Effect of colony size on the number of gamergates in the queenless ponerine ant Rhytidoponera aurata
Colonies of the queenless ponerine ant Rhytidoponera aurata were collected in an Acacia-Eucalyptus woodland of North Queensland, Australia. Of the 25 colonies collected, 11 were monogynous and 13 polygynous (1 was not determined). The number of gamergates (mated and egg-laying workers) in the polygynous colonies was 12 to 44. The mean colony size was significantly larger in polygynous colonies than in monogynous colonies. Ovaries of gamergates in monogynous colonies were more developed than those in polygynous colonies, whereas their body size was significantly smaller. Observations in the laboratory suggest that the smaller gamergates were preferentially transported during colonial budding.
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