Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Formica Pergandei

Formica pergandei worker
While out transplanting some things I disturbed a fold of cardboard in the garden to find a colony of Formica (either pallidefulva or incerta) mixed with the parasitic Formica pergandei. While observing I was surprised to find that the smallest F. pergandei workers are much smaller than their host species. I find this strange for an ant that is supposed to be completely dependent on their host. How could a polymorphic caste system be beneficial in this case?

1 comment:

  1. While finding these ants in this particular situation means the host is bigger than the parasite, these size differences do not need to be beneficial. The important thing is that the parasite has ants to do its work. If smaller ants, ants of similar size or larger ants can all do what is needed then the size of the host can be irrelevant.