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Contact: Matt Shipman
North Carolina State University

Ants Dueling to Become Warrior Queens

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Caption: When an H. saltator colony's queen dies, the female workers engage in ritual fights to establish dominance. Ultimately, a small group of workers establishes dominance and become a cadre of worker queens or "gamergates." The gamergates look like ordinary workers, but undergo extreme internal changes: their brains shrink by 25 percent; their ovaries expand to fill their abdomens; and their life expectancy jumps from about six months to several years or more.

Credit: Clint Penick

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