Live and let die: Why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their winged rivals

C. Anderson, S. Cremer, J. Heinze, Behavioral Ecology 14 (2003) 54–62.

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Journal Article | Published | English
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Abstract
Unlike most social insects, many Cardiocondyla ant species have two male morphs: wingless (ergatoid) males, who remain in the natal nest, and winged males who disperse but, strangely, before leaving may also mate within the nest. Whereas ergatoid males are highly intolerant of each other and fight among themselves, they tend to tolerate their winged counterparts. This is despite the fact that these winged males, like ergatoid males, represent mating competition. Why should ergatoid males tolerate their winged rivals? We developed a mathematical model to address this question. Our model focuses on a number of factors likely toinfluence whether ergatoid males are tolerant of winged males: ergatoid male–winged male relatedness, number of virgin queens, number of winged males, and the number of ejaculates a winged male has (winged males are sperm limited, whereas ergatoid males have lifelong spermatogenesis). Surprisingly, we found that increasing the number of virgin queens favors a kill strategy, whereas an increase in the other factors favors a let-live strategy; these predictions appear true for C. obscurior and for a number of other Cardiocondyla species. Two further aspects, unequal insemination success and multiple mating in queens, were also incorporated into the model and predictions made about their effects on toleration of winged males. The model is applicable more generally in species that have dimorphic males, such as some other ants, bees, and fig wasps.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2003-01-01
Journal Title
Behavioral Ecology
Volume
14
Issue
1
Page
54 - 62
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Anderson C, Cremer S, Heinze J. Live and let die: Why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their winged rivals. Behavioral Ecology. 2003;14(1):54-62. doi:10.1093/beheco/14.1.54
Anderson, C., Cremer, S., & Heinze, J. (2003). Live and let die: Why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their winged rivals. Behavioral Ecology, 14(1), 54–62. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/14.1.54
Anderson, Carl, Sylvia Cremer, and Jürgen Heinze. “Live and Let Die: Why Fighter Males of the Ant Cardiocondyla Kill Each Other but Tolerate Their Winged Rivals.” Behavioral Ecology 14, no. 1 (2003): 54–62. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/14.1.54.
C. Anderson, S. Cremer, and J. Heinze, “Live and let die: Why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their winged rivals,” Behavioral Ecology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 54–62, 2003.
Anderson C, Cremer S, Heinze J. 2003. Live and let die: Why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their winged rivals. Behavioral Ecology. 14(1), 54–62.
Anderson, Carl, et al. “Live and Let Die: Why Fighter Males of the Ant Cardiocondyla Kill Each Other but Tolerate Their Winged Rivals.” Behavioral Ecology, vol. 14, no. 1, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 54–62, doi:10.1093/beheco/14.1.54.

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