Social insect queens are a classic example of polyphenism, with a phenotype focused on reproduction generated by the same genome that produces their sterile sister workers. Recently, it was reported that wingless virgin queens of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants assume worker roles when they fail to disperse and found new colonies . This was interpreted as the (re-)evolution of worker behaviour, resulting in inclusive fitness benefits, with the authors suggesting that this was the first observation of such behaviour in queens of species with single-queen colonies and a dispersal-based mating flight . However, worker-like behaviour in virgin wingless queens has been previously reported in two other species of Acromyrmex  and in the seed-harvesting ant Messor andrei , all of which share these colony characteristics. These previous reports shed more light on this unusual behaviour.
|Published - 9 Oct 2012