Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema)

Christian Peeters, Chung Chi Lin, Yves Quinet, Glauco Martins Segundo, Johan Billen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (. Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (. Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalArthropod Structure and Development
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May 1

Fingerprint

soldier caste
Crematogaster
Ants
Military Personnel
Social Class
ant
Ovum
Formicidae
queen insects
egg
Food Storage
food storage
Guinea
Madagascar
Costa Rica
Hymenoptera
caste
dissection
histology
Taiwan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Insect Science

Cite this

Peeters, Christian ; Lin, Chung Chi ; Quinet, Yves ; Martins Segundo, Glauco ; Billen, Johan. / Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema). In: Arthropod Structure and Development. 2013 ; Vol. 42, No. 3. pp. 257-264.
@article{1ccaa9137d1243899d5f4bbe2d750f50,
title = "Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema)",
abstract = "Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (. Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (. Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus.",
author = "Christian Peeters and Lin, {Chung Chi} and Yves Quinet and {Martins Segundo}, Glauco and Johan Billen",
year = "2013",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.asd.2013.02.003",
language = "English",
volume = "42",
pages = "257--264",
journal = "Arthropod Structure and Development",
issn = "1467-8039",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "3",

}

Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema). / Peeters, Christian; Lin, Chung Chi; Quinet, Yves; Martins Segundo, Glauco; Billen, Johan.

In: Arthropod Structure and Development, Vol. 42, No. 3, 01.05.2013, p. 257-264.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema)

AU - Peeters, Christian

AU - Lin, Chung Chi

AU - Quinet, Yves

AU - Martins Segundo, Glauco

AU - Billen, Johan

PY - 2013/5/1

Y1 - 2013/5/1

N2 - Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (. Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (. Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus.

AB - Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (. Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (. Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84877040137&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84877040137&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.asd.2013.02.003

DO - 10.1016/j.asd.2013.02.003

M3 - Article

C2 - 23459016

AN - SCOPUS:84877040137

VL - 42

SP - 257

EP - 264

JO - Arthropod Structure and Development

JF - Arthropod Structure and Development

SN - 1467-8039

IS - 3

ER -