Polygyny in the Tropical Fire Ant, Solenopsis Geminata with Notes on the Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis Invicta

C. T. Adams, W. A. Banks, J. K. Plumley


Thirty-one queens of the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata (F.), were found in a single nest in the field. All produced worker ants in laboratory colonies indicating that all had been inseminated. The eggs and immature forms produced by 14 of the queens were tended mutually in a common nest by all 14 queens and their workers, an example of true polygyny. Oil soluble dyes of 7 colors were incorporated into the food of the ants of 14 individual colonies (2 colonies per color). The ants were permitted to feed ad lib for 7 days. Individual colors appeared in the eggs laid by queens feeding on their respective dyes. Colonies were recombined on the 17th day and the colors continued to appear in the eggs deposited in the large colony until trophallaxis blended the dyes to the point that they were indistinguishable, indicating a continued mutual contribution by each queen present in the composite colony.

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