Data from: Determining social and population structures requires multiple approaches: a case study of the desert ant Cataglyphis israelensis
Reiner Brodetzki, Tali; Hefetz, Abraham (2019), Data from: Determining social and population structures requires multiple approaches: a case study of the desert ant Cataglyphis israelensis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6gb3977
The remarkable diversity of ant social organization is reflected in both their life history and population kin structure. Different species demonstrate a high variation with respect to both social structure and mating strategies: from the ancestral colony type that is composed of a single queen (monogyny), singly inseminated (monoandry), to the more derived states of colonies headed by a multiply inseminated queen (polyandry), to colonies composed of multiple queens (polygyny) that are either singly or multiply inseminated. Moreover, the population structure of an ant species can range from multicoloniality to polydomy to supercoloniality, and Cataglyphis is considered to be a model genus in regard to such diversity. The present study sought to determine the social and population structure of the recently described C. israelensis species in Israel. For this purpose we employed a multidisciplinary approach, rather than the commonly used single approach that is mostly based on genetics. Our study encompassed behavior (nest insularity/openness), chemistry (composition of nestmate recognition signals, cuticular hydrocarbons), and genetics (microsatellite polymorphism). Each approach has been shown to possess both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the studied species. Our findings reveal that C. israelensis colonies are headed by a single, multiply-inseminated queen and that the population structure is polydomous, with each colony comprising one main nest and several additional satellite nests. Moreover, our findings demonstrate that none of the above-noted approaches, when employed individually, is suitable or sufficient in itself for delineating population structure, thus emphasizing the importance of using multiple approaches when assessing such complex systems.