The first two authors contributed equally to the manuscript.
Social influence on age and reproduction: reduced lifespan and fecundity in multi-queen ant colonies
Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 24, Issue 7, pages 1455–1461, July 2011
How to Cite
SCHREMPF, A., CREMER, S. and HEINZE, J. (2011), Social influence on age and reproduction: reduced lifespan and fecundity in multi-queen ant colonies. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24: 1455–1461. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02278.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
- Received 17 January 2011; revised 7 March 2011; accepted 17 March 2011
- queen number
Evolutionary theories of ageing predict that life span increases with decreasing extrinsic mortality, and life span variation among queens in ant species seems to corroborate this prediction: queens, which are the only reproductive in a colony, live much longer than queens in multi-queen colonies. The latter often inhabit ephemeral nest sites and accordingly are assumed to experience a higher mortality risk. Yet, all prior studies compared queens from different single- and multi-queen species. Here, we demonstrate an effect of queen number on longevity and fecundity within a single, socially plastic species, where queens experience the similar level of extrinsic mortality. Queens from single- and two-queen colonies had significantly longer lifespan and higher fecundity than queens living in associations of eight queens. As queens also differ neither in morphology nor the mode of colony foundation, our study shows that the social environment itself strongly affects ageing rate.