what is polygynous and which species?

Published on 23 June 2023 at 07:00

Which ant species have more than 1 queen?

There are several species of ants that have multiple queens in a colony. This is called polygyny. Below are some examples of ant species that are polygynous:

1. Argentine ants (Linepithema humile): This species has colonies with hundreds or even thousands of queens.

2. Meadow ants (Lasius spp.): These ants often have several queens in a colony, although the number can vary depending on the species and colony size.

3. Carpenter Ants (Formica spp.): Some species of carpenter ants also have multiple queens in a colony.

4. Black road ant (Lasius niger): This species often has several queens in one colony.

5. Red Wood Ant (Formica rufa): This is another species of carpenter ant known for having multiple queens in a colony.

In general, polygyny is quite rare in ants, as most species have one queen.

How does a polygyny colony work?

A polygyny colony is an ant colony with multiple queens. In these colonies, the queens work together to lay the eggs and run the colony.

One of the benefits of polygyny is that it increases the colony's chances of survival. If one queen dies, the colony can survive because there are other queens that can lay eggs. It can also help to reduce the risk of inbreeding, as the genetic diversity of the colony increases due to the presence of multiple queens.

In polygyny colonies, the worker ants have no preference for a specific queen and work together to maintain the colony. The queens work together to divide the tasks of the colony and lead the worker ants. One of the queens' main jobs is to produce pheromones that help the worker ants communicate and perform their tasks.

While polygyny colonies have a number of advantages, there are also disadvantages. For example, if the colony grows too large, it may run out of food and space, eventually causing the colony to collapse. Also, the queens can sometimes compete with each other, with one queen trying to outdo the other and lay more eggs, which can lead to conflict in the colony. Nevertheless, polygyny colonies generally work well and are an interesting subject for research into the social organization of ants.

Do polygyny colonies inbreed?

In polygyny colonies there is a reduced risk of inbreeding because there are several queens that reproduce. This helps increase the genetic diversity of the colony and reduces the risk of genetic abnormalities resulting from inbreeding.

However, it is not completely excluded that inbreeding does take place in polygyny colonies. For example, if the colony gets too big and the worker ants mainly mate with the male ants from their own colony, this can eventually lead to inbreeding. This can result in reduced genetic diversity and an increased risk of hereditary diseases and abnormalities.

However, in general, inbreeding is less likely to occur in polygyny colonies than in colonies with only one queen, because the presence of multiple queens increases the genetic diversity of the colony.

Do polygyny queens need more space?

Polygyny colonies generally need more space than single-queen colonies because there are more individuals that have to share the space. In addition, polygyny colonies often have more brood and worker ants than single-queen colonies, requiring more space for food storage and brood care.

The exact amount of space a polygyny colony needs depends on several factors, such as the size of the colony, the species of ants and the environment in which they live. In general, polygyny colonies have a greater need for a varied environment with sufficient food sources and nesting sites. This may mean, for example, that the colony spreads over several nests or that more nesting material is available for the colony.

If space is limited, this can lead to stress for the ants and conflicts between the individuals in the colony. This can ultimately lead to a decline in colony health and productivity. It is therefore important to provide enough space and resources for a polygyny colony to ensure that it remains healthy and can function properly.