transcriptomic response to injury sheds light on the physiological costs of reproduction in ant queens.

    PubMed

    von Wyschetzki, Katharina; Lowack, Helena; Heinze, Jürgen

    2016-05-01

    The trade-off between reproduction and longevity is widespread among multicellular organisms. As an important exception, the reproductive females of perennial social insects (ants, honeybees, termites) are simultaneously highly fertile and very long-lived relative to their nonreproductive nestmates. The observation that increased fecundity is not coupled with decreased lifespan suggests that social insect queens do not have to reallocate resources between reproduction and self-maintenance. If queens have to compensate for the costs of reproduction on the level of the individual, the activation of other energy-demanding physiological processes might force them to reduce the production of eggs. To test this hypothesis in ant queens, we increased immunity costs by injury and measured the effect of this treatment on egg-laying rates and genomewide gene expression. Amputation of both middle legs led to a temporary decrease in egg-laying rates and affected the expression of 947 genes corresponding to 9% of the transcriptome. The changes comprised the upregulation of the immune and wound healing response on the one hand, and the downregulation of germ cell development, central nervous system development and learning ability on the other hand. Injury strongly influenced metabolism by inducing catabolism and repressing amino acid and nitrogen compound metabolism. By comparing our results to similar transcriptomic studies in insects, we found a highly consistent upregulation of immune genes due to sterile and septic wounding. The gene expression changes, complemented by the temporary decline of egg-laying rates, clearly reveal a trade-off between reproduction and the immune response in social insect queens. PMID:26880273

  13. Sociogenomics of Cooperation and Conflict during Colony Founding in the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Manfredini, Fabio; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Wurm, Yannick; Keller, Laurent; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Grozinger, Christina M.

    2013-01-01

    One of the fundamental questions in biology is how cooperative and altruistic behaviors evolved. The majority of studies seeking to identify the genes regulating these behaviors have been performed in systems where behavioral and physiological differences are relatively fixed, such as in the honey bee. During colony founding in the monogyne (one queen per colony) social form of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, newly-mated queens may start new colonies either individually (haplometrosis) or in groups (pleometrosis). However, only one queen (the “winner”) in pleometrotic associations survives and takes the lead of the young colony while the others (the “losers”) are executed. Thus, colony founding in fire ants provides an excellent system in which to examine the genes underpinning cooperative behavior and how the social environment shapes the expression of these genes. We developed a new whole genome microarray platform for S. invicta to characterize the gene expression patterns associated with colony founding behavior. First, we compared haplometrotic queens, pleometrotic winners and pleometrotic losers. Second, we manipulated pleometrotic couples in order to switch or maintain the social ranks of the two cofoundresses. Haplometrotic and pleometrotic queens differed in the expression of genes involved in stress response, aging, immunity, reproduction and lipid biosynthesis. Smaller sets of genes were differentially expressed between winners and losers. In the second experiment, switching social rank had a much greater impact on gene expression patterns than the initial/final rank. Expression differences for several candidate genes involved in key biological processes were confirmed using qRT-PCR. Our findings indicate that, in S. invicta, social environment plays a major role in the determination of the patterns of gene expression, while the queen's physiological state is secondary. These results highlight the powerful influence of social environment on

  14. Founding weaver ant queens (Oecophylla longinoda) increase production and nanitic worker size when adopting non-nestmate pupae.

    PubMed

    Ouagoussounon, Issa; Offenberg, Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio; Adandonon, Appolinaire; Kossou, Dansou; Vayssières, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) are used commercially to control pest insects and for protein production. In this respect fast colony growth is desirable for managed colonies. Transplantation of non-nestmate pupae to incipient colonies has been shown to boost colony growth. Our objectives were to find the maximum number of pupae a founding queen can handle, and to measure the associated colony growth. Secondly, we tested if transplantation of pupae led to production of larger nanitic workers (defined as unusually small worker ants produced by founding queens in their first batch of offspring). Forty-five fertilized queens were divided into three treatments: 0 (control), 100 or 300 non-nestmate pupae transplanted to each colony. Pupae transplantation resulted in highly increased growth rates, as pupae were readily adopted by the queens and showed high proportions of surviving (mean = 76%). However, survival was significantly higher when 100 pupae were transplanted compared to transplantation of 300 pupae, indicating that queens were unable to handle 300 pupae adequately and that pupae require some amount of nursing. Nevertheless, within the 60-day experiment the transplantation of 300 pupae increased total colony size more than 10-fold whereas 100 pupae increased the size 5.6 fold, compared to control. This increase was due not only to the individuals added in the form of pupae but also to an increased per capita brood production by the resident queen, triggered by the adopted pupae. The size of hatching pupae produced by the resident queen also increased with the number of pupae transplanted, leading to larger nanitic workers in colonies adopting pupae. In conclusion, pupae transplantation may be used to produce larger colonies with larger worker ants and may thus reduce the time to produce weaver ant colonies for commercial purposes. This in turn may facilitate the implementation of the use of weaver ants. PMID:25995983

  15. Uncoupling Flight and Reproduction in Ants: Evolution of Ergatoid Queens in Two Lineages of Megalomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Peeters, Christian; Adams, Rachelle M M

    2016-01-01

    Megalomyrmex Forel (Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini) consists of 44 species with diverse life history strategies. Most species are predatory and may also tend honeydew-producing insects. A morphologically derived group of species are social parasites that consume the brood and fungus garden within fungus-growing ant nests. The reproductive strategies of Megalomyrmex queens are somewhat aligned with these life-style patterns. Predatory species in the leoninus species group are large in body size and have ergatoid (i.e., permanently wingless) queens whereas the social parasitic species are smaller and typically have winged queens. We examined two ergatoid phenotypes of Megalomyrmex foreli Emery and Megalomyrmex wallacei Mann and compared them to winged species, one a social lestobiotic or "thief ant" parasite (Megalomyrmex mondabora Brandão) and the other a predator (Megalomyrmex modestus Emery). Megalomyrmex foreli colonies have a single queen with an enlarged gaster that is morphologically distinct from workers. Megalomyrmex wallacei colonies have several queens that are similar in body size to workers. Queens in both species showed a simplification of the thorax, but there was a dramatic difference in the number of ovarioles. Megalomyrmex foreli had 60-80 ovarioles compared to eight in M. wallacei and M. mondabora and M. modestus had 22-28. Along with flight loss in queens, there is an obligate shift to dependent colony founding (also called budding or fission) consequently influencing dispersal patterns. These constraints in life history traits may help explain the variation in nesting biology among Megalomyrmex species. PMID:27620557

  16. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world but toxic bait systems affect non-target ant species and can not be used in sensitive ecosystems. The fire ant uses recruitment pheromones to organize the retrieval of food resources back to the colony....

  17. Fire ant control with Entomopathogens in the USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants, Solenopsis richteri and Solenopsis invicta, are stinging invasive ants from South America that infest over 129.5 million hectares in the southern United States. In the southern U.S., eradication is no longer considered possible and toxicant-based fire ant baiting is currently the primary...

  18. Role of relative humidity in colony founding and queen survivorship in two carpenter ant species.

    PubMed

    Mankowski, Mark E; Morrell, J J

    2011-06-01

    Conditions necessary for optimal colony foundation in two carpenter ant species, Camponotus modoc Wheeler and Camponotus vicinus Mayr, were studied. Camponotus modoc and C. vicinus queens were placed in Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb. Franco) and Styrofoam blocks conditioned in sealed chambers at 70, 80, or 100% RH. Nanitic workers produced after 12 wk were used to assess the effects of substrate and moisture content on colony initiation. Queens of C. vicinus in Douglas-fir and Styrofoam produced worker numbers that did not differ significantly with moisture content; however, the number of colonies initiated by C. modoc differed significantly with moisture content. The results indicate that colony founding in C. vicinus is less sensitive to moisture content than C. modoc for Douglas-fir and Styrofoam. In another test, groups of queens of each species were exposed to 20, 50, 70, and 100% RH and the time until 50% mortality occurred was recorded for each species. C. vicinus lived significantly longer at each of the test humidities than C. modoc, suggesting that the former species is adapted to better survive under xeric conditions. PMID:21735888

  19. The foundress's dilemma: group selection for cooperation among queens of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, Zachary; Sasaki, Takao; Haney, Brian; Janssen, Marco; Pratt, Stephen C; Fewell, Jennifer H

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of cooperation is a fundamental problem in biology, especially for non-relatives, where indirect fitness benefits cannot counter within-group inequalities. Multilevel selection models show how cooperation can evolve if it generates a group-level advantage, even when cooperators are disadvantaged within their group. This allows the possibility of group selection, but few examples have been described in nature. Here we show that group selection can explain the evolution of cooperative nest founding in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Through most of this species' range, colonies are founded by single queens, but in some populations nests are instead founded by cooperative groups of unrelated queens. In mixed groups of cooperative and single-founding queens, we found that aggressive individuals had a survival advantage within their nest, but foundress groups with such non-cooperators died out more often than those with only cooperative members. An agent-based model shows that the between-group advantage of the cooperative phenotype drives it to fixation, despite its within-group disadvantage, but only when population density is high enough to make between-group competition intense. Field data show higher nest density in a population where cooperative founding is common, consistent with greater density driving the evolution of cooperative foundation through group selection. PMID:27465430

  20. Uncoupling Flight and Reproduction in Ants: Evolution of Ergatoid Queens in Two Lineages of Megalomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Peeters, Christian; Adams, Rachelle M. M.

    2016-01-01

    Megalomyrmex Forel (Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini) consists of 44 species with diverse life history strategies. Most species are predatory and may also tend honeydew-producing insects. A morphologically derived group of species are social parasites that consume the brood and fungus garden within fungus-growing ant nests. The reproductive strategies of Megalomyrmex queens are somewhat aligned with these life-style patterns. Predatory species in the leoninus species group are large in body size and have ergatoid (i.e., permanently wingless) queens whereas the social parasitic species are smaller and typically have winged queens. We examined two ergatoid phenotypes of Megalomyrmex foreli Emery and Megalomyrmex wallacei Mann and compared them to winged species, one a social lestobiotic or “thief ant” parasite (Megalomyrmex mondabora Brandão) and the other a predator (Megalomyrmex modestus Emery). Megalomyrmex foreli colonies have a single queen with an enlarged gaster that is morphologically distinct from workers. Megalomyrmex wallacei colonies have several queens that are similar in body size to workers. Queens in both species showed a simplification of the thorax, but there was a dramatic difference in the number of ovarioles. Megalomyrmex foreli had 60–80 ovarioles compared to eight in M. wallacei and M. mondabora and M. modestus had 22–28. Along with flight loss in queens, there is an obligate shift to dependent colony founding (also called budding or fission) consequently influencing dispersal patterns. These constraints in life history traits may help explain the variation in nesting biology among Megalomyrmex species. PMID:27620557

  1. Identifying the transition between single and multiple mating of queens in fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed Central

    Villesen, Palle; Murakami, Takahiro; Schultz, Ted R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2002-01-01

    Obligate mating of females (queens) with multiple males has evolved only rarely in social Hymenoptera (ants, social bees, social wasps) and for reasons that are fundamentally different from those underlying multiple mating in other animals. The monophyletic tribe of ('attine') fungus-growing ants is known to include evolutionarily derived genera with obligate multiple mating (the Acromyrmex and Atta leafcutter ants) as well as phylogenetically basal genera with exclusively single mating (e.g. Apterostigma, Cyphomyrmex, Myrmicocrypta). All attine genera share the unique characteristic of obligate dependence on symbiotic fungus gardens for food, but the sophistication of this symbiosis differs considerably across genera. The lower attine genera generally have small, short-lived colonies and relatively non-specialized fungal symbionts (capable of living independently of their ant hosts), whereas the four evolutionarily derived higher attine genera have highly specialized, long-term clonal symbionts. In this paper, we investigate whether the transition from single to multiple mating occurred relatively recently in the evolution of the attine ants, in conjunction with the novel herbivorous 'leafcutter' niche acquired by the common ancestor of Acromyrmex and Atta, or earlier, at the transition to rearing specialized long-term clonal fungi in the common ancestor of the larger group of higher attines that also includes the genera Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex. We use DNA microsatellite analysis to provide unambiguous evidence for a single, late and abrupt evolutionary transition from exclusively single to obligatory multiple mating. This transition is historically correlated with other evolutionary innovations, including the extensive use of fresh vegetation as substrate for the fungus garden, a massive increase in mature colony size and morphological differentiation of the worker caste. PMID:12184823

  2. Ant-seed mutualisms: Can red imported fire ants sour the relationship?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zettler, J.A.; Spira, T.P.; Allen, C.R.

    2001-01-01

    Invasion by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has had negative impacts on individual animal and plant species, but little is known about how S. invicta affects complex mutualistic relationships. In some eastern forests of North America, 30% of herbaceous species have ant-dispersed seeds. We conducted experiments to determine if fire ants are attracted to seeds of these plant species and assessed the amount of scarification or damage that results from handling by fire ants. Fire ants removed nearly 100% of seeds of the ant-dispersed plants Trillium undulatum, T. discolor, T. catesbaei, Viola rotundifolia, and Sanguinaria canadensis. In recovered seeds fed to ant colonies, fire ants scarified 80% of S. canadensis seeds and destroyed 86% of V. rotundifolia seeds. Our study is the first to document that red imported fire ants are attracted to and remove seeds of species adapted for ant dispersal. Moreover, fire ants might damage these seeds and discard them in sites unfavorable for germination and seedling establishment. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Costs and constraints conspire to produce honest signaling: insights from an ant queen pheromone.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke

    2012-07-01

    Signal costs and evolutionary constraints have both been proposed as ultimate explanations for the ubiquity of honest signaling, but the interface between these two factors is unclear. Here, I propose a pluralistic interpretation, and use game theory to demonstrate that evolutionary constraints determine whether signals evolve to be costly or cheap. Specifically, when the costs or benefits of signaling are strongly influenced by the sender's quality, low-cost signals evolve. The model reaffirms that cheap and costly signals can both be honest, and predicts that expensive signals should have more positive allometric slopes than cheap ones. The new framework is applied to an experimental study of an ant queen pheromone that honestly signals fecundity. Juvenile hormone was found to have opposing, dose-dependent effects on pheromone production and fecundity and was fatal at high doses, indicating that endocrine-mediated trade-offs preclude dishonesty. Several lines of evidence suggest that the realized cost of pheromone production may be nontrivial, and the antagonistic effects of juvenile hormone indicate the presence of significant evolutionary constraints. I conclude that the honesty of queen pheromones and other signals is likely enforced by both the cost of dishonesty and a suite of evolutionary constraints. PMID:22759287

  4. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Myers, P.E.; Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.

    2014-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail, Colinus virginianus (L.) (Galliformes: Odontophoridae), population declines are well documented, but pinpointing the reasons for these decreases has proven elusive. Bobwhite population declines are attributed primarily to loss of habitat and land use changes. This, however, does not entirely explain population declines in areas intensively managed for bobwhites. Although previous research demonstrates the negative impact of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on northern bobwhites, the mechanisms underlying this effect are largely unknown. To meet the protein demands of early growth and development, bobwhite chicks predominantly consume small insects, of which ants are a substantial proportion. Fire ants alter ant community dynamics by often reducing native ant diversity and abundance while concurrently increasing the abundance of individuals. Fire ants have negative effects on chicks, but they are also a large potential protein source, making it difficult to disentangle their net effect on bobwhite chicks. To help investigate these effects, we conducted a laboratory experiment to understand (1) whether or not bobwhites consume fire ants, and (2) how the benefits of this consumption compare to the deleterious impacts of bobwhite chick exposure to fire ants. Sixty bobwhite chicks were separated into two groups of 30; one group was provided with starter feed only and the second group was provided with feed and fire ants. Bobwhite chicks were observed feeding on fire ants. Chicks that fed on fire ants had reduced survival and weight gain. Our results show that, while fire ants increase potential food sources for northern bobwhite, their net effect on bobwhite chicks is deleterious. This information will help inform land managers and commercial bobwhite rearing operations.

  5. ACOUSTICAL ANALYSIS OF WINGBEAT FREQUENCIES FOR ALATE IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The red imported fire ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta Buren and the black imported fire ant (BIFA), Solenopsis richteri Forel coexist in the state of Mississippi along with reproductively viable F1 hybrids of these two species. The objective of this study was to determine and compare the wingbeat fre...

  6. Effect of Surfactants on Red Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Eleven surfactants were evaluated for their immobilizing and killing effects against the red imported fire ant. Reported here are the data on workers. Research on other castes is in progress. Although fire ants can be immobilized in most aqueous surfactant solutions within minutes, they can recov...

  7. No detection of Vairimorpha invictae in fire ant decapitating flies reared from V. invictae- infected ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Vairimorpha invictae is a microsporidian entomopathogen that is under evaluation as a biological control agent for red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta. Infections of V. invictae alone and in combination with another pathogen of fire ants, Thelohania solenopsae, have resulted in declines of 5...

  8. Colony-level impacts of parasitoid flies on fire ants.

    PubMed Central

    Mehdiabadi, Natasha J; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2002-01-01

    The red imported fire ant is becoming a global ecological problem, having invaded the United States, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and, most recently, Australia. In its established areas, this pest is devastating natural biodiversity. Early attempts to halt fire ant expansion with pesticides actually enhanced its spread. Phorid fly parasitoids from South America have now been introduced into the United States as potential biological control agents of the red imported fire ant, but the impact of these flies on fire ant populations is currently unknown. In the laboratory, we show that an average phorid density of as little as one attacking fly per 200 foraging ants decreased colony protein consumption nearly twofold and significantly reduced numbers of large-sized workers 50 days later. The high impact of a single phorid occurred mainly because ants decreased foraging rates in the presence of the flies. Our experiments, the first (to our knowledge) to link indirect and direct effects of phorids on fire ants, demonstrate that colonies can be stressed with surprisingly low parasitoid densities. We interpret our findings with regard to the more complex fire ant-phorid interactions in the field. PMID:12204130

  9. Workers select mates for queens: a possible mechanism of gene flow restriction between supercolonies of the invasive Argentine ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sunamura, Eiriki; Hoshizaki, Sugihiko; Sakamoto, Hironori; Fujii, Takeshi; Nishisue, Koji; Suzuki, Shun; Terayama, Mamoru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Tatsuki, Sadahiro

    2011-05-01

    Some invasive ants form large networks of mutually non-aggressive nests, i.e., supercolonies. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile forms much larger supercolonies in introduced ranges than in its native range. In both cases, it has been shown that little gene flow occurs between supercolonies of this species, though the mechanism of gene flow restriction is unknown. In this species, queens do not undertake nuptial flight, and males have to travel to foreign nests and cope with workers before gaining access to alien queens. In this study, we hypothesized that male Argentine ants receive interference from workers of alien supercolonies. To test this hypothesis, we conducted behavioral and chemical experiments using ants from two supercolonies in Japan. Workers attacked males from alien supercolonies but not those from their own supercolonies. The level of aggression against alien males was similar to that against alien workers. The frequency of severe aggression against alien males increased as the number of recipient workers increased. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, which serve as cues for nestmate recognition, of workers and males from the same supercolony were very similar. Workers are likely to distinguish alien males from males of their own supercolony using the profiles. It is predicted that males are subject to considerable aggression from workers when they intrude into the nests of alien supercolonies. This may be a mechanism underlying the restricted gene flow between supercolonies of Argentine ants. The Argentine ant may possess a distinctive reproductive system, where workers participate in selecting mates for their queens. We argue that the aggression of workers against alien males is a novel form of reproductive interference.

  10. PBAN/pyrokinin peptides in the central nervous system of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Choi, Man-Yeon; Raina, Ashok; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2009-02-01

    The pyrokinin/pheromone-biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide (PBAN) family of peptides found in insects is characterized by a 5-amino-acid C-terminal sequence, FXPRLamide. The pentapeptide is the active core required for diverse physiological functions, including the stimulation of pheromone biosynthesis in female moths, muscle contraction, induction of embryonic diapause, melanization, acceleration of puparium formation, and termination of pupal diapause. We have used immunocytochemical techniques to demonstrate the presence of pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides in the central nervous system of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Polyclonal antisera against the C-terminal end of PBAN have revealed the location of the peptide-producing cell bodies and axons in the central nervous system. Immunoreactive material is detectable in at least three groups of neurons in the subesophageal ganglion and corpora cardiaca of all adult sexual forms. The ventral nerve cord of adults consists of two segmented thoracic ganglia and four segmented abdominal ganglia. Two immunoreactive pairs of neurons are present in the thoracic ganglia, and three neuron pairs in each of the first three abdominal ganglia. The terminal abdominal ganglion has no immunoreactive neurons. PBAN immunoreactive material found in abdominal neurons appears to be projected to perisympathetic organs connected to the abdominal ganglia. These results indicate that the fire ant nervous system contains pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides, and that these peptides are released into the hemolymph. In support of our immunocytochemical results, significant pheromonotropic activity is found in fire ant brain-subesophageal ganglion extracts from all adult fire ant forms (queens, female and male alates, and workers) when extracts are injected into decapitated females of Helicoverpa zea. This is the first demonstration of the presence of pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides and pheromonotropic activity in an ant species. PMID:19002499

  11. The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some of them are also major pests, as exemplified by the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. We present here the draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from 454 and Illumina reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothers. In ...

  12. Molecular and social regulation of worker division of labour in fire ants.

    PubMed

    Manfredini, Fabio; Lucas, Christophe; Nicolas, Michael; Keller, Laurent; Shoemaker, Dewayne; Grozinger, Christina M

    2014-02-01

    Reproductive and worker division of labour (DOL) is a hallmark of social insect societies. Despite a long-standing interest in worker DOL, the molecular mechanisms regulating this process have only been investigated in detail in honey bees, and little is known about the regulatory mechanisms operating in other social insects. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, one of the most studied ant species, workers are permanently sterile and the tasks performed are modulated by the worker's internal state (age and size) and the outside environment (social environment), which potentially includes the effect of the queen presence through chemical communication via pheromones. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning these processes are unknown. Using a whole-genome microarray platform, we characterized the molecular basis for worker DOL and we explored how a drastic change in the social environment (i.e. the sudden loss of the queen) affects global gene expression patterns of worker ants. We identified numerous genes differentially expressed between foraging and nonforaging workers in queenright colonies. With a few exceptions, these genes appear to be distinct from those involved in DOL in bees and wasps. Interestingly, after the queen was removed, foraging workers were no longer distinct from nonforaging workers at the transcriptomic level. Furthermore, few expression differences were detected between queenright and queenless workers when we did not consider the task performed. Thus, the social condition of the colony (queenless vs. queenright) appears to impact the molecular pathways underlying worker task performance, providing strong evidence for social regulation of DOL in S. invicta. PMID:24329612

  13. Pleiotropic effects of juvenile hormone in ant queens and the escape from the reproduction-immunocompetence trade-off.

    PubMed

    Pamminger, Tobias; Treanor, David; Hughes, William O H

    2016-01-13

    The ubiquitous trade-off between survival and costly reproduction is one of the most fundamental constraints governing life-history evolution. In numerous animals, gonadotropic hormones antagonistically suppressing immunocompetence cause this trade-off. The queens of many social insects defy the reproduction-survival trade-off, achieving both an extraordinarily long life and high reproductive output, but how they achieve this is unknown. Here we show experimentally, by integrating quantification of gene expression, physiology and behaviour, that the long-lived queens of the ant Lasius niger have escaped the reproduction-immunocompetence trade-off by decoupling the effects of a key endocrine regulator of fertility and immunocompetence in solitary insects, juvenile hormone (JH). This modification of the regulatory architecture enables queens to sustain a high reproductive output without elevated JH titres and suppressed immunocompetence, providing an escape from the reproduction-immunocompetence trade-off that may contribute to the extraordinary lifespan of many social insect queens. PMID:26763704

  14. Applied Ecology and Control of Imported Fire Ants and Argentine Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), are invasive species that are major pests in urban, natural, and agricultural habitats. The goal of this dissertation was to study aspects the chemical sensitivity, behavior, and ecology of each specie...

  15. Similarity of Body Size in Queens of the Wood ant Formica aquilonia from Optimal and Sub-Optimal Habitats Indicates a Strong Heritable Component

    PubMed Central

    Haatanen, Marja-Katariina; Sorvari, Jouni

    2013-01-01

    Body size in animals is affected by both genes and the environment (e.g., the amount of food resources). In ants, body size is related to several traits in an individual's physiology and life history. For example, a large queen may increase offspring production, thus increasing her overall fitness. In this study, whether sub-optimal environmental conditions affect the body size of queens of the red wood ant, Formica aquilonia Yarrow (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The sizes (head width in mm) of virgin queens, i.e., gynes, originating from forest interiors (resource rich) and from commercial forest clear-cuts (resource poor) were measured. No differences in the body size of the queens from the two habitats were found. In addition, the within-nest variation in queen size was similar between habitat types. The results indicate that the body size variation of F. aquilonia queens is not sensitive to environmental variation, unlike F. aquilonia workers. The lack of environmental variation in queen size in F. aquilonia may be due to a strong selection in the past to monomorphic size in this obligately polygynous (multi-queened) species. PMID:24735372

  16. The Morphometry of Solenopsis Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2013-01-01

    Size-related changes of body shape were explored in 15 polymorphic species of Solenopsis fire ants by analyzing body weight along with linear measurements of 24 body parts. Log regression slopes were used to detect changes of shape with increasing size. Within species, the largest workers weighed from about 5 to 30-fold as much as the smallest. The range of within-species body lengths varied from 1.6 mm to 4 mm. As worker size increased, the gaster tended to make up a larger proportion of body length, usually at the cost of the petiole, and rarely at the cost of head length or mesosoma length. In most, the relative volume of the gaster increased and that of the head and mesosoma decreased. Most also showed an increasingly “humped” mesosoma. For all species, head shape changed from barrel-shaped to heart-shaped as worker size increased. Antennae became relatively shorter as the relative size of the club decreased. Shape changes of the legs were more variable. S. geminata was exceptional in the extreme nature of its head shape change, and was the only species in which relative head volume increased and gaster volume decreased with increasing body size. With the exception of S. geminata, the allometric rules governing shape are remarkably similar across species, suggesting a genus-level developmental scheme that is not easily modified by evolution. It also suggests that the evolution of shape is highly constrained by these conserved growth rules, and that it acts primarily (perhaps only) through allometric growth. The results are discussed in light of the growth of imaginal discs in a resource-limited body (the pupa). The substantial variation of allometries within species and across localities is also discussed in relation to using allometric patterns to identify species or to construct phylogenies. PMID:24260250

  17. The foundress’s dilemma: group selection for cooperation among queens of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus

    PubMed Central

    Shaffer, Zachary; Sasaki, Takao; Haney, Brian; Janssen, Marco; Pratt, Stephen C.; Fewell, Jennifer H.

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of cooperation is a fundamental problem in biology, especially for non-relatives, where indirect fitness benefits cannot counter within-group inequalities. Multilevel selection models show how cooperation can evolve if it generates a group-level advantage, even when cooperators are disadvantaged within their group. This allows the possibility of group selection, but few examples have been described in nature. Here we show that group selection can explain the evolution of cooperative nest founding in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Through most of this species’ range, colonies are founded by single queens, but in some populations nests are instead founded by cooperative groups of unrelated queens. In mixed groups of cooperative and single-founding queens, we found that aggressive individuals had a survival advantage within their nest, but foundress groups with such non-cooperators died out more often than those with only cooperative members. An agent-based model shows that the between-group advantage of the cooperative phenotype drives it to fixation, despite its within-group disadvantage, but only when population density is high enough to make between-group competition intense. Field data show higher nest density in a population where cooperative founding is common, consistent with greater density driving the evolution of cooperative foundation through group selection. PMID:27465430

  18. Successful transmission of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 to Solenopsis invicta fire ant colonies in oil, sugar, and cricket bait formulations.

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Porter, Sanford D; Choi, Man-Yeon; Oi, David H

    2013-07-01

    Tests were conducted to evaluate whether Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) could be delivered in various bait formulations to fire ant colonies and measure the corresponding colony health changes associated with virus infection in Solenopsis invicta. Three bait formulations (10% sugar solution, cricket paste, and soybean oil adsorbed to defatted corn grit) effectively transmitted SINV-3 infections to S. invicta colonies. Correspondingly, viral infection was shown to be detrimental to colony health and productivity. By day 32, all ant colonies exposed to a single 24h pulse treatment of SINV-3 became infected with the virus regardless of the bait formulation. However, the SINV-3 sugar and cricket bait-treated colonies became infected more rapidly than the oil-treated colonies. Sugar and cricket-treated colonies exhibited significant declines in their brood ratings compared with the untreated control and oil bait-treated colonies. Measures of colony health and productivity evaluated at the end of the study (day 47) showed a number of differences among the bait treatments and the control group. Statistically significant and similar patterns were exhibited among treatments for the quantity of live workers (lower), live brood (lower), total colony weight (lower), worker mortality (higher), proportion larvae (lower), and queen weight (lower). Significant changes were also observed in the number of eggs laid by queens (lower) and the corresponding ovary rating in SINV-3-treated colonies. The study provides the first successful demonstration of SINV-3 as a potential biopesticide against fire ants. PMID:23602901

  19. Arginine kinase: differentiation of gene expression and protein activity in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Wang, Haichuan; Zhang, Lan; Zhang, Lee; Lin, Qin; Liu, Nannan

    2009-02-01

    Arginine kinase (AK), a primary enzyme in cell metabolism and adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP)-consuming processes, plays an important role in cellular energy metabolism and maintaining constant ATP levels in invertebrate cells. In order to identify genes that are differentially expressed between larvae and adults, queens and workers, and female alates (winged) and queens (wingless), AK cDNA was obtained from the red imported fire ant. The cDNA sequence of the gene has open reading frames of 1065 nucleotides, encoding a protein of 355 amino acid residues that includes the substrate recognition region, the signature sequence pattern of ATP:guanidino kinases, and an "actinin-type" actin binding domain. Northern blot analysis and protein activity analysis demonstrated that the expression of the AK gene and its protein activity were developmentally, caste specifically, and tissue specifically regulated in red imported fire ants with a descending order of worker> alate (winged adult) female> alate (winged adult) male> larvae> worker pupae approximately alate pupae. These results suggest a different demand for energy-consumption and production in the different castes of the red imported fire ant, which may be linked to their different missions and physiological activities in the colonies. The highest level of the AK gene expression and activity was identified in head tissue of both female alates and workers and thorax tissue of workers, followed by thorax tissue of female alates and abdomen tissue of male alates, suggesting the main tissues or cells in these body parts, such as brain, neurons and muscles, which have been identified as the major tissues and/or cells that display high and variable rates of energy turnover in other organisms, play a key role in energy production and its utilization in the fire ant. In contrast, in the male alate, the highest AK expression and activity were found in the abdomen, suggesting that here energy demand may relate to sperm formation

  20. Workers and alate queens of Solenopsis geminata share qualitatively similar but quantitatively different venom alkaloid chemistry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The cis and trans alkaloids from body extracts of workers and alate queens of the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were successfully separated by silica gel chromatography, identified, and quantitated by GC-MS analysis. Both workers and alate queens produce primarily...

  1. Deterrency and Toxicity of Essential Oils to Argentine and Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Laboratory assays were conducted to evaluate deterrency and contact toxicity of six essential oils to the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), and the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. In choice tests, both Argentine ants and fire ants crossed barriers treated with multiple rates...

  2. Dynamics and shape of large fire ant rafts

    PubMed Central

    Mlot, Nathan J.; Tovey, Craig; Hu, David L.

    2012-01-01

    To survive floods, fire ants link their bodies together to build waterproof rafts. Such rafts can be quite large, exceeding 100,000 individuals in size. In this study, we make two improvements on a previously reported model on the construction rate of rafts numbering between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals. That model was based upon experimental observations of randomly-directed linear ant trajectories atop the raft. Here, we report anomalous behavior of ants atop larger rafts of up to 23,000 ants. As rafts increase in size, the behavior of ants approaches diffusion, which is in closer alignment with other studies on the foraging and scouting patterns of ants. We incorporate this ant behavior into the model. Our modified model predicts more accurately the growth of large rafts. Our previous model also relied on an assumption of raft circularity. We show that this assumption is not necessary for large rafts, because it follows from the random directionality of the ant trajectories. Our predicted relationship between raft size and circularity closely fits experimental data. PMID:23336030

  3. The molecular clockwork of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Krista K; Kutowoi, Alexander; Wurm, Yannick; Shoemaker, Dewayne; Meier, Rudolf; Bloch, Guy

    2012-01-01

    The circadian clock is a core molecular mechanism that allows organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes and adapt the timing of behaviors to maximize efficiency. In social insects, the ability to maintain the appropriate temporal order is thought to improve colony efficiency and fitness. We used the newly sequenced fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) genome to characterize the first ant circadian clock. Our results reveal that the fire ant clock is similar to the clock of the honeybee, a social insect with an independent evolutionary origin of sociality. Gene trees for the eight core clock genes, period, cycle, clock, cryptochrome-m, timeout, vrille, par domain protein 1 & clockwork orange, show ant species grouping closely with honeybees and Nasonia wasps as an outgroup to the social Hymenoptera. Expression patterns for these genes suggest that the ant clock functions similar to the honeybee clock, with period and cry-m mRNA levels increasing during the night and cycle and clockwork orange mRNAs cycling approximately anti-phase to period. Gene models for five of these genes also parallel honeybee models. In particular, the single ant cryptochrome is an ortholog of the mammalian-type (cry-m), rather than Drosophila-like protein (cry-d). Additionally, we find a conserved VPIFAL C-tail region in clockwork orange shared by insects but absent in vertebrates. Overall, our characterization of the ant clock demonstrates that two social insect lineages, ants and bees, share a similar, mammalian-like circadian clock. This study represents the first characterization of clock genes in an ant and is a key step towards understanding socially-regulated plasticity in circadian rhythms by facilitating comparative studies on the organization of circadian clockwork. PMID:23152747

  4. Abundance of -1,6-piperideine alkaloids in imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Workers of imported fire ants, including red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, black imported fire ants, S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid (S. invicta × S. richteri), are vicious stingers. Since the venomous sting is a significant medical problem to humans, the chemistry of imported f...

  5. Toxicity of formic acid against red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    BACKGROUND: Formic acid is a common defensive chemical of formicine ants. Ants often compete with other ants for resources. However, the toxicity of formic acid to any ant species has not been well understood. This study examined the toxicity of formic acid against the red imported fire ants, Sole...

  6. MODELING DYNAMIC THERMAL PROPERTIES OF IMPORTED FIRE ANT MOUNDS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ground-based thermal infrared imagery, 3-dimensional modeling, and spatial analyses were used to model daily fluctuation in the temperature of imported fire ant mounds and their surroundings. The thermal center of the mound moved in a predictable fashion from east-southeast to west-southwest during...

  7. Imported Fire Ant Mound Building in Response to Simulated Rainfall

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri x invicta) mounds in northeastern Mississippi were subjected to four treatments from late July through early September, 2006: application of water (7.5 L) and placement of an inverted 19 L bucket on top; application of water only; application of an inverted buc...

  8. Multiple functions of fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, mandibular gland products

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    : Alarm pheromones are an essential part of a complex of pheromone interactions that contribute to the maintenance of colony integrity and sociality in social insects. Recently, we identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine as an alarm pheromone component of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. We continu...

  9. Fire Ant Control for the 21st Century

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This presentation addressed the current status of broadcast and spot treatment insecticides, bait treatments, and nontoxic control measures for fire ant control. Topics included a review of available products, specific tips for successful control, and safety considerations for these products. Applic...

  10. AREAWIDE SUPPRESSION OF FIRE ANTS: DEMONSTRATION PROJECT IN MISSISSIPPI, 2006

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The USDA-ARS demonstration project for the suppression of imported fire ants has entered its sixth year. In 2005, Mississippi State University joined the project monitoring sites in Clay and Grenada Counties. The Areawide project integrates biological control agents with the chemical ...

  11. Potential use of Solenopsis invicta viruses to control fire ants.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta was introduced into the U.S. between 1918 and 1945. Since that time, they have expanded their U.S. range to include some 138 million hectares. Their introduction has had significant economic consequences with costs associated with damage and control effort...

  12. Global invasion history of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a serious agricultural, ecological, and public health pest that was inadvertently introduced into the southern USA almost a century ago and into California and other regions of the world more recently. An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecula...

  13. Dynamic Thermal Structure of Imported Fire Ant Mounds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A study was undertaken to characterize surface temperatures of imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren, S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid) mounds as it relates to sun position and shape of the mounds, to better understand factors that affect absorption of solar radiation by the nest mound and ...

  14. A case of the first documented fire ant anaphylaxis in Canada

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    The first documented confirmed case of an imported fire ant causing anaphylaxis in Canada is herein reported. In a patient with anaphylaxis to ants a physician in Canada should be aware that an allergic reaction to fire ant is a possibility. PMID:23837799

  15. Pheromone Biosynthesis Activating Neuropeptide (PBAN)/Pyrokinin Family of Peptides and Fire Ants, Solenopsis spp.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an economically important invasive pest ant, causing over 6 billion dollars in control and repair costs each year in the United States. The fire ant is becoming a global problem increasing its importance and the need for the development of biologically-based con...

  16. Propagule pressure and colony social organization are associated with the successful invasion and rapid range expansion of fire ants in China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chin-Cheng; Ascunce, Marina S; Luo, Li-Zhi; Shao, Jing-Guo; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2012-02-01

    We characterized patterns of genetic variation in populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China using mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite loci to test predictions as to how propagule pressure and subsequent dispersal following establishment jointly shape the invasion success of this ant in this recently invaded area. Fire ants in Wuchuan (Guangdong Province) are genetically differentiated from those found in other large infested areas of China. The immediate source of ants in Wuchuan appears to be somewhere near Texas, which ranks first among the southern USA infested states in the exportation of goods to China. Most colonies from spatially distant, outlying areas in China are genetically similar to one another and appear to share a common source (Wuchuan, Guangdong Province), suggesting that long-distance jump dispersal has been a prevalent means of recent spread of fire ants in China. Furthermore, most colonies at outlier sites are of the polygyne social form (featuring multiple egg-laying queens per nest), reinforcing the important role of this social form in the successful invasion of new areas and subsequent range expansion following invasion. Several analyses consistently revealed characteristic signatures of genetic bottlenecks for S. invicta populations in China. The results of this study highlight the invasive potential of this pest ant, suggest that the magnitude of international trade may serve as a predictor of propagule pressure and indicate that rates and patterns of subsequent range expansion are partly determined by the interplay between species traits and the trade and transportation networks. PMID:22181975

  17. Field trapping the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Derstine, Nathan T; Troyer, Elisa J; Suttles, Caitlyn N; Siderhurst, Leigh A; Jang, Eric B; Siderhurst, Matthew S

    2012-01-01

    Two detection methods for the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), both employing the pheromone attractant 2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine (2-MeBu-diMePy), were compared with peanut butter based detection, in order to evaluate differences in species specificity and detection reliability. Trapping was conducted using a transect through a macadamia orchard on the island of Hawaii. The transect consisted of a series of three-tree plots, each plot contained a peanut butter coated stick (the most common detection method used for W. auropunctata in Hawaii), a one-way trap treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy, and a piece of double-sided tape treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy. While there were no differences in the number of W. auropunctata counted with each detection method, and no differences in detection reliability (detecting the known presence of W. auropunctata in a plot), the pheromone-incorporating methods showed greater species specificity, retaining W. auropunctata almost exclusively. These results demonstrate the potential of pheromone-detection methods to selectively capture target ant species even when other ants are present and abundant. Combined data from all three detection methods and a previous visual survey along the transect showed a marked difference in the frequency of cohabitation among ant species. Of the 10 ant species collected, W. auropunctata was found as the sole ant species on a given tree at a significantly higher frequency than all other ant species except Pheidole fervens. 94% percent of the trees with W. auropunctata had only W. auropunctata, supporting previous observations that this species tends to displace other ant species. In addition, W. auropunctata microhabitat preferences were investigated using one-way traps containing 2-MeBu-diMePy, which were placed in three arboreal and three non-arboreal locations. While the number of ants captured did not differ by trap placement, when grouped, captures were

  18. Field Trapping the Little Fire Ant, Wasmannia auropunctata

    PubMed Central

    Derstine, Nathan T.; Troyer, Elisa J.; Suttles, Caitlyn N.; Siderhurst, Leigh A.; Jang, Eric B.; Siderhurst, Matthew S.

    2012-01-01

    Two detection methods for the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), both employing the pheromone attractant 2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine (2-MeBu-diMePy), were compared with peanut butter based detection, in order to evaluate differences in species specificity and detection reliability. Trapping was conducted using a transect through a macadamia orchard on the island of Hawaii. The transect consisted of a series of three-tree plots, each plot contained a peanut butter coated stick (the most common detection method used for W. auropunctata in Hawaii), a one—way trap treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy, and a piece of double-sided tape treated with 2-MeBu-diMePy. While there were no differences in the number of W. auropunctata counted with each detection method, and no differences in detection reliability (detecting the known presence of W. auropunctata in a plot), the pheromone—incorporating methods showed greater species specificity, retaining W. auropunctata almost exclusively. These results demonstrate the potential of pheromone—detection methods to selectively capture target ant species even when other ants are present and abundant. Combined data from all three detection methods and a previous visual survey along the transect showed a marked difference in the frequency of cohabitation among ant species. Of the 10 ant species collected, W. auropunctata was found as the sole ant species on a given tree at a significantly higher frequency than all other ant species except Pheidole fervens. 94% percent of the trees with W. auropunctata had only W. auropunctata, supporting previous observations that this species tends to displace other ant species. In addition, W. auropunctata microhabitat preferences were investigated using one—way traps containing 2-MeBu-diMePy, which were placed in three arboreal and three non—arboreal locations. While the number of ants captured did not differ by trap placement, when grouped

  19. Network growth dynamics of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) nests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gravish, Nick; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2012-02-01

    We study the construction dynamics and topology of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) nests. Fire ants in colonies of hundreds to hundreds of thousands create subterranean tunnel networks through the excavation of soil. We observed the construction of nests in a laboratory experiment. Workers were isolated from focal colony and placed in a quasi 2D, vertically oriented arena with wetted soil. We monitored nest growth using time-lapse photography. We found that nests grew linearly in time through tunnel lengthening and branching. Tunnel path length followed an extended power law distribution, P (l - l0)^β. Average degree of tunnel nodes was k = 2.17 ±0.40 and networks were cyclical. In simulation we model the nest growth as a branching and annihilating levy-flight process. We study this as a function of dimensionality (2D and 3D space considered) and step length distribution function P(ls). We find that in two-dimensions path length distribution is exponential, independent of the functional form of P(ls) consistent with a poisson spatial process while in three-dimensions P(l) = P(ls). Comparing simulation and experiment we attribute the slower than exponential tail of P(l) in experiment as a result of a behavioral component to the ant digging program.

  20. Red imported fire ant impacts on upland arthropods in Southern Mississippi

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Epperson, D.M.; Allen, C.R.

    2010-01-01

    Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have negative impacts on a broad array of invertebrate species. We investigated the impacts of fire ants on the upland arthropod community on 20???40 ha study sites in southern Mississippi. Study sites were sampled from 19972000 before, during, and after fire ant bait treatments to reduce fire ant populations. Fire ant abundance was assessed with bait transects on all sites, and fire ant population indices were estimated on a subset of study sites. Species richness and diversity of other ant species was also assessed from bait transects. Insect biomass and diversity was determined from light trap samples. Following treatments, fire ant abundance and population indices were significantly reduced, and ant species diversity and richness were greater on treated sites. Arthropod biomass, species diversity and species richness estimated from light trap samples were negatively correlated with fire ant abundance, but there were no observable treatment effects. Solenopsis invicta has the potential to negatively impact native arthropod communities resulting in a potential loss of both species and function.

  1. First description of the male caste of the Himalayan endemic ant Lasius alienoflavus Bingham, 1903 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with re-description of the female and queen castes

    PubMed Central

    Gul, Irfan

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The present paper provides a description of the male caste and re-description of the worker and queen castes of the poorly known ant species Lasius alienoflavus Bingham, 1903. This species has hitherto been reported only from the Himalayas, and the present data are also based on specimens collected in the north-western part of the mountain range. Likewise other Himalayan ants, this species also shows restricted distribution, which suggests a rather high degree of endemism (45%) of this group in the Himalayas. PMID:25197233

  2. Mitochondrial genome evolution in fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Complete mitochondrial genome sequences have become important tools for the study of genome architecture, phylogeny, and molecular evolution. Despite the rapid increase in available mitogenomes, the taxonomic sampling often poorly reflects phylogenetic diversity and is often also biased to represent deeper (family-level) evolutionary relationships. Results We present the first fully sequenced ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) mitochondrial genomes. We sampled four mitogenomes from three species of fire ants, genus Solenopsis, which represent various evolutionary depths. Overall, ant mitogenomes appear to be typical of hymenopteran mitogenomes, displaying a general A+T-bias. The Solenopsis mitogenomes are slightly more compact than other hymentoperan mitogenomes (~15.5 kb), retaining all protein coding genes, ribosomal, and transfer RNAs. We also present evidence of recombination between the mitogenomes of the two conspecific Solenopsis mitogenomes. Finally, we discuss potential ways to improve the estimation of phylogenies using complete mitochondrial genome sequences. Conclusions The ant mitogenome presents an important addition to the continued efforts in studying hymenopteran mitogenome architecture, evolution, and phylogenetics. We provide further evidence that the sampling across many taxonomic levels (including conspecifics and congeners) is useful and important to gain detailed insights into mitogenome evolution. We also discuss ways that may help improve the use of mitogenomes in phylogenetic analyses by accounting for non-stationary and non-homogeneous evolution among branches. PMID:20929580

  3. Evolution of gene expression in fire ants: the effects of developmental stage, caste, and species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants provide remarkable examples of equivalent genotypes developing into divergent and discrete phenotypes. Diploid eggs can develop either into queens, which specialize in reproduction, or workers, which participate in cooperative tasks such as building the nest, collecting food, and rearing the yo...

  4. Experimental evidence that human impacts drive fire ant invasions and ecological change

    PubMed Central

    King, Joshua R.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2008-01-01

    Biological invasions are often closely associated with human impacts and it is difficult to determine whether either or both are responsible for the negative impacts on native communities. Here, we show that human activity, not biological invasion, is the primary driver of negative effects on native communities and of the process of invasion itself. In a large-scale experiment, we combined additions of the exotic fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, with 2 disturbance treatments, mowing and plowing, in a fully crossed factorial design. Results indicate that plowing, in the absence of fire ants, greatly diminished total native ant abundance and diversity, whereas fire ants, even in the absence of disturbance, diminished some, but not all, native ant abundance and diversity. Transplanted fire ant colonies were favored by disturbance. In the absence of disturbance and on their own, fire ants do not invade the forest habitats of native ants. Our results demonstrate that fire ants are “passengers” rather than “drivers” of ecological change. We propose that fire ants may be representative of other invasive species that would be better described as disturbance specialists. Current pest management and conservation strategies should be reassessed to better account for the central role of human impacts in the process of biological invasion. PMID:19064909

  5. Mating is associated with immediate changes of the hydrocarbon profile of Leptothorax gredleri ant queens.

    PubMed

    Oppelt, Angelika; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

    While sexual communication is often characterized by attempted manipulation, both sexes agree about females reliably signalling their receptivity. Female sexuals of the ant Leptothorax gredleri quickly became unattractive to males after their first copulation. This loss of attractiveness coincided with almost immediate changes in their cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles. Already 30 min after mating, the CHC profiles of female sexuals had significantly lower relative amounts of branched alkanes and higher amounts of linear alkanes than those of unmated and freshly mated female sexuals. Discriminant analysis did not distinguish between the profiles of freshly mated and unmated female sexuals, suggesting that the extremely rapid modification of CHC profiles is not caused by males marking females with anti-aphrodisiac CHCs. Instead, the new profile is produced by the female sexuals themselves. In addition to making them unattractive to males, this change may also help mated female sexuals when seeking adoption into established colonies. PMID:19482136

  6. Qualitative analysis of red imported fire ant nests constructed in silica gel

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, build nests by excavating soil. Incorporation of ant-derived chemicals in nesting material has long been known, however only a few chemicals have been identified. This paucity of identified ant-derived chemicals may be due to the interference from ...

  7. Toxicity and efficacy of two emulsifiable concentrates of 2-tridecanone against red imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    BACKGROUND: 2-tridecanone is a major constitute of defensive secretion in tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva that is the only ant species reported to be able to displace red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta in the field. 2-tridecanone was proven to be toxic to S. invicta. Although 2-tridecan...

  8. Mutualism Between Fire Ants and Mealybugs Reduces Lady Beetle Predation.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Shoujie; Zeng, Ling; Xu, Yijuan

    2015-08-01

    Solenopsis invicta Buren is an important invasive pest that has a negative impact on biodiversity. However, current knowledge regarding the ecological effects of its interaction with honeydew-producing hemipteran insects is inadequate. To partially address this problem, we assessed whether the interaction between the two invasive species S. invicta and Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley mediated predation of P. solenopsis by Propylaea japonica Thunbery lady beetles using field investigations and indoor experiments. S. invicta tending significantly reduced predation by the Pr. japonica lady beetle, and this response was more pronounced for lady beetle larvae than for adults. A field investigation showed that the species richness and quantity of lady beetle species in plots with fire ants were much lower than in those without fire ants. In an olfaction bioassay, lady beetles preferred to move toward untended rather than tended mealybugs. Overall, these results suggest that mutualism between S. invicta and P. solenopsis may have a serious impact on predation of P. solenopsis by lady beetles, which could promote growth of P. solenopsis populations. PMID:26470296

  9. The fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) pathogen, Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae), not detected in Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Surveys were conducted to search specifically for the microsporidian pathogen Vairimorpha. invictae in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, in the U.S. This pathogen is associated with colony decline and reductions in fire ant populations in S. America and is considered to be a promising bio...

  10. Status of the fire ant decapitating fly Pseudacteon tricuspis (Diptera: Phoridae) in Louisiana

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant decapitating fly Pseudacteon tricuspis is a potential self-sustaining or classical biological control agent for red imported fire ants in the United States which currently lack effective natural enemies. Scientists in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University and the U...

  11. Distribution patterns of imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a sheep and goat farm in Oklahoma

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ant colonies were quantified in 1000 m2 circular subplots spaced about 125 m apart on a sheep and goat farm in Oklahoma. Mound counts and cumulative above-ground mound volume were used as measures of fire ant population density, and were subjected to regression analyses to determine e...

  12. 78 FR 70530 - Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant Program

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-11-26

    .... 305.3(a)(1), we published a notice \\2\\ in the Federal Register on March 6, 2013 (78 FR 14510-14511... Imported Fire Ant Program AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY... Imported Fire Ant Program in the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Treatment Manual. In a...

  13. Esterase in imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicata and S. richteri (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): activity, kinetics and variation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri, is closely related to the notorious red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Despite being very similar in biology and behavior, S. invicta is a much more successful invader. In contrast to S. invicta that has invaded numberous countries and regions,...

  14. Combining biological and chemical controls for the management of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two South American natural enemies of imported fire ants were first detected or released in the United States approximately 10 years ago. The fire ant pathogen, Thelohania solenopsae Knell, Allen, and Hazard, was found in the U.S. in 1996 and a parasitic phorid fly from Brazil, Pseudacteon tricuspi...

  15. Fire Ant Re-establishment in Grass Habitats after Treatment with Insecticides

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The objectives of this study were to track the movement and re-establishment of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, into areas where it has been eliminated with insecticides and to develop a framework for red imported fire ant treatment thresholds. The study was conducted at Burden ...

  16. Study on the Repellency of Callicarpenal and Intermedeol against Workers of Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Repellency of callicarpenal and intermedeol, two terpenoids isolated from American beautyberry and Japanese beautyberry, were tested against workers of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, black imported fire ants, Solenopsis richteri Forel, and a hybrid of these two species using diggi...

  17. Statewide survey of Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) populations in Tennessee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) (IFA) now occupy 52 counties (~ 5.4 million hectares) in Tennessee and are continuing their range expansion northward. To better understand the distribution of IFA species in Tennessee, the state was divided into 16.1 ' 16.1 km grids and a single fire ant colony...

  18. Infection characteristics of Solenopsis invicta virus-2 in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Solenopsis invicta virus-2 (SINV-2) is the second virus identified from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, Buren. SINV-2 is unique among positive—strand RNA viruses from insects by possessing four cistrons in a monopartite genome. Fire ant colonies testing positive for SINV-2 by RT-PCR did not exhi...

  19. Mitigating the allergic effects of fire ant envenomation with biologically-based population reduction

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The purpose of this review is to describe current efforts to use biological control agents to reduce fire ant population levels, thus, ultimately reducing the number of human sting and allergic reaction incidents. Climate change and worldwide fire ant expansion will increase the frequency of human e...

  20. Positive-strand RNA viruses infecting the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The black imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri) and red imported fire ant (S. invicta) are invasive species that were introduced into the United States between 1918 and 1945. Since that time, they have expanded their U.S. range to include some 138 million hectares from Virginia, south to Florida,...

  1. Phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis, response to alkylpyrazine analogs of a fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, alarm pheromone

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, is a parasitoid of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. This fly has been reported to use fire ant chemicals, specifically venom alkaloids and possibly alarm pheromone to locate its host. A recent study identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethyl...

  2. The large decapitating fly Pseudacteon litoralis (Diptera: Phoridae): Successfully established on fire ant populations in Alabama

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The large fire ant decapitating fly, Pseudacteon litoralis Borgmeier from northeastern Argentina was successfully released as a self-sustaining biocontrol agent of imported fire ants in south central Alabama in 2005. Five years later, this fly is firmly established at this site and has expanded out...

  3. The role of habitat in the persistence of fire ant populations.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R; King, Joshua R

    2013-01-01

    The association of the exotic fire ant, Solenopsis invicta with man-modified habitats has been amply demonstrated, but the fate of such populations if ecological succession proceeds has rarely been investigated. Resurvey of a fire ant population in a longleaf pine plantation after 25 years showed that the recovery of the site from habitat disturbance was associated with a large fire ant population decline. Most of the persisting colonies were associated with the disturbance caused by vehicle tracks. In a second study, mature monogyne fire ant colonies that had been planted in experimental plots in native groundcover of the north Florida longleaf pine forest had mostly vanished six years later. These observations and experiments show that S. invicta colonies rarely persist in the native habitat of these pine forests, probably because they are not replaced when they die. A single site harbored a modest population of polygyne fire ants whose persistence was probably facilitated by reproduction through colony fission. PMID:24205272

  4. The Role of Habitat in the Persistence of Fire Ant Populations

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; King, Joshua R.

    2013-01-01

    The association of the exotic fire ant, Solenopsis invicta with man-modified habitats has been amply demonstrated, but the fate of such populations if ecological succession proceeds has rarely been investigated. Resurvey of a fire ant population in a longleaf pine plantation after 25 years showed that the recovery of the site from habitat disturbance was associated with a large fire ant population decline. Most of the persisting colonies were associated with the disturbance caused by vehicle tracks. In a second study, mature monogyne fire ant colonies that had been planted in experimental plots in native groundcover of the north Florida longleaf pine forest had mostly vanished six years later. These observations and experiments show that S. invicta colonies rarely persist in the native habitat of these pine forests, probably because they are not replaced when they die. A single site harbored a modest population of polygyne fire ants whose persistence was probably facilitated by reproduction through colony fission. PMID:24205272

  5. Comparative morpho-physiology of the metapleural glands of two Atta leaf-cutting ant queens nesting in clayish and organic soils.

    PubMed

    Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel; Roces, Flavio

    2015-09-01

    Queens of leaf-cutting ants found their nests singly, each consisting of a vertical tunnel and a final horizontal chamber. Because of the claustral mode of nest founding, the queen and/or her initial fungus garden are exposed to threats imposed by several soil pathogens, and the antibiotic secretions produced by their metapleural glands are considered a main adaptation to deal with them. Nests of two Atta leaf-cutting ant species, Atta vollenweideri and Atta sexdens rubropilosa, occur in different soil types, alfisols and oxisols. Their queens are known to excavate the initial nest in different soil horizons, clayish and organic, respectively, which differ in their fertility and associated microbiota. The aim of the present study was to comparatively investigate the morpho-physiology of the metapleural glands in queens of A. vollenweideri and A. sexdens rubropilosa, addressing the question whether the distinct selective pressure imposed by the microbiota in the two different soil types led to morpho-physiological differences in the metapleural glands that were consistent with their antiseptic function. The results revealed that metapleural glands of A. sexdens rubropilosa have a larger number of secretory cells, and consequently a higher production of antibiotic secretions, which may have been selected to allow nest founding at the superficial horizon of oxisols rich in organic matter and microorganisms. Glands of A. vollenweideri, on the contrary, presented fewer secretory cells, suggesting less production of antibiotic secretions. We argue that the excavation of deep founding nests in A. vollenweideri was primarily selected for during evolution to avoid the risk posed by flooding, and further hypothesize that a reduced number of cells in their metapleural glands occurred because of a weak pathogen-driven selective pressure at the preferred soil depth. PMID:26145506

  6. Pseudacteon decapitating flies: Potential vectors of a fire ant virus?

    SciTech Connect

    Valles, S.M.; Porter, S.D.

    2007-03-15

    Solenopsis invicta virus (SINV-1) is a positive-stranded RNA virus recently found to infect all stages of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV-1 and a second genotype have been tentatively assigned to the Dicistroviridae (Mayo 2002). Infected individuals or colonies did not exhibit any immediate, discernible symptoms in the field. However, under stress from introduction into the laboratory, brood death was often observed among infected colonies, ultimately leading to the death of the entire colony (Valles et al. 2004). These characteristics are consistent with other insect-infecting positive-stranded RNA viruses. They often persist as inapparent, asymptomatic infections that, under certain conditions, induce replication within the host, resulting in observable symptoms and often death (Christian and Scotti 1998; Fernandez et al. 2002). The SINV infection rate among colonies was reported to be around 25% in Gainesville, Florida (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV vertical and horizontal transmission were inferred based on RT-PCR detection of virus genome in eggs and successful colony to colony transfer under lab conditions (Valles et al. 2004). However, the exact mechanisms by which the virus is spread from nest to nest in the field are unknown. Our results indicate that SINV does not replicate within Pseudacteon decapitating flies that parasitize S. invicta. Flies appeared to develop normally from SINV-infected S. invicta workers. Mechanical transmission of SINV to uninfected ants by oviposition appears unlikely.

  7. Fire ants actively control spacing and orientation within self-assemblages.

    PubMed

    Foster, Paul C; Mlot, Nathan J; Lin, Angela; Hu, David L

    2014-06-15

    To overcome obstacles and survive harsh environments, fire ants link their bodies together to form self-assemblages such as rafts, bridges and bivouacs. Such structures are examples of self-assembling and self-healing materials, as ants can quickly create and break links with one another in response to changes in their environment. Because ants are opaque, the arrangement of the ants within these three-dimensional networks was previously unknown. In this experimental study, we applied micro-scale computed tomography, or micro-CT, to visualize the connectivity, arrangement and orientation of ants within an assemblage. We identified active and geometric mechanisms that ants use to obtain favorable packing properties with respect to well-studied packing of inert objects such as cylinders. Ants use their legs to push against their neighbors, doubling their spacing relative to random packing of cylinders. These legs also permit active control of their orientation, an ability ants use to arrange themselves perpendicularly rather than in parallel. Lastly, we found an important role of ant polymorphism in promoting self-aggregation: a large distribution of ant sizes permits small ants to fit between the legs of larger ants, a phenomenon that increases the number of average connections per ant. These combined mechanisms lead to low packing fraction and high connectivity, which increase raft buoyancy and strength during flash floods. PMID:24920836

  8. Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Seasonally-Acquired Imported Fire Ant Mound Features (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Turfgrass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive mound-building imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) impact soil quality and turfgrass nutrient management in sod production, recreational, residential, and commercial settings. Ground-based hyperspectral studies focused on the seasonal monitoring of reflectance characteristics of imported f...

  9. Bionomics of Orasema simplex (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae) a parasitoid of Solenopsis fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Biological characteristics of the parasitoid Orasema simplex Heraty (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae), a potential candidate for the biological control of fire ants in the United States were investigated. Female survivorship, fertility and oviposition preferences were studied in the laboratory. Naturally ...

  10. Estimation of the number of founders of an invasive pest insect population: the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA

    PubMed Central

    Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, D. DeWayne

    2008-01-01

    Determination of the number of founders responsible for the establishment of invasive populations is important for developing biologically based management practices, predicting the invasive potential of species, and making inferences about ecological and evolutionary processes. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a major invasive pest insect first introduced into the USA from its native South American range in the mid-1930s. We use data from diverse genetic markers surveyed in the source population and the USA to estimate the number of founders of this introduced population. Data from different classes of nuclear markers (microsatellites, allozymes, sex-determination locus) and mitochondrial DNA are largely congruent in suggesting that 9–20 unrelated mated queens comprised the initial founder group to colonize the USA at Mobile, Alabama. Estimates of founder group size based on expanded samples from throughout the southern USA were marginally higher than this, consistent with the hypothesis of one or more secondary introductions of the ant into the USA. The rapid spread and massive population build-up of introduced S. invicta occurred despite the loss of substantial genetic variation associated with the relatively small invasive propagule size, a pattern especially surprising in light of the substantial genetic load imposed by the loss of variation at the sex-determination locus. PMID:18577505

  11. Seasonal Dynamics of Hyperspectral Reflectance Patterns Influencing Detection of Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Mound Features in Turfgrass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive mound-building imported fire ants impact soil quality and turfgrass nutrient management affecting an estimated 8.1 million hectares in sod production, recreational, and residential settings in the southeastern U.S. Reflectance characteristics of imported fire ant mound features (i.e., ant m...

  12. Colony growth of two species of Solenopsis fire ants(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reared with crickets and beef liver

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Most diets for rearing fire ants and other ants contain insects such as crickets or mealworms. Unfortunately, insect diets are expensive, especially for large rearing operations, and are not always easily available. This study was designed to examine colony growth of Solenopsis fire ants on beef liv...

  13. Distribution, abundance and persistence of Orasema spp. (Hym:Eucharitidae) parasitic on fire ants in South America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Parasitoid wasps of the genus Orasema Cameron have been considered as potential candidates for biological control of imported fire ants in the United States. Surveys were conducted for their occurrence in fire ant colonies across southern South America. In Argentina, 443 ant colonies were excavated ...

  14. Isolation of a pyrazine alarm pheromone component from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, Robert K; Preston, Catherine A; Choi, Man-Yeon

    2010-02-01

    Alarm pheromones in social insects are an essential part of a complex of pheromone interactions that contribute to the maintenance of colony integrity and sociality. The alarm pheromones of ants were among the first examples of animal pheromones identified, primarily because of the large amount of chemical produced and the distinctive responses of ants to the pheromone. However, the alarm pheromone of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, eluded identification for over four decades. We identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine as an alarm pheromone component of S. invicta. Worker fire ants detect the pyrazine alarm pheromone at 30 pg/ml, which is comparable to alarm pheromone sensitivities reported for other ant species. The source of this alarm pheromone are the mandibular glands, which, in fire ants, are not well developed and contain only about 300 pg of the compound, much less than the microgram quantities of alarm pheromones reported for several other ant species. Female and male sexuals and workers produce the pyrazine, which suggests that it may be involved in fire ant mating flight initiation, as well as the typical worker alarm response. This is the first report of 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine from a Solenopsis species and the first example of this alkaloid functioning as an alarm pheromone. PMID:20145982

  15. Alkylpyrazines: Alarm pheromone components of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The previous identification of 2,5-dimethyl-3-(3-methylbutyl) pyrazine as the mandibular alarm pheromone of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger), has been found to be incorrect. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of ant extracts suggested the correct structure to be the reg...

  16. Pseudacteon decapitating fly parasitism rates in fire ant colonies around Gainesville, Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In order to assess the impacts of phorid flies on fire ants in the Gainesville area, we collected 3 g of worker ants from 36 colonies. A total of 672 parasitized workers were recovered from the 36 colony samples. Confirmed parasitism rates ranged from 0-5% with an average of about 0.5%. Including c...

  17. Semiochemicals released by electrically stimulated red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, R K; Slowik, T J; Thorvilson, H G

    2002-12-01

    The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren, has evolved sophisticated chemical communication systems that regulate the activities of the colony. Among these are recruitment pheromones that effectively attract and stimulate workers to follow a trail to food or alternative nesting sites. Alarm pheromones alert, activate, and attract workers to intruders or other disturbances. The attraction and accumulation of fire ant workers in electrical equipment may be explained by their release of pheromones that draw additional worker ants into the electrical contacts. We used chemical analysis and behavioral bioassays to investigate if semiochemicals were released by electrically shocked fire ants. Workers were subjected to a 120 V, alternating-current power source. In all cases, electrically stimulated workers released venom alkaloids as revealed by gas chromatography. We also demonstrated the release of alarm pheromones and recruitment pheromones that elicited attraction and orientation. Arrestant behavior was observed with the workers not electrically stimulated but near those that were, indicating release of unkown behavior-modifying substances from the electrically stimulated ants. It appears that fire ants respond to electrical stimulus by generally releasing exocrine gland products. The behaviors associated with these products support the hypothesis that the accumulation of fire ants in electrical equipment is the result of a foraging worker finding and closing electrical contacts, then releasing exocrine gland products that attract other workers to the site, who in turn are electrically stimulated. PMID:12564802

  18. Antimicrobial properties of nest volatiles in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Elliott, Brad; Jin, Xixuan; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-12-01

    The antimicrobial property of volatiles produced by red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, against Beauveria bassiana, a common entomopathogenic fungus, was demonstrated. The germination rate of B. bassiana spores was significantly reduced after they were exposed to volatiles within an artificial ant nest. Since the air that contained the same level of O2 and CO2 as that in artificial fire ant nests did not suppress the germination rate of B. bassiana, the observed reduction of germination rate must be caused by the toxicity of nest volatiles. Nest fumigation may be an important component of the social immune system in S. invicta. PMID:26467352

  19. Antimicrobial properties of nest volatiles in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (hymenoptera: formicidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Lei; Elliott, Brad; Jin, Xixuan; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-12-01

    The antimicrobial property of volatiles produced by red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, against Beauveria bassiana, a common entomopathogenic fungus, was demonstrated. The germination rate of B. bassiana spores was significantly reduced after they were exposed to volatiles within an artificial ant nest. Since the air that contained the same level of O2 and CO2 as that in artificial fire ant nests did not suppress the germination rate of B. bassiana, the observed reduction of germination rate must be caused by the toxicity of nest volatiles. Nest fumigation may be an important component of the social immune system in S. invicta.

  20. Red imported fire ant impacts on wildlife: A decade of research

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, C.R.; Epperson, D.M.; Garmestani, A.S.

    2004-01-01

    The negative impacts of biological invasion are economically and ecologically significant and, while incompletely quantified, they are clearly substantial. Ants (family Formicidae) are an important, although often overlooked, component of many terrestrial ecosystems. Six species of ants are especially striking in their global ability to invade, and their impacts. This paper focuses on the impacts of the most destructive of those species, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), and focuses on impacts on native vertebrates. Red imported fire ants often become the dominant ant species in infested areas outside of their native range due to their aggressive foraging behavior, high reproductive capability and lack of predators and/or other strong competitors. The evidence suggests that mammals, birds and herpetofauna are vulnerable to negative impacts from fire ants, and some species are more likely to experience negative population-level impacts than other species. Assessing the ecological impacts of fire ants on wild animal populations is logistically difficult, and very few studies have combined replicated experimental manipulation with adequate spatial (>10 ha) and temporal (>1 y) scale. Thus, most studies have been observational, opportunistic, small-scale or 'natural' experiments. However, significant research, including an increase in experimental and mechanistic investigations, has occurred during the past decade, and this has led to information that can lead to better management of potentially affected species.

  1. Fire ants self-assemble into waterproof rafts to survive floods

    PubMed Central

    Mlot, Nathan J.; Tovey, Craig A.; Hu, David L.

    2011-01-01

    Why does a single fire ant Solenopsis invicta struggle in water, whereas a group can float effortlessly for days? We use time-lapse photography to investigate how fire ants S. invicta link their bodies together to build waterproof rafts. Although water repellency in nature has been previously viewed as a static material property of plant leaves and insect cuticles, we here demonstrate a self-assembled hydrophobic surface. We find that ants can considerably enhance their water repellency by linking their bodies together, a process analogous to the weaving of a waterproof fabric. We present a model for the rate of raft construction based on observations of ant trajectories atop the raft. Central to the construction process is the trapping of ants at the raft edge by their neighbors, suggesting that some “cooperative” behaviors may rely upon coercion. PMID:21518911

  2. Anaphylaxis caused by stings from the Solenopsis invicta, lava-pés ant or red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

    Haddad Junior, Vidal; Larsson, Carlos Eduardo

    2015-01-01

    Ants are social insects with species of medical interest, such as the fire ants (Solenopsis sp.). The sting causes inflammation, vesicles and sterile pustules, which may cause allergic phenomena and even anaphylactic shock. We describe a patient who suffered a large number of stings and an episode of syncope with fall in blood pressure and complete regression of symptoms after resuscitation and medication for anaphylaxis. Considering the clinical manifestations and images of wheals and blisters on the patient's feet at the time of syncope, this report should serve as a warning for the diagnosis and treatment of this condition and even for counseling and prevention regarding patients exposed to this risk. PMID:26312665

  3. Fly pupae as attractant carriers for toxic baits for red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Williams, D F; Lofgren, C S; Vander Meer, R K

    1990-02-01

    Eight laboratory-reared ant species were fed baits of house fly, Musca domestica L., pupae treated with hydramethylnon. Two fire ant species, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis geminata (F.), and Pheidole morrissi (Forel) were killed; average percentage of mortality of the five other species was less than 20%. In contrast, all species that were fed the commercial fire ant bait containing hydramethylnon (Amdro) died or were adversely affected. In the field, applications of house fly pupae and eye gnat, Hippelates pusio Loew, pupae dipped in acetone solutions of fenoxycarb significantly reduced population indices of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta, compared with commercial formulations of fenoxycarb (Logic) and hydramethylnon (Amdro). Field observations showed that the pupae of either species can be carried or moved by one or two worker ants. The smooth, hard cuticle of the pupae make them easy to handle and apply with application equipment. The current cost of house fly pupae is considerably more than the cost of a granular carrier, pregel defatted corn grits. However, if mass-production methods reduce this price differential, fly pupae could become an effective and more species-specific fire ant bait carrier. PMID:2324379

  4. Traits allowing some ant species to nest syntopically with the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima in its native range.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno; Céréghino, Régis; Leponce, Maurice; Roux, Olivier; Rossi, Vivien; Delabie, Jacques H C; Compin, Arthur

    2015-04-01

    Supercolonies of the red fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) develop in disturbed environments and likely alter the ant community in the native range of the species. For example, in French Guiana only 8 ant species were repeatedly noted as nesting in close vicinity to its mounds. Here, we verified if a shared set of biological, ecological, and behavioral traits might explain how these 8 species are able to nest in the presence of S. saevissima. We did not find this to be the case. We did find, however, that all of them are able to live in disturbed habitats. It is likely that over the course of evolution each of these species acquired the capacity to live syntopically with S. saevissima through its own set of traits, where colony size (4 species develop large colonies), cuticular compounds which do not trigger aggressiveness (6 species) and submissive behaviors (4 species) complement each other. PMID:25813245

  5. The Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) Kept Y not F: Predicted sNPY Endogenous Ligands Deorphanize the Short NPF (sNPF) Receptor

    PubMed Central

    Bajracharya, Prati; Lu, Hsiao-Ling; Pietrantonio, Patricia V.

    2014-01-01

    Neuropeptides and their receptors play vital roles in controlling the physiology and behavior of animals. Short neuropeptide F (sNPF) signaling regulates several physiological processes in insects such as feeding, locomotion, circadian rhythm and reproduction, among others. Previously, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) sNPF receptor (S. invicta sNPFR), a G protein-coupled receptor, was immunolocalized in queen and worker brain and queen ovaries. Differential distribution patterns of S. invicta sNPFR protein in fire ant worker brain were associated both with worker subcastes and with presence or absence of brood in the colony. However, the cognate ligand for this sNPFR has not been characterized and attempts to deorphanize the receptor with sNPF peptides from other insect species which ended in the canonical sequence LRLRFamide, failed. Receptor deorphanization is an important step to understand the neuropeptide receptor downstream signaling cascade. We cloned the full length cDNA of the putative S. invicta sNPF prepropeptide and identified the putative “sNPF” ligand within its sequence. The peptide ends with an amidated Tyr residue whereas in other insect species sNPFs have an amidated Phe or Trp residue at the C-terminus. We stably expressed the HA-tagged S. invicta sNPFR in CHO-K1 cells. Two S. invicta sNPFs differing at their N-terminus were synthesized that equally activated the sNPFR, SLRSALAAGHLRYa (EC50 = 3.2 nM) and SALAAGHLRYa (EC50 = 8.6 nM). Both peptides decreased the intracellular cAMP concentration, indicating signaling through the Gαi-subunit. The receptor was not activated by sNPF peptides from other insect species, honey bee long NPF (NPY) or mammalian PYY. Further, a synthesized peptide otherwise identical to the fire ant sequence but in which the C-terminal amidated amino acid residue ‘Y’ was switched to ‘F’, failed to activate the sNPFR. This discovery will now allow us to investigate the function of sNPY and

  6. Indirect effects of red imported fire ants on Attwater's prairie‐chicken brood survival

    PubMed Central

    Chester, Rebecca E.; Lehnen, Sarah E.; Drees, Bastiaan M.; Toepfer, John E.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT The invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) has negatively affected a host of taxonomic groups throughout its acquired North American range. Many studies have hypothesized indirect trophic impacts, but few documented those impacts. We evaluated invertebrate abundance as a factor limiting juvenile survival of the endangered Attwater's prairie‐chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), and whether fire ants reduce invertebrate numbers and biomass. From 2009–2013, we monitored survival of Attwater's prairie‐chicken broods (n = 63) with radio telemetry during the first 2 weeks post‐hatch and collected daily invertebrate samples at brood sites. Broods located in areas with the highest median invertebrate count (338 invertebrates/25 sweeps) had a survival probability of 0.83 at 2 weeks post‐hatch compared to 0.07 for broods located in areas with the lowest median invertebrate count (18 invertebrates/25 sweeps). During 2011–2012, we evaluated the reduction of fire ants on invertebrate numbers and biomass by aerially treating areas with Extinguish Plus™ in an impact‐reference study design. Treated fields had 27% more individual invertebrates and 26% higher invertebrate biomass than reference fields. Our results clearly document that invertebrate abundance affects Attwater's prairie‐chicken brood survival and that fire ants may indirectly contribute to low brood survival by suppressing invertebrate abundance. We posit that within the fire ant's acquired North American range, fire ants are likely contributing to declines of other insectivorous species. Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. PMID:26900176

  7. Experimental evidence that dispersal drives ant community assembly in human-altered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

    A key shortcoming in our understanding of exotic species' success is that it is not known how post-introduction dispersal contributes to the success of exotic species and the reassembly of invaded communities. Exotic and native species face poorly understood competition-colonization trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes of natural and anthropogenic habitats. We conducted three experiments that tested how ant queen behavior during dispersal affects community composition. Using experimental plots, we tested whether (1) different types of habitat disturbance and (2) different sizes of habitat disturbance affected the abundance of newly mated queens landing in the plots. The three most abundant species captured were the exotic fire ant Solenopsis invicta, and the native species Brachymyrmex depilis, and S. pergandei, respectively. When queens were considered collectively, more queens landed in plowed, sand-added, and roadside plots than in control or mow plots, in other words, in the more heavily disturbed plots. We also tested (3) the effect of habitat manipulations on the survival of newly mated fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta). Soil disturbance (tilling), lack of shade, and removal (poisoning) of the ant community resulted in the greatest fire ant colony survivorship. Collectively, experiments revealed that both exotic and native newly mated ant queens select open, human-altered ecosystems for founding new colonies. The selection of such habitats by fire ant queens leads to their successful colony founding and ultimately to their dominance in those habitats. Selection of disturbed habitats is therefore advantageous for exotic species but is an ecological trap for native species because they do not often succeed in founding colonies in these habitats. PMID:27008792

  8. Host specificity and colony impacts of the fire ant pathogen, Solenopsis invicta virus 3.

    PubMed

    Porter, Sanford D; Valles, Steven M; Oi, David H

    2013-09-01

    An understanding of host specificity is essential before pathogens can be used as biopesticides or self-sustaining biocontrol agents. In order to define the host range of the recently discovered Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), we exposed laboratory colonies of 19 species of ants in 14 genera and 4 subfamilies to this virus. Despite extreme exposure during these tests, active, replicating infections only occurred in Solenopsis invicta Buren and hybrid (S. invicta×S. richteri) fire ant colonies. The lack of infections in test Solenopsis geminata fire ants from the United States indicates that SINV-3 is restricted to the saevissima complex of South American fire ants, especially since replicating virus was also found in several field-collected samples of the black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri Forel. S. invicta colonies infected with SINV-3 declined dramatically with average brood reductions of 85% or more while colonies of other species exposed to virus remained uninfected and healthy. The combination of high virulence and high host specificity suggest that SINV-3 has the potential for use as either a biopesticide or a self-sustaining biocontrol agent. PMID:23665158

  9. Host specificity testing of the Solenopsis fire ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) pathogen, Kneallhazia (=Thelohania) solenopsae (Microsporidia:Thelohaniidae), in Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Post-entry host specificity testing was conducted on ants in Florida for the fire ant pathogen Kneallhazia solenopsae to determine transmission potential to native and non-target species. In addition, there was interest to assess the potential of K. solenopsae to control other pest ants. The patho...

  10. Development of a lateral flow immunoassay for rapid field detection of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the United States to minimize the spread of the ant. There remains an acute ...

  11. Repellent Effect of Formic Acid Against the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A Field Study.

    PubMed

    Wang, Cai; Henderson, Gregg

    2016-04-01

    Previous studies showed that the formic acid secreted by tawny crazy ants not only has fumigation toxicity to the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Chen et al. 2013), but also can detoxify fire ant venom (LeBrun et al. 2014). These lead us to a field study to determine if low concentrations of formic acid might be useful in repelling S. invicta. Filter paper discs treated with 1.3% or 5% formic acid (v: v) or distilled water (control) were placed on each of the 46 S. invicta mounds and a disturbance was created. For a minute or less, there were significantly more defending ants on the control discs than that on the paper discs treated with formic acid. After food was added and for the next 40 min, there were significantly more foraging ants on the control discs compared to the treated discs. At 50 min into the test, the number of foraging ants on the control and 1.3% formic acid-treated discs was similar, but both were significantly higher than that on the 5% formic acid-treated discs. In addition, the active foraging (≥10 ants stayed on or around the food) and burying behavior (soil particles were deposited around the food) continued to be inhibited by 5% formic acid. The potential application and ecological significant of this repellent effect is discussed. PMID:26700488

  12. Seasonal Changes in Broadband Spectral Reflectance Characteristics of Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Mound Features in Turfgrass Agroecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive mound-building imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) disrupt soil quality and turfgrass nutrient management in sod production, recreational, and residential settings. Ground-based implementation of hyperspectral techniques in the detection and seasonal monitoring of imported fire ant col...

  13. Molecular diversity of the microsporidium Kneallhazzia solenopsae reveals an expanded host range among fire ants in North America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Kneallhazia solenopsae is a pathogenic microsporidium of the fire ants Solenopsis invicta and Solenopis richteri in South America and the USA. In this study we analyzed the presence and molecular diversity of K. solenopsae in fire ants from North and South America. We reported the first empirical ev...

  14. Laboratory Fire Ant colonies (Solenopsis invicta) fail to grow with Bhatkar Diet and three other artificial diets

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Various artificial diets have been used for rearing imported fire ants; however most of these diets include insect supplements. This study was designed to examine growth of red imported fire ant colonies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis invicta Buren) on four artificial diets: a chemically unde...

  15. Establishment, dispersal, and competitive impacts of a third fire ant decapitating fly (Pseudacteon obtusus) in North Central Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Self-sustaining classical biological control agents offer a hope for permanent wide-area control of imported Solenopsis fire ants in the United States because escape from abundant natural enemies left behind in Argentina is a likely reason for unusually high fire ant densities in the United States. ...

  16. Savanna fires increase rates and distances of seed dispersal by ants.

    PubMed

    Parr, C L; Andersen, A N; Chastagnol, C; Duffaud, C

    2007-02-01

    Myrmecochory (seed dispersal by ants) is a prominent dispersal mechanism in many environments, and can play a key role in local vegetation dynamics. Here we investigate its interaction with another key process in vegetation dynamics-fire. We examine ant dispersal of seeds immediately before and after experimental burning in an Australian tropical savanna, one of the world's most fire-prone ecosystems. Specifically, our study addressed the effects of burning on: (1) the composition of ants removing seeds, (2) number of seed removals, and (3) distance of seed dispersal. Fire led to higher rates of seed removal post-fire when compared with unburnt habitat, and markedly altered dispersal distance, with mean dispersal distance increasing more than twofold (from 1.6 to 3.8 m), and many distance dispersal events greater than the pre-fire maximum (7.55 m) being recorded. These changes were due primarily to longer foraging ranges of species of Iridomyrmex, most likely in response to the simplification of their foraging landscape. The significance of enhanced seed-removal rates and distance dispersal for seedling establishment is unclear because the benefits to plants in having their seeds dispersed by ants in northern Australia are poorly known. However, an enhanced removal rate would enhance any benefit of reduced predation by rodents. Similarly, the broader range of dispersal distances would appear to benefit plants in terms of reduced parent-offspring conflict and sibling competition, and the location of favourable seedling microsites. Given the high frequency of fire in Australian tropical savannas, enhanced benefits of seed dispersal by ants would apply for much of the year. PMID:17033801

  17. Hunger in red imported fire ants and their behavioral response to two liquid bait products.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Kathryn S; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M

    2005-12-01

    To help manage red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, invasion, several types of pest management systems have been developed, including baits. To accurately test liquid bait effectiveness in the laboratory, we determined that starvation time of 96 h is required for laboratory fire ants to simulate foraging ants in the field. We measured density and viscosity of two commercial baits and 20% sugar water at 25 degrees C and then compared amount of material consumed per ant at these physical properties. Mean densities of 20% sugar water, Dr. Moss, and Terro were 1.051, 1.287, and 1.354 g/ml, respectively, and viscosity of each bait treatment varied in the same order but more drastically (1.7, 32, and 400 centipoises, respectively). Field and laboratory studies demonstrated that bait acceptability may be affected by toxicant and physical properties. Baits that are more dense have more mass per volume and may cause the ant to cease feeding with a lower crop load than when they feed on sugar water. Ants that feed on formulated baits exhibit feeding behaviors different from those that occur when feeding on sugar water. At first glance, one might conclude that the difference is because of the toxicant, but our findings suggest that physical properties of baits may be a factor in this change in feeding behavior. PMID:16539145

  18. A Review of the Biological Control of Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The suppression of well-established invasive ants will likely require biological control by natural enemies. This approach is self-sustaining and can impact undetected or inaccessible populations that are the source of the continual presence and expansion of the invaders. There is an ongoing effor...

  19. Seasonal Shifts in the Hyperspectral Characterization of Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Mound Features in Turfgrass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Safe, expedient, and cost-effective field- to landscape-scale treatments of imported fire ant (IFA) infestations require technological developments that exploit the use of remotely-sensed contrasting features to detect cryptic mounds in heavily-managed turfgrass. Ground-based implementation of hyper...

  20. Effects of simulated and natural rainfall on summer mound construction by imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri x invicta) mounds in northeastern Mississippi were subjected to four treatments from late July through early September, 2006: application of water (7.5 L) and placement of an inverted 19 L bucket on top; application of water only; application of an inverted buc...

  1. SEASONAL SHIFTS IN THE HYPERSPECTRAL CHARACTERIZATION OF IMPORTED FIRE ANT (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) MOUND FEATURES IN TURFGRASS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Safe, expedient, and cost-effective field- to landscape-scale treatments of imported fire ant (IFA) infestations require technological developments that exploit the use of remotely-sensed contrasting features to detect cryptic mounds in heavily-managed turfgrass. Ground-based implementation of hyper...

  2. Aerosol delivery of trail pheromone disrupts red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, foraging

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Toxic bait systems are widely used for control of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world. We prepared the trail pheromone Z,E-a-farnesene (91% purity) from isomerised apple extracts and tested disruption of worker trail orientation using an aer...

  3. Population genetic structure of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in Taiwan

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We generated and analyzed microsatellite genotypic data and mtDNA sequence data from the fire ant Solenopsis invicta collected from two separate infested areas (Taoyuan and Chiayi) in Taiwan to infer the population and colony structure of these recently established populations. These genetic analyse...

  4. IMPORTED FIRE ANT (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) MOUND SHAPE CHARACTERISTICS ALONG A NORTH-SOUTH GRADIENT

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ant mound shape characteristics (south facing slope angle and area, mound height, and basal elongation in the plane of the ground) were quantified in 2005 and 2006 at a number of locations from about 30° 25’ N (Long Beach, Mississippi, USA) to 35° 3’ N (Fayetteville, Tennessee, USA). ...

  5. Invasion Biology on Your Campus: Investigating the Red Imported Fire Ant in the Southeastern United States.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Forys, Elizabeth A.; Kelly, William B.; Ward, David T.

    2003-01-01

    Describes a laboratory activity on invasion biology to improve students' cognitive skills as well as manual skills. Requires students to develop hypotheses in which a common invasive species will succeed. Focuses on the red imported fire ant in the Southeastern United States, which is a non-native invasive species. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)

  6. Ecological dominance of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in its native range

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Despite the widespread impacts invasive species can have in introduced populations, little is know about patterns of co-existence between invaders and similar taxa in their native range. This study examines interactions between the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and other above-gro...

  7. Piperideine Alkaloids from the Poison Gland of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    It is well known that the major chemical components in the venom of the red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are 2-methyl-6-alkyl or alkenyl piperidines. After isolating the extracts of poison glands and whole worker bodies with a column chromatography, we have obtained fractions conta...

  8. Sociogenomics of cooperation and conflict during colony foundation in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The genomic state of an individual results from the interplay between its internal condition and the external environment, which may include the social environment. The link between genes and social environment is clearly visible during the process of colony founding in the fire ant Solenopsis invic...

  9. Diversification amongst the South American fire ants: how when and why species barriers break down

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ants (Solenopsis) are an ideal model system for studying speciation and coexistence. Based on preliminary mitochondrial work, they appear to be a relatively recent radiation, and possibly a species swarm (ancient hybridization among young species). We are using a variety of phylogenetic, phylog...

  10. An overview of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Mainland China

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren is a serious invasive insect which is native to South America. Its presence was first reported in mainland China in 2005. To date it has been identified in four provinces in mainland China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Fujian) in a total of 30 counti...

  11. STUDIES ON ATTRACTIVENESS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF AN ARTIFICIAL ENTOMOPHAGE DIET FED TO HYBRID IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An artificial entomophage diet (Cohen, U. S. Patent # 5,834,177. November 10, 1998) was offered to Solenopsis invicta Buren x Solenopsis richteri Forel (hybrid imported fire ant) in a series of choice tests. Foraging workers collected approx. 27 times more reconstituted diet than freeze-dried diet...

  12. AN INSECT PEST FOR AGRICULTURAL, URBAN, AND WILDLIFE AREAS: THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta (Buren), is an insect pest of particular importance in California due to its potential impact on public health, agriculture, and wildlife. In 1997, RIFAs hitchhiked to the Central Valley on honeybee hives brought in from Texas for pollination of a...

  13. A Y-like social chromosome causes alternative colony organization in fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Intraspecific variability in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known1-3. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the existence of two divergent forms of social organisation is under the control of a single Mendelian genomic element marked by two variants of an odorant b...

  14. Phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis, response to alkylpyrazine analogs of a fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, alarm pheromone.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Kavita; Vander Meer, Robert K; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2011-07-01

    The phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, is a parasitoid of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. This fly has been reported to use fire ant chemicals, specifically venom alkaloids and possibly alarm pheromone to locate its host. A recent study identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethyl pyrazine as a component of the alarm pheromone of S. invicta. To determine the possible involvement of this fire ant alarm pheromone component in mediating fire ant-phorid fly interactions, we tested electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral responses of P. tricuspis females to the commercially available mixture of 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethyl pyrazine and its 3,5-dimethyl isomer, as well as six structurally related alkylpyrazine analogs at varying doses. Pseudacteon tricuspis females showed significant EAG response to 2-ethyl-3,6(or 5)-dimethyl pyrazine (herein referred to as pheromone-isomer) at all doses, 0.001-10 μg. Among the tested alkylpyrazine analogs, 2,3-diethyl-5-methyl pyrazine showed significant EAG activity at 0.1 and 1 μg. 2,3-dimethyl pyrazine also showed significant EAG activity at 0.1 μg. Results of four-choice olfactometer bioassays demonstrated significant attraction of P. tricuspis females to the pheromone-isomer (2-ethyl-3,6(or 5)-dimethyl pyrazine) at all tested doses (0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10 μg). The analogs, 2,3-diethyl-5-methyl pyrazine and 2,3-dimethyl pyrazine were significantly better than the control at the higher doses (0.1, 1 and 10 μg). The pheromone-isomer was significantly better than both analogs at two doses, 0.1 and 1 μg. These results confirm that the reported fire ant alarm pheromone component plays a role in mediating attraction of phorid flies to host workers. Venom alkaloids were previously shown to attract P. tricuspis; therefore, we propose that fire ant alarm pheromones may act in tandem or synergistically with venom alkaloids to attract phorid fly parasitoids to fire ant workers. PMID:21524656

  15. Ecological dominance of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in its native range.

    PubMed

    Calcaterra, Luis A; Livore, Juan P; Delgado, Alicia; Briano, Juan A

    2008-05-01

    Despite the widespread impacts invasive species can have in introduced populations, little is known about competitive mechanisms and dominance hierarchies between invaders and similar taxa in their native range. This study examines interactions between the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and other above-ground foraging ants in two habitats in northeastern Argentina. A combination of pitfall traps and baits was used to characterize the ant communities, their dominance relationships, and to evaluate the effect of phorid flies on the interactions. Twenty-eight ant species coexisted with S. invicta in a gallery forest gap, whereas only ten coexisted with S. invicta in a xerophytic forest grassland. S. invicta was the most numerically dominant species in the richest and complex habitat (gallery forest); however it performed better as discoverer and dominator in the simpler habitat. S. invicta was active during day and night. In spite of its poor capacity to discover resources, S. invicta showed the highest ecological dominance and the second-best behavioral dominance after Camponotus blandus. S. invicta won 78% of the interactions with other ants, mostly against its most frequent competitor, Pheidole cf. obscurithorax, dominating baits via mass recruitment and chemical aggression. P. cf. obscurithorax was the best food discoverer. S. invicta won 80% of the scarce interactions with Linepithema humile. Crematogaster quadriformis was one of the fastest foragers and the only ant that won an equal number of contests against S. invicta. The low presence of phorid flies affected the foraging rate of S. invicta, but not the outcome of interspecific interactions. This study revealed that the red imported fire ant ecologically dominated other terrestrial ants in its native range; however, other species were able to be numerically dominant or co-dominant in its presence. PMID:18305962

  16. How to coexist with fire ants: the roles of behaviour and cuticular compounds.

    PubMed

    Roux, Olivier; Rossi, Vivien; Céréghino, Régis; Compin, Arthur; Martin, Jean-Michel; Dejean, Alain

    2013-09-01

    Because territoriality is energetically costly, territorial animals frequently respond less aggressively to neighbours than to strangers, a reaction known as the "dear enemy phenomenon" (DEP). The contrary, the "nasty neighbour effect" (NNE), occurs mainly for group-living species defending resource-based territories. We studied the relationships between supercolonies of the pest fire ant Solenopsis saevissima and eight ant species able to live in the vicinity of its nests plus Eciton burchellii, an army ant predator of other ants. The workers from all of the eight ant species behaved submissively when confronted with S. saevissima (dominant) individuals, whereas the contrary was never true. Yet, S. saevissima were submissive towards E. burchellii workers. Both DEP and NNE were observed for the eight ant species, with submissive behaviours less frequent in the case of DEP. To distinguish what is due to chemical cues from what can be attributed to behaviour, we extracted cuticular compounds from all of the nine ant species compared and transferred them onto a number of S. saevissima workers that were then confronted with untreated conspecifics. The cuticular compounds from three species, particularly E. burchellii, triggered greater aggressiveness by S. saevissima workers, while those from the other species did not. PMID:23644041

  17. GP-9s are ubiquitous proteins unlikely involved in olfactory mediation of social organization in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Leal, Walter S; Ishida, Yuko

    2008-01-01

    The red imported fire ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta, is an invasive species, accidentally introduced in the United States that can cause painful (sometimes life-threatening) stings to human, pets, and livestock. Their colonies have two social forms: monogyne and polygyne that have a single and multiple functional queens, respectively. A major gene (Gp-9), identified as a putative pheromone-binding protein on the basis of a modest amino acid sequence identity, has been suggested to influence the expression of colony social organization. Monogyne queens are reported to possess only the GP-9B alleles, whereas polygyne queens possess both GP-9B and GP-9b. Thus, both social forms are reported to express GP-9B, with GP-9b being a marker expressed in polygynes but it is absent in monogynes. Here, we report two types of polygyne colonies, one that does not express GP-9b (monogyne-like) and the other expressing both proteins, GP-9B and GP-9b. Given their expression pattern, GP-9s are hemolymph proteins, which are more likely to be involved in the transport of lipids and small ligands within the homocoel. GP-9B existed in two forms, one of them is phosphorylated. The helical-rich content of the protein resembles the secondary structures of a beetle hemolymph protein and moth pheromone-binding proteins. An olfactory role is unlikely given the lack of specific expression in the sensillar lymph. In marked contrast to GP-9s, a chemosensory protein, SinvCSP, is demonstrated to be specifically expressed in the antennae. Within the antennae, expression of SinvCSP is restricted to the last two segments, which are known to house olfactory sensilla. PMID:19018280

  18. The effects of fire on ant trophic assemblage and sex allocation

    PubMed Central

    Caut, Stephane; Jowers, Michael J; Arnan, Xavier; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Rodrigo, Anselm; Cerda, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël R

    2014-01-01

    Fire plays a key role in ecosystem dynamics worldwide, altering energy flows and species community structure and composition. However, the functional mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. Many ground-dwelling animal species can shelter themselves from exposure to heat and therefore rarely suffer direct mortality. However, fire-induced alterations to the environment may change a species' relative trophic level within a food web and its mode of foraging. We assessed how fire could affect ant resource utilization at different scales in a Mediterranean forest. First, we conducted isotopic analyses on entire ant species assemblages and their potential food resources, which included plants and other arthropods, in burned and unburned plots 1 year postfire. Second, we measured the production of males and females by nests of a fire-resilient species, Aphaenogaster gibbosa, and analyzed the differences in isotopic values among workers, males, and females to test whether fire constrained resource allocation. We found that, in spite of major modifications in biotic and abiotic conditions, fire had little impact on the relative trophic position of ant species. The studied assemblage was composed of species with a wide array of diets. They ranged from being mostly herbivorous to completely omnivorous, and a given species' trophic level was the same in burned and unburned plots. In A. gibbosa nests, sexuals had greater δ15N values than workers in both burned and unburned plots, which suggests that the former had a more protein-rich diet than the latter. Fire also appeared to have a major effect on A. gibbosa sex allocation: The proportion of nests that produced male brood was greater on burned zones, as was the mean number of males produced per nest with the same reproductive investment. Our results show that generalist ants with relatively broad diets maintained a constant trophic position, even following a major disturbance like fire. However, the

  19. Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta, Dry and Store Insect Pieces for Later Use

    PubMed Central

    Gayahan, Glivery G.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2008-01-01

    Whereas long-term storage of liquid food in the crops of worker ants and storage of dry seeds are well-known, widespread, and sometimes spectacular phenomena, there have been no previous reports documenting the storage of dead insect prey. Predacious ants typically devour their insect prey within a short time. Given a bonanza of insect prey, the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, desiccates small pieces of these insects (creating insect “jerky”) and stockpiles these pieces in its mound, immediately below the mound surface, the driest and warmest location in the nest. Feeding colonies fluorescently dyed beetle larvae, and searching for fluorescence at night under ultraviolet light illumination verified such stockpiling. Stockpiles ranged from a few pieces to hundreds. Ant larvae in field colonies fed a single dose of dyed beetle larvae remained fluorescent for about two weeks. Laboratory colonies were fed a single dose of dyed larvae and then either starved of insect food, or fed on undyed larvae. All larvae in starved colonies remained strongly fluorescent for four weeks, whereas those in fed colonies gradually declined in fluorescence, showing that in the absence of an inflow of insect prey, workers in the starved colonies fed the dried insect fragments to larvae. Storage of dried food is easily overlooked, and it is possible that it is not limited to fire ants.

  20. Dose response of red imported fire ant colonies to Solenopsis invicta virus 3.

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Porter, Sanford D

    2015-10-01

    Baiting tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of increasing Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) dose on fire ant colonies. Actively growing early-stage fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) laboratory colonies were pulse-exposed for 24 hours to six concentrations of SINV-3 (10(1), 10(3), 10(5), 10(7), 10(9) genome equivalents/μl) in 1 ml of a 10 % sucrose bait and monitored regularly for two months. SINV-3 concentration had a significant effect on colony health. Brood rating (proportion of brood to worker ants) began to depart from the control group at 19 days for the 10(9) concentration and 26 days for the 10(7) concentration. At 60 days, brood rating was significantly lower among colonies treated with 10(9), 10(7), and 10(5) SINV-3 concentrations. The intermediate concentration, 10(5), appeared to cause a chronic, low-level infection with one colony (n = 9) supporting virus replication. Newly synthesized virus was not detected in any fire ant colonies treated at the 10(1) concentration, indicating that active infections failed to be established at this level of exposure. The highest bait concentration chosen, 10(9), appeared most effective from a control aspect; mean colony brood rating at this concentration (1.1 ± 0.9 at the 60 day time point) indicated poor colony health with minimal brood production. No clear relationship was observed between the quantity of plus genome strand detected and brood rating. Conversely, there was a strong relationship between the presence of the replicative genome strand and declining brood rating, which may serve as a predictor of disease severity. Recommendations for field treatment levels to control fire ants with SINV-3 are discussed. PMID:26162304

  1. Native and domestic browsers and grazers reduce fuels, fire temperatures, and acacia ant mortality in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2014-06-01

    Despite the importance of fire and herbivory in structuring savanna systems, few replicated experiments have examined the interactive effects of herbivory and fire on plant dynamics. In addition, the effects of fire on associated ant-tree mutualisms have been largely unexplored. We carried out small controlled burns in each of 18 herbivore treatment plots of the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment (KLEE), where experimentally excluding elephants has resulted in 42% greater tree densities. The KLEE design includes six different herbivore treatments that allowed us to examine how different combinations of megaherbivore wildlife, mesoherbivore wildlife, and cattle affect fire temperatures and subsequent loss of ant symbionts from Acacia trees. Before burning, we quantified herbaceous fuel loads and plant community composition. We tagged all trees, measured their height and basal diameter, and identified the resident ant species on each. We recorded weather conditions during the burns and used ceramic tiles painted with fire-sensitive paints to estimate fire temperatures at different heights and in different microsites (under vs. between trees). Across all treatments, fire temperatures were highest at 0-50 cm off the ground and hotter in the grass under trees than in the grassy areas between trees. Plots with more trees burned hotter than plots with fewer trees, perhaps because of greater fine woody debris. Plots grazed by wildlife and by cattle prior to burning had lower herbaceous fuel loads and experienced lower burn temperatures than ungrazed plots. Many trees lost their ant colonies during the burns. Ant survivorship differed by ant species and at the plot level was positively associated with previous herbivory (and lower fire temperatures). Across all treatments, ant colonies on taller trees were more likely to survive, but even some of the tallest trees lost their ant colonies. Our study marks a significant step in understanding the mechanisms that underlie the

  2. Expanding habitat of the imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta): a public health concern.

    PubMed

    Kemp, S F; deShazo, R D; Moffitt, J E; Williams, D F; Buhner, W A

    2000-04-01

    Residents in the southeastern United States would hardly describe life with the aggressive imported fire ant as peaceful coexistence. The continued spread of these insects has produced agricultural problems, changes in the ecosystem, and increasing numbers of subjects with sting sequelae, including hypersensitivity reactions, secondary infections, and rare neurologic sequelae. Evolutionary changes have facilitated their expansion northward into Virginia and westward into California, and increasing urbanization will likely permit further expansion. Recent reports of building invasion with sting attacks inside occupied dwellings, including health care facilities, heighten public health concerns. This article reviews the medically important entomology, clinical aspects of stings, and the current approaches to chemical control of fire ants. We also propose directions for future research and treatment. PMID:10756216

  3. Long-term efficacy of two cricket and two liver diets for rearing laboratory fire ant colonies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis Invicta)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Effective diets are necessary for many kinds of laboratory studies of ants. We conducted a year-long study of imported fire ant colonies reared on either chicken liver, beef liver, banded crickets, or domestic crickets all with a sugar water supplement. Fire ant colonies thrived on diets of sugar ...

  4. Characterization of 24 microsatellite markers in eleven species of fire ants in the genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The inquiline social parasite ant Solenopsis daguerrei infests colonies of several mound-building fire ant species within the S. saevissima species-group. Twenty-four microsatellite markers were isolated from a repeat-enriched genomic library of S. daguerrei. Eleven loci were polymorphic in the inq...

  5. Seasonal Dynamics of Imported Fire Ant Pedoturbation on Soils and Turfgrass in a Mississippi Sod Production Agroecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive mound-building imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) affect soil quality and crop nutrient management efforts at field and landscape scales. Worker ants actively modify the physical and biogeochemical properties of soil; these alterations are the direct result of nest construction, foraging,...

  6. Do additional sugar sources affect the degree of attendance of Dysmicoccus brevipes by the fire ant Solenopsis geminata?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mutualistic interactions between ants and Hemiptera are mediated to large extent by the amount and quality of sugar-rich honeydew produced. Throughout the neotropics, the fire ant Solenopsis geminata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is found in association with colonies of the pineapple mealybug Dysmi...

  7. Parasitoids and competitors influence colony-level responses in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mehdiabadi, Natasha J.; Kawazoe, Elizabeth A.; Gilbert, Lawrence E.

    2004-11-01

    Social insect colonies respond to challenges set by a variable environment by reallocating work among colony members. In many social insects, such colony-level task allocation strategies are achieved through individual decisions that produce a self-organized adapting group. We investigated colony responses to parasitoids and native ant competitors in the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Parasitoid flies affected fire ants by decreasing the proportion of workers engaged in foraging. Competitors also altered colony-level behaviours by reducing the proportion of foraging ants and by increasing the proportion of roaming majors, whose role is colony defence. Interestingly, the presence of both parasitism and competition almost always had similar effects on task allocation in comparison to each of the biotic factors on its own. Thus, our study uniquely demonstrates that the interactive effect of both parasitism and competition is not necessarily additive, implying that these biotic factors alter colony behaviour in distinct ways. More generally, our work demonstrates the importance of studying the dynamics of species interactions in a broader context.

  8. Speed of efficacy and delayed toxicity characteristics of fast-acting fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) baits.

    PubMed

    Oi, David H; Oi, Faith M

    2006-10-01

    Efficacy and speed of action of fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) baits that claim fast control of colonies were compared with a standard bait. More than 85% of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, laboratory colonies provided bait containing the active ingredient indoxacarb died within 3 d, and all colonies were dead in 6 d. Standard bait containing hydramethylnon resulted in death of 60% of the colonies in 9 d. Bait containing spinosad did not cause colony death. Under field conditions, one-half of the areas treated with the indoxacarb bait did not have any active fire ant nests within 3 d, whereas 11 d was needed to reach the same level of control with the hydramethylnon bait. Spinosad had a maximum of 17% of the treated areas without nests after 3 d. The delay in death of S. invicta adults treated in the laboratory with the indoxacarb and spinosad baits was shorter than the standard hydramethylnon bait, which had mortality similar to the traditional delayed toxicity criterion of < 15% mortality after 24 h and > 89% mortality over the test period. Indoxacarb caused mortality of 57% at 24 h and 100% at 48 h; however, visual symptoms of toxicity were not readily observed for at least 8 h before the abrupt increase in death. Spinosad caused 96% mortality by 24 h, and initial mortality became apparent at 4 h. Time required for death of 15% of a treated population (LT15) of spinosad, indoxacarb, and hydramethylnon was 3, 9, and 16 h, respectively. Delayed toxicity characteristics of the fast-acting indoxacarb bait may be useful for the development of other fast-acting ant baits. PMID:17066807

  9. Toxicity and repellency of compounds from clove (Syzygium aromaticum) to red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Kafle, Lekhnath; Shih, Cheng Jen

    2013-02-01

    The toxicity and repellency of the bioactive chemicals of clove (Syzygium aromaticum) powder, eugenol, eugenol acetate, and beta-caryophyllene were evaluated against workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Clove powder applied at 3 and 12 mg/cm2 provided 100% ant mortality within 6 h, and repelled 99% within 3 h. Eugenol was the fastest acting compound against red imported fire ant compared with eugenol acetate, beta-caryophyllene, and clove oil. The LT50 values inclined exponentially with the increase in the application rate of the chemical compounds tested. However, repellency did not increase with the increase in the application rate of the chemical compounds tested, but did with the increase in exposure time. Eugenol, eugenol acetate, as well as beta-caryophyllene and clove oil may provide another tool for red imported fire ant integrated pest management, particularly in situations where conventional insecticides are inappropriate. PMID:23448024

  10. Red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) control with a corn grit bait of fenoxycarb without soybean oil.

    PubMed

    Williams, D F; Banks, W A; Vander Meer, R K; Lofgren, C S

    1991-06-01

    The standard fenoxycarb fire ant bait formulation (Logic), composed of pregel defatted corn grits and soybean oil toxicant, was modified by eliminating the soybean oil. This formulation without soybean oil contained greater than 2 times more fenoxycarb and was as effective as the standard bait formulation against laboratory colonies of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. In field tests, the modified and standard baits were equally effective in controlling fire ants after 6, 12, and 18 wk. Individual worker ants obtained from plots treated with fenoxycarb baits without soybean oil had greater than 47 times less fenoxycarb than did workers from the plots treated with the standard fenoxycarb baits containing soybean oil. PMID:1885843

  11. Fire ant venom alkaloids act as key attractants for the parasitic phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis (Diptera: Phoridae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Li; Sharma, Kavita R.; Fadamiro, Henry Y.

    2009-12-01

    The phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, is an introduced parasitoid of imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp., in the USA. Although the assumption that phorid flies use fire ant alarm pheromones for host location is probably true, we demonstrated in a previous study the possible involvement of other ant semiochemicals in the response of P. tricuspis to fire ants. This study was conducted to determine the glandular sources and identity of the semiochemicals mediating this interaction. First, we tested the electroantennogram response of P. tricuspis to extracts of key body parts and glands of workers of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta Buren. The results confirm that the poison (venom) gland/sac is the key source of compounds which elicited strong antennal activity in P. tricuspis. Follow-up studies were conducted by using a combination of bioassay-guided fractionation and behavioral bioassays to test the hypothesis that attraction of this parasitoid to fire ants is mediated by venom alkaloids. The results confirm the response of P. tricuspis to physiologically relevant amounts of the two venom alkaloid fractions ( cis and trans alkaloid fractions) of S. invicta. Further analysis by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennogram detection revealed nine venom alkaloid components including two novel 2,6-dialkylpiperideines that elicited significant antennal activity in P. tricuspis. This is the first demonstration of the role of venom alkaloids of ants as attractants for their natural enemies. We propose a semiochemical-mediated host location mechanism for P. tricuspis involving both alarm pheromones and venom alkaloids. The ecological significance of these findings, including the attraction of male P. tricuspis to fire ant venom alkaloids, possibly for mate location, is discussed.

  12. Fire ant venom alkaloids act as key attractants for the parasitic phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis (Diptera: Phoridae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Li; Sharma, Kavita R; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2009-12-01

    The phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, is an introduced parasitoid of imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp., in the USA. Although the assumption that phorid flies use fire ant alarm pheromones for host location is probably true, we demonstrated in a previous study the possible involvement of other ant semiochemicals in the response of P. tricuspis to fire ants. This study was conducted to determine the glandular sources and identity of the semiochemicals mediating this interaction. First, we tested the electroantennogram response of P. tricuspis to extracts of key body parts and glands of workers of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta Buren. The results confirm that the poison (venom) gland/sac is the key source of compounds which elicited strong antennal activity in P. tricuspis. Follow-up studies were conducted by using a combination of bioassay-guided fractionation and behavioral bioassays to test the hypothesis that attraction of this parasitoid to fire ants is mediated by venom alkaloids. The results confirm the response of P. tricuspis to physiologically relevant amounts of the two venom alkaloid fractions (cis and trans alkaloid fractions) of S. invicta. Further analysis by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennogram detection revealed nine venom alkaloid components including two novel 2,6-dialkylpiperideines that elicited significant antennal activity in P. tricuspis. This is the first demonstration of the role of venom alkaloids of ants as attractants for their natural enemies. We propose a semiochemical-mediated host location mechanism for P. tricuspis involving both alarm pheromones and venom alkaloids. The ecological significance of these findings, including the attraction of male P. tricuspis to fire ant venom alkaloids, possibly for mate location, is discussed. PMID:19714317

  13. Distribution patterns of imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a sheep and goat farm in Oklahoma.

    PubMed

    Vogt, James T; Allen, Margaret L; Wallet, Bradley; Boykin, Debbie; Smith, Wayne A

    2009-06-01

    Imported fire ant colonies were quantified in 1,000-m(2) circular subplots spaced approximately 125 m apart on a sheep and goat farm in Oklahoma. Social form (percent polygyny), mound density, cumulative above-ground mound volume, and average mound volume were subjected to multiple regression analyses to examine trends related to landscape metrics and habitat characteristics. Monogyne populations were spatially autocorrelated, and polygyne mounds tended to be smaller and more numerous. A model incorporating the effects of percent polygyny, canopy cover, and 1-d cumulative incident solar radiation explained 34% of the variation in mound density. Percent polygyny was not significantly related to cumulative mound volume, which provides a better estimate of overall ant biomass. A model incorporating the effects of 1-d cumulative incident solar radiation on the summer solstice, elevation, canopy cover, distance from cisterns, distance from water, and distance from trees explained 42% of the variation in cumulative mound volume. Monogyne mounds in areas that were flat and close to water in low-lying areas were largest. Results indicate that remotely sensed data in combination with publicly available U.S. Geological Survey data may be useful in predicting areas of high and low fire ant abundance at a field scale. PMID:19508763

  14. Global invasion history of the tropical fire ant: a stowaway on the first global trade routes.

    PubMed

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Axen, Heather J; Suarez, Andrew V; Helms Cahan, Sara; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2015-01-01

    Biological invasions are largely thought to be contemporary, having recently increased sharply in the wake of globalization. However, human commerce had already become global by the mid-16th century when the Spanish connected the New World with Europe and Asia via their Manila galleon and West Indies trade routes. We use genetic data to trace the global invasion of one of the world's most widespread and invasive pest ants, the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata. Our results reveal a pattern of introduction of Old World populations that is highly consistent with historical trading routes suggesting that Spanish trade introduced the tropical fire ant to Asia in the 16th century. We identify southwestern Mexico as the most likely source for the invasive populations, which is consistent with the use of Acapulco as the major Spanish port on the Pacific Ocean. From there, the Spanish galleons brought silver to Manila, which served as a hub for trade with China. The genetic data document a corresponding spread of S. geminata from Mexico via Manila to Taiwan and from there, throughout the Old World. Our descriptions of the worldwide spread of S. geminata represent a rare documented case of a biological invasion of a highly invasive and globally distributed pest species due to the earliest stages of global commerce. PMID:25496038

  15. Fire Ant Decapitating Fly Cooperative Release Programs (1994–2008): Two Pseudacteon Species, P. tricuspis and P. curvatus, Rapidly Expand Across Imported Fire Ant Populations in the Southeastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Callcott, Anne-Marie A.; Porter, Sanford D.; Weeks, Ronald D.; “Fudd” Graham, L. C.; Johnson, Seth J.; Gilbert, Lawrence E.

    2011-01-01

    Natural enemies of the imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren S. richteri Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and their hybrid, include a suite of more than 20 fire ant decapitating phorid flies from South America in the genus Pseudacteon. Over the past 12 years, many researchers and associates have cooperated in introducing several species as classical or self-sustaining biological control agents in the United States. As a result, two species of flies, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier and P. curvatus Borgmeier (Diptera: Phoridae), are well established across large areas of the southeastern United States. Whereas many researchers have published local and state information about the establishment and spread of these flies, here distribution data from both published and unpublished sources has been compiled for the entire United States with the goal of presenting confirmed and probable distributions as of the fall of 2008. Documented rates of expansion were also used to predict the distribution of these flies three years later in the fall of 2011. In the fall of 2008, eleven years after the first successful release, we estimate that P. tricuspis covered about 50% of the fire ant quarantined area and that it will occur in almost 65% of the quarantine area by 2011. Complete coverage of the fire ant quarantined area will be delayed or limited by this species' slow rate of spread and frequent failure to establish in more northerly portions of the fire ant range and also, perhaps, by its preference for red imported fire ants (S. invicta). Eight years after the first successful release of P. curvatus, two biotypes of this species (one biotype occurring predominantly in the black and hybrid imported fire ants and the other occurring in red imported fire ants) covered almost 60% of the fire ant quarantined area. We estimate these two biotypes will cover almost 90% of the quarantine area by 2011 and 100% by 2012 or 2013. Strategic selection of several distributional gaps

  16. Identification and Expression of Capa Gene in the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Man-Yeon; Köhler, Rene; Vander Meer, Robert K.; Neupert, Susanne; Predel, Reinhard

    2014-01-01

    Recent genome analyses suggested the absence of a number of neuropeptide genes in ants. One of the apparently missing genes was the capa gene. Capa gene expression in insects is typically associated with the neuroendocrine system of abdominal ganglia; mature CAPA peptides are known to regulate diuresis and visceral muscle contraction. The apparent absence of the capa gene raised questions about possible compensation of these functions. In this study, we re-examined this controversial issue and searched for a potentially unrecognized capa gene in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. We employed a combination of data mining and a traditional PCR-based strategy using degenerate primers designed from conserved amino acid sequences of insect capa genes. Our findings demonstrate that ants possess and express a capa gene. As shown by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, processed products of the S. invicta capa gene include three CAPA periviscerokinins and low amounts of a pyrokinin which does not have the C-terminal WFGPRLa motif typical of CAPA pyrokinins in other insects. The capa gene was found with two alternative transcripts in the CNS. Within the ventral nerve cord, two capa neurons were immunostained in abdominal neuromeres 2–5, respectively, and projected into ventrally located abdominal perisympathetic organs (PSOs), which are the major hormone release sites of abdominal ganglia. The ventral location of these PSOs is a characteristic feature and was also found in another ant, Atta sexdens. PMID:24718032

  17. Fire Ants Protect Mealybugs against Their Natural Enemies by Utilizing the Leaf Shelters Constructed by the Leaf Roller Sylepta derogata

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Aiming; Zeng, Ling; Lu, Yongyue; Xu, Yijuan; Liang, Guangwen

    2012-01-01

    The importance of mutualism is receiving more attention in community ecology. In this study, the fire ant Solenopsis invicta was found to take advantage of the shelters constructed by the leaf roller Sylepta derogata to protect mealybugs (Phenacoccus solenopsis) against their natural enemies. This protective effect of fire ant tending on the survival of mealybugs in shelters was observed when enemies and leaf rollers were simultaneously present. Specifically, fire ants moved the mealybugs inside the shelters produced by S. derogata on enemy-infested plants. Compared with that in plants without ants, the survival of mealybugs in shelters in the presence of natural enemies in plants with ants markedly improved. Both the protection of ants and the shelters provided by leaf rollers did not affect the survival of mealybugs in the absence of enemies in plants. Ants and leaf rollers significantly improved the survival of mealybugs in predator-infested plants, whereas no such improvement was observed in parasitoid-infested ones. PMID:23185505

  18. Crystal structure of Sol I 2: a major allergen from fire ant venom.

    PubMed

    Borer, Aline S; Wassmann, Paul; Schmidt, Margit; Hoffman, Donald R; Zhou, Jing-Jiang; Wright, Christine; Schirmer, Tilman; Marković-Housley, Zora

    2012-01-27

    Sol i 2 is a potent allergen from the venom of red imported fire ant, which contains allergens Sol i 1, Sol i 2, Sol i 3, and Sol i 4 that are known to be powerful triggers of anaphylaxis. Sol i 2 causes IgE antibody production in about one-third of individuals stung by fire ants. Baculovirus recombinant dimeric Sol i 2 was crystallized as a native and selenomethionyl-derivatized protein, and its structure has been determined by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion at 2.6 Å resolution. The overall fold of each subunit consists of five helices that enclose a central hydrophobic cavity. The structure is stabilized by three intramolecular disulfide bridges and one intermolecular disulfide bridge. The nearest structural homologue is the sequence-unrelated odorant binding protein and pheromone binding protein LUSH of the fruit fly Drosophila, which may suggest a similar biological function. To test this hypothesis, we measured the reversible binding of various pheromones, plant odorants, and other ligands to Sol i 2 by the changes in N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine fluorescence emission upon binding of ligands that compete with N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine. The highest binding affinity was observed for hydrophobic ligands such as aphid alarm pheromone (E)-β-farnesene, analogs of ant alarm pheromones, and plant volatiles decane, undecane, and β-caryophyllene. Conceivably, Sol i 2 may play a role in capturing and/or transporting small hydrophobic ligands such as pheromones, odors, fatty acids, or short-living hydrophobic primers. Molecular surface analysis, in combination with sequence alignment, can explain the serological cross-reactivity observed between some ant species. PMID:22100449

  19. Effect of post-fire resprouting on leaf fluctuating asymmetry, extrafloral nectar quality, and ant-plant-herbivore interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

    Fires in the Cerrado savanna are a severe form of disturbance, but some species are capable of resprouting afterwards. It is unknown, however, how and whether post-fire resprouting represents a stressful condition to plants and how their rapid re-growth influences both the production of biochemical compounds, and interactions with mutualistic ants. In this study, we examined the influence of post-fire resprouting on biotic interactions (ant-plant-herbivore relationships) and on plant stress. The study was performed on two groups of the extrafloral nectaried shrub Banisteriopsis campestris (Malpighiaceae); one group was recovering from fire while the other acted as control. With respect to biotic interactions, we examined whether resprouting influenced extrafloral nectar concentration (milligrams per microliter), the abundance of the ant Camponotus crassus and leaf herbivory rates. Plant stress was assessed via fluctuating asymmetry (FA) analysis, which refers to deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits (e.g., leaves) and indicates whether species are under stress. Results revealed that FA, sugar concentration, and ant abundance were 51.7 %, 35.7 % and 21.7 % higher in resprouting plants. Furthermore, C. crassus was significantly associated with low herbivory rates, but only in resprouting plants. This study showed that post-fire resprouting induced high levels of plant stress and influenced extrafloral nectar quality and ant-herbivore relationships in B. campestris. Therefore, despite being a stressful condition to the plant, post-fire resprouting individuals had concentrated extrafloral nectar and sustained more ants, thus strengthening the outcomes of ant-plant mutualism.

  20. Effect of post-fire resprouting on leaf fluctuating asymmetry, extrafloral nectar quality, and ant-plant-herbivore interactions.

    PubMed

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

    Fires in the Cerrado savanna are a severe form of disturbance, but some species are capable of resprouting afterwards. It is unknown, however, how and whether post-fire resprouting represents a stressful condition to plants and how their rapid re-growth influences both the production of biochemical compounds, and interactions with mutualistic ants. In this study, we examined the influence of post-fire resprouting on biotic interactions (ant-plant-herbivore relationships) and on plant stress. The study was performed on two groups of the extrafloral nectaried shrub Banisteriopsis campestris (Malpighiaceae); one group was recovering from fire while the other acted as control. With respect to biotic interactions, we examined whether resprouting influenced extrafloral nectar concentration (milligrams per microliter), the abundance of the ant Camponotus crassus and leaf herbivory rates. Plant stress was assessed via fluctuating asymmetry (FA) analysis, which refers to deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits (e.g., leaves) and indicates whether species are under stress. Results revealed that FA, sugar concentration, and ant abundance were 51.7 %, 35.7 % and 21.7 % higher in resprouting plants. Furthermore, C. crassus was significantly associated with low herbivory rates, but only in resprouting plants. This study showed that post-fire resprouting induced high levels of plant stress and influenced extrafloral nectar quality and ant-herbivore relationships in B. campestris. Therefore, despite being a stressful condition to the plant, post-fire resprouting individuals had concentrated extrafloral nectar and sustained more ants, thus strengthening the outcomes of ant-plant mutualism. PMID:23625518

  1. Development of a lateral flow immunoassay for rapid field detection of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Strong, Charles A; Callcott, Anne-Marie A

    2016-07-01

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia, and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the USA to minimize further spread of the ant. To aid the quarantine efforts, there remains an acute need for a rapid, field portable method for the identification of these ants. In this report, we describe two novel monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind the S. invicta venom protein 2 produced by S. invicta. Using these monoclonal antibodies we developed a lateral flow immunoassay that provides a rapid and portable method for the identification of S. invicta ants. The lateral flow immunoassay was validated against purified S. invicta venom protein 2 and 33 unique ant species (representing 15 % of the total species and 42 % of the Myrmicinae genera found in Florida), and only S. invicta and the S. invicta/richteri hybrid produced a positive result. These monoclonal antibodies were selective to S. invicta venom protein 2 and did not bind to proteins from congeners (i.e., S. geminata or S. richteri) known to produce a S. invicta venom protein 2 ortholog. This S. invicta lateral flow immunoassay provides a new tool for regulatory agencies in the USA to enforce quarantine protocols and limit the spread of this invasive ant. Graphical Abstract Field method to detect and identify the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. PMID:27108280

  2. Multiphase myrmecochory: the roles of different ant species and effects of fire.

    PubMed

    Beaumont, Kieren P; Mackay, Duncan A; Whalen, Molly A

    2013-07-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) can be influenced by changes to ant assemblages resulting from habitat disturbance as well as by differences in disperser behaviour. We investigated the effect of habitat disturbance by fire on the dispersal of seeds of a myrmecochorous shrub, Pultenaea daphnoides. We also investigated the consequence of the seed relocation behaviours of two common dispersers (Pheidole sp. A and Rhytidoponera metallica) for the redispersal of seeds. Pheidole sp. A colonies did not relocate seeds outside their nests. In contrast, R. metallica colonies relocated 43.6% of seeds fed to them, of which 96.9% had residual elaiosome that remained attached. On average, R. metallica relocated seeds 78.9 and 60.7 cm from the nest entrances in burned and unburned habitat, respectively. Seeds were removed faster in burned than in unburned habitat, and seeds previously relocated by R. metallica were removed at similar rates to seeds with intact elaiosomes, but faster than seeds with detached elaiosomes. Dispersal distances were not significantly different between burned (51.3 cm) and unburned (70.9 cm) habitat or between seeds with different elaiosome conditions. Differences between habitat types in the frequency of seed removal, the shape of the seed dispersal curve, and the relative contribution of R. metallica and Pheidole sp. A to seed dispersal were largely due to the effect of recent fire on the abundance of Pheidole sp. A. Across habitat types, the number of seeds removed from depots and during dispersal trials most strongly related to the combined abundances of R. metallica and Pheidole. Our findings show that myrmecochory can involve more than one dispersal phase and that fire indirectly influences myrmecochory by altering the abundances of seed-dispersing ants. PMID:23386041

  3. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

    ... monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The wound will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive: Breathing support, including oxygen EKG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing) ...

  4. Effect of broadcast baiting on abundance patterns of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and key local ant genera at long-term monitoring sites in Brisbane, Australia.

    PubMed

    McNaught, Melinda K; Wylie, F Ross; Harris, Evan J; Alston, Clair L; Burwell, Chris J; Jennings, Craig

    2014-08-01

    In 2001, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) was identified in Brisbane, Australia. An eradication program involving broadcast bait treatment with two insect growth regulators and a metabolic inhibitor began in September of that year and is currently ongoing. To gauge the impacts of these treatments on local ant populations, we examined long-term monitoring data and quantified abundance patterns of S. invicta and common local ant genera using a linear mixed-effects model. For S. invicta, presence in pitfalls reduced over time to zero on every site. Significantly higher numbers of S. invicta workers were collected on high-density polygyne sites, which took longer to disinfest compared with monogyne and low-density polygyne sites. For local ants, nine genus groups of the 10 most common genera analyzed either increased in abundance or showed no significant trend. Five of these genus groups were significantly less abundant at the start of monitoring on high-density polygyne sites compared with monogyne and low-density polygyne sites. The genus Pheidole significantly reduced in abundance over time, suggesting that it was affected by treatment efforts. These results demonstrate that the treatment regime used at the time successfully removed S. invicta from these sites in Brisbane, and that most local ant genera were not seriously impacted by the treatment. These results have important implications for current and future prophylactic treatment efforts, and suggest that native ants remain in treated areas to provide some biological resistance to S. invicta. PMID:25195416

  5. Differential field responses of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger), to alarm pheromone enantiomers.

    PubMed

    Yu, Yang; Jang, Eric B; Siderhurst, Matthew S

    2014-12-01

    The little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is an invasive ant with negative impacts on both biodiversity and agriculture throughout the tropics and subtropics. Field experiments were conducted in order to elucidate the relative attractiveness of the enantiomers of the alarm pheromones, 2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine and 3-methyl-2-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine. The enantiomers tested were synthesized from commercially available (S)-2-methylbutan-1-ol or kinetically resolved (R)-2-methylbutan-1-ol, prepared using Pseudomonas cepacia lipase (PCL). Bioassays conducted in a macadamia orchard on the island of Hawaii demonstrated that W. auropunctata were preferentially attracted to the (S)-enantiomers of both alkyl pyrazines over the racemic mixtures in all experiments. To our knowledge, this is the first instance of differential attraction of ants to the enantiomers of chiral pyrazine pheromones despite many examples of these compounds in the literature. In addition, using a chiral column it was determined that (S)-2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine and (S)-3-methyl-2-(2-methylbutyl)pyrazine are the only enantiomers produced by W. auropunctata. PMID:25370918

  6. The fire ant wars. Nature and science in the pesticide controversies of the late twentieth century.

    PubMed

    Buhs, Joshua Blu

    2002-09-01

    This essay uses an approach borrowed from environmental history to investigate the interaction of science and nature in a late twentieth-century controversy. This debate, over the proper response to fire ants that had been imported into the American South accidentally and then spread across the region, pitted Rachel Carson and loosely federated groups of conservationists, scientists, and citizens against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The analysis falls into three sections: an examination of the natural history of the ants; an examination of the views of the competing factions; and an examination of how those views, transformed into action, affected the natural world. Both sides saw the ants in terms of a constellation of beliefs about the relationship between nature, science, and democracy. As various ideas were put into play, they interacted with the natural history of the insects in unexpected ways--and with consequences for the cultural authority of the antagonists. Combining insights from the history of science and environmental history helps explain how scientists gain and lose cultural authority and, more fundamentally, allows for an examination of how nature can be integrated into the history of science. PMID:12592885

  7. Essential Balm: A Strong Repellent Against Foraging and Defending Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Wen, Yuzhen; Ma, Tao; Chen, Xuan; Liu, Zhitao; Zhu, Chengqi; Zhang, Yuanyuan; Strecker, Rachel; Henderson, Gregg; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M; Chen, Xiaoyang; Sun, Zhaohui; Wen, Xiujun; Wang, Cai

    2016-08-01

    In the present study, the repellent effects of essential balm, a traditional medicine product in China, was tested against foraging and defending red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, under laboratory and field conditions. The laboratory study showed that both band- (width = 1 cm) and patch-smearing of essential balm at each concentration (0.5, 1, or 2 μl/cm(2)) significantly decreased the number of S. invicta foragers within the 6-h observation period. Moreover, band-smearing of 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm and patch-smearing of 0.5, 1, and 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm inhibited most S. invicta foraging activity at 3, 6, 6, and 24 h into the experiment, respectively. The field study showed that after a disturbance was created on the S. invicta mound, there were significantly less defending ants on the substance treated (patch-smeared) with 0.5, 1, and 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm than the controls, but the number of ants on the substance of these three concentrations was similar. Our study suggested that essential balm is a strong repellent against foraging and defending S. invicta and could be applied when temporary protection from S. invicta is needed. PMID:27298425

  8. Effects of ploidy and sex-locus genotype on gene expression patterns in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Nipitwattanaphon, Mingkwan; Wang, John; Ross, Kenneth G.; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Wurm, Yannick; Khurewathanakul, Chitsanu; Keller, Laurent

    2014-01-01

    Males in many animal species differ greatly from females in morphology, physiology and behaviour. Ants, bees and wasps have a haplodiploid mechanism of sex determination whereby unfertilized eggs become males while fertilized eggs become females. However, many species also have a low frequency of diploid males, which are thought to develop from diploid eggs when individuals are homozygous at one or more sex determination loci. Diploid males are morphologically similar to haploids, though often larger and typically sterile. To determine how ploidy level and sex-locus genotype affect gene expression during development, we compared expression patterns between diploid males, haploid males and females (queens) at three developmental timepoints in Solenopsis invicta. In pupae, gene expression profiles of diploid males were very different from those of haploid males but nearly identical to those of queens. An unexpected shift in expression patterns emerged soon after adult eclosion, with diploid male patterns diverging from those of queens to resemble those of haploid males, a pattern retained in older adults. The finding that ploidy level effects on early gene expression override sex effects (including genes implicated in sperm production and pheromone production/perception) may explain diploid male sterility and lack of worker discrimination against them during development. PMID:25355475

  9. An empirical test of Lanchester's square law: mortality during battles of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Plowes, Nicola J R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-09-01

    Lanchester's models of attrition describe casualty rates during battles between groups as functions of the numbers of individuals and their fighting abilities. Originally developed to describe human warfare, Lanchester's square law has been hypothesized to apply broadly to social animals as well, with important consequences for their aggressive behaviour and social structure. According to the square law, the fighting ability of a group is proportional to the square of the number of individuals, but rises only linearly with fighting ability of individuals within the group. By analyzing mortality rates of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) fighting in different numerical ratios, we provide the first quantitative test of Lanchester's model for a non-human animal. Casualty rates of fire ants were not consistent with the square law; instead, group fighting ability was an approximately linear function of group size. This implies that the relative numbers of casualties incurred by two fighting groups are not strongly affected by relative group sizes and that battles do not disproportionately favour group size over individual prowess. PMID:16096093

  10. An empirical test of Lanchester's square law: mortality during battles of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Plowes, Nicola J.R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-01-01

    Lanchester's models of attrition describe casualty rates during battles between groups as functions of the numbers of individuals and their fighting abilities. Originally developed to describe human warfare, Lanchester's square law has been hypothesized to apply broadly to social animals as well, with important consequences for their aggressive behaviour and social structure. According to the square law, the fighting ability of a group is proportional to the square of the number of individuals, but rises only linearly with fighting ability of individuals within the group. By analyzing mortality rates of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) fighting in different numerical ratios, we provide the first quantitative test of Lanchester's model for a non-human animal. Casualty rates of fire ants were not consistent with the square law; instead, group fighting ability was an approximately linear function of group size. This implies that the relative numbers of casualties incurred by two fighting groups are not strongly affected by relative group sizes and that battles do not disproportionately favour group size over individual prowess. PMID:16096093