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Sample records for queen fire ant

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Venom Alkaloid and Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profiles Are Associated with Social Organization, Queen Fertility Status, and Queen Genotype in the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Single-queen introductions characterize regional and local invasions by the facultatively clonal little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Mikheyev, A S; Bresson, S; Conant, P

    2009-07-01

    Clonal reproduction may facilitate the spread of invasive species by reducing the minimum population size necessary for successful establishment. We used microsatellite markers to reconstruct the composition of founding populations in two regional (Central Africa and Hawaii) and 23 local (near a Gabonese oilfield) invasions of the facultatively parthenogenetic little fire ant. Central Africa had a single dominant queen clone, which appears to have initiated the regional infestation, and then produced numerous other clones by rare sexual reproduction. This interpretation of the data was also supported by the genotype of a worker from the first collection in Africa (Gabon 1913). We found only a single queen clone in Hawaii, likewise indicating a single-clone introduction, most likely from an earlier infestation in Florida. Single-clone introductions also gave rise to the vast majority (92%) of local infestations at our oilfield study site. These results suggest the unusual, largely clonal, reproductive strategy of the little fire ant may enhance its success as an invasive species. However, the occasional sexual production of novel genotypes after the initial introduction may provide genetic flexibility that overcomes shortcomings of pure clonality.

  9. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

    ... please enable JavaScript. Fire ants are red-colored insects. A sting from a fire ant delivers a ... poison control. Those who have an allergy to insect bites or stings should carry a bee sting ...

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Male reproductive fitness and queen polyandry are linked to variation in the supergene Gp-9 in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Lawson, Lucinda P.; Vander Meer, Robert K.; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2012-01-01

    Supergenes are clusters of tightly linked loci maintained in specific allelic combinations to facilitate co-segregation of genes governing adaptive phenotypes. In species where strong selection potentially operates at different levels (e.g. eusocial Hymenoptera), positive selection acting within a population to maintain specific allelic combinations in supergenes may have unexpected consequences for some individuals, including the preservation of disadvantageous traits. The nuclear gene Gp-9 in the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta is part of a non-recombining, polymorphic supergene region associated with polymorphism in social organization as well as traits affecting physiology, fecundity and behaviour. We show that both male reproductive success and facultative polyandry in queens have a simple genetic basis and are dependent on male Gp-9 genotype. Gp-9b males are unable to maintain exclusive reproductive control over their mates such that queens mated to Gp-9b males remain highly receptive to remating. Queens mated to multiple Gp-9B males are rare. This difference appears to be independent of mating plug production in fertile males of each Gp-9 genotype. However, Gp-9b males have significantly lower sperm counts than Gp-9B males, which could be a cue to females to seek additional mates. Despite the reduced fitness of Gp-9b males, polygyne worker-induced selective mortality of sexuals lacking b-like alleles coupled with the overall success of the polygyne social form act to maintain the Gp-9b allele within nature. Our findings highlight how strong worker-induced selection acting to maintain the Gp-9b allele in the polygyne social form may simultaneously result in reduced reproductive fitness for individual sexual offspring. PMID:22535783

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... be wary of these systemic reactions. They are: serum sickness, seizures, mononeuritis, nephrotic syndrome, and worsening of preexisting cardiopulmonary disease. When you first identify the fire ant you ...

  16. Immune priming and pathogen resistance in ant queens

    PubMed Central

    Gálvez, Dumas; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-01-01

    Growing empirical evidence indicates that invertebrates become more resistant to a pathogen following initial exposure to a nonlethal dose; yet the generality, mechanisms, and adaptive value of such immune priming are still under debate. Because life-history theory predicts that immune priming and large investment in immunity should be more frequent in long-lived species, we here tested for immune priming and pathogen resistance in ant queens, which have extraordinarily long life span. We exposed virgin and mated queens of Lasius niger and Formica selysi to a low dose of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, before challenging them with a high dose of the same pathogen. We found evidence for immune priming in naturally mated queens of L. niger. In contrast, we found no sign of priming in virgin queens of L. niger, nor in virgin or experimentally mated queens of F. selysi, which indicates that immune priming in ant queens varies according to mating status and mating conditions or species. In both ant species, mated queens showed higher pathogen resistance than virgin queens, which suggests that mating triggers an up-regulation of the immune system. Overall, mated ant queens combine high reproductive output, very long life span, and elevated investment in immune defense. Hence, ant queens are able to invest heavily in both reproduction and maintenance, which can be explained by the fact that mature queens will be protected and nourished by their worker offspring. PMID:24963375

  17. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Fire ants are a stinging insect typically found in the South/Southeast areas of ... specialized training and skills to test for stinging insect allergy and develop a plan to manage allergies. ...

  18. Behavioral Plasticity in Ant Queens: Environmental Manipulation Induces Aggression among Normally Peaceful Queens in the Socially Polymorphic Ant Leptothorax acervorum

    PubMed Central

    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

  19. 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.

  20. Queen pheromones in Temnothorax ants: control or honest signal?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The division of reproductive labor among group members in insect societies is regulated by "queen pheromones". However, it remains controversial whether these are manipulative, i.e., actively suppress worker reproduction, or honestly signal the fertility status of the queen to which workers react in their own interest by refraining from laying eggs. Manipulative queen control is thought to lead to an evolutionary arms race between queens and workers, resulting in complex queen bouquets that diverge strongly among different populations and species. In contrast, honest signals would evolve more slowly and might therefore differ less strongly within and among species. Results We aimed at determining the tempo of the evolution of queen signals in two ways. First, we investigated whether queens of Temnothorax ants are capable of controlling egg laying by workers of their own, closely, and distantly related species. Second, we compared the species- and caste-specific patterns of cuticular hydrocarbons, which are assumed to convey information on reproductive status. In mixed-species colonies, queens were not able to fully suppress egg-laying and male production by workers of unrelated species, while workers did not reproduce under the influence of a queen from their own species. Furthermore, the chemical profiles differed more strongly among queens of different species than among the respective workers. Conclusions Our results suggest that cuticular hydrocarbons associated with fecundity are not fully conserved in evolution and evolve slightly faster than worker-specific components in the blend of cuticular hydrocarbons. While this higher rate of evolution might reflect an arms race between queens and workers, the observation that workers still respond to the presence of a queen from another species support the honest signal hypothesis. Future studies need to examine alternative explanations for a higher rate of evolution of queen-specific substances, such as

  1. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

    PubMed Central

    den Boer, Susanne P. A.; Baer, Boris; Dreier, Stephanie; Aron, Serge; Nash, David R.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2009-01-01

    In many species, females store sperm between copulation and egg fertilization, but the consequences of sperm storage and patterns of sperm use for female life history and reproductive success have not been investigated in great detail. In hymenopteran insect societies (ants, bees, wasps), reproduction is usually monopolized by one or relatively few queens, who mate only during a brief period early in life and store sperm for later use. The queens of some ants are particularly long-lived and have the potential to produce millions of offspring during their life. To do so, queens store many sperm cells, and this sperm must remain viable throughout the years of storage. Queens should also be under strong selection to use stored sperm prudently when fertilizing eggs. We used the leaf-cutter ant Atta colombica to investigate the dynamics of sperm use during egg fertilization. We show that queens are able to fertilize close to 100 per cent of the eggs and that the average sperm use per egg is very low, but increases with queen age. The robustness of stored sperm was found to decrease with years of storage, signifying that senescence affects sperm either directly or indirectly via the declining glandular secretions or deteriorating sperm-storage organs. We evaluate our findings with a heuristic model, which suggests that the average queen has sperm for almost 9 years of normal colony development. We discuss the extent to which leaf-cutter ant queens have been able to optimize their sperm expenditure and infer that our observed averages of sperm number, sperm robustness and sperm use are consistent with sperm depletion being a significant cause of mortality of mature colonies of Atta leaf-cutter ants. PMID:19710057

  2. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens.

    PubMed

    den Boer, Susanne P A; Baer, Boris; Dreier, Stephanie; Aron, Serge; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2009-11-22

    In many species, females store sperm between copulation and egg fertilization, but the consequences of sperm storage and patterns of sperm use for female life history and reproductive success have not been investigated in great detail. In hymenopteran insect societies (ants, bees, wasps), reproduction is usually monopolized by one or relatively few queens, who mate only during a brief period early in life and store sperm for later use. The queens of some ants are particularly long-lived and have the potential to produce millions of offspring during their life. To do so, queens store many sperm cells, and this sperm must remain viable throughout the years of storage. Queens should also be under strong selection to use stored sperm prudently when fertilizing eggs. We used the leaf-cutter ant Atta colombica to investigate the dynamics of sperm use during egg fertilization. We show that queens are able to fertilize close to 100 per cent of the eggs and that the average sperm use per egg is very low, but increases with queen age. The robustness of stored sperm was found to decrease with years of storage, signifying that senescence affects sperm either directly or indirectly via the declining glandular secretions or deteriorating sperm-storage organs. We evaluate our findings with a heuristic model, which suggests that the average queen has sperm for almost 9 years of normal colony development. We discuss the extent to which leaf-cutter ant queens have been able to optimize their sperm expenditure and infer that our observed averages of sperm number, sperm robustness and sperm use are consistent with sperm depletion being a significant cause of mortality of mature colonies of Atta leaf-cutter ants.

  3. Queen reproductive tract secretions enhance sperm motility in ants

    PubMed Central

    Baer, Boris; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2016-01-01

    Queens of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants store sperm of multiple males after a single mating flight, and never remate even though they may live for decades and lay tens of thousands of eggs. Sperm of different males are initially transferred to the bursa copulatrix and compete for access to the long-term storage organ of queens, but the factors determining storage success or failure have never been studied. We used in vitro experiments to show that reproductive tract secretions of Acromyrmex echinatior queens increase sperm swimming performance by at least 50% without discriminating between sperm of brothers and unrelated males. Indiscriminate female-induced sperm chemokinesis makes the likelihood of storage directly dependent on initial sperm viability and thus provides a simple mechanism to secure maximal possible reproductive success of queens, provided that initial sperm motility is an accurate predictor of viability during later egg fertilization. PMID:27807252

  4. Onset of fights and mutual assessment in ant founding queens.

    PubMed

    Berthelot, Kévin; Portugal, Felipe Ramon; Jeanson, Raphaël

    2017-03-01

    In animals, the progress and outcome of contests can be influenced by an individual's own condition, their opponent's condition or a combination of the two. The use of chemical information to assess the quality of rivals has been underestimated despite its central role in the regulation of social interactions in many taxa. Here, we studied pairwise contests between founding queens of the ant Lasius niger to investigate whether the decision to engage in agonistic interactions relies on self-assessment or mutual assessment. Queens modulated their aggressive behaviours depending on both their own status and their opponent's status. We found no influence of lipid stores or size on the onset of fights. However, differences in cuticular chemical signatures linked to fertility status accurately predicted the probability of behaving aggressively in pairs. Our study thus suggests that ant queens could rely on mutual assessment via chemical cues to make informed decisions about fight initiation.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Tyramides in male alates of black imported fire ants, Solenopsis richetri

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tyramides were recently reported to exist in males of many ant species in the subfamily Myrmicinae. N-(4-hydroxyphenethyl)ethanamide and N-(4-hydroxyphenethyl)hexanamide were found in S. invicta . Transfer of tyramides from male to newly mated queen was demonstrated in the red imported fire ants. ...

  12. Extreme queen-mating frequency and colony fission in African army ants.

    PubMed

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schoning, Caspar; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Gadau, Jurgen

    2004-08-01

    Army ants have long been suspected to represent an independent origin of multiple queen-mating in the social Hymenoptera. Using microsatellite markers, we show that queens of the African army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus have the highest absolute (17.3) and effective (17.5) queen-mating frequencies reported so far for ants. This confirms that obligate multiple queen-mating in social insects is associated with large colony size and advanced social organization, but also raises several novel questions. First, these high estimates place army ants in the range of mating frequencies of honeybees, which have so far been regarded as odd exceptions within the social Hymenoptera. Army ants and honeybees are fundamentally different in morphology and life history, but are the only social insects known that combine obligate multiple mating with reproduction by colony fission and extremely male-biased sex ratios. This implies that the very high numbers of matings in both groups may be due partly to the relatively low costs of additional matings. Second, we were able to trace recent events of colony fission in four of the investigated colonies, where the genotypes of the two queens were only compatible with a mother-daughter relationship. A direct comparison of male production between colonies with offspring from one and two queens, respectively, suggested strongly that new queens do not produce a sexual brood until all workers of the old queen have died, which is consistent with kin selection theory.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Experimental manipulation of queen number affects colony sex ratio investment in the highly polygynous ant Formica exsecta

    PubMed Central

    Kümmerli, Rolf; Helms, Ken R; Keller, Laurent

    2005-01-01

    In polygynous (multiple queens per nest) ants, queen dispersal is often limited with young queens being recruited within the parental colony. This mode of dispersal leads to local resource competition between nestmate queens and is frequently associated with extremely male-biased sex ratios at the population level. The queen-replenishment hypothesis has been recently proposed to explain colony sex ratio investment under such conditions. It predicts that colonies containing many queens (subject to high local resource competition) should only produce males, whereas colonies hosting few queens (reduced or no local resource competition) should produce new queens in addition to males. We experimentally tested this hypothesis in the ant Formica exsecta by manipulating queen number over three consecutive years in 120 colonies of a highly polygynous population. Queens were transferred from 40 colonies into another 40 colonies while queen number was not manipulated in 40 control colonies. Genetic analyses of worker offspring revealed that our treatment significantly changed the number of reproductive queens. The sex ratio of colonies was significantly different between treatments in the third breeding season following the experiment initiation. We found that, as predicted by the queen-replenishment hypothesis, queen removal resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of colonies that produced new queens. These results provide the first experimental evidence for the queen-replenishment hypothesis, which might account for sex ratio specialization in many highly polygynous ant species. PMID:16096090

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. No evidence of volatile chemicals regulating reproduction in a multiple queen ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coston, Duncan J.; Gill, Richard J.; Hammond, Robert L.

    2011-07-01

    Efficient cooperation in eusocial insect colonies requires effective communication, and there is abundant evidence of non-volatile chemicals playing a role in regulating reproduction within colonies. In contrast, there have been fewer studies investigating the role of volatile chemicals. This study investigated the potential role of volatile chemicals in regulating queen reproduction either by directly inhibiting queen reproduction or by honestly signalling queen fecundity to workers. We tested this using multiple queen colonies of the ant ( Leptothorax acervorum) from a functionally monogynous population where one queen monopolizes all reproduction. Nine colonies, each with an established laying queen, were split to produce two colony fragments—one containing the reproducing queen (group 1) and one containing only previously non-reproducing queens (group 2). Each group was separated by a fine wire mesh preventing physical contact, but allowing volatile chemical contact. In each group 2 fragment, we found that a single formerly non-reproductive queen commenced reproduction and that the rate of egg laying and maximum number of eggs recorded did not significantly differ between groups 1 and 2, results that do not support volatile chemicals as playing a role in regulating queen reproduction. Instead, our findings suggest that physical contact is necessary to maintain functional monogyny.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... Emergency Room? What Happens in the Operating Room? Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! KidsHealth > For Kids > Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! Print A A ... For Kids For Parents MORE ON THIS TOPIC Hey! A Bee Stung Me! Hey! A Scorpion Stung ...

  5. Ant queens adjust egg fertilization to benefit from both sexual and asexual reproduction

    PubMed Central

    Aron, S.; Timmermans, I.; Pearcy, M.

    2011-01-01

    An enduring problem in evolutionary biology is the near ubiquity of sexual reproduction despite the inherent cost of transmitting only half the parent's genes to progeny. Queens of some ant species circumvent this cost by using selectively both sexual reproduction and parthenogenesis: workers arise from fertilized eggs, while new queens are produced by parthenogenesis. We show that queens of the ant Cataglyphis cursor maximize the transmission rate of their genes by regulating the proportion of fertilized and parthenogenetic eggs laid over time. Parthenogenetic offspring are produced in early spring, when workers raise the brood into sexuals. After the mating period, queens lay mostly fertilized eggs that will be reared as the non-reproductive caste. PMID:21307046

  6. Ant queens adjust egg fertilization to benefit from both sexual and asexual reproduction.

    PubMed

    Aron, S; Timmermans, I; Pearcy, M

    2011-08-23

    An enduring problem in evolutionary biology is the near ubiquity of sexual reproduction despite the inherent cost of transmitting only half the parent's genes to progeny. Queens of some ant species circumvent this cost by using selectively both sexual reproduction and parthenogenesis: workers arise from fertilized eggs, while new queens are produced by parthenogenesis. We show that queens of the ant Cataglyphis cursor maximize the transmission rate of their genes by regulating the proportion of fertilized and parthenogenetic eggs laid over time. Parthenogenetic offspring are produced in early spring, when workers raise the brood into sexuals. After the mating period, queens lay mostly fertilized eggs that will be reared as the non-reproductive caste.

  7. 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 ...

  8. Higher expression of somatic repair genes in long-lived ant queens than workers

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Eric R.; Privman, Eyal; Keller, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Understanding why organisms senesce is a fundamental question in biology. One common explanation is that senescence results from an increase in macromolecular damage with age. The tremendous variation in lifespan between genetically identical queen and worker ants, ranging over an order of magnitude, provides a unique system to study how investment into processes of somatic maintenance and macromolecular repair influence lifespan. Here we use RNAseq to compare patterns of expression of genes involved in DNA and protein repair of age-matched queens and workers. There was no difference between queens and workers in 1-day-old individuals, but the level of expression of these genes increased with age and this up-regulation was greater in queens than in workers, resulting in significantly queen-biased expression in 2-month-old individuals in both legs and brains. Overall, these differences are consistent with the hypothesis that higher longevity is associated with increased investment into somatic repair. PMID:27617474

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  12. Small queens and big-headed workers in a monomorphic ponerine ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kikuchi, Tomonori; Miyazaki, Satoshi; Ohnishi, Hitoshi; Takahashi, Junichi; Nakajima, Yumiko; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2008-10-01

    Evolution of caste is a central issue in the biology of social insects. Comparative studies on their morphology so far suggest the following three patterns: (1) a positive correlation between queen worker size dimorphism and the divergence in reproductive ability between castes, (2) a negative correlation among workers between morphological diversity and reproductive ability, and (3) a positive correlation between queen worker body shape difference and the diversity in worker morphology. We conducted morphological comparisons between castes in Pachycondyla luteipes, workers of which are monomorphic and lack their reproductive ability. Although the size distribution broadly overlapped, mean head width, head length, and scape length were significantly different between queens and workers. Conversely, in eye length, petiole width, and Weber’s length, the size differences were reversed. The allometries (head length/head width, scape length/head width, and Weber’s length/head width) were also significantly different between queens and workers. Morphological examinations showed that the body shape was different between queens and workers, and the head part of workers was disproportionately larger than that of queens. This pattern of queen worker dimorphism is novel in ants with monomorphic workers and a clear exception to the last pattern. This study suggests that it is possible that the loss of individual-level selection, the lack of reproductive ability, influences morphological modification in ants.

  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.

  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. Facultative use of thelytokous parthenogenesis for queen production in the polyandrous ant Cataglyphis cursor.

    PubMed

    Doums, C; Cronin, A L; Ruel, C; Fédérici, P; Haussy, C; Tirard, C; Monnin, T

    2013-07-01

    The evolutionary paradox of sex remains one of the major debates in evolutionary biology. The study of species capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction can elucidate factors important in the evolution of sex. One such species is the ant Cataglyphis cursor, where the queen maximizes the transmission of her genes by producing new queens (gynes) asexually while simultaneously maintaining a genetically diverse workforce via the sexual production of workers. We show that the queen can also produce gynes sexually and may do so to offset the costs of asexual reproduction. We genotyped 235 gynes from 18 colonies and found that half were sexually produced. A few colonies contained both sexually and asexually produced gynes. Although workers in this species can also use thelytoky, we found no evidence of worker production of gynes based on genotypes of 471 workers from the six colonies producing sexual gynes. Gynes are thus mainly, and potentially exclusively, produced by the queen. Simulations of gynes inbreeding level following one to ten generations of automictic thelytoky suggest that the queen switches between or combines thelytoky and sex, which may reduce the costs of inbreeding. This is supported by the relatively small size of inbred gynes in one colony, although we found no relationship between the level of inbreeding and immune parameters. Such facultative use of sex and thelytoky by individual queens contrasts with other known forms of parthenogenesis in ants, which are typically characterized by distinct lineages specializing in one strategy or the other.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  19. Microgynous Queens in the Paleartic Ant, Manica rubida: Dispersal Morphs or Social Parasites?

    PubMed Central

    Lenoir, Alain; Devers, Séverine; Marchand, Philippe; Bressac, Christophe; Savolainen, Riitta

    2010-01-01

    In many ant species, queen size is dimorphic, with small microgynes and large macrogynes, which differ, for example, in size, insemination rate, ovary development, and dispersal tactics. These polymorphic queens often correspond with alternative reproductive strategies. The Palearctic ant, Manica rubida (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), lives mostly in mountainous regions in either monogynous colonies, containing one macrogynous queen or polygynous colonies, containing a few large macrogynous queens. In 1998, a colony of M. rubida was discovered containing macrogynes and many small alate microgynes that did not engage in a nuptial flight but, instead, stayed in the home nest the following winter. These microgynes were studied more closely by investigating their size, behavior, and spermatheca in relation to M. rubida macrogynes and workers. Mitochondrial DNA of macrogynes, microgynes and workers from four nests was sequenced to detect possible genetic differences between them. The microgynes were significantly smaller than the macrogynes, and the head width of the gynes was completely bimodal. The microgynes behaved like workers of the macrogynes in every experiment tested. Furthermore, the microgynes had a normal spermatheca and could be fecundated, but rarely (only one in several years). Finally, all the individuals were genetically identical, except three workers that differed by only one codon position. Because these microgynes have features of both queens and workers, their functional significance in the colony is not yet clear. PMID:20578881

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Colony fusion and worker reproduction after queen loss in army ants

    PubMed Central

    Kronauer, Daniel J. C.; Schöning, Caspar; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that altruism is only evolutionarily stable if it is preferentially directed towards relatives, so that any such behaviour towards seemingly unrelated individuals requires scrutiny. Queenless army ant colonies, which have anecdotally been reported to fuse with queenright foreign colonies, are such an enigmatic case. Here we combine experimental queen removal with population genetics and cuticular chemistry analyses to show that colonies of the African army ant Dorylus molestus frequently merge with neighbouring colonies after queen loss. Merging colonies often have no direct co-ancestry, but are on average probably distantly related because of overall population viscosity. The alternative of male production by orphaned workers appears to be so inefficient that residual inclusive fitness of orphaned workers might be maximized by indiscriminately merging with neighbouring colonies to increase their reproductive success. We show that worker chemical recognition profiles remain similar after queen loss, but rapidly change into a mixed colony Gestalt odour after fusion, consistent with indiscriminate acceptance of alien workers that are no longer aggressive. We hypothesize that colony fusion after queen loss might be more widespread, especially in spatially structured populations of social insects where worker reproduction is not profitable. PMID:19889701

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... nest in the ground, and then create a mound of dirt over the nest. These mounds can grow up to 18 inches high and ... burning. Someone who steps on a fire ant mound will get a lot of stings at once ...

  6. 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

  7. Fighting for a harem of queens: physiology of reproduction in Cardiocondyla male ants.

    PubMed

    Heinze, J; Hölldobler, B

    1993-09-15

    Several species of the ant genus Cardiocondyla produce dimorphic males, which exhibit sharply different mating strategies. Winged males typically disperse to mate outside the nest, whereas wingless, ergatoid males stay in the nest and aggressively employ their mandibles against competing ergatoid males to monopolize the virgin queens eclosing in the nest. Such aggressive mating strategy would only be adaptive if the males had unlimited sperm supply. Histological studies showed that, contrary to the rule in the Hymenoptera order, the ergatoid Cardiocondyla males are indeed able to produce sperm during their entire adult life. Winged males, on the other hand, have only a limited sperm supply since spermatogenesis ceases in the late pupal stage.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. Extreme genetic differences between queens and workers in hybridizing Pogonomyrmex harvester ants.

    PubMed Central

    Helms Cahan, Sara; Parker, Joel D; Rissing, Steven W; Johnson, Robert A; Polony, Tatjana S; Weiser, Michael D; Smith, Deborah R

    2002-01-01

    The process of reproductive caste determination in eusocial insect colonies is generally understood to be mediated by environmental, rather than genetic factors. We present data demonstrating unexpected genetic differences between reproductive castes in a variant of the rough harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex rugosus var. fuscatus. Across multiple loci, queens were consistently more homozygous than expected, while workers were more heterozygous. Adult colony queens were divided into two highly divergent genetic groups, indicating the presence of two cryptic species, rather than a single population. The observed genetic differences between castes reflect differential representation of heterospecific and conspecific patrilines in these offspring groups. All workers were hybrids; by contrast, winged queens were nearly all pure-species. The complete lack of pure-species workers indicates a loss of worker potential in pure-species female offspring. Hybrids appear to be bipotential, but do not normally develop into reproductives because they are displaced by pure-species females in the reproductive pool. Genetic differences between reproductive castes are expected to be rare in non-hybridizing populations, but within hybrid zones they may be evolutionarily stable and thus much more likely to occur. PMID:12350248

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

    PubMed

    Ometto, Lino; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Ross, Kenneth G; Keller, Laurent

    2011-04-01

    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 young. In contrast, the differentiation between males and females generally depends upon whether eggs are fertilized, with fertilized (diploid) eggs giving rise to females and unfertilized (haploid) eggs giving rise to males. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the relative contributions of gender (sex), caste, developmental stage, and species divergence to gene expression evolution, we investigated gene expression patterns in pupal and adult queens, workers, and males of two species of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri. Microarray hybridizations revealed that variation in gene expression profiles is influenced more by developmental stage than by caste membership, sex, or species identity. The second major contributor to variation in gene expression was the combination of sex and caste. Although workers and queens share equivalent diploid nuclear genomes, they have highly distinctive patterns of gene expression in both the pupal and the adult stages, as might be expected given their extraordinary level of phenotypic differentiation. Overall, the difference in the proportion of differentially expressed genes was greater between workers and males than between workers and queens or queens and males, consistent with the fact that workers and males share neither gender nor reproductive capability. Moreover, between-species comparisons revealed that the greatest difference in gene expression patterns occurred in adult workers, a finding consistent with the fact that adult workers most directly experience the distinct external environments characterizing the different habitats occupied by the two species. Thus, much of the evolution of gene expression in ants may

  12. 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.

  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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant-plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species.

    PubMed

    Sensenig, Ryan L; Kimuyu, Duncan K; Ruiz Guajardo, Juan Carlos; Veblen, Kari E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2017-03-08

    Although disturbance theory has been recognized as a useful framework in examining the stability of ant-plant mutualisms, very few studies have examined the effects of fire disturbance on these mutualisms. In myrmecophyte-dominated savannas, fire and herbivory are key drivers that could influence ant-plant mutualisms by causing complete colony mortality and/or decreasing colony size, which potentially could alter dominance hierarchies if subordinate species are more fire resilient. We used a large-scale, replicated fire experiment to examine long-term effects of fire on acacia-ant community composition. To determine if fire shifted ant occupancy from a competitive dominant to a subordinate ant species we surveyed the acacia-ant community in 6-7-year-old burn sites and examined how the spatial scale of these burns influenced ant community responses. We then used two short-term fire experiments to explore possible mechanisms for the shifts in community patterns observed. Because survival of ant colonies is largely dependent on their ability to detect and escape an approaching fire, we first tested the evacuation response of all four ant species when exposed to smoke (fire signal). Then to better understand how fire and its interaction with large mammal herbivory affect the density of ants per tree, we quantified ant worker density in small prescribed burns within herbivore exclusion plots. We found clear evidence suggesting that fire disturbance favored the subordinate ant Crematogaster nigriceps more than the dominant and strong mutualist ant C. mimosae, whereby C. nigriceps: 1) was the only species to occupy a greater proportion of trees in 6-7 year old burn sites compared to unburned sites, 2) had higher burn/unburn tree ratios with increasing burn size; and 3) evacuated significantly faster than C. mimosae in the presence of smoke. Fire and herbivory had opposite effects on ant density per meter of branch for both C. nigriceps and C. mimosae, with fire decreasing

  18. Thelohania solenopsae as a factor of fire ant populations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The inadvertent introduction of fire ants into the United States over 70 years ago initially resulted in large-scale efforts to eradicate the invasive pest. Large populations, mobility, and ability to occupy diverse habitats make fire ants a dominant arthropod in infested regions and very difficult...

  19. 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

  20. Introduced fire ants can exclude native ants from critical mutualist-provided resources.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Barnum, Thomas R; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; Eubanks, Micky D

    2013-05-01

    Animals frequently experience resource imbalances in nature. For ants, one resource that may be particularly valuable for both introduced and native species is high-carbohydrate honeydew from hemipteran mutualists. We conducted field and laboratory experiments: (1) to test if red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) competed with native ants for access to mutualisms with aphids, and (2) to quantify the effects of aphid honeydew presence or absence on colony growth of native ants. We focused on native dolichoderine ants (Formicidae, Dolichoderinae) because they are abundant ants that have omnivorous diets that frequently include mutualist-provided carbohydrates. At two sites in the southeastern US, native dolichoderine ants were far less frequent, and fire ants more frequent, at carbohydrate baits than would be expected based on their frequency in pitfall traps. A field experiment confirmed that a native ant species, Dorymyrmex bureni, was only found tending aphids when populations of S. invicta were suppressed. In the laboratory, colonies of native dolichoderine ants with access to both honeydew and insect prey had twice as many workers and over twice as much brood compared to colonies fed only ad libitum insect prey. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that introduced ants compete for access to mutualist-provided carbohydrates with native ants and that these carbohydrates represent critical resources for both introduced and native ants. These results challenge traditional paradigms of arthropod and ant nutrition and contribute to growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in mediating ecological interactions.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  5. Consequences of prescribed fire and grazing on grassland ant communities.

    PubMed

    Underwood, Emma C; Christian, Caroline E

    2009-04-01

    Prescribed fire and livestock grazing are used for the management and restoration of native grasslands the world over; however, the effects of these management techniques on ant communities are unclear. We examined the response of ants to these disturbances in grasslands in northern California. Twenty-four 30 by 30 m plots were established across two sites that received one of four treatments: grazing, fire, grazing and fire, or no treatment. Ants were censused using 240 pitfall traps with one preburn and two postburn samples (14 d and 1 yr after burning). We analyzed ant abundance using broadly defined groups based on feeding habit and/or habitat use and detected no grazing effect but a significant fire effect that differed by group. Immediate postfire sampling showed an increase in cryptic species (particularly Brachymyrmex depilis). One year after the fire, no response was detected for cryptic species, but burned plots had greater abundance of seed harvesters. Analysis of vegetation showed burned plots had significantly greater forb cover, which might have provided greater food resources, and also lower biomass, which might have facilitated foraging. Understanding the effects of these management tools on ant abundance complements our understanding of their effect on vegetation and assists conservation practitioners effectively manage grassland ecosystems both in California and beyond.

  6. Fecundity and longevity of Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) queens in response to irradiation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Irradiation is a postharvest quarantine treatment option to control ants and other hitchhiker pests on fresh horticultural products traded between countries. As little is known about irradiation effects on ants, radiotolerance of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae...

  7. Effect of a Founder Event on Variation in the Genetic Sex-Determining System of the Fire Ant Solenopsis Invicta

    PubMed Central

    Ross, K. G.; Vargo, E. L.; Keller, L.; Trager, J. C.

    1993-01-01

    Effects of a recent founder event on genetic diversity in wild populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta were studied, with particular attention given to the genetic sex-determining system. Diploid males are far more common relative to haploid males in introduced populations than in native populations of fire ants, and queens that produce diploid males account for a significantly larger proportion of the mated queens in introduced than in native populations. Differences between native and introduced populations in attributes of the mating systems (i.e., queen mating frequency or level of inbreeding) can be excluded as factors contributing to these different levels of diploid male production. Thus, we conclude that diploid males have increased in frequency in introduced populations because of a loss of allelic diversity at the sex-determining locus (loci). This loss of sex alleles has generated a substantial increase in the estimated segregational genetic load associated with production of sterile diploid males in introduced populations over the load in native populations. The loss of allelic diversity in the sex-determining system in introduced S. invicta is paralleled by a loss of electrophoretically detectable rare alleles at protein-encoding loci. Such concordance between these different types of markers is predicted because each of the many sex alleles present in the native populations is expected to be rare. Estimates of expected heterozygosity (H(exp)) based on 76 electrophoretic loci do not differ significantly between the native and introduced fire ant populations, illustrating the lack of sensitivity of this measure for detecting many types of bottlenecks. PMID:8293983

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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 ...

  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

    ... No. APHIS-2012-0064] Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant... the public that we are adding or revising certain treatment schedules for the Imported Fire Ant... revised treatments in the imported fire ant program. Based on the treatment evaluation document,...

  13. 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...

  14. Relative effects of disturbance on red imported fire ants and native ant species in a longleaf pine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Stuble, Katharine L; Kirkman, L Katherine; Carroll, C Ronald; Sanders, Nathan J

    2011-06-01

    The degree to which changes in community composition mediate the probability of colonization and spread of non-native species is not well understood, especially in animal communities. High species richness may hinder the establishment of non-native species. Distinguishing between this scenario and cases in which non-native species become established in intact (lacking extensive anthropogenic soil disturbance) communities and subsequently diminish the abundance and richness of native species is challenging on the basis of observation alone. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), an invasive species that occurs throughout much of the southeastern United States, is such an example. Rather than competitively displacing native species, fire ants may become established only in disturbed areas in which native species richness and abundance are already reduced. We used insecticide to reduce the abundance of native ants and fire ants in four experimental plots. We then observed the reassembly and reestablishment of the ants in these plots for 1 year after treatment. The abundance of fire ants in treated plots did not differ from abundance in control plots 1 year after treatment. Likewise, the abundance of native ants increased to levels comparable to those in control plots after 1 year. Our findings suggest that factors other than large reductions in ant abundance and species density (number of species per unit area) may affect the establishment of fire ants and that the response of native ants and fire ants to disturbance can be comparable.

  15. 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...

  16. The fire ant social chromosome supergene variant Sb shows low diversity but high divergence from SB.

    PubMed

    Pracana, Rodrigo; Priyam, Anurag; Levantis, Ilya; Nichols, Richard A; Wurm, Yannick

    2017-02-21

    Variation in social behavior is common yet little is known about the genetic architectures underpinning its evolution. A rare exception is in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: Alternative variants of a supergene region determine whether a colony will have exactly one or up to dozens of queens. The two variants of this region are carried by a pair of "social chromosomes", SB and Sb, which resemble a pair of sex chromosomes. Recombination is suppressed between the two chromosomes in the supergene region. While the X-like SB can recombine with itself in SB/SB queens, recombination is effectively absent in the Y-like Sb because Sb/Sb queens die before reproducing. Here, we analyze whole genome sequences of eight haploid SB males and eight haploid Sb males. We find extensive SB-Sb di↵erentiation throughout the >19Mb long supergene region. We find no evidence of "evolutionary strata" with different levels of divergence comparable to those reported in several sex chromosomes. A high proportion of substitutions between the SB and Sb haplotypes are nonsynonymous, suggesting inefficacy of purifying selection in Sb sequences, similar to that for Y-linked sequences in XY systems. Finally, we show that the Sb haplotype of the supergene region has 635-fold less nucleotide diversity than the rest of the genome. We discuss how this reduction could be due to a recent selective sweep affecting Sb specifically or associated with a population bottleneck during the invasion of North America by the sampled population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  17. Global invasion history of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Ascunce, Marina S; Yang, Chin-Cheng; Oakey, Jane; Calcaterra, Luis; Wu, Wen-Jer; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Goudet, Jérôme; Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2011-02-25

    The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a significant pest that was inadvertently introduced into the southern United States almost a century ago and more recently into California and other regions of the world. An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecular markers in 2144 fire ant colonies from 75 geographic sites worldwide revealed that at least nine separate introductions of S. invicta have occurred into newly invaded areas and that the main southern U.S. population is probably the source of all but one of these introductions. The sole exception involves a putative serial invasion from the southern United States to California to Taiwan. These results illustrate in stark fashion a severe negative consequence of an increasingly massive and interconnected global trade and travel system.

  18. Thelytokous parthenogenesis, male clonality and genetic caste determination in the little fire ant: new evidence and insights from the lab.

    PubMed

    Foucaud, J; Estoup, A; Loiseau, A; Rey, O; Orivel, J

    2010-08-01

    Previous studies indicate that some populations of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, display an unusual reproduction system polymorphism. Although some populations have a classical haplodiploid reproduction system, in other populations queens are produced by thelytokous parthenogenesis, males are produced by a male clonality system and workers are produced sexually. An atypical genetic caste determination system was also suggested. However, these conclusions were indirectly inferred from genetic studies on field population samples. Here we set up experimental laboratory nests that allow the control of the parental relationships between individuals. The queens heading those nests originated from either putatively clonal or sexual populations. We characterized the male, queen and worker offspring they produced at 12 microsatellite loci. Our results unambiguously confirm the unique reproduction system polymorphism mentioned above and that male clonality is strictly associated with thelytokous parthenogenesis. We also observed direct evidence of the rare production of sexual gynes and arrhenotokous males in clonal populations. Finally, we obtained evidence of a genetic basis for caste determination. The evolutionary significance of the reproduction system polymorphism and genetic caste determination as well as future research opportunities are discussed.

  19. 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

  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. Raft Formation by the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Adams, Benjamin J.; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M.; Strecker, Rachel M.; O'Brien, Daniel M.

    2011-01-01

    The raft behavior of the invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), has been documented for over a century. However, no rigorous tests have been performed elucidating the structure, limits, and important characteristics of this behavior. Rafting makes S. invicta competitive in both native and foreign environments. Further understanding of this behavior will provide critical advancement to the comprehension of this ant's global invasion ecology. Though speculations exist, no one has looked at the movements of individuals within the raft formation, the longevity of rafts, raft success rate, or the importance of different life stages and varying types of adults to raft formation. Furthermore, bubble use has been extensively studied in arthropods, but it has never been documented in social insects. The use of bubbles as a means of floatation has never before been noted in raft formation. This study shows that ants trapped under water escape by lifting themselves to the air-water interface through the use of bubbles collected from submerged substrate. The presence of larvae was noted to increase colony survival and maximize raft longevity due in part their ability to hold bubbles under hydrophobic setae. PMID:22950473

  2. The Organization of Foraging in the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2011-01-01

    Although natural selection in ants acts most strongly at the colony, or superorganismal level, foraging patterns have rarely been studied at that level, focusing instead on the behavior of individual foragers or groups of foragers. The experiments and observations in this paper reveal in broad strokes how colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), allocate their available labor to foraging, how they disperse that force within their territory, and how this force changes with colony size, season and worker age. Territory area is positively related to colony size and the number of foragers, more so during the spring than fall. Changes of colony size and territory area are driven by seasonal variation of sexual and worker production, which in turn drive seasonal variation of worker age-distribution. During spring sexual production, colonies shrink because worker production falls below replacement. This loss is proportional to colony size, causing forager density in the spring to be negatively related to colony and territory size. In the fall, colonies emphasize worker production, bringing colony size back up. However, because smaller colonies curtailed spring worker production less than larger ones, their fall forager populations are proportionally greater, causing them to gain territory at the expense of large colonies. Much variation of territory area remains unexplained and can probably be attributed to pressure from neighboring colonies. Boundaries between territories are characterized by “no ants' zones” mostly devoid of fire ants. The forager population can be divided into a younger group of recruitable workers that wait for scouts to activate them to help retrieve large food finds. About one-third of the recruits wait near openings in the foraging tunnels that underlie the entire territory, while two-thirds wait in the nest. Recruitment to food is initially very rapid and local from the foraging tunnels, while sustained

  3. The organization of foraging in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2011-01-01

    Although natural selection in ants acts most strongly at the colony, or superorganismal level, foraging patterns have rarely been studied at that level, focusing instead on the behavior of individual foragers or groups of foragers. The experiments and observations in this paper reveal in broad strokes how colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), allocate their available labor to foraging, how they disperse that force within their territory, and how this force changes with colony size, season and worker age. Territory area is positively related to colony size and the number of foragers, more so during the spring than fall. Changes of colony size and territory area are driven by seasonal variation of sexual and worker production, which in turn drive seasonal variation of worker age-distribution. During spring sexual production, colonies shrink because worker production falls below replacement. This loss is proportional to colony size, causing forager density in the spring to be negatively related to colony and territory size. In the fall, colonies emphasize worker production, bringing colony size back up. However, because smaller colonies curtailed spring worker production less than larger ones, their fall forager populations are proportionally greater, causing them to gain territory at the expense of large colonies. Much variation of territory area remains unexplained and can probably be attributed to pressure from neighboring colonies. Boundaries between territories are characterized by "no ants' zones" mostly devoid of fire ants. The forager population can be divided into a younger group of recruitable workers that wait for scouts to activate them to help retrieve large food finds. About one-third of the recruits wait near openings in the foraging tunnels that underlie the entire territory, while two-thirds wait in the nest. Recruitment to food is initially very rapid and local from the foraging tunnels, while sustained

  4. Sampling high-altitude and stratified mating flights of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Gary N; Fritz, Ann H; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2011-05-01

    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 and males during mating flights at altitudinal intervals reaching as high as "140 m. Our trapping system uses an electric winch and a 1.2-m spindle bolted to a swiveling platform. The winch dispenses up to 183 m of Kevlar-core, nylon rope and the spindle stores 10 panels (0.9 by 4.6 m each) of nylon tulle impregnated with Tangle-Trap. The panels can be attached to the rope at various intervals and hoisted into the air by using a 3-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon. Raising or lowering all 10 panels takes approximately 15-20 min. This trap also should be useful for altitudinal sampling of other insects of medical importance.

  5. 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,...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. Dose response of red imported fire ant colonies treated with Solenopsis invicta virus 3

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Baiting tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of increasing Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) doses on fire ant colonies. Actively growing, early stage, fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) laboratory colonies were pulse-exposed to six concentrations of SINV-3 in a 10% sucrose bait and monitored r...

  11. 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,...

  12. Arthropod prey of imported fire ants (Hymenopter: formicidae) in Mississippi sweetpotato fields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Buren) are generally considered pests. They have also been viewed as beneficial predators feeding on other insect pests of agricultural and medical importance in various agroecosystems. This study documents the foraging habits of fire ants in sweetpotato. Swee...

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 7 CFR 301.81-11 - Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries producing...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-11 Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries...

  16. 7 CFR 301.81-11 - Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries producing...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-11 Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries...

  17. 7 CFR 301.81-11 - Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries producing...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2013-01-01 2013-01-01 false Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-11 Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries...

  18. 7 CFR 301.81-11 - Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries producing...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-11 Imported fire ant detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement program for nurseries...

  19. 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.

  20. Crab regulation of cross-ecosystem resource transfer by marine foraging fire ants.

    PubMed

    Garcia, Erica A; Bertness, Mark D; Alberti, Juan; Silliman, Brian R

    2011-08-01

    Permeability of boundaries in biological systems is regulated by biotic and/or abiotic factors. Despite this knowledge, the role of biotic factors in regulating resource transfer across ecosystem boundaries has received little study. Additionally, little is known about how cross-ecosystem resource transfer affects source populations. We used experiments, observations and stable isotopes, to evaluate: (1) the proportion of intertidal-foraging black fire ant (Solenopsis richteri) diet derived from marine sources, (2) how black fire ant cross-ecosystem resource transfer is altered by the dominant bioengineer in the intertidal, a burrowing crab (Neohelice granulata), (3) the top-down impact of these terrestrial ants on a marine resource, and (4) the effect of marine resources on recipient black fire ants. We found that more than 85% of the black fire ant diet is derived from marine sources, the number of intertidal foraging ants doubles in the absence of crab burrows, and that ants cause a 50% reduction in intertidal polychaetes. Also, ant mound density is three times greater adjacent to marine systems. This study reveals that cross-ecosystem foraging terrestrial ants can clearly have strong impacts on marine resources. Furthermore, ecosystem engineers that modify and occupy habitat in these ecosystem boundaries can strongly regulate the degree of cross-ecosystem resource transfer and resultant top down impacts.

  1. An Environmentally Improved Method of Fire Ant Control for High Maintenance Areas,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    A study was conducted to evaluate the use of aluminum phosphide ( Phostoxin (R)) for fire ant control. A simple probe was developed to inject Phostoxin ...treatment procedures. The Phostoxin degraded within 72 hours, eliminating any residual pesticide type material. (Author)

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. Differential Field Responses of the Little Fire Ants, Wasmannia auropunctata(Roger), to Alarm Pheromone Enantiomers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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. Since the discovery of W.auropunctata in Puna in 1999,it has established across the eastern side of Hawaii I...

  7. 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...

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Dynamic thermal structure of imported fire ant mounds.

    PubMed

    Vogt, James T; Wallet, Bradley; Coy, Steven

    2008-01-01

    A study was undertaken to characterize surface temperatures of mounds of imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid, 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 to test feasibility of using thermal infrared imagery to remotely sense mounds. Mean mound surface temperature peaked shortly after solar noon and exceeded mean surface temperature of the surrounding surface. Temperature range for mounds and their surroundings peaked near solar noon, and the temperature range of the mound surface exceeded that of the surrounding area. The temperature difference between mounds and their surroundings peaked around solar noon and ranged from about 2 to 10 degrees C. Quadratic trends relating temperature measurements to time of day (expressed as percentage of daylight hours from apparent sunrise to apparent sunset) explained 77 to 88% of the variation in the data. Mounds were asymmetrical, with the apex offset on average 81.5 +/- 1.2 mm to the north of the average center. South facing aspects were about 20% larger than north facing aspects. Mound surface aspect and slope affected surface temperature; this affect was greatly influenced by time of day. Thermal infrared imagery was used to illustrate the effect of mound shape on surface temperature. These results indicate that the temperature differences between mounds and their surroundings are sufficient for detection using thermal infrared remote sensing, and predictable temporal changes in surface temperature may be useful for classifying mounds in images.

  13. Lack of interactions between fire ant control products and white grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in turfgrass.

    PubMed

    Barden, S Addison; Held, David W; Graham, L C Fudd

    2011-12-01

    Insecticides are widely used to manage turfgrass pest such as white grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Buren) are important predators and pests in managed turfgrass. We tested the susceptibility of white grub life stages (adults, egg, and larvae) to predation by S. invicta and determined if insecticides applied for control of S. invicta would result in locally greater white grub populations. Field trials over 2 yr evaluated bifenthrin, fipronil, and hydramethylnon applied to large and small scale turfgrass plots for impacts on fire ant foraging and white grub populations. Coincident with these trials, adults, larvae, and eggs of common scarab species were evaluated for susceptibility to predation by S. invicta under field conditions. Field trials with insecticides failed to show a significant increase in white grub populations resulting from treatment of turfgrass for fire ants. This, in part, may be because of a lack of predation of S. invicta on adult and larval scarabs. Egg predation was greatest at 70% but < 20% of adults and larvae were attacked in a 24 h test. Contrary to other studies, results presented here suggest that fire ants and fire ant control products applied to turfgrass have a minimal impact on white grub populations.

  14. Proteomic view of the venom from the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren.

    PubMed

    dos Santos Pinto, José R A; Fox, Eduardo G P; Saidemberg, Daniel M; Santos, Lucilene D; da Silva Menegasso, Anally R; Costa-Manso, Eliúde; Machado, Ednildo A; Bueno, Odair C; Palma, Mario S

    2012-09-07

    Fire ants are well-known by their aggressive stinging behavior, causing many stinging incidents of medical importance. The limited availability of fire ant venom for scientific and clinical uses has restricted, up to now, the knowledge about the biochemistry, immunology, and pharmacology of these venoms. For this study, S. invicta venom was obtained commercially and used for proteomic characterization. For this purpose, the combination of gel-based and gel-free proteomic strategies was used to assign the proteomic profile of the venom from the fire ant S. invicta. This experimental approach permitted the identification of 46 proteins, which were organized into four different groups according to their potential role in fire ant venom: true venom components, housekeeping proteins, body muscle proteins, and proteins involved in chemical communication. The active venom components that may not present toxic roles were classified into three subgroups according to their potential functions: self-venom protection, colony asepsis, and chemical communication. Meanwhile, the proteins classified as true toxins, based on their functions after being injected into the victims' bodies by the fire ants, were classified in five other subgroups: proteins influencing the homeostasis of the victims, neurotoxins, proteins that promote venom diffusion, proteins that cause tissue damage/inflammation, and allergens.

  15. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) kept Y not F: predicted sNPY endogenous ligands deorphanize the short NPF (sNPF) receptor.

    PubMed

    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 its cognate

  16. Integrated pest management concepts for red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Drees, Bastiaan M; Calixto, Alejandro A; Nester, Paul R

    2013-08-01

    Management of imported fire ant species has evolved since their accidental introduction into the United States and currently uses integrated pest management concepts to design, implement, and evaluate suppression programs. Although eradication is the management goal in certain isolated infestation sites, localized goals vary dramatically in larger infestations where reinvasion of treated areas is likely. These goals are influenced by regulatory policies, medical liabilities, ecological impact, and/or economic considerations. Tactics employed in fire ant management programs presented here include cultural and biological control options along with judicious use of site-specific insecticide products. In addition, program design considerations that include management goal(s), action level(s), ant form (monogyne or polygyne), presence of nontarget ant species, size of treatment area, seasonality, implementation cost, and environmental impact are also presented. Optimally, elegant IPM programs are target specific, threshold driven, environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

  17. 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

  18. Effects of Invasive European Fire Ants (Myrmica rubra) on Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) Reproduction

    PubMed Central

    DeFisher, Luke E.; Bonter, David N.

    2013-01-01

    Various invasive ant species have negatively affected reproductive success in birds by disrupting nest site selection, incubation patterns, food supply, and by direct predation on nestlings. Impacts can be particularly severe when non-native ants colonize seabird nesting islands where thousands of birds may nest in high densities on the ground or in burrows or crevices. Here we report on the first documented effects of Myrmica rubra, the European fire ant, on the reproduction of birds in its non-native range. We documented herring gulls (Larus argentatus) on Appledore Island, Maine, engaging in more erratic incubation behaviors at nests infested by the ants. Newly-hatched chicks in some nests were swarmed by ants, leading to rapid chick death. Due to high overall rates of chick mortality, survival probabilities did not vary between nests with and without ant activity, however chick growth rates were slower at nests with ants than at ant-free nests. Ant infestation likely leads to longer-term fitness consequences because slower growth rates early in life may ultimately lead to lower post-fledging survival probabilities. PMID:23691168

  19. 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. ...

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. Fire in the Amazon: impact of experimental fuel addition on responses of ants and their interactions with myrmecochorous seeds.

    PubMed

    Paolucci, Lucas N; Maia, Maria L B; Solar, Ricardo R C; Campos, Ricardo I; Schoereder, José H; Andersen, Alan N

    2016-10-01

    The widespread clearing of tropical forests causes lower tree cover, drier microclimate, and higher and drier fuel loads of forest edges, increasing the risk of fire occurrence and its intensity. We used a manipulative field experiment to investigate the influence of fire and fuel loads on ant communities and their interactions with myrmecochorous seeds in the southern Amazon, a region currently undergoing extreme land-use intensification. Experimental fires and fuel addition were applied to 40 × 40-m plots in six replicated blocks, and ants were sampled between 15 and 30 days after fires in four strata: subterranean, litter, epigaeic, and arboreal. Fire had extensive negative effects on ant communities. Highly specialized cryptobiotic and predator species of the litter layer and epigaeic specialist predators were among the most sensitive, but we did not find evidence of overall biotic homogenization following fire. Fire reduced rates of location and transport of myrmecochorous seeds, and therefore the effectiveness of a key ecosystem service provided by ants, which we attribute to lower ant abundance and increased thermal stress. Experimental fuel addition had only minor effects on attributes of fire severity, and limited effects on ant responses to fire. Our findings indicate that enhanced fuel loads will not decrease ant diversity and ecosystem services through increased fire severity, at least in wetter years. However, higher fuel loads can still have a significant effect on ants from Amazonian rainforests because they increase the risk of fire occurrence, which has a detrimental impact on ant communities and a key ecosystem service they provide.

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  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. 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)

  10. 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). ...

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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 δ(15)N 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

  13. 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

  14. Are Invasive Species Stressful? The Glucocorticoid Profile of Native Lizards Exposed to Invasive Fire Ants Depends on the Context.

    PubMed

    Graham, Sean P; Freidenfelds, Nicole A; Thawley, Christopher J; Robbins, Travis R; Langkilde, Tracy

    Invasive species represent a substantial threat to native species worldwide. Research on the impacts of invasive species on wild living vertebrates has focused primarily on population-level effects. The sublethal, individual-level effects of invaders may be equally important but are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of invasive fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) on the physiological stress response of a native lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) within two experimental contexts: directly exposing lizards to a fire ant attack and housing lizards with fire ants in seminatural field enclosures. Lizards directly exposed to brief attack by fire ants had elevated concentrations of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT), suggesting that these encounters can be physiologically stressful. However, lizards exposed for longer periods to fire ants in field enclosures had lower concentrations of CORT. This may indicate that the combined effects of confinement and fire ant exposure have pushed lizards into allostatic overload. However, lizards from fire ant enclosures appeared to have intact negative feedback controls of the stress response, evidenced by functioning adrenocorticotropic hormone responsiveness and lack of suppression of innate immunity (plasma bactericidal capacity). We review previous studies examining the stress response of wild vertebrates to various anthropogenic stressors and discuss how these-in combination with our results-underscore the importance of considering context (the length, frequency, magnitude, and types of threat) when assessing these impacts.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. Intercontinental differences in resource use reveal the importance of mutualisms in fire ant invasions

    PubMed Central

    Wilder, Shawn M.; Holway, David A.; Suarez, Andrew V.; LeBrun, Edward G.; Eubanks, Micky D.

    2011-01-01

    Mutualisms play key roles in the functioning of ecosystems. However, reciprocally beneficial interactions that involve introduced species also can enhance invasion success and in doing so compromise ecosystem integrity. For example, the growth and competitive ability of introduced plant species can increase when fungal or microbial associates provide limiting nutrients. Mutualisms also may aid animal invasions, but how such systems may promote invasion success has received relatively little attention. Here we examine how access to food-for-protection mutualisms involving the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) aids the success of this prominent invader. Intense interspecific competition in its native Argentina constrained the ability of S. invicta to benefit from honeydew-producing Hemiptera (and other accessible sources of carbohydrates), whereas S. invicta dominated these resources in its introduced range in the United States. Consistent with this strong pattern, nitrogen isotopic data revealed that fire ants from populations in the United States occupy a lower trophic position than fire ants from Argentina. Laboratory and field experiments demonstrated that honeydew elevated colony growth, a crucial determinant of competitive performance, even when insect prey were not limiting. Carbohydrates, obtained largely through mutualistic partnerships with other organisms, thus represent critical resources that may aid the success of this widespread invasive species. These results illustrate the potential for mutualistic interactions to play a fundamental role in the establishment and spread of animal invasions. PMID:22143788

  1. 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 ...

  2. Allometry of Workers of the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; Mikheyev, Alexander S.; Storz, Shonna R.

    2003-01-01

    The relationship between worker body size and the shape of their body parts was explored in the polymorphic ant, Solenopsis invicta. The data consisted of 20 measurements of body parts as well as sums of some of these measurements. Size-free shape variables were created by taking the ratios of relevant measures. After log-transformation, these ratios were regressed against the logarithm of total body length, or against the log of the size of the parent part. Slopes of zero indicated that shape did not change with size, and non-zero slopes signaled a size-related change of shape. Across the range of worker sizes, the head length retained a constant proportion to body length, but relative headwidth increased such that head shape changed from a barrel-profile to a somewhat heart-shaped profile. Antennae became relatively smaller, with the club contributing more to this decline than the other parts. The alinotum became relatively shorter and higher (more humped), and the gaster increased in both relative width and length, and therefore in volume. All three pairs of legs were isometric to body length. The component parts of the legs, with one exception, were isometric to their own total leg length. The body of S. invicta is therefore dominated by mostly modest allometries, giving large workers a somewhat different shape than small ones. None of these size-shape relationships was different for different colonies. The functional meaning of these shape changes is unknown, but that does not stop us from speculating. Abbreviation: HL head length BL body length HW1 width across the eyes HW2 width above the eyes HW3 width below the eyes PMID:15841219

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Identification and expression of capa gene in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Activity of bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam against red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Wiltz, B A; Suiter, D R; Gardner, W A

    2010-06-01

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined after topical treatments. Both immobilization and mortality occurred most quickly with bifenthrin, followed by thiamethoxam, chlorfenapyr, and fipronil. Mortality due to horizontal exposure was evaluated at 10, 20, or 30 degrees C, with three ratios of topically treated donor ant corpses to live recipients (5, 10, or 20% donors). Bifenthrin had the greatest horizontal activity of the chemicals tested. For chlorfenapyr, the only treatments having higher mortality than controls were the highest percentage donors at either 10 or 30 degrees C. Horizontal activity of fipronil was temperature dependent only with the highest proportion of donors and was lower than that ofbifenthrin but higher than that of chlorfenapyr or thiamethoxam. Mean mortality due to thiamethoxam was similar to that with chlorfenapyr. Significant mortality occurred in all of the 20 and 30 degrees C thiamethoxam treatments, but none of the 10 degrees C treatments. Effectiveness as a barrier was evaluated by providing a choice between bridges treated with insecticide or water. Although bifenthrin did not provide an impenetrable barrier, it was the only treatment having fewer ants than its paired control bridge. Mortality data suggest that a reduction in recruitment rather than repellency account for this result.

  12. Toxicity and sublethal effects of sulfoxaflor on the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Pan, Fengxiang; Lu, Yongyue; Wang, Lei

    2017-05-01

    To understand whether sulfoxaflor, a novel neonicotinoid, poses unacceptable risks to the environment, it is important to assess its effects on nontarget insects. Therefore, the effects of short-term exposure (28 days) of free-feeding sublethal concentrations (1-2μg/ml) of sulfoxaflor to the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, were investigated. The following parameters were evaluated to determine the impact of exposure: colony growth, food consumption (sugar water and locusts), and interspecific interactions. Sulfoxaflor exposure produced significant negative effects on S. invicta colony growth, with cumulative colony weight losses of 83.36% and 100.00% after treatment with 1μg/ml and 2μg/ml, respectively. The consumption of sugar water (containing sulfoxaflor) of surviving colonies decreased with increasing sulfoxaflor concentration. Moreover, the consumption of locusts decreased after treatment with 2μg/ml, but not 1μg/ml, sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor treatment for 14 days led to reduced aggressiveness of S. invicta workers in interspecific confrontations (S. invicta vs. unexposed Pheidole fervida), and their probability of survival of aggressive encounters was reduced significantly to 48% of that of control ants. Our results indicate that sublethal concentrations of sulfoxaflor are likely to have a negative impact on ants.

  13. Pseudacteon decapitating flies (Diptera: Phoridae): Are they potential vectors of the fire ant pathogens Kneallhazia(=Thelohania)solenopsae (Microsporidia: Thelohaniidae)and Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae)?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ant decapitating flies in the genus Pseudacteon were tested for their potential as hosts or vectors of two microsporidian pathogens of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Decapitating flies which attacked or were reared from S. invicta workers infected by Kneallhazia (=Thelohania)...

  14. Increased incidence of red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) presence in loggerhead sea turtle (Testudines: Cheloniidae) nests and observations of hatchling mortality

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Parris, L.B.; Lamont, M.M.; Carthy, R.R.

    2002-01-01

    Hatching sea turtles may be at risk to fire ant predation during egg incubation, and especially at risk once pipped from the egg, prior to hatchling emergence from the nest. In addition to direct mortality, fire ants have the potential to inflict debilitating injuries that may directly affect survival of the young. The increased incidence of red imported fire ant induced mortality and envenomization of loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings on Cape San Blas suggests this invasive ant species may pose a serious threat to the future of this genetically distinct population.

  15. Fire ant alarm pheromone and venom alkaloids act in concert to attract parasitic phorid flies, Pseudacteon spp.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Kavita R; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2013-11-01

    Pseudacteon tricuspis, Pseudacteon obtusus and Pseudacteon curvatus are three species of parasitic phorid flies (Diptera: Phoridae), which have been introduced as classical biological control agents of imported, Solenopsis fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the southern USA. Previous studies demonstrated the behavioral response of P. tricuspis to the venom alkaloids and alarm pheromone of the fire ant, S. invicta. In the present study, we compared the responses of P. tricuspis, P. obtusus and P. curvatus to Solenopsis invicta alarm pheromone, venom alkaloids, or a mixture of both chemicals in four-choice olfactometer bioassays. The main hypothesis tested was that the fire ant alarm pheromone and venom alkaloids act in concert to attract Pseudacteon phorid flies. Both sexes of all three Pseudacteon species were attracted to low doses of the fire ant alarm pheromone or venom alkaloids (i.e. 1 ant worker equivalent) alone. However, the flies were significantly more attracted to a mixture of both chemicals (i.e., 1:1 mixture of alarm pheromone+alkaloids) than to either chemical. The results suggest an additive rather than a synergistic effect of combining both chemicals. Comparing the fly species, P. tricuspis showed relatively greater attraction to cis alkaloids, whereas the alkaloid mixture (cis+trans) was preferred by P. obtusus and P. curvatus. In general, no key sexual differences were recorded, although females of P. tricuspis and P. obtusus showed slightly higher response than conspecific males to lower doses of the alarm pheromone. The ecological significance of these findings is discussed, and a host location model is proposed for parasitic phorid flies involving the use of fire ant alarm pheromone and venom alkaloids as long range and short range attractants, respectively.

  16. Solenopsis invicta virus (sinv-1) infection and insecticide interactions in the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Controlling invasive species is a growing concern; however, pesticides can be detrimental for non-target organisms. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren; Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has aggressively invaded approximately 138 million ha in the USA and causes over $6 billion in damage and ...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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, c...

  18. Activity patterns and parasitism rates of fire ant decapitating flies (Diptera:Phoridae:Pseudacteon spp.) in their native Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Technical Abstract: This work describes the annual and daily activity patterns of two parasitoid fly communities of the fire ant S. invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in their native Argentina. Pseudacteon (Diptera: Phoridae) flies were censused monthly for one year at two sites in northwestern Corr...

  19. Evidence of competition among three species of Pseudacteon decapitating flies released in the Gainesville area as fire ant biocontrol agents

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Three species of fire ant decapitating flies have been established in the Gainesville area. The first species, Pseudacteon tricuspis, was established in 1997. The second species, Pseudacteon curvatus, was established in 2003 and the third species, Pseudacteon obtusus, was established in 2008. The s...

  20. Potential economic impact of introduction and spread of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gutrich, J.J.; VanGelder, E.; Loope, L.

    2007-01-01

    Globally, many invasive alien species have caused extensive ecological and economic damage from either accidental or intentional introduction. The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has created billions of dollars in costs annually, spreading as an invasive species across the southern United States. In 1998, the red imported fire ant spread into California creating a highly probable future introduction via shipped products to Hawaii. This paper presents the estimation of potential economic impacts of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) to the state of Hawaii. Evaluation of impacts focuses on the economic sectors of (1) households, (2) agriculture (cattle and crop production), (3) infrastructure (cemeteries, churches, cities, electrical, telephone, and cable services, highways, hospitals and schools), (4) recreation, tourism and business (hotels/resort areas, golf courses, commercial businesses and tourists), and (5) government expenditures (with minimal intervention). The full annual economic costs of the red imported fire ant to Hawaii are estimated (in US$ 2006) to be $211 million/year, comprised of $77 million in damages and expenditures and $134 million in foregone outdoor opportunities to households and tourists. The present value of the projected costs of RIFA over a 20-year period after introduction total $2.5 billion. RIFA invasions across the globe indicate that economic cost-effective action in Hawaii entails implementation of prevention, early detection and rapid response treatment programs for RIFA. ?? 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Procedures to mititgate the impact of Solenopsis invicta Virus 3 in fire ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) rearing facilities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During the initial characterization of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), virus-infected fire ant colonies were retrieved from the field and maintained in the laboratory rearing facility at the USDA, Gainesville, FL. During this time, all S. invicta colonies housed in the facility contracted SINV...

  2. Extracted Venom and Cuticular Compounds of Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis spp., and Chemotaxonomic Applications Across a Persistent Hybrid Zone

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Characterization of cuticular biomolecular assemblages for imported fire ants permit basic distinctions among colonies of S. invicta, S. richteri, and their hybrids; thus, providing opportunities to investigate details of landscape ecology for this species complex as well as to assess levels of inva...

  3. No Evidence for Wolbachia Phenotypic Effects in Newly Mated Queens of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that commonly infect many arthropods and some nematodes. In arthropods, these bacteria often induce phenotypic effects that enhance their own spread within host populations, despite sometimes also having deleterious effects on host fecundity and viability. Wolbac...

  4. Contact toxicities of anuran skin alkaloids against the fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weldon, Paul J.; Cardoza, Yasmin J.; Vander Meer, Robert K.; Hoffmann, W. Clint; Daly, John W.; Spande, Thomas F.

    2013-02-01

    Nearly 500 alkaloids, representing over 20 structural classes, have been identified from the skin of neotropical poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). These cutaneous compounds, which are derived from arthropod prey of the frogs, generally are believed to deter predators. We tested the red imported fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta) for toxicosis following contact with 20 alkaloids (12 structural classes) identified from dendrobatids or other anurans. Individual ants forced to contact the dried residues of 13 compounds exhibited convulsions and/or reduced ambulation. We estimated the cutaneous concentrations of several compounds based on their reported recoveries from skin extracts of free-ranging frogs and our measurements of the skin surface areas of museum specimens. Pumiliotoxin 251D exhibited contact toxicity below its estimated cutaneous concentration in the Ecuadorian frog, Epipedobates anthonyi, an observation consistent with the hypothesized role of this compound in anuran chemical defense. Our results and those of a previous study of mosquitoes indicate that some anuran skin compounds function defensively as contact toxins against arthropods, permeating their exoskeleton.

  5. Defensive chemicals of tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva and their toxicity to red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) has been reported as being able to displace Solenopsis invicta Buren, one of the most aggressive invasive ants in the world. Like S. invicta, N. fulva use chemical secretions in their defense/offense, which may contribute to their observed superior competition ability. In t...

  6. Fatty amines from little black ants, Monomorium minimum, and their biological activities against red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Chemistry of defensive sections in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to rigorous research. The venom of little black ants, Monomorium minimum, has been reported to be dominated by insecticidal alkaloids including 2,5-dialkypyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkypyrrolines. In this study, analysis of def...

  7. Mirex residues in nontarget organisms after application of experimental baits for fire ant control, southwest Georgia--1971-72.

    PubMed

    Wojcik, D P; Banks, W A; Wheeler, W B; Jouvenaz, D P; Van Middelem, C H; Lofgren, C S

    1975-12-01

    Mirex, the only compound approved for control of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) and the black imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri), is normally applied at a rate of 1.40 kg/ha. (1.25 lb/acre). Influenced by recent studies showing that low levels of mirex are toxic to certain nontarget organisms, particularly estuarine species, authors report here on a monitoring study of mirex in three large treatment areas of southwest Georgia. Four formulations of bait were applied aerially in 1971-72. Low-level residues were observed in small terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates and in fresh-water inhabitants. Levels detected were about the same for all baits. Maximum residues were detected 1-3 months after treatment and gradually declined to low levels of 0.02-1.16 ppm 1 year after treatment.

  8. Re-investigation of venom chemistry of Solenopsis fire ants. II. Identification of novel alkaloids in S. invicta.

    PubMed

    Chen, Li; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2009-04-01

    The venom of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is dominated by trans stereoisomers of 2,6-dialkylpiperidines. cis Stereoisomers of alkaloids in the venom of S. invicta were separated from trans stereoisomers by using silica gel short column chromatography and identified by coupled gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Seven pairs of cis and trans sterecoisomers were identified based on relative retention times and mass spectral data. The GC trace of the cis stereoisomers of S. invicta alkaloids was presented for the first time. In addition to the previously described 2,6-dialkylpiperideines, eleven novel 2,6-dialkyl-delta1,2-piperideines and 2,6-dialkyl-delta1,6-piperideines were identified from S. invicta venom. The results are discussed in relation to the evolutionary significance of these piperideines and their possible biosynthetic pathways in Solenopsis fire ants.

  9. Differences in sNPF receptor-expressing neurons in brains of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) worker subcastes: indicators for division of labor and nutritional status?

    PubMed

    Castillo, Paula; Pietrantonio, Patricia V

    2013-01-01

    In the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the neuronal and molecular mechanisms related to worker division of labor are poorly understood. Workers from different subcastes (major, medium and minors) perform different tasks, which are loosely associated with their size. We hypothesized that the short neuropeptide F (sNPF) signaling system (NPY-like) could be involved in mechanisms of worker division of labor and sensing or responding to colony nutritional requirements. Thus, we investigated the expression of the short neuropeptide F receptor (sNPFR) in the brain and subesophageal ganglion (SEG) of workers from colonies with and without brood. Across worker subcastes a total of 9 clusters of immunoreactive sNPFR cells were localized in the brain and the subesophageal ganglion (SEG); some of these cells were similar to those observed previously in the queen. Worker brain sNPFR cell clusters were found in the protocerebrum near mushroom bodies, in the central complex and in the lateral horn. Other sNPFR immunoreactive cells were found at the edge of the antennal lobes. Across subcastes, we observed both a constant and a differential pattern of sNPFR clusters, with a higher number of sNPFR cells found in minor than in major workers. Those sNPFR cells detected in all worker subcastes appear to be involved in olfaction or SEG functions. The differential expression of clusters in subcastes suggests that sNPFR signaling is involved in regulating behaviors associated with specific subcastes and thus, division of labor. Some sNPFR cells appear to be involved in nutrient sensing and/or brood care, feeding behavior and locomotion. In colonies without brood, workers showed a lower cluster number, and an overall reduced sNPFR signal. Our results suggest the sNPF signaling system is a candidate for the neurobiological control of worker division of labor and sensing brood presence, perhaps correlating with protein requirements and availability.

  10. Electroantennogram and behavioral responses of the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, to an alarm pheromone component and its analogues.

    PubMed

    Guan, Di; Lu, Yong-Yue; Liao, Xiao-Lan; Wang, Lei; Chen, Li

    2014-12-10

    A characteristic behavior in ants is to move rapidly to emission sources of alarm pheromones. The addition of ant alarm pheromones to bait is expected to enhance its attractiveness. To search for candidate compounds for bait enhancement in fire ant control, 13 related alkylpyrazine analogues in addition to synthetic alarm pheromone component were evaluated for electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral activities in Solenopsis invicta. Most compounds elicited dose-dependent EAG and behavioral responses. There exists a correlation between the EAG and behavioral responses. Among the 14 tested alkylpyrazines, three compounds, 2-ethyl-3,6(5)-dimethyl pyrazine (1), 2,3,5-trimethylpyrazine (7), and 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine (12), elicited significant alarm responses at a dose range of 0.1-1000 ng. Further bait discovery bioassay with the three most active alkylpyrazines demonstrated that food bait accompanied by sample-treated filter paper disk attracted significantly more fire ant workers in the first 15 min period. EAG and behavioral bioassays with pure pheromone isomers accumulated by semi-preparative high-performance liquid chromatography demonstrated that 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine was significantly more active than 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine.

  11. Habitat alteration increases invasive fire ant abundance to the detriment of amphibians and reptiles

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Todd, B.D.; Rothermel, B.B.; Reed, R.N.; Luhring, T.M.; Schlatter, K.; Trenkamp, L.; Gibbons, J.W.

    2008-01-01

    Altered habitats have been suggested to facilitate red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) colonization and dispersal, possibly compounding effects of habitat alteration on native wildlife. In this study, we compared colonization intensity of wood cover boards by S. invicta among four forest management treatments in South Carolina, USA: an unharvested control (>30 years old); a partially thinned stand; a clearcut with coarse woody debris retained; and a clearcut with coarse woody debris removed. Additionally, we compared dehydration rates and survival of recently metamorphosed salamanders (marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, and mole salamanders, A. talpoideum) among treatments. We found that the number of wood cover boards colonized by S. invicta differed significantly among treatments, being lowest in the unharvested forest treatments and increasing with the degree of habitat alteration. Salamanders that were maintained in experimental field enclosures to study water loss were unexpectedly subjected to high levels of S. invicta predation that differed among forest treatments. All known predation by S. invicta was restricted to salamanders in clearcuts. The amount of vegetative ground cover was inversely related to the likelihood of S. invicta predation of salamanders. Our results show that S. invicta abundance increases with habitat disturbance and that this increased abundance has negative consequences for amphibians that remain in altered habitats. Our findings also suggest that the presence of invasive S. invicta may compromise the utility of cover boards and other techniques commonly used in herpetological studies in the Southeast. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  12. Activity of Bifenthrin, Chlorfenapyr, Fipronil, and Thiamethoxam against Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined following topical treatments. Ants were immobilized most quickly by bifenthrin, followed by chlorfenapyr and thi...

  13. Influence of the proximity and amount of human development and roads on the occurrence of the red imported fire ant in the lower Florida Keys

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Forys, E.A.; Allen, C.R.; Wojcik, D.P.

    2002-01-01

    We examined the influence of both the proximity and extent of human developments and paved roads on the presence of the predatory, non-indigenous, red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). This species was inadvertently introduced into the United States at the port of Mobile, Alabama, around 1930 and rapidly spread to many southeastern states, including Florida. More recently, S. invicta colonized the Florida Keys, an area with a high proportion of rare and endemic vertebrate and invertebrate species. We placed bait transects in transitional salt-marsh, pineland, and hardwood hammocks on 13 of the lower Florida Keys and compared habitat type, the shortest distance of the bait transect to a development or road, and area of development and roads 50, 70, 100, and 150 m around each bait transect for areas with and without red imported fire ants. Red imported fire ants were detected on 21 of the 80 transects and were equally abundant in all habitat types. While all of the development and road variables differed significantly between bait transects with and without red imported fire ants, transects that were closest to roads and that had the largest amount of development within a 150 m radii had the highest probability of presence of red imported fire ants. Recovery efforts for endangered species in areas invaded by red imported fire ants should include analyses of the cumulative impacts of roads and developments in areas near protected lands. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Pyrokinin β-Neuropeptide Affects Necrophoretic Behavior in Fire Ants (S. invicta), and Expression of β-NP in a Mycoinsecticide Increases Its Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Yanhua; Pereira, Roberto M.; Kilic, Engin; Casella, George; Keyhani, Nemat O.

    2012-01-01

    Fire ants are one of the world's most damaging invasive pests, with few means for their effective control. Although ecologically friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides such as the insecticidal fungus Beauveria bassiana have been suggested for the control of fire ant populations, their use has been limited due to the low virulence of the fungus and the length of time it takes to kill its target. We present a means of increasing the virulence of the fungal agent by expressing a fire ant neuropeptide. Expression of the fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) pyrokinin β -neuropeptide (β-NP) by B. bassiana increased fungal virulence six-fold towards fire ants, decreased the LT50, but did not affect virulence towards the lepidopteran, Galleria mellonella. Intriguingly, ants killed by the β-NP expressing fungus were disrupted in the removal of dead colony members, i.e. necrophoretic behavior. Furthermore, synthetic C-terminal amidated β-NP but not the non-amidated peptide had a dramatic effect on necrophoretic behavior. These data link chemical sensing of a specific peptide to a complex social behavior. Our results also confirm a new approach to insect control in which expression of host molecules in an insect pathogen can by exploited for target specific augmentation of virulence. The minimization of the development of potential insect resistance by our approach is discussed. PMID:22238569

  15. Variation in the outcomes of an ant-plant system: fire and leaf fungus infection reduce benefits to plants with extrafloral nectaries.

    PubMed

    Pires, L P; Del-Claro, K

    2014-01-01

    Interactions between species are evolutionary malleable and may suffer changes in small timescales. Environmental disturbances, such as fire, can deeply affect species interactions, but how they influence the outcome of a mutualistic interaction has yet to be studied. In order to test the hypothesis that an environmental disturbance, in this case fire, may produce differences in the outcome of the association of ants with the extrafloral-nectaries-bearing plant Qualea multiflora Mart. (Myrtales: Vochysiaceae), a previous study was replicated, but this time after fire incidence, at the same study site and with the same plant species. Eight ant species visited Q. multiflora, and the most abundant genera were Crematogaster, Cephalotes, and Camponotus. Herbivores were found in branches with and without ants with no statistical difference, but foliar herbivory was always higher in branchs where ants were absent. Leaves were infested by fungi, and fungi spots were higher in branches where ants were present. Compared to the previous study, it was clearly observed that ant benefits to Q. multiflora varied over time. The most common ant species still protected leaves against chewing herbivores, but a new kind of leaf damage appeared, namely fungi spots. Data also support that ants may be acting as vectors of fungi spores on plants, as ant visited branches had higher fungus incidence than non-visited branches. Fire is a major source of disturbance in tropical savannas, and we suggest that it can cause strong variation in the outcomes of interactions between ants and plants with extrafloral nectaries in the Brazilian tropical savanna.

  16. Variation in the Outcomes of an Ant-Plant System: Fire and Leaf Fungus Infection Reduce Benefits to Plants with Extrafloral Nectaries

    PubMed Central

    Pires, L. P.; Del-Claro, K.

    2014-01-01

    Interactions between species are evolutionary malleable and may suffer changes in small timescales. Environmental disturbances, such as fire, can deeply affect species interactions, but how they influence the outcome of a mutualistic interaction has yet to be studied. In order to test the hypothesis that an environmental disturbance, in this case fire, may produce differences in the outcome of the association of ants with the extrafloral-nectaries-bearing plant Qualea multiflora Mart. (Myrtales: Vochysiaceae), a previous study was replicated, but this time after fire incidence, at the same study site and with the same plant species. Eight ant species visited Q. multiflora, and the most abundant genera were Crematogaster, Cephalotes, and Camponotus. Herbivores were found in branches with and without ants with no statistical difference, but foliar herbivory was always higher in branchs where ants were absent. Leaves were infested by fungi, and fungi spots were higher in branches where ants were present. Compared to the previous study, it was clearly observed that ant benefits to Q. multiflora varied over time. The most common ant species still protected leaves against chewing herbivores, but a new kind of leaf damage appeared, namely fungi spots. Data also support that ants may be acting as vectors of fungi spores on plants, as ant visited branches had higher fungus incidence than non-visited branches. Fire is a major source of disturbance in tropical savannas, and we suggest that it can cause strong variation in the outcomes of interactions between ants and plants with extrafloral nectaries in the Brazilian tropical savanna. PMID:25368040

  17. Intraspecific Variation among Social Insect Colonies: Persistent Regional and Colony-Level Differences in Fire Ant Foraging Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Bockoven, Alison A.; Wilder, Shawn M.; Eubanks, Micky D.

    2015-01-01

    Individuals vary within a species in many ecologically important ways, but the causes and consequences of such variation are often poorly understood. Foraging behavior is among the most profitable and risky activities in which organisms engage and is expected to be under strong selection. Among social insects there is evidence that within-colony variation in traits such as foraging behavior can increase colony fitness, but variation between colonies and the potential consequences of such variation are poorly documented. In this study, we tested natural populations of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, for the existence of colony and regional variation in foraging behavior and tested the persistence of this variation over time and across foraging habitats. We also reared single-lineage colonies in standardized environments to explore the contribution of colony lineage. Fire ants from natural populations exhibited significant and persistent colony and regional-level variation in foraging behaviors such as extra-nest activity, exploration, and discovery of and recruitment to resources. Moreover, colony-level variation in extra-nest activity was significantly correlated with colony growth, suggesting that this variation has fitness consequences. Lineage of the colony had a significant effect on extra-nest activity and exploratory activity and explained approximately half of the variation observed in foraging behaviors, suggesting a heritable component to colony-level variation in behavior. PMID:26197456

  18. Re-investigation of venom chemistry of Solenopsis fire ants. I. Identification of novel alkaloids in S. richteri.

    PubMed

    Chen, Li; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2009-04-01

    Dialkylpiperidines are characteristic of fire ants in the genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Workers of the black imported fire ant, S. richteri produce cis and trans stereoisomers of 2,6-dialkylpiperidines with the trans isomer predominating. We used silica gel short column chromatography to separate both stereoisomers (cis and trans) of S. richteri venom alkaloids and coupled gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to identify novel minor components. The identities of various peaks in GC-MS analyses of the venom fractions were based on relative retention times and mass spectral data. GC profiles verified the presence of both cis and trans stereoisomers of C15:1 and C15 in S. richteri. The GC trace of the cis stereoisomers of S. richteri alkaloids was presented for the first time. In addition to the previously described components of S. richteri venom, seven novel 2,6-dialkyl-delta1,2-piperideines and 2,6-dialkyl-delta1,6-piperideines were detected. The chemical identities of these minor components were determined by comparing with fragmentations of known compounds. Possible biosynthetic pathways for the production of cis and trans solenopsins by S. richteri are discussed.

  19. Body size, but not cooling rate, affects supercooling points in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Daniel A; Martin, Adam R; Porter, Sanford D

    2008-10-01

    The level of an animal's stress resistance is set by multiple intrinsic physiological and extrinsic environmental parameters. Body size is a critical intrinsic parameter that affects numerous fitness-related organismal traits including fecundity, survival, mating success, and stress resistance. The rate of cooling is a critical extrinsic environmental factor that can affect thermal stress resistance. Workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), display considerable variation in adult body size. Therefore, developing ecologically realistic models of thermotolerance in this species requires a consideration of body size. We tested the hypothesis that body size and cooling rate would interact to set the supercooling point in fire ant workers by exposing workers of a range of body sizes to three different cooling regimens: a very fast ramp of -10 degrees C/min, an intermediate ramp of -1 degrees C/min, and an ecologically relevant slow ramp of -0.1 degrees C/min. Specifically, we asked whether large workers were more susceptible to differences in cooling rate than smaller workers. We found that body size had a considerable effect on supercooling point with the largest workers freezing at a temperature approximately 3 degrees C higher than the smallest workers. Cooling rate had a very small effect on supercooling point, and there was no interaction between the two factors. Therefore, the allometry of supercooling points across the range of worker body sizes does not change with cooling rate.

  20. The Eight Queens Problem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Olson, Alton T.

    1993-01-01

    Presents a series of solution methods to the Eight Queens Problem of placing eight queens on a chess board so that no one queen can capture another. Solution methods progress from empirical approaches to the use of computer algorithms. Geometric transformations are used to find other solutions. (MDH)

  1. Combining support vector regression and ant colony optimization to reduce NOx emissions in coal-fired utility boilers

    SciTech Connect

    Ligang Zheng; Hao Zhou; Chunlin Wang; Kefa Cen

    2008-03-15

    Combustion optimization has recently demonstrated its potential to reduce NOx emissions in high capacity coal-fired utility boilers. In the present study, support vector regression (SVR), as well as artificial neural networks (ANN), was proposed to model the relationship between NOx emissions and operating parameters of a 300 MW coal-fired utility boiler. The predicted NOx emissions from the SVR model, by comparing with that of the ANN-based model, showed better agreement with the values obtained in the experimental tests on this boiler operated at different loads and various other operating parameters. The mean modeling error and the correlation factor were 1.58% and 0.94, respectively. Then, the combination of the SVR model with ant colony optimization (ACO) to reduce NOx emissions was presented in detail. The experimental results showed that the proposed approach can effectively reduce NOx emissions from the coal-fired utility boiler by about 18.69% (65 ppm). A time period of less than 6 min was required for NOx emissions modeling, and 2 min was required for a run of optimization under a PC system. The computing times are suitable for the online application of the proposed method to actual power plants. 37 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs.

  2. Queen signals in a stingless bee: suppression of worker ovary activation and spatial distribution of active compounds

    PubMed Central

    Nunes, Túlio M.; Mateus, Sidnei; Favaris, Arodi P.; Amaral, Mônica F. Z. J.; von Zuben, Lucas G.; Clososki, Giuliano C.; Bento, José M. S.; Oldroyd, Benjamin P.; Silva, Ricardo; Zucchi, Ronaldo; Silva, Denise B.; Lopes, Norberto P.

    2014-01-01

    In most species of social insect the queen signals her presence to her workers via pheromones. Worker responses to queen pheromones include retinue formation around the queen, inhibition of queen cell production and suppression of worker ovary activation. Here we show that the queen signal of the Brazilian stingless bee Friesella schrottkyi is a mixture of cuticular hydrocarbons. Stingless bees are therefore similar to ants, wasps and bumble bees, but differ from honey bees in which the queen's signal mostly comprises volatile compounds originating from the mandibular glands. This shows that cuticular hydrocarbons have independently evolved as the queen's signal across multiple taxa, and that the honey bees are exceptional. We also report the distribution of four active queen-signal compounds by Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging. The results indicate a relationship between the behavior of workers towards the queen and the likely site of secretion of the queen's pheromones. PMID:25502598

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In social insects, antimicrobial secretions are often used collectively for the benefit of the whole colony, which is an important component in social immunity. Many ant species build nests in which air circulation can be controlled. Volatile antimicrobial agents would be ideal in implementing socia...

  4. Can communication disruption of red imported fire ants reduce foraging success

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive pest ants often coordinate resource retrieval and colony expansion through the use of recruitment pheromones for information sharing to optimise their foraging; we argue that the potential for disruption of trail pheromone communication deserves investigation as a new and benign ecologicall...

  5. Testing sodium limitation of fire ants in the field and laboratory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1) Sodium is an essential dietary element and preferential foraging for high concentrations of sodium by inland herbivorous and omnivorous ants suggests it may be limiting. If so, increased sodium availability through altered deposition and anthropogenic sources may lead to increased colony growth a...

  6. Distribution of the Formosa strain of the fire ant decapitating fly Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) three and a half years after releases in North Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Formosa biotype of the decapitating fly Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier was released and successfully established as a self-sustaining biocontrol agent of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren at several sites around Gainesville, FL in 2003. In order to determine the status of these...

  7. BEHAVIORAL INTERACTIONS OF THE BLACK IMPORTED FIRE ANT (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) AND ITS PARASITOID FLY (PSEUDACTEON CURVATUS BORGMEIER) AS REVEALED BY HIGH-SPEED VIDEO.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    High-speed video recordings were used to study the interactions between the phorid fly (Pseudacteon curvatus), and the black imported fire ant (Solenopsis richteri) in the field. Phorid flies are extremely fast agile fliers that can hover and fly in all directions. Wingbeat frequency recorded with...

  8. Seasonal variation and the co-occurence of four pathogens and a group of parasites among monogyne and polygyne fire ant colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A year-long survey of was conducted to determine the seasonality and co-occurrence of four pathogens and a group of parasites in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in north-central Florida. S. invicta colonies were sampled and examined for the presence of Pseudacteon spp. (P...

  9. Cytogenetic analysis of three species of Pseudacteon (Diptera, Phoridae) parasitoids of the fire ants using standard and molecular techniques

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Pseudacteon flies, parasitoids of worker ants, are being intensively studied as potentially effective agents in the biological control of the invasive pest fire ant genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). This is the first attempt to describe the karyotype of P. curvatus Borgmeier, P. nocens Borgmeier and P. tricuspis Borgmeier. The three species possess 2n = 6; chromosomes I and II were metacentric in the three species, but chromosome pair III was subtelocentric in P. curvatus and P. tricuspis, and telocentric in P. nocens. All three species possess a C positive band in chromosome II, lack C positive heterochromatin on chromosome I, and are mostly differentiated with respect to chromosome III. P. curvatus and P. tricuspis possess a C positive band, but at different locations, whereas this band is absent in P. nocens. Heterochromatic bands are neither AT nor GC rich as revealed by fluorescent banding. In situ hybridization with an 18S rDNA probe revealed a signal on chromosome II in a similar location to the C positive band in the three species. The apparent lack of morphologically distinct sex chromosomes is consistent with proposals of environmental sex determination in the genus. Small differences detected in chromosome length and morphology suggests that chromosomes have been highly conserved during the evolutionary radiation of Pseudacteon. Possible mechanisms of karyotype evolution in the three species are suggested. PMID:21637448

  10. Fire ant decapitating fly cooperative release programs (1994-2008): Two Pseudacteon species (P. tricuspis, P. curvatus) rapidly expand across imported fire and populations in the southeastern United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Natural enemies of the imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren, S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid; Hymenoptera: Formicidae) include a suite of more than 20 phorid decapitating flies from South America in the genus Pseudacteon. Over the past 12 years, many researchers and associates have coop...

  11. PBAN gene architecture and expression in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The PBAN/Pyrokinin peptides are a major neuropeptide family characterized by a common FXPRLamide at the C-termini. These peptides are distributed ubiquitously in the Insecta and are involved in many essential endocrine functions, e.g. pheromone production. We report the gene architecture of the fire...

  12. Contact toxicities of Anuran Skin Alkaloids against the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nearly 500 alkaloids, representing over 20 structural classes, have been identified from the skin of poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). These cutaneous compounds, which are derived from leaf-litter arthropods eaten by the frogs, generally are believed to deter predators. We tested the red imported fire a...

  13. Growth and patterning are evolutionarily dissociated in the vestigial wing discs of workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Bowsher, Julia H; Wray, Gregory A; Abouheif, Ehab

    2007-12-15

    Over the last decade, it has become clear that organismal form is largely determined by developmental and evolutionary changes in the growth and pattern formation of tissues. Yet, there is little known about how these two integrated processes respond to environmental cues or how they evolve relative to one another. Here, we present the discovery of vestigial wing imaginal discs in worker larvae of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. These vestigial wing discs are present in all worker larvae, which is uncommon for a species with a large worker size distribution. Furthermore, the growth trajectory of these vestigial discs is distinct from all of the ant species examined to date because they grow at a rate slower than the leg discs. We predicted that the growth trajectory of the vestigial wing discs would be mirrored by evolutionary changes in their patterning. We tested this prediction by examining the expression of three patterning genes, extradenticle, ultrabithorax, and engrailed, known to underlie the wing polyphenism in ants. Surprisingly, the expression patterns of these three genes in the vestigial wing discs was the same as those found in ant species with different worker size distributions and wing disc growth than fire ants. We conclude that growth and patterning are evolutionarily dissociated in the vestigial wing discs of S. invicta because patterning in these discs is conserved, whereas their growth trajectories are not. The evolutionary dissociation of growth and patterning may be an important feature of gene networks that underlie polyphenic traits.

  14. Esterase in Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Activity, Kinetics and Variation

    PubMed Central

    Chen, J.; Rashid, T.; Feng, G.

    2014-01-01

    Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri are two closely related invasive ants native to South America. Despite their similarity in biology and behavior, S. invicta is a more successful invasive species. Toxic tolerance has been found to be important to the success of some invasive species. Esterases play a crucial role in toxic tolerance of insects. Hence, we hypothesized that the more invasive S. invicta would have a higher esterase activity than S. richteri. Esterase activities were measured for workers and male and female alates of both ant species using α-naphthyl acetate and β-naphthyl acetate as substrates. Esterase activities in S. invicta were always significantly higher than those in S. richteri supporting our hypothesis. In S. invicta, male alates had the highest esterase activities followed by workers then female alates for both substrates. In S. richetri, for α-naphthyl acetate, male alates had the highest activity followed by female alates then workers, while for β-naphthyl acetate, female alates had the highest activity followed by male alates then workers. For workers, S. richteri showed significantly higher levels of variation about the mean esterase activity than S. invicta. However, S. invicta showed significantly higher levels of variation in both female and male alates. PMID:25408118

  15. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, Edward G; Plowes, Robert M; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2012-07-01

    1. Habitat disturbance and species invasions interact in natural systems, making it difficult to isolate the primary cause of ecosystem degradation. A general understanding requires case studies of how disturbance and invasion interact across a variety of ecosystem - invasive species combinations. 2. Dramatic losses in ant diversity followed the invasion of central Texas by red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). However, recent manipulative studies in Florida revealed no effect on ant diversity following the removal of S. invicta from a disturbed pasture habitat, but moderate loss of diversity associated with their introduction into undisturbed habitat and no invasion occurred without disturbance. Thus, the importance of S. invicta in driving diversity loss and its ability to invade undisturbed systems is unresolved. 3. We examine the distribution and abundance of a large monogyne S. invicta population and its association with the co-occurring ant assemblage at a site in south Texas close to the aridity tolerance limit of S. invicta. 4. We document that moisture modulates S. invicta densities. Further, soil disturbing habitat manipulations greatly increase S. invicta population densities. However, S. invicta penetrates all habitats regardless of soil disturbance history. In contrast, controlled burns depress S. invicta densities. 5. In habitats where S. invicta is prevalent, it completely replaces native fire ants. However, S. invicta impacts native ants as a whole less strongly. Intriguingly, native ants responded distinctly to S. invicta in different environments. In wet, undisturbed environments, high S. invicta abundance disrupts the spatial structure of the ant assemblage by increasing clumping and is associated with reduced species density, while in dry-disturbed habitats, sites with high S. invicta abundance possess high numbers of native species. Analyses of co-occurrence indicate that reduced species density in wet

  16. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    PubMed Central

    Hooper-Bui, L.M.; Kwok, E.S.C.; Buchholz, B.A.; Rust, M.K.; Eastmond, D.A.; Vogel, J.S.

    2015-01-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony. PMID:26504258

  17. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooper-Bui, L. M.; Kwok, E. S. C.; Buchholz, B. A.; Rust, M. K.; Eastmond, D. A.; Vogel, J. S.

    2015-10-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

  18. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    SciTech Connect

    Hooper-Bui, L. M.; Kwok, E S.C.; Buchholz, B. A.; Rust, M. K.; Eastmond, D. A.; Vogel, J. S.

    2015-07-03

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). Moreover, the distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. The bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

  19. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGES

    Hooper-Bui, L. M.; Kwok, E S.C.; Buchholz, B. A.; ...

    2015-07-03

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), butmore » dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). Moreover, the distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. The bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.« less

  20. Feasibility of Using Template-Based and Object Based Automated Detection Methods for Quantifying Black and Hybrid Iimported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren and S. invicta x richteri) Mound in Aerial Digital Imagery

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imported fire ants construct earthen nests (=mounds) that exhibit many characteristics which make them potentially good targets for remote sensing programs, including geographical orientation, topography, and bare soil surrounded by actively growing vegetation. Template based features and object-ba...

  1. Defensive chemicals of tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their toxicity to red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Rashid, Tahir; Feng, Guolei; Zhao, Liming; Oi, David; Drees, Bastiaan Bart M

    2013-12-15

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) has been reported as being able to displace Solenopsis invicta Buren, one of the most aggressive invasive ants in the world. Like S. invicta, N. fulva use chemical secretions in their defense/offense, which may contribute to their observed superior competition ability. In this study, the defensive chemicals of N. fulva workers and their toxicity against S. invicta workers were investigated. Like other formicine ants, N. fulva workers produce formic acid in their poison glands and 2-ketones and alkanes in Dufour glands. Of these, undecane and 2-tridecanone are two principal compounds in the Dufour gland. Topical LD50 values of 2-tridecanone and undecane against S. invicta workers ranged from 18.51 to 24.67 μg/ant and 40.39 to 84.82 μg/ant, respectively. Undecane and 2-tridecanone had significantly higher contact toxicity than formic acid, whereas formic acid had significantly higher fumigation toxicity than undecane and 2-tridecanone. The combination of 2-tridecanone as a contact toxin and formic acid as a fumigant significantly decreased KT50 values when compared to those of individual compounds. N. fulva does not seem unique in terms of the chemistry of its defensive secretion as compared to other formicine ants. However, this ant contained more than two orders of magnitude of formic acid (wt/wt) than other formicine ants and one order of magnitude of 2-tridecanone than the common crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille). The quantity, rather than quality, of the chemical secretion may contribute to the superior competition ability of N. fulva.

  2. Mirex incorporation in the environment: in situ decomposition of fire ant bait and its effects on two soil macroarthropods.

    PubMed

    de la Cruz, A A; Lue, K Y

    1978-01-01

    The decomposition rate of fire ant baits and the consequent leaching of the pesticide mirex from the bait were investigated for one year in three types of environments (i.e., on the ground, in the soil, and in the pond) by means of the nylon litter bag method. There was no significant difference in the decomposition rates between toxic and non-toxic baits. The bait proved to be stable and slow to decay. After one year of exposure in the field, about 75% of bait material remained in the bags that were deployed on the ground, 60% in the soil, and 25% in the pond. The removal of mirex from the bait was due to leaching from, and natural decay of the bait. The loss of mirex from the bait to the environment varied significantly among the three habitats. At the end of 12 months, mirex disappearance from baits exposed on the ground was 41.1%, in the soil 56.3%, and in the pond 83.9%. The rate of mirex loss was slower during fall and winter. The toxicities of the bait decomposed in situ for different lengths of time (12, 9, 6, 3, and 0 months) to the land isopod Armadillidium vulgare and the soil millipede oxidus gracilis were higher than the undecomposed baits. This indicated that weathered mirex baits left in the field have greater biological impact than freshly applied baits, at least on the two soil animals tested.

  3. Effects of periplocoside X on midgut cells and digestive enzymes activity of the soldiers of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Zeng, Xin-Nian

    2013-07-01

    The pathological effects of ingested periplocoside X, an insecticidal component isolated from the root of Periploca sepium Bunge, on the midgut epithelial cells of the soldiers of red imported fire ant were studied and the symptom was described. The results showed that periplocoside X could induce a severe, time-dependent cytotoxicity in the midgut epithelial cells. An optical microscopy showed that epithelial cells swelled firstly and then lysed. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that numerous swollen lysosomes were appeared, microvilli were disrupted and sloughed off, and the numbers of the rough endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondria decreased sharply in earlier stage. Numerous vacuoles were observed in the later stage. Finally, periplocoside X resulted in cell death by cytolysis. Assay of main three digestive enzymes activity indicated that amylase activity was significantly inhibited, but no significant changes were seen for lipase activity and total protease activity. So it is suggested that periplocoside X induced mainly to organic damage of midgut epithelium cells of insect. In all, insect midgut is one of targets for periplocoside X.

  4. Rodents balancing a variety of risks: invasive fire ants and indirect and direct indicators of predation risk.

    SciTech Connect

    Orrock, John, L.; Danielson, Brent, J.

    2004-06-08

    Oecologia (2004) 140: 662 - 667 We used foraging trays to compare how old field mice, Peromyscus polionotus, altered foraging in response to the presence of fire ants, Solenopsisinvicta, and in the presence of direct (predator urine) and indirect (sheltered or exposed micro habitat, moonlight, and precipitation) indicators of predation risk. Foraging reductions elicited by S. invicta were greater than reductions in response to well-documented indicators of risk (i.e., moonlit nights) and the presence of predator urine. The presence of S. invicta always led to reduced foraging, but the overall impact of S. invicta was dependent upon microhabitat and precipitation. When S. invicta was not present, foraging was greater in sheltered microhabitats compared to exposed microhabitats. S. invicta made sheltered microhabitats equivalent to more risky exposed microhabitats, and this effect was especially pronounced on nights without precipitation. The effect of S. invicta suggests that interactions with S. invicta may entail a potentially heavy cost or that presence of S. invicta may represent a more reliable indicator of imminent competition or predation compared to indirect cues of risk and predator urine. The presence of S. invicta led to reduced foraging under situations when foraging activity would otherwise be greatest (i.e., under vegetative cover), potentially reducing habitat quality for P. polionotus and the distribution of seeds consumed by rodents.

  5. Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Castellanos, Adrian A; Medeiros, Matthew C I; Hamer, Gabriel L; Morrow, Michael E; Eubanks, Micky D; Teel, Pete D; Hamer, Sarah A; Light, Jessica E

    2016-09-01

    Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced. Our analysis of ticks on small mammal hosts demonstrated a threefold increase in the ticks caught per unit effort on treatment relative to control plots, and elevated tick loads (a 27-fold increase) on one common rodent species. We detected only one known human pathogen (Rickettsia parkeri), present in 1.4% of larvae and 6.7% of nymph on-host Amblyomma maculatum samples but with no significant difference between treatment and control plots. Given that host and vector population dynamics are key drivers of pathogen transmission, the reduced small mammal and tick abundance associated with S. invicta may alter pathogen transmission dynamics over broader spatial scales.

  6. Distribution of endosymbiotic reproductive manipulators reflects invasion process and not reproductive system polymorphism in the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Rey, Olivier; Estoup, Arnaud; Facon, Benoit; Loiseau, Anne; Aebi, Alexandre; Duron, Olivier; Vavre, Fabrice; Foucaud, Julien

    2013-01-01

    Endosymbiotic reproductive manipulators may have drastic effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of their hosts. The prevalence of these endosymbionts reflects both their ability to manipulate their hosts and the history of the host populations. The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata displays a polymorphism in both its reproductive system (sexual versus clonal populations) and the invasive status of its populations (associated to a habitat shift). We first screened for the presence of a diverse array of reproductive parasites in sexual and clonal populations of W. auropunctata, as a means to investigate the role of endosymbionts in reproductive phenotypes. Wolbachia was the only symbiont found and we then focused on its worldwide distribution and diversity in natural populations of W. auropunctata. Using a multilocus scheme, we further characterized the Wolbachia strains present in these populations. We found that almost all the native sexual populations and only a few clonal populations are infected by Wolbachia. The presence of similar Wolbachia strains in both sexual and clonal populations indicates that they are probably not the cause of the reproductive system polymorphism. The observed pattern seems rather associated to the invasion process of W. auropunctata. In particular, the observed loss of Wolbachia in clonal populations, that recurrently emerged from sexual populations, likely resulted from natural heat treatment and/or relaxed selection during the shift in habitat associated to the invasion process.

  7. Decreased small mammal and on-host tick abundance in association with invasive red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)

    PubMed Central

    Medeiros, Matthew C. I.; Hamer, Gabriel L.; Morrow, Michael E.; Eubanks, Micky D.; Teel, Pete D.

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced. Our analysis of ticks on small mammal hosts demonstrated a threefold increase in the ticks caught per unit effort on treatment relative to control plots, and elevated tick loads (a 27-fold increase) on one common rodent species. We detected only one known human pathogen (Rickettsia parkeri), present in 1.4% of larvae and 6.7% of nymph on-host Amblyomma maculatum samples but with no significant difference between treatment and control plots. Given that host and vector population dynamics are key drivers of pathogen transmission, the reduced small mammal and tick abundance associated with S. invicta may alter pathogen transmission dynamics over broader spatial scales. PMID:27651533

  8. Microsporidian and viral pathogens for the biological control of imported fire ants: can we walk the talk?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    . Invasive ants are among the most serious of arthropod invaders. These ants infest a wide range of habitats and impact biodiversity, agriculture, and human health. Self-sustaining biological control is one of the few hopes for permanent regional suppression of these established invasive ants. Fo...

  9. Queen pheromones: The chemical crown governing insect social life.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke

    2010-11-01

    Group-living species produce signals that alter the behavior and even the physiology of their social partners. Social insects possess especially sophisticated chemical communication systems that govern every aspect of colony life, including the defining feature of eusociality: reproductive division of labor. Current evidence hints at the central importance of queen pheromones, but progress has been hindered by the fact that such pheromones have only been isolated in honeybees. In a pair of papers on the ant Lasius niger, we identified and investigated a queen pheromone regulating worker sterility. The cuticular hydrocarbon 3-methylhentriacontane (3-MeC(31)) is correlated with queen maturity and fecundity and workers are also more likely to execute surplus queens that have low amounts of this chemical. Experiments with synthetic 3-MeC(31) found that it inhibits ovarian development in queenless workers and lowers worker aggression towards objects coated with it. Production of 3-MeC(31) by queens was depressed by an experimental immune challenge, and the same chemical was abundant on queenlaid eggs, suggesting that the workers' responses to the queen are conditional on her health and fecundity. Together with other studies, these results indicate that queen pheromones are honest signals of quality that simultaneously regulate multiple social behaviors.

  10. Insecticidal activity of Piper essential oils from the Amazon against the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Souto, R N P; Harada, A Y; Andrade, E H A; Maia, J G S

    2012-12-01

    Pepper plants in the genus Piper (Piperales: Piperaceae) are common in the Brazilian Amazon and many produce compounds with biological activity against insect pests. We evaluated the insecticidal effect of essential oils from Piper aduncum, Piper marginatum (chemotypes A and B), Piper divaricatum and Piper callosum against workers of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), as well as their chemical composition by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The lowest median lethal concentration (LC50) in 48 h was obtained with the oil of P. aduncum (58.4 mg/L), followed by the oils of P. marginatum types A (122.4 mg/L) and B (167.0 mg/L), P. divaricatum (301.7 mg/L), and P. callosum (312.6 mg/L). The major chemical constituents were dillapiole (64.4%) in the oil of P. aduncum; p-mentha-1(7),8-diene (39.0%), 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone (19.0%), and (E)-β-ocimene (9.8%) in P. marginatum chemotype A and (E)-isoosmorhizole (32.2%), (E)-anethole (26.4%), isoosmorhizole (11.2%), and (Z)-anethole (6.0%) in P. marginatum chemotype B; methyleugenol (69.2%) and eugenol (16.2%) in P. divaricatum; and safrole (69.2%), methyleugenol (8.6%), and β-pinene (6.2%) in P. callosum. These chemical constituents have been previously known to possess insecticidal properties.

  11. The evolution of multiple mating in army ants.

    PubMed

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Johnson, Robert A; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2007-02-01

    The evolution of mating systems in eusocial Hymenoptera is constrained because females mate only during a brief period early in life, whereas inseminated queens and their stored sperm may live for decades. Considerable research effort during recent years has firmly established that obligate multiple mating has evolved only a few times: in Apis honeybees, Vespula wasps, Pogonomyrmex harvester ants, Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, the ant Cataglyphis cursor, and in at least some army ants. Here we provide estimates of queen-mating frequency for New World Neivamyrmex and Old World Aenictus species, which, compared to other army ants, have relatively small colonies and little size polymorphism among workers. To provide the first overall comparative analysis of the evolution of army ant mating systems, we combine these new results with previous estimates for African Dorylus and New World Eciton army ants, which have very large colonies and considerable worker polymorphism. We show that queens of Neivamyrmex and Aenictus mate with the same high numbers of males (usually ca. 10-20) as do queens of army ant species with very large colony sizes. We infer that multiple queen mating is ancestral in army ants and has evolved over 100 million years ago as part of the army ant adaptive syndrome. A comparison of army ants and honeybees suggests that mating systems in these two distantly related groups may have been convergently shaped by strikingly similar selective pressures.

  12. Reclaiming the crown: queen to worker conflict over reproduction in Aphaenogaster cockerelli

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Adrian A.; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen

    2011-03-01

    In many social taxa, reproductively dominant individuals sometimes use aggression to secure and maintain reproductive status. In the social insects, queen aggression towards subordinate individuals or workers has been documented and is predicted to occur only in species with a small colony size and a low level of queen-worker dimorphism. We report queen aggression towards reproductive workers in the ant species Aphaenogaster cockerelli, a species with a relatively large colony size and a high level of reproductive dimorphism. Through analysis of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, we show that queens are aggressive only to reproductively active workers. Non-reproductive workers treated with a hydrocarbon typical for reproductives are attacked by workers but not by queens, which suggests different ways of recognition. We provide possible explanations of why queen aggression is observed in this species.

  13. An Automatic System for Continuously Monitoring Digging Volume of Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Laboratory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In studying the dynamics of ant nest excavation, the nest volume has to be continuously monitored. One common method to estimate nest volume is to weigh the substrate excavated by the ants and then convert the weight into volume. In many laboratory studies, sand has been used as a digging substrat...

  14. Isolation and characterization of Solenopsis invicta virus 3, a new positive-strand RNA virus infecting the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    SciTech Connect

    Valles, Steven M.; Hashimoto, Yoshifumi

    2009-06-05

    We report the discovery of a new virus from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) represents the third virus discovered from this ant species using the metagenomics approach. The single (positive)-strand RNA, monopartite, bicistronic genome of SINV-3 was sequenced in entirety (GenBank accession number (FJ528584)), comprised of 10,386 nucleotides, and polyadenylated at the 3' terminus. This genome size was confirmed by Northern analysis. The genome revealed 2 large open reading frames (ORFs) in the sense orientation with an untranslated region (UTR) at each end and between the two ORFs. The 5' proximal ORF (ORF 1) encoded a predicted protein of 299.1 kDa (2580 amino acids). The 3' proximal ORF (ORF 2) encoded a predicted protein of 73.2 kDa (651 amino acids). RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), helicase, and protease domains were recognized in ORF 1. SDS-PAGE separation of purified SINV-3 particles yielded 2 bands (ostensibly capsid proteins) with a combined molecular mass of 77.3 kDa which was similar to the mass predicted by ORF 2 (73.2 kDa). Phylogenetic analysis of the conserved amino acid sequences containing domains I to VIII of the RdRp from dicistroviruses, iflaviruses, plant small RNA viruses, picornaviruses, and 4 unassigned positive-strand RNA viruses revealed a trichotomous phenogram with SINV-3 and Kelp fly virus comprising a unique cluster. Electron microscopic examination of negatively stained samples of SINV-3 revealed isometric particles with apparent projections and a diameter of 27.3 +- 1.3 nm. SINV-3 was successfully transmitted to uninfected workers by feeding. The minus (replicative) strand of SINV-3 was detected in worker ants indicating replication of the virus. The possibility of using SINV-3 as a microbial control agent for fire ants is discussed.

  15. Fire!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jones, Rebecca

    1996-01-01

    The number of school fires is up nationwide. This article describes unsafe school conditions, problems with new fire codes, and the factors that contribute to school fires. Installation of sprinkler systems is recommended. A fire-safety checklist is included. (LMI)

  16. Larval regulation of worker reproduction in the polydomous ant Novomessor cockerelli.

    PubMed

    Ebie, Jessica D; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen

    2015-12-01

    Although workers in many ant species are capable of producing their own offspring, they generally rear the queen's offspring instead. There are various mechanisms that regulate worker reproduction including inhibitory effects of ant brood. Colonies of the ant Novomessor cockerelli are monogynous and polydomous resulting in a large portion of nest workers being physically isolated from the queen for extended periods of time. Some workers experimentally isolated from the queen in laboratory nests lay viable eggs, which develop into males. We investigate the mechanism that regulates worker fertility in subnests separated from the queen by giving queenless worker groups queen-produced larvae, queen-produced eggs, or no brood. Our findings show that larvae delay the time to worker egg-laying, but eggs have no effect. Larval inhibition is a likely mechanism that contributes to the regulation of worker reproduction in N. cockerellli because larvae are easily transported to subnests that do not contain a queen.

  17. Larval regulation of worker reproduction in the polydomous ant Novomessor cockerelli

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ebie, Jessica D.; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen

    2015-12-01

    Although workers in many ant species are capable of producing their own offspring, they generally rear the queen's offspring instead. There are various mechanisms that regulate worker reproduction including inhibitory effects of ant brood. Colonies of the ant Novomessor cockerelli are monogynous and polydomous resulting in a large portion of nest workers being physically isolated from the queen for extended periods of time. Some workers experimentally isolated from the queen in laboratory nests lay viable eggs, which develop into males. We investigate the mechanism that regulates worker fertility in subnests separated from the queen by giving queenless worker groups queen-produced larvae, queen-produced eggs, or no brood. Our findings show that larvae delay the time to worker egg-laying, but eggs have no effect. Larval inhibition is a likely mechanism that contributes to the regulation of worker reproduction in N. cockerellli because larvae are easily transported to subnests that do not contain a queen.

  18. 'Snow Queen' Animation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This animation consists of two close-up images of 'Snow Queen,' taken several days apart, by the Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

    Snow Queen is the informal name for a patch of bright-toned material underneath the lander.

    Thruster exhaust blew away surface soil covering Snow Queen when Phoenix landed on May 25, 2008, exposing this hard layer comprising several smooth rounded cavities beneath the lander. The RAC images show how Snow Queen visibly changed between June 15, 2008, the 21st Martian day, or sol, of the mission and July 9, 2008, the 44th sol.

    Cracks as long as 10 centimeters (about four inches) appeared. One such crack is visible at the left third and the upper third of the Sol 44 image. A seven millimeter (one-third inch) pebble or clod appears just above and slightly to the right of the crack in the Sol 44 image. Cracks also appear in the lower part of the left third of the image. Other pieces noticeably shift, and some smooth texture has subtly roughened.

    The Phoenix team carefully positioned and focused RAC the same way in both images. Each image is about 60 centimeters, or about two feet, wide. The object protruding in from the top on the right half of the images is Phoenix's thermal and electrical conductivity probe.

    Snow Queen and other ice exposed by Phoenix landing and trenching operations on northern polar Mars is the first time scientists have been able to monitor Martian ice at a place where temperatures are cold enough that the ice doesn't immediately sublimate, or vaporize, away.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  19. Tissue, developmental, and caste-specific expression of odorant binding proteins in a eusocial insect, the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wei; Wanchoo, Arun; Ortiz-Urquiza, Almudena; Xia, Yuxian; Keyhani, Nemat O

    2016-10-21

    Insects interact with the surrounding environment via chemoreception, and in social insects such as ants, chemoreception functions to mediate diverse behaviors including food acquisition, self/non-self recognition, and intraspecific communication. The invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has spread worldwide, displaying a remarkable environmental adaptability. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are chemical compound carriers, involved in diverse physiological processes including odor detection and chemical transport. S. invicta contains a highly divergent 17-member OBP gene family, that includes an ant-specific expansion and the social organization implicated Gp-9 (OBP3) gene. A systematic gene expression analysis of the SiOBP repertoire was performed across social caste (workers, male and female alates), tissues (antennae, head, thorax, and abdomen), and developmental stages (egg, larvae, and pupae), revealing that although SiOBPs were expressed in the antennae, the major regions of expression were in the head and thorax across all castes, and the abdomen in male and female alates. SiOBPs were very highly expressed in female alates and at somewhat lower levels in male alates and workers. SiOBPs were differentially expressed, with unique signatures in various castes and tissues, suggesting functionality of SiOBPs beyond olfaction Expression patterns of SiOBP subgroups also showed relationships with their evolutionary relatedness.

  20. Tissue, developmental, and caste-specific expression of odorant binding proteins in a eusocial insect, the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Wei; Wanchoo, Arun; Ortiz-Urquiza, Almudena; Xia, Yuxian; Keyhani, Nemat O.

    2016-01-01

    Insects interact with the surrounding environment via chemoreception, and in social insects such as ants, chemoreception functions to mediate diverse behaviors including food acquisition, self/non-self recognition, and intraspecific communication. The invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has spread worldwide, displaying a remarkable environmental adaptability. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are chemical compound carriers, involved in diverse physiological processes including odor detection and chemical transport. S. invicta contains a highly divergent 17-member OBP gene family, that includes an ant-specific expansion and the social organization implicated Gp-9 (OBP3) gene. A systematic gene expression analysis of the SiOBP repertoire was performed across social caste (workers, male and female alates), tissues (antennae, head, thorax, and abdomen), and developmental stages (egg, larvae, and pupae), revealing that although SiOBPs were expressed in the antennae, the major regions of expression were in the head and thorax across all castes, and the abdomen in male and female alates. SiOBPs were very highly expressed in female alates and at somewhat lower levels in male alates and workers. SiOBPs were differentially expressed, with unique signatures in various castes and tissues, suggesting functionality of SiOBPs beyond olfaction Expression patterns of SiOBP subgroups also showed relationships with their evolutionary relatedness. PMID:27765943

  1. FIRE

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2017-03-16

    Projects:  FIRE Definition/Description:  The F irst I SCCP R egional E xperiments (FIRE) have been designed to improve data products and cloud/radiation ... circulation models (GCMs). Specifically, the goals of FIRE are (1) to improve basic understanding of the interaction of physical ...

  2. Effect of gland extracts on digging and residing preferences of red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    There was evidence that ant-derived chemical stimuli were involved in regulating the digging behavior in Solenopsis invicta Buren. Unfortunately however, the source gland(s) and chemistry of such stimuli have never been revealed. In this study, extracts of mandibular, Dufour, postpharyngeal and po...

  3. Loss of microbial (pathogen) infections associated with recent invasions of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Loss of natural enemies during colonization is a prominent hypothesis explaining enhanced performance of invasive species in introduced areas. Numerous studies have tested this enemy release hypothesis in a wide range of taxa but few studies have focused on invasive ants. We conducted extensive surv...

  4. Bumblebee size polymorphism and worker response to queen pheromone.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke

    2014-01-01

    Queen pheromones are chemical signals produced by reproductive individuals in social insect colonies. In many species they are key to the maintenance of reproductive division of labor, with workers beginning to reproduce individually once the queen pheromone disappears. Recently, a queen pheromone that negatively affects worker fecundity was discovered in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris, presenting an exciting opportunity for comparisons with analogous queen pheromones in independently-evolved eusocial lineages such as honey bees, ants, wasps and termites. I set out to replicate this discovery and verify its reproducibility. Using blind, controlled experiments, I found that n-pentacosane (C25) does indeed negatively affect worker ovary development. Moreover, the pheromone affects both large and small workers, and applies to workers from large, mature colonies as well as young colonies. Given that C25 is readily available and that bumblebees are popular study organisms, I hope that this replication will encourage other researchers to tackle the many research questions enabled by the discovery of a queen pheromone.

  5. 12. New York Connecting RR: Hell Gate Bridge. Queens, Queens ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    12. New York Connecting RR: Hell Gate Bridge. Queens, Queens Co., NY. Sec. 4207, MP 7.29. (See HAER No. NY-88 for further documentation on this site). - Northeast Railroad Corridor, Amtrak Route between New Jersey/New York & New York/Connecticut State Lines, New York County, NY

  6. Effects of piperidine and piperideine alkaloids from the venom of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, on Pythium ultimum Trow growth in vitro and the application of piperideine alkaloids to control cucumber..

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pythium ultimum Trow is a plant pathogen that causes significant yield losses on many economically important crops. Chemical seed treatment has been used for disease control. In searching for alternatives, the venom alkaloids from red imported fire ant were tested against P. ultimum in vitro and to ...

  7. Prevalence and impact of the microsporidium Thelohania solenopsae (Microsporidia) on wild populations of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, in Louisiana.

    PubMed

    Milks, Maynard L; Fuxa, James R; Richter, Arthur R

    2008-02-01

    We surveyed 165 sites to determine the ecological factors that might influence the distribution and prevalence of Thelohania solenopsae, and its effect on the demography of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Louisiana. The microsporidium was found in 9.9% of colonies and at 16% of sites. Its distribution was clumped within the state with the majority of infected colonies and sites occurring in two infection patches. The proportion of polygyne colonies was a strong (positive) predictor of the proportion of infected colonies at a site. Infected monogyne colonies, however, still accounted for nearly 20% of infected colonies, a much higher proportion than anticipated. Several other factors, including the numbers of colonies at a site, precipitation, proximity to commercial waterways and ports, and type of habitat were also retained in the multiple logistic regression model describing T. solenopsae prevalence. The microsporidium appears to adversely affect the occurrence of brood, and possibly the size of S. invicta colonies and the mass of workers. It, however, was not included in the multiple regression model of the number of colonies or the density of ants at a site. Although our findings do not imply causation, they have identified several variables that might influence the epizootiology of T. solenopsae. Future work should concentrate on experimentally manipulating these variables to confirm these relationships.

  8. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villalta, Irene; Amor, Fernando; Cerdá, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël

    2016-04-01

    Ants provide one of the best examples of the division of labor in animal societies. While the queens reproduce, workers generally refrain from laying eggs and dedicate themselves exclusively to domestic tasks. In many species, the small diploid larvae are bipotent and can develop either into workers or queens depending mostly on environmental cues. This generates a conflicting situation between the adults that tend to rear a majority of larvae into workers and the larvae whose individual interest may be to develop into reproductive queens. We tested the social regulation of larval caste fate in the fission-performing ant Aphaenogaster senilis. We first observed interactions between resident workers and queen- and worker-destined larvae in presence/absence of the queen. The results show that workers tend to specifically eliminate queen-destined larvae when the queen is present but not when she is absent or imprisoned in a small cage allowing for volatile pheromone exchanges. In addition, we found that the presence of already developed queen-destined larvae does not inhibit the development of younger still bipotent larvae into queens. Finally, we analyzed the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of queen- and worker-destined larvae and found no significant quantitative or qualitative difference. Interestingly, the total amount of hydrocarbons on both larval castes is extremely low, which lends credence on the chemical insignificance hypothesis of larval ants. Overall, our results suggest that workers control larval development and police larvae that would develop into queens instead of workers. Such policing behavior is similar in many aspects to what is known of worker policing among adults.

  9. New species and records of Pseudacteon Coquillett, 1907 (Diptera, Phoridae), parasitoids of the fire ant Solenopsis geminata group (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Pereira, Thalles Platiny Lavinscky; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Bravo, Freddy

    2015-09-29

    The genus Pseudacteon Coquillett (Diptera, Phoridae) has a worldwide distribution and comprises parasitic myrmecophilous species that decapitate host ants. Seventy one species are known in the genus, 41 of them occur in the Neotropical Region and are 25 from Brazil. In northeastern Brazil, there are only records for two species, Pseudacteon dentiger Borgmeier and Pseudacteon antiguensis Malloch. In this paper, two new species of the genus are described from female specimens, Pseudacteon pesqueroi new spec. and Pseudacteon plowesi new spec., and also, new records of three Pseudacteon species for the Brazilian Northeast are given.

  10. Thelytokous parthenogenesis and its consequences on inbreeding in an ant.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, M; Hardy, O; Aron, S

    2006-05-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis, that is, the production of diploid daughters from unfertilized eggs, may involve various cytological mechanisms, each having a different impact on the genetic structure of populations. Here, we determined the cytological mechanism of thelytokous parthenogenesis and its impact on inbreeding in the ant Cataglyphis cursor, a species where queens use both sexual and asexual reproduction to produce, respectively, workers and new queens. It has been suggested that thelytokous parthenogenesis in C. cursor might have been selected for to face high queen mortality and, originally, to allow workers to replace the queen when she passes away. We first determined the mode of thelytokous parthenogenesis by comparing the rate of transition to homozygosity at four highly polymorphic loci to expectations under the different modes of parthenogenesis. Our data show that thelytoky is achieved through automictic parthenogenesis with central fusion. We then estimated the proportion of colonies headed by worker-produced queens in a natural population. We designed a model linking the observed homozygosity in queens to the proportion of queens produced by workers, based on the assumption that (i) parthenogenesis is automictic with central fusion and (ii) queen lineage is asexually produced, resulting in an increase of the inbreeding over generations, whereas workers are sexually produced and therefore not inbred. Our results indicate that more than 60% of the colonies should be headed by a worker-produced queen, suggesting that queen's lifespan is low in this species.

  11. Gigantism in honeybees: Apis cerana queens reared in mixed-species colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tan, Ken; Hepburn, H. R.; He, Shaoyu; Radloff, S. E.; Neumann, P.; Fang, Xiang

    2006-07-01

    The development of animals depends on both genetic and environmental effects to a varying extent. Their relative influences can be evaluated in the social insects by raising the intracolonial diversity to an extreme in nests consisting of workers from more than one species. In this study, we studied the effects of mixed honeybee colonies of Apis mellifera and Apis cerana on the rearing of grafted queen larvae of A. cerana. A. mellifera sealed worker brood was introduced into A. cerana colonies and on emergence, the adults were accepted. Then, A. cerana larvae were grafted for queen rearing into two of these mixed-species colonies. Similarly, A. cerana larvae and A. mellifera larvae were also grafted conspecifically as controls. The success rate of A. cerana queen rearing in the test colonies was 64.5%, surpassing all previous attempts at interspecific queen rearing. After emergence, all virgin queens obtained from the three groups ( N=90) were measured morphometrically. The A. cerana queens from the mixed-species colonies differed significantly in size and pigmentation from the A. cerana control queens and closely approximated the A. mellifera queens. It is inferred that these changes in the A. cerana queens reared in the mixed-species colonies can be attributed to feeding by heterospecific nurse bees and/or chemical differences in royal jelly. Our data show a strong impact of environment on the development of queens. The results further suggest that in honeybees the cues for brood recognition can be learned by heterospecific workers after eclosion, thereby providing a novel analogy to slave making in ants.

  12. Ant allergens and hypersensitivity reactions in response to ant stings.

    PubMed

    Potiwat, Rutcharin; Sitcharungsi, Raweerat

    2015-12-01

    Hypersensitivity reactions caused by ant stings are increasingly recognized as an important cause of death by anaphylaxis. Only some species of ants ( e.g. Solenopsis spp., Myrmecia spp., and Pachycondyla spp.) cause allergic reactions. Ant species are identified by evaluating the morphologic structures of worker ants or by molecular techniques. Ant venom contains substances, including acids and alkaloids, that cause toxic reactions, and those from Solenopsis invicta or the imported fire ant have been widely studied. Piperidine alkaloids and low protein contents can cause local reactions (sterile pustules) and systemic reactions (anaphylaxis). Imported fire ant venoms are cross-reactive; for example, the Sol i 1 allergen from S. invicta has cross-reactivity with yellow jacket phospholipase. The Sol i 3 allergen is a member of the antigen 5 family that has amino acid sequence identity with vespid antigen 5. The clinical presentations of ant hypersensitivity are categorized into immediate and delayed reactions: immediate reactions, such as small local reactions, large local reactions, and systemic reactions, occur within 1-4 hours after the ant stings, whereas delayed reactions, such as serum sickness and vasculitis, usually occur more than 4 hours after the stings. Tools for the diagnosis of ant hypersensitivity are skin testing, serum specific IgE, and sting challenge tests. Management of ant hypersensitivity can be divided into immediate (epinephrine, corticosteroids), symptomatic (antihistamines, bronchodilators), supportive (fluid resuscitation, oxygen therapy), and preventive (re-sting avoidance and immunotherapy) treatments.

  13. Honey Ants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Conway, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)

  14. The effect of diet and opponent size on aggressive interactions involving caribbean crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva).

    PubMed

    Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants.

  15. The Effect of Diet and Opponent Size on Aggressive Interactions Involving Caribbean Crazy Ants (Nylanderia fulva)

    PubMed Central

    Horn, Katherine C.; Eubanks, Micky D.; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants. PMID:23776702

  16. Insecticidal, fumigant, and repellent activities of sweet wormwood oil and its individual components against red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ning; Tang, Liang; Hu, Wei; Wang, Kun; Zhou, You; Li, Hong; Huang, Congling; Chun, Jiong; Zhang, Zhixiang

    2014-01-01

    In total, 29 compounds from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) oil were identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The five active components were D-camphor, linalool, cineole, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol. The effectiveness of A. annua oil, as well as d-camphor, linalool, cineole, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol, as fumigants, contact insecticides, and repellents, were tested on the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren. The results indicated that A. annua oil has no significant topical toxicity; however, the spray contact test revealed that it has strong insecticidal activity and the inhibitory effect is stronger during closed exposure than during open exposure. In the fumigant test, cineole and D-camphor exhibited strong fumigant toxicity on minor and major S. invicta workers. They also caused 100% mortality at 5, 3, 2, and 1 mg/centrifuge tube but not at 0.5 mg/centrifuge tube. The mortality rates of linalool, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol exceeded 80% at 5, 3, and 2 mg/centrifuge tube. In the repellent test, cineole and d-camphor showed significant repellency at 100, 10, and 1 mg/kg. However, linalool, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol significantly facilitated digging at 10 and 1 mg/kg.

  17. Queen reproductive state modulates pheromone production and queen-worker interactions in honeybees

    PubMed Central

    Kocher, Sarah D.; Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Tarpy, David R.

    2009-01-01

    The mandibular glands of queen honeybees produce a pheromone that modulates many aspects of worker honeybee physiology and behavior and is critical for colony social organization. The exact chemical blend produced by the queen differs between virgin and mated, laying queens. Here, we investigate the role of mating and reproductive state on queen pheromone production and worker responses. Virgin queens, naturally mated queens, and queens instrumentally inseminated with either semen or saline were collected 2 days after mating or insemination. Naturally mated queens had the most activated ovaries and the most distinct chemical profile in their mandibular glands. Instrumentally inseminated queens were intermediate between virgins and naturally mated queens for both ovary activation and chemical profiles. There were no significant differences between semen- and saline-inseminated queens. Workers were preferentially attracted to the mandibular gland extracts from queens with significantly more activated ovaries. These studies suggest that the queen pheromone blend is modulated by the reproductive status of the queens, and workers can detect these subtle differences and are more responsive to queens with higher reproductive potential. Furthermore, it appears as if insemination substance does not strongly affect physiological characteristics of honeybee queens 2 days after insemination, suggesting that the insemination process or volume is responsible for stimulating these early postmating changes in honeybee queens. PMID:22476212

  18. Reproductive system, social organization, human disturbance and ecological dominance in native populations of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata.

    PubMed

    Foucaud, Julien; Orivel, Jérôme; Fournier, Denis; Delabie, Jacques H C; Loiseau, Anne; Le Breton, Julien; Cerdan, Philippe; Estoup, Arnaud

    2009-12-01

    The invasive ant species Wasmannia auropunctata displays both ecologically dominant and non-dominant populations within its native range. Three factors could theoretically explain the ecological dominance of some native populations of W. auropunctata: (i) its clonal reproductive system, through demographic and/or adaptive advantages; (ii) its unicolonial social organization, through lower intraspecific and efficient interspecific competition; (iii) the human disturbance of its native range, through the modification of biotic and abiotic environmental conditions. We used microsatellite markers and behavioural tests to uncover the reproductive modes and social organization of dominant and non-dominant native populations in natural and human-modified habitats. Microsatellite and mtDNA data indicated that dominant and non-dominant native populations (supercolonies as determined by aggression tests) of W. auropunctata did not belong to different evolutionary units. We found that the reproductive system and the social organization are neither necessary nor sufficient to explain W. auropunctata ecological dominance. Dominance rather seems to be set off by unknown ecological factors altered by human activities, as all dominant populations were recorded in human-modified habitats. The clonal reproductive system found in some populations of W. auropunctata may however indirectly contribute to its ecological dominance by allowing the species to expand its environmental niche, through the fixation over time of specific combinations of divergent male and female genotypes. Unicoloniality may rather promote the range expansion of already dominant populations than actually trigger ecological dominance. The W. auropunctata model illustrates the strong impact of human disturbance on species' ecological features and the adaptive potential of clonal reproductive systems.

  19. Monoculture of Leafcutter Ant Gardens

    PubMed Central

    Mueller, Ulrich G.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Ishak, Heather D.; Cooper, Michael; Rodrigues, Andre

    2010-01-01

    Background Leafcutter ants depend on the cultivation of symbiotic Attamyces fungi for food, which are thought to be grown by the ants in single-strain, clonal monoculture throughout the hundreds to thousands of gardens within a leafcutter nest. Monoculture eliminates cultivar-cultivar competition that would select for competitive fungal traits that are detrimental to the ants, whereas polyculture of several fungi could increase nutritional diversity and disease resistance of genetically variable gardens. Methodology/Principal Findings Using three experimental approaches, we assessed cultivar diversity within nests of Atta leafcutter ants, which are most likely among all fungus-growing ants to cultivate distinct cultivar genotypes per nest because of the nests' enormous sizes (up to 5000 gardens) and extended lifespans (10–20 years). In Atta texana and in A. cephalotes, we resampled nests over a 5-year period to test for persistence of resident cultivar genotypes within each nest, and we tested for genetic differences between fungi from different nest sectors accessed through excavation. In A. texana, we also determined the number of Attamyces cells carried as a starter inoculum by a dispersing queens (minimally several thousand Attamyces cells), and we tested for genetic differences between Attamyces carried by sister queens dispersing from the same nest. Except for mutational variation arising during clonal Attamyces propagation, DNA fingerprinting revealed no evidence for fungal polyculture and no genotype turnover during the 5-year surveys. Conclusions/Significance Atta leafcutter ants can achieve stable, fungal monoculture over many years. Mutational variation emerging within an Attamyces monoculture could provide genetic diversity for symbiont choice (gardening biases of the ants favoring specific mutational variants), an analog of artificial selection. PMID:20844760

  20. Reflections on the "N" + "k" Queens Problem

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chatham, Doug

    2009-01-01

    The "N" queens problem is a classic puzzle. It asks for an arrangement of "N" mutually non-attacking queens on an "N" x "N" chessboard. We discuss a recent variation called the "N" + "k" queens problem, where pawns are added to the chessboard to allow a greater number of non-attacking queens to be placed on it. We describe some of what is known…

  1. 'Queen of Hearts' Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A late-blooming oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) cultivar was released by the U.S. National Arboretum. ‘Queen of Hearts’ has grown 6.5 feet high and 11 feet wide in 11 years. In early summer, it is covered with 11-inch-long inflorescences that are held upright above the foliage. Flowers ...

  2. Glandular Epithelium as a Possible Source of a Fertility Signal in Ectatomma tuberculatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Queens

    PubMed Central

    da Hora, Riviane Rodigues; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; dos Santos, Carolina Gonçalves; Serrão, José Eduardo

    2010-01-01

    The wax layer covering the insect's cuticle plays an important protective role, as for example, uncontrolled water loss. In social insects, wax production is well-known in some bees that use it for nest building. Curiously, mated-fertile queens of the ant Ectatomma tuberculatum produce an uncommon extra-wax coat and, consequently queens (mated-fertile females) are matte due to such extra cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) coat that covers the cuticle and masks the brightness of the queens' cuticle while gynes (virgin-infertile queens) are shiny. In this study, histological analysis showed differences in the epidermis between fertile (i.e., queens or gynes with highly ovarian activity) and infertile females (gynes or workers with non developed ovaries). In fertile females the epidermis is a single layer of cubic cells found in all body segments whereas in infertile females it is a thin layer of flattened cells. Ultrastructural features showed active secretory tissue from fertile females similar to the glandular epithelium of wax-producing bees (type I gland). Different hypotheses related to the functions of the glandular epithelium exclusive to the E. tuberculatum fertile queens are discussed. PMID:20419093

  3. Glandular epithelium as a possible source of a fertility signal in Ectatomma tuberculatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) queens.

    PubMed

    da Hora, Riviane Rodigues; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; dos Santos, Carolina Gonçalves; Serrão, José Eduardo

    2010-04-19

    The wax layer covering the insect's cuticle plays an important protective role, as for example, uncontrolled water loss. In social insects, wax production is well-known in some bees that use it for nest building. Curiously, mated-fertile queens of the ant Ectatomma tuberculatum produce an uncommon extra-wax coat and, consequently queens (mated-fertile females) are matte due to such extra cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) coat that covers the cuticle and masks the brightness of the queens' cuticle while gynes (virgin-infertile queens) are shiny. In this study, histological analysis showed differences in the epidermis between fertile (i.e., queens or gynes with highly ovarian activity) and infertile females (gynes or workers with non developed ovaries). In fertile females the epidermis is a single layer of cubic cells found in all body segments whereas in infertile females it is a thin layer of flattened cells. Ultrastructural features showed active secretory tissue from fertile females similar to the glandular epithelium of wax-producing bees (type I gland). Different hypotheses related to the functions of the glandular epithelium exclusive to the E. tuberculatum fertile queens are discussed.

  4. Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens.

    PubMed

    Williams, Geoffrey R; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Roth, Kaspar; Yañez, Orlando; Shutler, Dave; Neumann, Peter; Gauthier, Laurent

    2015-10-13

    Queen health is crucial to colony survival of social bees. Recently, queen failure has been proposed to be a major driver of managed honey bee colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides during development can severely affect queens of western honey bees (Apis mellifera). In pesticide-exposed queens, reproductive anatomy (ovaries) and physiology (spermathecal-stored sperm quality and quantity), rather than flight behaviour, were compromised and likely corresponded to reduced queen success (alive and producing worker offspring). This study highlights the detriments of neonicotinoids to queens of environmentally and economically important social bees, and further strengthens the need for stringent risk assessments to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vulnerable to these substances.

  5. Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Geoffrey R.; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Roth, Kaspar; Yañez, Orlando; Shutler, Dave; Neumann, Peter; Gauthier, Laurent

    2015-01-01

    Queen health is crucial to colony survival of social bees. Recently, queen failure has been proposed to be a major driver of managed honey bee colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides during development can severely affect queens of western honey bees (Apis mellifera). In pesticide-exposed queens, reproductive anatomy (ovaries) and physiology (spermathecal-stored sperm quality and quantity), rather than flight behaviour, were compromised and likely corresponded to reduced queen success (alive and producing worker offspring). This study highlights the detriments of neonicotinoids to queens of environmentally and economically important social bees, and further strengthens the need for stringent risk assessments to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vulnerable to these substances. PMID:26459072

  6. A cuckoo-like parasitic moth leads African weaver ant colonies to their ruin.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme; Azémar, Frédéric; Hérault, Bruno; Corbara, Bruno

    2016-03-29

    In myrmecophilous Lepidoptera, mostly lycaenids and riodinids, caterpillars trick ants into transporting them to the ant nest where they feed on the brood or, in the more derived "cuckoo strategy", trigger regurgitations (trophallaxis) from the ants and obtain trophic eggs. We show for the first time that the caterpillars of a moth (Eublemma albifascia; Noctuidae; Acontiinae) also use this strategy to obtain regurgitations and trophic eggs from ants (Oecophylla longinoda). Females short-circuit the adoption process by laying eggs directly on the ant nests, and workers carry just-hatched caterpillars inside. Parasitized colonies sheltered 44 to 359 caterpillars, each receiving more trophallaxis and trophic eggs than control queens. The thus-starved queens lose weight, stop laying eggs (which transport the pheromones that induce infertility in the workers) and die. Consequently, the workers lay male-destined eggs before and after the queen's death, allowing the colony to invest its remaining resources in male production before it vanishes.

  7. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in the West Indies: distribution of natural enemies and a possible test bed for release of self-sustaining biocontrol agents

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sample collections of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were taken from 20 islands of the West Indies and evaluated for the presence of key pathogens and parasites of this invasive pest ant. We hypothesized that bottleneck events during the introduction of this ant species in the West In...

  8. Dispersal behavior of yellowjacket (Vespula germanica) queens.

    PubMed

    Masciocchi, Maité; Martinez, Andrés S; Pereira, Ana J; Villacide, José M; Corley, Juan C

    2016-06-30

    Understanding the factors that affect animal dispersal behavior is important from both fundamental and applied perspectives. Dispersal can have clear evolutionary and ecological consequences, but for nonnative insect pests, dispersal capacity can also help to explain invasion success. Vespula germanica is a social wasp that, in the last century, has successfully invaded several regions of the world, showing one of the highest spread rates reported for a nonnative insect. In contrast with nonsocial wasps, in social species, queens are responsible for population redistribution and spread, as workers are sterile. For V. germanica, it has been observed that queen flight is limited to 2 distinct periods: early autumn, when new queens leave the nest to mate and find sheltered places in which to hibernate, and spring when new colonies are founded. Our aim was to study the flight behavior of V. germanica queens by focusing on the different periods in which dispersal occurs, characterizing as well the potential contribution of queen flight (i.e., distance) to the observed geographical spread. Our results suggest that the distances flown by nonoverwintered queens is greater than that flown by overwintered individuals, suggesting that the main queen dispersal events would occur before queens enter hibernation. This could relate to a behavioral trait of the queens to avoid the inbreeding with related drones. Additionally, given the short distances flown and remarkable geographical spread observed, we provide evidence showing that queen dispersal by flight is likely to contribute proportionately less to population spread than human-aided factors.

  9. Behavioural development, fat reserves and their association with productivity in Lasius flavus founding queens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norman, V. C.; Pamminger, T.; Hughes, W. O. H.

    2016-04-01

    Reproduction-related behaviours are key components determining individual fitness. Many behavioural traits are linked, and such trait associations often affect fitness. Here, we combine behavioural and physiological data during two critical time points of founding queens (early and late nest-founding stage) in the claustral ant Lasius flavus to assess how these factors affect their initial productivity. We show that most behavioural traits, except brood care behaviour, are plastic during queen development and demonstrate that there are alternative behavioural pathways to achieve high productivity under standardised conditions. These results indicate that queens can utilise multiple behavioural trait combinations to maximise reproductive output at the earliest, and arguably most critical, time of colony foundation.

  10. Pseudacteon calderensis, a new fly species (Diptera:Phoridae) attacking the fire ant Solenopsis interrupta (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) in northwestern Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A new species of Pseudacteon phorid fly Pseudacteon calderis (Diptera: Phoridae) is described from females attacking worker ants of Solenopsis interrupta Santschi in Salta and Jujuy provinces, northwestern Argentina. Pseudacteon calderis differs from almost all other South American Pseudacteon speci...

  11. Thelytokous Parthenogenesis in the Ant Myrmecina nipponica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Masuko, Keiichi

    2014-09-01

    Myrmecina nipponica Wheeler is a terrestrial ant nesting chiefly in the soil in forest. It is a specialized predator of oribatid mites, but also scavenges on a broad spectrum of other arthropods. In the studied population at Cape Manazuru in central Japan, M. nipponica colonies are typically monogynous, and previous dissections of queens suggested that these individuals were not inseminated, thus suggesting these ants can reproduce via thelytokous parthenogenesis. To test for thelytokous parthenogenesis in M. nipponica the spermathecae of queens (dealate gynes) from worker-containing colonies were histologically examined in detail. All specimens examined (n=5) had no spermatozoa in the spermatheca. In addition, a total of four colony-founding queens were reared in isolation in the laboratory to test whether non-inseminated females were capable of egg laying and to test whether female offspring emerged from this brood. In all of four culture replicates, only new workers were produced from the eggs those queens had laid and male offspring was absent. After the breeding experiment, the queens' spermathecae were histologically examined and no sperm were detected in their spermathecae. These results reveal that M. nipponica queens of the Manazuru population are capable of producing female offspring thelytokously. Sexual reproduction by typical gynes and also by intermorphs has been known from other local populations of M. nipponica; therefore, this species shows geographical polymorphism in sexuality.

  12. Hybridogenesis through thelytokous parthenogenesis in two Cataglyphis desert ants.

    PubMed

    Eyer, P A; Leniaud, L; Darras, H; Aron, S

    2013-02-01

    Hybridogenesis is a sexual reproductive system, whereby parents from different genetic origin hybridize. Both the maternal and paternal genomes are expressed in somatic tissues, but the paternal genome is systematically excluded from the germ line, which is therefore purely maternal. Recently, a unique case of hybridogenesis at a social level was reported in the desert ant Cataglyphis hispanica. All workers are sexually produced hybridogens, whereas sexual forms (new queens and males) are produced by queens through parthenogenesis. Thus, only maternal genes are perpetuated across generations. Here, we show that such an unusual reproductive strategy also evolved in two other species of Cataglyphis belonging to the same phylogenetic group, Cataglyphis velox and Cataglyphis mauritanica. In both species, queens mate exclusively with males originating from a different genetic lineage than their own to produce hybrid workers, while they use parthenogenesis to produce the male and female reproductive castes. In contrast to single-queen colonies of C. hispanica, colonies of C. velox and C. mauritanica are headed by several queens. Most queens within colonies share the same multilocus genotype and never transmit their mates' alleles to the reproductive castes. Social hybridogenesis in the desert ants has direct consequences on the genetic variability of populations and on caste determination. We also discuss the maintenance of this reproductive strategy within the genus Cataglyphis.

  13. Ant Tower

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Shinotsuka, Sho; Hu, David

    2010-11-01

    Ants walk via adhesive drops of fluid extruded by their feet. They also use these drops as mortar to build structures such as rafts, bridges and towers, each composed of thousands of ants linked together. We investigate experimentally the construction of triangular ant towers braced by hydrophobic walls. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between tower height and contact angle hysteresis of the wall. We rationalize tower height according to ant adhesion, and tower shape according to the constraints on a column of constant strength.

  14. Electric ants: A cross-disciplinary approach to understanding insect behavior

    SciTech Connect

    Slowik, T.J.; Thorvilson, H.G.; Green, B.L.

    1996-12-31

    The response and attraction of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, to electrical equipment was examined using an interdisciplinary approach. Entomologists specializing in fire ant behavior combined expertise with electrical engineers to investigate the economically damaging interaction of fire ants with electrical circuitry. Knowledge from the realms of physics, engineering, and biology were integrated in experimentation to test for a fire ant response to electric fields and magnetic fields associated with electrical equipment. It was determined that fire ants react to electrified conductive material and the alternating-current magnetic fields associated with electricity.

  15. Taxonomy and distribution of the ant Cataglyphis setipes (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Bharti, Himender

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Taxonomy and distribution of the ant species Cataglyphis setipes (Forel, 1894) is herewith detailed. C. setipes is redescribed, based on workers, queens, and males. Photomontage images of all castes are provided. Information on the distribution and ecology of this species is also given. A key to the Indian species of Cataglyphis is presented. PMID:25859129

  16. General Dissection of Female Ant Reproductive System and Brain

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Dissection of the reproductive system of ant workers and queens can be useful for answering many questions. Observations of ovarian status in both female castes can be used to identify relationships between other factors and the ovaries, determine whether an individual has laid eggs, and, with more ...

  17. Effects of overwintering temperature on the survival of the black garden ant (Lasius niger).

    PubMed

    Haatanen, Marja-Katariina; van Ooik, Tapio; Sorvari, Jouni

    2015-01-01

    The overwintering temperatures of ants might well be elevated due to climate change. We studied whether the overwintering temperature affects the survival of the queens and whole colonies of the black garden ant, Lasius niger (Linnaeus, 1758). In two consecutive years (2009, 2010) we collected mated, colony founding queens (n = 280) from the urban area of Turku, Finland. Half of the queens overwintered in +7 to +8 °C and the other half in +2 °C. After the overwintering period, we determined their survival rate and measured the body fat content, body size and immune defence (encapsulation rate) of overwintering queens. Using the same setup, we studied the survival of 1-year-old L. niger colonies (queen & workers). Overwintering at a lower temperature (+2 °C) decreased the survival of workers. The survival of colony founding queens differed between years, but unlike with workers, the overwintering temperature did not affect their survival: neither in the colony experiment nor in the single queen experiment. All of the surviving queens managed to produce their worker offspring at the same rate. The relative amount of body fat of queens was higher for those who overwintered at a lower temperature, which is likely a result of lower energy consumption. We did not detect differences in the encapsulation rate between the temperature treatment groups. The ability of colony founding queens to tolerate wide overwintering temperature variations present in urban environments may explain the success of the colony in urban areas. As the colony grows, the overwintering chambers may extend more deeply into the ground. Thus, workers may not have to cope with such cold conditions as colony founding queens.

  18. Confirmation of the genome position and mass of the viral protien, VP3, of Solenopsis Invicta Virus 1 (Picornavirales: Dicistroviridae) infecting the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A predicted peptide sequence corresponding to the capsid protein VP3 of SINV-1 was used to prepare a polyclonal antibody preparation and probe SDS-PAGE separated proteins from SINV-1 particles and S. invicta ants. The SINV-1 VP3 antibody preparation recognized a 24 kDa protein from denatured SINV-1...

  19. Intrinsic worker mortality depends on behavioral caste and the queens' presence in a social insect.

    PubMed

    Kohlmeier, Philip; Negroni, Matteo Antoine; Kever, Marion; Emmling, Stefanie; Stypa, Heike; Feldmeyer, Barbara; Foitzik, Susanne

    2017-04-01

    According to the classic life history theory, selection for longevity depends on age-dependant extrinsic mortality and fecundity. In social insects, the common life history trade-off between fecundity and longevity appears to be reversed, as the most fecund individual, the queen, often exceeds workers in lifespan several fold. But does fecundity directly affect intrinsic mortality also in social insect workers? And what is the effect of task on worker mortality? Here, we studied how social environment and behavioral caste affect intrinsic mortality of ant workers. We compared worker survival between queenless and queenright Temnothorax longispinosus nests and demonstrate that workers survive longer under the queens' absence. Temnothorax ant workers fight over reproduction when the queen is absent and dominant workers lay eggs. Worker fertility might therefore increase lifespan, possibly due to a positive physiological link between fecundity and longevity, or better care for fertile workers. In social insects, division of labor among workers is age-dependant with young workers caring for the brood and old ones going out to forage. We therefore expected nurses to survive longer than foragers, which is what we found. Surprisingly, inactive inside workers showed a lower survival than nurses but comparable to that of foragers. The reduced longevity of inactive workers could be due to them being older than the nurses, or due to a positive effect of activity on lifespan. Overall, our study points to behavioral caste-dependent intrinsic mortality rates and a positive association between fertility and longevity not only in queens but also in ant workers.

  20. Occurrence of antennal glands in ants.

    PubMed

    Renthal, Robert; Velasquez, Daniel; Olmos, David; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2008-11-01

    A previous report of the discovery of exocrine glands in the antennal club of queens and workers of Solenopsis invicta Buren, 1972 left open the question of the extent to which similar glands occur in the Formicidae family. We wanted to know if these antennal glands are unique to Solenopsis, or they are found in a wider taxonomic group. Using scanning electron microscopy, we examined the antennae of 41 ant species. Presence of the antennal glands was indicated by a characteristic circumferential ring of pores in a distal antennal segment of workers. Pores were found in the 9th antennal segment of all 26 species of Solenopsis examined. Pores were absent in the following: Monomorium minimum, M. pharaonis, Pheidole sp., Crematogaster sp., Linepithema humile, Forelius sp., Dorymyrmex sp., Paratrechina sp., Oecophylla smaragdina, Campanotus sp., Ectatomma ruidum, E. tuberlatum, and Pseudomyrmex ferruginea. However, pores were found in the antennal club of Tetramorium bicarinatum workers and queens. After KOH digestion of T. bicarinatum antennae, internal canals were observed in both workers and queens, and the canals are connected to spherical reservoirs in queens. T. bicarinatum was the only non-Solenopsis species examined, which showed evidence for antennal glands in the distal funiculus.

  1. Natal Dispersal, Mating Patterns, and Inbreeding in the Ant Formica exsecta.

    PubMed

    Vitikainen, Emma I K; Haag-Liautard, Cathy; Sundström, Liselotte

    2015-12-01

    Sex-biased dispersal and multiple mating may prevent or alleviate inbreeding and its outcome, inbreeding depression, but studies demonstrating this in the wild are scarce. Perennial ant colonies offer a unique system to investigate the relationships between natal dispersal behavior and inbreeding. Due to the sedentary life of ant colonies and lifetime sperm storage by queens, measures of dispersal distance and mating strategy are easier to obtain than in most taxa. We used a suite of molecular markers to infer the natal colonies of queens and males in a wild population of the ant Formica exsecta. Dispersal was male biased, with median male dispersal distances (∼140 m) twice those of queens (∼60 m). The results also showed that the population was inbred and that inbreeding avoidance behaviors--sex-biased dispersal, queen dispersal distance, and multiple mating--were all ineffective in reducing homozygosity among colony workers. Queen homozygosity did not affect dispersal behavior, but more homozygous queens had lower colony-founding success and were more incestuously mated themselves, with potentially accumulating effects on colony fitness. We also provide independent evidence that dispersal is sex biased and show that our estimate corresponds well with dispersal estimates derived from population-genetic estimates.

  2. A reassessment of the mating system characteristics of the army ant Eciton burchellii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronauer, Daniel J. C.; Berghoff, Stefanie M.; Powell, Scott; Denny, A. Jay; Edwards, Keith J.; Franks, Nigel R.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2006-08-01

    In a recent study, Denny et al. (2004a) showed that queens of the army ant, Eciton burchellii, mate with multiple males and presented estimates suggesting that they mate with more males than queens of any other ant species so far investigated. They also inferred that data were consistent with queens being inseminated repeatedly throughout their life, which would be exceptional among the social Hymenoptera and contradictory to predictions from kin selection theory. In the present study, we reanalyze these data using new software and supplement them with similar microsatellite data from other colonies of the same species. Mating frequencies in E. burchellii are indeed very high (mean observed and effective queen-mating frequencies of 12.9 each) but considerably lower than the previous estimates. We show that the number of patrilines represented in the first worker offspring of a young queen is lower than in older queens but suggest that this may be due to initial sperm clumping in the queen’s sperm storage organ, rather than to repeated inseminations. Moreover, we found no evidence for repeated mating by genotyping sequential worker generations produced by a single old queen, showing that she did not obtain new inseminations despite ample opportunities for mating.

  3. Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Queen Reproductive Potential Affects Queen Mandibular Gland Pheromone Composition and Worker Retinue Response

    PubMed Central

    Böröczky, Katalin; Schal, Coby; Tarpy, David R.

    2016-01-01

    Reproductive division of labor is one of the defining traits of honey bees (Apis mellifera), with non-reproductive tasks being performed by workers while a single queen normally monopolizes reproduction. The decentralized organization of a honey bee colony is maintained in large part by a bouquet of queen-produced pheromones, the distribution of which is facilitated by contact among workers throughout the hive. Previous studies have shown that the developmental fate of honey bee queens is highly plastic, with queens raised from younger worker larvae exhibiting higher measures of reproductive potential compared to queens raised from older worker larvae. We investigated differences in the chemical composition of the mandibular glands and attractiveness to workers of “high-quality” queens (i.e., raised from first instar worker larvae; more queen-like) and “low-quality” queens (i.e., raised from third instar worker larvae; more worker-like). We characterized the chemical profiles of the mandibular glands of high-quality queens and low-quality queens using GC-MS and used the worker retinue response as a measure of the attractiveness to workers of high-quality queens vs. low-quality queens. We found that queen quality affected the chemical profiles of mandibular gland contents differently across years, showing significant differences in the production of the queen mandibular pheromone (“QMP”) components HVA and 9-HDA in 2010, but no significant differences of any glandular compound in 2012. We also found that workers were significantly more attracted to high-quality queens than to low-quality queens in 2012, possibly because of increased attractiveness of their mandibular gland chemical profiles. Our results indicate that the age at which honey bee larvae enter the “queen-specific” developmental pathway influences the chemical composition of queen mandibular glands and worker behavior. However, these changes are not consistent across years, suggesting

  4. Multiple paternity or multiple queens: two routes to greater intracolonial genetic diversity in the eusocial Hymenoptera.

    PubMed

    Hughes, W O H; Ratnieks, F L W; Oldroyd, B P

    2008-07-01

    Understanding the evolution of multiple mating by females (polyandry) is an important question in behavioural ecology. Most leading explanations for polyandry by social insect queens are based upon a postulated fitness benefit from increased intracolonial genetic diversity, which also arises when colonies are headed by multiple queens (polygyny). An indirect test of the genetic diversity hypotheses is therefore provided by the relationship between polyandry and polygyny across species, which should be negative if the genetic diversity hypotheses are correct. Here, we conduct a powerful comparative investigation of the relationship between polyandry and polygyny for 241 species of eusocial Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps). We find a clear and significant negative relationship between polyandry and polygyny after controlling for phylogeny. These results strongly suggest that fitness benefits resulting from increased intracolonial genetic diversity have played an important role in the evolution of polyandry, and possibly polygyny, in social insects.

  5. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre

    PubMed Central

    Tofolo, Viviane C.; Giannotti, Edilberto; Neves, Erika F.; Andrade, Luis H. C.; Lima, Sandro M.; Súarez, Yzel R.; Antonialli-Junior, William F.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical ants commonly exhibit a hyper-dispersed pattern of spatial distribution of nests. In polydomous species, nests may be satellites, that is, secondary structures of the main nest, where the queen is found. In order to evaluate whether the ant Ectatomma opaciventre Roger (Formicidae: Ectatomminae) uses the strategy of building polydomous nests, the spatial distribution pattern of 33 nests in a 1,800 m2 degraded area located in Rio Claro, SP, Brazil, were investigated using the nearest neighbor method. To complement the results of this investigation, the cuticular chemical profile of eight colonies was analyzed using Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The nests of E. opaciventre presented a hyper-dispersed or regular distribution, which is the most common in ants. The analysis of the cuticular hydrocarbons apparently confirmed the hypothesis that this species is polydomous, since the chemical profiles of all studied colonies with nests at different sites were very similar to the chemical signature of the single found queen and were also different from those of colonies used as control. PMID:25373168

  6. Exceptionally high levels of multiple mating in an army ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Denny, A. Jay; Franks, Nigel R.; Powell, Scott; Edwards, Keith J.

    Most species of social insects have singly mated queens, although there are notable exceptions. Competing hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of high levels of multiple mating, but this issue is far from resolved. Here we use microsatellites to investigate mating frequency in the army ant Eciton burchellii and show that queens mate with an exceptionally large number of males, eclipsing all but one other social insect species for which data are available. In addition we present evidence that suggests that mating is serial, continuing throughout the lifetime of the queen. This is the first demonstration of serial mating among social hymenoptera. We propose that high paternity within colonies is most likely to have evolved to increase genetic diversity and to counter high pathogen and parasite loads.

  7. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle’s Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours

    PubMed Central

    Di Giulio, Andrea; Maurizi, Emanuela; Barbero, Francesca; Sala, Marco; Fattorini, Simone; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona

    2015-01-01

    Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants’ activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus) are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can “speak” three different “languages”, each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen). Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants. PMID:26154266

  8. The evolution of extreme polyandry in social insects: insights from army ants.

    PubMed

    Barth, Matthias Benjamin; Moritz, Robin Frederik Alexander; Kraus, Frank Bernhard

    2014-01-01

    The unique nomadic life-history pattern of army ants (army ant adaptive syndrome), including obligate colony fission and strongly male-biased sex-ratios, makes army ants prone to heavily reduced effective population sizes (Ne). Excessive multiple mating by queens (polyandry) has been suggested to compensate these negative effects by increasing genetic variance in colonies and populations. However, the combined effects and evolutionary consequences of polyandry and army ant life history on genetic colony and population structure have only been studied in a few selected species. Here we provide new genetic data on paternity frequencies, colony structure and paternity skew for the five Neotropical army ants Eciton mexicanum, E. vagans, Labidus coecus, L. praedator and Nomamyrmex esenbeckii; and compare those data among a total of nine army ant species (including literature data). The number of effective matings per queen ranged from about 6 up to 25 in our tested species, and we show that such extreme polyandry is in two ways highly adaptive. First, given the detected low intracolonial relatedness and population differentiation extreme polyandry may counteract inbreeding and low Ne. Second, as indicated by a negative correlation of paternity frequency and paternity skew, queens maximize intracolonial genotypic variance by increasingly equalizing paternity shares with higher numbers of sires. Thus, extreme polyandry is not only an integral part of the army ant syndrome, but generally adaptive in social insects by improving genetic variance, even at the high end spectrum of mating frequencies.

  9. Making a queen: an epigenetic analysis of the robustness of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) queen developmental pathway.

    PubMed

    He, Xu Jiang; Zhou, Lin Bin; Pan, Qi Zhong; Barron, Andrew B; Yan, Wei Yu; Zeng, Zhi Jiang

    2016-12-27

    Specialized castes are considered a key reason for the evolutionary and ecological success of the social insect lifestyle. The most essential caste distinction is between the fertile queen and the sterile workers. Honeybee (Apis mellifera) workers and queens are not genetically distinct, rather these different phenotypes are the result of epigenetically regulated divergent developmental pathways. This is an important phenomenon in understanding the evolution of social insect societies. Here, we studied the genomic regulation of the worker and queen developmental pathways, and the robustness of the pathways by transplanting eggs or young larvae to queen cells. Queens could be successfully reared from worker larvae transplanted up to 3 days age, but queens reared from older worker larvae had decreased queen body size and weight compared with queens from transplanted eggs. Gene expression analysis showed that queens raised from worker larvae differed from queens raised from eggs in the expression of genes involved in the immune system, caste differentiation, body development and longevity. DNA methylation levels were also higher in 3-day-old queen larvae raised from worker larvae compared with that raised from transplanted eggs identifying a possible mechanism stabilizing the two developmental paths. We propose that environmental (nutrition and space) changes induced by the commercial rearing practice result in a suboptimal queen phenotype via epigenetic processes, which may potentially contribute to the evolution of queen-worker dimorphism. This also has potentially contributed to the global increase in honeybee colony failure rates.

  10. 7 CFR 301.81-1 - Definitions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-1... subpart and any conditions imposed under this subpart. Imported fire ant. Living imported fire ants of the... (infested). The presence of an imported fire ant queen or a reproducing colony of imported fire ants,...

  11. 7 CFR 301.81-1 - Definitions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-1... subpart and any conditions imposed under this subpart. Imported fire ant. Living imported fire ants of the... (infested). The presence of an imported fire ant queen or a reproducing colony of imported fire ants,...

  12. 7 CFR 301.81-1 - Definitions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-1... subpart and any conditions imposed under this subpart. Imported fire ant. Living imported fire ants of the... (infested). The presence of an imported fire ant queen or a reproducing colony of imported fire ants,...

  13. 7 CFR 301.81-1 - Definitions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DOMESTIC QUARANTINE NOTICES Imported Fire Ant Quarantine and Regulations § 301.81-1... subpart and any conditions imposed under this subpart. Imported fire ant. Living imported fire ants of the... (infested). The presence of an imported fire ant queen or a reproducing colony of imported fire ants,...

  14. Life-history evolution in ants: the case of Cardiocondyla.

    PubMed

    Heinze, Jürgen

    2017-03-15

    Ants are important components of most terrestrial habitats, and a better knowledge of the diversity of their life histories is essential to understand many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The myrmicine genus Cardiocondyla shows a wide range of colony structures, reproductive behaviours, queen and male lifespans, and habitat use. Reconstructing the evolutionary pathways of individual and social phenotypic traits suggests that the ancestral life history of Cardiocondyla was characterized by the presence of multiple, short-lived queens in small-sized colonies and a male polyphenism with winged dispersers and wingless fighters, which engage in lethal combat over female sexuals within their natal nests. Single queening, queen polyphenism, the loss of winged males and tolerance among wingless males appear to be derived traits that evolved with changes in nesting habits, colony size and the spread from tropical to seasonal environments. The aim of this review is to bring together the information on life-history evolution in Cardiocondyla and to highlight the suitability of this genus for functional genomic studies of adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, senescence, invasiveness and other key life-history traits of ants.

  15. Life-history evolution in ants: the case of Cardiocondyla

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Ants are important components of most terrestrial habitats, and a better knowledge of the diversity of their life histories is essential to understand many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The myrmicine genus Cardiocondyla shows a wide range of colony structures, reproductive behaviours, queen and male lifespans, and habitat use. Reconstructing the evolutionary pathways of individual and social phenotypic traits suggests that the ancestral life history of Cardiocondyla was characterized by the presence of multiple, short-lived queens in small-sized colonies and a male polyphenism with winged dispersers and wingless fighters, which engage in lethal combat over female sexuals within their natal nests. Single queening, queen polyphenism, the loss of winged males and tolerance among wingless males appear to be derived traits that evolved with changes in nesting habits, colony size and the spread from tropical to seasonal environments. The aim of this review is to bring together the information on life-history evolution in Cardiocondyla and to highlight the suitability of this genus for functional genomic studies of adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, senescence, invasiveness and other key life-history traits of ants. PMID:28298341

  16. Balancing acts: drag queens, gender and faith.

    PubMed

    Sullivan-Blum, Constance R

    2004-01-01

    While engaged in research on the same-sex marriage debate in mainline denominations, I interviewed 23 LGBT Christians, four of whom were drag queens. While it is not possible to generalize from such a small sample, the drag queens in this study insist on maintaining their identity as Christians despite the hegemonic discourse that renders faith and LGBT identities mutually exclusive. They developed innovative approaches to reconciling their gender and sexual identities with their spirituality. Their innovations are potentially liberating not just for them personally, but for LGBT people generally because they challenge Christianity's rigid dichotomies of gender and sexuality.

  17. Queen Charlotte 2001 Earthquake Aftershock Sequence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mulder, T.; Rogers, G. C.

    2012-12-01

    On Oct 12, 2001, an Mw=6.3 earthquake occurred off the Queen Charlotte Islands, BC. It was felt throughout Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and the adjoining mainland. It generated a small tsunami recorded on Vancouver Island tide gauges. Moment tensor solutions show almost pure thrust faulting. There was a significant aftershock sequence associated with this event. Relocation of the catalogue aftershock sequence with respect to a key calibration event with various subsets of common stations show significant movement in the event locations. The aftershocks define an ~30 degree dipping fault plane.

  18. Effects of insemination quantity on honey bee queen physiology.

    PubMed

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Tarpy, David R; Grozinger, Christina M

    2007-10-03

    Mating has profound effects on the physiology and behavior of female insects, and in honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens, these changes are permanent. Queens mate with multiple males during a brief period in their early adult lives, and shortly thereafter they initiate egg-laying. Furthermore, the pheromone profiles of mated queens differ from those of virgins, and these pheromones regulate many different aspects of worker behavior and colony organization. While it is clear that mating causes dramatic changes in queens, it is unclear if mating number has more subtle effects on queen physiology or queen-worker interactions; indeed, the effect of multiple matings on female insect physiology has not been broadly addressed. Because it is not possible to control the natural mating behavior of queens, we used instrumental insemination and compared queens inseminated with semen from either a single drone (single-drone inseminated, or SDI) or 10 drones (multi-drone inseminated, or MDI). We used observation hives to monitor attraction of workers to SDI or MDI queens in colonies, and cage studies to monitor the attraction of workers to virgin, SDI, and MDI queen mandibular gland extracts (the main source of queen pheromone). The chemical profiles of the mandibular glands of virgin, SDI, and MDI queens were characterized using GC-MS. Finally, we measured brain expression levels in SDI and MDI queens of a gene associated with phototaxis in worker honey bees (Amfor). Here, we demonstrate for the first time that insemination quantity significantly affects mandibular gland chemical profiles, queen-worker interactions, and brain gene expression. Further research will be necessary to elucidate the mechanistic bases for these effects: insemination volume, sperm and seminal protein quantity, and genetic diversity of the sperm may all be important factors contributing to this profound change in honey bee queen physiology, queen behavior, and social interactions in the colony.

  19. Effects of Insemination Quantity on Honey Bee Queen Physiology

    PubMed Central

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Tarpy, David R.; Grozinger, Christina M.

    2007-01-01

    Mating has profound effects on the physiology and behavior of female insects, and in honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens, these changes are permanent. Queens mate with multiple males during a brief period in their early adult lives, and shortly thereafter they initiate egg-laying. Furthermore, the pheromone profiles of mated queens differ from those of virgins, and these pheromones regulate many different aspects of worker behavior and colony organization. While it is clear that mating causes dramatic changes in queens, it is unclear if mating number has more subtle effects on queen physiology or queen-worker interactions; indeed, the effect of multiple matings on female insect physiology has not been broadly addressed. Because it is not possible to control the natural mating behavior of queens, we used instrumental insemination and compared queens inseminated with semen from either a single drone (single-drone inseminated, or SDI) or 10 drones (multi-drone inseminated, or MDI). We used observation hives to monitor attraction of workers to SDI or MDI queens in colonies, and cage studies to monitor the attraction of workers to virgin, SDI, and MDI queen mandibular gland extracts (the main source of queen pheromone). The chemical profiles of the mandibular glands of virgin, SDI, and MDI queens were characterized using GC-MS. Finally, we measured brain expression levels in SDI and MDI queens of a gene associated with phototaxis in worker honey bees (Amfor). Here, we demonstrate for the first time that insemination quantity significantly affects mandibular gland chemical profiles, queen-worker interactions, and brain gene expression. Further research will be necessary to elucidate the mechanistic bases for these effects: insemination volume, sperm and seminal protein quantity, and genetic diversity of the sperm may all be important factors contributing to this profound change in honey bee queen physiology, queen behavior, and social interactions in the colony. PMID

  20. Cotton Rats Alter Foraging in Response to an Invasive Ant

    PubMed Central

    Darracq, Andrea K.; Conner, L. Mike; Brown, Joel S.; McCleery, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the effects of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta; hereafter fire ant) on the foraging of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). We used a manipulative experiment, placing resource patches with a known amount of millet seed within areas with reduced (RIFA [–]) or ambient (RIFA [+]) numbers of fire ants. We measured giving up densities (the amount of food left within each patch) within the resource patches for 4 days to quantify the effects of fire ants on cotton rat foraging. We assessed the effects of fire ant treatment (RIFA), Day, and their interaction on cotton rat giving up densities. Giving up densities on RIFA [+] grids were nearly 2.2 times greater across all foraging days and ranged from 1.6 to 2.3 times greater from day 1 to day 4 than the RIFA [–] grids. From day 1 to day 4, mean giving up densities decreased significantly faster for the RIFA [–] than RIFA [+] treatments, 58% and 13%, respectively. Our results demonstrate that cotton rats perceive a risk of injury from fire ants, which is likely caused by interference competition, rather than direct predation. Envenomation from ants likely decrease the foraging efficiency of cotton rats resulting in more time spent foraging. Increased time spent foraging is likely stressful in terms of the opportunity for direct injury and encounters with other predators. These indirect effects may reduce an individual cotton rat’s fitness and translate into lowered population abundances. PMID:27655320

  1. Queen Margaret University College's Sustainable, Community Campus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Woodman, Susan

    2006-01-01

    The new campus of Queen Margaret University College in the United Kingdom is designed to be a sustainable educational and community resource. Early consultation with students and staff on the campus design revealed a strong desire for a sustainable environment, with plenty of green space for all to enjoy. In response to this, the design focuses on…

  2. Women in History--Queen Liliuokalani

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Koeppe, Tina

    2007-01-01

    This article profiles Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last monarch. Liliuokalani was born in Hawaii in 1838 into the family of a high chief. She attended the Royal School, run by American missionaries, and received a high quality education and learned to love music, writing and politics. Liliuokalani was given the Christian name "Lydia" as…

  3. Ant nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    A new Hubble Space Telescope image of a celestial object called the Ant Nebula may shed new light on the future demise of our Sun. The image is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/wfpc .

    The nebula, imaged on July 20, 1997, and June 30, 1998, by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, was observed by Drs. Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Bruce Balick of the University of Washington in Seattle; and Vincent Icke of Leiden University in the Netherlands. JPL designed and built the camera.

    The Ant Nebula, whose technical name is Mz3, resembles the head and thorax of an ant when observed with ground-based telescopes. The new Hubble image, with 10 times the resolution revealing 100 times more detail, shows the 'ant's' body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun- like star. The Ant Nebula is located between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norma.

    The image challenges old ideas about what happens to dying stars. This observation, along with other pictures of various remnants of dying stars called planetary nebulae, shows that our Sun's fate will probably be much more interesting, complex and dramatic than astronomers previously believed.

    Although the ejection of gas from the dying star in the Ant Nebula is violent, it does not show the chaos one might expect from an ordinary explosion, but instead shows symmetrical patterns. One possibility is that the central star has a closely orbiting companion whose gravitational tidal forces shape the outflowing gas. A second possibility is that as the dying star spins, its strong magnetic fields are wound up into complex shapes like spaghetti in an eggbeater. Electrically charged winds, much like those in our Sun's solar wind but millions of times denser and moving at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per second (more than 600 miles per second) from the star, follow the twisted field lines on their way

  4. The role of microgynes in the reproductive strategy of the neotropical ant Ectatomma ruidum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenoir, Jean-Christophe; Lachaud, Jean-Paul; Nettel, Alejandro; Fresneau, Dominique; Poteaux, Chantal

    2011-04-01

    Miniaturized queens, microgynes, are regarded as an alternative reproductive strategy sparsely present through the ant world. The described roles of miniaturized queens include alternative short-distance dispersal morphs, an adaptation to polygyny and inquiline parasites. Some of these inquiline parasite microgynes have been described as a separate species from their host. In the poneromorph group, miniaturized queens are only reported in two Mexican populations of two Ectatomminae: Ectatomma tuberculatum, in which small queens represent an inquiline species ( Ectatomma parasiticum) and Ectatomma ruidum. E. ruidum presents apparently facultative polygyny with microgynes. We used mitochondrial DNA markers and newly developed microsatellite loci to investigate the status as well as the role of microgynes in E. ruidum. We confirmed that microgynes and macrogynes are from the same species. This species is almost exclusively monogynous and monoandrous, supernumerary dealate queens of both types being actually daughters of the mother queen. An apparently polygynous nest was more often headed by a macrogyne than a microgyne. We didn't find any inbreeding or isolation by distance in the studied population, indicating that new gynes are inseminated by unrelated males and can establish a new nest far from their natal nest. However, re-adoption of daughter queens seems to be the rule and rate of microgyny appears to be linked to nest density and environmental factors.

  5. The Ants Have It!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

    Uses the GEMS guide, "Ants at Home Underground", to explore the life of ants and teach about them in a classroom setting. The activity applies students' knowledge of ants and students learn about ant colonies, what ants eat, and how they live. (SAH)

  6. Queen volatiles as a modulator of Tetragonisca angustula drone behavior.

    PubMed

    Fierro, Macario M; Cruz-López, Leopoldo; Sánchez, Daniel; Villanueva-Gutiérrez, Rogel; Vandame, Remy

    2011-11-01

    Tetragonisca angustula mating occurs during the virgin queen nuptial flight, usually in the presence of a drone congregation area (DCA). The presence of virgin queen pheromone is considered the trigger for DCA establishment, although this has not been demonstrated experimentally. We established meliponaries, in different habitats, with T. angustula virgin queens during the main drone reproduction period. Eight DCAs were observed in urban areas, and all established outside or near colonies containing at least one virgin queen. The accumulation of drones in the DCAs occurred from 08:00 to 18:00 h and over 3-35 days. The number of drones in DCAs ranged from 60 to 2,000. In field trials, drones were attracted to virgin queens and also, unexpectedly, to physogastric queens. Volatiles collected from both virgin and physogastric queens elicited strong electoantennogram (EAG) responses from drones. Virgin and physogastric queen volatiles were qualitatively similar, but quantitatively different, in chemical composition. The queen's abdomen was the principal source of these compounds. Isopropyl hexanoate (IPH), the most abundant compound in virgin queen volatiles and one of the most abundant in physogastric queen volatiles, was identified as one of the compounds that elicited EAG responses and was demonstrated to attract drones in a field test.

  7. Assessing the mating 'health' of commercial honey bee queens.

    PubMed

    Tarpy, David R; Keller, Jennifer J; Caren, Joel R; Delaney, Deborah A

    2012-02-01

    Honey bee queens mate with multiple males, which increases the total genetic diversity within colonies and has been shown to confer numerous benefits for colony health and productivity. Recent surveys of beekeepers have suggested that 'poor queens' are a top management concern, thus investigating the reproductive quality and mating success of commercially produced honey bee queens is warranted. We purchased 80 commercially produced queens from large queen breeders in California and measured them for their physical size (fresh weigh and thorax width), insemination success (stored sperm counts and sperm viability), and mating number (determined by patriline genotyping of worker offspring). We found that queens had an average of 4.37 +/- 1.446 million stored sperm in their spermathecae with an average viability of 83.7 +/- 13.33%. We also found that the tested queens had mated with a high number of drones (average effective paternity frequency: 17.0 +/- 8.98). Queen "quality" significantly varied among commercial sources for physical characters but not for mating characters. These findings suggest that it may be more effective to improve overall queen reproductive potential by culling lower-quality queens rather than systematically altering current queen production practices.

  8. Intergenerational effect of juvenile hormone on offspring in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Parents can influence the phenotypes of their offspring via a number of mechanisms. In harvester ants, whether female progeny develop into workers or daughter queens is strongly influenced by the age and temperature conditions experienced by their mother, which is associated with variation in mater...

  9. Lethal fighting between honeybee queens and parasitic workers (Apis mellifera).

    PubMed

    Moritz, Robin F A; Pflugfelder, Jochen; Crewe, Robin M

    2003-08-01

    Pheromonal signals associated with queen and worker policing prevent worker reproduction and have been identified as important factors for establishing harmony in the honeybee (Apis mellifera) colony. However, "anarchic workers", which can evade both mechanisms, have been detected at low frequency in several honeybee populations. Worker bees of the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis, also show this anarchistic trait but to an extreme degree. They can develop into so called "pseudoqueens", which release a pheromonal bouquet very similar to that of queens. They prime and release very similar reactions in sterile workers to those of true queens (e.g. suppress ovary activation; release retinue behavior). Here we show in an experimental bioassay that lethal fights between these parasitic workers and the queen (similar to queen-queen fights) occur, resulting in the death of either queen or worker. Although it is usually the queen that attacks the parasitic workers and kills many of them, in a few cases the workers succeeded in killing the queen. If this also occurs in a parasitized colony where the queen encounters many parasitic workers, she may eventually be killed in one of the repeated fights she engages in.

  10. Reproductive ultrasound of the bitch and queen.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Autumn P; Baker, Tomas W

    2009-05-01

    Ultrasonographic evaluation of the reproductive tract is an important component in the evaluation of the bitch and queen. Information is obtained concerning normal events involving the reproductive system (eg, ovulation, pregnancy) as well as pathologic conditions (eg, ovarian cysts, metritis). The appearance of the female reproductive tract normally changes with phases of the cycle; these changes need to be interpreted with knowledge of the ovarian cycle. Serial ultrasonographic evaluation of the diseased reproductive tract can be very helpful in evaluating response to therapy.

  11. Multiple endosymbionts in populations of the ant Formica cinerea

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Many insects, including ants, are infected by maternally inherited Wolbachia endosymbiotic bacteria though other secondary endosymbionts have not been reported in ants. It has been suggested that the ability of Wolbachia to invade and remain in an ant population depends on the number of coexisting queens in a colony. We study the genetic and social structure of populations in the ant Formica cinerea which is known to have populations with either monogynous or polygynous colonies. We screen populations for several endosymbiotic bacteria to evaluate the presence of different endosymbionts, possible association between their prevalence and the social structure, and the association between endosymbiont prevalence and genetic differentiation of ant populations. Results We found three endosymbiotic bacteria; 19% of the nests were infected by Wolbachia, 3.8% by Cardinium and 33% by Serratia. There was significant variation among the populations regarding the proportion of nests infected by Serratia, Wolbachia and the pooled set of all the endosymbionts. Some individuals and colonies carried two of the bacteria, the frequency of double infections agreeing with the random expectation. The proportion of infected ants (individuals or colonies) did not correlate significantly with the population level relatedness values. The difference in the prevalence of Wolbachia between population pairs correlated significantly with the genetic distance (microsatellites) of the populations. Conclusions The discovery of several endosymbionts and co-infections by Wolbachia and Cardinium demonstrate the importance of screening several endosymbionts when evaluating their possible effects on social life and queen-worker conflicts over sex allocation. The low prevalence of Wolbachia in F. cinerea departs from the pattern observed in many other Formica ants in which all workers have been infected. It is likely that the strain of Wolbachia in F. cinerea differs from those in other

  12. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gravish, Nick; Gold, Gregory; Zangwill, Andrew; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2014-03-01

    Many social animals move and communicate within confined spaces. In subterranean fire ants Solenopsis invicta, mobility within crowded nest tunnels is important for resource and information transport. Within confined tunnels, communication and traffic flow are at odds: trafficking ants communicate through tactile interactions while stopped, yet ants that stop to communicate impose physical obstacles on the traffic. We monitor the bi-directional flow of fire ant workers in laboratory tunnels of varied diameter D. The persistence time of communicating ant aggregations, τ, increases approximately linearly with the number of participating ants, n. The sensitivity of traffic flow increases as D decreases and diverges at a minimum diameter, Dc. A cellular automata model incorporating minimal traffic features--excluded volume and communication duration--reproduces features of the experiment. From the model we identify a competition between information transfer and the need to maintain jam-free traffic flow. We show that by balancing information transfer and traffic flow demands, an optimum group strategy exists which maximizes information throughput. We acknowledge funding from NSF PoLS #0957659 and #PHY-1205878.

  13. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Hybridization can have complex effects on evolutionary dynamics in ants because of the combination of haplodiploid sex-determination and eusociality. While hybrid non-reproductive workers have been found in a range of species, examples of gene-flow via hybrid queens and males are rare. We studied hybridization in East African army ants (Dorylus subgenus Anomma) using morphology, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and nuclear microsatellites. Results While the mitochondrial phylogeny had a strong geographic signal, different species were not recovered as monophyletic. At our main study site at Kakamega Forest, a mitochondrial haplotype was shared between a "Dorylus molestus-like" and a "Dorylus wilverthi-like" form. This pattern is best explained by introgression following hybridization between D. molestus and D. wilverthi. Microsatellite data from workers showed that the two morphological forms correspond to two distinct genetic clusters, with a significant proportion of individuals being classified as hybrids. Conclusions We conclude that hybridization and gene-flow between the two army ant species D. molestus and D. wilverthi has occurred, and that mating between the two forms continues to regularly produce hybrid workers. Hybridization is particularly surprising in army ants because workers have control over which males are allowed to mate with a young virgin queen inside the colony. PMID:21859477

  14. Interplay between insulin signaling, juvenile hormone, and vitellogenin regulates maternal effects on polyphenism in ants

    PubMed Central

    Libbrecht, Romain; Corona, Miguel; Wende, Franziska; Azevedo, Dihego O.; Serrão, Jose E.; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    Polyphenism is the phenomenon in which alternative phenotypes are produced by a single genotype in response to environmental cues. An extreme case is found in social insects, in which reproductive queens and sterile workers that greatly differ in morphology and behavior can arise from a single genotype. Experimental evidence for maternal effects on caste determination, the differential larval development toward the queen or worker caste, was recently documented in Pogonomyrmex seed harvester ants, in which only colonies with a hibernated queen produce new queens. However, the proximate mechanisms behind these intergenerational effects have remained elusive. We used a combination of artificial hibernation, hormonal treatments, gene expression analyses, hormone measurements, and vitellogenin quantification to investigate how the combined effect of environmental cues and hormonal signaling affects the process of caste determination in Pogonomyrmex rugosus. The results show that the interplay between insulin signaling, juvenile hormone, and vitellogenin regulates maternal effects on the production of alternative phenotypes and set vitellogenin as a likely key player in the intergenerational transmission of information. This study reveals how hibernation triggers the production of new queens in Pogonomyrmex ant colonies. More generally, it provides important information on maternal effects by showing how environmental cues experienced by one generation can translate into phenotypic variation in the next generation. PMID:23754378

  15. The evolution of genome size in ants

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background Despite the economic and ecological importance of ants, genomic tools for this family (Formicidae) remain woefully scarce. Knowledge of genome size, for example, is a useful and necessary prerequisite for the development of many genomic resources, yet it has been reported for only one ant species (Solenopsis invicta), and the two published estimates for this species differ by 146.7 Mb (0.15 pg). Results Here, we report the genome size for 40 species of ants distributed across 10 of the 20 currently recognized subfamilies, thus making Formicidae the 4th most surveyed insect family and elevating the Hymenoptera to the 5th most surveyed insect order. Our analysis spans much of the ant phylogeny, from the less derived Amblyoponinae and Ponerinae to the more derived Myrmicinae, Formicinae and Dolichoderinae. We include a number of interesting and important taxa, including the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), Neotropical army ants (genera Eciton and Labidus), trapjaw ants (Odontomachus), fungus-growing ants (Apterostigma, Atta and Sericomyrmex), harvester ants (Messor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex), carpenter ants (Camponotus), a fire ant (Solenopsis), and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia). Our results show that ants possess small genomes relative to most other insects, yet genome size varies three-fold across this insect family. Moreover, our data suggest that two whole-genome duplications may have occurred in the ancestors of the modern Ectatomma and Apterostigma. Although some previous studies of other taxa have revealed a relationship between genome size and body size, our phylogenetically-controlled analysis of this correlation did not reveal a significant relationship. Conclusion This is the first analysis of genome size in ants (Formicidae) and the first across multiple species of social insects. We show that genome size is a variable trait that can evolve gradually over long time spans, as well as rapidly, through processes that may include occasional

  16. [Did the Queen of Pount suffer from cutis laxa?].

    PubMed

    Martin, Jean-Pierre

    2010-12-01

    A bas-relief of the temple of Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt, discovered in 1867 by Mariette, shows a queen (Queen of Pount) with wide cutaneous folds on arms, abdomen and legs, hyperlordosis, a steatopygia and abnormally short lower limbs. Various assumptions about the diagnosis (steatopygia, partial achondroplasia, neurofibromatosis) were proposed at the beginning of the XXth century, neither taking into account all morphological abnormalities of the queen. We propose a novel hypothesis taking into account all signs: a Cutis Laxa.

  17. Conservation of Queen Pheromones Across Two Species of Vespine Wasps.

    PubMed

    Oi, Cintia A; Millar, Jocelyn G; van Zweden, Jelle S; Wenseleers, Tom

    2016-11-01

    Social insects are known for their reproductive division of labor between queens and workers, whereby queens lay the majority of the colony's eggs, and workers engage mostly in non-reproductive tasks. Queens produce pheromones that signal their presence and fertility to workers, which in turn generally remain sterile. Recently, it has been discovered that specific queen-characteristic cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) function as queen pheromones across multiple lineages of social insects. In the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris, several long-chain linear alkanes and 3-methylalkanes were shown to act as queen signals. Here, we describe similar bioassays with a related species of highly eusocial vespine wasp, the Saxon wasp, Dolichovespula saxonica. We show that a blend of queen-characteristic hydrocarbons that are structurally related to those of the common wasp inhibit worker reproduction, suggesting conservation of queen pheromones across social wasps. Overall, our results highlight the central importance of CHCs in chemical communication among social insects in general, and as conserved queen pheromones in these social wasps in particular.

  18. Matricide and queen sex allocation in a yellowjacket wasp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loope, Kevin J.

    2016-08-01

    In many colonies of social insects, the workers compete with each other and with the queen over the production of the colony's males. In some species of social bees and wasps with annual societies, this intra-colony conflict even results in matricide—the killing of the colony's irreplaceable queen by a daughter worker. In colonies with low effective paternity and high worker-worker relatedness, workers value worker-laid males more than queen-laid males, and thus may benefit from queen killing. Workers gain by eliminating the queen because she is a competing source of male eggs and actively inhibits worker reproduction through policing. However, matricide may be costly to workers if it reduces the production of valuable new queens and workers. Here, I test a theoretical prediction regarding the timing of matricide in a wasp, Dolichovespula arenaria, recently shown to have facultative matricide based on intra-colony relatedness. Using analyses of collected, mature colonies and a surgical manipulation preventing queens from laying female eggs, I show that workers do not preferentially kill queens who are only producing male eggs. Instead, workers sometimes kill queens laying valuable females, suggesting a high cost of matricide. Although matricide is common and typically occurs only in low-paternity colonies, it seems that workers sometimes pay substantial costs in this expression of conflict over male parentage.

  19. Bigger Helpers in the Ant Cataglyphis bombycina: Increased Worker Polymorphism or Novel Soldier Caste?

    PubMed Central

    Molet, Mathieu; Maicher, Vincent; Peeters, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Introduction The mechanisms by which development favors or constrains the evolution of new phenotypes are incompletely understood. Polyphenic species may benefit from developmental plasticity not only regarding ecological advantages, but also potential for evolutionary diversification. For instance, the repeated evolution of novel castes in ants may have been facilitated by the existence of alternative queen and worker castes and their respective developmental programs. Material and Methods Cataglyphis bombycina is exceptional in its genus because winged queens and size-polymorphic workers occur together with bigger individuals having saber-shaped mandibles. We measured seven body parts in more than 150 individuals to perform a morphometric analysis and assess the developmental origin of this novel phenotype. Results Adults with saber-shaped mandibles differ from both workers and queens regarding the size of most body parts. Their relative growth rates are identical to workers for some pairs of body parts, and identical to queens for other pairs of body parts; critical sizes differ in all cases. Conclusions Big individuals are a third caste, i.e. soldiers, not major workers. Novel traits such as elongated mandibles are combined with a mix of queen and worker growth rates. We also reveal the existence of a dimorphism in the queen caste (microgynes and macrogynes). We discuss how novel phenotypes can evolve more readily in the context of an existing polyphenism. Both morphological traits and growth rules from existing queen and worker castes can be recombined, hence mosaic phenotypes are more likely to be viable. In C. bombycina, such a mosaic phenotype appears to function both for defense (saber-shaped mandibles) and fat storage (big abdomen). Recycling of developmental programs may have contributed to the morphological diversity and ecological success of ants. PMID:24404196

  20. [Temperature and photoperiodic control of diapause induction in the ant Lepisiota semenovi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Turkmenistan].

    PubMed

    Kipiatkov, V E; Lopatina, E B

    2009-01-01

    The ant L. semenovi has been found to belong to species with endogenous-heterodynamic seasonal life cycles with the obligate diapause induced predominantly by factors internal for a colony, whereas external ecological factors (photoperiods and temperature) produce merely modifying effects by accelerating or delaying the diapause onset. The photoperiodic and temperature regulation of diapause induction in larvae and queens is shown. Under effect of short days and low temperature the periods of larval pupation and queen oviposition in a colony are shortened markedly, i. e., the periods of larvae and queens occurs earlier. The daily rhythms of temperature 15/25 degrees C and particularly 20/30 degrees C as compared with constant temperatures 20 and 25 degrees C that correspond to the mean daily temperatures of the thermorhythm, inhibit manifestations of the short day effects by stimulating the non-diapause development and increasing duration of the seasonal development cycle of ant colonies. The L. semenovi photoperiodic reaction is quantitative, as development and pupation of larvae and egg-laying of queens cease sooner or later under both the short and the long days, but in the latter case significantly later. Thus, L. semenovi is one more example among very rare ant species that are revealed to have the photoperiodic regulation of the colony development seasonal cycle.

  1. Maternity of emergency queens in the Cape honey bee, Apis mellifera capensis.

    PubMed

    Holmes, Michael J; Oldroyd, Benjamin P; Allsopp, Michael H; Lim, Julianne; Wossler, Theresa C; Beekman, Madeleine

    2010-07-01

    During reproductive swarming, some workers of the Cape honey bee, Apis mellifera capensis, lay eggs in queen cells, many of which are reared to maturity. However, it is unknown if workers are able to lay in queen cells immediately after queen loss during an episode of emergency queen rearing. In this study we experimentally de-queened colonies and determined the maternity of larvae and pupae that were reared as queens. This allowed us to determine how soon after queen loss workers contribute to the production of new queens. We were further interested to see if workers would preferentially raise new queens from queen-laid brood if this was introduced later. We performed our manipulations in two different settings: an apiary setting where colonies were situated close together and a more natural situation in which the colonies were well separated. This allowed us to determine how the vicinity of other colonies affects the presence of parasites. We found that workers do indeed contribute to queen cell production immediately after the loss of their queen, thus demonstrating that some workers either have activated ovaries even when their colony has a queen or are able to activate their ovaries extremely rapidly. Queen-laid brood introduced days after queen loss was ignored, showing that workers do not prefer to raise new queens from queen brood when given a choice. We also detected non-natal parasitism of queen cells in both settings. We therefore conclude that some A. m. capensis genotypes specialize in parasitizing queen cells.

  2. Analysis of acoustic communication by ants.

    PubMed

    Hickling, R; Brown, R L

    2000-10-01

    An analysis is presented of acoustic communication by ants, based on near-field theory and on data obtained from the black imported fire ant Solenopsis richteri and other sources. Generally ant stridulatory sounds are barely audible, but they occur continuously in ant colonies. Because ants appear unresponsive to airborne sound, myrmecologists have concluded that stridulatory signals are transmitted through the substrate. However, transmission through the substrate is unlikely, for reasons given in the paper. Apparently ants communicate mainly through the air, and the acoustic receptors are hairlike sensilla on the antennae that respond to particle sound velocity. This may seem inconsistent with the fact that ants are unresponsive to airborne sound (on a scale of meters), but the inconsistency can be resolved if acoustic communication occurs within the near field, on a scale of about 100 mm. In the near field, the particle sound velocity is significantly enhanced and has a steep gradient. These features can be used to exclude extraneous sound, and to determine the direction and distance of a near-field source. Additionally, we observed that the tracheal air sacs of S. richteri can expand within the gaster, possibly amplifying the radiation of stridulatory sound.

  3. Trade-offs in an ant-plant-fungus mutualism.

    PubMed

    Orivel, Jérôme; Malé, Pierre-Jean; Lauth, Jérémie; Roux, Olivier; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline

    2017-03-15

    Species engaged in multiple, simultaneous mutualisms are subject to trade-offs in their mutualistic investment if the traits involved in each interaction are overlapping, which can lead to conflicts and affect the longevity of these associations. We investigate this issue via a tripartite mutualism involving an ant plant, two competing ant species and a fungus the ants cultivate to build galleries under the stems of their host plant to capture insect prey. The use of the galleries represents an innovative prey capture strategy compared with the more typical strategy of foraging on leaves. However, because of a limited worker force in their colonies, the prey capture behaviour of the ants results in a trade-off between plant protection (i.e. the ants patrol the foliage and attack intruders including herbivores) and ambushing prey in the galleries, which has a cascading effect on the fitness of all of the partners. The quantification of partners' traits and effects showed that the two ant species differed in their mutualistic investment. Less investment in the galleries (i.e. in fungal cultivation) translated into more benefits for the plant in terms of less herbivory and higher growth rates and vice versa. However, the greater vegetative growth of the plants did not produce a positive fitness effect for the better mutualistic ant species in terms of colony size and production of sexuals nor was the mutualist compensated by the wider dispersal of its queens. As a consequence, although the better ant mutualist is the one that provides more benefits to its host plant, its lower host-plant exploitation does not give this ant species a competitive advantage. The local coexistence of the ant species is thus fleeting and should eventually lead to the exclusion of the less competitive species.

  4. Polyacrylamide hydrogels: an effective tool for delivering liquid baits to pest ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Roper, Elray; Chin, Darren

    2014-04-01

    Ant management in urban and natural areas often relies on toxic baits. Liquid baits are highly attractive to pest ants because they mimic natural food sources such as honeydew and nectar, the principal dietary components of many ants. However, liquid bait use has been limited owing to the lack of bait dispensers that are effective, inexpensive, and easy to service. The current study evaluated the potential of water-storing crystals (polyacrylamide spheres) to effectively deliver liquid thiamethoxam baits to laboratory colonies of Argentine ants, Linepithema humile Mayr. Results of laboratory trials show that bait crystals saturated in 25% sucrose solution containing 0.007% thiamethoxam are highly attractive to Argentine ants and highly effective against all castes and life stages, including workers, queens, and brood. Fresh bait crystals were highly effective and required approximately 2 d to kill all workers and approximately 6 d to achieve complete mortality in queens and brood. Results of bait aging tests show that the crystals lose approximately 70% of moisture in 8 h and the duration of outdoor exposure has a significant effect on moisture loss and subsequently bait acceptance and bait efficacy. A gradual decrease in mortality was observed for all castes and life stages as bait age increased. In general, fresh baits and those aged for < 8 h retained their efficacy and caused substantial mortality. Baits aged longer than 8 h were substantially less attractive and less effective. Horizontal transfer tests examined the transfer of thiamethoxam from live treated donors to live untreated recipients. The results show that donor ants that obtain thiamethoxam by feeding on bait crystals effectively transfer it to untreated recipient ants. The level of secondary mortality depended on the donor:recipient ratio, with approximately 40% recipient worker mortality with the 1:5 ratio and 15% recipient worker mortality with 1:10 or 1:20 ratios. However, no queens died in any

  5. Queen succession through asexual reproduction in termites.

    PubMed

    Matsuura, Kenji; Vargo, Edward L; Kawatsu, Kazutaka; Labadie, Paul E; Nakano, Hiroko; Yashiro, Toshihisa; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2009-03-27

    The evolution and maintenance of sexual reproduction may involve important tradeoffs because asexual reproduction can double an individual's contribution to the gene pool but reduces diversity. Moreover, in social insects the maintenance of genetic diversity among workers may be important for colony growth and survival. We identified a previously unknown termite breeding system in which both parthenogenesis and sexual reproduction are conditionally used. Queens produce their replacements asexually but use normal sexual reproduction to produce other colony members. These findings show how eusociality can lead to extraordinary reproductive systems and provide important insights into the advantages and disadvantages of sex.

  6. Three mechanisms of Red Queen dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Khibnik, A. I.; Kondrashov, A. S.

    1997-01-01

    Models describing systems of coevolving populations often have asymptotically non-equilibrium dynamics (Red Queen dynamics (RQD)). We claim that if evolution is much slower than ecological changes, RQD arises due to either fast ecological processes, slow genetical processes, or to their interaction. The three corresponding generic types of RQD can be studied using singular perturbation theory and have very different properties and biological implications. We present simple examples of ecological, genetical, and ecogenetical RQD and describe how they may be recognized in natural populations. In particular, ecogenetical RQD often involve alternations of long epochs with radically different dynamics.

  7. Vitellogenin, juvenile hormone, insulin signaling, and queen honey bee longevity

    PubMed Central

    Corona, Miguel; Velarde, Rodrigo A.; Remolina, Silvia; Moran-Lauter, Adrienne; Wang, Ying; Hughes, Kimberly A.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2007-01-01

    In most animals, longevity is achieved at the expense of fertility, but queen honey bees do not show this tradeoff. Queens are both long-lived and fertile, whereas workers, derived from the same genome, are both relatively short-lived and normally sterile. It has been suggested, on the basis of results from workers, that vitellogenin (Vg), best known as a yolk protein synthesized in the abdominal fat body, acts as an antioxidant to promote longevity in queen bees. We explored this hypothesis, as well as related roles of insulin–IGF-1 signaling and juvenile hormone. Vg was expressed in thorax and head fat body cells in an age-dependent manner, with old queens showing much higher expression than workers. In contrast, Vg expression in worker head was much lower. Queens also were more resistant to oxidative stress than workers. These results support the hypothesis that caste-specific differences in Vg expression are involved in queen longevity. Consistent with predictions from Drosophila, old queens had lower head expression of insulin-like peptide and its putative receptors than did old workers. Juvenile hormone affected the expression of Vg and insulin–IGF-1 signaling genes in opposite directions. These results suggest that conserved and species-specific mechanisms interact to regulate queen bee longevity without sacrificing fecundity. PMID:17438290

  8. Changes in mating system and social structure of the ant Petalomyrmex phylax are associated with range expansion in Cameroon.

    PubMed

    Dalecky, Ambroise; Debout, Gabriel; Estoup, Arnaud; McKey, Doyle B; Kjellberg, Finn

    2007-03-01

    Past climate shifts have led to major oscillations in species distributions. Hence historical contingencies and selective processes occurring during such phases may be determinants for understanding the forces that have shaped extant phenotypes. In the plant-ant Petalomyrmex phylax (Formicinae), we observed spatial variation in number of queens in mature colonies, from several queens (high polygyny) in the median part of its distribution to a moderate number of queens (weak polygyny) or even only a single queen (monogyny) in the southwesternmost populations. This variation did not correlate with indicators of variation in current nest site availability and colony turnover, the supposedly determinant selective forces acting on gyny in ants. We show here that the variation in social structure correlates with a historical process corresponding to a progressive colonization of coastal southern Cameroon by the ant. Using microsatellite markers, we observed a clear pattern of isolation by distance except for the southernmost populations. Measures of genetic variability that do not take into account allele size were at equilibrium in all except the southernmost populations, suggesting recent foundation of the latter. Measures of genetic diversity taking into account allele size showed a clinal north-south decrease in variance of allele size. We propose that southern populations have yet to regain allele size variance after bottlenecks associated with the foundation of new populations, and that this variance is regained over time. Hence variation in social structure mirrors an old but still active southward colonization process or metapopulation dynamics, possibly in association with an expansion of the rain forest habitat during the late Holocene. A low number of queens in ant colonies is typically associated with strong dispersal capacity. We therefore suggest that the initial founders of new populations belong to the monogynous to weakly polygynous phenotype, and that

  9. Ants exhibit asymmetric hybridization in a mosaic hybrid zone.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Zahnd, Sacha; Athanasiades, Anouk; Türler, Rebecca; Chapuisat, Michel; Brelsford, Alan

    2016-10-01

    Research on hybridization between species provides unparalleled insights into the pre- and postzygotic isolating mechanisms that drive speciation. In social organisms, colony-level incompatibilities may provide additional reproductive barriers not present in solitary species, and hybrid zones offer an opportunity to identify these barriers. Here, we use genotyping-by-sequencing to sequence hundreds of markers in a hybrid zone between two socially polymorphic ant species, Formica selysi and Formica cinerea. We characterize the zone, determine the frequency of hybrid workers, infer whether hybrid queens or males are produced and investigate whether hybridization is influenced by colony social organization. We also compare cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and aggression levels between the two species. The hybrid zone exhibits a mosaic structure. The asymmetric distribution of hybrids skewed towards F. cinerea suggests a pattern of unidirectional nuclear gene flow from F. selysi into F. cinerea. The occurrence of backcrossed individuals indicates that hybrid queens and/or males are fertile, and the presence of the F. cinerea mitochondrial haplotype in 97% of hybrids shows that successful F1 hybrids will generally have F. cinerea mothers and F. selysi fathers. We found no evidence that social organization contributes to speciation, because hybrids occur in both single-queen and multiple-queen colonies. Strongly differentiated cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and heightened interspecific aggression further reveal that species recognition cues are both present and perceived. The discovery of fertile hybrids and asymmetrical gene flow is unusual in ants, and this hybrid zone will therefore provide an ideal system with which to investigate speciation in social insects.

  10. Ant Colonies Do Not Trade-Off Reproduction against Maintenance.

    PubMed

    Kramer, Boris H; Schrempf, Alexandra; Scheuerlein, Alexander; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-01-01

    The question on how individuals allocate resources into maintenance and reproduction is one of the central questions in life history theory. Yet, resource allocation into maintenance on the organismic level can only be measured indirectly. This is different in a social insect colony, a "superorganism" where workers represent the soma and the queen the germ line of the colony. Here, we investigate whether trade-offs exist between maintenance and reproduction on two levels of biological organization, queens and colonies, by following single-queen colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior throughout the entire lifespan of the queen. Our results show that maintenance and reproduction are positively correlated on the colony level, and we confirm results of an earlier study that found no trade-off on the individual (queen) level. We attribute this unexpected outcome to the existence of a positive feedback loop where investment into maintenance (workers) increases the rate of resource acquisition under laboratory conditions. Even though food was provided ad libitum, variation in productivity among the colonies suggests that resources can only be utilized and invested into additional maintenance and reproduction by the colony if enough workers are available. The resulting relationship between per-capita and colony productivity in our study fits well with other studies conducted in the field, where decreasing per-capita productivity and the leveling off of colony productivity have been linked to density dependent effects due to competition among colonies. This suggests that the absence of trade-offs in our laboratory study might also be prevalent under natural conditions, leading to a positive association of maintenance, (= growth) and reproduction. In this respect, insect colonies resemble indeterminate growing organisms.

  11. Factors influencing survival duration and choice of virgin queens in the stingless bee Melipona quadrifasciata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kärcher, Martin H.; Menezes, Cristiano; Alves, Denise A.; Beveridge, Oliver S.; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera-Lucia; Ratnieks, Francis L. W.

    2013-06-01

    In Melipona quadrifasciata, about 10 % of the females develop into queens, almost all of which are killed. Occasionally, a new queen replaces or supersedes the mother queen or heads a new colony. We investigated virgin queen fate in queenright and queenless colonies to determine the effects of queen behaviour, body mass, nestmate or non-nestmate status, queenright or queenless colony status, and, when queenless, the effect of the time a colony had been queenless, on survival duration and acceptance. None of 220 virgin queens observed in four observation hives ever attacked another virgin queen nor did any of 88 virgin queens introduced into queenright colonies ever attack the resident queen. A new queen was only accepted in a queenless colony. Factors increasing survival duration and acceptance of virgin queens were to emerge from its cell at 2 h of queenlessness, to hide, and to avoid fights with workers. In this way, a virgin queen was more likely to be available when a colony chooses a new queen, 24-48 h after resident queen removal. Running, walking or resting, antennating or trophallaxis, played little or no role, as did the factors body mass or nestmate. "Queen choice" took about 2 h during which time other virgin queens were still being killed by workers. During this agitated process, the bees congregated around the new queen. She inflated her abdomen and some of the workers deposited a substance on internal nest surfaces including the glass lid of the observation hive.

  12. Selenium exposure results in reduced reproduction in an invasive ant species and altered competitive behavior for a native ant species.

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL(-1)) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL(-1)) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species.

  13. The Natural History of the Arboreal Ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2002-01-01

    The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm2 in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations. Founding queens containabout 50% fat and lose about half of their dry weight during the claustral period, converting approximately half of this lost weight into progeny. The claustral period is about 40 to 50 days at 27°C. Mature colonies contain several tens of thousands of workers (est. up to 80,000), and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Each colony occupies an entire tree, and sometimes two trees if they are close together. Within a colony, there is a single queen capable of laying up to

  14. The natural history of the arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2002-01-01

    The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm(2) in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations. Founding queens contain about 50% fat and lose about half of their dry weight during the claustral period, converting approximately half of this lost weight into progeny. The claustral period is about 40 to 50 days at 27 degrees C. Mature colonies contain several tens of thousands of workers (est. up to 80,000), and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Each colony occupies an entire tree, and sometimes two trees if they are close together. Within a colony, there is a single queen capable of

  15. Bacterial microbiomes from vertically transmitted fungal inocula of the leaf-cutting ant Atta texana.

    PubMed

    Meirelles, Lucas A; McFrederick, Quinn S; Rodrigues, Andre; Mantovani, Joana D; de Melo Rodovalho, Cynara; Ferreira, Henrique; Bacci, Maurício; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2016-06-06

    Microbiome surveys provide clues for the functional roles of symbiotic microbial communities and their hosts. In this study, we elucidated bacterial microbiomes associated with the vertically transmitted fungal inocula (pellets) used by foundress queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta texana as starter-cultures for new gardens. As reference microbiomes, we also surveyed bacterial microbiomes of foundress queens, gardens and brood of incipient nests. Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Propionibacterium and Corynebacterium were consistently present in high abundance in microbiomes. Some pellet and ant samples contained abundant bacteria from an Entomoplasmatales-clade, and a separate PCR-based survey of Entomoplasmatales bacteria in eight attine ant-genera from Brazil placed these bacteria in a monophyletic clade within the bacterial genus Mesoplasma. The attine ant-Mesoplasma association parallels a similar association between a closely related, monophyletic Entomoplasmatales-clade and army ants. Of thirteen A. texana nests surveyed, three nests with exceptionally high Mesoplasma abundance died, whereas the other nests survived. It is unclear whether Mesoplasma was the primary cause of mortality, or Mesoplasma became abundant in moribund nests for non-pathogenic reasons. However, the consistent and geographically widespread presence of Mesoplasma suggests an important functional role in the association with attine ants.

  16. Can't take the heat: high temperature depletes bacterial endosymbionts of ants.

    PubMed

    Fan, Yongliang; Wernegreen, Jennifer J

    2013-10-01

    Members of the ant tribe Camponotini have coevolved with Blochmannia, an obligate intracellular bacterial mutualist. This endosymbiont lives within host bacteriocyte cells that line the ant midgut, undergoes maternal transmission from host queens to offspring, and contributes to host nutrition via nitrogen recycling and nutrient biosynthesis. While elevated temperature has been shown to disrupt obligate bacterial mutualists of some insects, its impact on the ant-Blochmannia partnership is less clear. Here, we test the effect of heat on the density of Blochmannia in two related Camponotus species in the lab. Transcriptionally active Blochmannia were quantified using RT-qPCR as the ratio of Blochmannia 16S rRNA to ant host elongation factor 1-α transcripts. Our results showed that 4 weeks of heat treatment depleted active Blochmannia by >99 % in minor workers and unmated queens. However, complete elimination of Blochmannia transcripts rarely occurred, even after 16 weeks of heat treatment. Possible mechanisms of observed thermal sensitivity may include extreme AT-richness and related features of Blochmannia genomes, as well as host stress responses. Broadly, the observed depletion of an essential microbial mutualist in heat-treated ants is analogous to the loss of zooanthellae during coral bleaching. While the ecological relevance of Blochmannia's thermal sensitivity is uncertain, our results argue that symbiont dynamics should be part of models predicting how ants and other animals will respond and adapt to a warming climate.

  17. Diploid males, diploid sperm production, and triploid females in the ant Tapinoma erraticum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cournault, Laurent; Aron, Serge

    2009-12-01

    Under complementary sex determination (CSD), females of Hymenoptera arise from diploid, fertilized eggs and males from haploid, unfertilized eggs. Incidentally, fertilized eggs that inherit two identical alleles at the CSD locus will develop into diploid males. Diploid males are usually unviable or sterile. In a few species, however, they produce diploid sperm and father a triploid female progeny. Diploid males have been reported in a number of social Hymenoptera, but the occurrence of triploid females has hardly ever been documented. Here, we report the presence of triploid females, diploid males, and diploid sperm (produced by diploid males and stored in queen spermathecae) in the ant Tapinoma erraticum. Moreover, we show variations in the frequency of triploids among female castes: Triploid females are more frequent among workers than virgin queens; they are absent among mated, reproductive queens. The frequency of triploid workers also varies between populations and between nests within populations.

  18. Lifespan differences between queens and workers are not explained by rates of molecular damage.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Eric R; Augustyniak, Maria; Kędziorski, Andrzej; Keller, Laurent

    2017-03-08

    The biological processes that underlie senescence are of universal biological importance, yet they remain poorly understood. A popular theory proposes that senescence is the result of limited investment into mechanisms involved in the prevention and repair of molecular damage, leading to an accumulation of molecular damage with age. In ants, queen and worker lifespans differ by an order of magnitude, and this remarkable difference in lifespan has been shown to be associated with differences in the expression of genes involved in DNA and protein repair. Here we use the comet assay and Western Blotting for poly-ubiquitinated proteins to explore whether these differences in expression lead to differences in the accumulation of DNA damage (comet assay) or protein damage (protein ubiquitination) with age. Surprisingly, there was no difference between queens and workers in the rate of accumulation of DNA damage. We also found that levels of ubiquitinated proteins decreased with age, as previously reported in honeybees. This is in contrast to what has been found in model organisms such as worms and flies. Overall, these results reveal that the link between investment into macromolecular repair, age-related damage accumulation and lifespan is more complex than usually recognised.

  19. Plant-derived differences in the composition of aphid honeydew and their effects on colonies of aphid-tending ants.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Novo, Alexandria; Ableson, Ian; Barbehenn, Raymond V; Vannette, Rachel L

    2014-11-01

    In plant-ant-hemipteran interactions, ants visit plants to consume the honeydew produced by phloem-feeding hemipterans. If genetically based differences in plant phloem chemistry change the chemical composition of hemipteran honeydew, then the plant's genetic constitution could have indirect effects on ants via the hemipterans. If such effects change ant behavior, they could feed back to affect the plant itself. We compared the chemical composition of honeydews produced by Aphis nerii aphid clones on two milkweed congeners, Asclepias curassavica and Asclepias incarnata, and we measured the responses of experimental Linepithema humile ant colonies to these honeydews. The compositions of secondary metabolites, sugars, and amino acids differed significantly in the honeydews from the two plant species. Ant colonies feeding on honeydew derived from A. incarnata recruited in higher numbers to artificial diet, maintained higher queen and worker dry weight, and sustained marginally more workers than ants feeding on honeydew derived from A. curassavica. Ants feeding on honeydew from A. incarnata were also more exploratory in behavioral assays than ants feeding from A. curassavica. Despite performing better when feeding on the A. incarnata honeydew, ant workers marginally preferred honeydew from A. curassavica to honeydew from A. incarnata when given a choice. Our results demonstrate that plant congeners can exert strong indirect effects on ant colonies by means of plant-species-specific differences in aphid honeydew chemistry. Moreover, these effects changed ant behavior and thus could feed back to affect plant performance in the field.

  20. Dual effect of wasp queen pheromone in regulating insect sociality.

    PubMed

    Oi, Cintia A; Van Oystaeyen, Annette; Caliari Oliveira, Ricardo; Millar, Jocelyn G; Verstrepen, Kevin J; van Zweden, Jelle S; Wenseleers, Tom

    2015-06-15

    Eusocial insects exhibit a remarkable reproductive division of labor between queens and largely sterile workers [1, 2]. Recently, it was shown that queens of diverse groups of social insects employ specific, evolutionarily conserved cuticular hydrocarbons to signal their presence and inhibit worker reproduction [3]. Workers also recognize and discriminate between eggs laid by the queen and those laid by workers, with the latter being destroyed by workers in a process known as "policing" [4, 5]. Worker policing represents a classic example of a conflict-reducing mechanism, in which the reproductive monopoly of the queen is maintained through the selective destruction of worker-laid eggs [5, 6]. However, the exact signals used in worker policing have thus far remained elusive [5, 7]. Here, we show that in the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris, the pheromone that signals egg maternity and enables the workers to selectively destroy worker-laid eggs is in fact the same as one of the sterility-inducing queen signals that we identified earlier [3]. These results imply that queen pheromones regulate insect sociality in two distinct and complementary ways, i.e., by signaling the queen's presence and inhibiting worker reproduction, and by facilitating the recognition and policing of worker-laid eggs.

  1. Comparative analysis of fertility signals and sex-specific cuticular chemical profiles of Odontomachus trap-jaw ants.

    PubMed

    Smith, Adrian A; Millar, Jocelyn G; Suarez, Andrew V

    2016-02-01

    The lipid mixture that coats the insect cuticle contains a number of chemical signals. Mate choice in solitary insects is mediated by sexually dimorphic cuticular chemistry, whereas in eusocial insects, these profiles provide information through which colony members are identified and the fertility status of individuals is assessed. Profiles of queens and workers have been described for a number of eusocial species, but there have been few comparisons of fertility signals among closely related species. Additionally, sexual dimorphism in cuticular lipid profiles has only been reported in two species of ants. This study describes the cuticular chemical profiles of queens, workers and males of three species of Odontomachus trap-jaw ants: O. ruginodis, O. relictus and O. haematodus. These are compared with fertility signals and sexually dimorphic profiles already described from O. brunneus. We report that fertility signals are not conserved within this genus: chemical compounds that distinguish queens from workers vary in number and type among the species. Furthermore, the compounds that were most abundant in cuticular extracts of O. ruginodis queens relative to workers were novel 2,5-dialkyltetrahydrofurans. Bioassays of extracts of O. ruginodis queens indicate that the dialkyltetrahydrofuran and hydrocarbon fractions of the profile are likely to work synergistically in eliciting behavioral responses from workers. In contrast, cuticular lipids that distinguish males from females are more conserved across species, with isomeric and relative abundance variations comprising the main differences among species. Our results provide new insights into how these contact chemical signals may have arisen and evolved within eusocial insects.

  2. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    . They generally have multiple queens per colony, are unicolonial (lacking internest aggression), quickly recruit to food items, thrive in a variety of habitats including disturbed areas, and can be highly aggressive to other ant species (McGlynn 1999). Hawaii’s arthropod fauna evolved in the absence of ants and has been observed by many biologists to be highly vulnerable to displacement by non-native ants. Pacific island biotas have also very likely suffered greatly from displacement by ants. However, in contrast to Hawaii, virtually nothing has been published on effects of non-native ants on native arthropod fauna elsewhere on Pacific islands, with the exception of the Galapagos archipelago, which may have at least four species of endemic ants (Lubin 1984, Nishida and Evenhuis 2000) and New Caledonia (Jourdan et al. 2001, Le Breton et al. 2005). In addition, many ant species in the Pacific have long been a nuisance for humans, and significant agricultural impacts have occurred from ants tending hemipteran insects of crop plants.

  3. Histological Estimates of Ovariole Number in Honey Bee Queens, Apis mellifera, Reveal Lack of Correlation with other Queen Quality Measures

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Jeffrey T.; Tarpy, David R.; Fahrbach, Susan E.

    2011-01-01

    Published estimates of the number of ovarioles found in the ovaries of honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queens range from 100 to 180 per ovary. Within the context of a large-scale study designed to assay the overall quality of queens obtained from various commercial sources, a simple histology-based method for accurate determination of ovariole number was developed and then applied to a sample of 75 queens. Although all 10 commercial sources evaluated provided queens with ovariole numbers within the expected range, ovariole number was found to vary significantly across sources. Overall, and within most of the individual samples, there was no correlation of ovariole number with other morphological attributes such as thoracic width, wing length, or wet weight. Queens from two of the sources, however, displayed a significant negative relationship between wet weight and ovariole number. This study provides baseline data on ovariole number in commercial honey bee queens in the United States at a time when honey bee populations are declining; the method described can be used in studies relating ovariole number in queens to egg production and behavior. PMID:21870968

  4. Histological estimates of ovariole number in honey bee queens, Apis mellifera, reveal lack of correlation with other queen quality measures.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Jeffrey T; Tarpy, David R; Fahrbach, Susan E

    2011-01-01

    Published estimates of the number of ovarioles found in the ovaries of honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queens range from 100 to 180 per ovary. Within the context of a large-scale study designed to assay the overall quality of queens obtained from various commercial sources, a simple histology-based method for accurate determination of ovariole number was developed and then applied to a sample of 75 queens. Although all 10 commercial sources evaluated provided queens with ovariole numbers within the expected range, ovariole number was found to vary significantly across sources. Overall, and within most of the individual samples, there was no correlation of ovariole number with other morphological attributes such as thoracic width, wing length, or wet weight. Queens from two of the sources, however, displayed a significant negative relationship between wet weight and ovariole number. This study provides baseline data on ovariole number in commercial honey bee queens in the United States at a time when honey bee populations are declining; the method described can be used in studies relating ovariole number in queens to egg production and behavior.

  5. Multiple Convergent Origins of Workerlessness and Inbreeding in the Socially Parasitic Ant Genus Myrmoxenus

    PubMed Central

    Heinze, Jürgen; Buschinger, Alfred; Poettinger, Theo; Suefuji, Masaki

    2015-01-01

    The socially parasitic ant genus Myrmoxenus varies strongly in fundamental life history traits, such as queen-worker ratio, the timing of sexual production, and mating behavior. Myrmoxenus queens generally take over nests of Temnothorax ants, kill the resident queen by throttling, and force the workers to take care of the social parasite’s brood. Young queens of M. ravouxi and other species produce large numbers of workers, which during “slave-raids” pillage host pupae from neighboring Temnothorax colonies to increase the workforce in their own nests. Other species, such as M. corsicus, have lost caste polyphenism and rear only male and female sexual offspring. Using sequences of the genes CO I / CO II and wingless we reconstruct the phylogeny of Myrmoxenus and document that the worker caste was lost convergently at least three times. Furthermore, mating in the nest and inbreeding obviously also evolved in parallel from ancestors whose sexuals presumably mated during nuptial flights. Myrmoxenus might thus provide a suitable model to investigate caste differentiation and the plasticity of mating behavior in Hymenoptera. PMID:26221735

  6. Taxonomic studies on the ant genus Cerapachys Smith (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from India

    PubMed Central

    Bharti, Himender; Akbar, Shahid Ali

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The Indianspeciesof the ant genus Cerapachys Smith are keyed. Twelve species are recognized of which 6 are described as new. The species are: Cerapachys aitkenii Forel, Cerapachys alii sp. n., Cerapachys anokha sp. n., Cerapachys besucheti Brown, Cerapachys biroi Forel, Cerapachys indicus Brown, Cerapachys longitarsus (Mayr), Cerapachys nayana sp. n., Cerapachys schoedli sp. n., Cerapachys seema sp. n., Cerapachys sulcinodis Emery and Cerapachys wighti sp. n. Geographic distribution and group affinities of the new species are discussed. A revised key to the Indian species is provided. The rare ergatoid queens of Cerapachys nayana, Cerapachys schoedli and Cerapachys seema are reported. Formed in response to selective pressures these ergatoid queens have a significant role in dispersal strategies and contribute much to our understanding of the biology of these ants. PMID:24146574

  7. No sex in fungus-farming ants or their crops

    PubMed Central

    Himler, Anna G.; Caldera, Eric J.; Baer, Boris C.; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Mueller, Ulrich G.

    2009-01-01

    Asexual reproduction imposes evolutionary handicaps on asexual species, rendering them prone to extinction, because asexual reproduction generates novel genotypes and purges deleterious mutations at lower rates than sexual reproduction. Here, we report the first case of complete asexuality in ants, the fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus smithii, where queens reproduce asexually but workers are sterile, which is doubly enigmatic because the clonal colonies of M. smithii also depend on clonal fungi for food. Degenerate female mating anatomy, extensive field and laboratory surveys, and DNA fingerprinting implicate complete asexuality in this widespread ant species. Maternally inherited bacteria (e.g. Wolbachia, Cardinium) and the fungal cultivars can be ruled out as agents inducing asexuality. M. smithii societies of clonal females provide a unique system to test theories of parent–offspring conflict and reproductive policing in social insects. Asexuality of both ant farmer and fungal crop challenges traditional views proposing that sexual farmer ants outpace coevolving sexual crop pathogens, and thus compensate for vulnerabilities of their asexual crops. Either the double asexuality of both farmer and crop may permit the host to fully exploit advantages of asexuality for unknown reasons or frequent switching between crops (symbiont reassociation) generates novel ant–fungus combinations, which may compensate for any evolutionary handicaps of asexuality in M. smithii. PMID:19369264

  8. Regulation of host workers' oviposition by the social parasite ant Polyergus samurai.

    PubMed

    Tsuneoka, Yousuke

    2014-07-01

    Polyergus samurai, an obligatory social parasite ant, lacks the ability to perform usual colony tasks. It depends completely on host Formica japonica workers. In the mixed colony, arrhenotokous reproduction by host workers must be detrimental to the parasites. This study, conducted under artificial rearing conditions, investigated the behavioral influence by P. samurai worker on the production of host workers' male eggs. Host workers started laying eggs when the P. samurai queen was removed, but most eggs were destroyed by P. samurai workers. In a queenless condition, P. samurai workers showed frequent intraspecific dominance interactions, but few interspecific ones. After a short while the P. samurai worker started laying eggs, the F. japonica worker stopped laying eggs. The ovary had no mature oocyte. These results suggest that both the P. samurai queen and dominant workers can inhibit host workers' oviposition. A mesh experiment revealed that the dominant P. samurai workers were able to inhibit host workers' oviposition without contacts. The dominant workers and queens of P. samurai frequently received grooming and trophallaxis from host workers just as a host queen does, suggesting that the parasites secreted similar products to those of the host queen to inhibit the host workers' oviposition.

  9. 50 CFR 622.493 - Landing Caribbean queen conch intact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... conch intact. (a) A Caribbean queen conch in or from the Caribbean EEZ must be maintained with meat and shell intact. (b) The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring...

  10. 50 CFR 622.493 - Landing Caribbean queen conch intact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... conch intact. (a) A Caribbean queen conch in or from the Caribbean EEZ must be maintained with meat and shell intact. (b) The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring...

  11. Queens become workers: pesticides alter caste differentiation in bees.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos, Charles F; Acosta, André L; Dorneles, Andressa L; Dos Santos, Patrick D S; Blochtein, Betina

    2016-08-17

    Bees are important for the world biodiversity and economy because they provide key pollination services in forests and crops. However, pesticide use in crops has adversely affected (decreased) queen production because of increased mortality among larvae. Here, we demonstrated that in vitro-reared queens of a neotropical social bee species (Plebeia droryana) also showed high larval mortality after exposure to an organophosphate pesticide (chlorpyrifos) via larval food. Moreover, most of the surviving larvae that were destined to develop into queens became workers more likely because they ate less food than expected without pesticide skewing thus caste differentiation in this bee species. This adverse effect has not been previously reported for any other social insects, such as honeybees or bumblebees. Queens are essential for breeding and colony growth. Therefore, if our data are applicable to other pantropical social bee species across the globe, it is likely that these bees are at a serious risk of failure to form new colonies.

  12. Radar detection of drones responding to honeybee queen pheromone.

    PubMed

    Loper, G M; Wolf, W W; Taylor, O R

    1993-09-01

    The response of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) drones to queen pheromone(s) (either natural from a mated queen, or synthetic from a lure) was recorded using an X-band, ground-based radar. The distribution of drones (insect targets on the radar screen) changed from a scattered distribution to a line concentration (downwind) when the pheromone was released. Displacement within the line concentration was toward the pheromone. This response was seen as far as 800±15 m downwind from a lure with 10 mg of synthetic 9-oxodec-trans-2-enoic acid (9-ODA) and as far as 420±15 m from a mated queen. These studies demonstrate that queen pheromone can be detected by drones at much greater distances than previously believed and illustrate how X-band radar may be used to establish the distances at which insects of similar or larger size respond to pheromones.

  13. Queens become workers: pesticides alter caste differentiation in bees

    PubMed Central

    dos Santos, Charles F.; Acosta, André L.; Dorneles, Andressa L.; dos Santos, Patrick D. S.; Blochtein, Betina

    2016-01-01

    Bees are important for the world biodiversity and economy because they provide key pollination services in forests and crops. However, pesticide use in crops has adversely affected (decreased) queen production because of increased mortality among larvae. Here, we demonstrated that in vitro-reared queens of a neotropical social bee species (Plebeia droryana) also showed high larval mortality after exposure to an organophosphate pesticide (chlorpyrifos) via larval food. Moreover, most of the surviving larvae that were destined to develop into queens became workers more likely because they ate less food than expected without pesticide skewing thus caste differentiation in this bee species. This adverse effect has not been previously reported for any other social insects, such as honeybees or bumblebees. Queens are essential for breeding and colony growth. Therefore, if our data are applicable to other pantropical social bee species across the globe, it is likely that these bees are at a serious risk of failure to form new colonies. PMID:27530246

  14. Invasive ants alter foraging and parental behaviors of a native bird

    PubMed Central

    Siefferman, Lynn; Hill, Geoffrey E.

    2012-01-01

    Introduced species can exert outsized impacts on native biota through both direct (predation) and indirect (competition) effects. Ants frequently become established in new areas after being transported by humans across traditional biological or geographical barriers, and a prime example of such establishment is the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Introduced to North America in the 1930's, red imported fire ants are now firmly established throughout the southeastern United States. Although these invasive predators can dramatically impact native arthropods, their effect on vertebrates through resource competition is essentially unknown. Using a paired experimental design, we compared patterns of foraging and rates of provisioning for breeding eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) in unmanipulated (control) territories to those in adjacent (treated) territories where fire ants were experimentally reduced. Bluebirds inhabiting treated territories foraged nearer their nests and provisioned offspring more frequently than bluebirds inhabiting control territories with unmanipulated fire ant levels. Additionally, nestlings from treated territories were in better condition than those from control territories, though these differences were largely confined to early development. The elimination of significant differences in body condition towards the end of the nestling period suggests that bluebird parents in control territories were able to make up the food deficit caused by fire ants, potentially by working harder to adequately provision their offspring. The relationship between fire ant abundance and bluebird behavior hints at the complexity of ecological communities and suggests negative effects of invasive species are not limited to taxa with which they have direct contact. PMID:22844172

  15. The ant genus Carebara Westwood in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Sharaf, Mostafa R.; Aldawood, Abdulrahman S.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The ant genus Carebara of the Arabian Peninsula is revised. Carebara abuhurayri Sharaf & Aldawood, 2011 is synonymized under Carebara arabica Collingwood & van Harten, 2001. Carebara arabica is redescribed and a Neotype is fixed based on a specimen collected from southwestern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A new species, C. fayrouzae sp. n. is described from Saudi Arabia based on queens, major and minor workers. Keys to major and minor workers of the two Arabian Carebara species are given. PMID:24363580

  16. Plant-derived differences in the composition of aphid honeydew and their effects on colonies of aphid-tending ants

    PubMed Central

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Novo, Alexandria; Ableson, Ian; Barbehenn, Raymond V; Vannette, Rachel L

    2014-01-01

    In plant–ant–hemipteran interactions, ants visit plants to consume the honeydew produced by phloem-feeding hemipterans. If genetically based differences in plant phloem chemistry change the chemical composition of hemipteran honeydew, then the plant's genetic constitution could have indirect effects on ants via the hemipterans. If such effects change ant behavior, they could feed back to affect the plant itself. We compared the chemical composition of honeydews produced by Aphis nerii aphid clones on two milkweed congeners, Asclepias curassavica and Asclepias incarnata, and we measured the responses of experimental Linepithema humile ant colonies to these honeydews. The compositions of secondary metabolites, sugars, and amino acids differed significantly in the honeydews from the two plant species. Ant colonies feeding on honeydew derived from A. incarnata recruited in higher numbers to artificial diet, maintained higher queen and worker dry weight, and sustained marginally more workers than ants feeding on honeydew derived from A. curassavica. Ants feeding on honeydew from A. incarnata were also more exploratory in behavioral assays than ants feeding from A. curassavica. Despite performing better when feeding on the A. incarnata honeydew, ant workers marginally preferred honeydew from A. curassavica to honeydew from A. incarnata when given a choice. Our results demonstrate that plant congeners can exert strong indirect effects on ant colonies by means of plant-species-specific differences in aphid honeydew chemistry. Moreover, these effects changed ant behavior and thus could feed back to affect plant performance in the field. PMID:25505534

  17. Occurrence of sexuals of African weaver ant (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) under a bimodal rainfall pattern in eastern Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Rwegasira, R G; Mwatawala, M; Rwegasira, G M; Offenberg, J

    2015-04-01

    The African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda, is being utilized as a biocontrol agent and may also be targeted for future protein production. Rearing of mated queens in nurseries for colony production is needed to cater for such demands. Thus, newly mated queens must be collected for use as seed stocks in the nurseries. To collect mated queens efficiently it is important to identify when sexuals occur in mature colonies. We studied the occurrence of sexuals in O. longinoda colonies for 2 years in Tanga, Tanzania, a region characterized by a bimodal rainfall pattern. We found that O. longinoda sexuals occurred almost throughout the year with abundance peaks from January to April. Production of sexuals appeared to be triggered by rainfall, suggesting that populations in areas with long rainy periods may show prolonged mating periods compared to populations experiencing extended dry periods. The bimodal rain pattern may thus cause a low production over a long period. The average yearly production of queens per tree and per colony was estimated to be 449 and 2753, respectively. The average number of queens per nest was 17. Worker abundance declined from January to March with minimum by the end of this period, being inversely proportional to the production of sexuals. In conclusion, mated queens may be collected almost throughout the year, but most efficiently by the onset of the long rainy season when the majority disperse.

  18. Morphology of a novel glandular epithelium lining the infrabuccal cavity in the ant Monomorium pharaonis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Eelen, Dieter; Børgesen, Lisbeth W; Billen, Johan

    2004-10-01

    A novel glandular epithelium lining the infrabuccal cavity and anterior pharynx is described in both workers and queens of the pharaoh's ant Monomorium pharaonis. The infrabuccal cavity, connected with the buccal tube, forms a ventral outgrowth of the anterior pharynx, and as such displays the tegumental lining with a cuticle and an epithelial layer. In its dorsal region, the cavity's epithelium reaches a thickness of approx. 11-12mum in both workers and queens, which is considerably thicker than the epithelium lining the rest of the infrabuccal cavity. Also the possible role of the infrabuccal gland is discussed.

  19. Asexual queen succession in the higher termite Embiratermes neotenicus

    PubMed Central

    Fougeyrollas, Romain; Dolejšová, Klára; Sillam-Dussès, David; Roy, Virginie; Poteaux, Chantal; Hanus, Robert; Roisin, Yves

    2015-01-01

    Asexual queen succession (AQS), in which workers, soldiers and dispersing reproductives are produced sexually while numerous non-dispersing queens arise through thelytokous parthenogenesis, has recently been described in three species of lower termites of the genus Reticulitermes. Here, we show that AQS is not an oddity restricted to a single genus of lower termites, but a more widespread strategy occurring also in the most advanced termite group, the higher termites (Termitidae). We analysed the genetic structure in 10 colonies of the Neotropical higher termite Embiratermes neotenicus (Syntermitinae) using five newly developed polymorphic microsatellite loci. The colonies contained one primary king accompanied either by a single primary queen or by up to almost 200 neotenic queens. While the workers, the soldiers and most future dispersing reproductives were produced sexually, the non-dispersing neotenic queens originated through thelytokous parthenogenesis of the founding primary queen. Surprisingly, the mode of thelytoky observed in E. neotenicus is most probably automixis with central fusion, contrasting with the automixis with terminal fusion documented in Reticulitermes. The occurrence of AQS based on different mechanisms of ploidy restoration raises the hypothesis of an independent evolutionary origin of this unique reproductive strategy in individual lineages of lower and higher termites. PMID:26019158

  20. Cryptic lineages hybridize for worker production in the harvester ant Messor barbarus

    PubMed Central

    Darras, Hugo; Aron, Serge

    2016-01-01

    The reproductive division of labour between queen and worker castes in social insects is a defining characteristic of eusociality and a classic example of phenotypic plasticity. Whether social insect larvae develop into queens or workers has long been thought to be determined by environmental cues, i.e. larvae are developmentally totipotent. Contrary to this paradigm, several recent studies have revealed that caste is determined by genotype in some ant species, but whether this is restricted to just a few exceptional species is still unclear. Here, we show that the Mediterranean harvester ant Messor barbarus possesses an unusual reproductive system, in which the female castes are genetically determined. Using both nuclear and mitochondrial data, we show that Iberian populations have two distinct, cryptic lineages. Workers are always inter-lineage hybrids whereas queens are always produced from pure-lineage matings. The results suggest that genetic caste determination may be more widespread in ants than previously thought, and that further investigation in other species is needed to understand the frequency and evolution of this remarkable reproductive system. PMID:27852941

  1. The Seasonal Natural History of the Ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida

    PubMed Central

    Laskis, Kristina O.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2009-01-01

    Dolichoderus mariae Forel, (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is an uncommon, monomorphic but locally abundant, reddish-brown ant of peculiar nesting habits, whose range includes most of the eastern USA. In north Florida the ant excavates soil under wiregrass clumps or other plants with fibrous roots to form a single, large, shallow, conical or ovoid chamber broadly open to the surface around the plant base. Colonies are highly polygyne and, during the warm season, inhabit multiple nests connected only by above ground trails, over which nests exchange workers. Although monomorphic, worker size may differ significantly between colonies. The colony cycle is dominated by strong seasonal polydomy. From one or two over-wintering nests, the colonies expanded to occupy up to 60 nests by late summer, then retract once more to one or two nests by mid-winter. The worker-to-queen ratio changed greatly during this cycle, with over two thousand workers per queen during fall and winter, dropping to a low of about 300 during midsummer. Most of these summer queens probably die during the fall. Colonies reoccupy roughly the same area year to year even though they contract down to one or two nests in winter. Observation of fights in the contact zone between colonies suggested that the colonies are territorial. The ants subsist by tending aphids and scale insects for honeydew and scavenging for dead insects within their territories. PMID:19611227

  2. A cuckoo-like parasitic moth leads African weaver ant colonies to their ruin

    PubMed Central

    Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme; Azémar, Frédéric; Hérault, Bruno; Corbara, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    In myrmecophilous Lepidoptera, mostly lycaenids and riodinids, caterpillars trick ants into transporting them to the ant nest where they feed on the brood or, in the more derived “cuckoo strategy”, trigger regurgitations (trophallaxis) from the ants and obtain trophic eggs. We show for the first time that the caterpillars of a moth (Eublemma albifascia; Noctuidae; Acontiinae) also use this strategy to obtain regurgitations and trophic eggs from ants (Oecophylla longinoda). Females short-circuit the adoption process by laying eggs directly on the ant nests, and workers carry just-hatched caterpillars inside. Parasitized colonies sheltered 44 to 359 caterpillars, each receiving more trophallaxis and trophic eggs than control queens. The thus-starved queens lose weight, stop laying eggs (which transport the pheromones that induce infertility in the workers) and die. Consequently, the workers lay male-destined eggs before and after the queen’s death, allowing the colony to invest its remaining resources in male production before it vanishes. PMID:27021621

  3. Species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in disturbed landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2009-01-01

    Ants are used as indicators of environmental change in disturbed landscapes, often without adequate understanding of their response to disturbance. Ant communities in the southeastern United States displayed a hump-backed species richness curve against an index of landscape disturbance. Forty sites at Fort Benning, in west-central Georgia, covered a spectrum of habitat disturbance (military training and fire) in upland forest. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and warmer, more compact soils with shallower A-horizons. We sampled ground-dwelling ants with pitfall traps, and measured 15 habitat variables related to vegetation and soil. Ant species richness was greatest with a relative disturbance of 43%, but equitability was greatest with no disturbance. Ant abundance was greatest with a relative disturbance of 85%. High species richness at intermediate disturbance was associated with greater within-site spatial heterogeneity. Species richness was also associated with intermediate values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a correlate of net primary productivity (NPP). Available NPP (the product of NDVI and the fraction of days that soil temperature exceeded 25 ??C), however, was positively correlated with species richness, though not with ant abundance. Species richness was unrelated to soil texture, total ground cover, and fire frequency. Ant species richness and equitability are potential state indicators of the soil arthropod community. Moreover, equitability can be used to monitor ecosystem change. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  4. Eddies off the Queen Charlotte Islands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The bright red, green, and turquoise patches to the west of British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands and Alaska's Alexander Archipelago highlight the presence of biological activity in the ocean. These colors indicate high concentrations of chlorophyll, the primary pigment found in phytoplankton. Notice that there are a number of eddies visible in the Pacific Ocean in this pseudo-color scene. The eddies are formed by strong outflow currents from rivers along North America's west coast that are rich in nutrients from the springtime snowmelt running off the mountains. This nutrient-rich water helps stimulate the phytoplankton blooms within the eddies. (For more details, read Tracking Eddies that Feed the Sea.) To the west of the eddies in the water, another type of eddy-this one in the atmosphere-forms the clouds into the counterclockwise spiral characteristic of a low pressure system in the Northern Hemisphere. (Click on the image above to see it at full resolution; or click to see the scene in true-color.) The snow-covered mountains of British Columbia are visible in the upper righthand corner of the image. This scene was constructed using SeaWiFS data collected on June 13, 2002. SeaWiFS image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

  5. Variation in butterfly larval acoustics as a strategy to infiltrate and exploit host ant colony resources.

    PubMed

    Sala, Marco; Casacci, Luca Pietro; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    About 10,000 arthropods live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Many of them can intercept and manipulate their host communication systems. This is particularly important for butterflies of the genus Maculinea, which spend the majority of their lifecycle inside Myrmica ant nests. Once in the colony, caterpillars of Maculinea "predatory species" directly feed on the ant larvae, while those of "cuckoo species" are fed primarily by attendance workers, by trophallaxis. It has been shown that Maculinea cuckoo larvae are able to reach a higher social status within the colony's hierarchy by mimicking the acoustic signals of their host queen ants. In this research we tested if, when and how myrmecophilous butterflies may change sound emissions depending on their integration level and on stages of their life cycle. We studied how a Maculinea predatory species (M. teleius) can acoustically interact with their host ants and highlighted differences with respect to a cuckoo species (M. alcon). We recorded sounds emitted by Maculinea larvae as well as by their Myrmica hosts, and performed playback experiments to assess the parasites' capacity to interfere with the host acoustic communication system. We found that, although varying between and within butterfly species, the larval acoustic emissions are more similar to queens' than to workers' stridulations. Nevertheless playback experiments showed that ant workers responded most strongly to the sounds emitted by the integrated (i.e. post-adoption) larvae of the cuckoo species, as well as by those of predatory species recorded before any contact with the host ants (i.e. in pre-adoption), thereby revealing the role of acoustic signals both in parasite integration and in adoption rituals. We discuss our findings in the broader context of parasite adaptations, comparing effects of acoustical and chemical mimicry.

  6. Variation in Butterfly Larval Acoustics as a Strategy to Infiltrate and Exploit Host Ant Colony Resources

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Marco; Casacci, Luca Pietro; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    About 10,000 arthropods live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Many of them can intercept and manipulate their host communication systems. This is particularly important for butterflies of the genus Maculinea, which spend the majority of their lifecycle inside Myrmica ant nests. Once in the colony, caterpillars of Maculinea “predatory species” directly feed on the ant larvae, while those of “cuckoo species” are fed primarily by attendance workers, by trophallaxis. It has been shown that Maculinea cuckoo larvae are able to reach a higher social status within the colony's hierarchy by mimicking the acoustic signals of their host queen ants. In this research we tested if, when and how myrmecophilous butterflies may change sound emissions depending on their integration level and on stages of their life cycle. We studied how a Maculinea predatory species (M. teleius) can acoustically interact with their host ants and highlighted differences with respect to a cuckoo species (M. alcon). We recorded sounds emitted by Maculinea larvae as well as by their Myrmica hosts, and performed playback experiments to assess the parasites' capacity to interfere with the host acoustic communication system. We found that, although varying between and within butterfly species, the larval acoustic emissions are more similar to queens' than to workers' stridulations. Nevertheless playback experiments showed that ant workers responded most strongly to the sounds emitted by the integrated (i.e. post-adoption) larvae of the cuckoo species, as well as by those of predatory species recorded before any contact with the host ants (i.e. in pre-adoption), thereby revealing the role of acoustic signals both in parasite integration and in adoption rituals. We discuss our findings in the broader context of parasite adaptations, comparing effects of acoustical and chemical mimicry. PMID:24718496

  7. Symbiont recognition of mutualistic bacteria by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Mingzi M; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-08-01

    Symbiont choice has been proposed to play an important role in shaping many symbiotic relationships, including the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism. Over millions of years, fungus-growing ants have defended their fungus gardens from specialized parasites with antibiotics produced by an actinomycete bacterial mutualist (genus Pseudonocardia). Despite the potential of being infected by phylogenetically diverse strains of parasites, each ant colony maintains only a single Pseudonocardia symbiont strain, which is primarily vertically transmitted between colonies by the founding queens. In this study, we show that Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants are able to differentiate between their native actinomycete strain and a variety of foreign strains isolated from sympatric and allopatric Acromyrmex species, in addition to strains originating from other fungus-growing ant genera. The recognition mechanism is sufficiently sensitive for the ants to discriminate between closely related symbiont strains. Our findings suggest that symbiont recognition may play a crucial role in the fungus-growing ant-bacterium mutualism, likely allowing the ants to retain ecological flexibility necessary for defending their garden from diverse parasites and, at the same time, resolve potential conflict that can arise from rearing competing symbiont strains.

  8. Circadian consequences of social organization in the ant species Camponotus compressus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, Vijay Kumar; Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Goel, Anubhuthi; Chandrashekaran, M. K.

    The locomotor activity rhythm of different castes of the ant species Camponotus compressus was monitored individually under laboratory light/dark (LD) cycles, and under continuous darkness (DD). The colony of this ant species comprises two sexual castes, the queens and the males, and three worker castes, namely the major, media, and minor workers. The virgin males and virgin queens display rhythmic activity patterns, but the mated queens were arrhythmic while laying eggs, with the rhythmicity resuming soon after egg-laying. Under the LD regime, major workers showed nocturnal patterns, while about 75% of the media workers displayed nocturnal patterns and about 25% showed diurnal patterns. Under the DD regime, most major workers exhibited circadian rhythm of activity with a single steady state, whereas media workers displayed two types of activity patterns, with activity patterns changing after 6-9 days in DD (turn-arounds). The pre-turn-around τ of the ants that showed nocturnal activity patterns during LD entrainment was <24 h after release into DD, which then became >24 h, after 6-9 days. On the other hand, the pre-turn-around τ of those ants that exhibited diurnal patterns during LD entrainment was first >24 h after release into DD, and then became <24 h, after 6-9 days. The activity of the minor workers neither entrained to LD cycles nor showed any sign of free-run in DD. It appears that the circadian clocks of the ant species C. compressus are flexible, and may perhaps depend upon the tasks assigned to them in the colony.

  9. Experimental evaluation of the reproductive quality of Africanized queen bees (Apis mellifera) on the basis of body weight at emergence.

    PubMed

    De Souza, D A; Bezzera-Laure, M A F; Francoy, T M; Gonçalves, L S

    2013-11-07

    There has been much speculation about which phenotypic traits serve as reliable indicators of productivity in queen honeybees (Apis mellifera). To investigate the predictive value of queen body weight on colony development and quality, we compared colonies in which queens weighed less than 180 mg to those in which queens weighed more than 200 mg. Both groups contained naturally mated and instrumentally inseminated queens. Colonies were evaluated on the basis of performance quality, growth rate, and queen longevity. We found that queen body weight was significantly correlated with fecundity and colony quality. Heavy queens exhibited the most favorable performance and colony quality. In contrast, naturally mated, with the opposite trend being obtained for light-weight queens. We found no statistically significant difference between instrumentally inseminated queens and naturally mated queens. Our results support the use of queen body weight as a reliable visual (physiological) indicator of potential colony productivity in honey bees to enhance genetic lines in genetic improvement programs.

  10. Gene expression patterns associated with queen honey bee longevity.

    PubMed

    Corona, Miguel; Hughes, Kimberly A; Weaver, Daniel B; Robinson, Gene E

    2005-11-01

    The oxidative stress theory of aging proposes that accumulation of oxidative damage is the main proximate cause of aging and that lifespan is determined by the rate at which this damage occurs. Two predictions from this theory are that long-lived organisms produce fewer ROS or have increased antioxidant production. Based in these predictions, molecular mechanisms to promote longevity could include either changes in the regulation of mitochondrial genes that affect ROS production or elevated expression of antioxidant genes. We explored these possibilities in the honey bee, a good model for the study of aging because it has a caste system in which the same genome produces both a long-lived queen and a short-lived worker. We measured mRNA levels for genes encoding eight of the most prominent antioxidant enzymes and five mitochondrial proteins involved in respiration. The expression of antioxidant genes generally decreased with age in queens, but not in workers. Expression of most mitochondrial genes, in particular CytC, was higher in young queens, but these genes showed a faster age-related decline relative to workers. One exception to this trend was COX-I in thorax. This resulted in higher COX-I/CytC ratios in old queens compared to old workers, which suggests caste-specific differences in mitochondrial function that might be related to the caste-specific differences in longevity. Queen honey bee longevity appears to have evolved via mechanisms other than increased antioxidant gene expression.

  11. The Red Queen lives: Epistasis between linked resistance loci.

    PubMed

    Metzger, César M J A; Luijckx, Pepijn; Bento, Gilberto; Mariadassou, Mahendra; Ebert, Dieter

    2016-02-01

    A popular theory explaining the maintenance of genetic recombination (sex) is the Red Queen Theory. This theory revolves around the idea that time-lagged negative frequency-dependent selection by parasites favors rare host genotypes generated through recombination. Although the Red Queen has been studied for decades, one of its key assumptions has remained unsupported. The signature host-parasite specificity underlying the Red Queen, where infection depends on a match between host and parasite genotypes, relies on epistasis between linked resistance loci for which no empirical evidence exists. We performed 13 genetic crosses and tested over 7000 Daphnia magna genotypes for resistance to two strains of the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa. Results reveal the presence of strong epistasis between three closely linked resistance loci. One locus masks the expression of the other two, while these two interact to produce a single resistance phenotype. Changing a single allele on one of these interacting loci can reverse resistance against the tested parasites. Such a genetic mechanism is consistent with host and parasite specificity assumed by the Red Queen Theory. These results thus provide evidence for a fundamental assumption of this theory and provide a genetic basis for understanding the Red Queen dynamics in the Daphnia-Pasteuria system.

  12. Presence of Nosema ceranae associated with honeybee queen introductions.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Irene; Cepero, Almudena; Pinto, Maria Alice; Martín-Hernández, Raquel; Higes, Mariano; De la Rúa, Pilar

    2014-04-01

    Microsporidiosis caused by Nosema species is one of the factors threatening the health of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), which is an essential element in agriculture mainly due to its pollination function. The dispersion of this pathogen may be influenced by many factors, including various aspects of beekeeping management such as introduction of queens with different origin. Herein we study the relation of the presence and distribution of Nosema spp. and the replacement of queens in honeybee populations settled on the Atlantic Canary Islands. While Nosema apis has not been detected, an increase of the presence and distribution of Nosema ceranae during the last decade has been observed in parallel with a higher frequency of foreign queens. On the other hand, a reduction of the number of N. ceranae positive colonies was observed on those islands with continued replacement of queens. We suggest that such replacement could help maintaining low rates of Nosema infection, but healthy queens native to these islands should be used in order to conserve local honeybee diversity.

  13. Self assessment in insects: honeybee queens know their own strength.

    PubMed

    Dietemann, Vincent; Zheng, Huo-Qing; Hepburn, Colleen; Hepburn, H Randall; Jin, Shui-Hua; Crewe, Robin M; Radloff, Sarah E; Hu, Fu-Liang; Pirk, Christian W W

    2008-01-09

    Contests mediate access to reproductive opportunities in almost all species of animals. An important aspect of the evolution of contests is the reduction of the costs incurred during intra-specific encounters to a minimum. However, escalated fights are commonly lethal in some species like the honeybee, Apis mellifera. By experimentally reducing honeybee queens' fighting abilities, we demonstrate that they refrain from engaging in lethal contests that typically characterize their reproductive dominance behavior and coexist peacefully within a colony. This suggests that weak queens exploit an alternative reproductive strategy and provides an explanation for rare occurrences of queen cohabitation in nature. Our results further indicate that self-assessment, but not mutual assessment of fighting ability occurs prior to and during the agonistic encounters.

  14. Unrelated queens coexist in colonies of the termite Macrotermes michaelseni.

    PubMed

    Hacker, M; Kaib, M; Bagine, R K N; Epplen, J T; Brandl, R

    2005-04-01

    Relatedness increases the likelihood of cooperation within colonies of social insects. Polygyny, the coexistence of numerous reproductive females (queens) in a colony, is common in mature colonies of the termite Macrotermes michaelseni. In this species, polygyny results from pleometrosis and from several female alates that jointly found a new colony. To explain this phenomenon, it was suggested that only related females cooperate and survive during maturation of colonies. Using multilocus fingerprints as well as microsatellites, we showed that nestmate queens in mature colonies are unrelated. Furthermore, we found that all nestmate queens contributed to the production of steriles. Even in mature colonies, several matrilines of steriles coexist within a colony. Although genetic diversity within colonies may increase the likelihood of conflicts, high genetic diversity may be important for foraging, colony growth, and resistance to disease and parasites.

  15. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods.

    PubMed

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

  16. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

    PubMed Central

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant. Abbreviation: ANF Apalachicola National Forest PMID:15841237

  17. Turbidity-current channels in Queen Inlet, Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, P.R.; Powell, R.D.; Rearic, D.M.

    1989-01-01

    Queen Inlet is unique among Glacier Bay fjords because it alone has a branching channel system incised in the Holocene sediment fill of the fjord floor. Queen Inlet and other known channel-containing fjords are marine-outwash fjords; the tidewater glacial fjords do not have steep delta fronts on which slides are generated and may not have a sufficient reservoir of potentially unstable coarse sediment to generate channel-cutting turbidity currents. Presence or absence of channels, as revealed in the ancient rock record, may be one criterion for interpreting types of fjords. -Authors

  18. Prediction of parturition date in the bitch and queen.

    PubMed

    Michel, E; Spörri, M; Ohlerth, S; Reichler, Im

    2011-10-01

    Assessment of gestational age and parturition date prediction is a challenging, yet common task in clinical management of the pregnant bitch or queen. Knowing the approximate parturition date is essential for a thorough pregnancy monitoring. Radiographic and ultrasonographic methods are suitable in bitches and queens. In the bitch, moreover, ovulation timing by means of LH or progesterone assay, determination of onset of vaginal dioestrus by means of examination of vaginal cytology, and recognition of impending parturition by monitoring prepartal progesterone levels and body temperature variation are practical methods. A combination of different methods increases the accuracy of parturition date prediction.

  19. Intramandibular glands in different castes of leaf-cutting ant, Atta laevigata (Fr. Smith, 1858) (Formicidae: Attini).

    PubMed

    Martins, Luiza Carla Barbosa; Della Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro; Gonçalves, Wagner Gonzaga; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Zanuncio, José Cola; Serrão, José Eduardo

    2015-07-01

    Intramandibular glands have been poorly studied in polymorphic ants, where the differences between castes were unsufficiently scrutinized. Leaf-cutting ants possess one of the most complex systems of communication and labor division, which is polymorphic well as age polyethism, and makes them an ideal model for the study of intramandibular glands. This study has investigated the occurrence of intramandibular glands in female castes and subcastes of Atta laevigata. The mandibles of the queen, medium, and minor workers, and soldiers were submitted to histological, histochemical, ultrastructural, and morphometric analyses. The class-3 gland cells and the epidermal gland with a reservoir were found in all the castes. The queens and soldiers showed a higher number of class-3 gland cells, distributed within the mandible as well as a greater gland size in comparison to the workers. The histochemical tests, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS), mercury-bromophenol, and Nile blue, were similar for the class-3 gland cells and epidermal glands with a reservoir. However, the tests evidenced differences between the castes, with carbohydrates strongly positive in all of them, whereas neutral lipids were found in the queen and soldiers. The protein was weakly positive in the queen, whereas in the soldier, medium, and minor workers these reactions were strongly positive in the intramandibular glands. Our findings in A. laevigata suggest that intramandibular glands are directly involved in labor division and consequently in chemical communication between the castes.

  20. Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy detects queen honey bee insemination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the...

  1. Visible and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Detects Honey Bee Queen Insemination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the ...

  2. Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens

    PubMed Central

    Amiri, Esmaeil; Meixner, Marina D.; Kryger, Per

    2016-01-01

    Deformed wing virus is an important contributor to honey bee colony losses. Frequently queen failure is reported as a cause for colony loss. Here we examine whether sexual transmission during multiple matings of queens is a possible way of virus infection in queens. In an environment with high prevalence of deformed wing virus, queens (n = 30) were trapped upon their return from natural mating flights. The last drone’s endophallus (n = 29), if present, was removed from the mated queens for deformed wing virus quantification, leading to the detection of high-level infection in 3 endophalli. After oviposition, viral quantification revealed that seven of the 30 queens had high-level deformed wing virus infections, in all tissues, including the semen stored in the spermathecae. Two groups of either unmated queens (n = 8) with induced egg laying, or queens (n = 12) mated in isolation with drones showing comparatively low deformed wing virus infections served as control. None of the control queens exhibited high-level viral infections. Our results demonstrate that deformed wing virus infected drones are competitive to mate and able to transmit the virus along with semen, which occasionally leads to queen infections. Virus transmission to queens during mating may be common and can contribute noticeably to queen failure. PMID:27608961

  3. The effects of pesticides on queen rearing and virus titers in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The effects of sublethal pesticide exposure on queen emergence and virus titers were examined. Queen rearing colonies were fed pollen with chlorpyrifos (CPF) alone (pollen-1) and with CPF and the fungicide Pristine® (pollen-2). Fewer queens emerged when larvae from open foraging (i.e., outside) colo...

  4. Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens.

    PubMed

    Amiri, Esmaeil; Meixner, Marina D; Kryger, Per

    2016-09-09

    Deformed wing virus is an important contributor to honey bee colony losses. Frequently queen failure is reported as a cause for colony loss. Here we examine whether sexual transmission during multiple matings of queens is a possible way of virus infection in queens. In an environment with high prevalence of deformed wing virus, queens (n = 30) were trapped upon their return from natural mating flights. The last drone's endophallus (n = 29), if present, was removed from the mated queens for deformed wing virus quantification, leading to the detection of high-level infection in 3 endophalli. After oviposition, viral quantification revealed that seven of the 30 queens had high-level deformed wing virus infections, in all tissues, including the semen stored in the spermathecae. Two groups of either unmated queens (n = 8) with induced egg laying, or queens (n = 12) mated in isolation with drones showing comparatively low deformed wing virus infections served as control. None of the control queens exhibited high-level viral infections. Our results demonstrate that deformed wing virus infected drones are competitive to mate and able to transmit the virus along with semen, which occasionally leads to queen infections. Virus transmission to queens during mating may be common and can contribute noticeably to queen failure.

  5. Egg-laying "intermorphs" in the ant Crematogaster smithi neither affect sexual production nor male parentage.

    PubMed

    Oettler, Jan; Dijkstra, Michiel B; Heinze, Jürgen

    2013-01-01

    We study male parentage and between-colony variation in sex allocation and sexual production in the desert ant Crematogaster smithi, which usually has only one singly-mated queen per nest. Colonies of this species are known to temporarily store nutrients in the large fat body of intermorphs, a specialized female caste intermediate in morphology between queens and workers. Intermorphs repackage at least part of this fat into consumable but viable male-destined eggs. If these eggs sometimes develop instead of being eaten, intermorphs will be reproductive competitors of the queen but--due to relatedness asymmetries--allies of their sister worker. Using genetic markers we found a considerable proportion of non-queen sons in some, but not all, colonies. Even though intermorphs produce ∼1.7× more eggs than workers, their share in the parentage of adult males is estimated to be negligible due to their small number compared to workers. Furthermore, neither colony-level sex allocation nor overall sexual production was correlated with intermorph occurrence or number. We conclude that intermorph-laid eggs typically do not survive and that the storage of nutrients and their redistribution as eggs by intermorphs is effectively altruistic.

  6. Aggressions and size-related fecundity of queenless workers in the ant Cataglyphis cursor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clémencet, Johanna; Rome, Quentin; Fédérici, Pierre; Doums, Claudie

    2008-02-01

    In social hymenoptera, the reproductive division of labor is often linked to differences in individual body size with the reproductive caste (the queen) being larger than the workers. Likewise, the reproductive potential may vary with size within the worker caste and could affect the evolution of worker size in social insects. Here, we tested the relationship between worker size and reproductive potential in the facultative parthenogenetic ant Cataglyphis cursor. Colonies are headed by a multiply mated queen, but workers can produce gynes (virgin queens) and workers by thelytokous parthenogenesis after the queen’s death. We observed the behaviour of workers ( n = 357) until the production of gynes (212 h over 3 months) in an orphaned colony (mated queen not present). The size of workers was measured, and their paternal lineage determined using six microsatellite markers, to control for an effect of patriline. Larger workers were more likely to reproduce and lay more eggs indicating that individual level selection could take place. However, paternal lineage had no effect on the reproductive potential and worker size. From the behavioural and genetic data, we also show for the first time in this species, evidence of aggressive interactions among workers and a potential for nepotism to occur in orphaned colonies, as the five gynes produced belonged to a single paternal lineage.

  7. Caste discrimination in the ant Odontomachus hastatus: What role for behavioral and chemical cues?

    PubMed

    Berthelot, Kévin; Ramon Portugal, Felipe; Jeanson, Raphaël

    2017-04-01

    In social insects, the maintenance of genetic colony integrity requires resident workers to recognize any intruder with a reproductive potential and to behave appropriately to minimize fitness costs. In this study, our objective was to identify the relative contribution of the behavioral patterns and chemical cues of intruders with different fertility status on their likelihood of being accepted in monogynous colonies. Using the ponerine ant Odontomachus hastatus as a model organism, we introduced non-nestmate workers, founding queens and heterospecific workers on intact nests in the field. We demonstrated that resident workers were more aggressive toward founding queens than toward non-nestmates workers originating from the same or a distant population. Lab experiments showed that the patterns of aggression did not differ substantially between chilled and live ants, which suggests that chemical cues alone allow caste discrimination. However, the absence of behavioral cues produced more variable results in the outcome of interactions. We also showed that resident workers readily accepted non-nestmate mature queens. The analysis of cuticular profiles revealed that individuals belonging to different castes and fertility status have contrasted chemical signatures. Overall, our study revealed that workers exhibit a graded behavioral response depending on the reproductive status of intruders. We discussed the observed variation in the extent of aggression in relation to the potential fitness costs associated with acceptance or rejection error of individuals differing in fertility status.

  8. Degeneration of sperm reservoir and the loss of mating ability in worker ants.

    PubMed

    Gobin, Bruno; Ito, Fuminori; Billen, Johan; Peeters, Christian

    2008-11-01

    Workers never mate in the large majority of ants, and they have usually lost the spermatheca, an organ specialized for long-term storage of sperm. Such 'non-sexual' workers are restricted to laying unfertilized eggs that give rise to males, and they cannot compete with the queens for the production of female offspring. In sharp contrast, workers in 200-300 species from phylogenetically basal subfamilies can reproduce sexually ('gamergates') because they retain a functional spermatheca like the queens. Importantly, 'non-sexual' workers in closely related species have a vestigial spermatheca. In this study, we compared the reservoir epithelium of 'sexual' workers to that of congeneric queens and 'non-sexual' workers using 21 species of Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae and Ectatomminae. We show that a pronounced thickening of the epithelium near the opening of the sperm duct is strictly associated with sexual reproduction in both castes. This is unlike 'non-sexual' workers in which this epithelium is always very thin, with few organelles; but all other structures remain intact. We discuss this evolutionary degeneration of the spermatheca and how it relates to behavioural or physiological modifications linked to mating. Our results help understand the loss of sexual reproduction by ant workers, a critical step in the extreme specialization of their phenotype.

  9. Degeneration of sperm reservoir and the loss of mating ability in worker ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gobin, Bruno; Ito, Fuminori; Billen, Johan; Peeters, Christian

    2008-11-01

    Workers never mate in the large majority of ants, and they have usually lost the spermatheca, an organ specialized for long-term storage of sperm. Such ‘non-sexual’ workers are restricted to laying unfertilized eggs that give rise to males, and they cannot compete with the queens for the production of female offspring. In sharp contrast, workers in 200 300 species from phylogenetically basal subfamilies can reproduce sexually (‘gamergates’) because they retain a functional spermatheca like the queens. Importantly, ‘non-sexual’ workers in closely related species have a vestigial spermatheca. In this study, we compared the reservoir epithelium of ‘sexual’ workers to that of congeneric queens and ‘non-sexual’ workers using 21 species of Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae and Ectatomminae. We show that a pronounced thickening of the epithelium near the opening of the sperm duct is strictly associated with sexual reproduction in both castes. This is unlike ‘non-sexual’ workers in which this epithelium is always very thin, with few organelles; but all other structures remain intact. We discuss this evolutionary degeneration of the spermatheca and how it relates to behavioural or physiological modifications linked to mating. Our results help understand the loss of sexual reproduction by ant workers, a critical step in the extreme specialization of their phenotype.

  10. The influence of social structure on brood survival and development in a socially polymorphic ant: insights from a cross-fostering experiment.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, M

    2012-11-01

    Animal societies vary in the number of breeders per group, which affects many socially and ecologically relevant traits. In several social insect species, including our study species Formica selysi, the presence of either one or multiple reproducing females per colony is generally associated with differences in a suite of traits such as the body size of individuals. However, the proximate mechanisms and ontogenetic processes generating such differences between social structures are poorly known. Here, we cross-fostered eggs originating from single-queen (= monogynous) or multiple-queen (= polygynous) colonies into experimental groups of workers from each social structure to investigate whether differences in offspring survival, development time and body size are shaped by the genotype and/or prefoster maternal effects present in the eggs, or by the social origin of the rearing workers. Eggs produced by polygynous queens were more likely to survive to adulthood than eggs from monogynous queens, regardless of the social origin of the rearing workers. However, brood from monogynous queens grew faster than brood from polygynous queens. The social origin of the rearing workers influenced the probability of brood survival, with workers from monogynous colonies rearing more brood to adulthood than workers from polygynous colonies. The social origin of eggs or rearing workers had no significant effect on the head size of the resulting workers in our standardized laboratory conditions. Overall, the social backgrounds of the parents and of the rearing workers appear to shape distinct survival and developmental traits of ant brood.

  11. Ants and ant scent reduce bumblebee pollination of artificial flowers.

    PubMed

    Cembrowski, Adam R; Tan, Marcus G; Thomson, James D; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Ants on flowers can disrupt pollination by consuming rewards or harassing pollinators, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of these exploitative and interference forms of competition on pollinator behavior. Using highly rewarding and quickly replenishing artificial flowers that simulate male or female function, we allowed bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) to forage (1) on flowers with or without ants (Myrmica rubra) and (2) on flowers with or without ant scent cues. Bumblebees transferred significantly more pollen analogue both to and from ant-free flowers, demonstrating that interference competition with ants is sufficient to modify pollinator foraging behavior. Bees also removed significantly less pollen analogue from ant-scented flowers than from controls, making this the first study to show that bees can use ant scent to avoid harassment at flowers. Ant effects on pollinator behavior, possibly in addition to their effects on pollen viability, may contribute to the evolution of floral traits minimizing ant visitation.

  12. ACOustic: A Nature-Inspired Exploration Indicator for Ant Colony Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Sagban, Rafid; Ku-Mahamud, Ku Ruhana; Abu Bakar, Muhamad Shahbani

    2015-01-01

    A statistical machine learning indicator, ACOustic, is proposed to evaluate the exploration behavior in the iterations of ant colony optimization algorithms. This idea is inspired by the behavior of some parasites in their mimicry to the queens' acoustics of their ant hosts. The parasites' reaction results from their ability to indicate the state of penetration. The proposed indicator solves the problem of robustness that results from the difference of magnitudes in the distance's matrix, especially when combinatorial optimization problems with rugged fitness landscape are applied. The performance of the proposed indicator is evaluated against the existing indicators in six variants of ant colony optimization algorithms. Instances for travelling salesman problem and quadratic assignment problem are used in the experimental evaluation. The analytical results showed that the proposed indicator is more informative and more robust. PMID:25954768

  13. ACOustic: A Nature-Inspired Exploration Indicator for Ant Colony Optimization.

    PubMed

    Sagban, Rafid; Ku-Mahamud, Ku Ruhana; Abu Bakar, Muhamad Shahbani

    2015-01-01

    A statistical machine learning indicator, ACOustic, is proposed to evaluate the exploration behavior in the iterations of ant colony optimization algorithms. This idea is inspired by the behavior of some parasites in their mimicry to the queens' acoustics of their ant hosts. The parasites' reaction results from their ability to indicate the state of penetration. The proposed indicator solves the problem of robustness that results from the difference of magnitudes in the distance's matrix, especially when combinatorial optimization problems with rugged fitness landscape are applied. The performance of the proposed indicator is evaluated against the existing indicators in six variants of ant colony optimization algorithms. Instances for travelling salesman problem and quadratic assignment problem are used in the experimental evaluation. The analytical results showed that the proposed indicator is more informative and more robust.

  14. Clonal structure affects the assembling behavior in the Japanese queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishide, Yudai; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hiraoka, Tuyosi; Obara, Yoshiaki; Iwabuchi, Kikuo

    2007-10-01

    The queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae) has a unique society that differs from those of other typical ants. This species does not have a queen, and the workers lay eggs and produce their clones parthenogenetically. However, a colony of these ants does not always comprise members derived from a single clonal line. In this study, we examined whether P. punctatus changes its “assembling behavior” based on colony genetic structure. We prepared two subcolonies—a larger one comprising 200 individuals and a smaller one comprising 100 individuals; these subcolonies were established from a single stock colony. We investigated whether these subcolonies assemble into a single nest. The genetically monomorphic subcolonies (single clonal line) always fused into a single nest; however, the genetically polymorphic subcolonies (multiple clonal lines) did not tend to form a single colony. The present study is the first to demonstrate that the colony genetic structure significantly affects social viscosity in social insects.

  15. Tremors Triggered along the Queen Charlotte Fault

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aiken, C.; Peng, Z.; Chao, K.

    2012-12-01

    In the past decade, deep tectonic tremors have been observed in numerous tectonic environments surrounding the Pacific and Caribbean plates. In these regions, tremors triggered by both regional and distant earthquakes have also been observed. Despite the ubiquitous observations of triggered tremors, tremors triggered in differing strike-slip environments are less understood. Here, we conduct a preliminary search of tremors triggered by teleseismic earthquakes along the transpressive Queen Charlotte Fault (QCF) located between the Cascadia subduction zone and Alaska. Tectonic tremors have not been previously reported along the QCF. We select teleseismic earthquakes during the 1990-2012 period as having magnitude M ≥ 6.5 and occurring at least 1,000 km away from the region. We reduce the number of mainshocks by selecting those that generate greater than 1 kPa dynamic stress estimated from surface-wave magnitude equations [e.g. van der Elst and Brodsky, 2010]. Our mainshock waveforms are retrieved from the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN), processed, and filtered for triggered tremor observations. We characterize triggered tremors as high-frequency signals visible among several stations and coincident with broadband surface wave peaks. So far, we have found tremors triggered along the QCF by surface waves of five great earthquakes - the 2002/11/03 Mw7.9 Denali Fault, 2004/12/26 Mw9.0 Sumatra, 2010/02/27 Mw8.8 Chile, 2011/03/11 Mw9.0 Japan, and 2012/04/11 Mw8.6 Sumatra earthquakes. We compare our results to tremors triggered by teleseismic earthquakes on strike-slip faults in central and southern California, as well as Cuba [Peng et al., 2012]. Among strike-slip faults in these regions, we also compare triggered tremor amplitudes to peak ground velocities from the mainshocks and compute dynamic stresses to determine a triggering threshold for the QCF. We find that in most cases tremors in the QCF are triggered primarily by the Love waves, and additional

  16. Docile sitters and active fighters in paper wasps: a tale of two queens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kardile, Sujata; Gadagkar, Raghavendra

    2002-02-01

    Ropalidia marginata and Ropalidia cyathiformis are sympatric, primitively eusocial paper wasps widely distributed in peninsular India. We compare the two species, especially their queens, in an attempt to begin to understand the role of the power of queens over their workers, in social organisation and evolution. Queens of R. marginata have lower levels of activity, rates of interactions and dominance behaviour, compared with queens of R. cyathiformis. For the same variables, R. marginata queens are either indistinguishable from or have lower values than their workers, while R. cyathiformis queens have higher values than their workers. R. marginata queens never occupy the top rank while R. cyathiformis queens are always at the top of the behavioural dominance hierarchies of their colonies. R. marginata queens thus do not appear to use dominance behaviour to suppress reproduction by their workers, while R. cyathiformis queens appear to do so. These different mechanisms used by the two queens to regulate worker reproduction give them different powers over their workers, because R. marginata queens are completely successful in suppressing reproduction by their nestmates while in R. cyathiformis colonies, other individuals also sometimes lay eggs. There is also some evidence that the different powers of the queens result in different mechanisms of regulation of worker foraging in the two species - decentralised, self-regulation in R. marginata and relatively more centralised regulation by the queen in R. cyathiformis. Thus we show here, perhaps for the first time, that the power of the queens over their workers can have important consequences for social organisation and evolution.

  17. 40. GARRET TRUSS DETAIL. The south queen post (called 'king ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    40. GARRET TRUSS DETAIL. The south queen post (called 'king post' in the 1755 account for scantling for the Greater Meeting House) of the third truss from the east end. Note the numerals for assembling the truss members and the plaster marks from the 1755 Monthly Meeting Room. - Twelfth Street Meeting House, 20 South Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA

  18. Queens Tri-School Confederation, 1991-92 Evaluation Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hannah, Susan; Dworkowitz, Barbara

    An evaluation was done of the Queens Tri-School Confederation, three high schools in the New York City Public Schools funded by a federal grant from the Magnet Schools Assistance Program. The grant provided Hillcrest, Jamaica, and Thomas A. Edison High Schools with funds to develop or expand emergency technician programs at Hillcrest; a law…

  19. Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Part of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains of Antarctica (55.5N, 178.0W) are in the background of this scene, oriented toward the south. Low stratocumulus clouds are predominant throughout most of the scene.

  20. The Queen's Two Bodies: Sor Juana and New Spain's Vicereines

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, George Anthony

    2009-01-01

    The work of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz contains many examples of positive representations of the Queens of Spain and the Vicereines of New Spain. These poetic portraits serve to counter the primarily misogynistic portrayals of ruling women of the seventeenth century. Most importantly, Sor Juana increased the visibility of the vicereine in colonial…

  1. Adult Education and Social Sustainability: Harnessing the "Red Queen Effect"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Easton, Peter

    2007-01-01

    In 1973, the evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen of the University of Chicago devised what he called the "Red Queen Effect" to describe the growth and development of species. It stipulated that an evolutionary system must continue to develop just to maintain its fitness relative to others evolving in its environment. The literary reference is…

  2. Deep seismic reflection survey of Queen Charlotte basin

    SciTech Connect

    Rohr, K.; Dietrich, J. )

    1990-05-01

    One thousand kilometers of 14 sec marine seismic reflection data collected in the Queen Charlotte basin region in 1988 provide excellent images of Tertiary sedimentary basin fill as well as deep crustal structure. The Tertiary section is highly variable in thickness, with up to 6,500 m of strata occurring in the deepest depocenters in a complex array of subbasins and half-grabens. Widespread extensional deformation including normal faulting during basin development was followed later by compressional deformation in the northern half of the basin. Sediments have been compressed into open folds and flower structures; some normal faults have been reactivated as reverse faults. Seismic interpretations of structural features suggest that Tertiary extension and compression have developed in response to strike-slip tectonics. Crust under Hecate Strait is more reflective than under Queen Charlotte Sound; geological interpretation of these discontinuous and structurally variable crustal reflections requires further analysis. In some areas of the basin (e.g., near the Sockeye wells, Hecate Strait) coherent reflections occur directly beneath the Tertiary section and may be images of Mesozoic strata. Deep reflections damaged at times of 7.0 to 10.0 sec on many profiles, provide for the seismic differentiation between reflective lower crust and nonreflective upper mantle. Estimated crustal thicknesses of 18-21 km beneath Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound indicate significant coastal thinning beneath the Queen Charlotte basin.

  3. The Imperial Style: Rhetorical Depiction and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Andrews, James R.

    2000-01-01

    Contributes to scholarship advancing the understanding of human communication by examining a powerful set of imperialist symbols that have a lingering impact on the British national psyche. Investigates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee speech and the performative rhetoric of the Jubilee celebration itself, to illustrate how rhetorical depiction may…

  4. 65. Receiving gold numbers on her designation as "Queen of ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    65. Receiving gold numbers on her designation as "Queen of the Fleet," serving as the oldest Coast Guard Cutter in active service when U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham was decommissioned on May 27, 1988. - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter FIR, Puget Sound Area, Seattle, King County, WA

  5. Classical conditioning of proboscis extension in harnessed Africanized honey bee queens (Apis mellifera L.).

    PubMed

    Aquino, Italo S; Abramson, Charles I; Soares, Ademilson E E; Fernandes, Andrea Cardoso; Benbassat, Danny

    2004-06-01

    Experiments are reported on learning in virgin Africanized honey bee queens (Apis mellifera L.). Queens restrained in a "Pavlovian harness" received a pairing of hexanal odor with a 1.8-M feeding of sucrose solution. Compared to explicitly unpaired controls, acquisition was rapid in reaching about 90%. Acquisition was also rapid in queens receiving an unconditioned stimulus of "bee candy" or an unconditioned stimulus administered by worker bees. During extinction the conditioned response declines. The steepest decline was observed in queens receiving an unconditioned stimulus of bee candy. These findings extend previous work on learning of Afrianized honey bee workers to a population of queen bees.

  6. Timekeeping through social contacts: social synchronization of circadian locomotor activity rhythm in the carpenter ant Camponotus paria.

    PubMed

    Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Sharma, Vijay Kumar

    2011-12-01

    In ant colonies a large proportion of individuals remain inside nests for most of their lives and come out only when necessary. It is not clear how, in a nest of several thousand individuals, information about local time is communicated among members of the colony. Central to this seem to be circadian clocks, which have an intrinsic ability to keep track of local time by entraining to environmental light-dark, temperature, and social cycles. Here, the authors report the results of their study aimed at understanding the role of cyclic social interactions in circadian timekeeping of a day-active species of carpenter ant Camponotus paria. The authors found that daily social interactions with visitors (worker ants) was able to synchronize the circadian locomotor activity rhythm of host worker ants and queens, in one-on-one (pair-wise) and multi-individual (group-wise) interactions. Interestingly, the outcome of cyclic social interactions was context specific; when visitor workers socially interacted with host workers one-on-one, host workers considered the time of interaction as subjective day, but when visitor workers interacted with a group of workers and queens, the hosts considered the time of interaction as subjective night. These results can be taken to suggest that members of the ant species C. paria keep track of local time by socially interacting with workers (foragers) who shuttle in and out of the colony in search of food. (Author correspondence: vsharma@jncasr.ac.in ).

  7. Alate susceptibility in ants

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  8. Fighting Fire with Fire.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Spoor, Dana L.

    1996-01-01

    School districts are integrating security and life-safety systems into school buildings to protect students and property. This proactive approach includes sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and security systems that monitor door movement. Some school districts that are incorporating the latest life-safety technology are in Missouri, Ohio, California,…

  9. Colony failure linked to low sperm viability in honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens and an exploration of potential causative factors

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Queen health is closely linked to colony performance in honey bees as a single queen is normally responsible for all egg laying and brood production within the colony. In the U. S. in recent years, queens have been failing at a high rate; with 50% or greater of queens replaced in colonies within 6 m...

  10. Ant brood function as life preservers during floods.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Avril, Amaury; Jaffuel, Geoffrey; Bates, Sarah; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-01-01

    Social organisms can surmount many ecological challenges by working collectively. An impressive example of such collective behavior occurs when ants physically link together into floating 'rafts' to escape from flooded habitat. However, raft formation may represent a social dilemma, with some positions posing greater individual risks than others. Here, we investigate the position and function of different colony members, and the costs and benefits of this functional geometry in rafts of the floodplain-dwelling ant Formica selysi. By causing groups of ants to raft in the laboratory, we observe that workers are distributed throughout the raft, queens are always in the center, and 100% of brood items are placed on the base. Through a series of experiments, we show that workers and brood are extremely resistant to submersion. Both workers and brood exhibit high survival rates after they have rafted, suggesting that occupying the base of the raft is not as costly as expected. The placement of all brood on the base of one cohesive raft confers several benefits: it preserves colony integrity, takes advantage of brood buoyancy, and increases the proportion of workers that immediately recover after rafting.

  11. Draft genome of the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Smith, Christopher D; Robertson, Hugh M; Helmkampf, Martin; Zimin, Aleksey; Yandell, Mark; Holt, Carson; Hu, Hao; Abouheif, Ehab; Benton, Richard; Cash, Elizabeth; Croset, Vincent; Currie, Cameron R; Elhaik, Eran; Elsik, Christine G; Favé, Marie-Julie; Fernandes, Vilaiwan; Gibson, Joshua D; Graur, Dan; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Grubbs, Kirk J; Hagen, Darren E; Viniegra, Ana Sofia Ibarraran; Johnson, Brian R; Johnson, Reed M; Khila, Abderrahman; Kim, Jay W; Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Munoz-Torres, Monica C; Murphy, Marguerite C; Mustard, Julie A; Nakamura, Rin; Niehuis, Oliver; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick P; Placek, Jennifer E; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T; Suen, Garret; Tao, Shu; Torres, Candice W; Tsutsui, Neil D; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wolschin, Florian; Gadau, Jürgen

    2011-04-05

    We report the draft genome sequence of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. The genome was sequenced using 454 pyrosequencing, and the current assembly and annotation were completed in less than 1 y. Analyses of conserved gene groups (more than 1,200 manually annotated genes to date) suggest a high-quality assembly and annotation comparable to recently sequenced insect genomes using Sanger sequencing. The red harvester ant is a model for studying reproductive division of labor, phenotypic plasticity, and sociogenomics. Although the genome of P. barbatus is similar to other sequenced hymenopterans (Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis) in GC content and compositional organization, and possesses a complete CpG methylation toolkit, its predicted genomic CpG content differs markedly from the other hymenopterans. Gene networks involved in generating key differences between the queen and worker castes (e.g., wings and ovaries) show signatures of increased methylation and suggest that ants and bees may have independently co-opted the same gene regulatory mechanisms for reproductive division of labor. Gene family expansions (e.g., 344 functional odorant receptors) and pseudogene accumulation in chemoreception and P450 genes compared with A. mellifera and N. vitripennis are consistent with major life-history changes during the adaptive radiation of Pogonomyrmex spp., perhaps in parallel with the development of the North American deserts.

  12. Draft genome of the red harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Christopher D.; Robertson, Hugh M.; Helmkampf, Martin; Zimin, Aleksey; Yandell, Mark; Holt, Carson; Hu, Hao; Abouheif, Ehab; Benton, Richard; Cash, Elizabeth; Croset, Vincent; Currie, Cameron R.; Elhaik, Eran; Elsik, Christine G.; Favé, Marie-Julie; Fernandes, Vilaiwan; Gibson, Joshua D.; Graur, Dan; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Grubbs, Kirk J.; Hagen, Darren E.; Viniegra, Ana Sofia Ibarraran; Johnson, Brian R.; Johnson, Reed M.; Khila, Abderrahman; Kim, Jay W.; Mathis, Kaitlyn A.; Munoz-Torres, Monica C.; Murphy, Marguerite C.; Mustard, Julie A.; Nakamura, Rin; Niehuis, Oliver; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick P.; Placek, Jennifer E.; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T.; Suen, Garret; Tao, Shu; Torres, Candice W.; Tsutsui, Neil D.; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wolschin, Florian; Gadau, Jürgen

    2011-01-01

    We report the draft genome sequence of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. The genome was sequenced using 454 pyrosequencing, and the current assembly and annotation were completed in less than 1 y. Analyses of conserved gene groups (more than 1,200 manually annotated genes to date) suggest a high-quality assembly and annotation comparable to recently sequenced insect genomes using Sanger sequencing. The red harvester ant is a model for studying reproductive division of labor, phenotypic plasticity, and sociogenomics. Although the genome of P. barbatus is similar to other sequenced hymenopterans (Apis mellifera and Nasonia vitripennis) in GC content and compositional organization, and possesses a complete CpG methylation toolkit, its predicted genomic CpG content differs markedly from the other hymenopterans. Gene networks involved in generating key differences between the queen and worker castes (e.g., wings and ovaries) show signatures of increased methylation and suggest that ants and bees may have independently co-opted the same gene regulatory mechanisms for reproductive division of labor. Gene family expansions (e.g., 344 functional odorant receptors) and pseudogene accumulation in chemoreception and P450 genes compared with A. mellifera and N. vitripennis are consistent with major life-history changes during the adaptive radiation of Pogonomyrmex spp., perhaps in parallel with the development of the North American deserts. PMID:21282651

  13. Utilization of Anting-Anting (Acalypha indica) Leaves as Antibacterial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batubara, Irmanida; Wahyuni, Wulan Tri; Firdaus, Imam

    2016-01-01

    Anting-anting (Acalypha indica) plants is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. This research aims to utilize anting-anting as antibacterial toward Streptococcus mutans and degradation of biofilm on teeth. Anting-anting leaves were extracted by maceration technique using methanol, chloroform, and n-hexane. Antibacterial and biofilm degradation assays were performed using microdilution technique with 96 well. n-Hexane extracts of anting-anting leaves gave the best antibacterial potency with minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration value of 500 μg/mL and exhibited good biofilm degradation activity. Fraction of F3 obtained from fractionation of n-hexane's extract with column chromatography was a potential for degradation of biofilm with IC50 value of 56.82 μg/mL. Alkaloid was suggested as antibacterial and degradation of biofilm in the active fraction.

  14. Frontier mutualism: coevolutionary patterns at the northern range limit of the leaf-cutter ant-fungus symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Ulrich G; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Solomon, Scott E; Cooper, Michael

    2011-10-22

    Tropical leaf-cutter ants cultivate the fungus Attamyces bromatificus in a many-to-one, diffuse coevolutionary relationship where ant and fungal partners re-associate frequently over time. To evaluate whether ant-Attamyces coevolution is more specific (tighter) in peripheral populations, we characterized the host-specificities of Attamyces genotypes at their northern, subtropical range limits (southern USA, Mexico and Cuba). Population-genetic patterns of northern Attamyces reveal features that have so far not been observed in the diffusely coevolving, tropical ant-Attamyces associations. These unique features include (i) cases of one-to-one ant-Attamyces specialization that tighten coevolution at the northern frontier; (ii) distributions of genetically identical Attamyces clones over large areas (up to 81 000 km(2), approx. the area of Ireland, Austria or Panama); (iii) admixture rates between Attamyces lineages that appear lower in northern than in tropical populations; and (iv) long-distance gene flow of Attamyces across a dispersal barrier for leaf-cutter ants (ocean between mainland North America and Cuba). The latter suggests that Attamyces fungi may occasionally disperse independently of the ants, contrary to the traditional assumption that Attamyces fungi depend entirely on leaf-cutter queens for dispersal. Peripheral populations in Argentina or at mid-elevation sites in the Andes may reveal additional regional variants in ant-Attamyces coevolution. Studies of such populations are most likely to inform models of coextinctions of obligate mutualistic partners that are doubly stressed by habitat marginality and by environmental change.

  15. The ecological role of ants in two Mexican agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Risch, Stephen J; Carroll, C Ronald

    1982-10-01

    The development of the ant communities and their foraging dynamics were studied in two annual agroecosystems of the Mexican tropical lowlands: a "forest milpa" of corn, beans, and squash made by cutting and buring 40-year-old forest, and a "field milpa" of corn, beans, and squash made by plowing 1-year-old second growth. The ant community was sampled using tuna fish baits 26, 52, 110 and 353 days after planting. Although immediately after planting the same number of ant species occurred in each milpa type, thereafter the ant faunas diverged. The field milpa became completely dominated by the native fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, while the number of ant species in the forest milpa gradually increased over time, reaching eight species 110 days after planting and 14 species by 353 days. Initially S. geminata dominated the ant fauna in the forest milpa (occurring on 90% of the baits), but by 353 days planting it was found on only 26% of the occupied baits. Ant foraging efficiency, as measured by proportion of tuna baits occupied and the removal rates of dead Drosophila fly baits, was much higher (by a factor of 2 to 3) in the field than the forest milpa. This was caused by the extremely high density of S. geminata colonies in the field milpa. The simple Solenopsis-dominated community of the field milpa may be much more effective in biological control than the more diverse community of the forest milpa. Although S. geminata has potential negative impacts in annual agroecosystems (it stings, eats corn seeds, and guards homopterams), its overall impact appears to be beneficial. As forested areas of the lowland wet tropics are increasingly cut and converted to annual agriculture, the primary ant inhabitant of these highly disturbed environments, S. geminata, will necessarily play a much more significant ecological role in agroecosystems.

  16. Molecular phylogeny of Crematogaster subgenus Decacrema ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the colonization of Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) trees.

    PubMed

    Feldhaar, Heike; Fiala, Brigitte; Gadau, Jürgen; Mohamed, Maryati; Maschwitz, Ulrich

    2003-06-01

    To elucidate the evolution of one of the most species-rich ant-plant symbiotic systems, the association between Crematogaster (Myrmicinae) and Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) in South-East Asia, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the ant partners. For the phylogenetic analysis partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and II were sequenced and Maximum Parsimony analysis was performed. The analyzed Crematogaster of the subgenus Decacrema fell into three distinct clades which are also characterized by specific morphological and ecological traits (queen morphology, host-plants, and colony structure). Our results supported the validity of our currently used morphospecies concept for Peninsula Malaysia. However, on a wider geographic range (including North and North-East Borneo) some morphospecies turned out to be species complexes with genetically quite distinct taxa. Our phylogenetic analysis and host association studies do not indicate strict cocladogenesis between the subgenus Decacrema and their Macaranga host-plants because multiple ant taxa occur on quite distinct host-plants belonging to different clades within in the genus Macaranga. These results support the view that host-shifting or host-expansion is common in the ants colonizing Macaranga. Additionally, the considerable geographic substructuring found in the phylogenetic trees of the ants suggests that allopatric speciation has also played a role in the diversification and the current distribution of the Decacrema ants.

  17. Repeated evolution of fungal cultivar specificity in independently evolved ant-plant-fungus symbioses.

    PubMed

    Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Debaud, Sarah; Salas-Lopez, Alex; Born, Céline; Benoit, Laure; McKey, Doyle B; Attéké, Christiane; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain

    2013-01-01

    Some tropical plant species possess hollow structures (domatia) occupied by ants that protect the plant and in some cases also provide it with nutrients. Most plant-ants tend patches of chaetothyrialean fungi within domatia. In a few systems it has been shown that the ants manure the fungal patches and use them as a food source, indicating agricultural practices. However, the identity of these fungi has been investigated only in a few samples. To examine the specificity and constancy of ant-plant-fungus interactions we characterised the content of fungal patches in an extensive sampling of three ant-plant symbioses (Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana, Aphomomyrmex afer/Leonardoxa africana subsp. letouzeyi and Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa) by sequencing the Internal Transcribed Spacers of ribosomal DNA. For each system the content of fungal patches was constant over individuals and populations. Each symbiosis was associated with a specific, dominant, primary fungal taxon, and to a lesser extent, with one or two specific secondary taxa, all of the order Chaetothyriales. A single fungal patch sometimes contained both a primary and a secondary taxon. In one system, two founding queens were found with the primary fungal taxon only, one that was shown in a previous study to be consumed preferentially. Because the different ant-plant symbioses studied have evolved independently, the high specificity and constancy we observed in the composition of the fungal patches have evolved repeatedly. Specificity and constancy also characterize other cases of agriculture by insects.

  18. Routing Vehicles with Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tan, Wen Fang; Lee, Lai Soon; Majid, Zanariah Abdul; Seow, Hsin Vonn

    Routing vehicles involve the design of an optimal set of routes for a fleet of vehicles to serve a number of customers with known demands. This research develops an Ant Colony Optimization for the vehicle routing with one central depot and identical vehicles. The procedure simulates the behavior of real ants that always find the shortest path between their nest and a food source through a form of communication, pheromone trail. Finally, preliminary results on the learning of the algorithm testing on benchmark data set will be presented in this paper.

  19. Widespread Chemical Detoxification of Alkaloid Venom by Formicine Ants.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, Edward G; Diebold, Peter J; Orr, Matthew R; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-10-01

    The ability to detoxify defensive compounds of competitors provides key ecological advantages that can influence community-level processes. Although common in plants and bacteria, this type of detoxification interaction is extremely rare in animals. Here, using laboratory behavioral assays and analyses of videotaped interactions in South America, we report widespread venom detoxification among ants in the subfamily Formicinae. Across both data sets, nine formicine species, representing all major clades, used a stereotyped grooming behavior to self-apply formic acid (acidopore grooming) in response to fire ant (Solenopsis invicta and S. saevissima) venom exposure. In laboratory assays, this behavior increased the survivorship of species following exposure to S. invicta venom. Species expressed the behavior when exposed to additional alkaloid venoms, including both compositionally similar piperidine venom of an additional fire ant species and the pyrrolidine/pyrroline alkaloid venom of a Monomorium species. In addition, species expressed the behavior following exposure to the uncharacterized venom of a Crematogaster species. However, species did not express acidopore grooming when confronted with protein-based ant venoms or when exposed to monoterpenoid-based venom. This pattern, combined with the specific chemistry of the reaction of formic acid with venom alkaloids, indicates that alkaloid venoms are targets of detoxification grooming. Solenopsis thief ants, and Monomorium species stand out as brood-predators of formicine ants that produce piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrroline venom, providing an important ecological context for the use of detoxification behavior. Detoxification behavior also represents a mechanism that can influence the order of assemblage dominance hierarchies surrounding food competition. Thus, this behavior likely influences ant-assemblages through a variety of ecological pathways.

  20. The ants go marching millions by millions: invasive ant research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  1. The Ants Go Marching Millions by Millions: Invasive Ant Research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  2. Sex mosaics in a male dimorphic ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoshizawa, Juri; Mimori, Kohei; Yamauchi, Katsusuke; Tsuchida, Koji

    2009-01-01

    Gynandromorphy, or the development of organisms with a combination of male and female morphological features, is common in Hymenoptera. The underlying mechanism is likely associated with the sex-determination system, and studying this phenomenon should lead to a deeper understanding of both embryonic development and sex determination. The reproductive capabilities of gynandromorphs (hereafter, sex mosaics) remain unclear. We studied gynandromorphy in the Malaysian ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, which has sex mosaics of queens (gynandromorphs; mosaic of queens and winged male) and workers (ergatandromorphs; mosaic of worker and wingless ergatoid male). These sex mosaics were classified into seven morphological categories. Most individuals had more male than female body areas. Behavioral observations revealed that sex mosaics behave more in accordance with the “sex” of their brain than that of the reproductive organs (gaster). Relative DNA quantities showed that both female and male regions contained haploid and diploid nuclei, irrespective of their phenotypic appearance, indicating that external appearance did not reflect internal tissues. Nearly one third of the adults were sex mosaics and they were not infected with Wolbachia. Our results suggest that the production of sex mosaics in this species does not pose a substantial cost to colonies and that the underlying causes are therefore not strongly selected against.

  3. Army ants: an evolutionary bestseller?

    PubMed

    Berghoff, Stefanie M

    2003-09-02

    Army ants are characterized by a complex combination of behavioral and morphological traits. Molecular data now indicate that army ant behavior has a unique evolutionary origin and has been conserved for over more than 100 million years.

  4. Transition of vegetation states positively affects harvester ants in the Great Basin, United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holbrook, Joseph D.; Pilliod, David; Arkle, Robert; Rachlow, Janet L.; Vierling, Kerri T.; Wiest, Michelle M.

    2016-01-01

    Invasions by non-native plants can alter ecosystems such that new ecological states are reached, but less is known about how these transitions influence animal populations. Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecosystems are experiencing state changes because of fire and invasion by exotic annual grasses. Our goal was to study the effects of these state changes on the Owyhee and western harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex salinusOlsen and P. occidentalis Cresson, respectively). We sampled 358 1-ha plots across the northern Great Basin, which captured unburned and burned conditions across 1 −≥31 years postfire. Our results indicated an immediate and consistent change in vegetation states from shrubland to grassland between 1 and 31 years postfire. Harvester ant occupancy was unrelated to time since fire, whereas we observed a positive effect of fire on nest density. Similarly, we discovered that fire and invasion by exotic annuals were weak predictors of harvester ant occupancy but strong predictors of nest density. Occupancy of harvester ants was more likely in areas with finer-textured soils, low precipitation, abundant native forbs, and low shrub cover. Nest density was higher in arid locations that recently burned and exhibited abundant exotic annual and perennial (exotic and native) grasses. Finally, we discovered that burned areas that received postfire restoration had minimal influence on harvester ant occupancy or nest density compared with burned and untreated areas. These results suggest that fire-induced state changes from native shrublands to grasslands dominated by non-native grasses have a positive effect on density of harvester ants (but not occupancy), and that postfire restoration does not appear to positively or negatively affect harvester ants. Although wildfire and invasion by exotic annual grasses may negatively affect other species, harvester ants may indeed be one of the few winners among a myriad of losers linked to vegetation state changes within

  5. Effects of large-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southern California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Matsuda, Tritia; Turschak, Greta; Brehme, Cheryl; Rochester, Carlton; Mitrovich, Milan; Fisher, Robert

    2011-01-01

    We investigated the effect of broad-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants within southern California. In October and November of 2003, two wildfires burned large portions of the wildlands within San Diego County. Between January 2005 and September 2006, we surveyed 63 plots across four sites to measure the effect of the fires on the ant assemblages present in four vegetation types: 1) coastal sage scrub, 2) chaparral, 3) grassland, and 4) woodland riparian. Thirty-six of the 63 plots were sampled before the fires between March 2001 and June 2003. Mixed model regression analyses, accounting for the burn history of each plot and our pre- and postfire sampling efforts, revealed that fire had a negative effect on ant species diversity. Multivariate analyses showed that ant community structure varied significantly among the four vegetation types, and only the ant assemblage associated with coastal sage scrub exhibited a significant difference between burned and unburned samples. The most notable change detected at the individual species level involved Messor andrei (Mayr), which increased from <1% of prefire coastal sage scrub ant samples to 32.1% in burned plots postfire. We theorize that M. andrei responded to the increase of bare ground and postfire seed production, leading to an increase in the detection rate for this species. Collectively, our results suggest that wildfires can have short-term impacts on the diversity and community structure of ground foraging ants in coastal sage scrub. We discuss these findings in relation to management implications and directions for future research.

  6. Fire investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomberg, A.

    There was considerable progress made on several fronts of fire investigation in the United States in recent years. Progress was made in increasing the quantity of fire investigation and reporting, through efforts to develop the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Improving overall quality of fire investigation is the objective of efforts such as the Fire Investigation Handbook, which was developed and published by the National Bureau of Standards, and the upgrading and expanding of the ""dictionary'' of fire investigation and reporting, the NFPA 901, Uniform Coding for Fire Protection, system. The science of fire investigation as furthered also by new approaches to post fire interviews being developed at the University of Washington, and by in-depth research into factors involved in several large loss fires, including the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Finally, the use of special study fire investigations - in-depth investigations concentrating on specific fire problems - is producing new glimpses into the nature of the national fire problem. A brief description of the status of efforts in each of these areas is discussed.

  7. Molecular Structure and Diversity of PBAN/pyrokinin Family Peptides in Ants.

    PubMed

    Choi, Man-Yeon; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2012-01-01

    Neuropeptides are the largest group of insect hormones. They are produced in the central and peripheral nervous systems and affect insect development, reproduction, feeding, and behavior. A variety of neuropeptide families have been identified in insects. One of these families is the PBAN/pyrokinin family defined by a common FXPRLamide or similar amino acid fragment at the C-terminal end. These peptides, found in all insects studied thus far, have been conserved throughout evolution. The most well studied physiological function is regulation of moth sex pheromone biosynthesis through the pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN), although several developmental functions have also been reported. Over the past years we have extended knowledge of the PBAN/pyrokinin family of peptides to ants, focusing mainly on the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The fire ant is one of the most studied social insects and over the last 60 years a great deal has been learned about many aspects of this ant, including the behaviors and chemistry of pheromone communication. However, virtually nothing is known about the regulation of these pheromone systems. Recently, we demonstrated the presence of PBAN/pyrokinin immunoreactive neurons in the fire ant, and identified and characterized PBAN and additional neuropeptides. We have mapped the fire ant PBAN gene structure and determined the tissue expression level in the central nervous system of the ant. We review here our research to date on the molecular structure and diversity of ant PBAN/pyrokinin peptides in preparation for determining the function of the neuropeptides in ants and other social insects.

  8. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

    Peering through a thematic science lens--elementary students embarked on a one-week study of ants during a month-long summer school program. This integrated unit addressed reading and writing skills while developing the science-process skills of observation, inferring, and communicating in a motivating and authentic way. Pre- and post-assessments…

  9. Ants: the supreme soil manipulators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This review focuses on the semiochemical interactions between ants and their soil environment. Ants occupy virtually every ecological niche and have evolved mechanisms to not just cope with, but also manipulate soil organisms. The metapleural gland, specific to ants was thought to be the major sourc...

  10. Understory Fires

    NASA Video Gallery

    The flames of understory fires in the southern Amazon reach on average only a few feet tall, but the fire type can claim anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of a burn area's trees. Credit: NASA/Doug Morton

  11. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants.

    PubMed

    Ossola, Alessandro; Nash, Michael A; Christie, Fiona J; Hahs, Amy K; Livesley, Stephen J

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size.

  12. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants

    PubMed Central

    Nash, Michael A.; Christie, Fiona J.; Hahs, Amy K.; Livesley, Stephen J.

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size. PMID:26528416

  13. 39. GARRET TRUSS DETAIL. Connection of a queen post (called ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    39. GARRET TRUSS DETAIL. Connection of a queen post (called 'king post' in the 1755 account for scantling for the Greater Meeting House) and the bottom chord at the south side of the second truss from the east end. Note the rose head nails and plaster stains from the walls of the 1755 Monthly Meeting Room. - Twelfth Street Meeting House, 20 South Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA

  14. Questionnaire-based survey of parturition in the queen.

    PubMed

    Musters, J; de Gier, J; Kooistra, H S; Okkens, A C

    2011-06-01

    The lack of scientific data concerning whether parturition in the queen proceeds normally or not may prevent veterinarians and cat owners from recognizing parturition problems in time. A questionnaire-based study of parturition in 197 queens was performed to determine several parameters of parturition and their influence on its progress. The mean length of gestation was 65.3 days (range 57 to 72 days) and it decreased with increasing litter size (P = 0.02). The median litter size was 4.5 kittens (range 1 to 9), with more males (53%) than females (46%) (P = 0.05). Sixty-nine percent of the kittens were born in anterior presentation and 31% in posterior presentation, indicating that either can be considered normal in the cat. Males were born in posterior position (34%) more often than females (26%) (P = 0.03). The mean birth weight was 98 g (range of 35 to 167 g) and decreased with increasing litter size (P < 0.01). Mean birth weight was higher in males and kittens born in posterior presentation (P < 0.01). Forty-four (5%) of the 887 kittens were stillborn. This was not correlated with the presentation at expulsion but stillborn kittens were more often female (P = 0.02) and weighed less than those born alive (P = 0.04). The median interkitten time was 30 min (range 2 to 343 min) and 95% were born within 100 min after expulsion of the preceding kitten. The interkitten time as a measure of the progress of parturition was not influenced by the kitten's gender, presentation at expulsion, birth weight, or stillbirth, or by the parity of the queen. The results of this study can be used to develop reference values for parturition parameters in the queen, both to determine whether a given parturition is abnormal and as the basis for a parturition protocol.

  15. Thelytokous Parthenogenesis in the Fungus-Gardening Ant Mycocepurus smithii (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Rabeling, Christian; Lino-Neto, José; Cappellari, Simone C.; Dos-Santos, Iracenir A.; Mueller, Ulrich G.; Bacci, Maurício

    2009-01-01

    The general prevalence of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction among organisms testifies to the evolutionary benefits of recombination, such as accelerated adaptation to changing environments and elimination of deleterious mutations. Documented instances of asexual reproduction in groups otherwise dominated by sexual reproduction challenge evolutionary biologists to understand the special circumstances that might confer an advantage to asexual reproductive strategies. Here we report one such instance of asexual reproduction in the ants. We present evidence for obligate thelytoky in the asexual fungus-gardening ant, Mycocepurus smithii, in which queens produce female offspring from unfertilized eggs, workers are sterile, and males appear to be completely absent. Obligate thelytoky is implicated by reproductive physiology of queens, lack of males, absence of mating behavior, and natural history observations. An obligate thelytoky hypothesis is further supported by the absence of evidence indicating sexual reproduction or genetic recombination across the species' extensive distribution range (Mexico-Argentina). Potential conflicting evidence for sexual reproduction in this species derives from three Mycocepurus males reported in the literature, previously regarded as possible males of M. smithii. However, we show here that these specimens represent males of the congeneric species M. obsoletus, and not males of M. smithii. Mycocepurus smithii is unique among ants and among eusocial Hymenoptera, in that males seem to be completely absent and only queens (and not workers) produce diploid offspring via thelytoky. Because colonies consisting only of females can be propagated consecutively in the laboratory, M. smithii could be an adequate study organism a) to test hypotheses of the population-genetic advantages and disadvantages of asexual reproduction in a social organism and b) inform kin conflict theory. For a Portuguese translation of the abstract, please see

  16. Asexual queen succession in the subterranean termite Reticulitermes virginicus.

    PubMed

    Vargo, Edward L; Labadie, Paul E; Matsuura, Kenji

    2012-02-22

    Termite colonies are founded by a pair of primary reproductives. In many species, including subterranean termites (family Rhinotermitidae), the primary king and queen can be succeeded by neotenic reproductives that are produced from workers or nymphs within the colony. It is generally believed that these neotenics inbreed within the colony, sometimes for many generations. Here, we show that primary queens of the North American subterranean termite, Reticulitermes virginicus, are replaced by numerous parthenogenetically produced female neotenics. We collected functional female neotenics from five colonies of R. virginicus in North Carolina and Texas, USA. Genetic analysis at eight microsatellite loci showed that 91-100% of the neotenics present within a colony were homozygous at all loci, indicating that they were produced through automictic parthenogenesis with terminal fusion. In contrast, workers, soldiers and alates were almost exclusively sexually produced by mating between the female neotenics and a single king. This is the second termite species shown to undergo asexual queen succession, a system first described in the Japanese species, Reticulitermes speratus. Thus, the conditional use of sexual and asexual reproduction to produce members of different castes may be widespread within Reticulitermes and possibly other subterranean termites.

  17. Host plant use by competing acacia-ants: mutualists monopolize while parasites share hosts.

    PubMed

    Kautz, Stefanie; Ballhorn, Daniel J; Kroiss, Johannes; Pauls, Steffen U; Moreau, Corrie S; Eilmus, Sascha; Strohm, Erhard; Heil, Martin

    2012-01-01

    Protective ant-plant mutualisms that are exploited by non-defending parasitic ants represent prominent model systems for ecology and evolutionary biology. The mutualist Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus is an obligate plant-ant and fully depends on acacias for nesting space and food. The parasite Pseudomyrmex gracilis facultatively nests on acacias and uses host-derived food rewards but also external food sources. Integrative analyses of genetic microsatellite data, cuticular hydrocarbons and behavioral assays showed that an individual acacia might be inhabited by the workers of several P. gracilis queens, whereas one P. ferrugineus colony monopolizes one or more host trees. Despite these differences in social organization, neither of the species exhibited aggressive behavior among conspecific workers sharing a tree regardless of their relatedness. This lack of aggression corresponds to the high similarity of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles among ants living on the same tree. Host sharing by unrelated colonies, or the presence of several queens in a single colony are discussed as strategies by which parasite colonies could achieve the observed social organization. We argue that in ecological terms, the non-aggressive behavior of non-sibling P. gracilis workers--regardless of the route to achieve this social structure--enables this species to efficiently occupy and exploit a host plant. By contrast, single large and long-lived colonies of the mutualist P. ferrugineus monopolize individual host plants and defend them aggressively against invaders from other trees. Our findings highlight the necessity for using several methods in combination to fully understand how differing life history strategies affect social organization in ants.

  18. Deep Seismic Reflection Imaging of the Queen Charlotte Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calvert, A. J.

    2009-05-01

    A deep 2-D seismic reflection survey was shot by the Geological Survey of Canada in Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound in 1988 using a 45 m shot point interval, 15 m group interval and a maximum offset of 3685 m. Subsequent analysis of these data has focused on the shallower section, and helped constrain, together with earlier industry data, the general evolution of the sedimentary section. North-trending sub-basins are found to the south in Queen Charlotte Sound, but relatively closely-spaced NW-trending sub-basins predominate further north in Hecate Strait. Previous interpretation has demonstrated transtensional tectonics during most of the Miocene with evidence for transpression and inversion of some normal faults in Hecate Strait during the Pliocene. Although a range of origins including hot spot rifting have been suggested for the Queen Charlotte basin, currently favoured explanations focus on the effects of, and changes in, large-scale plate motions in this region. To determine if the deeper sections of the 1988 seismic survey can further constrain models of basin evolution, these seismic data have been reprocessed to 14 s. A thick sequence of subhorizontal reflectors, which extend from 4.5-8.5 s, is identified beneath northern Hecate Strait where rocks of the Alexander terrane are identified at the surface. Further south, discrete 0.5-1.0 s thick reflection packages, some of which may be intrusive in origin, are identified in the mid and lower crust of the Wrangellia terrane. Other reflections occur as deep as 10-11 s beneath the central axis of the basin in Hecate Strait, which could locate them beneath the Moho inferred from wide-angle surveys. Deep seismic imaging is more limited beneath southern Hecate Strait and northern Queen Charlotte Sound, perhaps due to the effects of coherent noise, but reflections can be identified at 6-8 s beneath southern Queen Charlotte Sound. Marine surveys are often degraded by water layer multiples and coherent

  19. Depression of brain dopamine and its metabolite after mating in European honeybee (Apis mellifera) queens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harano, Ken-Ichi; Sasaki, Ken; Nagao, Takashi

    2005-07-01

    To explore neuro-endocrinal changes in the brain of European honeybee (Apis mellifera) queens before and after mating, we measured the amount of several biogenic amines, including dopamine and its metabolite in the brain of 6- and 12-day-old virgins and 12-day-old mated queens. Twelve-day-old mated queens showed significantly lower amounts of dopamine and its metabolite (N-acetyldopamine) than both 6- and 12-day-old virgin queens, whereas significant differences in the amounts of these amines were not detected between 6- and 12-day-old virgin queens. These results are explained by down-regulation of both synthesis and secretion of brain dopamine after mating. It is speculated that higher amounts of brain dopamine in virgin queens might be involved in activation of ovarian follicles arrested in previtellogenic stages, as well as regulation of their characteristic behaviors.

  20. A parallel algorithm for solving the n-queens problem based on inspired computational model.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhaocai; Huang, Dongmei; Tan, Jian; Liu, Taigang; Zhao, Kai; Li, Lei

    2015-05-01

    DNA computing provides a promising method to solve the computationally intractable problems. The n-queens problem is a well-known NP-hard problem, which arranges n queens on an n × n board in different rows, columns and diagonals in order to avoid queens attack each other. In this paper, we present a novel parallel DNA algorithm for solving the n-queens problem using DNA molecular operations based on a biologically inspired computational model. For the n-queens problem, we reasonably design flexible length DNA strands representing elements of the allocation matrix, take appropriate biologic manipulations and get the solutions of the n-queens problem in proper length and O(n(2)) time complexity. We extend the application of DNA molecular operations, simultaneity simplify the complexity of the computation and simulate to verify the feasibility of the DNA algorithm.

  1. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  2. How much variation can one ant species hold? Species delimitation in the Crematogaster kelleri-group in Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Blaimer, Bonnie B; Fisher, Brian L

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the species-level taxonomy of the Malagasy Crematogaster (Crematogaster) kelleri-group and an additional more distantly related species of the same subgenus. Morphological data from worker, queen and male ants, as well as genetic data from three nuclear genes (long wavelength rhodopsin, arginine kinase and carbomoylphosphate synthase) and one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome oxidase I) led to the recognition of six species. Within the C. kelleri-group, three new species are described: C. hazolava Blaimer sp. n., C. hafahafa Blaimer sp. n. and C. tavaratra Blaimer sp. n. The previously described taxa C. kelleri Forel and C. madagascariensis André are validated by our analysis. Conversely, our data suggests synonymy of C. adrepens Forel (with C. kelleri) and C. gibba Emery (with C. madagascariensis). A more distantly related and phylogenetically isolated species, C. tsisitsilo Blaimer sp. n., is further described. We report high levels of morphological and molecular variation in C. kelleri and illustrate that this variation can be explained partly by geography. Species descriptions, images, distribution maps and identification keys based on worker ants, as well as on queen and male ants where available, are presented for all six species. Our work highlights the elevated species richness of Crematogaster ants throughout Madagascar's humid forests, especially in the far northern tip of the island, and the need to use multiple data sources to ensure clear demarcation of this diversity.

  3. How Much Variation Can One Ant Species Hold? Species Delimitation in the Crematogaster kelleri-Group in Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Blaimer, Bonnie B.; Fisher, Brian L.

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the species-level taxonomy of the Malagasy Crematogaster (Crematogaster) kelleri-group and an additional more distantly related species of the same subgenus. Morphological data from worker, queen and male ants, as well as genetic data from three nuclear genes (long wavelength rhodopsin, arginine kinase and carbomoylphosphate synthase) and one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome oxidase I) led to the recognition of six species. Within the C. kelleri-group, three new species are described: C. hazolava Blaimer sp. n., C. hafahafa Blaimer sp. n. and C. tavaratra Blaimer sp. n. The previously described taxa C. kelleri Forel and C. madagascariensis André are validated by our analysis. Conversely, our data suggests synonymy of C. adrepens Forel (with C. kelleri) and C. gibba Emery (with C. madagascariensis). A more distantly related and phylogenetically isolated species, C. tsisitsilo Blaimer sp. n., is further described. We report high levels of morphological and molecular variation in C. kelleri and illustrate that this variation can be explained partly by geography. Species descriptions, images, distribution maps and identification keys based on worker ants, as well as on queen and male ants where available, are presented for all six species. Our work highlights the elevated species richness of Crematogaster ants throughout Madagascar’s humid forests, especially in the far northern tip of the island, and the need to use multiple data sources to ensure clear demarcation of this diversity. PMID:23874503

  4. Convergent genetic architecture underlies social organization in ants.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Brelsford, Alan; Wurm, Yannick; Perrin, Nicolas; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-11-17

    Complex adaptive polymorphisms are common in nature, but what mechanisms maintain the underlying favorable allelic combinations? The convergent evolution of polymorphic social organization in two independent ant species provides a great opportunity to investigate how genomes evolved under parallel selection. Here, we demonstrate that a large, nonrecombining "social chromosome" is associated with social organization in the Alpine silver ant, Formica selysi. This social chromosome shares architectural characteristics with that of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, but the two show no detectable similarity in gene content. The discovery of convergence at two levels--the phenotype and the genetic architecture associated with alternative social forms--points at general genetic mechanisms underlying transitions in social organization. More broadly, our findings are consistent with recent theoretical studies suggesting that suppression of recombination plays a key role in facilitating coordinated shifts in coadapted traits.

  5. The Frugal Cosmic Ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-09-01

    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its unique ability to see small details, astronomers have uncovered a flat, nearly edge-on disc of silicates in the heart of the magnificent Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape. ESO PR Photo 42/07 ESO PR Photo 42/07 A Disc in the Ant Nebula The Ant Nebula is one of the most striking planetary nebulae known. Planetary nebulae - whose name arises because most are spherical and looked like planets when they were first discovered through older, less powerful telescopes - are glowing structures of gas cast off by solar-like stars at the ends of their lives. The morphology of the Ant Nebula - a bright core, three nested pairs of bipolar lobes and a ring-like outflow - is so unique that it was nicknamed the 'Chamber of Horrors' of planetary nebulae in the late 1950s. But how can a spherical star produce such complex structures? The answer, many astronomers think, requires understanding of the discs surrounding the central star. By their nature, these discs bear witness to the phenomena that lead to the asymmetrical structures of planetary nebulae. "The challenge is to actually detect these discs," explains team leader Olivier Chesneau, from the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France. "Most astronomical instruments do not have a sharp enough view to find, let alone study them. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer however, with its exceptionally high spatial resolution, is a powerful disc-hunter." The disc of the Ant Nebula, which cannot be detected with a single 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescope, was uncovered in the interferometric mode where two 8.2-m Unit Telescopes were used to combine light, through the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI). The observations reveal a flat, nearly edge-on disc whose major axis is perpendicular to the axis of the bipolar lobes. The disc extends from about 9 times the mean distance between the Earth and the

  6. Queen control of a key life-history event in a eusocial insect

    PubMed Central

    Holland, Jacob G.; Guidat, Florian S.; Bourke, Andrew F. G.

    2013-01-01

    In eusocial insects, inclusive fitness theory predicts potential queen–worker conflict over the timing of events in colony life history. Whether queens or workers control the timing of these events is poorly understood. In the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris, queens exhibit a ‘switch point’ in which they switch from laying diploid eggs yielding females (workers and new queens) to laying haploid eggs yielding males. By rearing foundress queens whose worker offspring were removed as pupae and sexing their eggs using microsatellite genotyping, we found that queens kept in the complete absence of adult workers still exhibit a switch point. Moreover, the timing of their switch points relative to the start of egg-laying did not differ significantly from that of queens allowed to produce normal colonies. The finding that bumble-bee queens can express the switch point in the absence of workers experimentally demonstrates queen control of a key life-history event in eusocial insects. In addition, we found no evidence that workers affect the timing of the switch point either directly or indirectly via providing cues to queens, suggesting that workers do not fully express their interests in queen–worker conflicts over colony life history. PMID:23637392

  7. 76 FR 2438 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Kings, Queens, and...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-01-13

    ... Early Renaissance France'' SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the following determinations: Pursuant to... the exhibition ``Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France'' imported from...

  8. 78 FR 77772 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “A Royal Passion: Queen...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-12-24

    ... Photography'' SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the following determinations: Pursuant to the authority... ``A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography,'' imported from abroad for temporary...

  9. Egg-Laying “Intermorphs” in the Ant Crematogaster smithi neither Affect Sexual Production nor Male Parentage

    PubMed Central

    Oettler, Jan; Dijkstra, Michiel B.; Heinze, Jürgen

    2013-01-01

    We study male parentage and between-colony variation in sex allocation and sexual production in the desert ant Crematogaster smithi, which usually has only one singly-mated queen per nest. Colonies of this species are known to temporarily store nutrients in the large fat body of intermorphs, a specialized female caste intermediate in morphology between queens and workers. Intermorphs repackage at least part of this fat into consumable but viable male-destined eggs. If these eggs sometimes develop instead of being eaten, intermorphs will be reproductive competitors of the queen but—due to relatedness asymmetries—allies of their sister worker. Using genetic markers we found a considerable proportion of non-queen sons in some, but not all, colonies. Even though intermorphs produce ∼1.7× more eggs than workers, their share in the parentage of adult males is estimated to be negligible due to their small number compared to workers. Furthermore, neither colony-level sex allocation nor overall sexual production was correlated with intermorph occurrence or number. We conclude that intermorph-laid eggs typically do not survive and that the storage of nutrients and their redistribution as eggs by intermorphs is effectively altruistic. PMID:24130699

  10. A 300 yr ice-core black carbon record from Queen Maud Land, East Antarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bisiaux, M. M.; Edwards, R.; McConnell, J. R.; Anschuetz, H.

    2009-12-01

    Black carbon aerosols (BC), from Southern Hemisphere biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion are deposited to the Antarctic ice cap recording a history of BC over the remote Southern Hemisphere. Here we present a 300 yr ice-core BC record from Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica spanning calendar years 1706 to 1997. The 30.3 m core was drilled in 2007 at site NUS07-1 (73.724 S, 7.940 E, 3188 m) as part of the Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica. BC particles < 500 nm in diameter were determined using a continuous ice-core melter system coupled to a liquid to aerosol, single particle soot photometer. The mean ice-core BC concentration was 0.170 ng g-1 (n = 292) with a standard deviation of 0.083 ng g-1. The record displays decadal and annual variability with a significant (AR-1, 95%) ~50 yr periodicity and ENSO like periodicities from 3 to 8 yr. Reconstruction of the time series using the 50 yr periodicity reveals similarities with Southern Hemisphere air temperature. Strong El-Nino periods were generally associated with a reduction in BC concentration suggesting changes in atmospheric circulation or reduced emissions from tropical dry season fires.

  11. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants

    PubMed Central

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2015-01-01

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response. PMID:25833853

  12. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    PubMed

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response.

  13. Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema).

    PubMed

    Peeters, Christian; Lin, Chung-Chi; Quinet, Yves; Martins Segundo, Glauco; Billen, Johan

    2013-05-01

    Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus.

  14. A life history continuum in the males of a Neotropical ant assemblage: refuting the sperm vessel hypothesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shik, Jonathan Z.; Flatt, Deana; Kay, Adam; Kaspari, Michael

    2012-03-01

    Animal lifespans range from a few days to many decades, and this life history diversity is especially pronounced in ants. Queens can live for decades. Males, in contrast, are often assumed to act as ephemeral sperm delivery vessels that die after a brief mating flight—a view developed from studies of lekking species in temperate habitats. In a tropical ant assemblage, we found that males can live days to months outside the nest, a trait hypothesized to be associated with female calling, another common mating system. We combined feeding experiments with respirometry to show that lifespan can be enhanced over 3 months by feeding outside the nest. In one focal female calling species, Ectatomma ruidum, feeding enhanced male lifespan, but not sperm content. Extended lifespans outside the nest suggest stronger than expected selection on premating traits of male ants, although the ways these traits shape male mating success remain poorly understood.

  15. Nutritional Asymmetries Are Related to Division of Labor in a Queenless Ant

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Chris R.; Suarez, Andrew V.; Tsutsui, Neil D.; Wittman, Sarah E.; Edmonds, Benjamin; Freauff, Alex; Tillberg, Chadwick V.

    2011-01-01

    Eusocial species exhibit pronounced division of labor, most notably between reproductive and non-reproductive castes, but also within non-reproductive castes via morphological specialization and temporal polyethism. For species with distinct worker and queen castes, age-related differences in behavior among workers (e.g. within-nest tasks versus foraging) appear to result from physiological changes such as decreased lipid content. However, we know little about how labor is divided among individuals in species that lack a distinct queen caste. In this study, we investigated how fat storage varied among individuals in a species of ant (Dinoponera australis) that lacks a distinct queen caste and in which all individuals are morphologically similar and capable of reproduction (totipotent at birth). We distinguish between two hypotheses, 1) all individuals are physiologically similar, consistent with the possibility that any non-reproductive may eventually become reproductive, and 2) non-reproductive individuals vary in stored fat, similar to highly eusocial species, where depletion is associated with foraging and non-reproductives have lower lipid stores than reproducing individuals. Our data support the latter hypothesis. Location in the nest, the probability of foraging, and foraging effort, were all associated with decreased fat storage. PMID:21886914

  16. Sperm mixing in the polyandrous leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    PubMed Central

    Stürup, Marlene; Nash, David R; Hughes, William O H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2014-01-01

    The insemination of queens by sperm from multiple males (polyandry) has evolved in a number of eusocial insect lineages despite the likely costs of the behavior. The selective advantages in terms of colony fitness must therefore also be significant and there is now good evidence that polyandry increases genetic variation among workers, thereby improving the efficiency of division of labor, resistance against disease, and diluting the impact of genetically incompatible matings. However, these advantages will only be maximized if the sperm of initially discrete ejaculates are mixed when stored in queen spermathecae and used for egg fertilization in a “fair raffle.” Remarkably, however, very few studies have addressed the level of sperm mixing in social insects. Here we analyzed sperm use over time in the highly polyandrous leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We genotyped cohorts of workers produced either 2 months apart or up to over a year apart, and batches of eggs laid up to over 2 years apart, and tested whether fluctuations in patriline distributions deviated from random. We show that the representation of father males in both egg and worker cohorts does not change over time, consistent with obligatorily polyandrous queens maximizing their fitness when workers are as genetically diverse as possible. PMID:25478149

  17. Determination of the cost of worker reproduction via diminished life span in the ant Diacamma sp.

    PubMed

    Tsuji, Kazuki; Kikuta, Noritsugu; Kikuchi, Tomonori

    2012-05-01

    Workers of social Hymenoptera can usually produce male offspring, but rarely do so in the presence of a queen despite the potential individual fitness benefit. Various mechanisms have been hypothesized to regulate worker reproduction, including avoiding the colony-level cost of worker reproduction. However, firm quantitative evidence is lacking to support that hypothesis. Here, we accurately quantified this cost by studying an ant species (Diacamma sp.) in which worker reproduction is rare in the presence of the gamergate (the functional queen). A series of experiments to manipulate worker-gamergate contact revealed that short-term brood-production efficiency is not changed by the presence of worker reproduction. However, when workers reproduce, their average life span is reduced to between 74% and 88% of that in the absence of reproduction, indicating a long-term cost to the colony. In theory, this cost can explain the policing of worker reproduction under a queen-single mating system, but the cost does not appear to be high enough to stop worker reproduction. When contact with the gamergate is lost, it is only the nonreproductive workers whose life span was reduced; the reproductive workers lived as long as nonorphaned workers. We suggest that an increased workload can account for the reduction in life span better than a trade-off between reproduction and longevity.

  18. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2011-01-01

    The article discusses the latest developments in the fire clay industry, particularly in the U.S., as of June 2011. It claims that the leading fire clay producer in the U.S. is the state of Missouri. The other major producers include California, Texas and Washington. It reports that the use of heavy clay products made of fire clay like brick, cement and lightweight aggregate has increased slightly in 2010.

  19. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2006-01-01

    In 2005, six companies mined fire clay in Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina. Production was estimate to be 300 kt with a value of $8.3 million. Missouri was the leading producer state followed by Ohio and South Carolina. For the third consecutive year, sales and use of fire clays have been relatively unchanged. For the next few years, sales of fire clay is forecasted to remain around 300 kt/a.

  20. Dynamics of sperm transfer in the ant Leptothorax gredleri

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oppelt, Angelika; Heinze, Jürgen

    2007-09-01

    Mating tactics differ remarkably between and within species of social Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants) concerning, e.g., mating frequencies, sperm competition, and the degree of male sperm limitation. Although social Hymenoptera might, therefore, potentially be ideal model systems for testing sexual selection theory, the dynamics of mating and sperm transfer have rarely been studied in species other than social bees, and basic information needed to draw conclusions about possible sperm competition and female choice is lacking. We investigated sperm transfer in the ant Leptothorax gredleri, a species in which female sexuals attract males by “female calling.” The analysis of 38 female sexuals fixed immediately or up to 7 days after copulation with a single male each revealed that the sperm is transferred into the female bursa copulatrix embedded in a gelatinous mass, presumably a spermatophore. Sperm cells rapidly start to migrate from the tip of the spermatophore towards the spermatheca, but transfer is drastically slowed down by an extreme constriction of the spermathecal duct, through which sperm cells have to pass virtually one by one. This results in the spermatheca being filled only between one and several hours after mating. During this time, the posterior part of the spermatophore seals the junction between bursa copulatrix and spermathecal duct and prevents sperm loss. The prolonged duration of sperm transfer might allow female sexuals to chose between ejaculates and explain previously reported patterns of single paternity of the offspring of multiply mated queens.

  1. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2013-01-01

    Four companies mined fire clay in three states in 2012. Production, based on a preliminary survey of the fire clay industry, was estimated to be 230 kt (254,000 st) valued at $6.98 million, an increase from 215 kt (237,000 st) valued at $6.15 million in 2011. Missouri was the leading producing state, followed by Colorado and Texas, in decreasing order by quantity. The number of companies mining fire clay declined in 2012 because several common clay producers that occasionally mine fire clay indicated that they did not do so in 2012.

  2. Queen Cleopatra and the other 'Cleopatras': their medical legacy.

    PubMed

    Tsoucalas, Gregory; Kousoulis, Antonis A; Poulakou-Rebelakou, Effie; Karamanou, Marianna; Papagrigoriou-Theodoridou, Maria; Androutsos, George

    2014-05-01

    Cleopatra is a female figure widespread in Greece (especially in Macedonian territory), Egypt and Syria during the Hellenistic era. Ancient women doctors bearing the name Cleopatra have been identified by a systematic search through the ancient Greek, Latin and Egyptian bibliography, including original resources from the first century BC. Fictional and non-fictional figures have been distinguished and their works identified. Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, Galen's physician assistant, the outcast Metrodora, Cleopatra the Alchemist and Cleopatra the Gynaecologist deliver a story of medicine and name-giving that confuses researchers of the past and intrigues those of the present.

  3. The facial reconstruction of an Ancient Egyptian Queen.

    PubMed

    Manley, Bill; Eremin, Katherine; Shortland, Andrew; Wilkinson, Caroline

    2002-12-01

    The National Museums of Scotland Mummy Project has provided important new information about a burial excavated in Egypt. This has resulted in the facial reconstruction of a woman who was probably a queen at Thebes ca. 1570-1520 BCE. There are strong suggestions from the grave goods and her diet that this woman may have been ethnically Nubian rather than Egyptian. However, it is not yet possible to establish her ethnic identity for sure, so a definitive reconstruction of her appearance in life remains elusive.

  4. Gertrude Stein, opium queen: notes on a mistaken embrace.

    PubMed

    Solomon, Jeff

    2013-01-01

    Gertrude Stein was not only a fairly open lesbian but also Jewish, expatriate, and androgynous-all attributes that often retarded mass-market success. Why then was she so popular? The article offers original research highlighting how Stein was constructed as a kind of "opium queen" in the popular American press, and the ways that this decadent, bohemian celebrity persona allowed her to operate as "broadly queer" rather than "specifically gay" in the American cultural imaginary-a negotiation that accounts for the mass-market success rather than censure of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas despite the unparalleled visibility of its lesbian erotics.

  5. Consequences of forest clear-cuts for native and nonindigenous ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

    Currently, the southern United States produces more timber than any other region in the world. Entire timber stands are removed through a harvesting method called clear-cutting. This common forestry practice may lead to the replacement of native ant communities with invasive, nonindigenous species. In four deciduous forest sites in South Carolina, we monitored the change in ant species richness, diversity, and abundance immediately after forest clearing for a period of 15 mo to 2 yr and determined the incidence of colonization of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta into these four newly disturbed sites. Each site consisted of an uncut, forested plot and a logged, pine-planted plot. Fire ants were collected in clear-cuts as early as 3 mo postcutting, and by the end of the experiment, they were found in all four treatment sites. Our study is the first to document, through a controlled experiment, that clear-cutting alters ant species assemblages by increasing S. invicta and Pheidole spp. populations and significantly reducing native ant numbers. Long-term studies are needed to assess how replacing native deciduous forests with pine monocultures affects ant assemblages. ?? 2004 Entomological Society of America.

  6. A mixed community of actinomycetes produce multiple antibiotics for the fungus farming ant Acromyrmex octospinosus

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Attine ants live in an intensely studied tripartite mutualism with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which provides food to the ants, and with antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria. One hypothesis suggests that bacteria from the genus Pseudonocardia are the sole, co-evolved mutualists of attine ants and are transmitted vertically by the queens. A recent study identified a Pseudonocardia-produced antifungal, named dentigerumycin, associated with the lower attine Apterostigma dentigerum consistent with the idea that co-evolved Pseudonocardia make novel antibiotics. An alternative possibility is that attine ants sample actinomycete bacteria from the soil, selecting and maintaining those species that make useful antibiotics. Consistent with this idea, a Streptomyces species associated with the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus was recently shown to produce the well-known antifungal candicidin. Candicidin production is widespread in environmental isolates of Streptomyces, so this could either be an environmental contaminant or evidence of recruitment of useful actinomycetes from the environment. It should be noted that the two possibilities for actinomycete acquisition are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Results In order to test these possibilities we isolated bacteria from a geographically distinct population of A. octospinosus and identified a candicidin-producing Streptomyces species, which suggests that they are common mutualists of attine ants, most probably recruited from the environment. We also identified a Pseudonocardia species in the same ant colony that produces an unusual polyene antifungal, providing evidence for co-evolution of Pseudonocardia with A. octospinosus. Conclusions Our results show that a combination of co-evolution and environmental sampling results in the diversity of actinomycete symbionts and antibiotics associated with attine ants. PMID:20796277

  7. Ultraviolet radiation as an ant repellent

    SciTech Connect

    Thorvilson, H.G.; Russell, S.A.; Green, B.; Gransberg, D.

    1996-12-31

    In an effort to repel red imported fire ants (RIFA) from electrical devices, such as transformers, ultraviolet (UV) light was tested. Initial tests determined if RIFA`s tolerate a UV-irradiated environment when given a choice between UV-irradiated and non-irradiated. All replications in this test indicated that RIFA`s are intolerant of UV-irradiation and sought to escape it. RIFA`s moved to shaded environments and transported their brood out its well. A second test sought to determine if long-term UV-irradiation of the entire colonies cause increased RIFA mortality. Queenright colonies were exposed to UV irradiation of 254nm constantly for 115 days and colonies had a higher mortality rate than did a control colony. RIFA`s attempted to escape UV light and had increased rate when exposed to UV (254nm), but a practical application of this technique may be detrimental to insulation on electrical wiring.

  8. Effects of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) queen insemination volume on worker behavior and physiology

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bee colonies consist of tens of thousands of workers and a single reproductive queen that produces a pheromone blend which maintains colony organization. Previous studies indicated that the insemination quantity and volume alter queen mandibular pheromone profiles. In our 11-month long field s...

  9. Dominance and queen succession in captive colonies of the eusocial naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber.

    PubMed Central

    Clarke, F M; Faulkes, C G

    1997-01-01

    Naked mole-rat colonies exhibit a high reproductive skew, breeding being typically restricted to one female (the 'queen') and one to three males. Other colony members are reproductively suppressed, although this suppression can be reversed following the removal or death of the queen. We examined dominance and queen succession within captive colonies to investigate the relationship between urinary testosterone and cortisol, dominance rank and reproductive status; and to determine if behavioural and/or physiological parameters can be used as predictors of queen succession. Social structure was characterized by a linear dominance hierarchy before and after queen removal. Prior to queen removal, dominance rank was negatively correlated with body weight and urinary testosterone and cortisol titres in males and females. Queen removal results in social instability and aggression between high ranking individuals. Dominance rank appears to be a good predictor of reproductive status: queens are the highest ranking colony females and are succeeded by the next highest ranking females. The intense dominance-related aggression that accompanies reproductive succession in naked mole-rats provides empirical support for optimal skew theory. PMID:9263466

  10. Potential increase in mating frequency of queens in feral colonies of Bombus terrestris introduced into Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inoue, Maki N.; Saito, Fuki; Tsuchida, Koji; Goka, Koichi

    2012-10-01

    With the exception of several species, bumblebees are monandrous. We examined mating frequency in feral colonies of the introduced bumblebee Bombus terrestris in Japan . Using microsatellite markers, genotyping of sperm DNA stored in the spermatheca of nine queens detected multiple insemination paternities in one queen; the others were singly mated. The average effective paternity frequency estimated from the genotypes of queens and workers was 1.23; that estimated from the workers' genotype alone was 2.12. These values were greater than those of laboratory-reared colonies in the native ranges of B. terrestris. The genotypes of one or two workers did not match those of their queens or showed paternities different from those of their nestmates; this may have arisen from either queen takeover or drifting of workers. These alien workers were responsible for the heterogeneous genotype distribution within each B. terrestris colony, resulting in higher estimates of paternity frequency than of insemination frequency. The high mating frequency of introduced B. terrestris may have occurred by artificial selection through mass breeding for commercialization. Moreover, polyandrous queens may be selectively advantageous, because reproduction by such queens is less likely to be disturbed by interspecific mating than that by monandrous queens.

  11. Fire Power

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Denker, Deb; West, Lee

    2009-01-01

    For education administrators, campus fires are not only a distressing loss, but also a stark reminder that a campus faces risks that require special vigilance. In many ways, campuses resemble small communities, with areas for living, working and relaxing. A residence hall fire may raise the specter of careless youth, often with the complication of…

  12. Returning Fire

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gould, Jon B.

    2007-01-01

    Last December saw another predictable report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a self-described watchdog group, highlighting how higher education is supposedly under siege from a politically correct plague of so-called hate-speech codes. In that report, FIRE declared that as many as 96 percent of top-ranked colleges…

  13. Arizona Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... and is currently the second largest fire in Arizona history. More than 2,000 people are working to contain the fire, which is being ... bright desert background. The areas with no data (shown in black and present at the oblique angles) are locations where the variable ...

  14. California Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    article title:  Smoke Blankets Northern California     View Larger Image ... strikes sparked more than a thousand fires in northern California. This image was captured by the Multi-angle Imaging ... June 27, 2008 - Smoke from fires in northern California. project:  MISR category:  gallery ...

  15. Performance of the Species-Typical Alarm Response in Young Workers of the Ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Is Induced by Interactions with Mature Workers

    PubMed Central

    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire

    2014-01-01

    Young workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Meinert 1861 perceived nestmate alarm pheromone but did not display normal alarm behavior (orientation toward the source of emission, increased running speed). They changed their initial behavior when in the presence of older nestmates exhibiting normal alarm behavior. Four days later, the young ants exhibited an imperfect version of normal alarm behavior. This change of behavior did not occur in young ants, which were not exposed to older ants reacting to alarm pheromone. Queen ants perceived the alarm pheromone and, after a few seconds, moved toward its source. Thus, the ants’ ability to sense the alarm pheromone and to identify it as an alarm signal is native, while the adult alarm reaction is acquired over time (= age based polyethism) by young ants. It is possible that the change in behavior observed in young ants could be initiated and/or enhanced (via experience-induced developmental plasticity, learning, and/or other mechanisms) by older ants exhibiting alarm behavior. PMID:25525102

  16. Evolution and hydrocarbon potential of Queen Charlotte basin, Canada

    SciTech Connect

    McWhae, J.R.

    1988-02-01

    The structural and depositional history of the Queen Charlotte basin, a complex Tertiary rift basin with extensive coeval volcanics, involves regional geology from the Pacific plate west of the Queen Charlotte transform fault to east of the Alexander-Wrangellia terrane, based on geophysics (including newly released seismic lines), revised stratigraphy, and well data. Eight offshore wells were drilled prior to 1970 and nine shallow onshore wells were drilled in or beyond the northwestern margin of the basin. The wells provide data on porosity, seal, maturation (geothermal and vitrinite reflectance data), and oil stains in sidewall cores of the Sockeye B-10 well in the Skonun formation, here 4500 m thick. The Skonun ranges from early Miocene (17 Ma) to latest Pliocene (2 Ma) in age and the lower part is regarded as the primary hydrocarbon objective, especially in the more southern part of the basin where more favorable depositional porosities occur in paralic and shelf sandstones. Higher-than-average geothermal temperatures, locally in the southwest corner of the basin related to oblique subduction of very young oceanic crust, may reach the hydrocarbon-generating threshold in the lower Skonun marine shales. The middle Cretaceous Haida subarkose appears to be a secondary reservoir - the thickest and cleanest of the post-collision volcaniclastics. Highly organic Lower Jurassic shales provide a second, probably oil-prone, source.

  17. Similar policing rates of eggs laid by virgin and mated honey-bee queens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beekman, Madeleine; Martin, Caroline G.; Oldroyd, Benjamin P.

    2004-12-01

    Worker-policing is a well-documented mechanism that maintains functional worker sterility in queenright honey-bee colonies. Unknown, however, is the source of the egg-marking signal that is thought to be produced by the queen and used by policing workers to discriminate between queen- and worker-laid eggs. Here we investigate whether mating is necessary for the queen to produce the egg-marking signal. We compare the removal rate of eggs laid by virgin queens and compare this rate with that of eggs laid by mated queens. Our results show that mating does not affect the acceptability of eggs, suggesting that physiological changes linked to the act of mating do not play a role in the production of the queen’s egg-marking signal.

  18. Genetic reincarnation of workers as queens in the Eastern honeybee Apis cerana.

    PubMed

    Holmes, M J; Tan, K; Wang, Z; Oldroyd, B P; Beekman, M

    2015-01-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis, or the asexual production of female offspring, is rare in the animal kingdom, but relatively common in social Hymenoptera. However, in honeybees, it is only known to be ubiquitous in one subspecies of Apis mellifera, the Cape honeybee, A. mellifera capensis. Here we report the appearance of queen cells in two colonies of the Eastern honeybee Apis cerana that no longer contained a queen or queen-produced brood to rear queens from. A combination of microsatellite genotyping and the timing of the appearance of these individuals excluded the possibility that they had been laid by the original queen. Based on the genotypes of these individuals, thelytokous production by natal workers is the most parsimonious explanation for their existence. Thus, we present the first example of thelytoky in a honeybee outside A. mellifera. We discuss the evolutionary and ecological consequences of thelytoky in A. cerana, in particular the role thelytoky may play in the recent invasions by populations of this species.

  19. High recombination frequency creates genotypic diversity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior.

    PubMed

    Sirviö, A; Gadau, J; Rueppell, O; Lamatsch, D; Boomsma, J J; Pamilo, P; Page, R E

    2006-09-01

    Honeybees are known to have genetically diverse colonies because queens mate with many males and the recombination rate is extremely high. Genetic diversity among social insect workers has been hypothesized to improve general performance of large and complex colonies, but this idea has not been tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM(-1) (or 6.2 cM Mb(-1)). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have demonstrated that variation in division of labour and pathogen resistance has a genetic component and that genotypic diversity among workers may thus give colonies of this leaf-cutting ant a functional advantage. The present result is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that complex social life can select for an increased recombination rate through effects on genotypic diversity and colony performance.

  20. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses. (a) Each vessel 36 feet (11.8 meters) or more in length...

  1. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses. (a) Each vessel 36 feet (11.8 meters) or more in length...

  2. 76 FR 23907 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Queen Conch Fishery of Puerto...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-04-29

    ..., Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Queen Conch Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands... to address overfishing of Caribbean queen conch in the U.S. Caribbean. This rule extends the queen... Atlantic. Therefore, all for-hire businesses that may be affected by this final rule are determined,...

  3. An Efficient Antioxidant System in a Long-Lived Termite Queen

    PubMed Central

    Tasaki, Eisuke; Kobayashi, Kazuya; Matsuura, Kenji; Iuchi, Yoshihito

    2017-01-01

    The trade-off between reproduction and longevity is known in wide variety of animals. Social insect queens are rare organisms that can achieve a long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. The extended longevity of social insect queens, which contradicts the trade-off, has attracted much attention because it implies the existence of an extraordinary anti-aging mechanism. Here, we show that queens of the termite Reticulitermes speratus incur significantly lower oxidative damage to DNA, protein and lipid and have higher activity of antioxidant enzymes than non-reproductive individuals (workers and soldiers). The levels of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (oxidative damage marker of DNA) were lower in queens than in workers after UV irradiation. Queens also showed lower levels of protein carbonyls and malondialdehyde (oxidative damage markers of protein and lipid, respectively). The antioxidant enzymes of insects are generally composed of catalase (CAT) and peroxiredoxin (Prx). Queens showed more than two times higher CAT activity and more than seven times higher expression levels of the CAT gene RsCAT1 than workers. The CAT activity of termite queens was also markedly higher in comparison with other solitary insects and the queens of eusocial Hymenoptera. In addition, queens showed higher expression levels of the Prx gene RsPRX6. These results suggested that this efficient antioxidant system can partly explain why termite queens achieve long life. This study provides important insights into the evolutionary linkage of reproductive division of labor and the development of queens’ oxidative stress resistance in social insects. PMID:28076409

  4. Social regulation of maternal traits in nest-founding bumble bee (Bombus terrestris) queens

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, S. Hollis; Bloch, Guy; Band, Mark R.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY During the nest-founding phase of the bumble bee colony cycle, queens undergo striking changes in maternal care behavior. Early in the founding phase, prior to the emergence of workers in the nest, queens are reproductive and also provision and feed their offspring. However, later in the founding phase, queens reduce their feeding of larvae and become specialized on reproduction. This transition is synchronized with the emergence of workers in the colony, who assume the task of feeding their siblings. Using a social manipulation experiment with the bumble bee Bombus terrestris, we tested the hypothesis that workers regulate the transition from feeding brood to specialization on reproduction in nest-founding bumble bee queens. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that early-stage nest-founding queens with workers prematurely added to their nests reduce their brood-feeding behavior and increase egg laying, and likewise, late-stage nest-founding queens increase their brood-feeding behavior and decrease egg-laying when workers are removed from their nests. Further, brood-feeding and egg-laying behaviors were negatively correlated. We used Agilent microarrays designed from B. terrestris brain expressed sequenced tags (ESTs) to explore a second hypothesis, that workers alter brain gene expression in nest-founding queens. We found evidence that brain gene expression in nest-founding queens is altered by the presence of workers, with the effect being much stronger in late-stage founding queens. This study provides new insights into how the transition from feeding brood to specialization on reproduction in queen bumble bees is regulated during the nest initiation phase of the colony cycle. PMID:23966589

  5. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

    Biological processes speed up as temperature rises. Procedures for demonstrating this with ants traveling on trails, and data gathered by students on the Argentine ant ("Linepithema humile") are presented. The concepts of temperature regulation and conformity are detailed with a focus on the processes rather than on terms that label the organisms.

  6. Spacecraft Fire Safety

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margle, Janice M. (Editor)

    1987-01-01

    Fire detection, fire standards and testing, fire extinguishment, inerting and atmospheres, fire-related medical science, aircraft fire safety, Space Station safety concerns, microgravity combustion, spacecraft material flammability testing, and metal combustion are among the topics considered.

  7. The Relationship Between Ants and Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) at Concord Pine Barrens, NH, USA.

    PubMed

    Pascale, Elizabeth G; Thiet, Rachel K

    2016-04-22

    The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is a federally listed, endangered species that has experienced dramatic decline over its historic range. In surviving populations, Karner blue butterflies have a facultative mutualism with ants that could be critically important to their survival where their populations are threatened by habitat loss or disturbance. In this study, we investigated the effects of ants, wild blue lupine population status (native or restored), and fire on adult Karner blue butterfly abundance at the Concord Pine Barrens, NH, USA. Ant frequency (the number of times we collected each ant species in our pitfall traps) was higher in restored than native lupine treatments regardless of burn status during both Karner blue butterfly broods, and the trend was statistically significant during the second brood. We observed a positive relationship between adult Karner blue butterfly abundance and ant frequency during the first brood, particularly on native lupine, regardless of burn treatment. During the second brood, adult Karner blue butterfly abundance and ant frequency were not significantly correlated in any treatments or their combinations. Our findings suggest that a combination of native and restored lupine is important for supporting both Karner blue butterflies and ants at the Concord Pine Barrens, and that burning does not affect the mutualism. Thus, scientists and managers at the site may wish to target their habitat management activities to best support both Karner blue butterflies and the particular ant species that provide the greatest benefit to their survival.

  8. Natural history of the Neotropical arboreal ant, Odontomachus hastatus: nest sites, foraging schedule, and diet.

    PubMed

    Camargo, Rafael X; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2012-01-01

    The ecology of most arboreal ants remains poorly documented because of the difficulty in accessing ant nests and foragers in the forest canopy. This study documents the nesting and foraging ecology of a large (∼13 mm total length) arboreal trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus hastatus (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a sandy plain forest on Cardoso Island, off the coast of Southeast Brazil. The results showed that O. hastatus nested in root clusters of epiphytic bromeliads, most commonly Vriesea procera (70% of nest plants). Mature O. hastatus colonies include one to several queens and about 500 workers. Foraging by O. hastatus is primarily nocturnal year-round, with increased foraging activity during the wet/warm season. The foragers hunt singly in the trees, preying on a variety of canopy-dwelling arthropods, with flies, moths, ants, and spiders accounting for > 60% of the prey captured. Although predators often have impacts on prey populations, the ecological importance of O. hastatus remains to be studied.

  9. Natural History of the Neotropical Arboreal Ant, Odontomachus hastatus: Nest Sites, Foraging Schedule, and Diet

    PubMed Central

    Camargo, Rafael X.; Oliveira, Paulo S.

    2012-01-01

    The ecology of most arboreal ants remains poorly documented because of the difficulty in accessing ant nests and foragers in the forest canopy. This study documents the nesting and foraging ecology of a large (∼13 mm total length) arboreal trap—jaw ant, Odontomachus hastatus (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a sandy plain forest on Cardoso Island, off the coast of Southeast Brazil. The results showed that O. hastatus nested in root clusters of epiphytic bromeliads, most commonly Vriesea procera (70% of nest plants). Mature O. hastatus colonies include one to several queens and about 500 workers. Foraging by O. hastatus is primarily nocturnal year—round, with increased foraging activity during the wet/warm season. The foragers hunt singly in the trees, preying on a variety of canopy—dwelling arthropods, with flies, moths, ants, and spiders accounting for > 60% of the prey captured. Although predators often have impacts on prey populations, the ecological importance of O. hastatus remains to be studied. PMID:22957686

  10. Differential antennal proteome comparison of adult honeybee drone, worker and queen (Apis mellifera L.).

    PubMed

    Fang, Yu; Song, Feifei; Zhang, Lan; Aleku, Dereje Woltedji; Han, Bin; Feng, Mao; Li, Jianke

    2012-01-04

    To understand the olfactory mechanism of honeybee antennae in detecting specific volatile compounds in the atmosphere, antennal proteome differences of drone, worker and queen were compared using 2-DE, mass spectrometry and bioinformatics. Therefore, 107 proteins were altered their expressions in the antennae of drone, worker and queen bees. There were 54, 21 and 32 up-regulated proteins in the antennae of drone, worker and queen, respectively. Proteins upregulated in the drone antennae were involved in fatty acid metabolism, antioxidation, carbohydrate metabolism and energy production, protein folding and cytoskeleton. Proteins upregulated in the antennae of worker and queen bees were related to carbohydrate metabolism and energy production while molecular transporters were upregulated in the queen antennae. Our results explain the role played by the antennae of drone is to aid in perceiving the queen sexual pheromones, in the worker antennae to assist for food search and social communication and in the queen antennae to help pheromone communication with the worker and the drone during the mating flight. This first proteomic study significantly extends our understanding of honeybee olfactory activities and the possible mechanisms played by the antennae in response to various environmental, social, biological and biochemical signals.

  11. A conserved class of queen pheromones? Re-evaluating the evidence in bumblebees (Bombus impatiens).

    PubMed

    Amsalem, Etya; Orlova, Margarita; Grozinger, Christina M

    2015-10-22

    The regulation of reproductive division of labour is a key component in the evolution of social insects. Chemical signals are important mechanisms to regulate worker reproduction, either as queen-produced pheromones that coercively inhibit worker reproduction or as queen signals that honestly advertise her fecundity. A recent study suggested that a conserved class of hydrocarbons serve as queen pheromones across three independent origins of eusociality. In bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), pentacosane (C25) was suggested to serve as a queen pheromone. Here, we repeat these studies using a different species of bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) with a more controlled experimental design. Instead of dequeened colonies, we used same-aged, three-worker queenless groups comprising either experienced or naive workers (with/without adult exposure to queen pheromone). We quantified three hydrocarbons (C23, C25 and C27) on the cuticular surfaces of females and tested their effects on the two worker types. Our results indicate differences in responses of naive and experienced workers, genetic effects on worker reproduction, and general effects of hydrocarbons and duration of egg laying on ovary resorption rates. However, we found no evidence to support the theory that a conserved class of hydrocarbons serve as queen pheromones or queen signals in Bombus impatiens.

  12. Diploid Male Production Results in Queen Death in the Stingless Bee Scaptotrigona depilis.

    PubMed

    Vollet-Neto, Ayrton; Oliveira, Ricardo C; Schillewaert, Sharon; Alves, Denise A; Wenseleers, Tom; Nascimento, Fabio S; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera L; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2017-04-06

    As in most Hymenoptera, the eusocial stingless bees (Meliponini) have a complementary sex determination (CSD) system. When a queen makes a "matched mating" with a male that shares a CSD allele with her, half of their diploid offspring are diploid males rather than females. Matched mating imposes a cost, since diploid male production reduces the colony workforce. Hence, adaptations preventing the occurrence or attenuating its effects are likely to arise. Here we provide clear evidence that in the stingless bee Scaptotrigona depilis, the emergence of diploid males induces queen death, and this usually occurs within 10-20 days of the emergence of diploid male offspring from their pupae. Queens that have not made a matched mating die when introduced into a colony in which diploid males are emerging. This shows that the adult diploid males, and not the queen that has made a matched mating herself, are the proximate cause of queen death. Analysis of the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of adult haploid and diploid males shows six compounds with significant differences. Moreover, the diploid and haploid males only acquire distinct cuticular hydrocarbon profiles 10 days after emergence. Our data shows that the timing of queen death occurs when the cuticular hydrocarbons of haploid and diploid males differ significantly, suggesting that these chemical differences could be used as cues or signals to trigger queen death.

  13. Montana Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... fires raging in Montana and Hurricane Hector swirling in the Pacific. These two unrelated, large-scale examples of nature's fury were ... location:  United States Pacific Ocean region:  Western United States Order:  55 ...

  14. Texas Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    article title:  Wind-Whipped Fires in East Texas     View Larger Image ... one-year drought on record and the warmest month in Texas history. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on ...

  15. How the Red Queen drives terrestrial mammals to extinction.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2013-07-19

    Most species disappear by the processes of background extinction, yet those processes are poorly understood. We analyzed the evolutionary dynamics of 19 Cenozoic terrestrial mammalian clades with rich fossil records that are now fully extinct or in diversity decline. We find their diversity loss was not just a consequence of "gamblers ruin" but resulted from the evolutionary loss to the Red Queen, a failure to keep pace with a deteriorating environment. Diversity loss is driven equally by both depressed origination rates and elevated extinction rates. Although we find diversity-dependent origination and extinction rates, the diversity of each clade only transiently equaled the implied equilibrium diversity. Thus, the processes that drove diversity loss in terrestrial mammal clades were fundamentally nonequilibrial and overwhelmed diversity-dependent processes.

  16. FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database

    PubMed Central

    Brosens, Dimitri; Vankerkhoven, François; Ignace, David; Wegnez, Philippe; Noé, Nicolas; Heughebaert, André; Bortels, Jeannine; Dekoninck, Wouter

    2013-01-01

    Abstract FORMIDABEL is a database of Belgian Ants containing more than 27.000 occurrence records. These records originate from collections, field sampling and literature. The database gives information on 76 native and 9 introduced ant species found in Belgium. The collection records originated mainly from the ants collection in Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the ‘Gaspar’ Ants collection in Gembloux and the zoological collection of the University of Liège (ULG). The oldest occurrences date back from May 1866, the most recent refer to August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year. The latest version of the dataset is publicly and freely accessible through this url: http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel. The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14697 A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at: http://www.formicidae-atlas.be Purpose: FORMIDABEL is a joint cooperation of the Flemish ants working group “Polyergus” (http://formicidae.be) and the Wallonian ants working group “FourmisWalBru” (http://fourmiswalbru.be). The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish Ants (Dekoninck et al. 2003). Later, in 2005, data from the Southern part of Belgium; Wallonia and Brussels were added. In 2012 this dataset was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas (Figure 1) (Dekoninck et al. 2012). The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living ant species in Belgium using an overlay of the standard Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species, we can discern a clear and often restricted distribution pattern in Belgium, mainly based on vegetation and soil types. PMID:23794918

  17. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2012-01-01

    Five companies mined fire clay in four states in 2011. Production, based on a preliminary survey of the fire clay industry, was estimated to be 240 kt (265,000 st), valued at $7.68 million, an increase from 216 kt (238,000 st), valued at $6.12 million in 2010. Missouri was the leading producing state, followed by Texas, Washington and Ohio, in decreasing order by quantity.

  18. South Pole Queen Maud Land Traverses, 1964-68 (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bentley, C. R.

    2009-12-01

    Between early December, 1964, and late January, 1968, the three-part "South Pole Queen Maud Land Traverse" (SPQMLT), supported by the U.S. Antarctic Research Program (USARP), explored the previously unexamined interior of Queen Maud Land, making measurements of surface height and slope, surface mass balance, bore-hole temperatures, ice thickness, seismic wave velocities in and below the ice, gravity, and magnetics. The traverse followed a zigzag, space-filling route between Pole Station, the abandoned Pole of Relative Inaccessibility station, and Plateau Station on the east and roughly the Greenwich Meridian on the west. The traverse equipment featured two large Model 843 Tucker Sno-Cats, designed and built especially for work on the high East Antarctic plateau. Unfortunately, for programmatic reasons a planned 4th season to drive the Sno-Cats back to Pole Station could not be supported, so they were permanently abandoned at the end of the third traverse, at 78° 42.2'S, 6° 52'W. The SPQMLT was remarkable not only for working in a previously unexplored area, but also for the introduction of several new techniques to Antarctic traverse studies, two of which, radar sounding and determination of accumulation rates using a dated radioactive fallout horizon, were major advances that will be discussed by other authors in this session. In this presentation I will discuss the seismic, gravity, and magnetic observations and what they suggest about the character of the underlying terrain. Because of the pronounced differences in route pattern between the SPQMLT and the recent Troll-Pole-Troll traverses the data will be strongly complementary. From SPQMLT only the positions and surface heights are not up to modern standards of accuracy, but the former are adequate for regional studies and the latter have all been superseded by satellite radar and laser altimetry anyway.

  19. Introduction of a neurohormone in the fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Neuropeptides are the largest group of insect hormones, and are synthesized in the central and peripheral nervous systems. One neuropeptide family is the PBAN/pyrokinin family defined by a common FXPRLamide or similar amino acid fragment at the C-terminal end. Over the past years we have extended kn...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 ...