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Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci from the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala


Denis Fournier, Fax: +32 (0)2 650.24.45; E-mail:


We report the characterization of eight microsatellite markers in the big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala, a pest ant registered in the list of ‘100 of the world's worst invasive alien species’. An enrichment protocol was used to isolate microsatellite loci, and polymorphism was explored with 36 individuals collected in an invasive population from Australia and 20 individuals collected in a population from the native mainland location in South Africa. These primers showed a number of alleles per locus ranging from two to 10, and expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.083 to 0.826. Moreover, results of cross-species amplification are reported in five other Pheidole species and in seven other ants of the subfamily Myrmicinae.