Research Articles

Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 103-112

First online:

Influence of larvae and workers on egg production of queens of the pharaoh's ant,Monomorium pharaonis (L.)

  • L. W. BørgesenAffiliated withDepartment of Population Biology, Inst. of Zoology, University of CopenhagenThe Danish Library of Science and Medicine
  • , P. V. JensenAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Inst. of Zoology, University of Copenhagen

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Social regulation of egg production and weight in queens was studied in relation to presence and absence of larvae and workers in the pharaoh's ant,Monomorium pharaonis (L.).

Results were obtained by counting eggs and weighing queens under various conditions.

The results confirm the existence of a positive feed-back loop between mated queens and their larvae as evident from a correlation (Y = 4.575 * X + 6.452) between the number of large worker larvae (X) and the egg yield (Y). This correlation seems to relate to the queens preferential feeding on larval secretions. Queens without larvae maintained a low level of egg production of about 6 eggs/day. Queens deprived of larvae as well as workers stopped producing eggs within 24 hours.

Repletes, special workers, with greatly distended gasters functioned as a buffer retarding decline of egg production by feeding the queens during short periods without larvae.

Key words

Social regulation oviposition larval secretions replete workers weight