Cooperation, conflict, and coevolution in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis
AbstractFungus-growing ants in the tribe Attini represent a classic example of a mutualism. These ants obligately depend on fungus as their major food source, while the fungus receives both vegetative substrate (nourishment) from the ants and protection from pathogens. Here, we try to identify both benefits and costs of the association by using cultivar switch experiments. We assessed the benefits to each mutualistic partner by replacing the native fungus (cultivar) used by the primitive attine ant species Cyphomyrmex muelleri with a novel cultivar, that of the closely related ant species Cyphomyrmex longiscapus. We show that interspecific cultivar switches caused a significant decline in worker number, garden biomass, and the number of reproductives produced by colonies. In contrast, these effects were not seen in intraspecific switches. We also examined possible costs of the mutualistic association. We estimated colony sex ratios for C. longiscapus to determine whether cultivars can bias reproductive allocation toward females; such bias may evolve because only female reproductives can disperse the fungus, and males are therefore of no value to the fungus. However, intraspecific cultivar switches did not significantly affect ant sex ratios. Cultivar switch experiments represent a new tool for studying cooperation, conflict, and coevolution between mutualistic partners in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis. Copyright 2006.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 17 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Friedrich, T., 2009. "Wise exploitation – a game with a higher productivity than cooperation – transforms biological productivity into economic productivity," MPRA Paper 22862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.