Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Hakala, S.M., Seppä, P. & Helanterä, H.

Year: 2019


Evolution of dispersal in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a review on the dispersal strategies of sessile superorganisms

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 29

Pages: 35-55

Type of contribution: Review Article

Supplementary material: No


The extreme diversity of dispersal strategies in ants is unique among terrestrial animals. The nature of ant colonies as social, perennial and sessile superorganisms is the basis for understanding this diversity, together with the inclusive fitness framework for social evolution. We review ant dispersal strategies, with the aim of identifying future research directions on ant dispersal and its evolution. We list ultimate and proximate determinants of dispersal traits and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of dispersal for population structures and dynamics, as well as species communities. We outline the eco-evolutionary feedbacks between the multitude of traits affecting dispersal evolution, and the likely evolutionary routes and ecological drivers in transitions among the diverse ant dispersal strategies. We conclude by presenting a research framework to fill the gaps in current knowledge: including comparative studies of colony life histories and population structures, and theoretical models of the eco-evolutionary dynamics affecting dispersal, in an inclusive fitness framework.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2019 The Author(s).

Key words: Colony founding, dispersal conflict, inbreeding, inclusive fitness, kin competition, kin selection, local resource competition, mating flight, mating system, philopatry, resource allocation, sex bias.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500