Terminal Investment: Individual Reproduction of Ant Queens Increases with AgeReport as inadecuate




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The pattern of age-specific fecundity is a key component of the life history of organisms and shapes their ecology and evolution. In numerous animals, including humans, reproductive performance decreases with age. Here, we demonstrate that some social insect queens exhibit the opposite pattern. Egg laying rates of Cardiocondyla obscurior ant queens increased with age until death, even when the number of workers caring for them was kept constant. Cardiocondyla, and probably also other ants, therefore resemble the few select organisms with similar age-specific reproductive investment, such as corals, sturgeons, or box turtles e.g., 1, but they differ in being more short-lived and lacking individual, though not social, indeterminate growth. Furthermore, in contrast to most other organisms, in which average life span declines with increasing reproductive effort, queens with high egg laying rates survived as long as less fecund queens.



Author: J├╝rgen Heinze , Alexandra Schrempf

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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