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Data from: Low levels of hybridization in two species of African driver ants

Cite this dataset

Butler, Ian A.; Peters, Marcell K.; Kronauer, Daniel J.C.; Kronauer, D. J. C. (2018). Data from: Low levels of hybridization in two species of African driver ants [Dataset]. Dryad.


Hybridization in ants can have consequences different from those observed in most other species, with many of the potential deleterious effects being mitigated due to haplodiploidy and eusociality. In some species where colonies are either headed by multiple queens or single queens that mate with many males, hybridization is associated with genetic caste determination, where hybrids develop into workers and purebred individuals develop into queens. A previous study suggested that hybridization occurs between two Dorylus army ant species with multiply mate queens. However, the extent and exact pattern of hybridization has remained unclear, and its possible effect on caste determination has not been investigated. In this study we aimed to determine the extent and direction of hybridization by measuring how frequently hybrids occur in colonies of both species, and to investigate the possibility of genetic caste determination. We show that hybridization is bidirectional and occurs at equal rates in both species. Hybrid workers make up only 1-2% of the population, and interspecific matings represent approximately 2% of all matings in both species. This shows that, while interspecific matings that give rise to worker offspring occur regularly, they are much rarer than intraspecific mating. Finally, we find no evidence of an association between hybridization and genetic caste determination in this population. This means that genetic caste determination is not a necessary outcome of hybridization in ants, even in species where queens mate with multiple males.

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Kakamega Forest