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Acromyrmex vericolor Foraging Queens vs Workers???

acromyrmex versicolor acromyrmex dealates interaction workers worker

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#1 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted October 26 2015 - 2:24 PM


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So yesterday I went to the desert and I caught 28 Acromyrmex versicolor queens. :yahoo: 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

#2 Offline kellakk - Posted October 27 2015 - 12:00 AM


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That is the weirdest thing...


I hope someone is able to figure it out, I'm really interested to know what was going on there!

Current Species:
Camponotus fragilis

Novomessor cockerelli

Pogonomyrmex montanus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

Manica bradleyi



#3 Offline NightsWebs - Posted October 27 2015 - 8:12 AM


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I thought this was odd because we observed the same ants the night before and never witnessed this interaction.  I checked the few Versicolor Queens I have, thanks again to Drew, but I didn't notice anything odd about them.  I hope one of the Entomologist may have some insight on your observation and I will look to see if I can find any research papers on this subject.

Current Colonies;

Acromyrmex Versicolor

Dorymyrmex Bicolor

Pogonomyrmex Californicus
Pogonomyrmex Rugosus

Pogonomyrmex Tenuispinus
Novomessor Cockerelli
Myrmecocystus Mexicanus


Last Update: 08 Jul 2016



#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted October 27 2015 - 10:40 AM

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Most likely these are queens that have not mated. I've found them, too. A way for colonies to recoup some losses if the weather isn't good for mating in a given year. I believe there's just one paper written about these dealate queens for another Acromyrmex species, from Koos Boomsma's lab.

#5 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted October 27 2015 - 9:27 PM


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Yep... :(


I guess we will see for sure anyway in a month or two.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: acromyrmex versicolor, acromyrmex, dealates, interaction, workers, worker

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