Temporary Parasitism

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
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Temporary social parasites establish new colonies with the assistance of a host species. A queen of the parasite enters the nest of the host and chemically tricks the host workers into adopting her. The intruding queen kills or drives off the host queen and begins to lay her own eggs. Host workers remain in the colony and tend both their own eggs and the eggs of the new queen. Over time the host workers are replaced with workers from the new queen and the colony becomes completely populated by the new queen's offspring.

The biology of Lasius umbratus provides natural history information about one representative temporarily parasitic ant.

Known Temporary Parasites

Temporary Parasite Host Locality Source Notes
Formica dakotensis Formica fusca
Formica dakotensis Formica lepida
Formica dakotensis Formica montana
Formica dakotensis Formica pallidefulva
Formica dakotensis Formica subsericea
Formica difficilis Formica incerta
Formica exsecta Formica fusca
Formica exsecta Formica lemani
Formica forsslundi Formica transkaucasica
Formica obscuripes Formica pacifica
Formica ulkei Formica fusca
Formica uralensis Formica transkaucasica
Myrmica semiparasitica Myrmica punctiventris
Polyrhachis lamellidens Camponotus japonicus Kohriba, 1963
Polyrhachis lamellidens Camponotus kiusiuensis Sakai, 1990 Needs confirmation
Polyrhachis lamellidens Camponotus obscuripes Sakai, 1990
Pseudomyrmex seminole Pseudomyrmex pallidus Ward, 1985

References