Presenter: Gissella M. Vasquez
Advisor(s): Dr. Jules Silverman
Author(s): Gissella M. Vasquez and Jules Silverman
Graduate Program: Entomology

Title: Colony fusion in the Argentine ant: are chemical and genetic factors involved?

Abstract: Loss of intraspecific aggression from reduced genetic diversity has been proposed as a mechanism underlying invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, unicoloniality. However, we found that fusion of unrelated colonies displaying varying levels of aggression may also explain this phenomenon. We also found an association between colony fusion and both the similarity of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and the percentage of alleles shared between colonies. Our results suggest that fusion of Argentine ant colonies varies in relation to the levels of inter-colony aggression, and that cuticular hydrocarbon and genetic components may modulate this process.