Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 313–319 | Cite as

Secondary polygyny by inbred wingless sexuals in the dolichoderine ant Technomyrmex albipes

  • Katsusuke Yamauchi
  • Tokiko Furukawa
  • Kyoichi Kinomura
  • Hidetsune Takamine
  • Kazuki Tsuji


Technomyrmex albipes makes huge polydomous colonies which consist of up to several millions of adults. In field colonies, dealate queens are rare or absent, though winged males and winged females emerge annually (synchronously) in large numbers from late may to mid June. Field and laboratory observations showed that the reproduction of established colonies was performed by wingless females inseminated by wingless males from the same colony. Dissections and morphological examinations revealed that wingless females are workers with no spermatheca and intercastes with a spermatheca. Most intercastes were inseminated, had developed ovaries, and seemed to reproduce, while workers did not seem to reproduce. Extranidal tasks were performed only by workers. Approximately half of the adult population were intercastes, and wingless males represented only a small portion of all adults, the rest being nonreproductive workers. Intercastes and wingless males were produced throughout the year except in winter. The winged females and males copulate outside the nest only after the nuptial flight and the dealate females are able to perform independent founding, but they are also eventually supplanted by intercastes. The adoption of dealate queens by an established natal colony did not seem to occur. Thus we infer that in this species the winged reproductives disperse and found new colonies, while inbred wingless reproductives allow the enlargement and budding of colonies. This species has a special trophic-flow system. There is no trophallaxis among adults, and nutrient transfer from adults to other colony members is achieved exclusively by specialized trophic eggs. All females (dealate queens, intercastes, and workers) seem to produce trophic eggs. This aphid-like life cycle, i.e., the occurrence of both winged and wingless reproductive forms, may have evolved as an adaptation supporting the development of secondary polygyny and polydomy.


Winged Male Nuptial Flight Winged Female Natal Colony Established Coloni 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katsusuke Yamauchi
    • 1
  • Tokiko Furukawa
    • 1
  • Kyoichi Kinomura
    • 2
  • Hidetsune Takamine
    • 3
  • Kazuki Tsuji
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BiologyFaculty of Education, Gifu UniversityGifuJapan
  2. 2.Gifu-kita High SchoolGifuJapan
  3. 3.Okinawa Shogaku High SchoolNahaJapan
  4. 4.Laboratory of Applied Entomology and NematologyFaculty of Agriculture, Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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