acta ethologica

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 67–82 | Cite as

Sociobiology of slave-making ants

  • P. D’Ettorre
  • J. Heinze


Social parasitism is the coexistence in the same nest of two species of social insects, one of which is parasitically dependent on the other. Though parasitism in general is known to be of crucial importance in the evolution of host species, social parasites, though intriguing, are often considered as a phenomenon of marginal interest and are typically not taken into account in reviews on parasitism. Nevertheless, social parasites are rather common in social bees, wasps, and ants and therefore may offer unique model systems to study a number of fundamental problems in evolutionary biology. Here we review several aspects of the peculiar life history of slave-making ants, which is characterized by socially parasitic founding of colonies and the pillage of broods from neighboring host colonies during slave raids. In particular we focus on the evolution of slave-making habits (dulosis), communication mechanisms between slave makers and their hosts, sex-allocation ratios and reproductive conflict, and the effect of slave makers on host populations.

Keywords Dulosis Parasitism Reproductive tactics Chemical communication Coevolution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag and ISPA 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. D’Ettorre
    • 1
  • J. Heinze
    • 2
  1. 1.IRBI, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université François Rabelais, Parc de Grandmont, 37200 Tours, FranceFR
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Biologie I, Universität Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany e-mail: Tel.: +49-941-9432475, Fax: +49-941-9433304DE

Personalised recommendations