Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 39–49 | Cite as

Geographic distribution of the anti-parasite trait “slave rebellion”

  • Tobias PammingerEmail author
  • Annette Leingärtner
  • Alexandra Achenbach
  • Isabelle Kleeberg
  • Pleuni S. Pennings
  • Susanne Foitzik
Original Paper


Social parasites exploit the brood care behavior of other species and can exert strong selection pressures on their hosts. As a consequence, hosts have developed defenses to circumvent or to lower the costs of parasitism. Recently, a novel, indirect defense trait, termed slave rebellion, has been described for hosts of a slave-making ant: Enslaved Temnothorax longispinosus workers reduce local parasite pressure by regularly killing pupae of their obligatory slavemaking parasite Protomognathus americanus. Subsequently, growth of social parasite nests is reduced, which leads to fewer raids and likely increases fitness of neighboring related host colonies. In this study, we investigate the presence and expression the slave rebellion trait in four communities. We report its presence in all parasitized communities, document strong variation in its expression between different geographic sites and discuss potential explanations for this observed variation.


Coevolution Selection mosaic Parasitism Social parasites Slavemaking ants Host defense 



We like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the associate editor for their time and constructive criticism which substantially improved the quality of the manuscript. Funding was by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Research Unit 1078 grant Fo 298/9-1 and E.N. Huyck Preserve.

Supplementary material

10682_2012_9584_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Pamminger
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Annette Leingärtner
    • 2
  • Alexandra Achenbach
    • 2
  • Isabelle Kleeberg
    • 1
  • Pleuni S. Pennings
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susanne Foitzik
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyJohannes Gutenberg University of MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Biology IILudwig Maximilian University of MunichPlanegg-MartinsriedGermany
  3. 3.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityBostonUSA

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