Dissection of the reproductive system of ant workers and queens can be useful for answering many questions. Observations of ovarian status in both female castes can be used to identify relationships between other factors and the ovaries, determine whether an individual has laid eggs, and, with more advanced molecular techniques, identify the end product of the oocyte in question (e.g., trophic egg, viable egg, nonviable egg). In addition, dissection of queens allows for observation of the spermatheca (the sperm storage organ), and thus identification of whether an individual has mated. Sperm can also be sampled for genetic analyses. In this protocol, we describe the dissection of the female ant reproductive system. We also discuss dissection of the corpora allata glands, where juvenile hormone is produced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology