Multiple mating increases the sperm stores of Atta colombica leafcutter ant queens

  • Fjerdingstad E
  • Boomsma J
  • 62

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 76

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

Multiple mating is likely to be costly for ant queens and yet it is
common. Whether multiple mating brings benefits to queens that outweigh
the costs has, therefore, received considerable theoretical attention.
Empirical tests of hypotheses have been scarce and no clear evidence
has been reported. We tested the "multiple-mating-for-more-sperm"
hypothesis on individual young queens in a natural population of
the leafcutter ant Atta colombica, a monogynous ant characterised
by very large colonies and high colony longevity. We found that the
number of sperm stored by queens was positively correlated with the
number of mates per queen estimated through mother-offspring analysis
with microsatellite DNA markers. Queen sperm stores increased on
average by 30 million sperm for each additional mate. Life-history
information for Atta indicate that the number of stored sperm observed
is likely to constrain the reproductive lifespan of queens in nature.
Multiple mating, despite costs, may therefore enhance the fitness
of Atta queens because it enables them to store more sperm.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fecundity
  • Fitness
  • Microsatellites
  • Multiple mating
  • Social insects

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Else J. Fjerdingstad

  • Jacobus J. Boomsma

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free