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Live and let die: why fighter males of the ant Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their

Summary: Live and let die: why fighter males of the ant
Cardiocondyla kill each other but tolerate their
winged rivals
Carl Anderson, Sylvia Cremer, and Jušrgen Heinze
LS Biologie I, Universitašt Regensburg, Universitaštsstrasse 31, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany
Unlike most social insects, many Cardiocondyla ant species have two male morphs: wingless (ergatoid) males, who remain in the
natal nest, and winged males who disperse but, strangely, before leaving may also mate within the nest. Whereas ergatoid males
are highly intolerant of each other and fight among themselves, they tend to tolerate their winged counterparts. This is despite
the fact that these winged males, like ergatoid males, represent mating competition. Why should ergatoid males tolerate their
winged rivals? We developed a mathematical model to address this question. Our model focuses on a number of factors likely
to influence whether ergatoid males are tolerant of winged males: ergatoid male­winged male relatedness, number of virgin
queens, number of winged males, and the number of ejaculates a winged male has (winged males are sperm limited, whereas
ergatoid males have lifelong spermatogenesis). Surprisingly, we found that increasing the number of virgin queens favors a kill
strategy, whereas an increase in the other factors favors a let-live strategy; these predictions appear true for C. obscurior and for
a number of other Cardiocondyla species. Two further aspects, unequal insemination success and multiple mating in queens, were
also incorporated into the model and predictions made about their effects on toleration of winged males. The model is
applicable more generally in species that have dimorphic males, such as some other ants, bees, and fig wasps. Key words:
alternative dispersal tactics, ants, Cardiocondyla, ergatoid males, fighting, male dimorphism, toleration. [Behav Ecol 14:54­62
I n insect societies, and particularly in ants, males are by far


Source: Anderson, Carl - Synthetic Intelligence, Qbit, LLC, Bethesda, MD


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Engineering; Mathematics