New manuscript on biorxiv showing effects of Wolbachia on pharaoh ant life history

The first manuscript from Rohini’s thesis is now on biorxiv, showing how the bacterial endysombiont Wolbachia increases reproductive investment (i.e. queen production) and accelerates the life cycle of pharaoh ant colonies. This study uses two assays to show that Wolbachia seems to have a positive effect on pharaoh ant colonies (infected colonies grow faster and produce more queens), so that Wolbachia infection might be expected to quickly sweep through pharaoh ant populations. This positive effect of Wolbachia infection on host colony growth and reproduction is likely particularly beneficial in rapidly growing populations. Notably, pharaoh ants are considered to be one of the most successful and widespread invasive ants, and perhaps Wolbachia contributes to the pharaoh ant’s invasiveness.  

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