Queen number in a supercolony of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus



Espadaler X, Rey S & Bernal V (2004) Queen number in a supercolony of the invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus. Insectes Sociaux, 51 (3), pp. 232-238.

We have analysed the distribution of queens under stones at the core and at the periphery of a supercolony of Lasius neglectus that occupies 14 ha at Seva (NE Spain). Queens were not found alone, but rather within worker groups. Density at the center (mean ± s.d.: 1.38 ± 2.87 queens/stone; n = 100 stones; range 0-14) was not different from density at the periphery (1.18 ± 2.38; range 0-12). The estimate of the number of queens found under stones for the whole colony is about 35500. Egg-laying rates for queens from these two zones were obtained in the laboratory, at three different temperatures, and there were no differences detected. The presence of brood stages, from eggs to cocoons, was also similar in both zones. The homogeneous distribution of colony components may indicate that the area occupied by L. neglectus has already reached saturation. With a different technique - soil core extraction - we could estimate the density of workers in the soil: 800 workers per m2. Soil cores had 6.28 ± 20.0 workers/core (range: 0-173), giving a rough estimate of 1.12 × 108 workers in the soil, for the entire colony. Though few, some queens were also recovered from soil cores. Queen numbers for the supercolony, based on queens found in the soil, reaches the astounding level of 360000. Numbers are consistent with previous predictions.

Egg-laying rate; Lasius neglectus; polygyny; queen distribution; worker density

Insectes Sociaux: Volume 51, Issue 3

Publication date31/08/2004

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Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Associate Professor, Institute of Aquaculture