Nest architecture and colony size of the fungus-growing ant Mycetophylax simplex Emery, 1888 (Formicidae, Attini)
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- Diehl-Fleig, E. & Diehl, E. Insect. Soc. (2007) 54: 242. doi:10.1007/s00040-007-0936-7
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Detailed measurements on nest architecture and colony size of the fungus-growing ant Mycetophylax simplex Emery, 1888 (Formicidae, Attini) are reported for the first time, based on excavations of 55 nests from two sites in southern Brazil. All nests were subterranean, with a single entrance hole. Most nests consisted of two chambers, an upper and a lower chamber, but one and three-chamber nests were also found. The chambers were more cone-shaped than rounded, and located at a depth ranging from 4.0 cm to 32.5 cm below the nest entrance. The chamber dimensions generally increased as the depth of the chambers increased, and the lower chamber was mostly wider than the upper one. The fungus garden was always found resting on the chamber floor. The average colony size was 264.1 workers, ranging from 67 to 610 workers. Colonies produced most sexuals during the summer (from December to March) and a few during the winter (July). Direct observations showed that colonies were mostly monogynous, but more than one queen was recorded in two nests, suggesting that polygyny may also occur in this species.