Colony fission affects kinship in a social insect

Perttu Seppä, Ignacio Fernandez-Escudero, Niclas Gyllenstrand, Pekka Pamilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Establishment of new groups is an important step in the life history of a social species. Fissioning is a common mode not only in group proliferation, for instance, as a regular part of the life cycle in the honey bee, but also when multiple females reproduce in the same group, as in multiple-queen ant societies. We studied the genetic consequences of fissioning in the ant Proformica longiseta, based on DNA microsatellites. In P. longiseta, new nests arise by fissioning from the old ones when they grow large, and the daughter nests consist of workers and queens or queen pupae but never both. Our results show that fissioning is not entirely random with respect to kinship. Workers tend to segregate along kin lines, but only when the initial relatedness in the parental nests is low. Workers in a daughter nest also tend to be associated with closely related adult queens, whereas such an association is not detected between workers and queen pupae. Most queens and workers are carried to the daughter nest by a specialized group of transporting workers, suggesting active kin discrimination by them. Fissioning pattern in P. longiseta is different from that found in other social insects with regular fission (e.g., the honey bee, swarm-founding wasps), where no fissioning along kin lines has been found. It does, however, resemble fissioning in another group of social animals: primates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume62
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)589-597
Number of pages9
ISSN0340-5443
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

Cite this

Seppä, Perttu ; Fernandez-Escudero, Ignacio ; Gyllenstrand, Niclas ; Pamilo, Pekka. / Colony fission affects kinship in a social insect. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 2008 ; Vol. 62, No. 4. pp. 589-597.
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abstract = "Establishment of new groups is an important step in the life history of a social species. Fissioning is a common mode not only in group proliferation, for instance, as a regular part of the life cycle in the honey bee, but also when multiple females reproduce in the same group, as in multiple-queen ant societies. We studied the genetic consequences of fissioning in the ant Proformica longiseta, based on DNA microsatellites. In P. longiseta, new nests arise by fissioning from the old ones when they grow large, and the daughter nests consist of workers and queens or queen pupae but never both. Our results show that fissioning is not entirely random with respect to kinship. Workers tend to segregate along kin lines, but only when the initial relatedness in the parental nests is low. Workers in a daughter nest also tend to be associated with closely related adult queens, whereas such an association is not detected between workers and queen pupae. Most queens and workers are carried to the daughter nest by a specialized group of transporting workers, suggesting active kin discrimination by them. Fissioning pattern in P. longiseta is different from that found in other social insects with regular fission (e.g., the honey bee, swarm-founding wasps), where no fissioning along kin lines has been found. It does, however, resemble fissioning in another group of social animals: primates.",
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Colony fission affects kinship in a social insect. / Seppä, Perttu; Fernandez-Escudero, Ignacio; Gyllenstrand, Niclas; Pamilo, Pekka.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 62, No. 4, 2008, p. 589-597.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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N2 - Establishment of new groups is an important step in the life history of a social species. Fissioning is a common mode not only in group proliferation, for instance, as a regular part of the life cycle in the honey bee, but also when multiple females reproduce in the same group, as in multiple-queen ant societies. We studied the genetic consequences of fissioning in the ant Proformica longiseta, based on DNA microsatellites. In P. longiseta, new nests arise by fissioning from the old ones when they grow large, and the daughter nests consist of workers and queens or queen pupae but never both. Our results show that fissioning is not entirely random with respect to kinship. Workers tend to segregate along kin lines, but only when the initial relatedness in the parental nests is low. Workers in a daughter nest also tend to be associated with closely related adult queens, whereas such an association is not detected between workers and queen pupae. Most queens and workers are carried to the daughter nest by a specialized group of transporting workers, suggesting active kin discrimination by them. Fissioning pattern in P. longiseta is different from that found in other social insects with regular fission (e.g., the honey bee, swarm-founding wasps), where no fissioning along kin lines has been found. It does, however, resemble fissioning in another group of social animals: primates.

AB - Establishment of new groups is an important step in the life history of a social species. Fissioning is a common mode not only in group proliferation, for instance, as a regular part of the life cycle in the honey bee, but also when multiple females reproduce in the same group, as in multiple-queen ant societies. We studied the genetic consequences of fissioning in the ant Proformica longiseta, based on DNA microsatellites. In P. longiseta, new nests arise by fissioning from the old ones when they grow large, and the daughter nests consist of workers and queens or queen pupae but never both. Our results show that fissioning is not entirely random with respect to kinship. Workers tend to segregate along kin lines, but only when the initial relatedness in the parental nests is low. Workers in a daughter nest also tend to be associated with closely related adult queens, whereas such an association is not detected between workers and queen pupae. Most queens and workers are carried to the daughter nest by a specialized group of transporting workers, suggesting active kin discrimination by them. Fissioning pattern in P. longiseta is different from that found in other social insects with regular fission (e.g., the honey bee, swarm-founding wasps), where no fissioning along kin lines has been found. It does, however, resemble fissioning in another group of social animals: primates.

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