Our article on wingless virgin queens that defend their colonies received quite some attention by the media, in particular in Germany. Among the english language websites that covered the story were The New Scientist and Science Daily: The New Scientist: Spinster queens become commoners Science Daily:Princesses Become Warriors: Young Queens of Leafcutter Ants Change Roles
Sorry, this entry is only available in German. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language. Nachdem die Blattschneiderprinzessinnen es bis in einige Zeitungen “geschafft” haben, denke ich, dass es gut wäre, ein paar Details etwas weiter auszuführen:
I have a new paper published on nest-defence in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. We found that young virgin queens switch to worker behaviour once they lose the prospect of founding their own colony. Normally, virgin queens avoid taking risks because they are supposed to partake in a mating flight and found a new “daughter” colony afterwards.
Large societies of ants and humans have standing armies with professional soldiers, but smaller societies usually rely on conscription when they are threatened. Leaf-cutting ant societies of intermediate size have evolved the peculiar practice of turning daughter queens that failed to mate and disperse into life time nest-defenders, reminiscent of mythical female warriors whose normal
My next conference will be in Lüneburg: It’s the 42nd “Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland”, from 10 to 14 September 2012. Looking forward to seeing you there! I will present work on myrmecophilous cockroaches that live in leaf-cutter ant colonie, in a Chemical Ecology symposium on Thursday.
This press release is also available in Danish (på Dansk). In social insect colonies, workers generally cooperate within extended families consisting of full- and half-sisters. It has been suggested that they do not behave nepotistically, i.e. prefer to cooperate with full-sisters only, because they are not able to distinguish between half- and full sisters Actually,
Danish press release, also available in English. Hos sociale insekter, blandt andet hos myrer, har man hidtil antaget, at alle individer i en koloni samarbejder lige godt. Forskere på Københavns universitet og kolleger i Frankrig og Storbritannien har nu vist, at nepotisme måske også dyrkes blandt sociale insekter. Den harmoniske samfundsstruktur hos sociale insekter står