Clonal or asexual reproduction is not unique to little fire ants. Some lizard species, for example, produce female offspring clonally from adult females. In most ants, females are typically produced by sexual reproduction, while males develop from unfertilized eggs. But the small fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), which is considered an invasive pest in tropical habitats, is different, scientists found. They have determined that queens and males each produce offspring with genes identical to their own, except when reproducing the sterile worker ants.
The findings are reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature.