BIOCHEMICAL PHENOTYPIC AND GENETIC STUDIES OF TWO INTRODUCED FIRE ANTS AND THEIR HYBRID (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE)
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Two introduced fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri, and their hybrid were studied using phenotypic markers from gas chromatographic analysis of hydrocarbons and venom alkaloids, as well as genetic markers from enzyme electrophoresis. Both methods show that extensive gene introgression is occurring over a distance of at least 120 km at the contact zone between the two forms in eastern Mississippi. Genetic analyses suggest that the hybrid population does not depart dramatically from panmixia. Also, recombinant genotypes predominate in the hybrid zone, indicating that F1 hybrids are viable. Allele frequency clines through the hybrid zone are apparent for four polymorphic loci. Data sets generated by the chromatographic and electrophoretic methods are highly concordant in that they differentiate completely between the two forms and agree in designating colonies from the contact zone as hybrid or parental in a high proportion (90%) of cases. The two methods can serve as complementary tools for studying closely related but genetically distinct populations in this, and perhaps other, groups of insects.
author list (cited authors)
Ross, K. G., Meer, R., Fletcher, D., & Vargo, E. L.