Data from: Family based guilds in the ant Pachycondyla inversa
Helanterä, Heikki et al. (2013), Data from: Family based guilds in the ant Pachycondyla inversa, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.84dp4
High relatedness promotes the evolution of sociality because potentially costly cooperative behaviours are directed towards kin. However, societies, such as those of social insects, also benefit from genetic diversity, e.g. through enhanced disease resistance and division of labour. Effects of genetic diversity have been investigated in a few complex eusocial species. Here, we show that genetically based division of labour may also be important in ‘simple societies’, with fewer individuals and limited morphological caste differentiation. The ponerine ant Pachycondyla inversa has small colonies, headed by several unrelated queens. We show that nest-mate workers from different matrilines engage in different tasks, have distinct chemical profiles and associate preferentially with kin in the nest, while queens and brood stay together. This suggests that genetically based division of labour may precede the evolution of complex eusociality and facilitate the existence of low relatedness societies functioning as associations of distinct families that mutually benefit from group living.