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Effects of nest size and dispersion on brood production in a North American population of wood ant Formica fusca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Authors

  • Kimberly E. TUZZOLINO,

    1. Department of Biology, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, New York; and
    2. Department of Biology, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, USA
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  • William D. BROWN

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, New York; and
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William D. Brown, Department of Biology, State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY 14063, USA. Email: william.brown@fredonia.edu

Abstract

We examined several key parameters of the population ecology of a North American population of Formica fusca (L.), including nest dispersion, colony size and brood production. Physical nest size was significantly correlated with colony size, and colony size, in turn, was significantly correlated with brood production. Sex allocation was male biased, although larger nests were more likely to produce reproductive female brood (gynes). Neither nest temperature nor moisture level was significantly correlated with brood production. Formica fusca nests in this population had a comparatively low average nearest-neighbor distance with a significantly even pattern of dispersion, which suggests relatively high intraspecific competition. However, nearest-neighbor distance was not significantly associated with either colony size or relative brood production.

Ancillary