Schrempf, Alexandra and Heinze, Jürgen (2006) Proximate mechanisms of male morph determination in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. Evolution & Development 8 (3), pp. 266-272.
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The ant genus Cardiocondyla is characterized by an extraordinary male polyphenism, with winged disperser males and wingless, territorial ergatoid males. Winged males are produced only after the colony has experienced stressful environmental conditions, e.g., a drastic temperature decrease. We investigated the proximate basis of male polyphenism and caste dimorphism in C. obscurior. The critical stage for both morph and caste determination is the end of the second of three instars. Larval development as well as duration of the pupal stage are extended both in winged males and winged females and winged reproductives need on average 8.8 days longer for the development from egg to adult than wingless ergatoid males and workers. Treatment of first and second instar larvae with methoprene, a juvenile hormone analogue, led to the expression of the winged morph, suggesting an important role of juvenile hormone in both sexes. Although queens are produced year-round in contrast to winged males, the proximate basis of variation in morphology is likely to be the same in both sexes. Whereas the larvae themselves appear to be insensitive to the environmental changes, behavioral observations revealed that workers react to stress by changing their behavior towards larvae and in this way trigger them to develop into winged males.
|Institutions:||Biology, Preclinical Medicine > Institut für Zoologie|
|Subjects:||500 Science > 570 Life sciences|
500 Science > 590 Zoological sciences
|Refereed:||Yes, this version has been refereed|
|Created at the University of Regensburg:||Yes|
|Deposited On:||14 Jul 2006|
|Last Modified:||20 Jul 2011 20:47|