Asian Myrmecology: Archive - Volume 13


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DOI: 10.20362/am.013003
Asian Myrmecology 13: e013003 (1-16)
article first published online: 6/August/2021

Flight muscle histolysis in Lasius niger queens


The foundation of new ant colonies often involves a solitary phase for the newly mated queens. These queens are subject to high food stress during this period that can last several weeks or months until the appearance of the first workers. The food stress is mainly associated with egg laying, larval feeding, and the queens’ own metabolism. The flight muscles of ant queens are histolyzed during early colony foundation, a process that was first described by Charles Janet more than a century ago. We here document this breakdown process in Lasius niger queens using careful dissections and histological examination. As we have the war-surviving original sections of Janet in our possession, we were able to include part of his original data in this paper. Our study also provides a calibration ladder for future investigations on flight muscle histolysis in ants. We describe the process, its stages, and discuss the allocation of nutrients from histolysis and the speed of histolysis related to the duration of colony foundation.

Flight muscles, Histolysis, Histology, Colony foundation, Nutrient allocation

This article is part of the Asian Myrmecology Special Issue in memorial of Christian Peeters.

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