, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 8–15

The number of queens: An important trait in ant evolution

  • Bert Hölldobler
  • Edward O. Wilson

DOI: 10.1007/BF00439886

Cite this article as:
Hölldobler, B. & Wilson, E.O. Naturwissenschaften (1977) 64: 8. doi:10.1007/BF00439886


The pervasive social and ecological differences between ant colonies that have a single queen and those that have multiple queens are defined. The evolutionary tendencies which lead to polygyny and the adaptive significance of multiple queens are examined. The discussion of the ecological consequences of polygyny and monogyny leads to a deeper understanding of territoriality, spacing and species packing in ants.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert Hölldobler
    • 1
  • Edward O. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Museum of Comparative Zoology LaboratoriesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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