Pretender punishment induced by chemical signalling in a queenless ant

Monnin, Thibaud, Ratnieks, Francis L W, Jones, Graeme R and Beard, Richard (2002) Pretender punishment induced by chemical signalling in a queenless ant. Nature, 419. pp. 61-65. ISSN 0028-0836

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Animal societies are stages for both conflict and cooperation. Reproduction is often monopolized by one or a few individuals who behave aggressively to prevent subordinates from reproducing (for example, naked mole-rats1, wasps2 and ants3). Here we report an unusual mechanism by which the dominant individual maintains reproductive control. In the queenless ant Dinoponera quadriceps, only the alpha female reproduces. If the alpha is challenged by another female she chemically marks the pretender who is then punished4 by low-ranking females. This cooperation between alpha and low-rankers allows the alpha to inflict punishment indirectly, thereby maintaining her reproductive primacy without having to fight.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Demonstration that the reproductive primacy of the breeder female in a group of totipotent individuals can be maintained via the punishment of challengers.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Francis Ratnieks
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:37
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2012 12:11
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