Rediscovery of the workerless inquiline antPogonomyrmex colei and additional notes on natural history (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
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Pogonomyrmex colei is a workerless inquiline ant known only from nests ofP. rugosus, its closest relative. Ten of 776 (1.3%) host nests were parasitized at a site in central Arizona, while none of 1499 potential host colonies were parasitized at two other locales. Colonies ofP. colei are perennial, and host alate females in 9 of 10 colonies demonstrates that host queens survive parasitism. Three of 10 colonies died over 19 colony years of observation, while only 1 of 601 colonies became newly parasitized. Mating occurs in morning for up to 2–3 days following summer and fall rains and in afternoon during cool fall days. Mating is intranidal just outside the nest entrance, with males returning to the natal nest. MaleP. colei may be flightless because their wing area is reduced compared to host males. Females fly from the nest and locate potential host colonies by following trunk trails. Workers are the largest barrier to nest establishment, as they removed over 90% ofP. colei females placed in trunk trails or that entered host nests. Males and females ofP. colei andP. anergismus, the only other congeneric inquiline species, are diminutive compared to their hosts, with females 30% lighter than host workers. Fat content is lower and water content is higher inP. colei andP. anergismus females than in their hosts.
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Volume 43, Issue 1 , pp 69-76
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- Interspecific trail following
- workerless inquiline ant
- Pogonomyrmex colei
- reproductive biology
- seed-harvester ants