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Sex ratio evolution and resource allocation in the multiple-queen ant leptothorax acervorum

Chan, George L; (1997) Sex ratio evolution and resource allocation in the multiple-queen ant leptothorax acervorum. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Current evolutionary theories have attempted to explain the greater than random variation in allocation of resources to new queens and new males (sex allocation), as well as allocation of resources to new sexuals versus new workers (resource allocation) in social Hymenoptera. Because of relatedness asymmetries within social insect colonies, queens and workers are in conflict over the optimal allocation of resources to brood. This thesis examines three populations of the facultatively polygynous ant species Leptothorax acervorum over several years. Data on colony size, number of colony queens, production of new queens, new males and new workers are examined for each colony sampled. I investigate the factors affecting how resources are divided amongst brood in colonies, and consider which party controls allocation of these resources. Monogynous and polygynous colonies differ in their allocation strategies. While there are considerable differences between populations, monogynous colonies tend to invest more resources into new sexuals with polygynous colonies investing in more new workers to stock daughter buds. Evidence of local resource competition also supports colony budding as a reproductive strategy by some colonies. Sex allocation decisions appear to reflect within-colony relatedness in two study populations. Environmental influences such as local nest site availability and resource abundance also appear to influence allocation decisions at the colony level. Small colonies tend to concentrate on colony growth with larger colonies producing more new sexuals. There is no evidence of partial queen control over sex or resource allocation. Instead, workers seem to respond to information about within-colony relatedness as well as environmental factors when making sex and resource allocation decisions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sex ratio evolution and resource allocation in the multiple-queen ant leptothorax acervorum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100145
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