Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.05.22; 07.02)

Population Genetic and Social Structure Survey of Solenopsis geminata in Thailand

Mingkwan Nipitwattanaphon1, Akarapong Swatdipong1, Sasitorn Hasin2, and John Wang3,*


1Department of Genetics, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand. E-mail: mingkwan.n@ku.th (Nipitwattanaphon); akarapong.s@ku.th (Swatdipong)
2Innovation of Environmental Management, College of Innovative Management, Valaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University under the Royal Patronage, Pathumthani, Thailand. E-mail: hasinsasi@gmail.com (Hasin)
3Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Nankang 115, Taipei, Taiwan. *Correspondence: E-mail: johnwang@gate.sinica.edu.tw (Wang)

(Received 8 February 2020 / Accepted 9 May 2020)
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

Fire ants have long been known to be a major pest and have recently attracted renewed widespread attention due to the invasion of Solenopsis species, especially S. invicta, into many countries in Asia and Australia. Here, we surveyed fire ant specimens in Thailand with the aims of studying their colony biology and population structure. We sampled 38 colonies distributed in agricultural and urban areas throughout Thailand for species identification and found that all were S. geminata. We further genotyped 13 microsatellite loci from 576 workers from 23 of these colonies. Analysis of these genetic data revealed that all colonies were polygynous with only a few queens. Queens from the same colonies were highly genetically related. Population structure was partitioned into two clusters. Pairwise FST values revealed very high genetic differentiation between colonies suggesting low gene flow among populations. This
result suggests that queens were locally mated and founded colonies by a budding strategy. Isolation-by-distance among local populations was not significant.

Key words: Polygyne, Social form, Relatedness, Microsatellite, Metapopulation model.

Citation: Nipitwattanaphon M, Swatdipong A, Hasin S, Wang J. 2020. Population genetic and social structure survey of Solenopsis geminata in Thailand. Zool Stud 59:22. doi:10.6620/ZS.2020.59-22.

Supplementary Materials: Fig. S1 | Fig. S2 | Table S1 | Table S2 | Table S3