University of Oulu

Hakala, S. M., Seppä, P., & Helanterä, H. (2019). Evolution of dispersal in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a review on the dispersal strategies of sessile superorganisms. The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics.

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

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Author: Hakala, Sanja Maria1,2; Seppä, Perttu1,2; Helanterä, Heikki1,3
Organizations: 1Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
2Tvärminne Zoological Station, University of Helsinki, Finland
3Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Entomofaunistik, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-23


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.

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Series: Myrmecological news
ISSN: 1994-4136
ISSN-E: 1997-3500
ISSN-L: 1025-6164
Volume: 29
Pages: 35 - 55
DOI: 10.25849/myrmecol.news_029:035
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: S.H. was supported by a grant from Finnish Cultural Foundation and H.H. by a grant from Kone Foundation. The work was also funded by the Academy of Finland (#140990, #135970, #251337 and #284666).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 140990
Detailed Information: 140990 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
135970 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0