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Workers of the ant Formica truncorum specialize in rearing females or males depending on the number of fathers of a colony. These split sex ratios increase inclusive fitness, but it has remained unknown how workers assess the number of patrilines in their colonies and to what extent their reproductive decisions are constrained by lack of information. By(More)
Pair formation in social insects mostly happens early in adult life and away from the social colony context, which precludes promiscuity in the usual sense. Termite males have continuous sperm production, but males of social Hymenoptera have fixed complements of sperm, except for a few species that mate before female dispersal and show male-fighting and(More)
Sociality can be associated with significant costs due to the increased risk of disease transmission. However, in some organisms the costs may be offset by benefits due to improvements in defences against parasites. To examine this possible trade-off between infection risk and disease resistance, we used Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants and the entomopathogenic(More)
The natural distribution of honeybee subspecies in Europe has been significantly affected by human activities during the last century. Non-native subspecies of honeybees have been introduced and propagated, so that native black honeybee (Apis mellifera mellifera) populations lost their identity by gene-flow or went extinct. After previous studies(More)
Ant queens are among the most long-lived insects known. They mate early in adult life and maintain millions of viable sperm in their sperm storage organ until they die many years later. Because they never re-mate, the reproductive success of queens is ultimately sperm-limited, but it is not known what selective forces determine the upper limit to sperm(More)
We investigated the prevalence of entomopathogenic fungi associated with leaf-cutting ant colonies in a small area of tropical forest in Panama. There was a high abundance of Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae near the colonies. Beauveria bassiana was also detected in the soil, Aspergillus flavus in dump material, and six Camponotus atriceps ants were(More)
Genomes of eusocial insects code for dramatic examples of phenotypic plasticity and social organization. We compared the genomes of seven ants, the honeybee, and various solitary insects to examine whether eusocial lineages share distinct features of genomic organization. Each ant lineage contains ∼4000 novel genes, but only 64 of these genes are conserved(More)
We have estimated phylogenies of fungus-growing termites and their associated mutualistic fungi of the genus Termitomyces using Bayesian analyses of DNA sequences. Our study shows that the symbiosis has a single African origin and that secondary domestication of other fungi or reversal of mutualistic fungi to a free-living state has not occurred. Host(More)
Attine ants engage in a quadripartite symbiosis with fungi they cultivate for food, specialized garden parasites, and parasite-inhibiting bacteria. Molecular phylogenetic evidence supports an ancient host-pathogen association between the ant-cultivar mutualism and the garden parasite. Here we show that ants rear the antibiotic-producing bacteria in(More)
Multiple mating by females (polyandry) remains hard to explain because, while it has substantial costs, clear benefits have remained elusive. The problem is acute in the social insects because polyandry is probably particularly costly for females and most material benefits of the behavior are unlikely to apply. It has been suggested that a fitness benefit(More)