Adoption of a surrogate artificial queen in a colony of Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Colombia

Guillermo Sotelo, Diana Sofía Ortiz Giraldo, Jonathan Rodríguez, James Montoya Lerma


In nature, Atta cephalotes (L.) is a monogynous species. Each colony has a single, permanent queen fed and protected by thousands of sterile workers. At death the queen colony practically disappears. Recently a colony established eight years in the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia, loses the queen being orphaned by three months. Starting from the idea of whether this colony could take a surrogate queen, we collect a field young nest of A. cephalotes, which donated its queen to the orphan colony. Overall, there was a slight aggression among workers without attacking the surrogate queen, which was adopted by the orphan colony. Five months later, surrogate queen were still alive and there was presence of larvae and pupae. The results show that artificial colony of A. cephalotes, after a period of orphanhood, accept surrogate queen and remain stable and active.


Leaf-cutter ants

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