So yesterday I went to the desert and I caught 28 Acromyrmex versicolor queens. However, about half of them were caught in a very strange way. There was a large column of foraging workers from a colony, and within the column, there were dealate queens that appeared to be following the column and/or trying to steal cut leaves from the workers. I caught about 14 queens like this and was stupid enough to not take any pictures or videos. I recall both A.vericolor being monogynous and that A.versicolor workers from a large colony attack founding queens of the same species?This is the weirdest interaction between queens and workers I have ever seen. I even watched one trying to walk back into the adult colony's nest.
I have come to two main guesses as to what was going on but both have large holes in them.
- Founding queens leave founding chamber to go find food (normal behavior) for their growing fungus garden. They find a column of workers from an adult colony and in almost parasitic fashion walk into the column and try to steal food from the workers, but for some reason the workers are too stupid/inept to attack them.
- These are alates that never left the adult colony and therefore never mated, however the workers stripped their wings and they now act as workers as well, sort of like what happens with alates in a captive enclosure that are not allowed to fly. This makes no sense because why would they have not tried to fly?
I hope someone who is more knowledgeable than me can help me figure this out. I really hope all of these are fertile, but I guess I will know anyway in 2-3 months...
Edited by Gregory2455, October 26 2015 - 2:34 PM.