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Ants manage incest without inbreeding

Unorthodox family structure may have helped insect spread

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7:00pm, February 1, 2011

An odd reproductive biology lets longhorn crazy ants mate with their siblings without inbreeding — and it also turns out to be useful for world domination.

That power has probably helped Paratrechina longicornis become one of the most widespread invasive ants in the tropics, says evolutionary biologist Morgan Pearcy of the Free University of Brussels. The tiny ants with long antennae, nicknamed crazy ants because they dash along erratically instead of following foraging trails, now occupy so much of the tropics that scientists haven’t figured out where they originated.

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