Dorsal (A) and lateral (B) views of the Cryptotermes garifunae female dealate
(vertex of head capsule partially collapsed).
Mature colonies typically contain (i) one or several dealate
egg-laying queens which carry in their reproductive systems a lifetime sperm-bank acquired by mating as young flying adults; (ii) around 100-400 unmated apterous female workers, all daughters of the queen(s); (iii) eggs, larvae, and pupae (Figure 1) variously represented in correlation with an annual vernal season of oviposition by the queens, and (iv) in early summer numbers of winged males and/or winged virgin queens (= gynes): sons and daughters of the queen(s) held for later release to join an annual nuptial flight or mating promenade [1, 3].
Mackay and Mackay (2010) have also recorded dealate
females, that is, females that had already been inseminated in this month in Brazil.
Many species of Ptilomerinae are only known from apterous morphs; macropterous forms are rare and often dealate
(Chen et al., 2005).
In fact, this species appeared to be much more abundant than the previous year and multiple colonies with dealate
queens were discovered nesting under the bark of numerous palms.
Our use of dealate
queens could also have biased the QP experiments against detection of host preferences in weakly discriminating ant species, since with wings removed, queens had very limited opportunities for reaching other host plants.
For the Kasori population, dealate
queens were not collected in association with nests and are assumed each to have originated from a different nest.
All samples were stored in 85% alcohol and inventoried electronically with the following information: sample location (GPS coordinates), date of collection, collector identification, and type of sample (soldier, alate, dealate
, nymph, worker).
We therefore included only species in which queen number had been surveyed in at least 10 colonies (but see table 1 for a few species in which data were available for fewer than 10 colonies), categorizing as polygynous those species in which at least 25% of the surveyed colonies contained more than one dealate
In these cases, alate and dealate
parasites were abundant since they were present in 15 out of the 24 collected colonies (63%), and they included a median of 3 alate parasites (range: 0-17) and of 1 dealate
parasite (0-5) per colony.