IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/beheco/v17y2006i2p291-296.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cooperation, conflict, and coevolution in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis

Author

Listed:
  • Natasha J. Mehdiabadi
  • Benjamin Hughes
  • Ulrich G. Mueller

Abstract

Fungus-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.

Suggested Citation

  • Natasha J. Mehdiabadi & Benjamin Hughes & Ulrich G. Mueller, 2006. "Cooperation, conflict, and coevolution in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 17(2), pages 291-296, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:17:y:2006:i:2:p:291-296
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/beheco/arj028
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:17:y:2006:i:2:p:291-296. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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). General contact details of provider: https://academic.oup.com/beheco .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.