Data from: Inbreeding tolerance as a pre-adapted trait for invasion success in the invasive ant Brachyponera chinensis
Eyer, Pierre-André et al. (2018), Data from: Inbreeding tolerance as a pre-adapted trait for invasion success in the invasive ant Brachyponera chinensis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rm3558f
Identifying traits that facilitate species introductions and successful invasions of ecosystems represents a key issue in ecology. Following their establishment into new environments, many non-native species exhibit phenotypic plasticity with post-introduction changes in behavior, morphology or life history traits that allow them to overcome the presumed loss of genetic diversity resulting in inbreeding and reduced adaptive potential. Here we present a unique strategy in the invasive ant Brachyponera chinensis (Emery), in which inbreeding tolerance is a pre-adapted trait for invasion success, allowing this ant to cope with genetic depletion following a genetic bottleneck. We report for the first time that inbreeding is not a consequence of the founder effect following introduction, but it is due to mating between sister queens and their brothers that pre-exists in native populations which may have helped it circumvent the cost of invasion. We show that a genetic bottleneck does not affect the genetic diversity or the level of heterozygosity within colonies and suggest that generations of sibmating in native populations may have reduced inbreeding depression through purifying selection of deleterious alleles. This work highlights how a unique life history may pre-adapt some species for biological invasions.