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Data from: The value of oviposition timing, queen presence and kinship in a social insect


Ozan, Martina; Helanterä, Heikki; Sundström, Liselotte; Sundstrom, L. (2013), Data from: The value of oviposition timing, queen presence and kinship in a social insect, Dryad, Dataset,


Reproductive cooperation confers benefits, but simultaneously creates conflicts among cooperators. Queens in multi-queen colonies of ants share a nest and its resources, but reproductive competition among queens often results in unequal reproduction. Two mutually non-exclusive factors may produce such inequality in reproduction: worker intervention or queen traits. Workers may intervene by favouring some queens over others, owing to either kinship or queen signals. Queens may differ in their intrinsic fecundity at the onset of oviposition or in their timing of the onset of oviposition, leading to their unequal representation in the brood. Here, we test the role of queen kin value (relatedness) to workers, timing of the onset of oviposition and signals of presence by queens in determining the maternity of offspring. We show that queens of the ant Formica fusca gained a significantly higher proportion of sexuals in the brood when ovipositing early, and that the presence of a caged queen resulted in a significant increase in both her share of sexual brood and her overall reproductive share. Moreover, the lower the kin value of the queen, the more the workers invested in their own reproduction by producing males. Our results show that both kinship and breeding phenology influence the outcome of reproductive conflicts, and the balance of direct and indirect fitness benefits in the multi-queen colonies of F. fusca.

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