A comparison of queen oviposition rates from monogyne and polygyne fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, colonies


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Abstract. The oviposition rate of individual queens of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in relation to their weight and number of queens present in the colony was investigated by direct 2 h observations. There is a strong positive correlation between the weight of a queen and its oviposition rate in both monogyne and polygyne colonies. However, the number of eggs laid per mg queen is higher for moonogyne queens than for polygyne queens. This difference is more evident when the total weight of queens present in a colony is considered. The individual queen oviposition rate is negatively correlated with the number of queens in the colony. In addition, the weight loss per egg laid is significantly greater for polygyne than for monogyne queens, probably due to differences in egg size. These data suggest that oviposition is more efficient in monogyne than in polygyne queens at the individual level; however, at the colony level, polygyne colonies produce significantly more eggs. Comparison of colony level efficiency predicts that polygyne colonies must have at least nine queens to compete reproductively with a mature monogyne queen. Therefore, oligogyny does not appear to be a viable strategy for S.invicata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Fire ants
  • monogyny
  • oviposition rate
  • Polygyny
  • Population dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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