, Volume 91, Issue 9, pp 432–435 | Cite as

Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae

  • Vincent Dietemann
  • Christian Peeters
  • Bert Hölldobler
Short Communication


Ant workers can mate and reproduce in a few hundreds of species belonging to the phylogenetically basal poneromorph subfamilies (sensu Bolton 2003). We report the first occurrence of gamergates (i.e. mated reproductive workers) in a myrmeciomorph subfamily. In a colony of Myrmecia pyriformis that was collected without a queen, workers continued to be produced over a period of 3 years in the laboratory. Behavioural observations and ovarian dissections indicated that three workers were mated and produced the diploid offspring. The Myrmeciinae are thus another taxon in which the selective benefits of sexual reproduction by workers can be investigated.


Work Caste Queenright Coloni Reproductive Worker Thelytokous Parthenogenesis Alternative Reproductive Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Mike Schwarz, Remko Leijs and Katja Hoogendorn for logistic and technical support during fieldwork. We thank Roberto Keller, Thibaud Monnin and Kazuki Tsuji for their constructive criticisms. This work was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft SFB 554 (C3) and the Graduiertenkolleg ‘Grundlagen des Arthropodenverhaltens’. The ants were collected under scientific investigation license no. A2247 issued by National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, and exported under permits nos. PWS P993042 and PWS 20002478 issued by Environment Australia. The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Dietemann
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christian Peeters
    • 2
  • Bert Hölldobler
    • 1
  1. 1.LS Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie, BiozentrumWürzburg UniversityWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.CNRS UMR 7625, Laboratoire d’EcologieUniversité Pierre-et-Marie CurieParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and EntomologyPretoria UniversityPretoriaSouth Africa

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