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Sample records for queen fire ant

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1981-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-12-08

    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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Lei; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klobuchar, Emily; Deslippe, Richard

    2002-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Klobuchar, Emily A; Deslippe, Richard J

    2002-07-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  11. Differential gene expression between alate and dealate queens in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Haisheng Tian; Bradleigh Vinson, S; Coates, Craig J

    2004-09-01

    The transition of fire ant queens from alates to dealates, following a mating flight, is associated with numerous important physiological changes. A molecular analysis of gene expression differences that occur between alates and dealates was performed using the suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) method. 983 SSH clones were arrayed and screened by dot blot hybridization, followed by Northern blot analysis for selected clones. Gene expression profiles throughout fire ant development were determined using semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR). The cytochrome c oxidase subunit II and STARS (striated muscle activator of Rho signaling) transcripts were expressed at higher levels in dealates compared to alates and may be involved in the programmed cell death of the flight muscles. Three different vitellogenin genes and two unique yellow g-like genes were identified that may be closely associated with the reproductive system and/or nutrient transport. Two putative antibacterial peptides, abaecin and hymenoptaecin precursors, were highly expressed in dealate queens, suggesting that they are present as an immune system component during this important stage of fire ant development. The genes identified in this study may be utilized as novel targets for fire ant control and will also provide molecular markers for studies of other social insects.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyakawa, Misato O.; Mikheyev, Alexander S.

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

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

  18. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Helms, Jackson A.; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Trible, W; Ross, K G

    2016-03-01

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

  20. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

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

  1. 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.

  2. Sex allocation conflict in ants: when the queen rules.

    PubMed

    Rosset, Hervé; Chapuisat, Michel

    2006-02-01

    Insect societies are paramount examples of cooperation, yet they also harbor internal conflicts whose resolution depends on the power of the opponents. The male-haploid, female-diploid sex-determining system of ants causes workers to be more related to sisters than to brothers, whereas queens are equally related to daughters and sons. Workers should thus allocate more resources to females than to males, while queens should favor an equal investment in each sex. Female-biased sex allocation and manipulation of the sex ratio during brood development suggest that workers prevail in many ant species. Here, we show that queens of Formica selysi strongly influenced colony sex allocation by biasing the sex ratio of their eggs. Most colonies specialized in the production of a single sex. Queens in female-specialist colonies laid a high proportion of diploid eggs, whereas queens in male-specialist colonies laid almost exclusively haploid eggs, which constrains worker manipulation. However, the change in sex ratio between the egg and pupae stages suggests that workers eliminated some male brood, and the population sex-investment ratio was between the queens' and workers' equilibria. Altogether, these data provide evidence for an ongoing conflict between queens and workers, with a prominent influence of queens as a result of their control of egg sex ratio.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howard, Kenneth J.; Kennedy, David

    2007-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Howard, Kenneth J; Kennedy, David

    2007-11-01

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

  5. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

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

  6. Social context predicts recognition systems in ant queens.

    PubMed

    Dreier, S; D'Ettorre, P

    2009-03-01

    Recognition of group-members is a key feature of sociality. Ants use chemical communication to discriminate nestmates from intruders, enhancing kin cooperation and preventing parasitism. The recognition code is embedded in their cuticular chemical profile, which typically varies between colonies. We predicted that ants might be capable of accurate recognition in unusual situations when few individuals interact repeatedly, as new colonies started by two to three queens. Individual recognition would be favoured by selection when queens establish dominance hierarchies, because repeated fights for dominance are costly; but it would not evolve in absence of hierarchies. We previously showed that Pachycondyla co-founding queens, which form dominance hierarchies, have accurate individual recognition based on chemical cues. Here, we used the ant Lasius niger to test the null hypothesis that individual recognition does not occur when co-founding queens do not establish dominance hierarchies. Indeed, L. niger queens show a similar level of aggression towards both co-foundresses and intruders, indicating that they are unable of individual recognition, contrary to Pachycondyla. Additionally, the variation in chemical profiles of Lasius and Pachycondyla queens is comparable, thus informational constraints are unlikely to apply. We conclude that selection pressure from the social context is of crucial significance for the sophistication of recognition systems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-22

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

  8. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  19. Dynamics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  20. Biological control of red imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

    Krieger, Michael J B

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sousa-Souto, L; Souza, D J

    2006-05-01

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

  12. The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Wurm, Yannick; Wang, John; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Corona, Miguel; Nygaard, Sanne; Hunt, Brendan G.; Ingram, Krista K.; Falquet, Laurent; Nipitwattanaphon, Mingkwan; Gotzek, Dietrich; Dijkstra, Michiel B.; Oettler, Jan; Comtesse, Fabien; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Wu, Wen-Jer; Yang, Chin-Cheng; Thomas, Jerome; Beaudoing, Emmanuel; Pradervand, Sylvain; Flegel, Volker; Cook, Erin D.; Fabbretti, Roberto; Stockinger, Heinz; Long, Li; Farmerie, William G.; Oakey, Jane; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Pamilo, Pekka; Yi, Soojin V.; Heinze, Jürgen; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Farinelli, Laurent; Harshman, Keith; Hulo, Nicolas; Cerutti, Lorenzo; Xenarios, Ioannis; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Keller, Laurent

    2011-01-01

    Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some ants, such as the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, are also major pests. Here, we present a draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from Roche 454 and Illumina sequencing reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothers. We used comparative genomic methods to obtain insight into the unique features of the S. invicta genome. For example, we found that this genome harbors four adjacent copies of vitellogenin. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that an ancestral vitellogenin gene first underwent a duplication that was followed by possibly independent duplications of each of the daughter vitellogenins. The vitellogenin genes have undergone subfunctionalization with queen- and worker-specific expression, possibly reflecting differential selection acting on the queen and worker castes. Additionally, we identified more than 400 putative olfactory receptors of which at least 297 are intact. This represents the largest repertoire reported so far in insects. S. invicta also harbors an expansion of a specific family of lipid-processing genes, two putative orthologs to the transformer/feminizer sex differentiation gene, a functional DNA methylation system, and a single putative telomerase ortholog. EST data indicate that this S. invicta telomerase ortholog has at least four spliceforms that differ in their use of two sets of mutually exclusive exons. Some of these and other unique aspects of the fire ant genome are likely linked to the complex social behavior of this species. PMID:21282665

  13. The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Wurm, Yannick; Wang, John; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Corona, Miguel; Nygaard, Sanne; Hunt, Brendan G; Ingram, Krista K; Falquet, Laurent; Nipitwattanaphon, Mingkwan; Gotzek, Dietrich; Dijkstra, Michiel B; Oettler, Jan; Comtesse, Fabien; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Wu, Wen-Jer; Yang, Chin-Cheng; Thomas, Jerome; Beaudoing, Emmanuel; Pradervand, Sylvain; Flegel, Volker; Cook, Erin D; Fabbretti, Roberto; Stockinger, Heinz; Long, Li; Farmerie, William G; Oakey, Jane; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Pamilo, Pekka; Yi, Soojin V; Heinze, Jürgen; Goodisman, Michael A D; Farinelli, Laurent; Harshman, Keith; Hulo, Nicolas; Cerutti, Lorenzo; Xenarios, Ioannis; Shoemaker, Dewayne; Keller, Laurent

    2011-04-01

    Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some ants, such as the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, are also major pests. Here, we present a draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from Roche 454 and Illumina sequencing reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothers. We used comparative genomic methods to obtain insight into the unique features of the S. invicta genome. For example, we found that this genome harbors four adjacent copies of vitellogenin. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that an ancestral vitellogenin gene first underwent a duplication that was followed by possibly independent duplications of each of the daughter vitellogenins. The vitellogenin genes have undergone subfunctionalization with queen- and worker-specific expression, possibly reflecting differential selection acting on the queen and worker castes. Additionally, we identified more than 400 putative olfactory receptors of which at least 297 are intact. This represents the largest repertoire reported so far in insects. S. invicta also harbors an expansion of a specific family of lipid-processing genes, two putative orthologs to the transformer/feminizer sex differentiation gene, a functional DNA methylation system, and a single putative telomerase ortholog. EST data indicate that this S. invicta telomerase ortholog has at least four spliceforms that differ in their use of two sets of mutually exclusive exons. Some of these and other unique aspects of the fire ant genome are likely linked to the complex social behavior of this species.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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 ...

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  4. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  9. Queen execution increases relatedness among workers of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile.

    PubMed

    Inoue, Maki N; Ito, Fuminori; Goka, Koichi

    2015-09-01

    Polygyny in social insects can greatly reduce within-nest genetic relatedness. In polygynous ant species, potential rival queens in colonies with multiple queens are often executed by other queens, workers, or both. The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, native to South America, forms a "supercolony" that is composed of a large number of nests and is considered to contribute to the ant's invasion success. Currently, four mutually antagonistic supercolonies are contiguously distributed within a small area of Japan. Here, we analyzed the genetic structure and relatedness within and among the four supercolonies using microsatellite markers to clarify how L. humile maintains its supercoloniality. The results of AMOVA and BASP, the F ST values, and the existence of several private alleles indicated that the L. humile population in the Kobe area had a characteristic genetic structure. Within a given supercolony, there was significant genetic differentiation (F ST) among workers collected in May and those collected in September. The significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium increased, and the relatedness among workers significantly increased from May to September in all supercolonies. This result suggested that the supercolonies replaced old queens with new ones during the reproductive season, thus supporting the plausibility of queen execution. From the perspective of kin selection, workers collectively eliminate queens, thereby increasing their own inclusive fitness. Restricted gene flow among supercolonies, together with mating with sib and queen execution, could help to maintain the unique social structure of L. humile, the distribution of which is expanding worldwide. PMID:26445661

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. When can ants discriminate the sex of brood? A new aspect of queen-worker conflict.

    PubMed

    Nonacs, P; Carlin, N F

    1990-12-15

    The stage in preimaginal ontogeny at which the sexes can first be distinguished has important implications for queen-worker conflict in social insects. If workers are unable to sex larvae at an early instar, their opportunity to control colony reproductive strategies may be limited. In addition, by concealing the sex of her sons for some portion of development, the queen could protect them from the workers' attempts to substitute their own sons or to skew the numerical sex ratio. In a series of choice experiments, workers of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, failed to discriminate the sex of several stages of larvae but did retrieve female pupae significantly more rapidly than male pupae. Our results suggest that in this species, sex may not become detectable until pupation, which is consistent with sexual deception as an aspect of queen control.

  15. When can ants discriminate the sex of brood? A new aspect of queen-worker conflict.

    PubMed

    Nonacs, P; Carlin, N F

    1990-12-15

    The stage in preimaginal ontogeny at which the sexes can first be distinguished has important implications for queen-worker conflict in social insects. If workers are unable to sex larvae at an early instar, their opportunity to control colony reproductive strategies may be limited. In addition, by concealing the sex of her sons for some portion of development, the queen could protect them from the workers' attempts to substitute their own sons or to skew the numerical sex ratio. In a series of choice experiments, workers of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, failed to discriminate the sex of several stages of larvae but did retrieve female pupae significantly more rapidly than male pupae. Our results suggest that in this species, sex may not become detectable until pupation, which is consistent with sexual deception as an aspect of queen control. PMID:11607136

  16. Dynamics and elasticity of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. Colony insularity through queen control on worker social motivation in ants.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Raphaël; Katzav-Gozansky, Tamar; Vander Meer, Robert K; Hefetz, Abraham

    2003-05-01

    We investigated the relative contribution of the queen and workers to colony nestmate recognition cues and on colony insularity in the Carpenter ant Camponotus fellah. Workers were either individually isolated, preventing contact with both queen and workers (colonial deprived, CD), kept in queenless groups, allowing only worker-worker interactions (queen deprived, QD) or in queenright (QR) groups. Two weeks post-separation QD and QR workers were amicable towards each other but both rejected their CD nestmates, which suggests that the queen does not measurably influence the colony recognition cues. By contrast, aggression between QD and QR workers from the same original colony was apparent only after six months of separation. This clearly demonstrates the power of the Gestalt and indicates that the queen is not a dominant contributor to the nestmate recognition cues in this species. Aggression between nestmates was correlated with a greater hydrocarbon (HC) profile divergence for CD than for QD and QR workers, supporting the importance of worker-worker interactions in maintaining the colony Gestalt odour. While the queen does not significantly influence nestmate recognition cues, she does influence colony insularity since within 3 days QD (queenless for six months) workers from different colony origins merged to form a single queenless colony. By contrast, the corresponding QR colonies maintained their territoriality and did not merge. The originally divergent cuticular and postpharyngeal gland HC profiles became congruent following the merger. Therefore, while workers supply and blend the recognition signal, the queen affects worker-worker interaction by reducing social motivation and tolerance of alien conspecifics.

  19. Colony insularity through queen control on worker social motivation in ants.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Raphaël; Katzav-Gozansky, Tamar; Vander Meer, Robert K; Hefetz, Abraham

    2003-05-01

    We investigated the relative contribution of the queen and workers to colony nestmate recognition cues and on colony insularity in the Carpenter ant Camponotus fellah. Workers were either individually isolated, preventing contact with both queen and workers (colonial deprived, CD), kept in queenless groups, allowing only worker-worker interactions (queen deprived, QD) or in queenright (QR) groups. Two weeks post-separation QD and QR workers were amicable towards each other but both rejected their CD nestmates, which suggests that the queen does not measurably influence the colony recognition cues. By contrast, aggression between QD and QR workers from the same original colony was apparent only after six months of separation. This clearly demonstrates the power of the Gestalt and indicates that the queen is not a dominant contributor to the nestmate recognition cues in this species. Aggression between nestmates was correlated with a greater hydrocarbon (HC) profile divergence for CD than for QD and QR workers, supporting the importance of worker-worker interactions in maintaining the colony Gestalt odour. While the queen does not significantly influence nestmate recognition cues, she does influence colony insularity since within 3 days QD (queenless for six months) workers from different colony origins merged to form a single queenless colony. By contrast, the corresponding QR colonies maintained their territoriality and did not merge. The originally divergent cuticular and postpharyngeal gland HC profiles became congruent following the merger. Therefore, while workers supply and blend the recognition signal, the queen affects worker-worker interaction by reducing social motivation and tolerance of alien conspecifics. PMID:12803913

  20. 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.

  1. Alternative genetic foundations for a key social polymorphism in fire ants.

    PubMed

    Ross, Kenneth G; Krieger, Michael J B; Shoemaker, D DeWayne

    2003-12-01

    Little is known about the genetic foundations of colony social organization. One rare example in which a single major gene is implicated in the expression of alternative social organizations involves the presumed odorant-binding protein gene Gp-9 in fire ants. Specific amino acid substitutions in this gene invariably are associated with the expression of monogyny (single queen per colony) or polygyny (multiple queens per colony) in fire ant species of the Solenopsis richteri clade. These substitutions are hypothesized to alter the abilities of workers to recognize queens and thereby regulate their numbers in a colony. We examined whether these same substitutions underlie the monogyny/polygyny social polymorphism in the distantly related fire ant S. geminata. We found that Gp-9 coding region sequences are identical in the polygyne and monogyne forms of this species, disproving our hypothesis that one or a few specific amino acid replacements in the protein are necessary to induce transitions in social organization in fire ants. On the other hand, polygyne S. geminata differs genetically from the monogyne form in ways not mirrored in the two forms of S. invicta, a well-studied member of the S. richteri clade, supporting the conclusion that polygyny did not evolve via analogous routes in the two lineages. Specifically, polygyne S. geminata has lower genetic diversity and different gene frequencies than the monogyne form, suggesting that the polygyne form originated via a founder event from a local monogyne population. These comparative data suggest an alternative route to polygyny in S. geminata in which loss of allelic variation at genes encoding recognition cues has led to a breakdown in discrimination abilities and the consequent acceptance of multiple queens in colonies.

  2. Extensional Rheology of Fire Ant Aggregates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  3. Strength in numbers: large and permanent colonies have higher queen oviposition rates in the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Mayr).

    PubMed

    Abril, Sílvia; Gómez, Crisanto

    2014-03-01

    Polydomy associated with unicoloniality is a common trait of invasive species. In the invasive Argentine ant, colonies are seasonally polydomous. Most follow a seasonal fission-fussion pattern: they disperse in the spring and summer and aggregate in the fall and winter. However, a small proportion of colonies do not migrate; instead, they inhabit permanent nesting sites. These colonies are large and highly polydomous. The aim of this study was to (1) search for differences in the fecundity of queens between mother colonies (large and permanent) and satellite colonies (small and temporal), (2) determine if queens in mother and satellite colonies have different diets to clarify if colony size influences social organization and queen feeding, and (3) examine if colony location relative to the invasion front results in differences in the queen's diet. Our results indicate that queens from mother nests are more fertile than queens from satellite nests and that colony location does not affect queen oviposition rate. Ovarian dissections suggest that differences in ovarian morphology are not responsible for the higher queen oviposition rate in mother vs. satellite nests, since there were no differences in the number and length of ovarioles in queens from the two types of colonies. In contrast, the higher δ(15)N values of queens from mother nests imply that greater carnivorous source intake accounts for the higher oviposition rates.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Peeters, Christian; Adams, Rachelle M M

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mankowski, Mark E; Morrell, J J

    2011-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mankowski, Mark E; Morrell, J J

    2011-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-28

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Corruption of ant acoustical signals by mimetic social parasites: Maculinea butterflies achieve elevated status in host societies by mimicking the acoustics of queen ants.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Jeremy A; Schönrogge, Karsten; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca; Balletto, Emilio

    2010-03-01

    Recent recordings of the stridulations of Myrmica ants revealed that their queens made distinctive sounds from their workers, although the acoustics of queens and workers, respectively, were the same in different species of Myrmica. Queen recordings induced enhanced protective behavior when played to workers in the one species tested. Larvae and pupae of the butterfly genus Maculinea inhabit Myrmica colonies as social parasites, and both stages generate sounds that mimic those of a Myrmica queen, inducing similar superior treatments from workers as their model. We discuss how initial penetration and acceptance as a colony member is achieved by Maculinea through mimicking the species-specific semio-chemicals of their hosts, and how acoustical mimicry is then employed to elevate the parasite's membership of that society towards the highest attainable level in their host's hierarchy. We postulate that, if acoustics is as well developed a means of communication in certain ants as these studies suggest, then others among an estimated 10,000 species of ant social parasite may supplement their well-known use of chemical and tactile mimicry to trick host ants with mimicry of host acoustical systems.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke

    2012-07-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. The determination of nest depth in founding queens of leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri): idiothetic and temporal control.

    PubMed

    Fröhle, Kerstin; Roces, Flavio

    2012-05-15

    Leaf-cutting ant queens excavate a founding nest consisting of a vertical tunnel and a final horizontal chamber. Nest foundation is very time consuming, and colony success depends on the excavated depth. Although shallow nests may be energetically cheaper to dig, queens may be more exposed to the changing environment. Deeper chambers, in contrast, may be climatically more stable, but are more expensive to dig. We investigated the mechanisms underlying the control of nest depth in queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri. We focused on the use of internal information for the control of nest depth, and therefore maintained the soil and environmental conditions invariant during the different laboratory experiments. We compared the tunnel lengths excavated by queens that were able to complete their nests earlier, faster or slower than under standard conditions. An earlier and faster nest completion was obtained by offering queens either pre-excavated tunnels of different lengths, soils at different temperatures, or soft sandy soils. A slower nest excavation was induced by offering queens harder dry soils, and by delaying the start of digging several days after the nuptial flight. Results indicate that the determination of nest depth was a regulated process involving the use of internal references: queens excavated their tunnels either until a particular depth was reached or for some predetermined length of time. Queens appear to monitor their movements while walking up und down the tunnel, and to compare this sensory information with a motor command that represents a preset tunnel length to be excavated before switching to chamber digging. In addition to this form of idiothetic control, results indicate that the elapsed digging time also feeds back onto the control system. It is argued that the determination of nest depth, i.e. the transition from tunnel to chamber digging, is initiated either after a preset tunnel length is reached, or as soon as a maximal

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

    PubMed

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

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

  11. 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...

  12. Insect insulin receptors: insights from sequence and caste expression analyses of two cloned hymenopteran insulin receptor cDNAs from the fire ant.

    PubMed

    Lu, H-L; Pietrantonio, Patricia V

    2011-10-01

    The insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signalling (IIS) pathway in the honey bee (Apis mellifera) is linked to reproductive division of labour and foraging behaviour. Two insulin receptor genes are present in the released genomes of other social hymenopterans. Limited information is available on the IIS pathway role in ants. The predicted insulin receptor sequences from the recently released draft genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are incomplete and biologically significant data are also lacking. To elucidate the role of the IIS pathway in the fire ant, two putative insulin receptors (SiInR-1 and SiInR-2) were cloned; the first InR cDNAs cloned from social insects. Analyses of putative post-translational modification sites in SiInRs revealed the potential for differential regulation. We investigated the transcriptional expression of both receptors at different developmental stages, castes and queen tissues. In last instar larvae and pharate pupae of workers and reproductive, transcriptional abundance of both receptors was negatively correlated with body size and nutritional status. The expression level of both receptors in different queen tissues appears to correlate with requirements for queen reproductive physiology and behaviours. This study contributes new information to the understanding of social insects because in fire ants juvenile hormone acts as a gonadotropin and workers are fully sterile, contrary to honey bees.

  13. Behavioral and chemical analysis of venom gland secretion of queens of the ant Solenopsis geminata.

    PubMed

    Cruz-López, L; Rojas, J C; De La Cruz-Cordero, R; Morgan, E D

    2001-12-01

    Bioassays in a Y-tube olfactometer showed that workers of Solenopsis geminata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were attracted to venom gland extracts of queens. Gas chromatography coupled mass spectrometry analysis of individual glands of queens of S. geminata showed that the secretion is composed mainly of a large amount of 2-alkyl-6-methylpiperidine alkaloids and a tiny amount of a delta-lactone and a a-pyrone, which have been earlier identified as components of the queen attractant pheromone of Solenopsis invicta Buren. However, additional small amounts of a mixture of sesquiterpenes and pentadecene were found. The possible function of the sesquiterpenoid compounds is discussed. PMID:11789950

  14. Did the fire ant supergene evolve selfishly or socially?

    PubMed

    Huang, Yu-Ching; Wang, John

    2014-02-01

    The genetic basis for animal social organization is poorly understood. Fire ants provide one of the rare cases where variation in social organization has been demonstrated to be under genetic control, which amazingly, segregates as a single Mendelian locus. A recent genetic, genomic, and cytological analysis revealed that this locus actually consists of over 600 genes locked together in a supergene that possesses many characteristics of sex chromosomes. The fire ant social supergene also behaves selfishly, and an interesting evolutionary question is whether the genes incorporated first into the social supergene were those for social adaptation, selfish genetic drive, or something else. In depth, functional molecular genetic analysis in fire ants and comparative genomics in other closely related socially polymorphic species will be required to resolve this question.

  15. Wolbachia wSinvictaA Infections in Natural Populations of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta: Testing for Phenotypic Effects

    PubMed Central

    Bouwma, Andrew M.; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2011-01-01

    Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that commonly infect many arthropods and some nematodes. In arthropods, these maternally transmitted bacteria often induce a variety of phenotypic effects to enhance their own spread within host populations. Wolbachia phenotypic effects generally either provide benefits to infected host females (cytoplasmic incompatibility, positive fitness effects) or bias host sex ratio in favor of females (male-killing, parthenogenesis, feminization), all of which increase the relative production of infected females in host populations. Wolbachia surveys have found infections to be exceedingly common in ants, but little is known at this juncture as to what phenotypic effects, if any, they induce in this group. Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals from native populations of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta commonly harbor one or more of three Wolbachia variants. One of the variants, wSinvictaA, typically occurs at low prevalence in S. invicta populations, appears to have been transmitted horizontally into S. invicta three or more times, and has been lost repeatedly from host lineages over time. In order to determine the phenotypic effects and likely population dynamics of wSinvictaA infections in these ants, brood production patterns of newly mated fire ant queens were studied during simulated claustral founding and measured wSinvictaA transmission fidelity within mature single-queen families. No clear evidence was found for Wolbachia-mduced cytoplasmic incompatibility, significant fitness effects, or male-killing. Maternal transmission was perfect to both virgin queens and males. Possible mechanisms for how this variant could be maintained in host populations are discussed. PMID:21526927

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-02-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  1. The Molecular Clockwork of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  3. Dynamic Thermal Structure of Imported Fire Ant Mounds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  4. The cost of being queen: investment across Pogonomyrmex harvester ant gynes that differ in degree of claustrality.

    PubMed

    Enzmann, Brittany L; Gibbs, Allen G; Nonacs, Peter

    2014-11-01

    The role of the ant colony largely consists of non-reproductive tasks, such as foraging, tending brood, and defense. However, workers are vitally linked to reproduction through their provisioning of sexual offspring, which are produced annually to mate and initiate new colonies. Gynes (future queens) have size-associated variation in colony founding strategy (claustrality), with each strategy requiring different energetic investments from their natal colony. We compared the per capita production cost required for semi-claustral, facultative, and claustral gynes across four species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. We found that the claustral founding strategy is markedly expensive, costing approximately 70% more energy than that of the semi-claustral strategy. Relative to males, claustral gynes also had the largest differential investment and smallest size variation. We applied these investment costs to a model by Brown and Bonhoeffer (2003) that predicts founding strategy based on investment cost and foraging survivorship. The model predicts that non-claustral foundresses must survive the foraging period with a probability of 30-36% in order for a foraging strategy to be selectively favored. These results highlight the importance of incorporating resource investment at the colony level when investigating the evolution of colony founding strategies in ants. PMID:25111688

  5. Does she smell like a queen? Chemoreception of a cuticular hydrocarbon signal in the ant Pachycondyla inversa.

    PubMed

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Heinze, Jürgen; Schulz, Claudia; Francke, Wittko; Ayasse, Manfred

    2004-03-01

    Primitive ant societies, with their relatively simple social structure, provide an opportunity to explore the evolution of chemical communication, in particular of mechanisms underlying within-colony discrimination. In the same colony, slight differences in individual odours can be the basis for discrimination between different castes, classes of age and social status. There is some evidence from correlative studies that such inter-individual variation is associated with differences in reproductive status, but direct proof that certain chemical compounds are detected and recognized by ants is still lacking. In the ponerine ant Pachycondyla inversa, fertile queens and, in orphaned colonies, dominant egg-laying workers are characterized by the predominance of a branched hydrocarbon, 3,11-dimethylheptacosane (3,11-diMeC(27)) on the cuticle. Using electroanntennography and gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection, we show that the antennae of P. inversa workers react to this key compound. 3,11-diMeC(27) is correlated with ovarian activity and, because it is detected, is likely to assume the role of a fertility signal reflecting the quality of the sender. PMID:14978051

  6. The cost of being queen: investment across Pogonomyrmex harvester ant gynes that differ in degree of claustrality.

    PubMed

    Enzmann, Brittany L; Gibbs, Allen G; Nonacs, Peter

    2014-11-01

    The role of the ant colony largely consists of non-reproductive tasks, such as foraging, tending brood, and defense. However, workers are vitally linked to reproduction through their provisioning of sexual offspring, which are produced annually to mate and initiate new colonies. Gynes (future queens) have size-associated variation in colony founding strategy (claustrality), with each strategy requiring different energetic investments from their natal colony. We compared the per capita production cost required for semi-claustral, facultative, and claustral gynes across four species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. We found that the claustral founding strategy is markedly expensive, costing approximately 70% more energy than that of the semi-claustral strategy. Relative to males, claustral gynes also had the largest differential investment and smallest size variation. We applied these investment costs to a model by Brown and Bonhoeffer (2003) that predicts founding strategy based on investment cost and foraging survivorship. The model predicts that non-claustral foundresses must survive the foraging period with a probability of 30-36% in order for a foraging strategy to be selectively favored. These results highlight the importance of incorporating resource investment at the colony level when investigating the evolution of colony founding strategies in ants.

  7. 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.

  8. Fire Ant Alate Wing Motion Data and Numerical Reconstruction

    PubMed Central

    Gui, L.; Fink, T.; Cao, Z.; Sun, D.; Seiner, J.M.; Streett, D.A.

    2010-01-01

    The wing motions of a male and a female fire ant alate, which beat their wings at 108 and 96 Hz, respectively, were captured with a stereo imaging system at a high frame rate of 8,000 frames per second. By processing the high-speed image frames, the three-dimensional wingtip positions and the wing surface orientation angles were determined with a high phase resolution, i.e. 74 and 83 phases per period for the male and the female, respectively. A numerical reconstruction of the stereo wingbeat images demonstrated that the data collected described almost all the details of the wing surface motion, so that further computational fluid dynamic simulations are possible for fire ant alate flight. PMID:20578883

  9. Social facilitation of eclosion in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Lamon, B; Topoff, H

    1985-09-01

    In colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, eclosion is facilitated by adult workers which strip away and consume the pupal cuticle. This stage-specific social interaction involves chemical stimuli which are present at the onset of eclosion, concurrent with the initiation of gross movements and separation of the pupal cuticle. Fire ant workers retrieved inanimate objects treated with an extract of eclosing pupae and placed them in the colony brood chamber with the appropriate age group where they were tended by several workers. The facilitation of eclosion by adult colony members appears to be an obligatory process in the development of this species; pupae denied the aid of adult workers during eclosion are unable to remove the pupal cuticle and rapidly succumb. PMID:4065426

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Gene expression patterns associated with caste and reproductive status in ants: worker-specific genes are more derived than queen-specific ones.

    PubMed

    Feldmeyer, B; Elsner, D; Foitzik, S

    2014-01-01

    Variation in gene expression leads to phenotypic diversity and plays a central role in caste differentiation of eusocial insect species. In social Hymenoptera, females with the same genetic background can develop into queens or workers, which are characterized by divergent morphologies, behaviours and lifespan. Moreover, many social insects exhibit behaviourally distinct worker castes, such as brood-tenders and foragers. Researchers have just started to explore which genes are differentially expressed to achieve this remarkable phenotypic plasticity. Although the queen is normally the only reproductive individual in the nest, following her removal, young brood-tending workers often develop ovaries and start to reproduce. Here, we make use of this ability in the ant Temnothorax longispinosus and compare gene expression patterns in the queens and three worker castes along a reproductive gradient. We found the largest expression differences between the queen and the worker castes (~2500 genes) and the smallest differences between infertile brood-tenders and foragers (~300 genes). The expression profile of fertile workers is more worker-like, but to a certain extent intermediate between the queen and the infertile worker castes. In contrast to the queen, a high number of differentially expressed genes in the worker castes are of unknown function, pointing to the derived status of hymenopteran workers within insects. PMID:24118315

  12. Molecular phylogeny of fire ants of the Solenopsis saevissima species-group based on mtDNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, D DeWayne; Ahrens, Michael E; Ross, Kenneth G

    2006-01-01

    The systematics of South American fire ants (Solenopsis saevissima species-group) has been plagued by difficulties in recognizing species and their relationships on the basis of morphological characters. We surveyed mtDNA sequences from 623 individuals representing 13 described and undescribed species within the species-group and 18 individuals representing other major Solenopsis lineages to generate a phylogeny of the mitochondrial genome. Our analyses support the monophyly of the S. saevissima species-group, consistent with a single Neotropical origin and radiation of this important group of ants, as well as the monophyly of the socially polymorphic species within the group, consistent with a single origin of polygyny (multiple queens per colony) as a derived form of social organization. The mtDNA sequences of the inquiline social parasite S. daguerrei form a clade that appears to be distantly related to sequences from the several host species, consistent with the view that advanced social parasitism did not evolve via sympatric speciation of intraspecific parasites. An important general finding is that species-level polyphyly of the mtDNA appears to be the rule in this group of ants. The existence of multiple divergent mtDNA lineages within several nominal species (including the pest S. invicta) suggests that the pattern of widespread polyphyly often stems from morphological delimitation that overcircumscribes species. However, in two cases the mtDNA polyphyly likely results from recent interspecific hybridization. While resolving species boundaries and relationships is important for understanding general patterns of diversification of South American fire ants, these issues are of added importance because invasive fire ants are emerging as global pests and becoming important model organisms for evolutionary research.

  13. Forest edges and fire ants alter the seed shadow of an ant-dispersed plant.

    PubMed

    Ness, J H

    2004-02-01

    Exotic species invade fragmented, edge-rich habitats readily, yet the distinct impacts of habitat edges and invaders on native biota are rarely distinguished. Both appear detrimental to ant-dispersed plants such as bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. Working in northeastern Georgia (USA), an area characterized by a rich ant-dispersed flora, fragmented forests, and invasions by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, I monitored the interactions between ants and S. canadensis seeds in uninvaded forest interiors, uninvaded forest edges, invaded forest interiors, and invaded forest edges. I observed 95% of the seed dispersal events that occurred within the 60-min observation intervals. Seed collection rates were similar among all four (habitat x invasion) groups. The presence of invasive ants had a strong effect on seed dispersal distance: S. invicta collected most seeds in invaded sites, but was a poorer disperser than four of five native ant taxa. Habitat type (interior versus edge) had no effect on seed dispersal distance, but it had a strong effect on seed dispersal direction. Dispersal towards the edge was disproportionately rare in uninvaded forest edges, and ants in those habitats moved the average dispersed seed approximately 70 cm away from that edge. Dispersal direction was also skewed away from the edge in uninvaded forest interiors and invaded forest edges, albeit non-significantly. This biased dispersal may help explain the rarity of myrmecochorous plants in younger forests and edges, and their poor ability to disperse between fragments. This is the first demonstration that forest edges and S. invicta invasion influence seed dispersal destination and distance, respectively. These forces act independently.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-02-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

  18. Invasive Fire Ants Reduce Reproductive Success and Alter the Reproductive Strategies of a Native Vertebrate Insectivore

    PubMed Central

    Ligon, Russell A.; Siefferman, Lynn; Hill, Geoffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    Background Introduced organisms can alter ecosystems by disrupting natural ecological relationships. For example, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have disrupted native arthropod communities throughout much of their introduced range. By competing for many of the same food resources as insectivorous vertebrates, fire ants also have the potential to disrupt vertebrate communities. Methodology/Principal Findings To explore the effects of fire ants on a native insectivorous vertebrate, we compared the reproductive success and strategies of eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) inhabiting territories with different abundances of fire ants. We also created experimental dyads of adjacent territories comprised of one territory with artificially reduced fire ant abundance (treated) and one territory that was unmanipulated (control). We found that more bluebird young fledged from treated territories than from adjacent control territories. Fire ant abundance also explained significant variation in two measures of reproductive success across the study population: number of fledglings and hatching success of second clutches. Furthermore, the likelihood of bluebird parents re-nesting in the same territory was negatively influenced by the abundance of foraging fire ants, and parents nesting in territories with experimentally reduced abundances of fire ants produced male-biased broods relative to pairs in adjacent control territories. Conclusions/Significance Introduced fire ants altered both the reproductive success (number of fledglings, hatching success) and strategies (decision to renest, offspring sex-ratio) of eastern bluebirds. These results illustrate the negative effects that invasive species can have on native biota, including species from taxonomically distant groups. PMID:21799904

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    Cheng, Shoujie; Zeng, Ling; Xu, Yijuan

    2015-08-01

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

  1. 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,...

  2. 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,...

  3. 78 FR 70530 - Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant Program

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-11-26

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  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. 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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Oppelt, Angelika; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

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

  12. Fire ant attacks on patients in nursing homes: an increasing problem.

    PubMed

    deShazo, Richard D; Kemp, Stephen F; deShazo, Matthew D; Goddard, Jerome

    2004-06-15

    We review the medical reports of fire ant attacks on residents of nursing homes in the context of the medical entomology of these insects, and present recommendations to prevent and manage future attacks. Two reports were recent cases, while a computer-assisted search yielded four other similar cases of attacks by foraging fire ants in the last 10 years. One patient experienced an anaphylactic reaction and 4 patients died within 1 week of the attack. Ants were usually noted in health care facilities days before the attacks. The presence of fire ants around immobile, often cognitively impaired, patients seems to be the primary risk factor for massive fire ant attacks. Health care providers and administrators in fire ant endemic areas must be aware that the presence of fire ants in hospitals and nursing homes represents a hazard. Fire ant infestation can lead to sting attacks on patients, causing respiratory tract obstruction, worsening of pre-existing medical conditions, or frank anaphylaxis. All the attacks reported here have resulted in legal action involving physicians and health care facilities.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Response of Argentine ants and red imported fire ants to permethrin-impregnated plastic strips: foraging rates, colonization of potted soil, and differential mortality.

    PubMed

    Costa, Heather S; Greenberg, Les; Klotz, John; Rust, Michael K

    2005-12-01

    This study investigated the effects of the permethrin-impregnated plastic on ant mortality and foraging rates, and tested its potential for preventing ants from colonizing potted soil. Direct exposure to the plastic for as short as 1 min caused significant mortality of both red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr); however, red imported fire ants were more susceptible than Argentine ants. Knockdown of virtually all ants initially occurred within 15 min after exposure. However, some moribund ants recovered from the effects within 24 h. For example, after 1 min of direct exposure to the permethrin-impregnated plastic, 70% of Argentine ants and 5% of red imported fire ants recovered from the treatment. In established colonies of Argentine ants, significantly fewer ants foraged for food up posts treated with the plastic compared with untreated posts. In addition, colonies responded to introduction of the treatment by significantly reducing their overall foraging rates, even on untreated posts. When pots filled with moistened soil were introduced into established ant colonies, 82% of Argentine ants and 99% of red imported fire ants moved into the soil. In contrast, when a 1-cm-wide coil of the plastic was placed under the pot, no ants moved into the soil. The potential for use of these materials in nursery production is discussed. PMID:16539136

  16. 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.

  17. Characterizing the interaction between fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and developing soybean plants.

    PubMed

    Shatters, R G; Vander Meer, R K

    2000-12-01

    This research characterizes the interaction between the fire ants Solenopsis invicta Buren and developing soybean plants. Phagostimulant studies showed that fire ant foraging on soybean seeds increased once the seeds imbibed water. During seedling development over a 5-d germination period, fire ant foraging shifted from the stem/cotyledons to the roots, despite continual increases in fresh weights for each region, and the fact that stem/cotyledon tissue contained the majority of food reserves. Carbohydrate analysis showed that although 2-d-old seedlings had higher concentrations of phagostimulant carbohydrates, especially sucrose, than tissues of mature plants, all tissues analyzed had enough of these sugars to induce a phagostimulant response. Fire ant association with seeds/seedlings germinated in soil resulted in reduced seedling vigor, as determined by a doubling of seedling emergence time, a threefold increase in malformed seedlings, and visible damage to cotyledons. Seeds germinated and grown to mature plants in association with fire ants, allocated 43% more assimilate into pods, but produced 28% less root dry matter, 11% less total dry matter, and there was an 81% reduction in the number of root nodules compared with control plants. We propose that reduced root development and inhibitions of nodule formation would be major yield limiting factors under field conditions. This work demonstrates that fire ant damage to soybeans is not limited to seedling establishment and that more research should be directed at the subterranean activities of the fire ant.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

  3. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2002-12-01

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

  5. An experimental study of competition between fire ants and Argentine ants in their native range.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, E G; Tillberg, C V; Suarez, A V; Folgarait, P J; Smith, C R; Holway, D A

    2007-01-01

    An understanding of why introduced species achieve ecological success in novel environments often requires information about the factors that limit the abundance of these taxa in their native ranges. Although numerous recent studies have evaluated the importance of natural enemies in this context, relatively few have examined how ecological success may result from differences in the magnitude of interference competition between communities in the native and introduced ranges of nonnative species. Here we examine how native-range competitive environments may relate to invasion success for two important invasive species, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), in a region of native-range sympatry. At two study sites in northern Argentina, we used stable-isotope analysis, a variety of observational approaches, and two different reciprocal removal experiments to test (1) whether S. invicta competes asymmetrically with L. humile (as suggested by the 20th century pattern of replacement in the southeastern United States) and (2) the extent to which these two species achieve behavioral and numerical dominance. Stable-isotope analysis and activity surveys indicated that S. invicta and L. humile are both omnivores and forage during broadly overlapping portions of the diel cycle. Short-term removal experiments at baits revealed no competitive asymmetry between S. invicta and L. humile. Longer-term colony removal experiments illustrated that S. invicta and L. humile experience an approximately equal competitive release upon removal of the other. Our results indicate that neither S. invicta nor L. humile achieves the same degree of behavioral or ecological dominance where they co-occur in native populations as they do in areas where either is common in their introduced range. These results strongly suggest that interspecific competition is an important limiting factor for both S. invicta and L. humile in South America.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-05-10

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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    1990-02-01

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

  13. Genetic transformation of midgut bacteria from the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Medina, Freder; Li, Haiwen; Vinson, S Bradleigh; Coates, Craig J

    2009-05-01

    In our previous study we isolated 10 bacterial species from fourth-instar larval midguts of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Here we report the genetic transformation and reintroduction of three species (Kluyvera cryocrescens, Serratia marcescens, and isolate 38) into the fire ant host. All three species were transformed with the plasmid vector, pZeoDsRed. High expression levels of DsRed were observed and the plasmid is maintained in these bacteria at 37 degrees C in the absence of antibiotic selection for at least 9 days of subculturing. The transformed bacteria were successfully reintroduced into fire ant larvae and survived in the fire ant gut for at least 7 days. Upon pupal emergence, 7 days after reintroduction, transformed bacteria can still be isolated, however, most were passed out in the meconium. We further demonstrated that the engineered bacteria could be spread within the colony by feeding this meconium to naive larvae with the aid of worker fire ants.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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 ...

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Cai; Henderson, Gregg

    2016-04-01

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

  18. Meat tenderizer in the acute treatment of imported fire ant stings.

    PubMed

    Ross, E V; Badame, A J; Dale, S E

    1987-06-01

    Meat tenderizer containing the proteolytic enzyme papain was tested for therapeutic efficacy in the sting of the imported fire ant. The parameters of pain and itching were used to evaluate qualitatively the sting response in 22 healthy medical students, and the laser Doppler velocimeter was used to assess quantitatively the change in cutaneous blood flow. The results indicated that, during the acute-phase reaction, no clinically or statistically significant difference was found between stings treated with meat tenderizer and stings treated without tenderizer. Therefore we conclude that meat tenderizer is of no therapeutic value in the acute treatment of the imported fire ant sting.

  19. Meat tenderizer in the acute treatment of imported fire ant stings.

    PubMed

    Ross, E V; Badame, A J; Dale, S E

    1987-06-01

    Meat tenderizer containing the proteolytic enzyme papain was tested for therapeutic efficacy in the sting of the imported fire ant. The parameters of pain and itching were used to evaluate qualitatively the sting response in 22 healthy medical students, and the laser Doppler velocimeter was used to assess quantitatively the change in cutaneous blood flow. The results indicated that, during the acute-phase reaction, no clinically or statistically significant difference was found between stings treated with meat tenderizer and stings treated without tenderizer. Therefore we conclude that meat tenderizer is of no therapeutic value in the acute treatment of the imported fire ant sting. PMID:3597861

  20. 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. ...

  1. Fire ants protect mealybugs against their natural enemies by utilizing the leaf shelters constructed by the leaf roller Sylepta derogata.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    King, Joshua R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-02-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:27206792

  7. Sampling efficacy for the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Stringer, Lloyd D; Suckling, David Maxwell; Baird, David; Vander Meer, Robert K; Christian, Sheree J; Lester, Philip J

    2011-10-01

    Cost-effective detection of invasive ant colonies before establishment in new ranges is imperative for the protection of national borders and reducing their global impact. We examined the sampling efficiency of food-baits and pitfall traps (baited and nonbaited) in detecting isolated red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) nests in multiple environments in Gainesville, FL. Fire ants demonstrated a significantly higher preference for a mixed protein food type (hotdog or ground meat combined with sweet peanut butter) than for the sugar or water baits offered. Foraging distance success was a function of colony size, detection trap used, and surveillance duration. Colony gyne number did not influence detection success. Workers from small nests (0- to 15-cm mound diameter) traveled no >3 m to a food source, whereas large colonies (>30-cm mound diameter) traveled up to 17 m. Baited pitfall traps performed best at detecting incipient ant colonies followed by nonbaited pitfall traps then food baits, whereas food baits performed well when trying to detect large colonies. These results were used to create an interactive model in Microsoft Excel, whereby surveillance managers can alter trap type, density, and duration parameters to estimate the probability of detecting specified or unknown S. invicta colony sizes. This model will support decision makers who need to balance the sampling cost and risk of failure to detect fire ant colonies.

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-12-01

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

  9. 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...

  10. 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)

  11. 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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  13. Fire ants (Solenopsis spp.)and their natural enemies in southern South America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We review the fire ant research conducted by the ARS-South American Biological Control Laboratory (SABCL) since 1987 to find a complex of natural enemies in southern South America and evaluate their specificity and suitability for field release as self-sustaining biological control agents. We also i...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  17. Anaphylaxis caused by imported red fire ant stings in Málaga, Spain.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Meléndez, S; Miranda, A; García-González, J J; Barber, D; Lombardero, M

    2007-01-01

    A 27-year-old woman suffered from anaphylaxis after being stung by Solenopsis invicta ants while she was handling wood from South America. The patient reported no previous adverse reactions to stings by other hymenopteran species. Intradermal skin tests with hymenoptera venom (Vespula vulgaris, Polistes species, Apis melifera) were negative. Serum specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E yielded positive results for S invicta (5.28 kU/L) and negative results for A melifera, Ves v 5 and Pol a 5. Immunodetection assays showed the presence of serum IgE against the Sol i 2 allergen. The patient had probably been stung previously although inadvertently by red fire ants while she handled infested wood from South America, and precautionary measures are thus advisable when this material is to be handled. To our knowledge this is the first case of anaphylaxis from red fire ant stings reported in Europe.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  20. Ant-mediated expansion of an obligate seeder species during the first years after fire.

    PubMed

    Arnan, X; Rodrigo, A; Molowny-Horas, R; Retana, J

    2010-11-01

    Most obligate seeder species build up a soil seed bank that is associated with massive seed germination in the year immediately after a fire. These species are also shade-intolerant and disappear when vegetation cover closes, creating unsuitable conditions for seedling recruitment. The only way for these plants to expand their populations is when habitats suitable for seedling recruitment arise (i.e. in years immediately after a fire). However, short primary seed dispersal of obligate seeders does not allow these plants to colonise the suitable habitats, and these habitats can only be colonised by secondary seed dispersion. We hypothesised that Fumana ericoides, an obligate-seeding small shrub, not only establishes abundantly in the first year after fire, but also expands its local range in the following years due to secondary dispersal by ants while suitable habitats are still available. We tested this hypothesis using experimental studies and a simulation model of potential population expansion in a recently burned area. Results showed that F. ericoides not only established prolifically in the year immediately after fire, but was also able to recruit new individuals and expand its population in the years following the fire, despite a low germination rate and short primary seed dispersal. Ant-mediated seed dispersal and availability of suitable habitats were key factors in this phenomenon: ants redistributed seeds in suitable habitats while they were available, which accelerated the expansion of F. ericoides because new plants established far away from the core population. PMID:21040299

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Leal, Walter S; Ishida, Yuko

    2008-01-01

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

  3. Effect of moisture content on nest construction activity of fire ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monaenkova, Daria; Gravish, Nickolas; Goldman, Daniel; Goodisman, Michael

    2013-03-01

    Large underground nests protect ants from severe weather and predators. Field observations have revealed that the soil wetness affects the nest building activity. In this work we use x-ray computed tomography to study the growth of fire ants nests as a function of soil moisture content. Because capillary cohesion in wet soils leads to the competition between tunnel stability and the labor-intensity of the excavation, we expect to find an optimal soil wetness, which allows the most effective nest construction. We prepared digging containers (3.8 cm diameter by 14.5 cm deep aluminum tubes) with 2 types of simulated soil (50 and 210 um glass particles). The prepared moisture content W varied from 0.01 to 0.18 by mass. Hundred ants were allowed to dig in the containers for 20 hours. Although, the ants were able to construct tunnels in all moisture levels, the maximum tunnel depth, H, was significantly affected by W. At moderate moisture content (W =0.1) H was at least twice greater than at the lowest moisture content (W =0.01) for all tested colonies (n =9) for both particle sizes. The increase in H mirrors the dependence of the soil cohesion on W and we therefore conclude that the tunnel stability is a key factor influencing the digging strategy of fire ants. We acknowledge the support of NSF, grant 0957659

  4. 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

  5. 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 ...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-20

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-20

    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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Kafle, Lekhnath; Shih, Cheng Jen

    2013-02-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. The Guianese population of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima is unicolonial.

    PubMed

    Lenoir, Alain; Devers, Séverine; Touchard, Axel; Dejean, Alain

    2016-10-01

    In this study, conducted in French Guiana, a part of the native range of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima, we compared the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of media workers with previous results based on intraspecific aggressiveness tests. We noted a strong congruence between the two studies permitting us to delimit 2 supercolonies extending over large distances (up to 54 km), a phenomenon known as unicoloniality. Solenopsis geminata workers, taken as an out-group for cluster analyses, have a very different cuticular hydrocarbon profile. Because S. saevissima has been reported outside its native range, our conclusion is that this species has the potential to become invasive because unicoloniality (i.e., the main attribute for ants to become invasive) was shown at least for the Guianese population.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-27

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

  4. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

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

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

    PubMed

    Buhs, Joshua Blu

    2002-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Buhs, Joshua Blu

    2002-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Plowes, Nicola J R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-09-01

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

  11. Effects of worker size on the dynamics of fire ant tunnel construction

    PubMed Central

    Gravish, Nick; Garcia, Mateo; Mazouchova, Nicole; Levy, Laura; Umbanhowar, Paul B.; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2012-01-01

    Social insects work together to complete tasks. However, different individuals within a colony may vary in task proficiency. We investigated if fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) worker body size influenced the ability to construct tunnels—a key component of subterranean nests. We monitored excavation by worker groups in a substrate of small wetted glass particles in quasi-two-dimensional arenas. Morphological and network features of the tunnel system were measured. Total tunnel area did not differ significantly between groups of large and small workers, although the tunnel area of control sized workers was significantly larger than that of large workers. Moreover, large workers created wider but shorter tunnels, with slower growth rate of tunnel number. However, edge–vertex scaling and degree distribution of the tunnel network were similar across all treatments. In all cases, the amount of excavated material was correlated with the number of active workers. Our study reveals that morphological features of excavated tunnels show modest variation when constructed by workers of varying sizes, but topological features associated with the tunnel network are conserved. These results suggest that important behavioural aspects of tunnel construction—and thus nest building—are similar among morphologically distinct members of fire ant societies. PMID:22915634

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  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. PMID:24035750

  16. Susceptibility and behavioral response of red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to selected entomogenous nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae & Heterorhabditidae).

    PubMed

    Drees, B M; Miller, R W; Vinson, S B; Georgis, R

    1992-04-01

    Pathogenicity of infective juveniles of selected Steinernema spp. and Heterorhabditis spp. toward developing and reproductive stages of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, was tested under laboratory conditions. At 10(3)-10(5) infective juveniles per Petri dish, mortality of reproductive larvae, pupae, and alates ranged from 28 to 100% at higher doses after 96 h at 23-25 degrees C. Steinernema carpocapsae All was the most consistent species tested; this nematode caused mortality of fire ant larvae, pupae, and alates of 82-94, 64-96, and 38-99%, respectively. Although not susceptible to nematode infection, worker ants vigorously preened nematodes from brood, alates, and themselves. In a field study, S. carpocapsae (5 x 10(6) and 2 x 10(6) drench, 2 x 10(6) infective juvenile infection) was applied to active fire ant mounds in 3.8-liter suspensions. Hydramethylnon (75 ml), a water drench, a water injection, and untreated fire ant mounds were marked and treated. Overall activity in mounds treated with nematodes of hydramethylnon ranged from 40 to 48%. Satellite mound activity accounted for 32-44% of overall activity in mounds treated with nematodes 2 wk after treatment. However, 6 wk after treatment, activity in mounds treated with hydramethylnon was 44%; activity of mounds treated with nematodes ranged from 52 to 80%. Satellite mound activity accounted for 0-24% of overall activity. Whereas a soil drench of S. carpocapsae showed potential as a control method for the red imported fire ant, colony relocation after nematode treatment could limit overall efficacy unless application techniques are developed to overcome or take advantage of the movement. PMID:1593012

  17. Population genetics reveals multiple introductions and subsequent cross-province movements of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We characterized patterns of genetic variation in populations of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China using both mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear DNA microsatellites. All study samples, which were collected from 17 sites across the current infested range in China, were assigned t...

  18. Pseudacteon notocaudatus and Pseudacteon obtusitus (Diptera: Phoridae), two new species of fire ant parasitoids from South America.

    PubMed

    Plowes, Robert M; Folgarait, Patricia J; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-01-01

    Ongoing studies in South America of phorid flies of the genus Pseudacteon Coquillett 1907 have revealed two further new species in this genus that are described here: P. obtusitus and P. notocaudatus. Both species are parasitoids of Solenopsis (F.) fire ants. PMID:26624354

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. Implementation of Hyperspectral Techniques in the Remote Detection of Imported Fire Ants Mounds (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Cultivated Turfgrass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Safe, expedient, and cost-effective 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 hyperspectral techniques in the...

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23340579

  5. Worldwide invasion by the little fire ant: routes of introduction and eco-evolutionary pathways

    PubMed Central

    Foucaud, Julien; Orivel, Jérôme; Loiseau, Anne; Delabie, Jacques H C; Jourdan, Hervé; Konghouleux, Djoël; Vonshak, Merav; Tindo, Maurice; Mercier, Jean-Luc; Fresneau, Dominique; Mikissa, Jean-Bruno; McGlynn, Terry; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Oettler, Jan; Estoup, Arnaud

    2010-01-01

    Biological invasions are generally thought to occur after human aided migration to a new range. However, human activities prior to migration may also play a role. We studied here the evolutionary genetics of introduced populations of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata at a worldwide scale. Using microsatellite markers, we reconstructed the main routes of introduction of the species. We found three main routes of introduction, each of them strongly associated to human history and trading routes. We also demonstrate the overwhelming occurrence of male and female clonality in introduced populations of W. auropunctata, and suggest that this particular reproduction system is under selection in human-modified habitats. Together with previous researches focused on native populations, our results suggest that invasive clonal populations may have evolved within human modified habitats in the native range, and spread further from there. The evolutionarily most parsimonious scenario for the emergence of invasive populations of the little fire ant might thus be a two-step process. The W. auropunctata case illustrates the central role of humans in biological change, not only due to changes in migration patterns, but also in selective pressures over species. PMID:25567931

  6. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 identified from this ant species using the metagenomics approach. The single (positive)-strand RNA, monopartite, bicistronic genome of SINV-3 wa...

  8. 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...

  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. PMID:25415443

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  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 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

  16. 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. PMID:25368040

  17. Changes in juvenile hormone biosynthetic rate and whole body content in maturing virgin queens of Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Brent, Colin S; Vargo, Edward L

    2003-10-01

    Studies were conducted on the physiological and hormonal changes following the release of alates from developmentally suppressive pheromones produced by mature queens of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren. Winged virgin queens were removed from the pheromonal signal and placed in colony fragments. The time for dealation, degree of ovarian development, and biosynthesis rate and whole body content of juvenile hormone (JH) were measured. The production rate and content of JH were highly correlated. Dealation and the initiation of oviposition corresponded to peak production of JH. JH production rose sharply following separation from the natal nest, peaking after 3 days. After 8 days of isolation, JH production gradually subsided to levels similar to that found in pre-release queens, but began to increase again after 12 days. Mature queens had highly elevated levels of JH relative to recently dealate females, probably reflecting the increased reproductive capability of these older females. The results support the hypothesis that the pheromone released by functional queens inhibits reproduction in virgin alates by suppressing corpora allata activity and the production of JH. PMID:14511829

  18. Identification of a new member of the PBAN family of neuropeptides from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Choi, M-Y; Vander Meer, R K

    2009-04-01

    Neuropeptide hormones produced by neurosecretory cells in the central or peripheral nervous systems regulate various physiological and behavioral events during insect development and reproduction. PBAN/Pyrokinin is a major neuropeptide family, characterized by a 5-amino-acid C-terminal sequence, FXPRLamide. This family of peptides has been implicated in regulating various physiological functions including, pheromone biosynthesis, muscle contraction, diapause induction or termination, melanization, and puparium formation in different insect species. In the present study, we report a new member of the PBAN family from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, Soi-PBAN, composed of 26-AA (GSGEDLSYGDAYEVDEDDHPLFVPRL). Three additional peptides were deduced from Soi-PBAN cDNA: 15-AA (TSQDIASGMWFGPRL), 8-AA (QPQFTPRL) and 9-AA (LPWIPSPRL), that correspond to diapause hormone (DH), beta-neuropeptide (NP), and gamma-NP, which are found in many lepidopteran moths. Five peptides, DH, alpha, beta, gamma NPs, and PBAN are encoded from PBAN genes of lepidopteran moths, but in the fire ant the alpha-NP is missing. Each of the four synthetic peptides from the fire ant Soi-PBAN cDNA showed significant pheromonotropic activity in a moth model, indicating that these peptides are cross-reactive. Soi-beta-NP induced the highest amount of pheromone production of the four peptides evaluated. The Soi-DH homologue had the lowest pheromonotropic activity, but was still significantly greater than control values. When the deduced amino acid sequences (entire ORF domains) from Soi-PBAN cDNA were compared with other known sequences, the fire ant was most similar to the honey bee, but phylogenetically distant from moth and beetle species. Soi-PBAN (26-AA) unlike the other three peptides shows a low degree of sequence identity with honeybee PBAN (33-AA). Based on the amino acid sequences encoded from insect PBAN genes identified to date, neuropeptide diversity is correlated with the

  19. Sperm use economy of honeybee (Apis mellifera) queens.

    PubMed

    Baer, Boris; Collins, Jason; Maalaps, Kristiina; den Boer, Susanne P A

    2016-05-01

    The queens of eusocial ants, bees, and wasps only mate during a very brief period early in life to acquire and store a lifetime supply of sperm. As sperm cannot be replenished, queens have to be highly economic when using stored sperm to fertilize eggs, especially in species with large and long-lived colonies. However, queen fertility has not been studied in detail, so that we have little understanding of how economic sperm use is in different species, and whether queens are able to influence their sperm use. This is surprising given that sperm use is a key factor of eusocial life, as it determines the fecundity and longevity of queens and therefore colony fitness. We quantified the number of sperm that honeybee (Apis mellifera) queens use to fertilize eggs. We examined sperm use in naturally mated queens of different ages and in queens artificially inseminated with different volumes of semen. We found that queens are remarkably efficient and only use a median of 2 sperm per egg fertilization, with decreasing sperm use in older queens. The number of sperm in storage was always a significant predictor for the number of sperm used per fertilization, indicating that queens use a constant ratio of spermathecal fluid relative to total spermathecal volume of 2.364 × 10(-6) to fertilize eggs. This allowed us to calculate a lifetime fecundity for honeybee queens of around 1,500,000 fertilized eggs. Our data provide the first empirical evidence that honeybee queens do not manipulate sperm use, and fertilization failures in worker-destined eggs are therefore honest signals that workers can use to time queen replacement, which is crucial for colony performance and fitness. PMID:27217944

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  2. 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.

  3. A new positive-strand RNA virus with unique genome characteristics from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Strong, Charles A; Hashimoto, Yoshifumi

    2007-09-01

    We report the discovery of a new virus with unique genome characteristics from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. This virus represents the second identified from this ant species. It is provisionally named Solenopsis invicta virus 2 (SINV-2). The SINV-2 genome was constructed by compiling sequences from successive 5' RACE reactions, a 3' RACE reaction, and expressed sequence tag, c246 (accession number EH413675), from a fire ant expression library. The SINV-2 genome structure was monopartite, polycistronic and RNA-based. The genome consensus sequence (EF428566) was 11,303 nucleotides in length, excluding the poly(A) tail present on the 3' end. Analysis of the genome revealed 4 major open reading frames (ORFs; comprised of > or =100 codons) and 5 minor ORFs (comprised of 50-99 codons) in the sense orientation. No large ORFs were found in the inverse orientation suggesting that the SINV-2 genome was from a positive-strand RNA virus. Further evidence for this conclusion includes abolished RT-PCR amplification by RNase treatment of SINV-2 nucleic acid template, and failure to amplify without first conducting cDNA synthesis. Blastp analysis indicated that ORF 4 contained conserved domains of an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, helicase, and protease, characteristic of positive-strand RNA viruses. However, the protease domain and putative structural proteins (ORFs 1, 2, and 3) were less well conserved. Phylogenetic analysis of the RdRp, helicase, and ORF 1 indicate unique placement of SINV-2 exclusive from the Dicistroviridae, iflaviruses, Picornaviridae, and plant small RNA viruses. PMID:17477949

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2014-12-12

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. Solenopsis invicta virus-1 tissue tropism and intracolony infection rate in the red imported fire ant: A quantitative PCR-based study

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Quantitative real-time PCR was employed to measure the Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (SINV-1) load in tissues, individuals, and among colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Among tissues examined from SINV-1-infected adults and larvae, the alimentary canal (specifically the mi...

  14. Significance of the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata (hymenoptera: formicidae) as part of the natural enemy complex responsible for successful biological control of many tropical irrigated rice pests.

    PubMed

    Way, M J; Heong, K L

    2009-10-01

    The tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) often nests very abundantly in the earthen banks (bunds) around irrigated rice fields in the tropics. Where some farmers habitually drain fields to the mud for about 3-4 days, the ants can quickly spread up to about 20 m into the fields where they collect food, including pest prey such as the eggs and young of the apple snail Pomacea caniculata (Lamarck) and insects such as lepidopterous larvae and hoppers, notably Nilaparvata lugens (Stäl) the brown planthopper (Bph) and green leafhoppers Nephotettix spp. Even in drained fields, the activity of S. geminata is restricted by rainfall in the wet season. The relatively few ant workers that forage characteristically into drained fields and on to the transplanted clumps of rice plants (hills) kill the normally few immigrant Bph adults but are initially slower acting than other species of the natural enemy complex. However, larger populations of Bph are fiercely attacked and effectively controlled by rapidly recruited ant workers; whereas, in the absence of the ant, the other natural enemies are inadequate. In normal circumstances, there is no ant recruitment in response to initially small populations of immigrant Bph and no evidence of incompatibility between ant foragers and other natural enemies such as spiders. However, when many ants are quickly and aggressively recruited to attack large populations of Bph, they temporarily displace some spiders from infested hills. It is concluded that, in suitable weather conditions and even when insecticides kill natural enemies within the rice field, periodic drainage that enables S. geminata to join the predator complex is valuable for ant-based control of pests such as snails and Lepidoptera, and especially against relatively large populations of Bph. Drainage practices to benefit ants are fully compatible with recent research, which shows that periodic drainage combats problems of 'yield decline' in intensively irrigated

  15. 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

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. Conserved class of queen pheromones stops social insect workers from reproducing.

    PubMed

    Van Oystaeyen, Annette; Oliveira, Ricardo Caliari; Holman, Luke; van Zweden, Jelle S; Romero, Carmen; Oi, Cintia A; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Khalesi, Mohammadreza; Billen, Johan; Wäckers, Felix; Millar, Jocelyn G; Wenseleers, Tom

    2014-01-17

    A major evolutionary transition to eusociality with reproductive division of labor between queens and workers has arisen independently at least 10 times in the ants, bees, and wasps. Pheromones produced by queens are thought to play a key role in regulating this complex social system, but their evolutionary history remains unknown. Here, we identify the first sterility-inducing queen pheromones in a wasp, bumblebee, and desert ant and synthesize existing data on compounds that characterize female fecundity in 64 species of social insects. Our results show that queen pheromones are strikingly conserved across at least three independent origins of eusociality, with wasps, ants, and some bees all appearing to use nonvolatile, saturated hydrocarbons to advertise fecundity and/or suppress worker reproduction. These results suggest that queen pheromones evolved from conserved signals of solitary ancestors. PMID:24436417

  19. 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...

  20. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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), 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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...

  4. Effect of the red imported fire ant on cotton aphid population density and predation of bollworm and beet armyworm eggs.

    PubMed

    Diaz, Rodrigo; Knutson, Allen; Bernal, Julio S

    2004-04-01

    The effects of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), on cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover, populations and its predation of bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (Hübner), (both Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs were evaluated in cotton under field conditions during 2001 and 2002 in central and northern Texas. In central Texas, cotton aphid populations were approximately 5.5 times greater and predation of sentinel bollworm eggs 2 times greater in the presence of S. invicta versus in its absence, although aphid populations did not reach economic levels. Most predation of beet armyworm egg masses, measured via direct nocturnal observations, was due to S. invicta (68%) and cotton fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter) (21%), where S. invicta was present, and by the mite Abrolophus sp. (52%), spiders (13%), and minute pirate bug (Orius sp.) (13%) where S. invicta was absent. Predation of sentinel bollworm eggs and beet armyworm egg masses was approximately 1.5 and 4.1 times greater, respectively, in the presence of S. invicta versus in their absence. In the presence of S. invicta, the relative frequencies of minute pirate bug and cotton fleahopper were higher, and of S. invicta and native ants lower in beat bucket samples compared with their relative frequencies in nocturnal observations of predation upon beet armyworm egg masses. In the absence of S. invicta seven of eight predators sampled were similarly represented in beat bucket samples and nocturnal observations of beet armyworm egg mass predation, whereas minute pirate bug occurred at a higher frequency in beat bucket samples relative to nocturnal observations. These observations suggested that the relative frequencies of minute pirate bug, cotton fleahopper, S. invicta and native ants in beat bucket samples do not closely reflect the frequency with which these predators prey on noctuid eggs. Overall, the results of this study show

  5. Identification and characterization of Wolbachia in Solenopsis saevissima fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Fernando de Souza, Rodrigo; Daivison Silva Ramalho, João; Santina de Castro Morini, Maria; Wolff, José Luiz Caldas; Araújo, Ronaldo Carvalho; Mascara, Douglas

    2009-03-01

    The genus Solenopsis appears to have evolved and radiated very rapidly in South America and then spread throughout the rest of the continent. As part of the expansion process, distribution patterns and different degrees of geographic isolation among populations of S. saevissima can be observed. We have investigated the presence of Wolbachia in 52 colonies and 1623 individuals in southeastern Brazil. Detection of Wolbachia infection was based on amplification of the 16S rRNA and wsp genes by polymerase chain reactions. Wolbachia was found in only one of the four locations investigated and it was observed that the populations were polymorphic for infection. The infection level observed increased during the period of screening. In particular, double infection (16SWA and B) increased from 44% in 2005 to 90% in 2006. The A-group of Wolbachia from the wsp sequences was determined by sequencing. However, two variant wsp sequences were detected in Wolbachia present in these populations. The alignment of our sequences with those deposited in GenBank indicated significant differences in relation to homologous sequences. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using parsimony, and confidence intervals were estimated by bootstrapping. Then the divergence of the Wolbachia of S. saevissima in the populations studied with other variants allowed us to verify that wSS1 and dwSS2 formed a distinct clade within the A-group (>75%). These results can be useful in studies on the dynamics of ant populations.

  6. Identification and characterization of Wolbachia in Solenopsis saevissima fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Fernando de Souza, Rodrigo; Daivison Silva Ramalho, João; Santina de Castro Morini, Maria; Wolff, José Luiz Caldas; Araújo, Ronaldo Carvalho; Mascara, Douglas

    2009-03-01

    The genus Solenopsis appears to have evolved and radiated very rapidly in South America and then spread throughout the rest of the continent. As part of the expansion process, distribution patterns and different degrees of geographic isolation among populations of S. saevissima can be observed. We have investigated the presence of Wolbachia in 52 colonies and 1623 individuals in southeastern Brazil. Detection of Wolbachia infection was based on amplification of the 16S rRNA and wsp genes by polymerase chain reactions. Wolbachia was found in only one of the four locations investigated and it was observed that the populations were polymorphic for infection. The infection level observed increased during the period of screening. In particular, double infection (16SWA and B) increased from 44% in 2005 to 90% in 2006. The A-group of Wolbachia from the wsp sequences was determined by sequencing. However, two variant wsp sequences were detected in Wolbachia present in these populations. The alignment of our sequences with those deposited in GenBank indicated significant differences in relation to homologous sequences. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using parsimony, and confidence intervals were estimated by bootstrapping. Then the divergence of the Wolbachia of S. saevissima in the populations studied with other variants allowed us to verify that wSS1 and dwSS2 formed a distinct clade within the A-group (>75%). These results can be useful in studies on the dynamics of ant populations. PMID:18979132

  7. 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. PMID:27651533

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Distribution of Endosymbiotic Reproductive Manipulators Reflects Invasion Process and Not Reproductive System Polymorphism in the Little Fire Ant Wasmannia auropunctata

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23505512

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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. PMID:21331238

  16. 14. Hell Gate Bridge south abutment tower. Queens, Queens Co., ...

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

    14. Hell Gate Bridge south abutment tower. Queens, Queens Co., NY. Sec. 4207, MP 7.29. - Northeast Railroad Corridor, Amtrak Route between New Jersey/New York & New York/Connecticut State Lines, New York County, NY

  17. Induced Effects on Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Forager Size Ratios by Pseudacteon spp. (Diptera: Phoridae): Implications on Bait Size Selection.

    PubMed

    Reed, J J; Puckett, R T; Gold, R E

    2015-10-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are adversely affected by phorid flies in the genus Pseudacteon by instigating defensive behaviors in their hosts, and in turn reducing the efficiency of S. invicta foraging. Multiple Pseudacteon species have been released in Texas, and research has been focused on the establishment and spread of these introduced biological control agents. Field experiments were conducted to determine bait particle size selection of S. invicta when exposed to phorid populations. Four different particle sizes of two candidate baits were offered to foragers (one provided by a pesticide manufacturer, and a laboratory-created bait). Foragers selectively were attracted to, and removed more 1-1.4-mm particles than any other bait size. The industry-provided bait is primarily made of particles in the 1.4-2.0 mm size, larger than what was selected by the ants in this study. While there was a preference for foragers to be attracted to and rest on the industry-provided blank bait, S. invicta removed more of the laboratory-created bait from the test vials. There was an abundance of workers with head widths ranging from 0.5-0.75 mm collected from baits. This was dissimilar from a previous study wherein phorid flies were not active and in which large workers were collected in higher abundance at the site. This implies that phorid fly activity caused a shift for red imported fire ant colonies to have fewer large foragers.

  18. Chemical profiles, division of labor and social status in Pachycondyla queens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tentschert, J.; Kolmer, K.; Hölldobler, B.; Bestmann, H.-J.; Delabie, J. H. C.; Heinze, J.

    2001-03-01

    Queens of the neotropical ponerine ant Pachycondyla cf. 'inversa' may co-operate during colony founding. One of several co-founding queens specializes in foraging, whereas the others remain in the nest and guard the brood. Division of labor is achieved by aggressive interactions, which result in the formation of dominance hierarchies. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry of cuticular hydrocarbons obtained from live queens by SPME revealed consistent differences between the patterns of cuticular hydrocarbons of queens with high versus low rank: only high-ranking queens showed considerable amounts of cuticular pentadecane (n-C15) and heptadecene (n-C17:1). These two substances presumably originate from the queens' Dufour glands.

  19. Comparative effectiveness of light-microscopic techniques and PCR in detecting Thelohania solenopsae (Microsporidia) infections in red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Milks, Maynard L; Sokolova, Yuliya Y; Isakova, Irina A; Fuxa, James R; Mitchell, Forrest; Snowden, Karen F; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2004-01-01

    The main goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of three staining techniques (calcofluor white M2R, Giemsa and modified trichrome), and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in detecting the microsporidium Thelohania solenopsae in red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). The effect of the number of ants in a sample on the sensitivity of the staining techniques and the PCR, and the effect of three DNA extraction protocols on the sensitivity of PCR were also examined. In the first protocol, the ants were macerated and the crude homogenate was used immediately in the PCR. In the second protocol, the homogenate was placed on a special membrane (FTA card) that traps DNA, which is subsequently used in the PCR. In the third protocol, the DNA was purified from the homogenate by traditional phenol-chloroform extraction. Except for PCR using FTA cards, the sensitivity (number of samples positive for T. solenopsae) of all detection techniques increased with the number of ants in the sample. Overall, Giemsa was the least sensitive of all detection techniques. Calcofluor was more sensitive than modified trichrome with ants from one site and was equally as sensitive as PCR with crude DNA or a FTA card with ants from both sites. Trichrome staining was equally as sensitive as PCR with a FTA card at both sites, but it was less sensitive than PCR with crude DNA at one site. PCR on FTA cards was less sensitive than PCR with crude DNA for ants from one site but not the other. There was no difference whether crude or phenol-chloroform purified DNA was used as template. In summary, the results of this study show that PCR based on a crude DNA solution is equal to or more sensitive in detecting T. solenopsae than the other detection techniques investigated, and that it can be used as a reliable diagnostic tool for screening field samples of S. invicta for T. solenopsae. Nevertheless, ant smear stained with calcofluor or modified trichrome should be used to buttress findings

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Hashimoto, Yoshifumi

    2009-06-01

    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.

  2. The ant raft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Hu, David; Equabai, Solomon

    2009-11-01

    To survive floods, fire ants link their arms together to assemble a raft with their own bodies. Because ants are nearly as dense as water, this cooperative behavior requires that a portion of the ant colony must sacrifice itself by remaining underwater to support the colony's weight. Surprisingly, few ants drown during this process due to a striking metamorphosis of the raft: as we show using time-lapse photography, the raft morphs from a spherical to a pancake shape. This pancake configuration--a monolayer of floating ants supporting their dry counterparts--allows all ants to both breathe and remain united as a colony. Data is presented in the form of the dimensions and the rates of formation of the ant raft. We use the statics of small floating bodies to account for the equilibrium raft size as a function of the initial mass and density of the ants.

  3. Cloning and Expression of Multiple Cytochrome P450 Genes: Induction by Fipronil in Workers of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Baizhong; Zhang, Lei; Cui, Rukun; Zeng, Xinnian; Gao, Xiwu

    2016-01-01

    Both exogenous and endogenous compounds can induce the expression of cytochrome P450 genes. The insect cytochrome P450 genes related to insecticide resistance are likely to be expressed as the "first line of defense" when challenged with insecticides. In this study, four cytochrome P450 genes, SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, SinvCYP4C1, and SinvCYP4G15, were firstly isolated from workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) through rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and sequenced. The fipronil induction profiles of the four cytochrome P450 genes and the two previously isolated CYP4AB1 and CYP4AB2 were characterized in workers. The results revealed that the expression of SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, CYP4AB2, and SinvCYP4G15, increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold more than those of acetone control, respectively, after 24 h exposure to fipronil at concentrations of 0.25 μg mL-1 (median lethal dose) and 0.56 μg mL-1 (90% lethal dose), while no significant induction of the expression of CYP4AB1 and SinvCYP4C1 was detected. Among these genes, SinvCYP6B1 was the most significantly induced, and its maximum expression was 3.6-fold higher than that in acetone control. These results might suggest that multiple cytochrome P450 genes are co-up-regulated in workers of the fire ant through induction mechanism when challenged with fipronil. These findings indicated that cytochrome P450 genes play an important role in the detoxification of insecticides and provide a theoretical basis for the mechanisms of insecticide metabolism in the fire ant. PMID:26982576

  4. Cloning and Expression of Multiple Cytochrome P450 Genes: Induction by Fipronil in Workers of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Baizhong; Zhang, Lei; Cui, Rukun; Zeng, Xinnian; Gao, Xiwu

    2016-01-01

    Both exogenous and endogenous compounds can induce the expression of cytochrome P450 genes. The insect cytochrome P450 genes related to insecticide resistance are likely to be expressed as the “first line of defense” when challenged with insecticides. In this study, four cytochrome P450 genes, SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, SinvCYP4C1, and SinvCYP4G15, were firstly isolated from workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) through rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and sequenced. The fipronil induction profiles of the four cytochrome P450 genes and the two previously isolated CYP4AB1 and CYP4AB2 were characterized in workers. The results revealed that the expression of SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, CYP4AB2, and SinvCYP4G15, increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold more than those of acetone control, respectively, after 24 h exposure to fipronil at concentrations of 0.25 μg mL−1 (median lethal dose) and 0.56 μg mL−1 (90% lethal dose), while no significant induction of the expression of CYP4AB1 and SinvCYP4C1 was detected. Among these genes, SinvCYP6B1 was the most significantly induced, and its maximum expression was 3.6-fold higher than that in acetone control. These results might suggest that multiple cytochrome P450 genes are co-up-regulated in workers of the fire ant through induction mechanism when challenged with fipronil. These findings indicated that cytochrome P450 genes play an important role in the detoxification of insecticides and provide a theoretical basis for the mechanisms of insecticide metabolism in the fire ant. PMID:26982576

  5. 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.

  6. Daughters inherit colonies from mothers in the 'living-fossil' ant Nothomyrmecia macrops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanetra, Matthias; Crozier, Ross H.

    2002-02-01

    Newly mated queens of monogynous (single queen) ants usually found their colonies independently, without the assistance of workers. In polygynous (multiple queen) species queens are often adopted back into their natal nest and new colonies are established by budding. We report that the Australian 'living-fossil' ant, Nothomyrmecia macrops, is exceptional in that its single queen can be replaced by one of the colony's daughters. This type of colony founding is an interesting alternative reproductive strategy in monogynous ants, which maximizes fitness under kin selection. Successive queen replacement results in a series of reproductives over time (serial polygyny), making these colonies potentially immortal. Workers raise nieces and nephews (relatedness ≤ 0.375) the year after queen replacement. Although N. macrops is 'primitive' in many other respects, colony inheritance is likely to be a derived specialization resulting from ecological constraints on solitary founding.

  7. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness. PMID:24919705

  8. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness.

  9. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa

    PubMed Central

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-01-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm–sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50–100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness. PMID:24919705

  10. '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.

  11. Queen signaling in social wasps.

    PubMed

    van Zweden, Jelle S; Bonckaert, Wim; Wenseleers, Tom; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2014-04-01

    Social Hymenoptera are characterized by a reproductive division of labor, whereby queens perform most of the reproduction and workers help to raise her offspring. A long-lasting debate is whether queens maintain this reproductive dominance by manipulating their daughter workers into remaining sterile (queen control), or if instead queens honestly signal their fertility and workers reproduce according to their own evolutionary incentives (queen signaling). Here, we test these competing hypotheses using data from Vespine wasps. We show that in natural colonies of the Saxon wasp, Dolichovespula saxonica, queens emit reliable chemical cues of their true fertility and that these putative queen signals decrease as the colony develops and worker reproduction increases. Moreover, these putative pheromones of D. saxonica show significant conservation with those of Vespula vulgaris and other Vespinae, thereby arguing against fast evolution of signals as a result of a queen-worker arms race ensuing from queen control. Lastly, levels of worker reproduction in these species correspond well with their average colony kin structures, as predicted by the queen signaling hypothesis but not the queen control hypothesis. Altogether, this correlative yet comprehensive analysis provides compelling evidence that honest signaling explains levels of reproductive division of labor in social wasps.

  12. 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

  13. Implications of stridulation behavior in the red and black imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis richteri Forel, and their hybrid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marquess, Jake

    Stridulation elicits a variety of behavioral responses in the Formicidae: distress, alarm and recruitment of nestmates. The intent of my research is to broaden the understanding of stridulation by investigating the morphology, multiple behaviors in which stridulation has been observed, and the behavioral response to the playback of these stridulatory signals in two closely related species, Solenopsis invicta, S. richteri, and their hybrid. A SEM examination of head width and the stridulatory organs of imported fire ant workers found the number of ridges on the "file" ( pars striden) to be positively correlated with body size. The increase in ridge number in relation to body size suggests that the number of pulses in each pulse train of the stridulation signal should increase as body size increases. Stridulation was not correlated with excavation behavior, but grinding, an incidental sound resulting from soil excavation, is a reliable indicator of excavation behavior. Absence of stridulation upon initial discovery of the food source and low amount of stridulation observed with ten or less ants present at the food source indicates that stridulation does not serve as an initial short range recruitment signal to nearby nestmates. Furthermore, over 90% of the total stridulation observed was recorded with 30 or more ants present at the food source. Finally, the time between calls decreased and the number of stridulations increased as more ants arrived at the food source. Stridulation in dyadic encounters between ants occurs almost exclusively during non-nestmate conspecitic interactions. Restrained ants or "defenders" accounted for 92.9% of the total stridulation observed compared to just 3.4% for "attackers." Restraint between the head and thorax or "neck" evoked the highest level of stridulation in majors. Stridulation during non-nestmate interactions is size specific, as trials involving majors had nearly twice as much stridulation (88.3%), than trials with mediums

  14. Fires

    MedlinePlus

    Whether a fire happens in your home or in the wild, it can be very dangerous. Fire spreads quickly. There is no time to gather ... a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a ...

  15. Bumblebee size polymorphism and worker response to queen pheromone

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25289189

  16. Polygyny and polyandry in small ant societies.

    PubMed

    Kellner, K; Trindl, A; Heinze, J; D'Ettorre, P

    2007-06-01

    Social insects, ants in particular, show considerable variation in queen number and mating frequency resulting in a wide range of social structures. The dynamics of reproductive conflicts in insect societies are directly connected to the colony kin structure, thus, the study of relatedness patterns is essential in order to understand the evolutionary resolution of these conflicts. We studied colony kin structure and mating frequencies in two closely related Neotropical ant species Pachycondyla inversa and Pachycondyla villosa. These represent interesting model systems because queens found new colonies cooperatively but, unlike many other ant species, they may still co-exist when the colony becomes mature (primary polygyny). By using five specific and highly variable microsatellite markers, we show that in both species queens usually mate with two or more males and that cofounding queens are always unrelated. Polygynous and polyandrous colonies are characterized by a high genetic diversity, with a mean relatedness coefficient among worker nestmates of 0.27 (+/- 0.03 SE) for P. inversa and 0.31 (+/- 0.05 SE) for P. villosa. However, relatedness among workers of the same matriline is high (0.60 +/- 0.03 in P. inversa, 0.62 +/- 0.08 in P. villosa) since males that mated with the same queen are on average closely related. Hence, we have found a new taxon in social Hymenoptera with high queen-mating frequencies and with intriguing mating and dispersal patterns of the sexuals. PMID:17561897

  17. 13. New York Connecting RR: Hell Gate Bridge. Queens, Queens ...

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

    13. 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

  18. 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

  19. 11. New York Connecting RR: Hell Gate Bridge. Queens, Queens ...

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

    11. 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

  20. 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...

  1. Detection and quantitation of Solenopsis invicta virus-2 genomic and intermediary replicating viral RNA in fire ant workers and larvae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A quantitative real-time PCR (QPCR) method was developed to detect and quantify Solenopsis invicta virus-2 (SINV-2) infecting individual ants of Solenopsis invicta. The two-step method utilized a gene-specific oligonucleotide primer targeting an upstream region of the SINV-2 conserved domain of RNA...

  2. Phylogeographic structure of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in its native South American range: roles of natural barriers and habitat connectivity.

    PubMed

    Ahrens, Michael E; Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, D DeWayne

    2005-08-01

    We generated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence data from 402 individuals of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta collected from 11 native populations and analyzed these data using a combination of demographic, phylogenetic, and phylogeographic methods to infer features of the evolutionary history of this species. Prior expectations regarding high levels of genetic structure and isolation by distance among populations were supported by the data, but we also discovered several unanticipated patterns. Our analyses revealed a major genetic break between S. invicta mtDNA haplotypes that coincides with the Mesopotamia wetlands region of South America, resulting in two higher level nested clade groupings. In addition, we identified contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation within these two major groups, which may reflect differences in connectivity of suitable habitat in different parts of the native range of S. invicta. Our study represents the first attempt to understand the phylogeographic history of S. invicta across its native range.

  3. Phylogeographic structure of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in its native South American range: roles of natural barriers and habitat connectivity.

    PubMed

    Ahrens, Michael E; Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, D DeWayne

    2005-08-01

    We generated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence data from 402 individuals of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta collected from 11 native populations and analyzed these data using a combination of demographic, phylogenetic, and phylogeographic methods to infer features of the evolutionary history of this species. Prior expectations regarding high levels of genetic structure and isolation by distance among populations were supported by the data, but we also discovered several unanticipated patterns. Our analyses revealed a major genetic break between S. invicta mtDNA haplotypes that coincides with the Mesopotamia wetlands region of South America, resulting in two higher level nested clade groupings. In addition, we identified contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation within these two major groups, which may reflect differences in connectivity of suitable habitat in different parts of the native range of S. invicta. Our study represents the first attempt to understand the phylogeographic history of S. invicta across its native range. PMID:16329243

  4. 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.

  5. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26874941

  6. 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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26624156

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:26708389

  10. 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

  11. 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. PMID:23776702

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Zhang, Guangmei

    2013-08-01

    There is evidence that ant-derived chemical stimuli are involved in regulating the digging behavior in Solenopsis invicta Buren. However, the source gland(s) and chemistry of such stimuli have never been revealed. In this study, extracts of mandibular, Dufour's, postpharyngeal, and poison glands were evaluated for their effect on ant digging and residing preferences of S. invicta workers from three colonies. In the intracolonial bioassays, workers showed significant digging preferences to mandibular gland extracts in 2 of 3 colonies and significant residing preferences in 1 of 3 colonies; significant digging preferences to Dufour's gland extracts in 1 of 3 colonies and significant residing preferences in 2 of 3 colonies. No digging and residing preferences were found for postpharyngeal and poison gland extracts. In intercolonial bioassays, significant digging and residing preferences were found for mandibular gland extracts in 3 of 6 colony combinations. Significant digging preferences to Dufour's gland extracts were found in 4 of 6 colony combinations and significant residing preferences in all 6 colony combinations. For postpharyngeal gland extracts, significant digging preferences were found only in 1 of 6 colonial combinations and no significant residing preferences were found. For poison gland extracts, no significant digging preferences were found; significant residing preferences were found in 1 of 6 colony combinations. However, a significant residing deterrence (negative residing preference index) was found for 2 of 6 colony combinations. Statistical analyses using data pooled from all colonies showed that mandibular and Dufour's gland extracts caused significant digging and residing preferences in both intracolonial and intercolonial bioassays but not postpharyngeal and poison gland extracts. By analyzing the data pooled from the same three colonies used for gland extract bioassays, it was found that, in no cases, workers showed significant digging and

  14. 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)

  15. 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.

  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. PMID:25525106

  17. 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

  18. PHS in the Queen City: a watershed development.

    PubMed Central

    Snyder, L P

    1997-01-01

    For over a century, Cincinnati, Ohio, has been at the center of the nation's efforts to control water pollution. Site and subject of PHS activities to understand, manage, and prevent pollution, Cincinnati now carries on this public health legacy as home to EPA's water pollution programs. From ante-bellum way station for primary care and the seat of early 20th century scientific contributions to vibrant center for the development of environmental health programs after World War II, the Queen City has truly provided a number of watershed developments in the history of public health. Images p347-a p349-a PMID:9258300

  19. Acute exposure to low dose radiation disrupts reproduction and shortens survival of Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera Formicidae)queens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Irradiation is a postharvest quarantine treatment option to control ants and other hitchhiker pests on fresh horticultural products exported from Hawaii. The radiotolerance of the invasive little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae), was studied to determine...

  20. Nestmate and kin recognition in interspecific mixed colonies of ants.

    PubMed

    Carlin, N F; Hölldobler, B

    1983-12-01

    Recognition of nestmates and discrimination against aliens is the rule in the social insects. The principal mechanism of nestmate recognition in carpenter ants (Camponotus) appears to be odor labels or "discriminators" that originate from the queen and are distributed among, and learned by, all adult colony members. The acquired odor labels are sufficiently powerful to produce indiscriminate acceptance among workers of different species raised together in artificially mixed colonies and rejection of genetic sisters reared by different heterospecific queens.

  1. Nestmate and kin recognition in interspecific mixed colonies of ants.

    PubMed

    Carlin, N F; Hölldobler, B

    1983-12-01

    Recognition of nestmates and discrimination against aliens is the rule in the social insects. The principal mechanism of nestmate recognition in carpenter ants (Camponotus) appears to be odor labels or "discriminators" that originate from the queen and are distributed among, and learned by, all adult colony members. The acquired odor labels are sufficiently powerful to produce indiscriminate acceptance among workers of different species raised together in artificially mixed colonies and rejection of genetic sisters reared by different heterospecific queens. PMID:17776248

  2. 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…

  3. Fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Weber, N A

    1966-08-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are in reality unique fungus-culturing insects.There are several hundred species in some dozen genera, of which Acromyrmex and Atta are the conspicuous leaf-cutters. The center of their activities is the fungus garden, which is also the site of the queen and brood. The garden, in most species, is made from fresh green leaves or other vegetal material. The ants forage for this, forming distinct trails to the vegetation that is being harvested. The cut leaves or other substrate are brought into the nest and prepared for the fungus. Fresh leaves and flowers are cut into pieces a millimeter or two in diameter; the ants form them into a pulpy mass by pinching them with the mandibles and adding saliva. Anal droplets are deposited on the pieces, which are then forced into place in the garden. Planting of the fungus is accomplished by an ant's picking up tufts of the adjacent mycelium and dotting the surface of the new substrate with it. The combination of salivary and anal secretions, together with the constant care given by the ants, facilitates the growth of the ant fungus only, despite constant possibilities for contamination. When the ants are removed, alien fungi and other organisms flourish. A mature nest of Atta Sexdens may consist of 2000 chambers, some temporarily empty, some with refuse, and the remainder with fungus gardens. Thousands of kilograms of fresh leaves will have been used. A young laboratory colony of Atta cephalotes will use 1 kilogram of fresh leaves for one garden. The attines are the chief agents for introducing organic matter into the soil in tropical rain forests; this matter becomes the nucleus for a host of other organisms, including nematodes and arthropods, after it is discarded by the ants. One ant species cultures a yeast; all others grow a mycelium. In the higher species the mycelium forms clusters of inflated hyphae. Mycologists accept as valid two names for confirmed fruiting stages: Leucocoprinus ( or

  4. 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

  5. Acoustical mimicry in a predatory social parasite of ants.

    PubMed

    Barbero, F; Bonelli, S; Thomas, J A; Balletto, E; Schönrogge, K

    2009-12-01

    Rapid, effective communication between colony members is a key attribute that enables ants to live in dominant, fiercely protected societies. Their signals, however, may be mimicked by other insects that coexist as commensals with ants or interact with them as mutualists or social parasites. We consider the role of acoustics in ant communication and its exploitation by social parasites. Social parasitism has been studied mainly in the butterfly genus Maculinea, the final instar larvae of which are host-specific parasites of Myrmica ants, preying either on ant grubs (predatory Maculinea) or being fed by trophallaxis (cuckoo Maculinea). We found similar significant differences between the stridulations of model queen and worker ant castes in both Myrmica sabuleti and Myrmica scabrinodis to that previously reported for Myrmica schencki. However, the sounds made by queens of all three Myrmica species were indistinguishable, and among workers, stridulations did not differ significantly in two of three species-pairs tested. Sounds recorded from the predatory caterpillars and pupae of Maculinea arion had similar or closer patterns to the acoustics of their host Myrmica sabuleti than those previously reported for the cuckoo Maculinea rebeli and its host Myrmica schencki, even though Maculinea rebeli caterpillars live more intimately with their host. We conclude that chemical mimicry enables Maculinea larvae to be accepted as colony members by worker ants, but that caterpillars and pupae of both predatory and cuckoo butterflies employ acoustical mimicry of queen ant calls to elevate their status towards the highest attainable position within their host's social hierarchy. PMID:19946088

  6. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle's Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours.

    PubMed

    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

  7. '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 ...

  8. A heritable component in sex ratio and caste determination in a Cardiocondyla ant.

    PubMed

    Frohschammer, Sabine; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-01-01

    Studies on sex ratios in social insects provide among the most compelling evidence for the importance of kin selection in social evolution. The elegant synthesis of Fisher's sex ratio principle and Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory predicts that colony-level sex ratios vary with the colonies' social and genetic structures. Numerous empirical studies in ants, bees, and wasps have corroborated these predictions. However, the evolutionary optimization of sex ratios requires genetic variation, but one fundamental determinant of sex ratios - the propensity of female larvae to develop into young queens or workers ("queen bias") - is thought to be largely controlled by the environment. Evidence for a genetic influence on sex ratio and queen bias is as yet restricted to a few taxa, in particular hybrids.Because of the very short lifetime of their queens, ants of the genus Cardiocondyla are ideal model systems for the study of complete lifetime reproductive success, queen bias, and sex ratios. We found that lifetime sex ratios of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi have a heritable component. In experimental single-queen colonies, 22 queens from a genetic lineage with a highly female-biased sex ratio produced significantly more female-biased offspring sex ratios than 16 queens from a lineage with a more male-biased sex ratio (median 91.5% vs. 58.5% female sexuals). Sex ratio variation resulted from different likelihood of female larvae developing into sexuals (median 50% vs. 22.6% female sexuals) even when uniformly nursed by workers from another colony.Consistent differences in lifetime sex ratios and queen bias among queens of C. kagutsuchi suggest that heritable, genetic or maternal effects strongly affect caste determination. Such variation might provide the basis for adaptive evolution of queen and worker strategies, though it momentarily constrains the power of workers and queens to optimize caste ratios. PMID:19863794

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    2015-01-01

    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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Queen promiscuity lowers disease within honeybee colonies.

    PubMed

    Seeley, Thomas D; Tarpy, David R

    2007-01-01

    Most species of social insects have singly mated queens, but in some species each queen mates with numerous males to create a colony with a genetically diverse worker force. The adaptive significance of polyandry by social insect queens remains an evolutionary puzzle. Using the honeybee (Apis mellifera), we tested the hypothesis that polyandry improves a colony's resistance to disease. We established colonies headed by queens that had been artificially inseminated by either one or 10 drones. Later, we inoculated these colonies with spores of Paenibacillus larvae, the bacterium that causes a highly virulent disease of honeybee larvae (American foulbrood). We found that, on average, colonies headed by multiple-drone inseminated queens had markedly lower disease intensity and higher colony strength at the end of the summer relative to colonies headed by single-drone inseminated queens. These findings support the hypothesis that polyandry by social insect queens is an adaptation to counter disease within their colonies.

  15. 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...

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26922779

  17. 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.

  18. Patterns of reproduction in slave-making ants

    PubMed Central

    Herbers, J. M.; Stuart, R. J.

    1998-01-01

    Sex ratios in slave-making ants have been posed as important test cases for the hypothesis that eusociality evolved via kin selection in insects. Trivers and Hare proposed that sex ratios in slave-makers should reflect the queen's interests whereas sex ratios in free-living host ants should reflect the workers' interests. We analyse patterns of allocation to males versus females, as well as allocation to growth versus reproduction for slave-making ants in the tribe Formicoxenini. We find little support for the hypothesis of exclusive queen control; instead, our results implicate queen–worker conflict in slave-making ants, both over male allocation ratios and over allocation to growth versus reproduction.

  19. Raiders from the sky: slavemaker founding queens select for aggressive host colonies

    PubMed Central

    Pamminger, Tobias; Modlmeier, Andreas P.; Suette, Stefan; Pennings, Pleuni S.; Foitzik, Susanne

    2012-01-01

    Reciprocal selection pressures in host–parasite systems drive coevolutionary arms races that lead to advanced adaptations in both opponents. In the interactions between social parasites and their hosts, aggression is one of the major behavioural traits under selection. In a field manipulation, we aimed to disentangle the impact of slavemaking ants and nest density on aggression of Temnothorax longispinosus ants. An early slavemaker mating flight provided us with the unique opportunity to study the influence of host aggression and demography on founding decisions and success. We discovered that parasite queens avoided colony foundation in parasitized areas and were able to capture more brood from less aggressive host colonies. Host colony aggression remained consistent over the two-month experiment, but did not respond to our manipulation. However, as one-fifth of all host colonies were successfully invaded by parasite queens, slavemaker nest foundation acts as a strong selection event selecting for high aggression in host colonies. PMID:22809720

  20. Review. Lifelong commitment to the wrong partner: hybridization in ants.

    PubMed

    Feldhaar, Heike; Foitzik, Susanne; Heinze, Jürgen

    2008-09-12

    The extraordinary lifelong partner commitment in social insects is expected to increase choosiness in both sexes and therefore to be associated with particularly low hybridization frequencies. Yet, more and more studies reveal that in many ant taxa hybrids are surprisingly common, with up to half of all female sexuals receiving sperm from allospecific males in extreme cases. In a few ant species, hybridization has led to the evolution of reproductively isolated new lineages with a bizarre system of genetic caste differentiation: colonies produce hybrid workers and pure-lineage female sexuals. This requires that colonies either contain multiple queens or that queens mate multiple times. In most other cases, hybridization appears to be an evolutionary dead end and fertile hybrid queens are rarely found. In such cases, haplodiploid sex determination appears to decrease the costs of mating with an allospecific male. As long as hybrid workers are viable, a cross-mated queen can partially rescue its fitness by producing males from unfertilized eggs. Mating with an allospecific partner may thus be an option for queens when conspecific mates are not available. The morphological similarity of most ant males, perhaps resulting from the lack of sexual conflict, may similarly contribute to the commoness of hybridization.

  1. 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.

  2. Beyond the Black Queen Hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Mas, Alix; Jamshidi, Shahrad; Lagadeuc, Yvan; Eveillard, Damien; Vandenkoornhuyse, Philippe

    2016-09-01

    The Black Queen Hypothesis, recently proposed to explain an evolution of dependency based on gene loss, is gaining ground. This paper focuses on how the evolution of dependency transforms interactions and the community. Using agent-based modeling we suggest that species specializing in the consumption of a common good escape competition and therefore favor coexistence. This evolutionary trajectory could open the way for novel long-lasting interactions and a need to revisit the classically accepted assembly rules. Such evolutionary events also reshape the structure and dynamics of communities, depending on the spatial heterogeneity of the common good production. Let Black be the new black! PMID:26953598

  3. 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

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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.

  6. Comparative study of the cuticular hydrocarbon in queens, workers and males of Ectatomma vizottoi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) by Fourier transform-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Antonialli, W F; Lima, S M; Andrade, L H C; Súarez, Y R

    2007-01-01

    Fourier transform-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy was applied for the first time, to our knowledge, to distinguish different castes of an ant species. The method was applied directly to the abdomen of queens, workers and males of Ectatomma vizottoi ants, without any special sample preparation. The absorption bands of secondary amide and hydrocarbons were identified; using these as variables in a canonical discriminant analysis we found significant differences between the castes. Queens have a greater hydrocarbon content than do workers and males, which is related to their function in the colony. This technique can be used to analyze and distinguish small chemical differences in biological systems, even in opaque samples. PMID:17985301

  7. A taxonomic revision of South American species of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Part I.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A

    2015-01-01

    South American species in the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) are interesting biologically because of their numerous queen phenotypes and life histories. This paper provides a taxonomic revision and reviews the natural history for 21 South American species of Pogonomyrmex so that we can better study their rich and interesting ecology, life history, and evolution. Species treated herein comprise all South American species-groups except for the brevibarbis and rastratus-groups. The following taxa are raised to species: pencosensis Forel 1914 and serpens Santschi 1922. The following new synonomies are proposed: bruchi Forel 1913 is synonomized under coarctatus Mayr 1868 and cunicularius carnivora Santschi 1925 under serpens Santschi 1922. The following new species is described: tinogasta. This paper redescribes workers of all species, and I describe queens and diagnose males for the following species: bispinosus (ergatoid queen, male), inermis (queen, male), laticeps (male), lobatus (queen, male), micans (queen), naegelii (ergatoid queen), pencosensis (ergatoid queen), serpens (ergatoid queen), tinogasta (brachypterous queen), and uruguayensis (queen, male). A neotype was designated for the untraceable or possibly lost type of P. bispinosus, and a holotype or lectotype was designated from syntypes for all other previously described taxa in order to provide a single name-bearing specimen and to facilitate future taxonomic studies. Of the 21 species treated herein, five species have ergatoid (wingless) queens (bispinosus, cunicularius, pencosensis, serpens, mayri), two have brachypterous (short-winged) queens (mendozanus, tinogasta), and two have dimorphic queens (winged and ergatoid in naegelii, brachypterous and ergatoid in laticeps). I also provide keys for workers and queens (in English and Spanish), photographs of all castes, distribution maps, and a summary of known biology. PMID:26624334

  8. A taxonomic revision of South American species of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Part I.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A

    2015-10-13

    South American species in the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) are interesting biologically because of their numerous queen phenotypes and life histories. This paper provides a taxonomic revision and reviews the natural history for 21 South American species of Pogonomyrmex so that we can better study their rich and interesting ecology, life history, and evolution. Species treated herein comprise all South American species-groups except for the brevibarbis and rastratus-groups. The following taxa are raised to species: pencosensis Forel 1914 and serpens Santschi 1922. The following new synonomies are proposed: bruchi Forel 1913 is synonomized under coarctatus Mayr 1868 and cunicularius carnivora Santschi 1925 under serpens Santschi 1922. The following new species is described: tinogasta. This paper redescribes workers of all species, and I describe queens and diagnose males for the following species: bispinosus (ergatoid queen, male), inermis (queen, male), laticeps (male), lobatus (queen, male), micans (queen), naegelii (ergatoid queen), pencosensis (ergatoid queen), serpens (ergatoid queen), tinogasta (brachypterous queen), and uruguayensis (queen, male). A neotype was designated for the untraceable or possibly lost type of P. bispinosus, and a holotype or lectotype was designated from syntypes for all other previously described taxa in order to provide a single name-bearing specimen and to facilitate future taxonomic studies. Of the 21 species treated herein, five species have ergatoid (wingless) queens (bispinosus, cunicularius, pencosensis, serpens, mayri), two have brachypterous (short-winged) queens (mendozanus, tinogasta), and two have dimorphic queens (winged and ergatoid in naegelii, brachypterous and ergatoid in laticeps). I also provide keys for workers and queens (in English and Spanish), photographs of all castes, distribution maps, and a summary of known biology.

  9. 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...

  10. Extrafloral nectar content alters foraging preferences of a predatory ant.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

    We tested whether the carbohydrate and amino acid content of extrafloral nectar affected prey choice by a predatory ant. Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, were provided with artificial nectar that varied in the presence of carbohydrates and amino acids and were then provided with two prey items that differed in nutritional content, female and male crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with carbohydrate supplements consumed less of the female crickets and frequently did not consume the high-lipid ovaries of female crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with amino acid supplements consumed less of the male crickets. While a number of studies have shown that the presence of extrafloral nectar or honeydew can affect ant foraging activity, these results suggest that the nutritional composition of extrafloral nectar is also important and can affect subsequent prey choice by predatory ants. Our results suggest that, by altering the composition of extrafloral nectar, plants could manipulate the prey preferences of ants foraging on them.

  11. Cuticular hydrocarbons mediate discrimination of reproductives and nonreproductives in the ant Myrmecia gulosa.

    PubMed

    Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Liebig, Jürgen; Thivet, Virginie; Hölldobler, Bert

    2003-09-01

    In many species of social insects, the cuticular hydrocarbons of adults vary with both colony identity and individual physiology (oogenesis). Such variations have been shown in some ants and social wasps to function in nestmate recognition, but as yet there is no demonstration of their use by workers to recognize egg layers. We report that in the ant Myrmecia gulosa, workers can discriminate queens and fertile workers from infertile individuals based on distinctive blends of long-chained hydrocarbons present both on the cuticle and in the postpharyngeal gland. The purified hydrocarbon fraction of cuticular extracts from queens elicited high interest in workers, unlike the nonhydrocarbon fraction. However, both fractions were necessary to trigger a response of maximal intensity. In contrast, extracts of mandibular and Dufour glands from queens or infertile workers were not treated differentially by workers. We suggest that cuticular hydrocarbons function as pheromones allowing for recognition of the queen as well as egg-laying workers. PMID:12920186

  12. Chemical Mating Attractants in the Queen Honey Bee.

    PubMed

    Gary, N E

    1962-06-01

    Drone attraction to ether extracts of virgin queens (Apis mellifera L.) demonstrated that chemical communication enables the drones to orient themselves to queens during mating flights. The primary source of queen mating attractants is the mandibular glands. Fractionation of mandibular gland lipids yielded several attractive fractions that may act jointly. One fraction was queen substance (9-oxodec-2-enoic acid).

  13. 50 CFR 622.493 - Landing Caribbean queen conch intact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 12 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Landing Caribbean queen conch intact. 622... ATLANTIC Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands § 622.493 Landing Caribbean queen conch intact. (a) A Caribbean queen conch in or from the Caribbean EEZ must be maintained with meat...

  14. 50 CFR 622.493 - Landing Caribbean queen conch intact.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 12 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Landing Caribbean queen conch intact. 622... ATLANTIC Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands § 622.493 Landing Caribbean queen conch intact. (a) A Caribbean queen conch in or from the Caribbean EEZ must be maintained with meat...

  15. A taxonomic revision of the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hispaniola.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert A; Cover, Stefan P

    2015-06-11

    We revise species of seed-harvester ants in the genus Pogonomyrmex (subfamily Myrmicinae) that occur on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Three species are recognized: P. aterrimus Wheeler (new status), P. saucius Wheeler and Mann, and P. schmitti Forel. Pogonomyrmex schmitti sublaevigatus Wheeler (= schmitti) and P. schmitti darlingtoni Wheeler (= aterrimus) are synonomized. We also describe the queen of P. aterrimus and P. saucius, and provide information on biology, distribution maps, and a key to workers and queens.

  16. Effects of boric acid, fipronil, hydramethylnon, and diflubenzuron baits on colonies of ghost ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Ulloa-Chacón, Patricia; Jaramillo, Gloria Isabel

    2003-06-01

    Laboratory colonies of the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.) were administered sugar solution (10%) baits containing the insecticides boric acid, fipronil (REGENT), hydramethylnon (SIEGE), or diflubenzuron (DIMILN). Colonies were exposed to the baits for 21 d, and development of workers, queens, and brood (larvae and pupae) was observed for 4 wk. Fipronil (0.05%) caused 100% mortality in all colonies the first week. With boric acid (0.5%), 100% mortality of workers, queens, and brood was reached at the end of the third week. With hydramethylnon (2%), 83% of the colonies disappeared at the end of the fourth week, but some queens were still alive 9 wk after the trial started. Diflubenzuron (1%) behaved similarly to the control, although in some colonies, the brood production increased, whereas in other colonies, the queens disappeared. In the control colonies, workers, queens, and brood were always observed even up to 9 wk.

  17. 75 FR 68397 - DeQueen and Eastern Railroad, LLC-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-DeQueen and Eastern...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-05

    ... Surface Transportation Board DeQueen and Eastern Railroad, LLC--Acquisition and Operation Exemption--DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Company DeQueen and Eastern Railroad, LLC (DQE), a noncarrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 to acquire from DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Company...

  18. Collecting live ant specimens (colony sampling).

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

    Because of the great diversity of ants, it is difficult to give a single protocol for the collection of live specimens. Ant body size can be very small or extremely large; the ants can be hard or soft, sting or spray toxic chemicals, live in the open or in hard-to-reach places; and colony size can range from tens of individuals to millions. Thus, collection techniques must be tailored to each particular species. In particular, caution must always be taken when dealing with stinging species, and symptoms and basic first-aid measures, especially for the treatment of anaphylactic shock, should be reviewed before beginning fieldwork. Nonetheless, many species are collectable as whole colonies. This protocol reviews some basic techniques for collecting ground-nesting species and describes how to collect whole live colonies (with queens), which are necessary for long-term laboratory studies and addressing questions of social organization and ecology. PMID:20147204

  19. 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. PMID:26655979

  20. 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.

  1. Evolution of thorax architecture in ant castes highlights trade-off between flight and ground behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Keller, Roberto A; Peeters, Christian; Beldade, Patrícia

    2014-01-01

    The concerted evolution of morphological and behavioral specializations has compelling examples in ant castes. Unique to ants is a marked divergence between winged queens and wingless workers, but morphological specializations for behaviors on the ground have been overlooked. We analyzed thorax morphology of queens and workers in species from 21 of the 25 ant subfamilies. We uncovered unique skeletomuscular modifications in workers that presumably increase power and flexibility of head–thorax articulation, emphasizing that workers are not simply wingless versions of queens. We also identified two distinct types of queens and showed repeated evolutionary associations with strategies of colony foundation. Solitary founding queens that hunt have a more worker-like thorax. Our results reveal that ants invest in the relative size of thorax segments according to their tasks. Versatility of head movements allows for better manipulation of food and objects, which arguably contributed to the ants’ ecological and evolutionary success. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01539.001 PMID:24399458

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    Rangel, Juliana; 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 that other external

  4. Ant interactions with soil organisms and associated semiochemicals.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, Robert

    2012-06-01

    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 source of semiochemical antimicrobial compounds targeting general or specific deleterious microbes. The extremely diverse variety of semiochemicals and their sources with antimicrobial activity or potential activity is highlighted. The leaf-cutting ants and fire ant provide the most researched species, in part because they cause significant economic damage. The leaf-cutting ant is particularly interesting because researchers have uncovered unexpected interactions between leaf-cutting ant fungal farm, parasitic fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and ant defensive semiochemicals. These complex relationships highlight the multidimensional aspects of ants and the soil environment in which they live. PMID:22653568

  5. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements and past and present distribution within its native range.

    PubMed

    Chifflet, L; Rodriguero, M S; Calcaterra, L A; Rey, O; Dinghi, P A; Baccaro, F B; Souza, J L P; Follett, P; Confalonieri, V A

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. Therefore, phylogeographic studies of invasive species within their native ranges are useful to understand invasion biology in an evolutionary context. Here we integrated classical and Bayesian phylogeographic methods using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers with a palaeodistribution modelling approach, to infer the phylogeographic history of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata across its native distribution in South America. We discuss our results in the context of the recent establishment of this mostly tropical species in the Mediterranean region. Our Bayesian phylogeographic analysis suggests that the common ancestor of the two main clades of W. auropunctata occurred in central Brazil during the Pliocene. Clade A would have differentiated northward and clade B southward, followed by a secondary contact beginning about 380,000 years ago in central South America. There were differences in the most suitable habitats among clades when considering three distinct climatic periods, suggesting that genetic differentiation was accompanied by changes in niche requirements, clade A being a tropical lineage and clade B a subtropical and temperate lineage. Only clade B reached more southern latitudes, with a colder climate than that of northern South America. This is concordant with the adaptation of this originally tropical ant species to temperate climates prior to its successful establishment in the Mediterranean region. This study highlights the usefulness of exploring the evolutionary history of invasive species within their native ranges to better understand biological invasions.

  6. Evolutionary history of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata before global invasion: inferring dispersal patterns, niche requirements and past and present distribution within its native range.

    PubMed

    Chifflet, L; Rodriguero, M S; Calcaterra, L A; Rey, O; Dinghi, P A; Baccaro, F B; Souza, J L P; Follett, P; Confalonieri, V A

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of invasive species within their native range may involve key processes that allow them to colonize new habitats. Therefore, phylogeographic studies of invasive species within their native ranges are useful to understand invasion biology in an evolutionary context. Here we integrated classical and Bayesian phylogeographic methods using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers with a palaeodistribution modelling approach, to infer the phylogeographic history of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata across its native distribution in South America. We discuss our results in the context of the recent establishment of this mostly tropical species in the Mediterranean region. Our Bayesian phylogeographic analysis suggests that the common ancestor of the two main clades of W. auropunctata occurred in central Brazil during the Pliocene. Clade A would have differentiated northward and clade B southward, followed by a secondary contact beginning about 380,000 years ago in central South America. There were differences in the most suitable habitats among clades when considering three distinct climatic periods, suggesting that genetic differentiation was accompanied by changes in niche requirements, clade A being a tropical lineage and clade B a subtropical and temperate lineage. Only clade B reached more southern latitudes, with a colder climate than that of northern South America. This is concordant with the adaptation of this originally tropical ant species to temperate climates prior to its successful establishment in the Mediterranean region. This study highlights the usefulness of exploring the evolutionary history of invasive species within their native ranges to better understand biological invasions. PMID:26780687

  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. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre.

    PubMed

    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 m(2) 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 con-firmed 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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,...

  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, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ..., 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. 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,...

  15. 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,...

  16. 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.

  17. Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Hölldobler, Bert

    2004-09-01

    Ant workers can mate and reproduce in a few hundreds of species belonging to the phylogenetically basal poneromorph subfamilies (sensu Bolton 2003). We report the first occurrence of gamergates (i.e. mated reproductive workers) in a myrmeciomorph subfamily. In a colony of Myrmecia pyriformis that was collected without a queen, workers continued to be produced over a period of 3 years in the laboratory. Behavioural observations and ovarian dissections indicated that three workers were mated and produced the diploid offspring. The Myrmeciinae are thus another taxon in which the selective benefits of sexual reproduction by workers can be investigated.

  18. Convergent development of low-relatedness supercolonies in Myrmica ants.

    PubMed

    van der Hammen, T; Pedersen, J S; Boomsma, J J

    2002-08-01

    Many ant species have independently evolved colony structures with multiple queens and very low relatedness among nestmate workers, but it has remained unclear whether low-relatedness kin structures can repeatedly arise in populations of the same species. Here we report a study of Danish island populations of the red ant Myrmica sulcinodis and show that it is likely that such repeated developments occur. Two microsatellite loci were used to estimate genetic differentiation (F(ST)) among three populations and nestmate relatedness within these populations. The F(ST) values were highly significant due to very different allele frequencies among the three populations with relatively few common alleles and relatively many rare alleles, possibly caused by single queen foundation and rare subsequent immigration. Given the isolation of the islands and the low investment in reproduction, we infer that each of the populations was most likely established by a single queen, even though all three extant populations now have within-colony relatedness 95%), and the genetic differentiation of nests showed a significantly positive correlation with the distance between them. Both male-biased sex-ratio and genetic viscosity are expected characteristics of populations where queens have very local dispersal and where new colonies are initiated through nest-budding. Based on a comparison with other M. sulcinodis populations we hypothesise a distinct succession of population types and suggest that this may be a possible pathway to unicoloniality, ie, development towards a complete lack of colony kin structure and unrelated nestmate workers. PMID:12136409

  19. 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.

  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. Population and colony structure of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

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

    1996-12-01

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

  2. Population and colony structure of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

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

    1996-12-01

    The colony and population structure of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, were investigated by multilocus DNA fingerprinting using simple repeat motifs as probes [e.g. (GATA)4]. The mating frequency of 15 queens was determined by comparing the fingerprint patterns of the queen and 17-33 of her progeny workers. C. floridanus queens are most probably singly mated, i.e. this species is monandrous and monogynous (one queen per colony). C. floridanus occurs in all counties of mainland Florida and also inhabits most of the Key islands in the southern part of Florida. We tested whether the two mainland populations and the island populations are genetically isolated. Wright's FST and Nei's D-value of genetic distance were calculated from intercolonial bandsharing-coefficients. The population of C. floridanus is substructured (FST = 0.19 +/- 0.09) and the highest degree of genetic distance was found between one of the mainland populations and the island populations (D = 0.35). Our fingerprinting technique could successfully be transferred to 12 other Camponotus species and here also revealed sufficient variability to analyse the genetic structure. In three of these species (C. ligniperdus, C. herculeanus and C. gigas) we could determine the mating frequency of the queen in one or two colonies, respectively. PMID:8981768

  3. Ant Genetics: Reproductive Physiology, Worker Morphology, and Behavior.

    PubMed

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

    Many exciting studies have begun to elucidate the genetics of the morphological and physiological diversity of ants, but as yet few studies have investigated the genetics of ant behavior directly. Ant genomes are marked by extreme rates of gene turnover, especially in gene families related to olfactory communication, such as the synthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons and the perception of environmental semiochemicals. Transcriptomic and epigenetic differences are apparent between reproductive and sterile females, males and females, and workers that differ in body size. Quantitative genetic approaches suggest heritability of task performance, and population genetic studies indicate a genetic association with reproductive status in some species. Gene expression is associated with behavior including foraging, response to queens attempting to join a colony, circadian patterns of task performance, and age-related changes of task. Ant behavioral genetics needs further investigation of the feedback between individual-level physiological changes and socially mediated responses to environmental conditions. PMID:27050321

  4. Ant Genetics: Reproductive Physiology, Worker Morphology, and Behavior.

    PubMed

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

    Many exciting studies have begun to elucidate the genetics of the morphological and physiological diversity of ants, but as yet few studies have investigated the genetics of ant behavior directly. Ant genomes are marked by extreme rates of gene turnover, especially in gene families related to olfactory communication, such as the synthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons and the perception of environmental semiochemicals. Transcriptomic and epigenetic differences are apparent between reproductive and sterile females, males and females, and workers that differ in body size. Quantitative genetic approaches suggest heritability of task performance, and population genetic studies indicate a genetic association with reproductive status in some species. Gene expression is associated with behavior including foraging, response to queens attempting to join a colony, circadian patterns of task performance, and age-related changes of task. Ant behavioral genetics needs further investigation of the feedback between individual-level physiological changes and socially mediated responses to environmental conditions.

  5. Effects of fluvalinate and coumaphos on queen honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in two commercial queen rearing operations.

    PubMed

    Haarmann, Timothy; Spivak, Marla; Weaver, Daniel; Weaver, Binford; Glenn, Tom

    2002-02-01

    We conducted research on the potential impacts of fluvalinate and coumaphos on honey bee, Apis mellifera L., queen viability and health. Queens were reared in colonies that had been treated with differing amounts of both fluvalinate and coumaphos. Pre- and posttreatment samples of both wax and bees were collected from all of the colonies and analyzed for total concentrations of fluvalinate and coumaphos. All queens were measured for queen weight, ovarial weight, and number of sperm in the spermathecae. The queens treated with high doses of fluvalinate weighed significantly less than low-dose or control queens, but otherwise appeared to develop normally. The highest fluvalinate concentrations were observed in the wax and queen cells of the high-dose group. The developing queens in colonies treated with as little as one coumaphos-impregnated strip for more than 24 h suffered a high mortality rate. Several of the queens showed sublethal effects from the coumaphos, including physical abnormalities and atypical behavior. The queens exposed to coumaphos weighed significantly less and had lower ovary weights than the control group queens. The highest coumaphos concentrations were observed in the queen cells and wax of the high-dose groups.

  6. 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 a child.…

  7. 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…

  8. Evaluating the role of reproductive constraints in ant social evolution

    PubMed Central

    Khila, Abderrahman; Abouheif, Ehab

    2010-01-01

    The reproductive division of labour is a key feature of eusociality in ants, where queen and worker castes show dramatic differences in the development of their reproductive organs. To understand the developmental and genetic basis underlying this division of labour, we performed a molecular analysis of ovary function and germ cell development in queens and workers. We show that the processes of ovarian development in queens have been highly conserved relative to the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. We also identify specific steps during oogenesis and embryogenesis in which ovarian and germ cell development have been evolutionarily modified in the workers. These modifications, which we call ‘reproductive constraints’, are often assumed to represent neutral degenerations that are a consequence of social evolutionary forces. Based on our developmental and functional analysis of these constraints, however, we propose and discuss the alternative hypothesis that reproductive constraints represent adaptive proximate mechanisms or traits for maintaining social harmony in ants. We apply a multi-level selection framework to help understand the role of these constraints in ant social evolution. A complete understanding of how cooperation, conflict and developmental systems evolve in social groups requires a ‘socio-evo-devo’ approach that integrates social evolutionary and developmental biology. PMID:20083637

  9. Evaluating the role of reproductive constraints in ant social evolution.

    PubMed

    Khila, Abderrahman; Abouheif, Ehab

    2010-02-27

    The reproductive division of labour is a key feature of eusociality in ants, where queen and worker castes show dramatic differences in the development of their reproductive organs. To understand the developmental and genetic basis underlying this division of labour, we performed a molecular analysis of ovary function and germ cell development in queens and workers. We show that the processes of ovarian development in queens have been highly conserved relative to the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. We also identify specific steps during oogenesis and embryogenesis in which ovarian and germ cell development have been evolutionarily modified in the workers. These modifications, which we call 'reproductive constraints', are often assumed to represent neutral degenerations that are a consequence of social evolutionary forces. Based on our developmental and functional analysis of these constraints, however, we propose and discuss the alternative hypothesis that reproductive constraints represent adaptive proximate mechanisms or traits for maintaining social harmony in ants. We apply a multi-level selection framework to help understand the role of these constraints in ant social evolution. A complete understanding of how cooperation, conflict and developmental systems evolve in social groups requires a 'socio-evo-devo' approach that integrates social evolutionary and developmental biology.

  10. Irresistible ants: exposure to novel toxic prey increases consumption over multiple temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Herr, Mark W; Robbins, Travis R; Centi, Alan; Thawley, Christopher J; Langkilde, Tracy

    2016-07-01

    As species become increasingly exposed to novel challenges, it is critical to understand how evolutionary (i.e., generational) and plastic (i.e., within lifetime) responses work together to determine a species' fate or predict its distribution. The introduction of non-native species imposes novel pressures on the native species that they encounter. Understanding how native species exposed to toxic or distasteful invaders change their feeding behavior can provide insight into their ability to cope with these novel threats as well as broader questions about the evolution of this behavior. We demonstrated that native eastern fence lizards do not avoid consuming invasive fire ants following repeated exposure to this toxic prey. Rather fence lizards increased their consumption of these ants following exposure on three different temporal scales. Lizards ate more fire ants when they were exposed to this toxic prey over successive days. Lizards consumed more fire ants if they had been exposed to fire ants as juveniles 6 months earlier. Finally, lizards from populations exposed to fire ants over multiple generations consumed more fire ants than those from fire ant-free areas. These results suggest that the potentially lethal consumption of fire ants may carry benefits resulting in selection for this behavior, and learning that persists long after initial exposure. Future research on the response of native predators to venomous prey over multiple temporal scales will be valuable in determining the long-term effects of invasion by these novel threats. PMID:27000944

  11. 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)

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:22081302

  15. 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

  16. Ants cushion applied stress by active rearrangements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Zhongyang; Hyatt, John; Mlot, Nathan; Gerov, Michael; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto; Hu, David

    2013-11-01

    Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, link their bodies together to form waterproof rafts, which in turn drip, spread, and coagulate, demonstrating properties of an active material that can change state from a liquid to a solid. This soft-matter phase transition is important when the raft interacts with environmental forces such as raindrops and crashing waves. We study this active behavior through plate-on-plate rheology on the ants, extracting the active components by comparison with the rheological behavior of a collection of dead ants. In controlled shear tests, both and live and dead ants show properties of a non-Newtonian fluid, specifically, shear-thinning behavior. In oscillatory tests, live ants exhibit a rare behavior in which their storage modulus (G') and loss modulus (G'') have approximately the same value over three orders magnitudes of frequency and two orders of magnitude of strain, indicating the ants are neither fluid nor solid. In comparison, dead ants are more solid-like, with a storage modulus twice as large as their loss modulus. This striking active behavior arises from rearrangement of their bodies and storage and dissipation of energy with the ants' muscles.

  17. Predaceous ants, beach replenishment, and nest placement by sea turtles.

    PubMed

    Wetterer, James K; Wood, Lawrence D; Johnson, Chris; Krahe, Holly; Fitchett, Stephanie

    2007-10-01

    Ants known for attacking and killing hatchling birds and reptiles include the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), tropical fire ant [Solenopsis geminata (Fabr.)], and little fire ant [Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger)]. We tested whether sea turtle nest placement influenced exposure to predaceous ants. In 2000 and 2001, we surveyed ants along a Florida beach where green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta L.) nest. Part of the beach was artificially replenished between our two surveys. As a result, mean beach width experienced by nesting turtles differed greatly between the two nesting seasons. We surveyed 1,548 sea turtle nests (2000: 909 nests; 2001: 639 nests) and found 22 ant species. S. invicta was by far the most common species (on 431 nests); S. geminata and W. auropunctata were uncommon (on 3 and 16 nests, respectively). In 2000, 62.5% of nests had ants present (35.9% with S. invicta), but in 2001, only 30.5% of the nests had ants present (16.4% with S. invicta). Turtle nests closer to dune vegetation had significantly greater exposure to ants. Differences in ant presence on turtle nests between years and among turtle species were closely related to differences in nest placement relative to dune vegetation. Beach replenishment significantly lowered exposure of nests to ants because on the wider beaches turtles nested farther from the dune vegetation. Selective pressures on nesting sea turtles are altered both by the presence of predaceous ants and the practice of beach replenishment.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Recruitment strategies and colony size in ants.

    PubMed

    Planqué, Robert; van den Berg, Jan Bouwe; Franks, Nigel R

    2010-01-01

    Ants use a great variety of recruitment methods to forage for food or find new nests, including tandem running, group recruitment and scent trails. It has been known for some time that there is a loose correlation across many taxa between species-specific mature colony size and recruitment method. Very small colonies tend to use solitary foraging; small to medium sized colonies use tandem running or group recruitment whereas larger colonies use pheromone recruitment trails. Until now, explanations for this correlation have focused on the ants' ecology, such as food resource distribution. However, many species have colonies with a single queen and workforces that grow over several orders of magnitude, and little is known about how a colony's organization, including recruitment methods, may change during its growth. After all, recruitment involves interactions between ants, and hence the size of the colony itself may influence which recruitment method is used--even if the ants' behavioural repertoire remains unchanged. Here we show using mathematical models that the observed correlation can also be explained by recognizing that failure rates in recruitment depend differently on colony size in various recruitment strategies. Our models focus on the build up of recruiter numbers inside colonies and are not based on optimality arguments, such as maximizing food yield. We predict that ant colonies of a certain size should use only one recruitment method (and always the same one) rather than a mix of two or more. These results highlight the importance of the organization of recruitment and how it is affected by colony size. Hence these results should also expand our understanding of ant ecology. PMID:20694195

  1. Royalactin induces queen differentiation in honeybees.

    PubMed

    Kamakura, Masaki

    2011-05-26

    The honeybee (Apis mellifera) forms two female castes: the queen and the worker. This dimorphism depends not on genetic differences, but on ingestion of royal jelly, although the mechanism through which royal jelly regulates caste differentiation has long remained unknown. Here I show that a 57-kDa protein in royal jelly, previously designated as royalactin, induces the differentiation of honeybee larvae into queens. Royalactin increased body size and ovary development and shortened developmental time in honeybees. Surprisingly, it also showed similar effects in the fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster). Mechanistic studies revealed that royalactin activated p70 S6 kinase, which was responsible for the increase of body size, increased the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase, which was involved in the decreased developmental time, and increased the titre of juvenile hormone, an essential hormone for ovary development. Knockdown of epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr) expression in the fat body of honeybees and fruitflies resulted in a defect of all phenotypes induced by royalactin, showing that Egfr mediates these actions. These findings indicate that a specific factor in royal jelly, royalactin, drives queen development through an Egfr-mediated signalling pathway. PMID:21516106

  2. Formicitylenchus oregonensis n. g., n. sp. (Allantonematidae: Nematoda), the first tylenchid parasite of ants, with a review of nematodes described from ants.

    PubMed

    Poinar, George

    2003-09-01

    The first tylenchid parasite of ants, Formicitylenchus oregonensis n. g., n. sp., is described from a queen carpenter ant Camponotus vicinus Mayr in Western Oregon, USA. The new genus is characterised by the excretory pore anterior to the nerve-ring and rounded tails in the free-living adults, a stylet bearing basal thickenings in the free-living female, a smaller stylet lacking basal thickenings in the male and a short, crenulate leptoderan bursa. The mature parasitic female is light yellow and ovoviviparous. F. oregonensis n. sp. is closely related to members of Metaparasitylenchus Wachek, 1955, with species parasitising beetles living under bark or in rotten wood, a habitat similar to that of carpenter ants. However, males of Metaparasitylenchus are characterised by a fairly long tail with a broad peloderan bursa. It is suggested that this case of tylenchid parasitism in ants is an example of environmental host selection. A review of the described nematode parasites of ants is presented.

  3. 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

  4. Cuticular Hydrocarbon Pheromones for Social Behavior and Their Coding in the Ant Antenna.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Kavita R; Enzmann, Brittany L; Schmidt, Yvonne; Moore, Dani; Jones, Graeme R; Parker, Jane; Berger, Shelley L; Reinberg, Danny; Zwiebel, Laurence J; Breit, Bernhard; Liebig, Jürgen; Ray, Anandasankar

    2015-08-25

    The sophisticated organization of eusocial insect societies is largely based on the regulation of complex behaviors by hydrocarbon pheromones present on the cuticle. We used electrophysiology to investigate the detection of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) by female-specific olfactory sensilla basiconica on the antenna of Camponotus floridanus ants through the utilization of one of the largest family of odorant receptors characterized so far in insects. These sensilla, each of which contains multiple olfactory receptor neurons, are differentially sensitive to CHCs and allow them to be classified into three broad groups that collectively detect every hydrocarbon tested, including queen and worker-enriched CHCs. This broad-spectrum sensitivity is conserved in a related species, Camponotus laevigatus, allowing these ants to detect CHCs from both nestmates and non-nestmates. Behavioral assays demonstrate that these ants are excellent at discriminating CHCs detected by the antenna, including enantiomers of a candidate queen pheromone that regulates the reproductive division of labor. PMID:26279569

  5. 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.

  6. Matricide and queen sex allocation in a yellowjacket wasp.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27350328

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. No reversion to single mating in a socially parasitic ant.

    PubMed

    Thurin, N; Aron, S

    2011-05-01

    Social Hymenoptera are ideal biological models for the study of the selective forces affecting the evolution of multiple mating (polyandry), because sister species can evolve different lifestyles and mating strategies. Single mating is predicted in workerless social parasites, because the key benefit of multiple mating in social insects, that is, the increase in genetic diversity among worker offspring, does not hold for workerless species. We compared the queen mating frequency between the ant Plagiolepis pygmaea and its derived social parasite P. xene. Previous studies showed that queens of the host P. pygmaea are obligately polyandrous. Here, pedigree analyses of mother-offspring combinations indicate that queens of the parasite P. xene did not revert to single mating; more than 50% of queens mated multiply, with 2-4 males. This result shows that reversal from multiple to single mating may be not selected in polyandrous social insect workerless parasites. We propose that such reversion does not occur when multiple mating is virtually cost free.

  11. Genetic constraints on dishonesty and caste dimorphism in an ant.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Linksvayer, Timothy A; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2013-02-01

    The ultimate causes of honest signaling remain a subject of debate, with questions remaining over the relative importance of costs and constraints. Signal costs may make dishonesty prohibitively expensive, while genetic constraints could make it impossible. We investigated honest signaling using full-sib analysis and parent-offspring regression in the ant Lasius niger, in which queens produce a cuticular hydrocarbon-based pheromone that signals fertility and inhibits worker reproduction and aggression. We found multiple lines of evidence that cuticular hydrocarbon production is genetically correlated with oogenesis and that the queen pheromone 3-methylhentriacontane and other 3-methylalkanes have strong genetic links with fertility relative to other cuticular hydrocarbons. These genetic correlations may maintain honesty in the face of directional selection on signaling and explain the putatively widespread use of cuticular hydrocarbons in fertility signaling across the social insects. We also found evidence for a positive genetic correlation for fertility between the castes; that is, the most fertile queens produced especially fertile workers. These results highlight that intercaste genetic correlations could constrain the evolution of queen-worker dimorphism, such that worker reproduction may sometimes reflect a nonadaptive "caste load" rather than positively selected cheating. PMID:23348771

  12. Investigation of the population genetic structure and mating system in the ant Pheidole pallidula.

    PubMed

    Fournier, Denis; Aron, Serge; Milinkovitch, Michel C

    2002-09-01

    The origin of eusociality in haplo-diploid organisms such as Hymenoptera has been mostly explained by kin selection. However, several studies have uncovered decreased relatedness values within colonies, resulting primarily from multiple queen matings (polyandry) and/or from the presence of more than one functional queen (polygyny). Here, we report on the use of microsatellite data for the investigation of sociogenetic parameters, such as relatedness, and levels of polygyny and polyandry, in the ant Pheidole pallidula. We demonstrate, through analysis of mother-offspring combinations and the use of direct sperm typing, that each queen is inseminated by a single male. The inbreeding coefficient within colonies and the levels of relatedness between the queens and their mate are not significantly different from zero, indicating that matings occur between unrelated individuals. Analyses of worker genotypes demonstrate that 38% of the colonies are polygynous with 2-4 functional queens, and suggest the existence of reproductive skew, i.e. unequal respective contribution of queens to reproduction. Finally, our analyses indicate that colonies are genetically differentiated and form a population exhibiting significant isolation-by-distance, suggesting that some colonies originate through budding. PMID:12207730

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Ant benefits in a seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Gammans, Nicola; Bullock, James M; Schönrogge, Karsten

    2005-11-01

    Myrmecochorous plant seeds have nutrient rich appendages, elaiosomes, which induce some ant species to carry the seeds back to their nest where the elaiosome is consumed and the seed is discarded unharmed. The benefits to plants of dispersal of their seeds in this way have been well documented, but the benefits to the ants from consuming the elaiosomes have rarely been measured and are less clear. Ant benefits from myrmecochory were investigated in a laboratory experiment using the ant Myrmica ruginodis and seeds of Ulex species. To separate the effects of elaiosome consumption on the development of newly produced larvae versus existing larvae, ten 'Queenright' colonies containing a queen were compared to ten 'Queenless' colonies. Six measures of colony fitness over a complete annual cycle were taken: sexual production, larval weight and number, pupal weight and number, and worker survival. Queenless colonies fed with elaiosomes produced 100.0+/-29.3 (mean +/- SE) of larvae compared to non-elaiosome fed colonies which produced 49.6+/-19.0; an increase of 102%. Larval weight increased in both Queenright and Queenless colonies. In colonies fed with elaiosomes, larvae weighed 1.02+/-0.1 mg, but in non-elaiosome fed colonies larvae weighed 0.69+/-0.1 mg; an increase of 48%. The food supplement provided by Ulex elaiosomes was trivial in energetic terms, under the conditions of an ample diet, suggesting that these effects might be due to the presence of essential nutrients. Chemical analysis of Ulex elaiosomes showed the presence of four essential fatty acids and four essential sterols for ants. PMID:16049717

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-22

    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.

  17. 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. PMID:25505534

  18. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:27038576

  20. 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. PMID:27506180

  1. 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.

  2. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... play with it. Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: April 2016 For Teens For Kids For Parents MORE ON THIS TOPIC Camping and Woods Safety Hey! A Black Widow Spider Bit Me! Learning About Allergies Hey! ...

  3. Phermone biosynthesis activation in fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Over 20 years ago, a neurohormone, pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN), was identified to stimulate sex pheromone biosynthesis in a moth. Since then, the physiological role, target site and signal transduction of PBAN has become well understood for sex pheromone biosynthesis in mot...

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Mating system evolution and worker caste diversity in Pheidole ants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Ming H; Wheeler, Diana E; Fjerdingstad, Else J

    2013-04-01

    The efficiency of social groups is generally optimized by a division of labour, achieved through behavioural or morphological diversity of members. In social insects, colonies may increase the morphological diversity of workers by recruiting standing genetic variance for size and shape via multiply mated queens (polyandry) or multiple-breeding queens (polygyny). However, greater worker diversity in multi-lineage species may also have evolved due to mutual worker policing if there is worker reproduction. Such policing reduces the pressure on workers to maintain reproductive morphologies, allowing the evolution of greater developmental plasticity and the maintenance of more genetic variance for worker size and shape in populations. Pheidole ants vary greatly in the diversity of worker castes. Also, their workers lack ovaries and are thus invariably sterile regardless of the queen mating frequency and numbers of queens per colony. This allowed us to perform an across-species study examining the genetic effects of recruiting more patrilines on the developmental diversity of workers in the absence of confounding effects from worker policing. Using highly variable microsatellite markers, we found that the effective mating frequency of the soldier-polymorphic P. rhea (avg. meN = 2.65) was significantly higher than that of the dimorphic P. spadonia (avg. meN = 1.06), despite a significant paternity skew in P. rhea (avg. B = 0.10). Our findings support the idea that mating strategies of queens may co-evolve with selection to increase the diversity of workers. We also detected patriline bias in the production of different worker sizes, which provides direct evidence for a genetic component to worker polymorphism.

  8. 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. PMID:26383861

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26383861

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. The coevolutionary dynamics of obligate ant social parasite systems--between prudence and antagonism.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Miriam; Foitzik, Susanne; Fischer-Blass, Birgit; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-05-01

    In this synthesis we apply coevolutionary models to the interactions between socially parasitic ants and their hosts. Obligate social parasite systems are ideal models for coevolution, because the close phylogenetic relationship between these parasites and their hosts results in similar evolutionary potentials, thus making mutual adaptations in a stepwise fashion especially likely to occur. The evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite interactions are influenced by a number of parameters, for example the parasite's transmission mode and rate, the genetic structure of host and parasite populations, the antagonists' migration rates, and the degree of mutual specialisation. For the three types of obligate ant social parasites, queen-tolerant and queen-intolerant inquilines and slavemakers, several of these parameters, and thus the evolutionary trajectory, are likely to differ. Because of the fundamental differences in lifestyle between these social parasite systems, coevolution should further select for different traits in the parasites and their hosts. Queen-tolerant inquilines are true parasites that exert a low selection pressure on their host, because of their rarity and the fact that they do not conduct slave raids to replenish their labour force. Due to their high degree of specialisation and the potential for vertical transmission, coevolutionary theory would predict interactions between these workerless parasites and their hosts to become even more benign over time. Queen-intolerant inquilines that kill the host queen during colony take-over are best described as parasitoids, and their reproductive success is limited by the existing worker force of the invaded host nest. These parasites should therefore evolve strategies to best exploit this fixed resource. Slavemaking ants, by contrast, act as parasites only during colony foundation, while their frequent slave raids follow a predator prey dynamic. They often exploit a number of host species at a given site, and

  14. Mandibular gland components of european and africanized honey bee queens (Apis mellifera L.).

    PubMed

    Pankiw, T; Winston, M L; Plettner, E; Slessor, K N; Pettis, J S; Taylor, O R

    1996-04-01

    The composition of the five-component honey bee queen mandibular gland pheromone (QMP) of mated European honey bee queens was compared to those of virgin and drone-laying (i.e., laying only haploid unfertilized eggs that develop into males), European queens and Africanized mated queens. QMP of mated European queens showed significantly greater quantities of individual components than all queen types compared, except for a significantly greater quantity of 9-hydroxy-(E)-2-decenoic acid (9-HDA) found in Africanized queens. Glands of European drone-laying queens contained quantities intermediate between virgin and mated queens, reflecting their intermediate reproductive state and age. QMP ontogeny shifts from a high proportion of 9-keto-(E)-2-decenoic acid (ODA) in young unmated queens to roughly equal proportions of ODA and 9-HDA in mated queens. A biosynthetic shift occurs after mating that results in a greater proportion of 9-HDA, methylp-hydroxybenzoate (HOB), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylethanol (HVA) production, accompanied by a decreased proportion of ODA. Africanized QMP proportions of ODA and 9-HDA were significantly different from European queens. A quantitative definition of a "queen equivalent" of QMP is proposed for the various queen types, and a standard queen equivalent for mated European honeybee queen mandibular gland pheromone is adopted as 200µg ODA, 80µg 9-HDA, 20µg HOB, and 2 µg HVA.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Ant sperm storage organs do not have phenoloxidase constitutive immune activity.

    PubMed

    Dávila, Francisco; Chérasse, Sarah; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Aron, Serge

    2015-07-01

    The prophenoloxidase system (proPO-AS) is a primordial constituent of insect innate immunity. Its broad action spectrum, rapid response time, and cytotoxic by-products induced by phenoloxidase (PO) production contribute to the effective clearing of invading pathogens. However, such immune reactions may not be optimal for insect organs that evolved to have mutualistic interactions with non-self-cells. Ant queens are long-lived, but only mate early in adult life and store the sperm in a specialized organ, the spermatheca. They never re-mate so their life-time reproductive success is ultimately sperm-limited, which maintains strong selection for high sperm viability before and after storage. The proPO-AS may therefore be inappropriate for the selective clearing of sexually transmitted infections, as it might also target sperm cells that cannot be replaced. We measured PO enzymatic activity in the sperm storage organs of three ant species before and after mating. Our data show that no PO is produced in the sperm storage organs, relative to other somatic tissues as controls, and that these negative results are not due to non-detection in small volumes as non-immune-relevant catalase activity in single spermatheca fluid samples of both virgin and mated queens was significant. The lack of PO activity in sperm storage organs across three different ant species may represent an evolutionarily conserved adaptation to life-long sperm storage by ant queens. We expect that PO activity will be similarly suppressed in queen spermathecae of other eusocial Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) and, more generally, of insect females that store sperm for long periods. PMID:25911976

  20. Ant sperm storage organs do not have phenoloxidase constitutive immune activity.

    PubMed

    Dávila, Francisco; Chérasse, Sarah; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Aron, Serge

    2015-07-01

    The prophenoloxidase system (proPO-AS) is a primordial constituent of insect innate immunity. Its broad action spectrum, rapid response time, and cytotoxic by-products induced by phenoloxidase (PO) production contribute to the effective clearing of invading pathogens. However, such immune reactions may not be optimal for insect organs that evolved to have mutualistic interactions with non-self-cells. Ant queens are long-lived, but only mate early in adult life and store the sperm in a specialized organ, the spermatheca. They never re-mate so their life-time reproductive success is ultimately sperm-limited, which maintains strong selection for high sperm viability before and after storage. The proPO-AS may therefore be inappropriate for the selective clearing of sexually transmitted infections, as it might also target sperm cells that cannot be replaced. We measured PO enzymatic activity in the sperm storage organs of three ant species before and after mating. Our data show that no PO is produced in the sperm storage organs, relative to other somatic tissues as controls, and that these negative results are not due to non-detection in small volumes as non-immune-relevant catalase activity in single spermatheca fluid samples of both virgin and mated queens was significant. The lack of PO activity in sperm storage organs across three different ant species may represent an evolutionarily conserved adaptation to life-long sperm storage by ant queens. We expect that PO activity will be similarly suppressed in queen spermathecae of other eusocial Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) and, more generally, of insect females that store sperm for long periods.

  1. 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

  2. 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. PMID:25001911

  3. Ant- and Ant-Colony-Inspired ALife Visual Art.

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior.

  4. Ant- and Ant-Colony-Inspired ALife Visual Art.

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior. PMID:26280070

  5. 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.

  6. Apiology: royal secrets in the queen's fat body.

    PubMed

    Yamanaka, Naoki; O'Connor, Michael B

    2011-07-12

    Royalactin, a component of royal jelly, induces queen differentiation in honeybees. Surprisingly, royalactin has a similar effect on growth in fruit flies, highlighting many unexpected features of growth regulation by the insect fat tissue.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 75 FR 54419 - Environmental Impact Statement: Queens County, NY

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-09-07

    ... Federal Highway Administration Environmental Impact Statement: Queens County, NY AGENCY: Federal Highway... Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Bridge Rehabilitation and Interchange Improvements Project... considered will not have a significant impact on the environment. To address these bridge conditions,...

  10. A Critical Look at the Queen Bee Syndrome

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Berry, Jane; Kushner, Richard

    1975-01-01

    Discusses the popular "Queen Bee" stereotype of successful female executives, and concludes that the stereotype is too narrow in focus and fails to take into account complex psychological and experiential variables. (Author/EJT)

  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

    2016-01-01

    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

  12. The interplay between scent trails and group-mass recruitment systems in ants.

    PubMed

    Planqué, Robert; van den Berg, Jan Bouwe; Franks, Nigel R

    2013-10-01

    Large ant colonies invariably use effective scent trails to guide copious ant numbers to food sources. The success of mass recruitment hinges on the involvement of many colony members to lay powerful trails. However, many ant colonies start off as single queens. How do these same colonies forage efficiently when small, thereby overcoming the hurdles to grow large? In this paper, we study the case of combined group and mass recruitment displayed by some ant species. Using mathematical models, we explore to what extent early group recruitment may aid deployment of scent trails, making such trails available at much smaller colony sizes. We show that a competition between group and mass recruitment may cause oscillatory behaviour mediated by scent trails. This results in a further reduction of colony size to establish trails successfully. PMID:23925728

  13. Epidermal glands in the abdomen of a basal ant Dinoponera lucida (Formicidae: Ponerinae).

    PubMed

    Serrão, José Eduardo; Castro, Rafael Cunha A; Zanuncio, José Cola; Mariano, Cléa Santos Ferreira; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles

    2009-01-01

    The basal ant Dinoponera (Hymenoptera: Ponerinae) has lost the morphologic queen caste so that all females may be potential reproductive individuals, and the nestmate recognition results from cuticular hydrocarbons cues. However, data about the origin of that substance in Ponerinae ants are scarce. This study reports the occurrence of epidermal glands in the abdomen of the ant Dinoponera lucida. In this ant, the epidermis of the abdominal sternites has tall cells with well-developed nucleus contrasting with flattened and collapsed epidermis in the tergites, suggesting a glandular function in the epidermis of the sternites. The possible role of the glandular epidermis in the synthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons for the nestmate recognition is discussed. PMID:18816599

  14. [Ants in a hospital environment and its importance as vector of bacteria].

    PubMed

    Pesquero, Marcos A; Elias Filho, Jales; Carneiro, Lílian C; Feitosa, Sarah B; Oliveira, Marcos A C; Quintana, Rosângela C

    2008-01-01

    The external ant community of Hospital Municipal de Morrinhos, in Morrinhos, Goiás State, was characterized by the low rates of richness, diversity, dominance and equity of species abundance. Pheidole sp.1, a polygynic species was numerically dominant in this environment, although it coexists with potentially competitive species. This ant species prevailed within all hospital departments and its space-time distribution was a little aggregated (variance/mean ratio = 1.102, chi2 = 29.38, P < 0.01). Escherichia, Salmonella, Aeromonas, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus and Klebsiella were the bacteria associated to this ant species in nearly all hospital annexes. The unicolonialism of Pheidole sp.1 tends to increase the contamination and dissemination process of infecto-contagious agents. The control and management of this ant species must be followed by practices that reduce the colonization process by other queens and the quantity of site nidification within the hospital.

  15. Acoustic communication by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickling, Robert

    2002-05-01

    Many ant species communicate acoustically by stridulating, i.e., running a scraper over a washboard-like set of ridges. Ants appear to be insensitive to airborne sound. Consequently, myrmecologists have concluded that the stridulatory signals are transmitted through the substrate. This has tended to diminish the importance of acoustic communication, and it is currently believed that ant communication is based almost exclusively on pheromones, with acoustic communication assigned an almost nonexistent role. However, it can be shown that acoustic communication between ants is effective only if the medium is air and not the substrate. How, then, is it possible for ants to appear deaf to airborne sound and yet communicate through the air? An explanation is provided in a paper [R. Hickling and R. L. Brown, ``Analysis of acoustic communication by ants,'' J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 108, 1920-1929 (2000)]. Ants are small relative to the wavelengths they generate. Hence, they create a near field, which is characterized by a major increase in sound velocity (particle velocity of sound) in the vicinity of the source. Hair sensilla on the ants' antennae respond to sound velocity. Thus, ants are able to detect near-field sound from other ants and to exclude extraneous airborne sound.

  16. 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

  17. Viruses Associated with Ovarian Degeneration in Apis mellifera L. Queens

    PubMed Central

    Gauthier, Laurent; Ravallec, Marc; Tournaire, Magali; Cousserans, François; Bergoin, Max; Dainat, Benjamin; de Miranda, Joachim R.

    2011-01-01

    Queen fecundity is a critical issue for the health of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies, as she is the only reproductive female in the colony and responsible for the constant renewal of the worker bee population. Any factor affecting the queen's fecundity will stagnate colony development, increasing its susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens. We discovered a pathology affecting the ovaries, characterized by a yellow discoloration concentrated in the apex of the ovaries resulting from degenerative lesions in the follicles. In extreme cases, marked by intense discoloration, the majority of the ovarioles were affected and these cases were universally associated with egg-laying deficiencies in the queens. Microscopic examination of the degenerated follicles showed extensive paracrystal lattices of 30 nm icosahedral viral particles. A cDNA library from degenerated ovaries contained a high frequency of deformed wing virus (DWV) and Varroa destructor virus 1 (VDV-1) sequences, two common and closely related honeybee Iflaviruses. These could also be identified by in situ hybridization in various parts of the ovary. A large-scale survey for 10 distinct honeybee viruses showed that DWV and VDV-1 were by far the most prevalent honeybee viruses in queen populations, with distinctly higher prevalence in mated queens (100% and 67%, respectively for DWV and VDV-1) than in virgin queens (37% and 0%, respectively). Since very high viral titres could be recorded in the ovaries and abdomens of both functional and deficient queens, no significant correlation could be made between viral titre and ovarian degeneration or egg-laying deficiency among the wider population of queens. Although our data suggest that DWV and VDV-1 have a role in extreme cases of ovarian degeneration, infection of the ovaries by these viruses does not necessarily result in ovarian degeneration, even at high titres, and additional factors are likely to be involved in this pathology. PMID:21283547

  18. Viruses associated with ovarian degeneration in Apis mellifera L. queens.

    PubMed

    Gauthier, Laurent; Ravallec, Marc; Tournaire, Magali; Cousserans, François; Bergoin, Max; Dainat, Benjamin; de Miranda, Joachim R

    2011-01-25

    Queen fecundity is a critical issue for the health of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies, as she is the only reproductive female in the colony and responsible for the constant renewal of the worker bee population. Any factor affecting the queen's fecundity will stagnate colony development, increasing its susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens. We discovered a pathology affecting the ovaries, characterized by a yellow discoloration concentrated in the apex of the ovaries resulting from degenerative lesions in the follicles. In extreme cases, marked by intense discoloration, the majority of the ovarioles were affected and these cases were universally associated with egg-laying deficiencies in the queens. Microscopic examination of the degenerated follicles showed extensive paracrystal lattices of 30 nm icosahedral viral particles. A cDNA library from degenerated ovaries contained a high frequency of deformed wing virus (DWV) and Varroa destructor virus 1 (VDV-1) sequences, two common and closely related honeybee Iflaviruses. These could also be identified by in situ hybridization in various parts of the ovary. A large-scale survey for 10 distinct honeybee viruses showed that DWV and VDV-1 were by far the most prevalent honeybee viruses in queen populations, with distinctly higher prevalence in mated queens (100% and 67%, respectively for DWV and VDV-1) than in virgin queens (37% and 0%, respectively). Since very high viral titres could be recorded in the ovaries and abdomens of both functional and deficient queens, no significant correlation could be made between viral titre and ovarian degeneration or egg-laying deficiency among the wider population of queens. Although our data suggest that DWV and VDV-1 have a role in extreme cases of ovarian degeneration, infection of the ovaries by these viruses does not necessarily result in ovarian degeneration, even at high titres, and additional factors are likely to be involved in this pathology.

  19. Esterase variation at three loci in meat ants.

    PubMed

    Halliday, R B

    1979-01-01

    The meat ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus) occurs in a number of color forms, with uncertain taxonomic status. Gel electrophresis of meat ant extracts, followed by nonspecific esterase staining, reveals several zones of activity. Allelic variation at three loci is proposed to account for variation in some of these zones. Two of the loci (Es-1, Es-2) appear to have recessive null alleles, whose frequencies have been estimated by the method of maximum likelihood. Geographic variation in allele frequency is attributed to behavioral and geographic subdivision of the population. Apparent disturbances in segregation ratios and deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium can be accounted for if it is argued that some nests contain more than one queen. Differences in gene frequency between sympatric populations of the red and blue forms of I. purpureus are observed, confirming their reproductive is isolation and sibling species status.

  20. 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.

  1. The seasonal natural history of the ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida.

    PubMed

    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.

  2. Hydrocarbon signals explain the pattern of worker and egg policing in the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli.

    PubMed

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

    2008-10-01

    In ant societies, worker reproduction is regulated through policing behaviors, such as physical aggression or egg eating. The information used by policing individuals is thought to be in blends of hydrocarbons present on the cuticle and the surface of eggs. These fertility signals have been studied in numerous genera. However, signaling patterns that emerge across distinct subfamilies of ants have yet to be explained. We investigated policing behavior and the chemical signaling upon which policing behaviors are informed in the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli. We found that worker-produced eggs are not policed, and we showed that there is a lack of chemical signaling for effective egg policing to occur in this species. Furthermore, we identified the available signals that demarcate workers to be policed physically. We showed that in A. cockerelli, a species with derived social organization, workers produce fertility signals identical to the queen. This queen-like signaling may be due to workers maintaining a high level of ovarian activity, linked to trophic egg production, in the presence of the queen. PMID:18709507

  3. The seasonal natural history of the ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida.

    PubMed

    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

  4. 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

  5. Asexual queen succession in the higher termite Embiratermes neotenicus.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-22

    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.

  6. 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. PMID:24718496

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Virgin honeybee queens fail to suppress worker fertility but not fertility signalling.

    PubMed

    Orlova, Margarita; Malka, Osnat; Hefetz, Abraham

    2013-03-01

    Queen mating status in social insects is a matter of crucial importance for workers because of its influence on the queen's productivity and consequently their fitness. Behavioural and physiological reactions of workers to the queens mating status have been studied as a proxy to mechanisms maintaining insect sociality. Here we show that unmated honeybee queens have considerably impaired capacity to trigger worker sterility and cooperative behaviour in comparison to mated (and thus more productive) queens and that under unmated queens social harmony in honeybee societies and queen's dominant position are somewhat compromised. Together with this it is shown that honeybee workers exposed to unmated queens despite being active reproductively and behaving accordingly display an impaired ability to advertise their fertility compared to queenless workers. These findings suggest that reproductive development, behavioural reactions and production of fertility signals are differentially regulated and differently influenced by the queen's presence. PMID:23232436

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-08-01

    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 tau 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 tau 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.

  12. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    PubMed

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R; Nash, David R; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  13. The Evolution of Invasiveness in Garden Ants

    PubMed Central

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V.; Drijfhout, Falko P.; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C.; Steiner, Florian M.; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P.; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S.; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R.; Nash, David R.; Pedersen, Jes S.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

  14. Patterns of split sex ratio in ants have multiple evolutionary causes based on different within-colony conflicts.

    PubMed

    Kümmerli, Rolf; Keller, Laurent

    2009-10-23

    Split sex ratio-a pattern where colonies within a population specialize in either male or queen production-is a widespread phenomenon in ants and other social Hymenoptera. It has often been attributed to variation in colony kin structure, which affects the degree of queen-worker conflict over optimal sex allocation. However, recent findings suggest that split sex ratio is a more diverse phenomenon, which can evolve for multiple reasons. Here, we provide an overview of the main conditions favouring split sex ratio. We show that each split sex-ratio type arises due to a different combination of factors determining colony kin structure, queen or worker control over sex ratio and the type of conflict between colony members.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:24568841

  17. Do sexist organizational cultures create the Queen Bee?

    PubMed

    Derks, Belle; Ellemers, Naomi; van Laar, Colette; de Groot, Kim

    2011-09-01

    'Queen Bees' are senior women in masculine organizational cultures who have fulfilled their career aspirations by dissociating themselves from their gender while simultaneously contributing to the gender stereotyping of other women. It is often assumed that this phenomenon contributes to gender discrimination in organizations, and is inherent to the personalities of successful career women. We argue for a social identity explanation and examine organizational conditions that foster the Queen Bee phenomenon. Participants were 94 women holding senior positions in diverse companies in The Netherlands who participated in an on-line survey. In line with predictions, indicators of the Queen Bee phenomenon (increased gender stereotyping and masculine self-descriptions) were found mostly among women who indicated they had started their career with low gender identification and who had subsequently experienced a high degree of gender discrimination on their way up. By contrast, the experience of gender discrimination was unrelated to signs of the Queen Bee phenomenon among women who indicated to be highly identified when they started their career. Results are discussed in light of social identity theory, interpreting the Queen Bee phenomenon as an individual mobility response of low gender identified women to the gender discrimination they encounter in their work.

  18. The role of queens in colonies of the swarm-founding wasp Parachartergus colobopterus.

    PubMed

    Herman; Queller; Strassmann

    2000-04-01

    Social insect queens reproduce while workers generally do not. Queens may also have other behavioural roles in the colony. In small, independent-founding colonies of social wasps, the dominant queen physically enforces her interests over those of the workers and serves as a pacemaker of the colony, stimulating workers to forage and engage in other tasks. By contrast, in large-colony, swarm-founding wasps, the collective interests of the workers are fulfilled in sex allocation and production of males, whether or not they coincide with the interests of the queens. The behavioural role of the queens in such species has not been extensively studied. We investigated the role of the queens both in regulating worker activity and in reducing the numbers of reproductively active queens in the swarm-founding epiponine wasp Parachartergus colobopterus. We found no evidence that queens regulate worker activity, as they were rarely involved in any interactions. Worker activity may be self-organized, without centralized active control by anyone. Furthermore, we found no evidence that the reduction in queen number characteristic of this tribe of wasps occurs in response to aggression among queens. The reduction in queen number may be a result of worker treatment of queens, although worker discrimination against some queens was not obvious in our data. i Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. PMID:10792939

  19. 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

  20. Three-dimensional sampling method for characterizing ant mounds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A field-portable 3D laser scanner was employed as a means of digitizing the surface of fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) mounds for analysis of shape and orientation in Mississippi and Oklahoma. Estimates of above-ground mound volume obtained through manual measurements of mound length, width, an...