Else J. Fjerdingstad

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Although multiple mating most likely increases mortality risk for social insect queens and lowers the kin benefits for nonreproductive workers, a significant proportion of hymenopteran queens mate with several males. It has been suggested that queens may mate multiply as a means to manipulate sex ratios to their advantage. Multiple paternity reduces the(More)
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(More)
In most animals, the survival and reproductive success of males and females is linked to their size. The ability of individuals to control environmental influences on size will therefore have consequences for their fitness. In eusocial insects, individual males and reproductive females do not have to forage for themselves or control their local environment.(More)
Morphological diversification of workers is predicted to improve the division of labor within social insect colonies, yet many species have monomorphic workers. Individual-level selection on the reproductive capacities of workers may counter colony-level selection for diversification, and life-history differences between species (timing of caste(More)
Considerable attention has focused on why females of many species mate with several males. For social hymenopteran insects, efforts have primarily concentrated on determining whether multiple mating increases colony performance due to the increased genetic diversity. Most of these studies are correlative because it is difficult or impossible to(More)
Multiple mating has been suggested to benefit social insect queens because high genetic variation within colonies might decrease the load imposed by sterile diploid males, enhance resistance to parasites and pathogens, and lead to a more effective division of labour and/or a wider range of tolerable environmental conditions. We tested these hypotheses in(More)
We studied a population of the Panamanian leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found significant between-colony variation for several male and gyne size parameters. Male sperm complement size was highly variable between individuals and was negatively correlated with head width and thorax weight, the latter itself positively correlated with wing length. This(More)
High relatedness among society members is believed important for the evolution of highly cooperative behaviours, yet queens of many social insects mate with multiple males which reduces nestmate relatedness and imposes also direct costs on queens. While theoretical models have suggested explanations for this puzzling queen behaviour, empirical studies fail(More)
Multiple mating by social insect queens is a common phenomenon despite likely imposing substantial costs on queens. Mating with several males could be adaptive if a more genetically diverse worker force is better able to always handle any task sufficiently well, leading to a higher colony homeostasis. If multiple-paternity colonies are more homeostatic,(More)