Ant queens lay more eggs as they age

Apr 11, 2012

Ant queens get better at laying eggs as they get older, researchers report in the Apr. 11 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE. Furthermore, this high egg-laying rate did not shorten the queens' life spans, as would have been expected based on many other organisms.

The researchers, led by Juergen Heinze at the University of Regensburg in Germany, found that the egg laying rates of ant queens from the species Cardiocondyla obscurior steadily increased as the queens aged, unlike the many organisms (including humans) for which decreases with age.

Other animals that show increased reproduction with age include corals, sturgeons, and box turtles.

Explore further: Scientists reveal global patterns of specialized feeding in insect herbivores

More information: Heinze J, Schrempf A (2012) Terminal Investment: Individual Reproduction of Ant Queens Increases with Age. PLoS ONE 7(4): e35201. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035201

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