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He Clones, She Clones: Dad, mom ants as different species

A study of the insects called little fire ants may be as close as science gets to showing males and females as separate species.

Those species still share a name, Wasmannia auropunctata. The little fire ants live in seemingly unexceptional colonies with several queens, many sterile female workers, and a smaller number of males. Yet a genetic analysis shows that daughter queens are clones of their mother, says Denis Fournier of the Free University of Brussels in Belgium. And males manage their own unusual genetic tricks, so that eggs hatching into sons end up as clones of their fathers, Fournier and his colleagues report in the June 30 Nature.

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