Clonal reproduction by males and females in the little fire ant

  title={Clonal reproduction by males and females in the little fire ant},
  author={Denis Fournier and Arnaud Estoup and J{\'e}r{\^o}me Orivel and Julien Foucaud and Herv{\'e} Jourdan and Julien Le Breton and Laurent Keller},
Sexual reproduction can lead to major conflicts between sexes and within genomes. Here we report an extreme case of such conflicts in the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata. We found that sterile workers are produced by normal sexual reproduction, whereas daughter queens are invariably clonally produced. Because males usually develop from unfertilized maternal eggs in ants and other haplodiploid species, they normally achieve direct fitness only through diploid female offspring. Hence… 

Meiotic recombination dramatically decreased in thelytokous queens of the little fire ant and their sexually produced workers.

It is suggested that the combination of automixis with central fusion and a major decrease in recombination rates allows clonal queens to benefit from thelytoky while avoiding the potential inbreeding depression resulting from the loss of heterozygosity during Automixis.

Genetic determination of female castes in a hybridogenetic desert ant

It is shown that the association between genotype and caste in this species is maintained by a ‘hard‐wired’ genetic caste determination system, whereby nonhybrid genomes have lost the ability to develop as workers.


Although the main reproduction system in New Caledonia remained clonality for both male and female reproductives, it was found that rare sexual reproduction events that led to the production of both new queen and male clonal lineages were found.

Males are here to stay: fertilization enhances viable egg production by clonal queens of the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata)

The data suggest that physiological constraints, such as the requirement for insemination, must be considered in regard to evolution of reproduction systems, in addition to ecological data and theoretical considerations of fitness.

Sib mating without inbreeding in the longhorn crazy ant

The complete segregation of the male and female gene pools allows the queens to circumvent the costs associated with inbreeding and therefore may act as an important pre-adaptation for the crazy ant's tremendous invasive success.

Sex and clonality in the little fire ant.

This work found that traditional sexual populations occurred in W. auropunctata and are likely the recent source of neighboring clonal populations, and investigates the origins of female parthenogenesis and male clonality.

Clonal reproduction and genetic caste differences in a queen-polymorphic ant, Vollenhovia emeryi

The queen-polymorphic ant Vollenhovia emeryi might provide an interesting model system to trace the evolution of unusual caste and sex determination systems.

Lifelong commitment to the wrong partner: hybridization in ants

The morphological similarity of most ant males, perhaps resulting from the lack of sexual conflict, may similarly contribute to the commonness of hybridization and may thus be an option for queens when conspecific mates are not available.

Evolutionary biology: Males from Mars

An extreme case of sexual conflict has been unearthed in the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata, which effectively results in a complete separation of the male and female gene pools.

Egg production and caste allocation in the clonally reproductive ant Vollenhovia emeryi

This study is the first to document the real primary sex ratio and caste allocation in eusocial Hymenoptera and revealed clonal reproduction in the V. emeryi population.



Mating frequency of ant queens with alternative dispersal strategies, as revealed by microsatellite analysis of sperm

This study provides no support to the hypotheses that multiple mating is beneficial because it increases genetic variability within colonies and occasional multiple mating by F. paralugubris queens may have no adaptive significance.

Conditional Use of Sex and Parthenogenesis for Worker and Queen Production in Ants

By selectively using sex for somatic growth and parthenogenesis for germline production, C. cursor has taken advantage of the ant caste system to benefit from the advantages of both sexual and asexual reproduction.

Sexually antagonistic male adaptation triggered by experimental arrest of female evolution

It is shown that when female D. melanogaster are experimentally prevented from coevolving with males, males rapidly adapt to the static female phenotype, which leads to a reduction in female survivorship, which is mediated by an increased rate of remating and increased toxicity of seminal fluid.

Complex hybrid origin of genetic caste determination in harvester ants

It is shown that genetic caste determination evolved in these populations after complex hybridization events in Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus, and seems to be evolutionarily stable.

A "selfish" B chromosome that enhances its transmission by eliminating the paternal genome.

In this report the psr trait was shown to be caused by a supernumerary chromosome, which contains at least three repetitive DNA sequences that do not cross-hybridize to each other or to the host genome.

Antagonistic coevolution between the sexes in a group of insects

Assessing the independent effects of both species-specific level of arms escalation and small imbalances in the amounts of arms between the sexes within species shows evolutionary change in the outcome of sexually antagonistic interactions such as mating rate.

On being the right size: male contributions and multiple mating in social Hymenoptera

SummaryA number of hypotheses for the occurrence of multiple mating by queens of social Hymenoptera are reviewed in the light of Cole's (1983) observation that polyandrous species tend to have larger

Parasites, Pathogens, and Polyandry in Social Hymenoptera

Evidence of intra-nest kin-recognition mechanisms implies a long evolutionary history of discrepant reproductive interests among colony members resulting from multiple mating, in view of the potential disadvantages stemming from polyandry.

Intragenomic conflict as an evolutionary force

  • L. Hurst
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1992
It is argued that intragenomic conflict might be an important evolutionary force, and may influence the evolution of sex determining systems, sex allocation systems and post-zygotic isolating mechanisms.