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Identification of an ant queen pheromone regulating worker sterility

Holman, Luke; Jorgensen, Charlotte; Nielsen, John; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

Description

The selective forces that shape and maintain eusocial societies are an enduring puzzle in evolutionary biology. Ordinarily sterile workers can usually reproduce given the right conditions, so the factors regulating reproductive division of labour may provide insight into why eusociality has persisted over evolutionary time. Queen-produced pheromones that affect worker reproduction have been implicated in diverse taxa, including ants, termites, wasps and possibly mole rats, but to date have only...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHolman, Luke
dc.contributor.authorJorgensen, Charlotte
dc.contributor.authorNielsen, John
dc.contributor.authord'Ettorre, Patrizia
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T23:02:07Z
dc.identifier.issn0962-8452
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/84740
dc.description.abstractThe selective forces that shape and maintain eusocial societies are an enduring puzzle in evolutionary biology. Ordinarily sterile workers can usually reproduce given the right conditions, so the factors regulating reproductive division of labour may provide insight into why eusociality has persisted over evolutionary time. Queen-produced pheromones that affect worker reproduction have been implicated in diverse taxa, including ants, termites, wasps and possibly mole rats, but to date have only been definitively identified in the honeybee. Using the black garden ant Lasius niger, we isolate the first sterility-regulating ant queen pheromone. The pheromone is a cuticular hydrocarbon that comprises the majority of the chemical profile of queens and their eggs, and also affects worker behaviour, by reducing aggression towards objects bearing the pheromone. We further show that the pheromone elicits a strong response in worker antennae and that its production by queens is selectively reduced following an immune challenge. These results suggest that the pheromone has a central role in colony organization and support the hypothesis that worker sterility represents altruistic self-restraint in response to an honest quality signal.
dc.publisherRoyal Society of London
dc.sourceProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
dc.subjectKeywords: hydrocarbon; pheromone; aggression; colony; egg; handicap principle; hydrocarbon; identification method; immune system; pheromone; physiological response; population distribution; queen; rodent; social insect; sterility; taxonomy; worker caste; animal; an Cuticular hydrocarbon; Handicap; Lasius niger; Queen signal; Social insect
dc.titleIdentification of an ant queen pheromone regulating worker sterility
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume277
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor060304 - Ethology and Sociobiology
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB12993
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationHolman, Luke, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationJorgensen, Charlotte, University of Copenhagen
local.contributor.affiliationNielsen, John, University of Copenhagen
local.contributor.affiliationd'Ettorre, Patrizia, University of Copenhagen
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1701
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage3793
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage3800
local.identifier.doi10.1098/rspb.2010.0984
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:43:59Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-78650072664
local.identifier.thomsonID000284054700011
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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