Distribution of the Two Social Forms of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Native South American Range

  title={Distribution of the Two Social Forms of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Native South American Range},
  author={Mark C. Mescher and Kenneth G. Ross and DeWayne Shoemaker and Laurent Keller and Michael J. B. Krieger},
Abstract Polygyne (multiple queen) colony social organization in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren is always associated with the presence of a particular class of alleles at the gene Gp-9. We used diagnostic polymerase chain reaction assays capable of distinguishing these alleles to determine the location of polygyne populations in the native South American range of this species. We found that polygyny occurs in a mosaic pattern with respect to the more common monogyne (single queen) social… 

Population Genetics of the Invasive Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States

Bayesian analyses showed that study populations most distant from the claimed site of entry, Mobile, AL, have diverged most from the hypothetical founder population, consistent with an invasion scenario in which the ants spread outward from Mobile through repeated subfounder events.

Population genetics and history of the introduced fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Australia

It is found that both Australian infestations were more similar to North American populations than to South American, though the Fisherman Islands infestation was intermediate, making it difficult to assign.

Distribution and Prevalence of Wolbachia Infections in Native Populations of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Overall transmission efficiency was found to be very high (>99%), making it unlikely that imperfect transmission prevents the spread of the microbe to near fixation in native populations.


A major genetic break between S. invicta mtDNA haplotypes that coincides with the Mesopotamia wetlands region of South America, resulting in two higher level nested clade groupings is revealed and contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation within these two major groups are identified.

Comparative Population Genetics of Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) at the University of Central Oklahoma and Lake Arcadia, Edmond, Oklahoma

Abstract The red imported fire ant is a well-studied pest in the southern United States, but investigations of invasions in the central region are relatively rare. We compared two central Oklahoma

Experimental Conversion of Colony Social Organization in Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta): Worker Genotype Manipulation in the Absence of Queen Effects

The results support the conclusion that polygyny in S. invicta is induced by a minimum frequency of colony workers carrying the b allele, and confirm that its expression is independent of queen genotype or history, worker genotypes at genes not linked to Gp-9, and colony genetic diversity.

Putative native source of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA

This attempt to identify the source(s) of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in the southern USA utilizing data from three classes of genetic markers and employing Bayesian clustering simulations, assignment and exclusion tests, and phylogenetic and population genetic analyses concludes that the Mesopotamia flood plain near Formosa, Argentina represents the most probable source region.

A Climate Model of the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Implications for Invasion of New Regions, Particularly Oceania

It is shown how the response of a species to climate can be synthesized from field observations to provide useful insights into its population dynamics and provide a basis for making decisions on regional management of invasive species and an informative context for local studies.

Behavior and Development of Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) Varies According to the Social Form of Its Host Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Its Native Range

The rarity of polygyne S. invicta in its native range may prevent this phorid from adjusting its life history to that social form, and consequences of applying thisphorid in biological control are discussed.

Species delimitation in native South American fire ants

The discovery of genetically distinct populations within both S. invicta and S. richteri suggests the presence of previously unrecognized (cryptic) species, implying that the group is actively radiating species and that morphological divergence generally does not keep pace with the development of reproductive isolation and neutral genetic divergence in this process.




An electrophoretic study of the genetics of three fire ant species in North America was undertaken, finding that the native fire ant, S. geminata, is genetically the most distinct of the three species studied, in accord with its taxonomic placement in a different species complex.

Distribution and density of polygyne fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Texas.

The high frequency of polygyny in Texas indicates that the fire ant problem in the state is much greater than previously realized.

Nuclear and mitochondrial genetic structure in two social forms of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: insights into transitions to an alternate social organization

Genetic structure at microgeographical scales in two social forms of the introduced fire ant Solenopsis invicta using nuclear and mitochondrial markers suggests a mechanism for the spread of polygyny in introduced fire ants.


  • K. RossJ. Trager
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1990
Genetic incompatibilities generally may be insufficient to create effective postzygotic barriers to interspecific gene flow in this group of ants, given that hybrids between these species in the United States suffer little apparent loss of fitness.

Stability of polygyne and monogyne fire ant populations (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis invicta) in the United States.

  • S. Porter
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of economic entomology
  • 1993
Overall, polygyne and monogyne sites were about 95% stable from year to year; in other words, they did not commonly switch back and forth from one form to the other.

Frequency and distribution of polygyne fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Florida.

Polygyny was most common in the region around Marion county, but smaller populations were also scattered across the state, and the density of mounds was more than twice that at monogyne sites, although mound diameters were about 20% smaller.

Social evolution in a new environment: the case of introduced fire ants.

  • K. RossE. VargoL. Keller
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1996
It is reported that several important elements of social organization in multiple-queen nests differ consistently and dramatically between ants in Argentina and the United States.

Effects of social organization on gene flow in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

Variation in mito-chondrial DNA and two unique nuclear genes are examined to demonstrate that gene flow between sympatric social forms of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta is restricted to only one of four possible routes, demonstrating the potential for social selection to generate significant barriers to gene flow and to initiate reproductive isolation.

Effect of a founder event on variation in the genetic sex-determining system of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

It is concluded that diploid males have increased in frequency in introduced populations because of a loss of allelic diversity at the sex-determining locus (loci) of S. invicta, which has generated a substantial increase in the estimated segregational genetic load associated with production of sterile diploids males in introducing populations over the load in native populations.

Sex investment ratios in monogyne and polygyne populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

The sex investment ratios of monogyne and polygyne populations of S. invicta are consistent with at least partial worker control, and there is limited support for the hypothesis that greater resource abundance favors investment in females.