Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Founder effects on sex determination systems in invasive social insects.

Abstract

Invasive populations are often established from a small number of individuals, and thus have low genetic diversity relative to native-range populations. Social ants, bees and wasps (social Hymenoptera) should be vulnerable to such founder effects on genetic diversity because sex in these species is determined genetically via Complementary Sex Determination (CSD). Under CSD, individuals homozygous at one or more critical sex loci are inviable or develop as infertile diploid males. Low diversity at sex loci leads to increased homozygosity and diploid male production, increasing the chance of colony death. In this review, we identify behavioral, social and reproductive traits that preserve allele richness at sex loci, allow colonies to cope with diploid male production, and eventually restore sex allele diversity in invasive populations of social Hymenoptera that experience founding bottlenecks.