, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 159–163 | Cite as

Male fighting and “territoriality” within colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla venustula

  • Sabine FrohschammerEmail author
  • Jürgen Heinze
Short Communication


The ant genus Cardiocondyla is characterized by a bizarre male polymorphism with wingless fighter males and winged disperser males. Winged males have been lost convergently in several clades, and in at least one of them, wingless males have evolved mutual tolerance. To better understand the evolutionary pathways of reproductive tactics, we investigated Cardiocondyla venustula, a species, which in a phylogenetic analysis clusters with species with fighting and species with mutually tolerant, wingless males. Wingless males of C. venustula use their strong mandibles to kill freshly eclosed rival males and also engage in short fights with other adult males, but in addition show a novel behavior hitherto not reported from social insect males: they spread out in the natal nest and defend “territories” against other males. Ant males therefore show a much larger variety of reproductive tactics than previously assumed.


Territoriality Male reproductive tactics Sexual selection Formicidae 



Supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (He 1623/22). C. Klingenberg helped with automontage imaging. Studies on Hawaiian Cardiocondyla were made possible through export permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology I, ZoologyUniversity RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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