Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 139–145

Genetic differentiation in sympatric wood ants, Formica rufa and F. polyctena

Authors

    • Department of Conservation Biology and Genetics, EBCUppsala University
  • P. Seppä
    • Department of Conservation Biology and Genetics, EBCUppsala University
    • Department of Ecology and SystematicsUniversity of Helsinki
  • P. Pamilo
    • Department of Conservation Biology and Genetics, EBCUppsala University
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Oulu
Research article

DOI: 10.1007/s00040-003-0720-2

Cite this article as:
Gyllenstrand, N., Seppä, P. & Pamilo, P. Insect. Soc. (2004) 51: 139. doi:10.1007/s00040-003-0720-2

Summary

Direct observations have suggested that the closely related wood ants Formica polyctena and F. rufa represent different social organizations, with high queen number in F. polyctena and a high frequency of monogynous nests in F. rufa. We examined social organization and genetic population structure in a setup where populations of the two species are sympatric and gene flow between the species is possible. Our aim was to compare social organization in the species, and study evolutionary relationships between them. The observed relatedness among colony workers suggested that the difference in the level of polygyny is quantitative rather than qualitative, with a higher queen number in F. polyctena. The observed difference in polygyny was not accompanied by a difference in spatial genetic differentiation which was weak in both species. The genetic distance between the species is consistent with limited interspecific gene flow. Identification of a few possible F. rufa migrants in F. polyctena populations suggests potential interspecific gene flow. Thus, reproductive isolation of the species may not be complete when they are sympatric.

AntsDNA microsatellitesgenetic differentiationrelatednesssocial organization
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser-Verlag Basel 2004