Discrimination of nestmate and non-nestmate sexuals by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Research paper by B. Bennett

Indexed on: 01 Mar '88Published on: 01 Mar '88Published in: Insectes Sociaux


Nestmate recognition has been frequently reported in the social Hymenoptera though published reports of this phenomenon in ants typically involve workers. Arguments involving inclusive fitness suggest that reproductive females (queens and alates) should be accepted less often than workers in foreign colonies; males may or may not elicit fewer aggressive responses. Dealate queens from a monogynous/polygynous sibling species pair (Formica argentea andF. podzolica) and alates of both sexes from the polygynous species were tested with familiar and unfamiliar nestmates, foreign conspecifics, and heterospecific workers. Workers from the polygynous species were less likely to reject foreign conspecific queens than workers of the monogynous species. In all cases except controls and between species introductions, foreign males were accepted more readily than foreign alate females.