Social and Population Structure in the Ant Cataglyphis emmaeReport as inadecuate

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Dispersal has consequences not only for individual fitness, but also for population dynamics, population genetics and species distribution. Social Hymenoptera show two contrasting colony reproductive strategies, dependent and independent colony foundation modes, and these are often associated to the population structures derived from inter and intra-population gene flow processes conditioned by alternative dispersal strategies. Here we employ microsatellite and mitochondrial markers to investigate the population and social genetic structure and dispersal patterns in the ant Cataglyphis emmae at both, local and regional scales. We find that C. emmae is monogynous and polyandrous. Lack of detection of any population viscosity and population structure with nuclear markers at the local scale suggests efficient dispersal, in agreement with a lack of inbreeding. Contrasting demographic differences before and during the mating seasons suggest that C. emmae workers raise sexuals in peripheric nest chambers to reduce intracolonial conflicts. The high genetic differentiation recovered from the mtDNA haplotypes, together with the significant correlation of such to geographic distance, and presence of new nuclear alleles between areas valleys suggest long-term historical isolation between these regions, indicative of limited dispersal at the regional scale. Our findings on the ecological, social and population structure of this species increases our understanding of the patterns and processes involved under independent colony foundation.

Author: Michael J. Jowers , Laurianne Leniaud, Xim Cerdá, Samer Alasaad, Stephane Caut, Fernando Amor, Serge Aron, Raphaël R. Boulay



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