Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In many ant species, queen size is dimorphic, with small microgynes and large macrogynes, which differ, for example, in size, insemination rate, ovary development, and dispersal tactics. These polymorphic queens often correspond with alternative reproductive strategies. The Palearctic ant, Manica rubida (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), lives mostly in mountainous regions in either monogynous colonies, containing one macrogynous queen or polygynous colonies, containing a few large macrogynous queens. In 1998, a colony of M. rubida was discovered containing macrogynes and many small alate microgynes that did not engage in a nuptial flight but, instead, stayed in the home nest the following winter. These microgynes were studied more closely by investigating their size, behavior, and spermatheca in relation to M. rubida macrogynes and workers. Mitochondrial DNA of macrogynes, microgynes and workers from four nests was sequenced to detect possible genetic differences between them. The microgynes were significantly smaller than the macrogynes, and the head width of the gynes was completely bimodal. The microgynes behaved like workers of the macrogynes in every experiment tested. Furthermore, the microgynes had a normal spermatheca and could be fecundated, but rarely (only one in several years). Finally, all the individuals were genetically identical, except three workers that differed by only one codon position. Because these microgynes have features of both queens and workers, their functional significance in the colony is not yet clear.