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Sample records for acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

  1. Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Colony migration is a poorly studied phenomenon in leaf-cutting ants. Here we report on the emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant A. heyeri in Brazil. The colony emigrated to a new location 47.4 m away from the original nest site, possibly because it had undergone considerable stress due to competitive interactions with a colony of Acromyrmex crassispinus.

  2. Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele; Marcio Roberto Pie; Wilson Reis Filho

    2012-01-01

    Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Colony migration is a poorly studied phenomenon in leaf-cutting ants. Here we report on the emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant A. heyeri in Brazil. The colony emigrated to a new location 47.4 m away from the original nest site, possibly because it had undergone considerable stress due to competitive interactions with a colony of Acromyrmex crassispinus.

  3. LEAF-CUTTING ANTS Acromyrmex niger SMITH, 1858 (HYMENOPTERA; FORMICIDAE) USED AS BIOINDICATORS OF AGROTOXICS RESIDUES

    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli; Denise Alves Lopes; Ana Lúcia Paes Barateiro Stuchi; Maria Claudia Colla Ruvolo Takasusuki

    2013-01-01

    Despite the condition of leaf-cutting ant pests in agroecosystems, it is undeniable the benefits they can bring in certain situations or environments. The leaf-cutting ants of the genus Acromyrmex attack mainly leaves of vegetables and fruit trees exposing not only to the agrochemicals used for their control as well as to those used for the control of other pests. Due to the bioindicator potential of environmental quality of the ants and their frequent exposure to agrochemicals such as organo...

  4. Specificity of the mutualistic association between actinomycete bacteria and two sympatric species of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Poulsen, M; Cafaro, M; Boomsma, J J;

    2005-01-01

    Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants maintain two highly specialized, vertically transmitted mutualistic ectosymbionts: basidiomycete fungi that are cultivated for food in underground gardens and actinomycete Pseudonocardia bacteria that are reared on the cuticle to produce antibiotics that suppress...

  5. High recombination frequency creates genotypic diversity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    Sirviö, A.; Gadau, J.; Rueppell, O.;

    2006-01-01

    demonstrated that variation in division of labour and pathogen resistance has a genetic component and that genotypic diversity among workers may thus give colonies of this leaf-cutting ant a functional advantage. The present result is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that complex social life can select...... tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage...

  6. CONTROL OF THE BLACK LEAF CUTTING ANT, Acromyrmex crassispinus, WITH POWDERED FORMICIDES

    Henrique Moreira Link

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Four experiments  were carried out to evaluate the efficiency of some powdered formicides on the control of the black leaf cutting ant, Acromyrmex crassispinus (Forel, 1909 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, in Santa Maria county, from 1996 until 1998. Powdered formicides containing  Fenthion at 50g a. i./kg, Imidacloprid at  4g a. i./kg, Betacyfluthrin at 2g a. i./kg, Chlorpyrifos at 20g a. i./kg and at 50g a. i./kg, Deltamethrin at  2g a. i./kg, Acephate at 750g a. i./kg and Diazinon at 10g a. i./kg were evaluated on big nests (>80cm of diameter. The big nests of this ant were efficiently controlled with 30g/nest of the commercial formulations of Fenthion, Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos (20g a. i./kg and  50g a. i./kg; with 3g/nest of the formulation of Acephate; with 5g/nest in dry season and 30g/nest in wet season of the powdered formulation of Deltamethrin.

  7. LEAF-CUTTING ANTS Acromyrmex niger SMITH, 1858 (HYMENOPTERA; FORMICIDAE USED AS BIOINDICATORS OF AGROTOXICS RESIDUES

    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Normal 0 21 false false false PT-BR X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Despite the condition of leaf-cutting ant pests in agroecosystems, it is undeniable the benefits they can bring in certain situations or environments. The leaf-cutting ants of the genus Acromyrmex attack mainly leaves of vegetables and fruit trees exposing not only to the agrochemicals used for their control as well as to those used for the control of other pests. Due to the bioindicator potential of environmental quality of the ants and their frequent exposure to agrochemicals such as organophosphates, neonicotinoids and growth regulators insecticide used for pest control, it is necessary to study the sublethal effects that these pesticides may cause. The electrophoresis technique was used to study the activity of esterase isozymes involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics of A. niger, combined with changes in the expression of isozymes after contamination by pesticides. A. niger  showed eight regions of esterase activity, which were called EST-1, EST-2, EST-3, EST-4, EST-5, EST-6, EST-7 and EST-8 according to the electrophoretic mobility. As the specificity to α  and β -naphthyl acetate substrates, the Est-7 and Est-8 may be classified as α -esterase and the others as αβ  esterases. EST-5 is considered an enzyme of the type cholinesterase II and the others are of the type carboxilesterase. The electrophoretic analysis showed partial inhibition to all esterases subjected to the contact with Malathion organophosforate at the concentrations 1 x10-3  % and 5 x 10-3  %, which may be considered as a biomarker for the presence of residues of this insecticide in the environment. The regression analysis for sublethal effects of the tested pesticides demonstrated correlation between dose and mortality only for Thiametoxam neonicotinoid pesticide. Utilización de hormigas cortadoras Acromyrmex niger Smith,1858 (Hymenoptera; Formicidae como bioindicadoresde residuos

  8. Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) Emigração de uma colônia da formiga cortadeira Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele; Marcio Roberto Pie; Wilson Reis Filho

    2012-01-01

    Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Colony migration is a poorly studied phenomenon in leaf-cutting ants. Here we report on the emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant A. heyeri in Brazil. The colony emigrated to a new location 47.4 m away from the original nest site, possibly because it had undergone considerable stress due to competitive interactions with a colony of Acromyrmex crassispinus.Emigração de uma colônia da form...

  9. Symbiont recognition of mutualistic bacteria by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Zhang, Mingzi; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-01-01

    actinomycete bacterial mutualist (genus Pseudonocardia). Despite the potential of being infected by phylogenetically diverse strains of parasites, each ant colony maintains only a single Pseudonocardia symbiont strain, which is primarily vertically transmitted between colonies by the founding queens. In this......Symbiont choice has been proposed to play an important role in shaping many symbiotic relationships, including the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism. Over millions of years, fungus-growing ants have defended their fungus gardens from specialized parasites with antibiotics produced by an...... study, we show that Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants are able to differentiate between their native actinomycete strain and a variety of foreign strains isolated from sympatric and allopatric Acromyrmex species, in addition to strains originating from other fungus-growing ant genera. The recognition...

  10. Interaction between workers during a short time window is required for bacterial symbiont transmission in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Thomas-Poulsen, Michael; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Currie, Cameron R.

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a...

  11. Purpureocillium lilacinum, potential agent for biological control of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lundii.

    Goffré, D; Folgarait, P J

    2015-09-01

    Many leaf-cutter ant species are well known pests in Latin America, including species of the genera Acromyrmex and Atta. An environmentally friendly strategy to reduce the number of leafcutter ants and avoid indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides is biological control. In this work we evaluated the effectiveness of a strain of the entomopathogen Purpureocillium lilacinum, against worker ants from six Acromyrmex lundii field colonies, after immersions in pure suspensions at a concentration of 1×10(6)conidiaml(-1). Survival of ants treated with P. lilacinum was significantly lower than that recorded in controls, and median lethal time (LT50) was 6-7days. P. lilacinum was responsible for 85.6% (80.6-89.7) of the mortality in inoculated ants, in which we found that the percentage of other entomopathogens that naturally infected ants decreased also, suggesting a good competitive capability of the fungus. Horizontal transmission to non-inoculated ants was also evidenced, given that 58.5% (41.9-64.2) of them died because of P. lilacinum. Moreover, we tested pathogenicity for three concentrations of this strain (1.0×10(4), 10(6) and 10(8)conidiaml(-1)) and found a significantly faster mortality of ants and greater median percentage of infection at 10(8)conidiaml(-1) of P. lilacinum. CL50 value was 2.8×10(5)conidiaml(-1). We thus propose the use of P. lilacinum as a biological control agent of leafcutter ants in crops and plantations. PMID:26205173

  12. Acromyrmex ameliae sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A new social parasite of leaf-cutting ants in Brazil

    DANIVAL JOS(E) DE SOUZA; ILKA MARIA FERNANDES SOARES; TEREZINHA MARIA CASTRO BELLA LUCIA

    2007-01-01

    The fungus-growing ants (Tribe Attini) are a New World group of > 200 species, all obligate symbionts with a fungus they use for food. Four attine taxa are known to be social parasites of other attines. Acromyrmex (Pseudoatto) argentina argentina and Acromyrmex (Pseudoatta) argentina platensis (parasites of Acromyrmex lundi), and Acromyrmex sp. (a parasite of Acromyrmex rugosus) produce no worker caste. In contrast, the recently discovered Acromyrmex insinuator (a parasite of Acromyrmex echinatior) does produce workers. Here, we describe a new species, Acromyrmex ameliae, a social parasite of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus and Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus in Minas Gerais, Brasil. Like A. insinuator, it produces workers and appears to be closely related to its hosts. Similar social parasites may be fairly common in the fungus-growing ants, but overlooked due to the close resemblance between parasite and host workers.

  13. Differential gene expression in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants after challenges with two fungal pathogens.

    Yek, Sze H; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Schiøtt, Morten

    2013-04-01

    Social insects in general and leaf-cutting ants in particular have increased selection pressures on their innate immune system due to their social lifestyle and monoclonality of the symbiotic fungal cultivar. As this symbiosis is obligate for both parties, prophylactic behavioural defences against infections are expected to increase either ant survival or fungus-garden survival, but also to possibly trade off when specific infections differ in potential danger. We examined the effectiveness of prophylactic behaviours and modulations of innate immune defences by a combination of inoculation bioassays and genome-wide transcriptomic studies (RNA-Seq), using an ant pathogen (Metarhizium brunneum) and a fungus-garden pathogen (Escovopsis weberi) and administering inoculations both directly and indirectly (via the symbiotic partner). Upon detection of pathogen conidia, ant workers responded by increasing both general activity and the frequency of specific defence behaviours (self-grooming, allo-grooming, garden-grooming) independent of the pathogen encountered. This trend was also evident in the patterns of gene expression change. Both direct and indirect (via fungus garden) inoculations with Metarhizium induced a general up-regulation of gene expression, including a number of well-known immune-related genes. In contrast, direct inoculation of the fungus garden by Escovopsis induced an overall down-regulation of ant gene expression, whereas indirect inoculation (via the ants) did not, suggesting that increased activity of ants to remove this fungus-garden pathogen is costly and involves trade-offs with the activation of other physiological pathways. PMID:23480581

  14. Ectosymbionts and immunity in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus.

    de Souza, Danival José; Lenoir, Alain; Kasuya, Maria Catarina Megumi; Ribeiro, Myriam Marques Ramos; Devers, Séverine; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Della Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro

    2013-02-01

    Associations with symbiotic organisms can serve as a strategy for social insects to resist pathogens. Antibiotics produced by attine ectosymbionts (Actinobacteria) suppress the growth of Escovopsis spp., the specialized parasite of attine fungus gardens. Our objective was to evaluate whether the presence or absence of symbiotic actinobacteria covering the whole ant cuticle is related to differential immunocompetence, respiratory rate and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs). We evaluated these parameters in three worker groups of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus: External workers (EXT), internal workers with actinobacteria covering the whole body (INB) and internal workers without actinobacteria covering the whole body (INØ). We also eliminated the actinobacteria by antibiotic treatment and examined worker encapsulation response. INB ants showed lower rates of encapsulation and respiration than did the EXT and INØ ants. The lower encapsulation rate did not seem to be a cost imposed by actinomycetes because the elimination of the actinomycetes did not increase the encapsulation rate. Instead, we propose that actinobacteria confer protection to young workers until the maturation of their immune system. Actinobacteria do not seem to change nestmate recognition in these colonies. Although it is known that actinobacteria have a specific action against Escovopsis spp., our studies, along with other independent studies, indicate that actinomycetes may also be important for the individual health of the workers. PMID:23207105

  15. Tachykinin expression levels correlate with caste-specific aggression in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    Jack eHowe

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available The tachykinins are a family of neuropeptides that influence a range of behavioral phenotypes in both vertebrates and invertebrates; they appear to have a conserved role in the processing of stimuli, and in the control of aggression in a wide range of animals. Expression of tachykinin in a cluster of neurons was recently shown to determine the stimulus response threshold for aggressive behavior in Drosophila (1. Varying response thresholds are often implicated in division of labor within social insect colonies, so we hypothesized that Tachykinin could play a role in the organization of colony defense by affecting individual response thresholds to non-nestmate stimuli. We used quantitative-PCR in combination with behavioral assays to test for associations between the expression of Tachykinin and its receptor, and the aggressive division of labor among the castes of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, a species with multiple worker castes. After correction for differences in brain size among castes, we found that the most aggressive large worker caste had the highest Tachykinin expression levels, but that no such effect was apparent for breeding and virgin queens. To further evaluate these deviating results for the reproductive caste, we manipulated the aggression threshold of virgin-queens by removing their wings, which is known to make them express a soldier-like behavioral phenotype. Despite heightened aggression, expression levels of Tachykinin remained unaffected, suggesting that aggression levels in reproductive caste phenotypes are controlled by differential expression of other genes.

  16. Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae Emigração de uma colônia da formiga cortadeira Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Colony migration is a poorly studied phenomenon in leaf-cutting ants. Here we report on the emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant A. heyeri in Brazil. The colony emigrated to a new location 47.4 m away from the original nest site, possibly because it had undergone considerable stress due to competitive interactions with a colony of Acromyrmex crassispinus.Emigração de uma colônia da formiga cortadeira Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae. A migração de colônias de formigas cortadeiras é um fenômeno pouco estudado. Nesse estudo, nós relatamos a emigração de uma colônia da formiga cortadeira A. heyeri no Brasil. A colônia emigrou 47,5 m de distância do seu ninho original para um novo local, provavelmente porque sofreu um estresse considerável devido à interações competitivas com uma colônia de Acromyrmex crassispinus.

  17. Examination of the immune responses of males and workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and the effect of infection

    Baer, Boris; Krug, A.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan;

    2005-01-01

    defence mechanisms. These include the immune response, which, aside from in bumblebees, has been relatively little studied in social insects. Here we compare the immune responses of males and workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and examine the effect upon immunocompetence of prior......-cutting ant workers being more variable in age or more genetically diverse within colonies. When exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium, workers expressed a substantially reduced immune response 96 h after infection, suggesting that the immune system was either depleted by having to respond to the...

  18. Ectosymbionts and immunity in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus

    José De Souza, Danival; Lenoir, Alain; Megumi Kasuya, Maria Catarina; Marques Ramos Ribeiro, Myriam; Devers, Séverine; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Castro Della Lucia, Terezinha Maria

    2012-01-01

    International audience Associations with symbiotic organisms can serve as a strategy for social insects to resist pathogens. Antibiotics produced by attine ectosymbionts (Actinobacteria) suppress the growth of Escovopsis spp., the specialized parasite of attine fungus gardens. Our objective was to evaluate whether the presence or absence of symbiotic actinobacteria covering the whole ant cuticle is related to differential immunocompetence, respiratory rate and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs)....

  19. The effect of homeopathic preparations on the activity level of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants=Atividade de formigas cortadeiras Acromyrmex spp. submetidas a preparações homeopáticas

    Pedro Boff

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available The effect of homeopathic preparations on the activities of the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex spp. was studied. A field experiment involving ant nests in six experimental areas was performed using a randomised complete block design. Within each block, every ant nest was considered to represent one repetition. The treatments consisted of the following: Belladonna homeopathic preparations of macerated or triturated Acromyrmex spp. adults, homeopathic preparations of macerated or triturated ant nest fungus (Leucoagaricus gongylophorus collected from Acromyrmex laticeps and Acromyrmex heyeri nests, a homeopathy Belladonna, and dynamised water. All of the homeopathic treatments were tested at the 30 CH (thirtieth centesimal Hahnemannian dynamisation. An untreated nest served as the control. The total number of ants from each trail was counted, including both those carrying or not-carrying green plant fragments, immediately before the daily homeopathic applications. All of the tested homeopathic preparations, except for the water, significantly reduced the activity level of Acromyrmex spp. The homeopathic preparations of Belladonna and the macerated nosodes of Acromyrmex spp. reduced the activity level of the ants beginning with the sixth day after the first treatment application; the activity level reduction effect lasted more than 20 days after the last application.O efeito de preparados homeopáticos sobre as atividades de formigas cortadeiras Acromyrmex spp. foi estudado. O experimento foi realizado no campo, utilizando formigueiros distribuídos em seis diferentes áreas. Em cada área cada, formigueiro foi considerado uma repetição. Os tratamentos consistiram de preparados homeopáticos obtidos da tintura-mãe dos triturados e macerados de adultos de Acromyrmex spp. e do fungo Leucoagaricus gongylophorus de formigueiros de Acromyrmex laticeps e Acromyrmex heyeri. A homeopatia Belladonna e água dinamizada também foram testados. Todos os

  20. Tachykinin expression levels correlate with caste-specific aggression in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    Howe, Jack; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2016-01-01

    The tachykinins are a family of neuropeptides that influence a range of behavioral phenotypes in both vertebrates and invertebrates; they appear to have a conserved role in the processing of stimuli, and in the control of aggression in a wide range of animals. Expression of tachykinin in a cluster...... of neurons was recently shown to determine the stimulus response threshold for aggressive behavior in Drosophila (1). Varying response thresholds are often implicated in division of labor within social insect colonies, so we hypothesized that Tachykinin could play a role in the organization of colony...... defense by affecting individual response thresholds to non-nestmate stimuli. We used quantitative-PCR in combination with behavioral assays to test for associations between the expression of Tachykinin and its receptor, and the aggressive division of labor among the castes of the leaf-cutting ant...

  1. Differential resistance and the importance of antibiotic production in Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ant castes towards the entomopathogenic fungus Aspergillus nomius

    Poulsen, Michael; Hughes, William Owen Hamar; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    Paired exocrine metapleural glands are present in almost all ants and produce compounds with antibiotic properties towards a variety of pathogenic fungi and bacteria. In Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, small workers have relatively large metapleural glands compared to large workers, and thus harbour...... approximately half the number of gland cells of large workers, despite being only one-fifteenth their body mass. Here we present results showing that when the two worker castes of A. echinatior are treated with spores of the pathogenic fungus Aspergillus nomius in doses that correspond to the difference in...... glands in small workers makes this caste particularly well adapted to preventing pathogenic microorganisms from entering the colony....

  2. Novel fungal disease in complex leaf-cutting ant societies

    Hughes, David Peter; Evans, Harry C.; Hywel-Jones, Nigel;

    2009-01-01

    1. The leaf-cutting ants practise an advanced system of mycophagy where they grow a fungus as a food source. As a consequence of parasite threats to their crops, they have evolved a system of morphological, behavioural, and chemical defences, particularly against fungal pathogens (mycopathogens). 2....... Specific fungal diseases of the leaf-cutting ants themselves have not been described, possibly because broad spectrum anti-fungal defences against mycopathogens have reduced their susceptibility to entomopathogens. 3. Using morphological and molecular tools, the present study documents three rare infection...... events of Acromyrmex and Atta leaf-cutting ants by Ophiocordyceps fungi, agenus of entomopathogens that is normally highly specific in its host choice. 4. As leaf-cutting ants have been intensively studied, the absence of prior records of Ophiocordyceps suggests that these infections may be a novel event...

  3. Adaptive social immunity in leaf-cutting ants

    Walker, Tom N.; Hughes, William O. H.

    2009-01-01

    Social insects have evolved a suite of sophisticated defences against parasites. In addition to the individual physiological immune response, social insects also express ‘social immunity’ consisting of group-level defences and behaviours that include allogrooming. Here we investigate whether the social immune response of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior reacts adaptively to the virulent fungal parasite, Metarhizium anisopliae. We ‘immunized’ mini-nests of the ants by exposing them t...

  4. Leaf-cutting ant attack in initial pine plantations and growth of defoliated plants

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele; Wilson Reis Filho; Edilson Batista Oliveira; Edson Tadeu Iede; Nádia Caldato; Priscila Strapasson

    2012-01-01

    The objective of this work was to evaluate the natural attack by Acromyrmex crassispinus in initial Pinus taeda plantations without control measures against ants, as well as the effect of defoliation in seedlings of P. taeda. Evaluations of the attack of leaf-cutting ants on P. taeda plantations were done monthly in the first six months, then 9 and 12 months after planting. The percentages of plants that were naturally attacked by ants were registered. The effect of defoliation was evaluated ...

  5. Interaction specificity between leaf-cutting ants and vertically transmitted Pseudonocardia bacteria

    Breum Andersen, Sandra; Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Background The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies a...

  6. Exposure to creosote bush phenolic resin causes avoidance in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lobicornis (Formicidae: Attini La exposición a la resina fenólica de jarilla causa deterrencia en la hormiga cortadora de hojas Acromyrmex lobicornis (Formicidae: Attini

    ANA I MEDINA

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available We focused our study on the effects of Larrea cuneifolia phenolic resin on leaf-cutting ants from two populations (Sierra de las Quijadas National Park and San Roque of Acromyrmex lobicornis in San Luis, Argentina. We conducted two bioassays of food choice (field and laboratory to compare the effects of phenolic resin on ant workers from these two populations. Results of the field experiment indicated that there were no differences in preference for either leaves treated with resin or untreated leaves among colonies from both localities. However, results of the laboratory experiments with individual ants indicated a significant effect of population and treatment on the time spent in different treatments. While leaf-cutting individual workers from Quijadas preferred the phenolic resin, workers from San Roque avoided it. These results evidence that ants respond according to time of exposure to chemicals from plants (presence or absence and that the effects of resin among a population can be observed and measured on individual ant workers, even in the absence of fungus garden influences in the nest.Este estudio se ha centrado en los efectos que produce la resina fenólica de Larrea cuneifolia sobre dos poblaciones distintas (Parque Nacional de Sierra de las Quijadas y la localidad de San Roque de Acromyrmex lobicornis en San Luis, Argentina. Se disenaron dos tipos de bioensayos (a campo y en laboratorio para comparar los efectos de la resina fenólica sobre las hormigas obreras de estas dos poblaciones. Los resultados de los experimentos de elección de la oferta alimentaria en el campo, indicaron que no hubo ninguna diferencia de preferencia entre las colonias, ni por las hojas tratadas con resina ni por las hojas sin tratar para ambas localidades. Sin embargo, los resultados de los experimentos de laboratorio con las hormigas obreras individualmente indicaron efectos significativos entre las poblaciones y entre los tratamientos. Mientras que las

  7. Differences in Forage-Acquisition and Fungal Enzyme Activity Contribute to Niche Segregation in Panamanian Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Kooij, Pepijn W.; Joanito Liberti; Konstantinos Giampoudakis; Morten Schiøtt; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2014-01-01

    The genera Atta and Acromyrmex are often grouped as leaf-cutting ants for pest management assessments and ecological surveys, although their mature colony sizes and foraging niches may differ substantially. Few studies have addressed such interspecific differences at the same site, which prompted us to conduct a comparative study across six sympatric leaf- cutting ant species in Central Panama. We show that foraging rates during the transition between dry and wet season differ about 60 fold b...

  8. An Overview of Integrated Management of Leaf-Cutting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Brazilian Forest Plantations

    Ronald Zanetti; José Cola Zanuncio; Juliana Cristina Santos; Willian Lucas Paiva da Silva; Genésio Tamara Ribeiro; Pedro Guilherme Lemes

    2014-01-01

    Brazilian forest producers have developed integrated management programs to increase the effectiveness of the control of leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. These measures reduced the costs and quantity of insecticides used in the plantations. Such integrated management programs are based on monitoring the ant nests, as well as the need and timing of the control methods. Chemical control employing baits is the most commonly used method, however, biological, mechanical and cul...

  9. The dynamics of plant cell-wall polysaccharide decomposition in leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens

    Moller, Isabel Eva; de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Harholt, Jesper;

    2011-01-01

    The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus...... map the occurrence of cell wall polymers in consecutive sections of the fungus garden of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We show that pectin, xyloglucan and some xylan epitopes are degraded, whereas more highly substituted xylan and cellulose epitopes remain as residuals in the waste...... material that the ants remove from their fungus garden. These results demonstrate that biomass entering leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens is only partially utilized and explain why disproportionally large amounts of plant material are needed to sustain colony growth. They also explain why substantial...

  10. The genome of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior suggests key adaptations to advanced social life and fungus farming

    Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten; Li, Cai; Wurm, Yannick; Hu, Haofu; Zhou, Jiajian; Ji, Lu; Qiu, Feng; Rasmussen, Morten; Pan, Hailin; Hauser, Frank; Krogh, Anders; Grimmelikhuijzen, Cornelis J P; Wang, Jun; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-01-01

    . The third is sex determination, where we could identify only a single homolog of the feminizer gene. As other ants and the honeybee have duplications of this gene, we hypothesize that this may partly explain the frequent production of diploid male larvae in A. echinatior. The fourth is the evolution...... agricultural food production 50 million years ago, and the transition from single to multiple queen mating 10 million years ago....

  11. The role of symbiont genetic distance and potential adaptability in host preference towards Pseudonocardia symbionts in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Poulsen, Michael; Maynard, Janielle; Roland, Damien;

    2011-01-01

    two non-native strains, elucidating the role of genetic distance on preference between strains and Pseudonocardia origin. Our findings suggest that ants tend to prefer bacteria more closely related to their native bacterium and that genetic similarity is probably more important than whether symbionts...... to the role of adaptive recognition, potential ecological flexibility in symbiont preference, and more broadly, in relation to self versus non-self recognition....

  12. Variabilidade genética interespecífica em formigas cortadeiras do gênero Acromyrmex que ocorrem no Estado do Rio Grande do Sul Inter-specific genetic variability of leaf cutting ants (Acromyrmex genus from Rio Grande do Sul State

    Douglas Daniel Grutzmacher

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available São poucos os taxonomistas que atuam na identificação de formigas cortadeiras. Os métodos morfométricos utilizados nem sempre permitem uma identificação confiável, em função do acentuado polimorfismo dentro do mesmo formigueiro. O objetivo do trabalho foi testar a possibilidade do uso da ferramenta da biologia molecular para auxiliar na identificação das espécies de formigas cortadeiras do gênero Acromyrmex que ocorrem no Estado do Rio Grande do Sul. O estudo foi realizado com seis espécies de formigas do gênero Acromyrmex coletadas em quatro regiões do RS. Utilizaram-se as técnicas RAPD e AFLP, testando-se inicialmente 50 primers, dos quais apenas 13 foram selecionados por terem amplificado com sucesso fragmentos de todas as espécies estudadas. Embora os 13 primers selecionados tenham produzido fragmentos que permitem várias alternativas de seu uso para a identificação das espécies A. heyeri, A. ambiguus, A. crassispinus, A. striatus, A. laticeps e A. aspersus, a identificação das mesmas poderá ser realizada utilizando-se apenas os primers UBC 354, UBC 348 e UBC 356, que apresentaram fragmentos bem visíveis, que permitem uma identificação segura. Os resultados obtidos com o dendograma e as características morfológicas analisadas mostram que as espécies A. striatus e A. laticeps são menos relacionadas com as demais espécies estudadas, enquanto maior proximidade genética foi observada entre as espécies A. ambiguus e A. crassispinus. Através deste trabalho, pode-se concluir que a identificação das espécies de Acromyrmex pode ser realizada de maneira segura pelas técnicas RAPD e AFLP.At present, a few number of taxonomists work on identification of leaf cutting ants. Morphological-based methods do not always produce a reliable identification, due to the strong polymorphism observed even in the same colony. This fact leads to hypothesize that, besides those variations, others may also occur related to

  13. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Broch, Jens F; Marín, Hermogenes Fernández;

    2011-01-01

    To ameliorate the impact of disease, social insects combine individual innate immune defenses with collective social defenses. This implies that there are different levels of selection acting on investment in immunity, each with their own trade-offs. We present the results of a cross......-fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced...... both individual innate immunity (constitutive antibacterial activity) and the size of the metapleural gland, which secretes antimicrobial compounds and functions in individual and social defense, indicating multiple mating could have important consequences for both defense types. However, the primarily...

  14. The dynamics of plant cell-wall polysaccharide decomposition in leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens.

    Isabel E Moller

    Full Text Available The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus degrades cellulose have hampered our understanding of the selection forces that induced large scale herbivory and of the ensuing ecological footprint of these ants. Here we use a recently established technique, based on polysaccharide microarrays probed with antibodies and carbohydrate binding modules, to map the occurrence of cell wall polymers in consecutive sections of the fungus garden of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We show that pectin, xyloglucan and some xylan epitopes are degraded, whereas more highly substituted xylan and cellulose epitopes remain as residuals in the waste material that the ants remove from their fungus garden. These results demonstrate that biomass entering leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens is only partially utilized and explain why disproportionally large amounts of plant material are needed to sustain colony growth. They also explain why substantial communities of microbial and invertebrate symbionts have evolved associations with the dump material from leaf-cutting ant nests, to exploit decomposition niches that the ant garden-fungus does not utilize. Our approach thus provides detailed insight into the nutritional benefits and shortcomings associated with fungus-farming in ants.

  15. Leaf-cutting ant fungi produce cell wall degrading pectinase complexes reminiscent of phytopathogenic fungi

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Leaf-cutting (attine ants use their own fecal material to manure fungus gardens, which consist of leaf material overgrown by hyphal threads of the basidiomycete fungus Leucocoprinus gongylophorus that lives in symbiosis with the ants. Previous studies have suggested that the fecal droplets contain proteins that are produced by the fungal symbiont to pass unharmed through the digestive system of the ants, so they can enhance new fungus garden growth. Results We tested this hypothesis by using proteomics methods to determine the gene sequences of fecal proteins in Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants. Seven (21% of the 33 identified proteins were pectinolytic enzymes that originated from the fungal symbiont and which were still active in the fecal droplets produced by the ants. We show that these enzymes are found in the fecal material only when the ants had access to fungus garden food, and we used quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis to show that the expression of six of these enzyme genes was substantially upregulated in the fungal gongylidia. These unique structures serve as food for the ants and are produced only by the evolutionarily advanced garden symbionts of higher attine ants, but not by the fungi reared by the basal lineages of this ant clade. Conclusions Pectinolytic enzymes produced in the gongylidia of the fungal symbiont are ingested but not digested by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants so that they end up in the fecal fluid and become mixed with new garden substrate. Substantial quantities of pectinolytic enzymes are typically found in pathogenic fungi that attack live plant tissue, where they are known to breach the cell walls to allow the fungal mycelium access to the cell contents. As the leaf-cutting ant symbionts are derived from fungal clades that decompose dead plant material, our results suggest that their pectinolytic enzymes represent secondarily evolved adaptations that are convergent to

  16. An Overview of Integrated Management of Leaf-Cutting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Brazilian Forest Plantations

    Ronald Zanetti

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Brazilian forest producers have developed integrated management programs to increase the effectiveness of the control of leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. These measures reduced the costs and quantity of insecticides used in the plantations. Such integrated management programs are based on monitoring the ant nests, as well as the need and timing of the control methods. Chemical control employing baits is the most commonly used method, however, biological, mechanical and cultural control methods, besides plant resistance, can reduce the quantity of chemicals applied in the plantations.

  17. Chemical basis of the synergism and antagonism in microbial communities in the nests of leaf-cutting ants.

    Schoenian, Ilka; Spiteller, Michael; Ghaste, Manoj; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2011-02-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which serves as a major food source. This symbiosis is threatened by microbial pathogens that can severely infect L. gongylophorus. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants, mainly Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, support the ants in defending their fungus gardens against infections by supplying antimicrobial and antifungal compounds. The ecological role of microorganisms in the nests of leaf-cutting ants can only be addressed in detail if their secondary metabolites are known. Here, we use an approach for the rapid identification of established bioactive compounds from microorganisms in ecological contexts by combining phylogenetic data, database searches, and liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-HR-MS) screening. Antimycins A(1)-A(4), valinomycins, and actinomycins were identified in this manner from Streptomyces symbionts of leaf-cutting ants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging revealed the distribution of valinomycin directly on the integument of Acromyrmex echinatior workers. Valinomycins and actinomycins were also directly identified in samples from the waste of A. echinatior and A. niger leaf-cutting ants, suggesting that the compounds exert their antimicrobial and antifungal potential in the nests of leaf-cutting ants. Strong synergistic effects of the secondary meta-bolites produced by ant-associated Streptomyces were observed in the agar diffusion assay against Escovopsis weberi. Actinomycins strongly inhibit soil bacteria as well as other Streptomyces and Pseudonocardia symbionts. The antifungal antimycins are not only active against pathogenic fungi but also the garden fungus L. gongylophorus itself. In conclusion, secondary metabolites of microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants contribute to shaping the microbial communities within the nests of leaf-cutting ants. PMID:21245311

  18. Interaction specificity between leaf-cutting ants and vertically transmitted Pseudonocardia bacteria

    Breum Andersen, Sandra; Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R.;

    2015-01-01

    Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend garde...... mutual co-adaptation within a single ant population.......Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens...... against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies are inoculated with one of two vertically transmitted phylotypes (Ps1 or Ps2), and maintain the same...

  19. Leaf-cutting ant attack in initial pine plantations and growth of defoliated plants

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this work was to evaluate the natural attack by Acromyrmex crassispinus in initial Pinus taeda plantations without control measures against ants, as well as the effect of defoliation in seedlings of P. taeda. Evaluations of the attack of leaf-cutting ants on P. taeda plantations were done monthly in the first six months, then 9 and 12 months after planting. The percentages of plants that were naturally attacked by ants were registered. The effect of defoliation was evaluated by artificial defoliation, simulating the natural patterns of attack by A. crassispinus on P. taeda seedlings. The natural attack of A. crassispinus was greater during the first months after planting, being more intense in the first 30 days. Artificial defoliation indicated that there were no significant losses in diameter and height in plants with less than 75% defoliation. However, there were significant losses in diameter and height in plants with 100% defoliation, independently of the cut of the apical meristem, and also plant death. The control of leaf-cutting ants in P. taeda plantings, in which A. crassispinus is the most frequent leaf-cutting ant, should be intense only at the beginning of planting, since the most severe attacks occur during this time.

  20. Interaction specificity between leaf-cutting ants and vertically transmitted Pseudonocardia bacteria

    Breum Andersen, Sandra; Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R.;

    2015-01-01

    against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies are inoculated with one of two vertically transmitted phylotypes (Ps1 or Ps2), and maintain the same......Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens...... phylotype over their lifetime. We performed a cross-fostering experiment to test whether co-adaptations between ants and bacterial phylotypes have evolved, and how this affects bacterial growth and ant prophylactic behavior after infection with Escovopsis.Results: We show that Pseudonocardia readily...

  1. Ephemeral windows of opportunity for horizontal transmission of fungal symbionts in leaf-cutting ants

    Poulsen, Michael; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Currie, Cameron R.;

    2009-01-01

    Evolutionary theory predicts that hosts are selected to prevent mixing of genetically different symbionts when competition among lineages reduces the productivity of a mutualism. The symbionts themselves may also defend their interests: recent studies of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants showed that s...... droplets remain compatible with alternative strains during the early stage of colony founding. We discuss how brief stages of low commitment between partners may increase the evolutionary stability of ancient coevolved mutualisms.......Evolutionary theory predicts that hosts are selected to prevent mixing of genetically different symbionts when competition among lineages reduces the productivity of a mutualism. The symbionts themselves may also defend their interests: recent studies of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants showed that...... original symbiont, and by the ant species the novel symbiont came from. The colony founding stage may thus provide an efficient but transient window for horizontal transmission, in which the fungus is unable to actively defend its partnership position before the host feeds on it, so that host fecal...

  2. Differences in forage-acquisition and fungal enzyme activity contribute to niche segregation in Panamanian leaf-cutting ants.

    Pepijn W Kooij

    Full Text Available The genera Atta and Acromyrmex are often grouped as leaf-cutting ants for pest management assessments and ecological surveys, although their mature colony sizes and foraging niches may differ substantially. Few studies have addressed such interspecific differences at the same site, which prompted us to conduct a comparative study across six sympatric leaf-cutting ant species in Central Panama. We show that foraging rates during the transition between dry and wet season differ about 60 fold between genera, but are relatively constant across species within genera. These differences appear to match overall differences in colony size, especially when Atta workers that return to their nests without leaves are assumed to carry liquid food. We confirm that Panamanian Atta specialize primarily on tree-leaves whereas Acromyrmex focus on collecting flowers and herbal leaves and that species within genera are similar in these overall foraging strategies. Species within genera tended to be spaced out over the three habitat categories that we distinguished (forest, forest edge, open grassland, but each of these habitats normally had only a single predominant Atta and Acromyrmex species. We measured activities of twelve fungus garden decomposition enzymes, belonging to the amylases, cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases and proteinases, and show that average enzyme activity per unit of fungal mass in Atta gardens is lower than in Acromyrmex gardens. Expression profiles of fungal enzymes in Atta also appeared to be more specialized than in Acromyrmex, possibly reflecting variation in forage material. Our results suggest that species- and genus-level identities of leaf-cutting ants and habitat-specific foraging profiles may give predictable differences in the expression of fungal genes coding for decomposition enzymes.

  3. Differences in forage-acquisition and fungal enzyme activity contribute to niche segregation in Panamanian leaf-cutting ants.

    Kooij, Pepijn W; Liberti, Joanito; Giampoudakis, Konstantinos; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2014-01-01

    The genera Atta and Acromyrmex are often grouped as leaf-cutting ants for pest management assessments and ecological surveys, although their mature colony sizes and foraging niches may differ substantially. Few studies have addressed such interspecific differences at the same site, which prompted us to conduct a comparative study across six sympatric leaf-cutting ant species in Central Panama. We show that foraging rates during the transition between dry and wet season differ about 60 fold between genera, but are relatively constant across species within genera. These differences appear to match overall differences in colony size, especially when Atta workers that return to their nests without leaves are assumed to carry liquid food. We confirm that Panamanian Atta specialize primarily on tree-leaves whereas Acromyrmex focus on collecting flowers and herbal leaves and that species within genera are similar in these overall foraging strategies. Species within genera tended to be spaced out over the three habitat categories that we distinguished (forest, forest edge, open grassland), but each of these habitats normally had only a single predominant Atta and Acromyrmex species. We measured activities of twelve fungus garden decomposition enzymes, belonging to the amylases, cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases and proteinases, and show that average enzyme activity per unit of fungal mass in Atta gardens is lower than in Acromyrmex gardens. Expression profiles of fungal enzymes in Atta also appeared to be more specialized than in Acromyrmex, possibly reflecting variation in forage material. Our results suggest that species- and genus-level identities of leaf-cutting ants and habitat-specific foraging profiles may give predictable differences in the expression of fungal genes coding for decomposition enzymes. PMID:24718261

  4. Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants

    S. Bouchebti; Ferrere, S.; Vittori, K.; LATIL, G.; Dussutour, A; Fourcassié, V.

    2015-01-01

    Lane segregation is rarely observed in animals that move in bidirectional flows. Consequently, these animals generally experience a high rate of head-on collisions during their journeys. Although these collisions have a cost (each collision induces a delay resulting in a decrease of individual speed), they could also have a benefit by promoting information transfer between individuals. Here we explore the impact of head-on collisions in leaf-cutting ants moving on foraging trails by artificia...

  5. Fungal-Fungal Interactions in Leaf-Cutting Ant Agriculture

    Sunshine A. Van Bael

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Many organisms participate in symbiotic relationships with other organisms, yet studies of symbioses typically have focused on the reciprocal costs and benefits within a particular host-symbiont pair. Recent studies indicate that many ecological interactions involve alliances of symbionts acting together as mutualistic consortia against other consortia. Such interacting consortia are likely to be widespread in nature, even if the interactions often occur in a cryptic fashion. Little theory and empirical data exist concerning how these complex interactions shape ecological outcomes in nature. Here, we review recent work on fungal-fungal interactions between two consortia: (i leaf-cutting ants and their symbiotic fungi (the latter grown as a food crop by the former and (ii tropical plants and their foliar endophytes (the cryptic symbiotic fungi within leaves of the former. Plant characteristics (e.g., secondary compounds or leaf physical properties of leaves are involved in leaf-cutting ant preferences, and a synthesis of published information suggests that these plant traits could be modified by fungal presence. We discuss potential mechanisms for how fungal-fungal interactions proceed in the leaf-cutting ant agriculture and suggest themes for future research.

  6. Genetic royal cheats in leaf-cutting ant societies

    Hughes, William O H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    Social groups are vulnerable to cheating because the reproductive interests of group members are rarely identical. All cooperative systems are therefore predicted to involve a mix of cooperative and cheating genotypes, with the frequency of the latter being constrained by the suppressive abilities...... by becoming queens whereas their nestmates will generally maximize fitness by forcing larvae to become workers. However, evolutionary constraints are thought to prevent cheating by removing genetic variation in caste propensity. Here, we show that one-fifth of leaf-cutting ant patrilines cheat their...... theory predicts, these "royal" genotypes are rare both in the population and within individual colonies. The rarity of royal cheats is best explained as an evolutionary strategy to avoid suppression by cooperative genotypes, the efficiency of which is frequency-dependent. The results demonstrate that...

  7. Preliminary in vitro insights into the use of natural fungal pathogens of leaf-cutting ants as biocontrol agents.

    Folgarait, Patricia; Gorosito, Norma; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R

    2011-09-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are one of the main herbivores of the Neotropics, where they represent an important agricultural pest. These ants are particularly difficult to control because of the complex network of microbial symbionts. Leaf-cutting ants have traditionally been controlled through pesticide application, but there is a need for alternative, more environmentally friendly, control methods such as biological control. Potential promising biocontrol candidates include the microfungi Escovopsis spp. (anamorphic Hypocreales), which are specialized pathogens of the fungi the ants cultivate for food. These pathogens are suppressed through ant behaviors and ant-associated antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria. In order to be an effective biocontrol agent, Escovopsis has to overcome these defenses. Here, we evaluate, using microbial in vitro assays, whether defenses in the ant-cultivated fungus strain (Leucoagaricus sp.) and Actinobacteria from the ant pest Acromyrmex lundii have the potential to limit the use of Escovopsis in biocontrol. We also explore, for the first time, possible synergistic biocontrol between Escovopsis and the entomopathogenic fungus Lecanicillium lecanii. All strains of Escovopsis proved to overgrow A. lundii cultivar in less than 7 days, with the Escovopsis strain isolated from a different leaf-cutting ant species being the most efficient. Escovopsis challenged with a Streptomyces strain isolated from A. lundii did not exhibit significant growth inhibition. Both results are encouraging for the use of Escovopsis as a biocontrol agent. Although we found that L. lecanii can suppress the growth of the cultivar, it also had a negative impact on Escovopsis, making the success of simultaneous use of these two fungi for biocontrol of A. lundii questionable. PMID:21739253

  8. Energetic cost of digging behavior in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Fabricius)

    Roberto da Silva Camargo; Juliane F. S. Lopes; Luiz Carlos Forti

    2013-01-01

    Energetic cost of digging behavior in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Fabricius). During nest excavation, leaf-cutting ant workers undergo reduction in their body reserve, particularly carbohydrates. In order to estimate the energetic cost of digging, groups of 30 workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens were sealed in a hermetic chamber for 24, 48 and 72 hours, with and without soil for digging, and had the CO2 concentration measured using respirometric chambers as well as ...

  9. Laccase detoxification mediates the nutritional alliance between leaf-cutting ants and fungus-garden symbionts

    De Fine Licht, Henrik; Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina;

    2013-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants combine large-scale herbivory with fungus farming to sustain advanced societies. Their stratified colonies are major evolutionary achievements and serious agricultural pests, but the crucial adaptations that allowed this mutualism to become the prime herbivorous component of...... preadaptation and subsequent modification of a particular laccase enzyme for the detoxification of secondary plant compounds during the transition to active herbivory in the ancestor of leaf-cutting ants between 8 and 12 Mya....

  10. Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation

    Roberto S. Camargo; Juliane F. S. Lopes; Luiz C. Forti; Somera, Alexandre F.; Mauricio Bacci Jr

    2013-01-01

    Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation. In this study we aimed to ascertain whether leaf-cutting ant workers lose body reserves (fat or sugars) as a function of nest excavation. For each treatment, we isolated 10 workers of Atta sexdens into two experimental groups, Control (C- without excavation) and Soil (S- with excavation), which were kept for different time intervals (0, 24, 48 or 72 hours), totaling 700 tested workers. We then determined the concent...

  11. Chemical basis of the synergism and antagonism in microbial communities in the nests of leaf-cutting ants

    Schoenian, Ilka; Spiteller, Michael; Ghaste, Manoj; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which serves as a major food source. This symbiosis is threatened by microbial pathogens that can severely infect L. gongylophorus. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants, mainly Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, support the ants in defending their fungus gardens against infections by supplying antimicrobial and antifungal compounds. The ecological role of microorganisms in the nests of leaf-cutting ants can only be addresse...

  12. The thermoregulatory function of thatched nests in the South American grass-cutting ant, Acromyrmex heyeri.

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2010-01-01

    The construction of mound-shaped nests by ants is considered as a behavioral adaptation to low environmental temperatures, i.e., colonies achieve higher and more stables temperatures than those of the environment. Besides the well-known nests of boreal Formica wood-ants, several species of South American leaf-cutting ants of the genus Acromyrmex construct thatched nests. Acromyrmex workers import plant fragments as building material, and arrange them so as to form a thatch covering a central chamber, where the fungus garden is located. Thus, the degree of thermoregulation attained by the fungus garden inside the thatched nest largely depends on how the thatch affects the thermal relations between the fungus and the environment. This work was aimed at studying the thermoregulatory function of the thatched nests built by the grass-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Nest and environmental temperatures were measured as a function of solar radiation on the long-term. The thermal diffusivity of the nest thatch was measured and compared to that of the surrounding soil, in order to assess the influence of the building material on the nest's thermoregulatory ability. The results showed that the average core temperature of thatched nests was higher than that of the environment, but remained below values harmful for the fungus. This thermoregulation was brought about by the low thermal diffusivity of the nest thatch built by workers with plant fragments, instead of the readily-available soil particles that have a higher thermal diffusivity. The thatch prevented diurnal nest overheating by the incoming solar radiation, and avoided losses of the accumulated daily heat into the cold air during the night. The adaptive value of thatching behavior in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants occurring in the southernmost distribution range is discussed. PMID:20883129

  13. Nest enlargement in leaf-cutting ants: relocated brood and fungus trigger the excavation of new chambers.

    Daniela Römer

    Full Text Available During colony growth, leaf-cutting ants enlarge their nests by excavating tunnels and chambers housing their fungus gardens and brood. Workers are expected to excavate new nest chambers at locations across the soil profile that offer suitable environmental conditions for brood and fungus rearing. It is an open question whether new chambers are excavated in advance, or will emerge around brood or fungus initially relocated to a suitable site in a previously-excavated tunnel. In the laboratory, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the excavation of new nest chambers in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lundi. Specifically, we asked whether workers relocate brood and fungus to suitable nest locations, and to what extent the relocated items trigger the excavation of a nest chamber and influence its shape. When brood and fungus were exposed to unfavorable environmental conditions, either low temperatures or low humidity, both were relocated, but ants clearly preferred to relocate the brood first. Workers relocated fungus to places containing brood, demonstrating that subsequent fungus relocation spatially follows the brood deposition. In addition, more ants aggregated at sites containing brood. When presented with a choice between two otherwise identical digging sites, but one containing brood, ants' excavation activity was higher at this site, and the shape of the excavated cavity was more rounded and chamber-like. The presence of fungus also led to the excavation of rounder shapes, with higher excavation activity at the site that also contained brood. We argue that during colony growth, workers preferentially relocate brood to suitable locations along a tunnel, and that relocated brood spatially guides fungus relocation and leads to increased digging activity around them. We suggest that nest chambers are not excavated in advance, but emerge through a self-organized process resulting from the aggregation of workers and their density

  14. Leaf endophyte load and fungal garden development in leaf-cutting ants

    Previous work has shown that leaf-cutting ants prefer to cut leaf material that is relatively low in fungal endophyte content. Such a preference suggests that fungal endophytes exact a cost on the ants or on the development of their colonies. We hypothesized that endophytes may play a role in thei...

  15. Leaf-cutting ant fungi produce cell wall degrading pectinase complexes reminiscent of phytopathogenic fungi

    Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Roepstorff, Peter;

    2010-01-01

    Leaf-cutting (attine) ants use their own fecal material to manure fungus gardens, which consist of leaf material overgrown by hyphal threads of the basidiomycete fungus Leucocoprinus gongylophorus that lives in symbiosis with the ants. Previous studies have suggested that the fecal droplets conta...

  16. Regulation and specificity of antifungal metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants

    Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David Richard; Jensen, Annette Bruun;

    2012-01-01

    Ants have paired metapleural glands (MGs) to produce secretions for prophylactic hygiene. These exocrine glands are particularly well developed in leaf-cutting ants, but whether the ants can actively regulate MG secretion is unknown. In a set of controlled experiments using conidia of five fungi...... significantly larger for ants challenged with virulent and mild pathogens/weeds than for controls and Escovopsis-challenged ants. We conclude that the MG defence system of leaf-cutting ants has characteristics reminiscent of an additional cuticular immune system, with specific and non-specific components, of......, we show that the ants adjust the amount of MG secretion to the virulence of the fungus with which they are infected. We further applied fixed volumes of MG secretion of ants challenged with constant conidia doses to agar mats of the same fungal species. This showed that inhibition halos were...

  17. Shared Escovopsis parasites between leaf-cutting and non-leaf-cutting ants in the higher attine fungus-growing ant symbiosis.

    Meirelles, Lucas A; Solomon, Scott E; Bacci, Mauricio; Wright, April M; Mueller, Ulrich G; Rodrigues, Andre

    2015-09-01

    Fungus-gardening (attine) ants grow fungus for food in protected gardens, which contain beneficial, auxiliary microbes, but also microbes harmful to gardens. Among these potentially pathogenic microorganisms, the most consistently isolated are fungi in the genus Escovopsis, which are thought to co-evolve with ants and their cultivar in a tripartite model. To test clade-to-clade correspondence between Escovopsis and ants in the higher attine symbiosis (including leaf-cutting and non-leaf-cutting ants), we amassed a geographically comprehensive collection of Escovopsis from Mexico to southern Brazil, and reconstructed the corresponding Escovopsis phylogeny. Contrary to previous analyses reporting phylogenetic divergence between Escovopsis from leafcutters and Trachymyrmex ants (non-leafcutter), we found no evidence for such specialization; rather, gardens from leafcutters and non-leafcutters genera can sometimes be infected by closely related strains of Escovopsis, suggesting switches at higher phylogenetic levels than previously reported within the higher attine symbiosis. Analyses identified rare Escovopsis strains that might represent biogeographically restricted endemic species. Phylogenetic patterns correspond to morphological variation of vesicle type (hyphal structures supporting spore-bearing cells), separating Escovopsis with phylogenetically derived cylindrical vesicles from ancestral Escovopsis with globose vesicles. The new phylogenetic insights provide an improved basis for future taxonomic and ecological studies of Escovopsis. PMID:26473050

  18. Generation of Nutrients and Detoxification: Possible Roles of Yeasts in Leaf-Cutting Ant Nests

    Pagnocca, Fernando C.; Ifeloju Dayo-Owoyemi; Marson, Fernando A L; Mendes, Thais D.; André Rodrigues

    2012-01-01

    The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in ant nests may play the role of making nutrients readily available throughout the garden and detoxification of compounds that may be deleterious to the ants and their fungal cultivar. Among the yeasts screened, 65% exhibited cellu...

  19. Correlation between virulence and genetic structure of Escovopsis strains from leaf-cutting ant colonies in Costa Rica.

    Wallace, Diego E Elizondo; Asensio, Juan G Vargas; Tomás, Adrián A Pinto

    2014-08-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (genera Atta and Acromyrmex) cultivate a specialized fungus for food in underground chambers employing cut plant material as substrate. Parasitism occurs in this agricultural system and plays an important role in colony fitness. The microfungi Escovopsis, a specialized mycoparasite of the fungal cultivar, is highly prevalent among colonies. In this study, we tested the antagonistic activity of several Escovopsis strains from different geographical areas in Costa Rica. We employed a combination of laboratory tests to evaluate virulence, including pure culture challenges, toxicity to fungus garden pieces and subcolony bioassays. We also performed a phylogenetic analysis of these strains in order to correlate their virulence with the genetic structure of this population. The bioassays yielded results consistent between each other and showed significant differences in antagonistic activity among the parasites evaluated. However, no significant differences were found when comparing the results of the bioassays according to the source of the ants' fungal cultivar. The phylogenetic analyses were consistent with these results: whilst the fungal cultivar phylogeny showed a single clade with limited molecular variation, the Escovopsis phylogeny yielded several clades with the most virulent isolates grouping in the same well-supported clade. These results indicate that there are Escovopsis strains better suited to establish their antagonistic effect, whilst the genetic homogeneity of the fungal cultivars limits their ability to modulate Escovopsis antagonism. These findings should be taken into consideration when evaluating the potential of Escovopsis isolates as biocontrol agents for this important agricultural pest in the Neotropics. PMID:24836623

  20. Low host-pathogen specificity in the leaf-cutting ant-microbe symbiosis.

    Taerum, Stephen J; Cafaro, Matías J; Little, Ainslie E F; Schultz, Ted R; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-08-22

    Host-parasite associations are shaped by coevolutionary dynamics. One example is the complex fungus-growing ant-microbe symbiosis, which includes ancient host-parasite coevolution. Fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food have an antagonistic symbiosis with Escovopsis, a specialized microfungus that infects the ants' fungus gardens. The evolutionary histories of the ant, cultivar and Escovopsis are highly congruent at the deepest phylogenetic levels, with specific parasite lineages exclusively associating with corresponding groups of ants and cultivar. Here, we examine host-parasite specificity at finer phylogenetic levels, within the most derived clade of fungus-growing ants, the leaf-cutters (Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp.). Our molecular phylogeny of Escovopsis isolates from the leaf-cutter ant-microbe symbiosis confirms specificity at the broad phylogenetic level, but reveals frequent host-switching events between species and genera of leaf-cutter ants. Escovopsis strains isolated from Acromyrmex and Atta gardens occur together in the same clades, and very closely related strains can even infect the gardens of both ant genera. Experimental evidence supports low host-parasite specificity, with phylogenetically diverse strains of Escovopsis being capable of overgrowing all leaf-cutter cultivars examined. Thus, our findings indicate that this host-pathogen association is shaped by the farming ants having to protect their cultivated fungus from phylogenetically diverse Escovopsis garden pathogens. PMID:17550881

  1. Density-dependence and within-host competition in a semelparous parasite of leaf-cutting ants

    Thomsen Lene

    2004-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Parasite heterogeneity and within-host competition are thought to be important factors influencing the dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Yet, while there have been many theoretical investigations of how these factors may act, empirical data is more limited. We investigated the effects of parasite density and heterogeneity on parasite virulence and fitness using four strains of the entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae, and its leaf-cutting ant host Acromyrmex echinatior as the model system. Results The relationship between parasite density and infection was sigmoidal, with there being an invasion threshold for an infection to occur (an Allee effect. Although spore production was positively density-dependent, parasite fitness decreased with increasing parasite density, indicating within-host scramble competition. The dynamics differed little between the four strains tested. In mixed infections of three strains the infection-growth dynamics were unaffected by parasite heterogeneity. Conclusions The strength of within-host competition makes dispersal the best strategy for the parasite. Parasite heterogeneity may not have effected virulence or the infection dynamics either because the most virulent strain outcompeted the others, or because the interaction involved scramble competition that was impervious to parasite heterogeneity. The dynamics observed may be common for virulent parasites, such as Metarhizium, that produce aggregated transmission stages. Such parasites make useful models for investigating infection dynamics and the impact of parasite competition.

  2. Leaf endophyte load influences fungal garden development in leaf-cutting ants

    Van Bael Sunshine A

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Previous work has shown that leaf-cutting ants prefer to cut leaf material with relatively low fungal endophyte content. This preference suggests that fungal endophytes exact a cost on the ants or on the development of their colonies. We hypothesized that endophytes may play a role in their host plants’ defense against leaf-cutting ants. To measure the long-term cost to the ant colony of fungal endophytes in their forage material, we conducted a 20-week laboratory experiment to measure fungal garden development for colonies that foraged on leaves with low or high endophyte content. Results Colony mass and the fungal garden dry mass did not differ significantly between the low and high endophyte feeding treatments. There was, however, a marginally significant trend toward greater mass of fungal garden per ant worker in the low relative to the high endophyte treatment. This trend was driven by differences in the fungal garden mass per worker from the earliest samples, when leaf-cutting ants had been foraging on low or high endophyte leaf material for only 2 weeks. At two weeks of foraging, the mean fungal garden mass per worker was 77% greater for colonies foraging on leaves with low relative to high endophyte loads. Conclusions Our data suggest that the cost of endophyte presence in ant forage material may be greatest to fungal colony development in its earliest stages, when there are few workers available to forage and to clean leaf material. This coincides with a period of high mortality for incipient colonies in the field. We discuss how the endophyte-leaf-cutter ant interaction may parallel constitutive defenses in plants, whereby endophytes reduce the rate of colony development when its risk of mortality is greatest.

  3. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant

    Brown, Mark

    2002-01-01

    PUBLISHED Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta?s garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural res...

  4. Behavioral Strategies of Phorid Parasitoids and Responses of Their Hosts, the Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Elizalde, Luciana; Folgarait, Patricia Julia

    2012-01-01

    Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Attini), host-related behavioral strategies (i.e., host searching and oviposition) for 13 phorid species, and host defensive responses (i.e., hitchhikers and p...

  5. Energetic cost of digging behavior in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Fabricius

    Roberto da Silva Camargo

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Energetic cost of digging behavior in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Fabricius. During nest excavation, leaf-cutting ant workers undergo reduction in their body reserve, particularly carbohydrates. In order to estimate the energetic cost of digging, groups of 30 workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens were sealed in a hermetic chamber for 24, 48 and 72 hours, with and without soil for digging, and had the CO2 concentration measured using respirometric chambers as well as volume of soil excavated (g. As expected, the worker groups that carried out soil excavation expelled more carbon dioxide than the groups that did not excavate. Therefore, a worker with body mass of 9.65 ± 1.50 mg dug in average 0.85 ± 0.27 g of soil for 24 hours, consuming ca. 0.58 ± 0.23 J. In this study, we calculate that the energetic cost of excavation per worker per day in the experimental set-up was ca. 0.58 J.

  6. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus uses leaf-cutting ants to vector proteolytic enzymes towards new plant substrate

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Hoffmann, Daniel;

    2014-01-01

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen...... fluid at pH values of 5-7, but the aspartic proteases were inactive across a pH range of 3-10. Protease activity disappeared when the ants were kept on a sugar water diet without fungus. Relative to normal mycelium, both metalloendoproteases, both serine proteases and one aspartic protease were...... leaf pulp that the ants add to the fungus garden, but regulatory functions such as activation of proenzymes are also possible, particularly for the aspartic proteases that were present but without showing activity. The proteases had high sequence similarities to proteolytic enzymes of phytopathogenic...

  7. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2002-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Molecular biological techniques are dramatically changing our view of microbial diversity in almost any environment that has so far been investigated. This study presents a systematic survey of the microbial diversity associated with a population of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants. In contrast to previous studies on social insects, which targeted specific groups of symbionts occurring in the gut (termites, Tetraponera ants or in specialised cells (Camponotus ants the objective of our present study was to do a total screening of all possible micro-organisms that can be found inside the bodies of these leafcutter ants. Results We amplified, cloned and sequenced SSU rRNA encoding gene fragments from 9 microbial groups known to have insect-associated representatives, and show that: (1 representatives of 5 out of 9 tested groups are present, (2 mostly several strains per group are present, adding up to a total of 33 different taxa. We present the microbial taxa associated with Acromymex ants in a phylogenetic context (using sequences from GenBank to assess and illustrate to which known microorganisms they are closely related. The observed microbial diversity is discussed in the light of present knowledge on the evolutionary history of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants and their known mutualistic and parasitic symbionts. Conclusions The major merits of the screening approach documented here is its high sensitivity and specificity, which allowed us to identify several microorganisms that are promising candidates for further study of their interactions with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants or their gardens.

  8. Sequential Soil Transport and Its Influence on the Spatial Organisation of Collective Digging in Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Steffen Pielström; Flavio Roces

    2013-01-01

    The Chaco leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri (Forel) inhabits large and deep subterranean nests composed of a large number of fungus and refuse chambers. The ants dispose of the excavated soil by forming small pellets that are carried to the surface. For ants in general, the organisation of underground soil transport during nest building remains completely unknown. In the laboratory, we investigated how soil pellets are formed and transported, and whether their occurrence influences the spat...

  9. Mating biology of the leaf-cutting ants Atta colombica and A. cephalotes

    Baer, Boris; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2006-01-01

    Copulation behavior has often been shaped by sexually selected sperm competition or cryptic female choice. However, manipulation of previously deposited ejaculates is unknown in the social Hymenoptera and the degree to which sperm competes after insemination or is actively selected by females has...... remained ambiguous. We studied the mating process in the leaf-cutting ants Atta colombica and A. cephalotes, which belong to one of the few derived social insect lineages where obligate multiple mating has evolved. As copulations often occur at night and in remote places, direct observations were...... impossible, so we had to reconstruct the sequential copulation events by morphological analysis of the male and female genitalia and by tracking the process of sperm transfer and sperm storage. We show that Atta male genitalia have two external rows of spiny teeth, which fit into a specialized pouch organ in...

  10. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant

    Hart, Adam; Bot, A. N. M.; Brown, Mark

    2002-03-01

    Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta's garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural response. In A. colombica, garden waste is removed from within the colony and transported to the midden - an external waste dump - where it is processed by a group of midden workers. We found that colonies infected with Escovopsis have higher numbers of workers on the midden, where Escovopsis is deposited. Further, midden workers are highly effective in dispersing newly deposited waste away from the dumping site. Thus, the colony-level task allocation strategies of the Atta superorganism may change in response to the threat of disease to a third, essential party.

  11. Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation

    Roberto S. Camargo

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation. In this study we aimed to ascertain whether leaf-cutting ant workers lose body reserves (fat or sugars as a function of nest excavation. For each treatment, we isolated 10 workers of Atta sexdens into two experimental groups, Control (C- without excavation and Soil (S- with excavation, which were kept for different time intervals (0, 24, 48 or 72 hours, totaling 700 tested workers. We then determined the concentration of soluble carbohydrates and total lipid content in them. The total carbohydrates were determined colorimetrically, based on the reaction between carbohydrates and sulfuric acid-phenol. For determination of lipids, the insects were immersed in organic solvent until they reached a constant weight. Our results showed that carbohydrates are consumed during nest excavation activities. In the experimental groups S24, S48 and S72, there was an average reduction of 5.82 (20.42%, 14.31 (44.96% and 13.27 (43.96% µ.mg-1 in soluble sugar when compared with the experimental groups that did not excavate. Furthermore, the lipids were not used during this activity. With respect to dry mass of the workers, their values were C0 = 8%, C24 = 10.4%, C48 = 9.2%, C72 = 10%, S24 = 9.2%, S48 = 8.7% and S72 = 8.5%. Our results show experimentally that the source of energy for nest excavation is carbohydrates, whereas lipids are conserved for other activities.

  12. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants: a cross-fostering approach.

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Broch, Jens F; Marín, Hermogenes Fernández; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-06-01

    To ameliorate the impact of disease, social insects combine individual innate immune defenses with collective social defenses. This implies that there are different levels of selection acting on investment in immunity, each with their own trade-offs. We present the results of a cross-fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced both individual innate immunity (constitutive antibacterial activity) and the size of the metapleural gland, which secretes antimicrobial compounds and functions in individual and social defense, indicating multiple mating could have important consequences for both defense types. However, the primarily social defense, a Pseudonocardia bacteria that helps to control pathogens in the ants' fungus garden, showed a significant colony of origin by rearing environment interaction, whereby ants that acquired the bacteria of a foster colony obtained a less abundant cover of bacteria: one explanation for this pattern would be co-adaptation between host colonies and their vertically transmitted mutualist. These results illustrate the complexity of the selection pressures that affect the expression of multilevel immune defenses. PMID:21644963

  13. Ultrastructure and physiology of the CO2 sensitive sensillum ampullaceum in the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens

    Kleineidam, Christoph; Romani, Roberto; Tautz, Jürgen; Isidoro, Nunzio

    2000-01-01

    The sensilla ampullacea on the apical antennomere of the leaf cutting ant Atta sexdens were investigated regarding both their responses to CO2 and their ultrastructure. By staining the sensillum during recording, we confirmed that the sensilla ampullacea are responsible for CO2 perception. We showed that the sensory neurons of the sensilla ampullacea are continuously active without adaptation during stimulation with CO2 (test duration: 1 h). This feature should enable ants to assess the absol...

  14. Combate sistemático de formigas-cortadeiras com iscas granuladas, em eucaliptais com cultivo mínimo Systematic control of leaf-cutting ants in areas with eucalyptus stands under minimum cultivation system

    Ronald Zanetti

    2003-06-01

    Full Text Available Avaliou-se a eficiência do combate sistemático de formigas-cortadeiras em áreas de reforma de eucalipto com cultivo mínimo, na Celulose Nipo-Brasileira S.A., em Belo Oriente, Minas Gerais, de setembro a dezembro de 1996. Os tratamentos consistiram na aplicação de uma isca granulada com sulfluramida (0,3% de forma sistemática, a granel ou com microporta-iscas, na dosagem de 5 g a cada 6 m² e 10 g a cada 12 m², respectivamente. A mortalidade das colônias de formigas-cortadeiras foi avaliada 30 dias após a aplicação da isca. Foram encontradas até 396,3, 285,2, 59,3, 55,6, 29,6 e 14,8 colônias de Mycocepurus goeldii, Sericomyrmex sp., Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans, Atta spp., Acromyrmex balzani e Acromyrmex niger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae por hectare, respectivamente. A eficiência da isca granulada no combate sistemático variou com o método empregado e com a espécie de formiga-cortadeira. A maior eficiência foi obtida para A. subterraneus molestans, com 69,2% de suas colônias mortas com a isca aplicada a granel e 62,5% com microporta-iscas, o que indica que a distribuição entre dois pontos com isca nos plantios de eucalipto foi maior que a área de forrageamento das formigas-cortadeiras encontradas e, ou, que a dosagem aplicada por ponto foi insuficiente.The efficiency of a systematic application of baits against leaf-cutting ants was evaluated in a eucalypus plantation under a minimum cultivation system, in areas owned by Celulose Nipo-Brasileira S.A. (CENIBRA, in Belo Oriente, Minas Gerais, Brazil, from September to December 1996. Treatments consisted of applying a granulated bait with sulfluramide (0.3% in a systematic manner in bulk and plastic bags at a dose of five grams every 6 m² (T1 and 10 grams at each 12 m² (T2. Mortality of colonies of leaf-cutting ants was evaluated 30 days after bait application. A. maximum of 396.3; 285.2; 59.3; 55.6; 29.6 and 14.8 colonies of Mycocepurus goeldii, Sericomyrmex sp

  15. The Postpharyngeal Gland: Specialized Organ for Lipid Nutrition in Leaf-Cutting Ants.

    Decio, Pâmela; Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Dias, Nathalia Baptista; Palma, Mario Sergio; Bueno, Odair Correa

    2016-01-01

    There are several hypotheses about the possible functions of the postpharyngeal gland (PPG) in ants. The proposed functions include roles as cephalic or gastric caeca and diverticulum of the digestive tract, mixing of hydrocarbons, nestmate recognition, feeding larvae, and the accumulation of lipids inside this gland, whose origin is contradictory. The current study aimed to investigate the functions of these glands by examining the protein expression profile of the PPGs of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mated females received lipid supplementation and their glands were extracted and analyzed using a proteomic approach. The protocol used combined two-dimensional electrophoresis and shotgun strategies, followed by mass spectrometry. We also detected lipid β-oxidation by immunofluorescent marking of acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. Supplying ants with lipids elicited responses in the glandular cells of the PPG; these included increased expression of proteins related to defense mechanisms and signal transduction and reorganization of the cytoskeleton due to cell expansion. In addition, some proteins in PPG were overexpressed, especially those involved in lipid and energy metabolism. Part of the lipids may be reduced, used for the synthesis of fatty alcohol, transported to the hemolymph, or may be used as substrate for the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, which is oxidized to form molecules that drive oxidative phosphorylation and produce energy for cellular metabolic processes. These findings suggest that this organ is specialized for lipid nutrition of adult leaf-cutting ants and characterized like a of diverticulum foregut, with the ability to absorb, store, metabolize, and mobilize lipids to the hemolymph. However, we do not rule out that the PPG may have other functions in other species of ants. PMID:27149618

  16. The Postpharyngeal Gland: Specialized Organ for Lipid Nutrition in Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Decio, Pâmela; Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Dias, Nathalia Baptista; Palma, Mario Sergio; Bueno, Odair Correa

    2016-01-01

    There are several hypotheses about the possible functions of the postpharyngeal gland (PPG) in ants. The proposed functions include roles as cephalic or gastric caeca and diverticulum of the digestive tract, mixing of hydrocarbons, nestmate recognition, feeding larvae, and the accumulation of lipids inside this gland, whose origin is contradictory. The current study aimed to investigate the functions of these glands by examining the protein expression profile of the PPGs of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mated females received lipid supplementation and their glands were extracted and analyzed using a proteomic approach. The protocol used combined two-dimensional electrophoresis and shotgun strategies, followed by mass spectrometry. We also detected lipid β-oxidation by immunofluorescent marking of acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. Supplying ants with lipids elicited responses in the glandular cells of the PPG; these included increased expression of proteins related to defense mechanisms and signal transduction and reorganization of the cytoskeleton due to cell expansion. In addition, some proteins in PPG were overexpressed, especially those involved in lipid and energy metabolism. Part of the lipids may be reduced, used for the synthesis of fatty alcohol, transported to the hemolymph, or may be used as substrate for the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, which is oxidized to form molecules that drive oxidative phosphorylation and produce energy for cellular metabolic processes. These findings suggest that this organ is specialized for lipid nutrition of adult leaf-cutting ants and characterized like a of diverticulum foregut, with the ability to absorb, store, metabolize, and mobilize lipids to the hemolymph. However, we do not rule out that the PPG may have other functions in other species of ants. PMID:27149618

  17. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David Richard; Higginbotham, Sarah;

    2015-01-01

    derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste...... differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts.We hypothesize that these changes are associatedwith unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized...

  18. Nest Enlargement in Leaf-Cutting Ants: Relocated Brood and Fungus Trigger the Excavation of New Chambers

    Daniela Römer; Flavio Roces

    2014-01-01

    During colony growth, leaf-cutting ants enlarge their nests by excavating tunnels and chambers housing their fungus gardens and brood. Workers are expected to excavate new nest chambers at locations across the soil profile that offer suitable environmental conditions for brood and fungus rearing. It is an open question whether new chambers are excavated in advance, or will emerge around brood or fungus initially relocated to a suitable site in a previously-excavated tunnel. In the laboratory,...

  19. Towards a molecular understanding of symbiont function: Identification of a fungal gene for the degradation of xylan in the fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants

    Lange Lene

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Leaf-cutting ants live in symbiosis with a fungus that they rear for food by providing it with live plant material. Until recently the fungus' main inferred function was to make otherwise inaccessible cell wall degradation products available to the ants, but new studies have shed doubt on this idea. To provide evidence for the cell wall degrading capacity of the attine ant symbiont, we designed PCR primers from conserved regions of known xylanase genes, to be used in PCR with genomic DNA from the symbiont as template. We also measured xylanase, cellulase and proteinase activities in the fungus gardens in order to investigate the dynamics of degradation activities. Results We cloned a xylanase gene from the mutualistic fungus of Acromyrmex echinatior, determined its protein sequence, and inserted it in a yeast expression vector to confirm its substrate specificity. Our results show that the fungus has a functional xylanase gene. We also show by lab experiments in vivo that the activity of fungal xylanase and cellulase is not evenly distributed, but concentrated in the lower layer of fungus gardens, with only modest activity in the middle layer where gongylidia are produced and intermediate activity in the newly established top layer. This vertical distribution appears to be negatively correlated with the concentration of glucose, which indicates a directly regulating role of glucose, as has been found in other fungi and has been previously suggested for the ant fungal symbiont. Conclusion The mutualistic fungus of Acromyrmex echinatior has a functional xylanase gene and is thus presumably able to at least partially degrade the cell walls of leaves. This finding supports a saprotrophic origin of the fungal symbiont. The observed distribution of enzyme activity leads us to propose that leaf-substrate degradation in fungus gardens is a multi-step process comparable to normal biodegradation of organic matter in soil ecosystems

  20. Isolation and molecular characterization of symbiotic fungus from Acromyrmex ambiguus and Acromyrmex heyeri ants of Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil

    Daniela Isabel Brayer Pereira

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex determine serious agricultural problems and live on symbiosis with Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. The aim of this study is to identify morphological and molecularly, as well as to verify the genotypic variability of the symbiotic fungus cultivated by A. heyeri and A. ambiguus from three different regions of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Fungus gardens were collected and fragments of mycelia were grown in selective medium. Total DNA was extracted and amplification of the ITS region was performed by PCR using universal primers. After DNA sequencing, the chromatograms were assembled and phylogenetic analyzes were performed by the Neighbor-Joining method. A total of six isolates of L. gongylophorus were obtained and their identities were confirmed by molecular analyses. Phylogenetic analysis of the ITS region showed a tree with two distinct groups regarding the fungus isolates from A. heiyeri and A. ambiguous. In this study, it was verified that A. heyeri and A. ambiguous, cultivate the same fungus. Additionally, the molecular marker used in this study showed variations in L. gongylophorus, evidencing two distinct branches in the phylogenetic tree, according to the ant species that cultivate L. gongylophorus. However, other studies involving the inclusion of a great number of isolates of L. gongylophorus, as well as the use of other molecular markers to validate the possible variations in the phylogenetic relationship of this symbiotic fungus are required.

  1. Representation of thermal information in the antennal lobe of leaf-cutting ants

    Markus eRuchty

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Insects are equipped with various types of antennal sensilla, which house thermosensitive neurons adapted to receive different parameters of the thermal environment for a variety of temperature-guided behaviors. In the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri, the physiology and the morphology of the thermosensitive sensillum coeloconicum (Sc has been thoroughly investigated. However, the central projections of its receptor neurons are unknown. Here we selectively stained the three neurons found in single Sc and tracked their axons into the brain of Atta vollenweideri workers. Each of the three axons terminates in a single glomerulus of the antennal lobe (Sc-glomeruli. Two of the innervated glomeruli are adjacent to each other and are located laterally, while the third one is clearly separated and located medially in the antennal lobe. Using two-photon Ca2+ imaging of antennal lobe projection neurons, we studied where in the antennal lobe thermal information is represented. In the 11 investigated antennal lobes, we found up to 10 different glomeruli in a single specimen responding to temperature stimulation. Both, warm- and cold-sensitive glomeruli could be identified. The thermosensitive glomeruli were mainly located in the medial part of the antennal lobe. Based on the general representation of thermal information in the antennal lobe and functional data on the Sc-glomeruli we conclude that temperature stimuli received by Sc are processed in the medial of the three target glomeruli. The present study reveals an important role of the antennal lobe in temperature processing and links a specific thermosensitive neuron to its central target glomerulus.

  2. Leaf-cutting ants toxicity of limonexic acid and degraded limonoids from Raulinoa echinata: X-ray structure of epoxy-fraxinellone

    Phytochemical survey of roots extracts of the South Brazilian endemic plant Raulinoa echinata Cowan, Rutaceae led to the isolation of known degraded limonoids: fraxinellone, fraxinellonone and epoxy-fraxinellone. The latter was previously isolated also from the stems, but the relative configuration could not be solved by NMR experiments. This paper deals with the X-ray diffraction analysis of epoxy-fraxinellone and its toxicity to leaf-cutting ants, describes the isolation of fraxinellonone and fraxinellone for the first time in Raulinoa. Epoxy-fraxinellone showed no toxicity to the leaf-cutting ants (Atta sexdens rubropilosa). The limonoid limonexic acid, isolated from stems, presented high toxicity to the leaf-cutting ants, diminishing considerably their longevity. (author)

  3. Leaf-cutting ants toxicity of limonexic acid and degraded limonoids from Raulinoa echinata: X-ray structure of epoxy-fraxinellone

    Biavatti, Maique W.; Westerlon, Rosangela [Universidade do Vale do Itajai, SC (Brazil). Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias Farmaceuticas]. E-mail: maique@univali.br; Vieira, Paulo C.; Silva, M. Fatima G.F. da; Fernandes, Joao B. [Sao Carlos Univ., SP (Brazil). Dept. de Quimica; Penaflor, M. Fernanda G.V.; Bueno, Odair C. [UNESP, Rio Claro, SP (Brazil). Centro de Estudos de Insetos Sociais; Ellena, Javier [Sao Paulo Univ., Sao Carlos, SP (Brazil). Inst. de Fisica

    2005-11-15

    Phytochemical survey of roots extracts of the South Brazilian endemic plant Raulinoa echinata Cowan, Rutaceae led to the isolation of known degraded limonoids: fraxinellone, fraxinellonone and epoxy-fraxinellone. The latter was previously isolated also from the stems, but the relative configuration could not be solved by NMR experiments. This paper deals with the X-ray diffraction analysis of epoxy-fraxinellone and its toxicity to leaf-cutting ants, describes the isolation of fraxinellonone and fraxinellone for the first time in Raulinoa. Epoxy-fraxinellone showed no toxicity to the leaf-cutting ants (Atta sexdens rubropilosa). The limonoid limonexic acid, isolated from stems, presented high toxicity to the leaf-cutting ants, diminishing considerably their longevity. (author)

  4. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants.

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-05-22

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens. PMID:25925100

  5. Prevalence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants characterized by 454 pyrosequencing.

    Duarte, A P M; Ferro, M; Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Nagamoto, N S; Forti, L C; Pagnocca, F C

    2016-09-01

    The relationship of attine ants with their mutualistic fungus and other microorganisms has been studied during the last two centuries. However, previous studies about the diversity of fungi in the ants' microenvironment are based mostly on culture-dependent approaches, lacking a broad characterization of the fungal ant-associated community. Here, we analysed the fungal diversity found on the integument of Atta capiguara and Atta laevigata alate ants using 454 pyrosequencing. We obtained 35,453 ITS reads grouped into 99 molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs). Data analysis revealed that A. capiguara drones had the highest diversity of MOTUs. Besides the occurrence of several uncultured fungi, the mycobiota analysis revealed that the most abundant taxa were the Cladosporium-complex, Cryptococcus laurentii and Epicoccum sp. Taxa in the genus Cladosporium were predominant in all samples, comprising 67.9 % of all reads. The remarkable presence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants alates from distinct ant species suggests that this fungus is favored in this microenvironment. PMID:27307255

  6. Protein content of leaf-cutting ant queens before the nuptial flight and during the post-claustral phase

    Edypo Jacob Silva

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Protein content of leaf-cutting ant queens before the nuptial flight and during the post-claustral phase. This study evaluated the crude protein content of queens of Atta sexdens before the nuptial flight and after the claustral phase in laboratory and field colonies. The hypothesis was that protein is used for survival of the queen and for early colony growth during the claustral phase. Additionally, the nest morphology, live biomass and adult population of field colonies were evaluated. Crude protein was determined by digestion of the organic material with sulfuric acid at high temperatures. The mean crude protein content was 123.23 ± 11.20 mg for females before the nuptial flight and 70.44 ± 12.21 mg for laboratory-reared queens after the claustral phase. The post-claustral crude protein content of field-collected queen was 55.90 ± 9.18 mg. With respect to the loss of crude protein as a function of duration of the claustral phase, laboratory-reared queens lost 52.79 mg and field-collected queens lost 67.33 mg compared to females before the nuptial flight. A positive linear correlation was observed between the weight of field-collected queens (256.4 ± 36.3 mg and colony biomass (13.02 ± 9.12 g, but there was no correlation between biomass and nest depth (13.11 ± 3.82 cm. As expected, the present results support the hypothesis that protein is used for survival of the queen and for early colony growth, as demonstrated by the reduction in crude protein content as a function of duration of the claustral phase. To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide data of the dynamics of protein reserves in leaf-cutting ant queens during the claustral phase.

  7. Social life and sanitary risks: evolutionary and current ecological conditions determine waste management in leaf-cutting ants.

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Elizalde, Luciana; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2016-05-25

    Adequate waste management is vital for the success of social life, because waste accumulation increases sanitary risks in dense societies. We explored why different leaf-cutting ants (LCA) species locate their waste in internal nest chambers or external piles, including ecological context and accounting for phylogenetic relations. We propose that waste location depends on whether the environmental conditions enhance or reduce the risk of infection. We obtained the geographical range, habitat and refuse location of LCA from published literature, and experimentally determined whether pathogens on ant waste survived to the high soil temperatures typical of xeric habitats. The habitat of the LCA determined waste location after phylogenetic correction: species with external waste piles mainly occur in xeric environments, whereas those with internal waste chambers mainly inhabit more humid habitats. The ancestral reconstruction suggests that dumping waste externally is less derived than digging waste nest chambers. Empirical results showed that high soil surface temperatures reduce pathogen prevalence from LCA waste. We proposed that LCA living in environments unfavourable for pathogens (i.e. xeric habitats) avoid digging costs by dumping the refuse above ground. Conversely, in environments suitable for pathogens, LCA species prevent the spread of diseases by storing waste underground, presumably, a behaviour that contributed to the colonization of humid habitats. These results highlight the adaptation of organisms to the hygienic challenges of social living, and illustrate how sanitary behaviours can result from a combination of evolutionary history and current environmental conditions. PMID:27226469

  8. Caste-specific symbiont policing by workers of Acromyrmex fungus-growing ants

    Ivens, Aniek B. F.; Nash, David R.; Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2009-01-01

    The interaction between leaf-cutting ants and their fungus garden mutualists is ideal for studying the evolutionary stability of interspecific cooperation. Although the mutualism has a long history of diffuse coevolution, there is ample potential for conflicts between the partners over the mixing an

  9. Expressed sequence tags from Atta laevigata and identification of candidate genes for the control of pest leaf-cutting ants

    Henrique-Silva Flávio

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Leafcutters are the highest evolved within Neotropical ants in the tribe Attini and model systems for studying caste formation, labor division and symbiosis with microorganisms. Some species of leafcutters are agricultural pests controlled by chemicals which affect other animals and accumulate in the environment. Aiming to provide genetic basis for the study of leafcutters and for the development of more specific and environmentally friendly methods for the control of pest leafcutters, we generated expressed sequence tag data from Atta laevigata, one of the pest ants with broad geographic distribution in South America. Results The analysis of the expressed sequence tags allowed us to characterize 2,006 unique sequences in Atta laevigata. Sixteen of these genes had a high number of transcripts and are likely positively selected for high level of gene expression, being responsible for three basic biological functions: energy conservation through redox reactions in mitochondria; cytoskeleton and muscle structuring; regulation of gene expression and metabolism. Based on leafcutters lifestyle and reports of genes involved in key processes of other social insects, we identified 146 sequences potential targets for controlling pest leafcutters. The targets are responsible for antixenobiosis, development and longevity, immunity, resistance to pathogens, pheromone function, cell signaling, behavior, polysaccharide metabolism and arginine kynase activity. Conclusion The generation and analysis of expressed sequence tags from Atta laevigata have provided important genetic basis for future studies on the biology of leaf-cutting ants and may contribute to the development of a more specific and environmentally friendly method for the control of agricultural pest leafcutters.

  10. Towards a molecular understanding of symbiont function: Identification of a fungal gene for the degradation of xylan in the fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants

    Lange Lene; De Fine Licht Henrik H; Schiøtt Morten; Boomsma Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    Abstract Background Leaf-cutting ants live in symbiosis with a fungus that they rear for food by providing it with live plant material. Until recently the fungus' main inferred function was to make otherwise inaccessible cell wall degradation products available to the ants, but new studies have shed doubt on this idea. To provide evidence for the cell wall degrading capacity of the attine ant symbiont, we designed PCR primers from conserved regions of known xylanase genes, to be used in PCR w...

  11. Antagonistic interactions between garden yeasts and microfungal garden pathogens of leaf-cutting ants.

    Rodrigues, Andre; Cable, Rachel N; Mueller, Ulrich G; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2009-10-01

    We investigate the diversity of yeasts isolated in gardens of the leafcutter ant Atta texana. Repeated sampling of gardens from four nests over a 1-year time period showed that gardens contain a diverse assemblage of yeasts. The yeast community in gardens consisted mostly of yeasts associated with plants or soil, but community composition changed between sampling periods. In order to understand the potential disease-suppressing roles of the garden yeasts, we screened isolates for antagonistic effects against known microfungal garden contaminants. In vitro assays revealed that yeasts inhibited the mycelial growth of two strains of Escovopsis (a specialized attine garden parasite), Syncephalastrum racemosum (a fungus often growing in gardens of leafcutter lab nests), and the insect pathogen Beauveria bassiana. These garden yeasts add to the growing list of disease-suppressing microbes in attine nests that may contribute synergistically, together with actinomycetes and Burkholderia bacteria, to protect the gardens and the ants against diseases. Additionally, we suggest that garden immunity against problem fungi may therefore derive not only from the presence of disease-suppressing Pseudonocardia actinomycetes, but from an enrichment of multiple disease-suppressing microorganisms in the garden matrix. PMID:19449210

  12. Soil Moisture and Excavation Behaviour in the Chaco Leaf-Cutting Ant (Atta vollenweideri): Digging Performance and Prevention of Water Inflow into the Nest

    Steffen Pielström; Flavio Roces

    2014-01-01

    The Chaco leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri is native to the clay-heavy soils of the Gran Chaco region in South America. Because of seasonal floods, colonies are regularly exposed to varying moisture across the soil profile, a factor that not only strongly influences workers' digging performance during nest building, but also determines the suitability of the soil for the rearing of the colony's symbiotic fungus. In this study, we investigated the effects of varying soil moisture on behavio...

  13. Considerations for assessing maximum critical temperatures in small ectothermic animals: insights from leaf-cutting ants.

    Pedro Leite Ribeiro

    Full Text Available The thermal limits of individual animals were originally proposed as a link between animal physiology and thermal ecology. Although this link is valid in theory, the evaluation of physiological tolerances involves some problems that are the focus of this study. One rationale was that heating rates shall influence upper critical limits, so that ecological thermal limits need to consider experimental heating rates. In addition, if thermal limits are not surpassed in experiments, subsequent tests of the same individual should yield similar results or produce evidence of hardening. Finally, several non-controlled variables such as time under experimental conditions and procedures may affect results. To analyze these issues we conducted an integrative study of upper critical temperatures in a single species, the ant Atta sexdens rubropiosa, an animal model providing large numbers of individuals of diverse sizes but similar genetic makeup. Our specific aims were to test the 1 influence of heating rates in the experimental evaluation of upper critical temperature, 2 assumptions of absence of physical damage and reproducibility, and 3 sources of variance often overlooked in the thermal-limits literature; and 4 to introduce some experimental approaches that may help researchers to separate physiological and methodological issues. The upper thermal limits were influenced by both heating rates and body mass. In the latter case, the effect was physiological rather than methodological. The critical temperature decreased during subsequent tests performed on the same individual ants, even one week after the initial test. Accordingly, upper thermal limits may have been overestimated by our (and typical protocols. Heating rates, body mass, procedures independent of temperature and other variables may affect the estimation of upper critical temperatures. Therefore, based on our data, we offer suggestions to enhance the quality of measurements, and offer

  14. Caste-specific expression of genetic variation in the size of antibiotic-producing glands of leaf-cutting ants

    Hughes, W O H; Bot, A N M; Boomsma, J J

    2010-01-01

    Social insect castes represent some of the most spectacular examples of phenotypic plasticity, with each caste being associated with different environmental conditions during their life. Here we examine the level of genetic variation in different castes of two polyandrous species of Acromyrmex le...

  15. Differences in forage-acquisition and fungal enzyme activity contribute to niche segregation in Panamanian leaf-cutting ants

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus; Liberti, Joanito; Giampoudakis, Konstantinos;

    2014-01-01

    activities of twelve fungus garden decomposition enzymes, belonging to the amylases, cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases and proteinases, and show that average enzyme activity per unit of fungal mass in Atta gardens is lower than in Acromyrmex gardens. Expression profiles of fungal enzymes in Atta also...... decomposition enzymes....

  16. Worker laying in leafcutter ant Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus (Formicidae, Attini)

    ROBERTO S. CAMARGO; LUIZ C FORTI; JULIANE F. S. LOPES; NEWTON C. NORONHA; ANGELO L. T. OTTATI

    2007-01-01

    We studied the process of offspring production in queenless colonies of Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus, and particularly evaluated the ovary development of workers as a function of their age. For this, subcolonies were set up and evaluated at different periods of isolation from the queen (2, 4 and 6 months), besides individually labeled age groups. The subcolonies were assessed according to offspring production and ovaries containing oocytes or not. The evaluations showed worker oviposition and development of males originating from worker-laid eggs. At 2 months' absence ofthe queen, eggs and larvae were found, with eggs in a higher proportion than larvae. After 4 months, the proportion of eggs had reduced while larvae had increased, and a pupa was found in one subcolony. At 6 months, besides a higher share of larvae, one pupa and one adult male were found. Dissection of workers revealed ovaries containing oocytes during the periods of evaluation. Only a group of medium-sized and large workers, 23.3%, 20.9% and 37.5% of the population from each period assessed in queenless subcolonies respectively, presented developed oocytes in the ovary. The same was observed in colonies with a queen, with 17.6%, 19.6% and 7.8% of the group of dissected workers from each time period, respectively. With respect to worker age, we observed by dissection of the ovary, that the greatest percentage of individuals with ovarioles containing oocytes occurred at 45 days (6 weeks) up to 90 days (12 weeks). These results probably are associated with the workers reproduction and the laying of trophic and reproductive eggs in colonies with and without a queen; these eggs have distinct functions in each situation.

  17. Dynamic Wolbachia prevalence in Acromyrmex leaf‐cutting ants: potential for a nutritional symbiosis

    Andersen, S. B.; Boye, Mette; Nash, D. R.;

    2012-01-01

    ‐cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus across developmental stages of sterile workers. We confirm that workers are infected with one or two widespread wsp genotypes of Wolbachia, show that colony prevalence is always 100% and characterize two rare recombinant genotypes. One dominant genotype is always present...... and most abundant, whereas another only proliferates in adult workers of some colonies and is barely detectable in larvae and pupae. An explanation may be that Wolbachia genotypes compete for host resources in immature stages while adult tissues provide substantially more niche space. Tissue...

  18. Caste-specific symbiont policing by workers of Acromyrmex fungus-growing ants

    Ivens, Aniek B.F.; Nash, David R.; Poulsen, Michael;

    2009-01-01

    and transmission of symbionts. Symbiont transmission is vertical by default, and both the ants and resident fungus actively protect the fungal monoculture growing in their nest against secondary introductions of genetically dissimilar symbionts from other colonies. An earlier study showed that...... mixtures of major and minor Acromyrmex workers eliminate alien fungus fragments even in subcolonies where their resident symbiont is not present. We hypothesize that the different tasks and behaviors performed by majors and minors are likely to select for differential responses to alien fungi. Major...

  19. Antifungals of acromyrmex, allomerus, and tetraponera ant- and cultivarassociated bacteria

    Barke, Joerg

    2013-01-01

    The central purpose of this thesis is to test the utility of ant-microbe associations for discovering antifungal compounds with novel molecular (sub-) structures. Novel antifungals displaying reduced adverse side-effects, increased water-solubilities, and/or strong fungicidal properties would be helpful in medical science for responding to the rising prevalence of human mycoses and for solving problems with adverse side-effects in currently used antifungal drugs. Host-symbiont systems m...

  20. Attractiveness of copperleaf-based bait to leaf-cutting ants Atratividade de iscas à base de acalifa para formigas cortadeiras

    Nilson Satoru Nagamoto

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Leaves of copperleaf (Acalypha spp. are greatly accepted by leaf-cutting ants and therefore used to maintain colonies in the laboratory. In order to determine the attractive potential of granulated bait of Acalypha wilkesiana leaves versus citrus pulp, currently used in commercial baits, an evaluation was performed, by using the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa as model. The handmade non-toxic baits contained powder (90% w/w of either citrus pulp or A. wilkesiana were offered simultaneously in the foraging arena until the total loading of one of them. Results showed that copperleaf baits are less attractive than the citrus ones, which invalidates the viability of the substitution.Folhas de acalifa (Acalypha spp. são de grande aceitação pelas formigas cortadeiras e, por isso, utilizadas na manutenção de colônias em laboratório. Baseado nesses fatos, procedeu-se a uma avaliação da atratividade de isca granulada feita com folhas de Acalypha wilkesiana, usando a formiga cortadeira Atta sexdens rubropilosa como modelo, com o objetivo de determinar o seu potencial atrativo frente ao citros, atualmente utilizado na formulação comercial de iscas formicidas. Foram formuladas artesanalmente iscas atóxicas, contendo pó (90% p/p de polpa cítrica ou de A. wilkesiana. As iscas foram colocadas simultaneamente em uma arena de forrageamento até o carregamento total de uma delas. Os resultados mostram que a isca de acalifa é menos atrativa que a de citros, o que inviabiliza a substituição.

  1. Comparative morpho-physiology of the metapleural glands of two Atta leaf-cutting ant queens nesting in clayish and organic soils.

    Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel; Roces, Flavio

    2015-09-01

    Queens of leaf-cutting ants found their nests singly, each consisting of a vertical tunnel and a final horizontal chamber. Because of the claustral mode of nest founding, the queen and/or her initial fungus garden are exposed to threats imposed by several soil pathogens, and the antibiotic secretions produced by their metapleural glands are considered a main adaptation to deal with them. Nests of two Atta leaf-cutting ant species, Atta vollenweideri and Atta sexdens rubropilosa, occur in different soil types, alfisols and oxisols. Their queens are known to excavate the initial nest in different soil horizons, clayish and organic, respectively, which differ in their fertility and associated microbiota. The aim of the present study was to comparatively investigate the morpho-physiology of the metapleural glands in queens of A. vollenweideri and A. sexdens rubropilosa, addressing the question whether the distinct selective pressure imposed by the microbiota in the two different soil types led to morpho-physiological differences in the metapleural glands that were consistent with their antiseptic function. The results revealed that metapleural glands of A. sexdens rubropilosa have a larger number of secretory cells, and consequently a higher production of antibiotic secretions, which may have been selected to allow nest founding at the superficial horizon of oxisols rich in organic matter and microorganisms. Glands of A. vollenweideri, on the contrary, presented fewer secretory cells, suggesting less production of antibiotic secretions. We argue that the excavation of deep founding nests in A. vollenweideri was primarily selected for during evolution to avoid the risk posed by flooding, and further hypothesize that a reduced number of cells in their metapleural glands occurred because of a weak pathogen-driven selective pressure at the preferred soil depth. PMID:26145506

  2. Towards a molecular understanding of symbiont function: identification of a fungal gene for the degradation of xylan in the fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants

    Schiøtt, Morten; De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Lange, Lene; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    in the fungus gardens in order to investigate the dynamics of degradation activities. RESULTS: We cloned a xylanase gene from the mutualistic fungus of Acromyrmex echinatior, determined its protein sequence, and inserted it in a yeast expression vector to confirm its substrate specificity. Our...... results show that the fungus has a functional xylanase gene. We also show by lab experiments in vivo that the activity of fungal xylanase and cellulase is not evenly distributed, but concentrated in the lower layer of fungus gardens, with only modest activity in the middle layer where gongylidia are...... produced and intermediate activity in the newly established top layer. This vertical distribution appears to be negatively correlated with the concentration of glucose, which indicates a directly regulating role of glucose, as has been found in other fungi and has been previously suggested for the ant...

  3. Cytogenetic data on six leafcutter ants of the genus Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae): insights into chromosome evolution and taxonomic implications

    Barros, Luísa Antônia Campos; de Aguiar, Hilton Jeferson Alves Cardoso; Mariano, Cléa dos Santos Ferreira; Andrade-Souza, Vanderly; Costa, Marco Antonio; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Pompolo, Silvia das Graças

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Cytogenetic data for the genus Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 are available, to date, for a few species from Brazil and Uruguay, which have uniform chromosome numbers (2n = 38). The recent cytogenetic data of Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863), including its banding patterns, showed a distinct karyotype (2n = 22), similar to earlier studied Atta Fabricius, 1804 species. Karyological data are still scarce for the leafcutter ants and many gaps are still present for a proper understanding of this group. Therefore, this study aimed at increasing cytogenetic knowledge of the genus through the characterization of other six species: Acromyrmex balzani (Emery, 1890), Acromyrmex coronatus Fabricius, 1804, Acromyrmex disciger (Mayr, 1887), Acromyrmex echinatior (Forel, 1899), Acromyrmex niger (Smith, 1858) and Acromyrmex rugosus (Smith, 1858), all of which were collected in Minas Gerais – Brazil, except for Acromyrmex echinatior which was collected in Barro Colorado – Panama. The number and morphology of the chromosomes were studied and the following banding techniques were applied: C-banding, fluorochromes CMA3 and DAPI, as well as the detection of 45S rDNA using FISH technique. All the six species had the same chromosome number observed for already studied species, i.e. 2n = 38. Acromyrmex balzani had a different karyotype compared with other species mainly due to the first metacentric pair. The heterochromatin distribution also showed interspecific variation. Nevertheless, all the studied species had a pair of bands in the short arm of the first subtelocentric pair. The fluorochrome CMA3 visualized bands in the short arm of the first subtelocentric pair for all the six species, while Acromyrmex rugosus and Acromyrmex niger also demonstrated in the other chromosomes. The AT-rich regions with differential staining using DAPI were not observed. 45S ribosomal genes were identified by FISH in the short arm of the first subtelocentric pair in Acromyrmex coronatus, Acromyrmex

  4. Spatially Heterogeneous Nest-Clearing Behavior Coincides with Rain Event in the Leaf-Cutting Ant Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Stephan, J G; Wirth, R; Leal, I R; Meyer, S T

    2015-04-01

    Leaf-cutting ants of the genus Atta construct the probably largest nests among ants and are ecosystem engineers because they alter light and nutrient availability at nest sites. Besides creating canopy gaps in the forest, workers remove all vegetation from atop their nest mounds. Here, we examined the extent and spatial distribution of this nest-clearing behavior by transplanting Licania tomentosa seedlings on Atta cephalotes (Linnaeus) nest mounds in the Atlantic forest in northeast Brazil and documented defoliation patterns by the workers. Within 9 days, workers removed around 53% of the total leaf area planted per colony. All colonies showed a synchronized start of defoliation after a rain event in the fifth night after the seedlings had been transplanted. Defoliation increased with time elapsed since transplanting and with the number of entrances surrounding each seedling. In addition, workers started defoliation on the top of the mound. In contrast, the distance to the next entrance and the size of the seedling did not affect the defoliation pattern. Defoliation was not part of the colony foraging activities but was identified as an element of nest maintenance. Possible cues triggering nest-clearing behavior and the potential link between nest-clearing activities and the control of microclimate of ant nests are discussed. PMID:26013129

  5. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R.; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; Jelle S van Zweden; D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylace...

  6. [Occurrence and biological characteristics of parasitoid phorids (Diptera: Phoridae) of the leaf-cutting ant Atta laevigata (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Porto Nacional, TO, Brazil].

    Bragança, Marcos A L; Medeiros, Zodja C S

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to verify the occurrence of parasitism in Atta laevigata (Smith) by phorids in Porto Nacional, Tocantins, Brazil and to evaluate some biological characteristics of those flies. From October/2002 to September/2003, at 15-day intervals, 22 samplings were carried out (149.5 +/- 82.9 workers each) comprising 3,704 ants. In the laboratory, the ants were distributed in groups of five individuals per petri dish and maintained at temperature of 25 +/- 1 masculineC and 80 +/- 5% of RH. They were fed daily with a 50% honey solution until death. The total of 106 workers (2.8%), collected with or without load (plant fragment), were parasitized by phorids: 72 workers (68%) were parasitized by Apocephalus vicosae Disney, 28 individuals (26.4%) by Neodohrniphora erthali Brown, and six (5.6%) by Apocephalus attophilus Borgmeier. The higher parasitism rates by A. vicosae (3.9-5.4%) were observed during the dry season (June-August), while the parasitism by N. erthali was lower than 2.3% throughout the year. The bigger workers were parasitized by bigger parasitoid N. erthali or by parasitoid with larger number of larvae A. attophilus. The occurrence of three phorid species in Tocantins broadens the distribution of these flies in Brazil. The development of A. vicosae larva within the thorax of the host as well as the rupture between the ant pronotum and propleuron so that the emergence of the fly can take place are characteristics not yet described on parasitism of leaf-cutting ants by phorids. PMID:18575704

  7. A mixed community of actinomycetes produce multiple antibiotics for the fungus farming ant Acromyrmex octospinosus

    Barke Jörg

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Attine ants live in an intensely studied tripartite mutualism with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which provides food to the ants, and with antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria. One hypothesis suggests that bacteria from the genus Pseudonocardia are the sole, co-evolved mutualists of attine ants and are transmitted vertically by the queens. A recent study identified a Pseudonocardia-produced antifungal, named dentigerumycin, associated with the lower attine Apterostigma dentigerum consistent with the idea that co-evolved Pseudonocardia make novel antibiotics. An alternative possibility is that attine ants sample actinomycete bacteria from the soil, selecting and maintaining those species that make useful antibiotics. Consistent with this idea, a Streptomyces species associated with the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus was recently shown to produce the well-known antifungal candicidin. Candicidin production is widespread in environmental isolates of Streptomyces, so this could either be an environmental contaminant or evidence of recruitment of useful actinomycetes from the environment. It should be noted that the two possibilities for actinomycete acquisition are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Results In order to test these possibilities we isolated bacteria from a geographically distinct population of A. octospinosus and identified a candicidin-producing Streptomyces species, which suggests that they are common mutualists of attine ants, most probably recruited from the environment. We also identified a Pseudonocardia species in the same ant colony that produces an unusual polyene antifungal, providing evidence for co-evolution of Pseudonocardia with A. octospinosus. Conclusions Our results show that a combination of co-evolution and environmental sampling results in the diversity of actinomycete symbionts and antibiotics associated with attine ants.

  8. Soil moisture and excavation behaviour in the Chaco leaf-cutting ant (Atta vollenweideri: digging performance and prevention of water inflow into the nest.

    Steffen Pielström

    Full Text Available The Chaco leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri is native to the clay-heavy soils of the Gran Chaco region in South America. Because of seasonal floods, colonies are regularly exposed to varying moisture across the soil profile, a factor that not only strongly influences workers' digging performance during nest building, but also determines the suitability of the soil for the rearing of the colony's symbiotic fungus. In this study, we investigated the effects of varying soil moisture on behaviours associated with underground nest building in A. vollenweideri. This was done in a series of laboratory experiments using standardised, plastic clay-water mixtures with gravimetric water contents ranging from relatively brittle material to mixtures close to the liquid limit. Our experiments showed that preference and group-level digging rate increased with increasing water content, but then dropped considerably for extremely moist materials. The production of vibrational recruitment signals during digging showed, on the contrary, a slightly negative linear correlation with soil moisture. Workers formed and carried clay pellets at higher rates in moist clay, even at the highest water content tested. Hence, their weak preference and low group-level excavation rate observed for that mixture cannot be explained by any inability to work with the material. More likely, extremely high moistures may indicate locations unsuitable for nest building. To test this hypothesis, we simulated a situation in which workers excavated an upward tunnel below accumulated surface water. The ants stopped digging about 12 mm below the interface soil/water, a behaviour representing a possible adaptation to the threat of water inflow field colonies are exposed to while digging under seasonally flooded soils. Possible roles of soil water in the temporal and spatial pattern of nest growth are discussed.

  9. Damage caused by different levels of artificial defoliation, simulating the leaf-cutting ants attack on young plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus grandis Danos causados por diferentes níveis de desfolha artificial para simulação do ataque de formigas cortadeiras em Pinus taeda e Eucalyptus grandis

    Wilson Reis Filho; Franciele dos Santos; Priscila Strapasson; Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2011-01-01

    The artificial defoliation allows to measure the defoliation intensity caused by insects. The objectives of this work were to evaluate the damages caused by leaf-cutting ants in young plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus grandis using different levels of artificial defoliation. A classification was established according to defoliation levels that were caused by leaf-cutting ants in P. taeda: level 1: 50%, level 2: 75%, level 3: 100% and ...

  10. Antagonistic bacterial interactions help shape host-symbiont dynamics within the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism

    Poulsen, Michael; Erhardt, Daniel P; Molinaro, Daniel J;

    2007-01-01

    . Here we explore complexity of conflict expression within the ancient and coevolved mutualistic association between attine ants, their fungal cultivar, and actinomycetous bacteria (Pseudonocardia). Specifically, we examine conflict between the ants and their Pseudonocardia symbionts maintained to derive...... was substantially less common between more closely related bacteria associated with Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. In both experiments, the observed variation in antagonism across pairings was primarily due to the inhibitory capabilities and susceptibility of individual strains, but also the...

  11. The origin of the chemical profiles of fungal symbionts and their significance for nestmate recognition in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Poulsen, Michael; Hefetz, Abraham;

    2007-01-01

    less aggression when they are later introduced into that colony. It appears, therefore, that fungus gardens are an independent and significant source of chemical compounds, potentially contributing a richer and more abundant blend of recognition cues to the colony ¿gestalt¿ than the innate chemical...

  12. Registro de Acromyrmex disciger Mayr, 1887 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae em Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Lauraceae no Município de Braço do Trombudo, Santa Catarina, Brasil

    Tiago Pikart

    2010-11-01

    Abstract. Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume (Lauraceae is cultivated for production of leaves, bark and roots, due to its aromatic and spice proprieties. But despite being a resistant plant, C. zeylanicum is subject to attack by various insects and mites during their development, and these pests are responsible for considerable reduction in crop yields. The aim of this study was to record and characterize the attack by leaf-cutting ants in plants of C. zeylanicum in Braço do Trombudo, Santa Catarina State, Brazil between January and March 2010. Damage were characterized by cutting young leaves and shoots of plants of C. zeylanicum with height between 1.0 to 1.5 m and total defoliation of plants less than 1.0 m. The attack in adult plants was not observed. This is the first record of leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex disciger Mayr damaging plants of C. zeylanicum in Brazil.

  13. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

    Sumner, Seirian; Hughes, William Owen Hamar; Pedersen, Jes Søe;

    2004-01-01

    A parasitic ant has abandoned the multiple mating habit of the queens of its related host. Multiple mating (polyandry) is widespread among animal groups, particularly insects 1 . But the factors that maintain it and underlie its evolution are hard to verify because benefits and costs are not easily...... quantified and they tend to be similar in related species. Here we compare the mating strategies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and its recently derived social parasite Acromyrmex insinuator, which is also its closest relative 2 (see Fig. 1 ). We find that although the host queens mate with up...... to a dozen different males, the social parasite mates only singly. This rapid and surprising reversion to single mating in a socially parasitic ant indicates that the costs of polyandry are probably specific to a free-living lifestyle....

  14. Self-restraint and sterility in workers of Acromyrmex and Atta leafcutter ants

    Dijkstra, Michiel Bendert; Nash, David Richard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2005-01-01

    large workers) lay eggs that are similar in size to queen-laid eggs, but mostly with a reduced amount of yolk. Trophic eggs appear to be an important source of food for larvae in Acromyrmex (especially in Ac. echinatior), but not in Atta. Five (0.8) of 616 dissected Ac. echinatior workers but no Ac...

  15. Atratividade da isca granulada de polpa de fruto do jatobá para saúva-limão, no campo Attractiveness of the granulated bait of jatobá's fruit pulp to the leaf- cutting ant, in the field

    Maria Lucia França Teixeira

    2008-08-01

    Full Text Available A atratividade da polpa do fruto de jatobá para saúva-limão foi avaliada tendo como parâmetro comparativo a polpa cítrica desidratada, utilizada como veículo por diversas marcas comerciais. O experimento foi conduzido em quatro formigueiros de saúva-limão em canteiros gramados com espécies arbóreas. As iscas de jatobá e de polpa cítrica desidratada, ambas sem princípio ativo, foram confeccionadas em grânulos com formato e diâmetro semelhantes aos das iscas granuladas comerciais. As iscas de jatobá foram mais atrativas para as operárias de saúva-limão, que fizeram o primeiro contato aos 17s, em contraste com os 29s gastos para o primeiro contato com as iscas de polpa cítrica. As iscas de jatobá também começaram a ser carregadas mais cedo, aos 26s, sendo que as iscas de polpa cítrica foram carregadas 48s mais tarde. A grande aceitação do jatobá foi reforçada pelo menor tempo para o encerramento dos testes, 5min 39s, contrastando com os 11min 17s necessários para o encerramento do teste com a polpa cítrica. A polpa do fruto do jatobá foi mais atrativa para saúva-limão do que a polpa cítrica desidratada.Attractiveness of the leaf-cutting ant, Atta sexdens rubropilosa to jatobá's fruit pulp was evaluated, having the dehydrated citrus pulp as comparative parameter, used as vehicle by several commercial brands. The experiment was conducted on four nests of leaf-cutting ants on lawns with arboreal species. Jatobá baits and dehydrated citric pulp both without active principle were made into granules with form and diameter similar to the commercial granulated baits. Jatobá baits were more attractive to the laborers of leaf-cutting ants which made the first contact after 17s, contrasting with 29s before the first contact with citric pulp baits. Jatobá baits were also carried earlier, after 26s, while citric pulp baits were carried 48s later. The great acceptance of jatobá baits was strengthened by the short time to

  16. The prominent role of fungi and fungal enzymes in the ant-fungus biomass conversion symbiosis.

    Lange, L; Grell, M N

    2014-06-01

    Molecular studies have added significantly to understanding of the role of fungi and fungal enzymes in the efficient biomass conversion, which takes place in the fungus garden of leaf-cutting ants. It is now clear that the fungal symbiont expresses the full spectrum of genes for degrading cellulose and other plant cell wall polysaccharides. Since the start of the genomics era, numerous interesting studies have especially focused on evolutionary, molecular, and organismal aspects of the biological and biochemical functions of the symbiosis between leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp.) and their fungal symbiont Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. Macroscopic observations of the fungus-farming ant colony inherently depict the ants as the leading part of the symbiosis (the myrmicocentric approach, overshadowing the mycocentric aspects). However, at the molecular level, it is fungal enzymes that enable the ants to access the nutrition embedded in recalcitrant plant biomass. Our hypothesis is that the evolutionary events that established fungus-farming practice were predisposed by a fascinating fungal evolution toward increasing attractiveness to ants. This resulted in the ants allowing the fungus to grow in the nests and began to supply plant materials for more fungal growth. Molecular studies also confirm that specialized fungal structures, the gongylidia, with high levels of proteins and rich blend of enzymes, are essential for symbiosis. Harvested and used as ant feed, the gongylidia are the key factor for sustaining the highly complex leaf-cutting ant colony. This microbial upgrade of fresh leaves to protein-enriched animal feed can serve as inspiration for modern biorefinery technology. PMID:24728757

  17. Diploid male production in a leaf-cutting ant

    Armitage, S.; Boomsma, J.; Baer, Boris

    2010-01-01

    1. In haplodiploid social insects where males are haploid and females are diploid, inbreeding depression is expressed as the production of diploid males when homozygosity at the sex-determining locus results in the production of diploid individuals with a male phenotype. Diploid males are often...... success would be reduced compared with haploid males if they were able to copulate. 5. We conclude that diploid male production is likely to affect the fitness of A. sexdens queens with a matched mating, as these males are produced at the cost of workers and, if the colony survives to reach mature size...

  18. Características biológicas e comportamentais de Neodohrniphora elongata Brown (Diptera, Phoridae, um parasitóide da saúva Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae Biological and behavioral characteristics of Neodohrniphora elongata Brown (Diptera, Phoridae, a parasitic fly of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

    Marcos A. L. Bragança

    2009-12-01

    foraging arena. Flies launched attacks on flies and failed four or five times before they would successfully attack ants and oviposit on the head of workers. Larvae of the parasitoid developed in the cephalic capsule of 63.8% of the 426 attacked workers; 218 flies emerged. N. elongata oviposited on bigger workers, or those with cephalic capsules 2.9 ± 0.4 mm wide. Capsule width seems to be important for the development of the parasitoid because failure in pupa formation and the non-emergence of adults occurred primarily among ants with capsules smaller than 2.9 mm. Flies that emerged in the laboratory had greater longevity when fed on honey solution at 10% than honey solution at 50%, or on distilled water only. The females emerged in laboratory had flight and attack behavior similar to those of field females, although second generation parasitoids could not be obtained. Additional studies on the impact of natural sources of carbohydrates and protein on the longevity and reproduction of N. elongate should be conducted to multiply this and other phorids of leaf-cutting ants in the laboratory.

  19. Broad Escovopsis-inhibition activity of Pseudonocardia associated with Trachymyrmex ants.

    Meirelles, Lucas A; Mendes, Thaís D; Solomon, Scott E; Bueno, Odair C; Pagnocca, Fernando C; Rodrigues, Andre

    2014-08-01

    Attine ants maintain an association with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria found on their integuments. Evidence supports these bacteria as auxiliary symbionts that help ants to defend the fungus gardens against pathogens. Using Pseudonocardia strains isolated from Trachymyrmex ants, we tested whether the inhibitory capabilities of such strains are restricted to Escovopsis parasites that infect gardens of this ant genus. Twelve Pseudonocardia strains were tested in in vitro bioassays against Escovopsis strains derived from fungus gardens of Trachymyrmex (n = 1) and leaf-cutting ants (n = 3). Overall, significant differences were observed in the mycelial growth among each Escovopsis strain in the presence of Pseudonocardia. Particularly, Escovopsis from Acromyrmex and Trachymyrmex were the most inhibited strains in comparison to Escovopsis isolated from Atta. This result suggests that Pseudonocardia isolated from Trachymyrmex possibly secrete antimicrobial compounds effective against diverse Escovopsis strains. The fact that Trachymyrmex ants harbour Pseudonocardia strains with broad spectrum of activity and its defensive role on attine gardens are discussed. PMID:24992532

  20. Non-specific association between filamentous bacteria and fungus-growing ants.

    Kost, Christian; Lakatos, Tanja; Böttcher, Ingo; Arendholz, Wolf-Rüdiger; Redenbach, Matthias; Wirth, Rainer

    2007-10-01

    Fungus-growing ants and their fungal cultivar form a highly evolved mutualism that is negatively affected by the specialized parasitic fungus Escovopsis. Filamentous Pseudonocardia bacteria occurring on the cuticle of attine ants have been proposed to form a mutualistic interaction with these ants in which they are vertically transmitted (i.e. from parent to offspring colonies). Given a strictly vertical transmission of Pseudonocardia, the evolutionary theory predicts a reduced genetic variability of symbionts among ant lineages. The aim of this study was to verify whether actinomycetes, which occur on Acromyrmex octospinosus leaf-cutting ants, meet this expectation by comparing their genotypic variability with restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Multiple actinomycete strains could be isolated from both individual ant workers and colonies (one to seven strains per colony). The colony specificity of actinomycete communities was high: Only 15% of all strains were isolated from more than one colony, and just 5% were present in both populations investigated. Partial sequencing of 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid of two of the isolated strains assigned both of them to the genus Streptomyces. Actinomycetes could also be isolated from workers of the two non-attine ant species Myrmica rugulosa and Lasius flavus. Sixty-two percent of the strains derived from attine ants and 80% of the strains isolated from non-attine ants inhibited the growth of Escovopsis. Our data suggest that the association between attine ants and their actinomycete symbionts is less specific then previously thought. Soil-dwelling actinomycetes may have been dynamically recruited from the environment (horizontal transmission), probably reflecting an adaptation to a diverse community of microbial pathogens. PMID:17541536

  1. Damage caused by different levels of artificial defoliation, simulating the leaf-cutting ants attack on young plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus grandis Danos causados por diferentes níveis de desfolha artificial para simulação do ataque de formigas cortadeiras em Pinus taeda e Eucalyptus grandis

    Wilson Reis Filho

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available

    The artificial defoliation allows to measure the defoliation intensity caused by insects. The objectives of this work were to evaluate the damages caused by leaf-cutting ants in young plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus grandis using different levels of artificial defoliation. A classification was established according to defoliation levels that were caused by leaf-cutting ants in P. taeda: level 1: 50%, level 2: 75%, level 3: 100% and level 4: 100%, including the cut of the apical meristem. And in E. grandis: level 1: 50% of defoliation; level 2: 75% and level 3: 100%. After one year, the P. taeda seedlings had losses in diameter and height for defoliation level above 75%. Seedlings severely defoliated (level 4, had losses of 37.0% in height and 45.4% in diameter. The E. grandis seedlings had losses since three months old and the reductions were proportional to the defoliation intensity. After one year, the losses of 13.3% in height and 20% in diameter were verified in plants with 100% of defoliation. P. taeda plants are more damaged by leaf-cutting attack.

    doi: 10.4336/2011.pfb.31.65.37

    A desfolha artificial permite mensurar a intensidade do dano devido à desfolha causada por insetos. No presente estudo, buscou-se avaliar os danos causados por formigas cortadeiras em plantios de Pinus taeda e Eucalyptus grandis com 30 dias de idade. Foi estabelecida uma classificação baseada em níveis de desfolha semelhantes aos causados por formigas cortadeiras. Para P. taeda, os níveis foram: N1: 50%, N2: 75%, N3: 100% e N4: 100% de desfolha, incluindo o corte do meristema apical. Para E. grandis, os níveis foram N1: 50%, N2: 75% e N3: 100% de desfolha, incluindo o corte do meristema apical. Após um ano, as mudas de P. taeda tiveram perdas em altura e diâmetro nos níveis de N2 a N4. Mudas de P. taeda desfolhadas no nível N4 apresentaram perdas de

  2. Antagonistic bacterial interactions help shape host-symbiont dynamics within the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism.

    Michael Poulsen

    Full Text Available Conflict within mutually beneficial associations is predicted to destabilize relationships, and theoretical and empirical work exploring this has provided significant insight into the dynamics of cooperative interactions. Within mutualistic associations, the expression and regulation of conflict is likely more complex than in intraspecific cooperative relationship, because of the potential presence of: i multiple genotypes of microbial species associated with individual hosts, ii multiple species of symbiotic lineages forming cooperative partner pairings, and iii additional symbiont lineages. Here we explore complexity of conflict expression within the ancient and coevolved mutualistic association between attine ants, their fungal cultivar, and actinomycetous bacteria (Pseudonocardia. Specifically, we examine conflict between the ants and their Pseudonocardia symbionts maintained to derive antibiotics against parasitic microfungi (Escovopsis infecting the ants' fungus garden. Symbiont assays pairing isolates of Pseudonocardia spp. associated with fungus-growing ants spanning the phylogenetic diversity of the mutualism revealed that antagonism between strains is common. In contrast, antagonism was substantially less common between more closely related bacteria associated with Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. In both experiments, the observed variation in antagonism across pairings was primarily due to the inhibitory capabilities and susceptibility of individual strains, but also the phylogenetic relationships between the ant host of the symbionts, as well as the pair-wise genetic distances between strains. The presence of antagonism throughout the phylogenetic diversity of Pseudonocardia symbionts indicates that these reactions likely have shaped the symbiosis from its origin. Antagonism is expected to prevent novel strains from invading colonies, enforcing single-strain rearing within individual ant colonies. While this may align ant

  3. Ocorrência de formigas Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865, em alguns municípios do Brasil - DOI: 10.4025/actascibiolsci.v27i2.1322 Occurrence of ants Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 in some cities of Brasil - DOI: 10.4025/actascibiolsci.v27i2.1322

    Luiz Carlos Forti

    2005-03-01

    Full Text Available Espécies de Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865, foram coletadas em vários municípios do Brasil, nos seguintes estados: de Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Amapá, e também no Paraguai e no Uruguai, visando atualizar a ocorrência das mesmas. Os exemplares coletados nas viagens foram identificados no laboratório da Fca/Unesp/Botucatu-SP. Foram registradas, pela primeira vez, as ocorrências de A. rugosus rugosus (F. Smith, 1858 no Paraná, em Rondônia e em Santa Catarina; de A. subterraneus subterraneus (Forel, 1893 no Amapá e na Bahia; de A. diasi (Gonçalves, 1982 no Rio Grande do Sul e no Paraná; de A. coronatus (Fabricius, 1804 no Paraná; de A. balzani (Emery, 1890 no Amapá e de A. subterraneus brunneus (Forel, 1911 em GoiásIt were collected species of Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 in many brazilian cities from Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Rondônia and Amapá states and in Paraguay and Uruguay, with the purpose to bring up-to-date their occurrence. Specimens collected on trips were identified at laboratory of Fca/Unesp/Botucatu-SP. It were recorded, for the first time, the occurrence of A. rugosus rugosus (F. Smith, 1858 in Paraná, Rondônia and Santa Catarina states; A. subterraneus subterraneus (Forel, 1893 in Amapá and Bahia; A. diasi Gonçalves, 1982 in Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná states; A. coronatus (Fabricius, 1804 in Paraná; A. balzani (Emery, 1890 in Amapá and A. subterraneus brunneus (Forel, 1911 in Goiás

  4. Extrações de óleos de sementes de citros e suas atividades sobre a formiga cortadeira Atta sexdens e seu fungo simbionte Citrus seed oils extractions and their activity against leaf cutting ant Atta sexdens and its symbiotic fungus

    João B. Fernandes

    2002-12-01

    Full Text Available Seeds Citrus oils (C. sinensis, C. limon and C. reticulata extraction with hexane in a soxhlet apparatus and through supercritical fluid (CO2 were done. Besides triglycerides, the oils obtained with hexane comprised volatile compounds such as terpenes and fatty alcohols, esters, and aldehydes. However, the oils obtained by extraction with supercritical fluid presented only triglycerides. These results indicate that the extraction using supercritical fluid presents better selectivity. The activity of the oils on the development of the ant symbiotic fungus, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, showed week activity and the topic insecticide assay showed better activity for the tangerine seed oil.

  5. The effects of age and social interactions on innate immunity in a leaf-cutting ant

    Armitage, S.A.O.; Boomsma, J.J.

    2010-01-01

    Both developmental and environmental factors shape investment in costly immune defences. Social insect workers have different selection pressures on their innate immune system compared to non-social insects because workers do not reproduce and their longevity affects the fitness of relatives....... Furthermore, hygienic behavioural defences found in social insects can result in increased survival after fungal infection, although it is not known if there is modulation in physiological immune defence associated with group living vs. solitary living. Here we investigated whether physiological immune...

  6. SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF LEAF-CUTTING ANT NESTS (Hymenoptera: Formicidae IN EUCALYPTUS PLANTATIONS

    Marcelo Araújo Caldeira

    2005-03-01

    Full Text Available Programs of integrated pest management in forest plantation require a sampling plan. Therefore, it is important todetermine the spatial distribution these pests, because it makes the decision process more precise, given that it takes into accounttheir local and regional spatial distribution variations. This work was carried out for evaluating the spatial distribution of antnests in eucalyptus plantations. Twelve eucalyptus stands belonging to V&M Florestal Ltd., in Bocaiúva county, Minas Gerais,were used. They were divided into 6m x 20m sub parcels, totalizing 120m2. The nests were identified, counted and measured ineach parcel. Both found and expected frequency of nests were calculated according to Poisson’s distribution, in order todetermine the type of spatial distribution of nests. The found and the expected frequency (x2; p>0.01 were similar. The result was a randomized distribution.

  7. Adventitious shoot formation on leaf cuttings in vivo, a tool in horticulture.

    Custers, J.B.M.

    1986-01-01

    Adventitious shoot formation implies the regeneration or development of shoots from fully differentiated tissue. Its application has, after the rise of in vitro culture, assumed large proportions. Then the question arose whether in vivo adventitious shoot formation could not be applied more widely in commercial horticulture. To answer this question investigations were made on the regeneration of leaf cuttings and the results are presented in this thesis.It was found that the majority of a lar...

  8. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) feed off a fungus they cultivate in a mutualistic symbiosis in underground chambers by providing it substrate they collect outside the colony. The tribe of Attine ants ranges from small colonies of the paleo- and basal Attine species with a few hundred workers that...... forage on crude substrates such as insect frass and dry plant material, to large colonies of the leaf-cutting ants with several thousands to several million workers that provide live plant material to their fungus gardens. Leaf-cutting ants are the dominant herbivores of the Neo-tropics, and have a major...... estimate that approximately half of these nuclei were represented by different genomes, giving the fungus a ploidy level of 5n-6n. In mutualistic symbioses it is important the partners stay true to each other. In fungus-growing ants, new founding queens bring a piece of fungus to build up their new colony...

  9. Leaf-Cutter Ant Parasitoids: Current Knowledge

    Patricia J. Folgarait

    2013-01-01

    This review updates and summarizes the current knowledge about the interaction of leaf-cutter ants and their parasitoids by providing comparable data for Acromyrmex and Atta ants. First, an overview of the relevant aspects of the biology and taxonomy of leaf cutters and of their parasitoids is provided. Second, I show the peculiarities of the parasitoids attacking behaviors towards their host as well as the responses or ant defenses against the phorids exhibited by their hosts. Third, I discu...

  10. Slowing them down will make them lose: a role for attine ant crop fungus in defending pupae against infections?

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Wcislo, William T

    2016-09-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) have evolved an obligate dependency upon a basidiomycete fungus that they cultivate as their food. Less well known is that the crop fungus is also used by many attine species to cover their eggs, larvae and pupae. The adaptive functional significance of this brood covering is poorly understood. One hypothesis to account for this behaviour is that it is part of the pathogen protection portfolio when many thousands of sister workers live in close proximity and larvae and pupae are not protected by cells, as in bees and wasps, and are immobile. We performed behavioural observations on brood covering in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, and we experimentally manipulated mycelial cover on pupae and exposed them to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum to test for a role in pathogen resistance. Our results show that active mycelial brood covering by workers is a behaviourally plastic trait that varies temporally, and across life stages and castes. The presence of a fungal cover on the pupae reduced the rate at which conidia appeared and the percentage of pupal surface that produced pathogen spores, compared to pupae that had fungal cover experimentally removed or naturally had no mycelial cover. Infected pupae with mycelium had higher survival rates than infected pupae without the cover, although this depended upon the time at which adult sister workers were allowed to interact with pupae. Finally, workers employed higher rates of metapleural gland grooming to infected pupae without mycelium than to infected pupae with mycelium. Our results imply that mycelial brood covering may play a significant role in suppressing the growth and subsequent spread of disease, thus adding a novel layer of protection to their defence portfolio. PMID:27136600

  11. Antimicrobial defense shows an abrupt evolutionary transition in the fungus-growing ants

    Hughes, William O H; Pagliarini, Roberta; Madsen, Henning Bang; Dijkstra, Michiel B; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    exception to this rule because they are a key first-line defense that are fixed in size in adults. Here we conduct a comparative analysis of the size of the gland reservoir across the fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini). Most attines have singly mated queens, but in two derived genera, the leaf-cutting ants...

  12. Laccase gene expression as a possible key adaptation for herbivorous niche expansion in the attine fungus-growing ants

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Nygaard, Sanne;

    played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to become generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in......Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche (De Fine Licht, Schiøtt, Mueller & Boomsma, 2010, Evolution......), particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which leaf-cutting ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that laccases may have...

  13. Low host–pathogen specificity in the leaf-cutting ant–microbe symbiosis

    Stephen J Taerum; Cafaro, Matías J.; Little, Ainslie E. F.; Schultz, Ted R.; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-01-01

    Host–parasite associations are shaped by coevolutionary dynamics. One example is the complex fungus-growing ant–microbe symbiosis, which includes ancient host–parasite coevolution. Fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food have an antagonistic symbiosis with Escovopsis, a specialized microfungus that infects the ants' fungus gardens. The evolutionary histories of the ant, cultivar and Escovopsis are highly congruent at the deepest phylogenetic levels, with specific parasite li...

  14. Mandibular and postpharyngeal gland secretions of Acromyrmex landolti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae as chemical cues for nestmate recognition

    Cristina Sainz-Borgo

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Nestmate recognition is fundamental for the cohesiveness of the colony in social insects. Acromyrmex landolti is a higher Attini, a leaf-cutter ant with largest nest and morphological castes. We studied the location of the recognition signal of A. landolti on the whole ant body, the isolation effect on the capacity of nestmaterecognition, and the role of the mandibular (MG and post-pharyngeal glands (PPG as putative sources for chemical recognition signals in this species. We performed behavioral bioassays and chemical analyses of MG and PPG glands; MG volatiles in different castes were also characterized. In order to determine the occurrence of nestmate recognition signals, behavioral tests were performed for which the whole body, body parts or gland extracts from a nestmate and an alien worker ant, were placed on the central axis of an active field trail. Besides, the isolation effect of the nestmate chemical signal persistence was evaluated by repeating the experiments with whole ant bodies after 12h, 24h and 48h of isolation. The agonistic behavior of the ants on the trail was classified as inspection, threatening and biting. Gland volatiles were obtained by headspace solid phase microextraction, and PPG by solid sample analyses; and chemical analyses were performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Workers performed agonistic behaviors more frequently towards non-nestmate whole bodies, body parts and gland extracts, primarily those from the post-pharyngeal glands. Nestmate thoraces odorized with alien extracts were also recognized from aliens. Nestmate recognition ability persists for 12h and 24h after isolation, but decreases after 48h, suggesting that the chemical signal changes over time. Inter-colonial chemical analyses showed no differences in the PPG hydrocarbon profiles, while the relative proportions of MG compounds showed significant differences between colonies. These results showed that nestmate recognition was achieved

  15. Activities of extracts and compounds from Spiranthera odoratissima St. Hil. (Rutaceae) in leaf-cutting ants and their symbiotic fungus

    The study of the Spiranthera odoratissima St. Hil (Rutaceae) branches extracts led to the isolation of the furoquinoline (dictamine, γ-fagarine and skimmianine) and 2-arylquinoli-4-one (1-methyl-2-phenylquinoline-4-one) alkaloids and limonoids (limonexic acid and limonin). The compounds 1-methyl-2-phenylquinoline-4-one and limonexic acid were isolated for the first time from the Spiranthera. These furoquinoline and 2-arylquinoli-4-one alkaloids and limonoids showed insecticidal and/or fungicidal activity in the nest of the Atta sexdens rubropilosa. (author)

  16. Activities of extracts and compounds from Spiranthera odoratissima St. Hil. (Rutaceae) in leaf-cutting ants and their symbiotic fungus

    Terezan, Ana Paula; Fernandes, Joao B.; Silva, M. Fatima das Gracas Fernandes da; Vieira, Paulo C. [Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos (UFSCAR), Sao Carlos, SP (Brazil). Dept. de Quimica; Rossi, Raquel Andrade; Almeida, Roberta N.A.; Freitas, Tais Garcia; Bueno, Odair C.; Pagnocca, Fernando C. [Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, SP (Brazil). Centro de Estudos de Insetos Sociais; Pirani, Jose R., E-mail: djbf@power.ufscar.b [Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), SP (Brazil). Inst. de Biociencias. Dept. de Botanica

    2010-07-01

    The study of the Spiranthera odoratissima St. Hil (Rutaceae) branches extracts led to the isolation of the furoquinoline (dictamine, gamma-fagarine and skimmianine) and 2-arylquinoli-4-one (1-methyl-2-phenylquinoline-4-one) alkaloids and limonoids (limonexic acid and limonin). The compounds 1-methyl-2-phenylquinoline-4-one and limonexic acid were isolated for the first time from the Spiranthera. These furoquinoline and 2-arylquinoli-4-one alkaloids and limonoids showed insecticidal and/or fungicidal activity in the nest of the Atta sexdens rubropilosa. (author)

  17. Density-dependence and within-host competition in a semelparous parasite of leaf-cutting ants

    Hughes, William; Petersen, Klaus; Ugelvig, Line;

    2004-01-01

    BACKGROUND:Parasite heterogeneity and within-host competition are thought to be important factors influencing the dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Yet, while there have been many theoretical investigations of how these factors may act, empirical data is more limited. We investigated the e...... stages. Such parasites make useful models for investigating infection dynamics and the impact of parasite competition....

  18. EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITIONS IN ENZYME ACTIVITY OF ANT FUNGUS GARDENS

    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Schiøtt, Morten; Mueller, Ulrich G;

    2010-01-01

    an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across...... the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens...... are targeted primarily towards partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of non-domesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major...

  19. Co-evolution of enzyme function in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    have small nests with a fungus garden the size of a table-tennis ball. Only the leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas the more basal attine genera use substrates such as dry plant material (leaf litter and small twigs) and also insect...

  20. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

    Nehring, Volker; Evison, Sophie E F; Santorelli, Lorenzo A;

    2011-01-01

    found little or no kin information in recognition cues. Here, we test the hypothesis that social insects do not have kin-informative recognition cues by investigating the recognition cues and relatedness of workers from four colonies of the ant Acromyrmex octospinosus. Contrary to the theoretical...... prediction, we show that the cuticular hydrocarbons of ant workers in all four colonies are informative enough to allow full-sisters to be distinguished from half-sisters with a high accuracy. These results contradict the hypothesis of non-heritable recognition cues and suggest that there is more potential...

  1. Efecto de los cortafuegos sobre el ensamble de hormigas (Hymenoptera, Formicidae en una región semiárida, Argentina Effects of firebreaks on ant density (Hymenoptera, Formicidae in a semiarid region, Argentina

    Francisco Rodrigo Tizón

    2010-09-01

    (shrubland, herbaceous cover (grass, and 80% of bare soil (firebreaks within a 12 ha study area where large herbivores were excluded. We recorded soil surface temperature, humidity, pH and degree of soil compaction in each area. The density of nests was assessed by randomly placing three transects (80 m x 5 m in each experimental unit. Soil temperature was higher in firebreaks and soil compaction was higher in the shrubland and the grassland. No differences in ant assemblage were found regarding nest density among environments. However, Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863 was found mostly in firebreaks where loose soil with greater porosity allows more gas exchange and water infiltration. Our findings revealed that the construction of firebreaks favors the establishment of leaf-cutting ants, which due to their competitive advantage, could negatively affect ant and plant composition in the community.

  2. Comparative studies of the secretome of fungus-growing ants

    Linde, Tore; Grell, Morten Nedergaard; Schiøtt, Morten;

    2009-01-01

    Leafcutter ants of the species Acromyrmex echinatior live in symbiosis with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. The ants harvest fragments of leaves and carry them to the nest where they place the material on the fungal colony. The fungus secretes a wide array of proteins to degrade the leaves...... into nutrients that the ants can feed on. The focus of this study is to discover, characterize and compare the secreted proteins. In order to do so cDNA libraries are constructed from mRNA extracted from the fungus material. The most efficient technology to screen cDNA libraries selectively for...

  3. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    The attine ant symbiosis is characterized by ancient but varying degrees of diffuse co-evolution between the ants and their fungal cultivars. Domesticated fungi became dependent on vertical transmission by queens and the ant colonies came to rely on their symbiotic fungus for food and thus......, indirectly, on fungal enzymes to break down the plant material brought in by the ants as fungal substrate. The more than 210 extant fungus-growing ant species differ considerably in colony size, social complexity and substrate-use. Only the derived leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as...... garden substrate, whereas the more basal genera use leaf litter, insect feces and insect carcasses. We hypothesized that enzyme activity of fungal symbionts has co-evolved with substrate use and we measured enzyme activities of fungus gardens in the field to test this, focusing particularly on plant...

  4. Optimal conditions to rear phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) of Atta vollenweideri and Acromyrmex lundii (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Guillade, Andrea C; Folgarait, Patricia J

    2014-04-01

    Phorid flies have been considered viable options for biological control of leaf-cutter ants because they are highly specific to these hosts, producing direct mortality and also affecting the normal functioning of colonies. Designing protocols for mass rearing of these insects requires knowing the temperature and humidity conditions that optimize their development in terms of duration, survivorship and longevity of adults. We reared Apocephalus setitarsus Brown, Eibesfeldtphora trilobata Disney, and Myrmosicarius brandaoi Disney, which are specific leaf-cutter ant parasitoids of Atta vollenweideri Forel, and Apocephalus neivai Borgmeier and Myrmosicarius catharinensis Borgmeier, which are parasitoids of Acromyrmex lundii Guérin-Méneville. Phorids were maintained under one of five different rearing conditions, 20°C high humidity (20HH), 24°C low and high humidity (24LH and 24HH), and 28°C low and high humidity (28LH and 28HH). Flies from all species could complete their development under all the conditions tested. As expected, the 20HH treatment significantly lengthened all developmental periods in all species, whereas the shortest duration was achieved under 28HH. Although pupal survivorship was highest at 24HH, the greatest longevity of adults was achieved at 20HH. Percentage of pupae obtained and pupal survivorship also exhibited the highest values at 24HH. The rearing efficiency index was highest for all species at 24HH. Therefore, we suggest this temperature and humidity combination as the most suitable for rearing these species, whereas the 20HH treatment is ideal for maintaining adults for longer periods, which would be advantageous for synchronizing matings and mass releases of adults in the field. PMID:24565267

  5. Dinâmica populacional e ecologia do forrageamento de Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 (hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Nickele, Mariane Aparecida

    2013-01-01

    Resumo: A tribo Attini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) compreende 14 gêneros de formigas que estão envolvidas em um mutualismo obrigatório com fungos. As formigas cortadeiras, Atta e Acromyrmex, são consideradas as principais pragas de florestas plantadas de Pinus e Eucalyptus, no entanto, na região sul do Brasil, as espécies de Acromyrmex são mais comuns. O objetivo geral deste estudo foi avaliar a dinâmica populacional de formigas cortadeiras do gênero Acromyrmex em plantios de Pinus taeda e estu...

  6. Laccase gene expression as a possible key adaptation for herbivorous niche expansion in the attine fungus-growing ants

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche, particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet...... of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which these ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that fungal laccases may have played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to...... become generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf...

  7. From so simple a beginning: Enzymatic innovation in fungus-growing ants involved a transition from individual symbiont selection to colony-level selection

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    ants increased the share of fresh leaves in their forage. However, once in place, this novel enzyme function gave the entire mutualism a significant colony-level advantage, which allowed the leaf-cutting ants to evolve very large long-lived colonies and to become one of the most important and...... partner species. Here we document such a sequence that was connected to a major evolutionary transition in the fungus-growing ants, when the ancestor of the derived leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet of dry vegetative material to the almost exclusive use of freshly cut leaves. This shift generated...... visible adaptations in the host ants, such as increased worker dimorphism allowing large workers to cut fresh leaves, but comparative studies of the specific fungal adaptations that accompanied the transition have not been done. Here we report the first large comparative data set on enzymatic fungus...

  8. The role of enzymes in fungus-growing ant evolution

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard

    behaviour. Here we report the first large-scale comparative study on fungus garden enzyme profiles and show that various interesting changes can be documented. A more detailed analysis of laccase expression, an enzyme that is believed to oxidize phenols in defensive secondary plant compounds such as tannins......, showed that this enzyme is exclusively found in the gardens of leaf-cutting ants, where it is significantly upregulated in the gongylidia. I’ll discuss the possible role of this enzyme and other fungal modifications in the evolution of the leafcutter ants and their non-leafcutting attine relatives....

  9. Forage collection, substrate preparation, and diet composition in fungus-growing ants

    Licht, H.H.D.; Boomsma, J.J.

    2010-01-01

    , whereas most of the other attine species use dry and partly degraded plant material such as leaf litter and caterpillar frass, but systematic comparative studies of actual resource acquisition across the attine ants have not been done. 3. Here we review 179 literature records of diet composition across...... the extant genera of fungus-growing ants. The records confirm the dependence of leaf-cutting ants on fresh vegetation but find that flowers, dry plant debris, seeds (husks), and insect frass are used by all genera, whereas other substrates such as nectar and insect carcasses are only used by some. 4...

  10. PREFERÊNCIA DE CORTE DE Acromyrmex crassispinus (FOREL, 1909 E Acromyrmex ambiguus (EMERY, 1887 (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE POR DIFERENTES ESPÉCIES DE EUCALIPTOS EM LABORATÓRIO

    João Luis Osório Rosado

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available A busca por novos métodos de manejo e controle de formigas-cortadeiras vem sendo enfoque de inúmeros estudos pelo país, impulsionada por aspectos econômicos e ambientais. O estabelecimento de espécies resistentes ou menos preferidas ao corte pode contribuir substancialmente neste sentido. Logo, o objetivo deste estudo foi avaliar a preferência de corte entre as espécies Corymbia citriodora, Eucalyptus benthamii, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus dunnii, Eucalyptus globulus e Eucalyptus urograndis por Acromyrmex ambiguus e Acromyrmex crassispinus em laboratório. Para isso, folhas foram ofertadas, simultaneamente, para seis colônias de cada espécie em bioensaios com chance de escolha. No entanto, nos testes sem chance de escolha, apenas as espécies menos preferidas pelo teste anterior foram utilizadas. Para Acromyrmex crassispinus, as espécies Eucalyptus camaldulensis e Eucalyptus urograndis foram mais cortadas, enquanto que as espécies Corymbia citriodora, Eucalyptus dunnii e Eucalyptus globulus foram menos preferidas ao corte. Acromyrmex ambiguus apresentou padrão similar de preferência, adicionando-se Eucalyptus benthamii entre as mais preferidas e excluindo-se Eucalyptus dunnii das menos preferidas.

  11. Cassava leaf methanolic extract as an alternative to control of fall armyworm and leaf cutter ants

    Mírian Aparecida Isidro Santos; Angelita Duarte Corrêa; Ana Paula de Carvalho Alves; Anderson Assaid Simão; Dejane Santos Alves; Rodrigo Lopes de Oliveira; Adelir Aparecida Saczk; Geraldo Andrade Carvalho

    2013-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize phenolic compounds and evaluate the effect, under laboratory conditions, of the cassava leaf powder methanol extract on the development of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda and of leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa. The extract was incorporated into an artificial diet, to which the armyworm was exposed, at concentrations of 250, 500, 1,000 and 1,500 mg kg-1, in order to evaluate biological characteristics. Soon after the insects emergen...

  12. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    Baer, B.; Dijkstra, M. B.; Mueller, U. G.;

    2009-01-01

    -growing ants, representing 9 of the 12 recognized genera, and mapped these onto the ant phylogeny. We show that average sperm length across species is highly variable and decreases with mature colony size in basal genera with singly mated queens, suggesting that sperm production or storage constraints affect...... the evolution of sperm length. Sperm length does not decrease further in multiply mating leaf-cutting ants, despite substantial further increases in colony size. In a combined analysis, sexual dimorphism explained 63.1% of the variance in sperm length between species. As colony size was not a...... significant predictor in this analysis, we conclude that sperm production trade-offs in males have been the major selective force affecting sperm length across the fungus-growing ants, rather than storage constraints in females. The relationship between sperm length and sexual dimorphism remained robust in...

  13. The effect of metapleural gland secretion on the growth of a mutualistic bacterium on the cuticle of leaf-cutting ants

    Poulsen, Michael; Bot, Adrianne N M; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2003-01-01

    controlling a microfungal parasite of their fungus gardens. Interaction between this bacterium and gland secretion therefore seems unavoidable. We document the typical development of bacterial growth on the cuticle of young major workers, show that growth starts a few days after eclosion, and that the maximal...

  14. Random sperm use and genetic effects on worker caste fate in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants

    Holman, Luke; Stürup, Marlene; Trontti, Kalevi; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-01-01

    genotyping revealed how sperm number translated into paternity of eggs and adult workers. We demonstrate that fertilization success is directly related to sperm numbers, that stored sperm are well-mixed and that egg paternity is constant over time. Moreover, worker size was found to have a considerable...

  15. Ecosystem engineering in fragmented forests: Edge-mediated hyper-abundance of leaf-cutting ants and resulting impacts on forest structure, microclimate and regeneration

    Meyer, Sebastian T.

    2008-01-01

    Fragmentation of habitats, especially of tropical rainforests, ranks globally among the most pervasive man-made disturbances of ecosystems. There is growing evidence for long-term effects of forest frag-mentation and the accompanying creation of artificial edges on ecosystem functioning and forest structure, which are altered in a way that generally transforms these forests into early successional systems. Edge-induced disruption of species interactions can be among the driving mechanisms gov...

  16. Uninformed sacrifice: Evidence against long-range alarm transmission in foraging ants exposed to localized abduction

    Tejera, F.; Reyes, A.; Altshuler, E.

    2016-07-01

    It is well established that danger information can be transmitted by ants through relatively small distances, provoking either a state of alarm when they move away from potentially dangerous stimulus, or charge toward it aggressively. There is almost no knowledge if danger information can be transmitted along large distances. In this paper, we abduct leaf cutting ants of the species Atta insularis while they forage in their natural environment at a certain point of the foraging line, so ants make a "U" turn to escape from the danger zone and go back to the nest. Our results strongly suggest that those ants do not transmit "danger information" to other nestmates marching towards the abduction area. The individualistic behavior of the ants returning from the danger zone results in a depression of the foraging activity due to the systematic sacrifice of non-informed individuals.

  17. O jardim de fungo atua como um molde para a construção das câmaras em formigas cortadeiras? Fungus garden acts as a template for the construction of chambers in ants?

    Roberto da Silva Camargo

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Os ninhos adultos das formigas cortadeiras (gênero Atta e Acromyrmex são compostos de milhares de câmaras subterrâneas, as quais abrigam o jardim de fungo, lixo e a população desses insetos. Entretanto, como as câmaras são construídas? Para responder essa questão, nós hipotetizamos que o jardim de fungo atua como um molde para a construção das câmaras. Assim, foram utilizadas 20 colônias de 6 meses de idade, divididas em quatro séries experimentais: padrão (quantidade normal de jardim de fungo; metade de jardim de fungo; dobro de jardim de fungo e sem jardim de fungo (Testemunha. As variáveis estudadas foram: parâmetros morfológicos das estruturas (túneis e câmara formada; fluxo das atividades das operárias; volume de solo escavado. Como se esperava, o jardim de fungo atua como um molde para a construção das câmaras em formigas cortadeiras. Os resultados foram: o tratamento sem jardim de fungo não apresentou nenhuma câmara, apenas túneis, em contraposição às demais séries experimentais que apresentaram no mínimo 2 câmaras, com dimensões similares; o fluxo das operárias carregando pellet de solo por minuto durante as 72 horas diferiu estatisticamente entre as séries experimentais e, finalmente, o volume do solo escavado foi resultado da taxa de escavação das operárias, diferindo estatisticamente entre as séries experimentais. Os resultados corroboram a hipótese de que o jardim de fungo atua como um molde para a construção da câmara. A ausência de uma estrutura funcional como uma câmara, quando o jardim de fungo está ausente, comprova a hipótese.Adult nests of leaf cutting ants (genus Atta and Acromyrmex are composed of thousands of underground chambers, which harbor the fungus garden, garbage and their population. However, how the chambers are constructed? To answer this question, we hypothesized that the fungus garden acts as a template for the chambers construction. Thus, we used 20 colonies of

  18. Sex allocation in fungus-growing ants: worker or queen control without symbiont-induced female bias

    Dijkstra, Michiel B.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2008-01-01

    The fungal cultivars of fungus-growing ants are vertically transmitted by queens but not males. Selection would therefore favor cultivars that bias the ants' sex ratio towards gynes, beyond the gyne bias that is optimal for workers and queens. We measured sex allocation in 190 colonies of six......, colony fecundity, and fungal garden volume for Acromyrmex and Sericomyrmex, but not for Trachymyrmex. Year of collection, worker number and mating frequency of Acromyrmex queens did not affect the colony sex ratios. We used a novel sensitivity analysis to compare the population sex allocation ratios with...... the theoretical queen and worker optima for a range of values of k, the correction factor for sex differences in metabolic rate and fat content. The results were consistent with either worker or queen control, but never with fungal control for any realistic value of k. We conclude that the fungal...

  19. Densidade e tamanho de formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus em plantios de Pinus taeda Density and size of Acromyrmex crassispinus nests in Pinus taeda plantations

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele; Wilson Reis Filho; Edilson Batista Oliveira; Edson Tadeu Iede

    2009-01-01

    O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar a densidade e o tamanho dos formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus, ao longo do ano, em plantios de Pinus taeda de diferentes idades. Os experimentos foram realizados, em Rio Negrinho e em Três Barras, SC, em talhões de P. taeda com diferentes idades (recém-plantado, três anos e seis anos de idade). Em cada tratamento, foram demarcadas três parcelas de 1 ha. Os formigueiros foram classificados em três classes de tamanho: classe I, até 30 cm de diâmetro; ...

  20. Mutualistic fungi control crop diversity in fungus-growing ants.

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-02-01

    Leaf-cutting ants rear clonal fungi for food and transmit the fungi from mother to daughter colonies so that symbiont mixing and conflict, which result from competition between genetically different clones, are avoided. Here we show that despite millions of years of predominantly vertical transmission, the domesticated fungi actively reject mycelial fragments from neighboring colonies, and that the strength of these reactions are in proportion to the overall genetic difference between these symbionts. Fungal incompatibility compounds remain intact during ant digestion, so that fecal droplets, which are used for manuring newly grown fungus, elicit similar hostile reactions when applied to symbionts from other colonies. Symbiont control over new mycelial growth by manurial imprinting prevents the rearing of multiple crops in fungus gardens belonging to the same colony. PMID:15692054

  1. Sperm storage induces an immunity cost in ants

    Baer, Boris; Armitage, Sophie A O; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2006-01-01

    Ant queens are among the most long-lived insects known. They mate early in adult life and maintain millions of viable sperm in their sperm storage organ until they die many years later. Because they never re-mate, the reproductive success of queens is ultimately sperm-limited, but it is not known...... what selective forces determine the upper limit to sperm storage. Here we show that sperm storage carries a significant cost of reduced immunity during colony founding. Newly mated queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica upregulate their immune response shortly after completing their nest burrow......, probably as an adaptive response to a greater exposure to pathogens in the absence of grooming workers. However, the immune response nine days after colony founding is negatively correlated with the amount of sperm in the sperm storage organ, indicating that short-term survival is traded off against long...

  2. Mutualistic fungi control crop diversity in fungus-growing ants

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants rear clonal fungi for food and transmit the fungi from mother to daughter colonies so that symbiont mixing and conflict, which result from competition between genetically different clones, are avoided. Here we show that despite millions of years of predominantly vertical...... transmission, the domesticated fungi actively reject mycelial fragments from neighboring colonies, and that the strength of these reactions are in proportion to the overall genetic difference between these symbionts. Fungal incompatibility compounds remain intact during ant digestion, so that fecal droplets......, which are used for manuring newly grown fungus, elicit similar hostile reactions when applied to symbionts from other colonies. Symbiont control over new mycelial growth by manurial imprinting prevents the rearing of multiple crops in fungus gardens belonging to the same colony....

  3. Patterns of diversity and abundance of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Attini) in areas of the Brazilian Cerrado Padrões de diversidade e abundância de formigas cultivadoras de fungo (Formicidade: Attini) em áreas do Cerrado Brasileiro

    Heraldo L. Vasconcelos; Bruna B. Araújo; Antonio J. Mayhé-Nunes

    2008-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) are characteristic elements of the New World fauna. However, there is little information on the patterns of diversity, abundance, and distribution of attine species in their native ecosystems, especially for the so-called "lower" genera of the tribe. A survey of attine ant nests (excluding Atta Fabricus, 1804 and Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865) was conducted in a variety of savanna and forest habitats of the Cerrado biome near Uberlândia, Brazil. In total, 314 nests ...

  4. Identifying the transition between single and multiple mating of queens in fungus-growing ants

    Villesen, Palle; Murakami, Takahiro; Schultz, Ted R;

    2002-01-01

    Obligate mating of females (queens) with multiple males has evolved only rarely in social Hymenoptera (ants, social bees, social wasps) and for reasons that are fundamentally different from those underlying multiple mating in other animals. The monophyletic tribe of ('attine') fungus-growing ants...... is known to include evolutionarily derived genera with obligate multiple mating (the Acromyrmex and Atta leafcutter ants) as well as phylogenetically basal genera with exclusively single mating (e.g. Apterostigma, Cyphomyrmex, Myrmicocrypta). All attine genera share the unique characteristic of...... obligate dependence on symbiotic fungus gardens for food, but the sophistication of this symbiosis differs considerably across genera. The lower attine genera generally have small, short-lived colonies and relatively non-specialized fungal symbionts (capable of living independently of their ant hosts...

  5. Comparative ultrastructure of ant spermatozoa (Formicidae: Hymenoptera).

    Wheeler, D E; Crichton, E G; Krutzsch, P H

    1990-12-01

    Mature spermatozoa from spermathecae of founding queens were obtained from 5 species of ants, representing the major subfamilies Myrmicinae (Acromyrmex versicolor, Crematogaster sp.) and Dolichoderinae (Tapinoma sessile, Conomyrma insana, Conomyrma wheeleri). The ultrastructure of ant spermatozoa has many features in common with that of higher insects and is similar to that of other Hymenoptera. Structural similarities to spermatozoa of other Hymenoptera include an acrosome containing an internal rod that extends into the nucleus, two elongate mitochondrial derivatives, a centriolar adjunct, and an axonemal arrangement of 9 + 9 + 2 that includes well-developed coarse, or accessory, tubules. Spermatozoa obtained from A. versicolor, a species that is known to store and utilize viable sperm from this supply for over 10 years, show greater development of the mitochondrial derivatives than do the other species. The most distinctive feature of ant spermatozoa in comparison to other Hymenoptera is the large size of the centriolar adjunct relative to the other organelles. The centriolar adjunct is located posterior to the nucleus, anterior to the mitochondrial derivatives, and opposite the axoneme. PMID:2280410

  6. Densidade e tamanho de formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus em plantios de Pinus taeda Density and size of Acromyrmex crassispinus nests in Pinus taeda plantations

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar a densidade e o tamanho dos formigueiros de Acromyrmex crassispinus, ao longo do ano, em plantios de Pinus taeda de diferentes idades. Os experimentos foram realizados, em Rio Negrinho e em Três Barras, SC, em talhões de P. taeda com diferentes idades (recém-plantado, três anos e seis anos de idade. Em cada tratamento, foram demarcadas três parcelas de 1 ha. Os formigueiros foram classificados em três classes de tamanho: classe I, até 30 cm de diâmetro; classe II, 31 a 60 cm; e classe III, mais que 61 cm. A densidade de formigueiros de A. crassispinus foi menor no início do desenvolvimento da floresta, praticamente duplicou nos plantios com três anos, e reduziu quando a floresta estava com seis anos. A maior densidade de formigueiros ocorreu no período de dezembro a abril. Os formigueiros aumentaram de tamanho com a idade do pínus.The objective of this work was to evaluate the density and size of Acromyrmex crassispinus nests in Pinus taeda plantations along the year. The experiments were carried out in Rio Negrinho and Três Barras, SC, Brazil, in P. taeda plantations of different ages (recently planted and three and six years old. Three plots of one hectare were delimited in each treatment. The nests were classified according to three size classes: class I, up to 30 cm diameter; class II, 31 up to 60 cm; class III, above 61 cm. The density of A. crassispinus nests was low in recently planted areas, nearly twofold in three year-old plantations, and it reduced when the forest was six years old. The greatest nest density occurred in the period from December to April. The nests size increased along with the age of the P. taeda plantations.

  7. Soil ants and bromeliad-nesting ants in an Atlantic Forest area, Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil: Species inventory and new records

    Josefina Steiner

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available The myrmecofauna in an Atlantic Forest area was studied using various methods for soil ants and bromeliad-nesting ants. Monthly collections were performed between March 2002 and August 2004, using a Winkler extractor, pitfall traps and bromeliad individuals. One hundred and twenty-four species from nine subfamilies and 33 genera were found. The richest genera were Pheidole, Solenopsis, Crematogaster, Acromyrmex and Camponotus. More species were found in soil than in bromeliads, with 8% occurring in both habitats. Twelve species are new records for Santa Catarina State and 19 are new for the greater Florianópolis region. These results correlate with the use of new methodologies for the region, showing that the ant fauna of Santa Catarina Island still needs to be better studied.

  8. Comparative Study of Nest Architecture and Colony Structure of the Fungus-Growing Ants, Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii

    Rabeling, C.; Verhaagh, M.; Engels, W

    2007-01-01

    Nest architecture and demography of the non leaf-cutting fungus-growing ant species Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii (Attini: Formicidae) were studied in an agroforest habitat near Manaus, Brazil during the excavation of 13 nests. Both species built their nests in two different ways. The first type possessed a “tree-like” architecture, in which a vertical tunnel led downwards and lateral tunnels branched off at 90° angles from the main tunnel, with a chamber at the end of each side branch. ...

  9. [Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as vectors for bacteria in two hospitals in the municipality of Divinópolis, State of Minas Gerais].

    Santos, Paula Fernandes dos; Fonseca, Alysson Rodrigo; Sanches, Newton Moreno

    2009-01-01

    The presence of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in hospital environments may constitute a public health problem, especially since they are mechanical vectors for pathogenic organisms. This study aimed to survey the ant populations and analyze the presence of bacteria associated with them in two medium-sized regional hospitals in the municipality of Divinópolis, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Specimens were collected every monthly over a six-month period. The following ant species were found: Pheidole sp1 and sp2, Linepithema humile, Wasmannia auropunctata, Camponotus sp1 and sp2, Odontomachus sp, Solenopsis sp, Acromyrmex sp and Tapinoma melenocephalum. It was observed that these ants mechanically transported Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Escherichia coli and non-pathogenic and pathogenic Staphylococcus. These results show the propensity for occurrences of hospital infections at these sites caused by mechanical transmission of pathogens by ants. PMID:19967241

  10. Field evaluation of potential of alarm pheromone compounds to enhance baits for control of grass-cutting ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Hughes, William O H; Howse, Philip E; Vilela, Evaldo F; Knapp, Jenny J; Goulson, Dave

    2002-06-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are important economic pests of the Neotropics, and the most common method of control involves the use of insecticidal baits. Baits that are currently available exhibit low attractiveness to grass-cutting species, thus there is a need to develop improved baits. The potential for using alarm pheromone compounds to enhance the attractiveness and subsequent harvest of baits was examined for two economically important species of grass-cutting ant, Atta bisphaerica (Forel) and Atta capiguara (Goncalves). Compounds of the alarm pheromone were applied to rubber septa that were then sealed inside plastic sachets together with citrus pulp-based bait. The best candidate compound for bait enhancement was 4-methyl-3-heptanone. This compound significantly increased the attractiveness of bait sachets to both species. It also appeared to improve the discovery of nearby unenhanced sachets. However, 4-methyl-3-heptanone resulted in only a slight and non-significant improvement in bait harvest. Enhanced and unenhanced bait sachets were applied at a number of positions to obtain an improvement in harvest, but without success. The possible reasons for the lack of an enhancement of harvest and the potential for using alarm pheromone compounds as leaf-cutting ant bait enhancers are discussed. PMID:12075997

  11. Occurrence of polygyny in Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans Santschi 1925 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Souza Danival José de

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available Polygyny denotes the coexistence of two or more mated and fertile queens in the colony. A colony of Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans Santschi containing 14 queens was collected on campus of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil, aiming to verify if they were all egg-layers and fertile . The volume of the fungus garden in the nest was about 500 ml with a large number of larvae and pupae. Observation of the ovarian development and spermathecae indicates that 13 queens had copulated and ovary did not show morphological differences among them. This could indicate that polygyny is not accidental and may represent an adaptative strategy to optimize the development of the initial colony in A. subterraneus molestans.

  12. Workers of Acromyrmex echinatior leafcutter ants police worker-laid eggs, but not reproductive workers

    Dijkstra, Michiel B.; van Zweden, Jelle Stijn; Dirchsen, Maria;

    2010-01-01

    Nonreproductive workers of many eusocial Hymenoptera 'police' the colony, that is, they attack reproductive sister workers or destroy their eggs (unfertilized; developing into haploid males). Several ultimate causes of policing have been proposed, including (1) an increase in colony productivity,...... reproductive workers. We infer that relatedness incentives are the most likely ultimate cause of the evolutionary maintenance of worker-egg policing in A. echinatior. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved...

  13. A comparative study of exocrine gland chemistry in Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ants

    Adams, Rachelle Martha Marie; Jones, Tappey H.; Jeter, Andrew W.;

    2012-01-01

    -cutting ants possess many derived characteristics such as extensive leaf-cutting behavior and massive colony sizes, effectively making them major herbivores in many Neotropical habitats. This is the first comparison of the chemistry of eight Trachymyrmex and one Sericomyrmex species in a phylogenetic context....... Most of the compounds found in the Trachymyrmex species examined were terpenes. In one species, the major component was a,a-acariolide, the first example of this compound, which was only previously reported in mites, from an insect. Additionally, 3-octanol, 3-octanone, and 4-methyl-3-heptanone were...

  14. Ants can learn to forage on one-way trails.

    Pedro Leite Ribeiro

    Full Text Available The trails formed by many ant species between nest and food source are two-way roads on which outgoing and returning workers meet and touch each other all along. The way to get back home, after grasping a food load, is to take the same route on which they have arrived from the nest. In many species such trails are chemically marked by pheromones providing orientation cues for the ants to find their way. Other species rely on their vision and use landmarks as cues. We have developed a method to stop foraging ants from shuttling on two-way trails. The only way to forage is to take two separate roads, as they cannot go back on their steps after arriving at the food or at the nest. The condition qualifies as a problem because all their orientation cues -- chemical, visual or any other -- are disrupted, as all of them cannot but lead the ants back to the route on which they arrived. We have found that workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa can solve the problem. They could not only find the alternative way, but also used the unidirectional traffic system to forage effectively. We suggest that their ability is an evolutionary consequence of the need to deal with environmental irregularities that cannot be negotiated by means of excessively stereotyped behavior, and that it is but an example of a widespread phenomenon. We also suggest that our method can be adapted to other species, invertebrate and vertebrate, in the study of orientation, memory, perception, learning and communication.

  15. Beyond ANT

    Jansen, Till

    2016-01-01

    Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) offers an ‘infra-language’ of the social that allows one to trace social relations very dynamically, while at the same time dissolving human agency, thus providing a flat and de-centred way into sociology. However, ANT struggles with its theoretical design that may lead...... us to reduce agency to causation and to conceptualize actor-networks as homogeneous ontologies of force. This article proposes to regard ANT’s inability to conceptualize reflexivity and the interrelatedness of different ontologies as the fundamental problem of the theory. Drawing on Günther, it...... offers an ‘infra-language’ of reflexive relations while maintaining ANT’s de-centred approach. This would enable us to conceptualize actor-networks as non-homogeneous, dynamic and connecting different societal rationales while maintaining the main strengths of ANT....

  16. ALTERNATIVAS DE FORMICIDAS EM PÓ NO CONTROLE DA FORMIGA-VERMELHA-DE-MONTE, Acromyrmex heyeri

    Fábio Moreira Link

    2000-11-01

    Full Text Available Com o objetivo de criar alternativas no controle químico da formiga-vermelha-de-monte, Acromyrmex heyeri (Forel, 1899 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini foram instalados quatro ensaios com formicidas em pó, em Santa Maria, estado do Rio Grande do Sul, entre 1996 e 1998. Avaliaram-se em formigueiros médios (+/- 45cm de diâmetro ou em formigueiros grandes (diâmetro superior a 60cm, doses de Deltametrina (2g i.a./kg, de Acefato (750g i.a./kg, de Clorpirifós (20g i.a./kg e 50g i.a./kg, de Fentiom (50g i.a./kg e de Diazinom (10g i.a./kg. Deltametrina e Acefato, partindo-se de 5g/ninho e, Clorpirifós (50g i.a./kg e Fentiom, partindo-se de 10g/ninho, foram eficazes no controle de formigueiros médios. Clorpirifós (50 g i.a./kg e Diazinom, com base em 10g/ninho e, Clorpirifós (20g i.a./kg, partindo-se de 30g/ninho controlaram eficientemente os formigueiros grandes dessa espécie.

  17. EFEITO DE DIFERENTES DOSES DO FORMICIDA “CITROMAX” NO CONTROLE DE Acromyrmex lundi (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE

    Edison Rogério Perrando

    2005-08-01

    Full Text Available Neste trabalho, objetivou-se avaliar o efeito do formicida Citromax a base de timbó (Ateleia glazioviana em diferentes doses no controle de Acromyrmex lundi, em campo nativo, no município de São Sepé, estado do Rio Grande do Sul. Foram analisados quatro tratamentos, constituídos por doses de 5g, 10g e 15g de “Citromax” e 10g de “Mirex-S” (sulfluramida 0,3% por formigueiro. O delineamento experimental foi inteiramente casualizado com dez repetições, considerando cada formigueiro uma repetição. A eficiência foi avaliada no 1º, 5º, 10º, 15º e 20º dia após a aplicação dos tratamentos. Os resultados obtidos permitiram concluir que “Citromax” apresenta ação de choque, pois houve alto percentual de controle nos primeiros cinco dias. O controle de A. lundi mediante a utilização do formicida “Citromax”, foi eficiente em todas as doses avaliadas, obtendo-se um percentual de controle superior a 85%. Não houve influência do tamanho do formigueiro em relação ao percentual de controle.

  18. Laccase gene expression as a possible key adaptation for herbivorous niche expansion in the attine fungus-growing ants

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which these ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that fungal laccases may have played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to...... become generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf...... compounds are most likely to hinder decomposition. A combination of genomic and transcriptional analyses showed that there are at least eight copies of putative laccase coding genes in a draft genome of the fungal symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus, but only a single copy of these multiple laccase genes...

  19. Male adaptations and female sperm use in organismal societies of ants and bees

    Stürup, Marlene

    strong selection to produce high quality ejaculates. In multiply mated queens, ejaculates from different males arrive as discrete units, but genetic diversity among workers has been documented to provide several colony benefits and this diversity can only be maximized if sperm becomes completely mixed......’s sperm stores and compared this with paternity shares in offspring. I also examined whether patriline distributions in worker cohorts remain stable over time, which is expected to yield the highest colony benefits in terms of worker genetic variation. Selection for extreme sperm viability in males is...... likely costly and expected to trade off with investments into other traits. I tested this by measuring sperm viability in honeybee males after exposure to mild external stress factors. Additionally, I infected leaf-cutting ant males with a pathogenic fungus and measured their subsequent immune response...

  20. Does Diatomaceous Earth Control Leaf-Cutter Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Eucalyptus Plantations?

    Ferreira-Filho, Pedro J; Wilcken, Carlos F; Neves, Daniela A; Pogetto, Mario H F A D; Carmo, Janaina B; Guerreiro, Julio C; Serrão, José E; Zanuncio, José C

    2015-06-01

    Genus Atta includes some of the most important Formicidae leaf cutter ants which cause extensive damage to the eucalyptus plantations. Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, one of the chief pests in Brazilian reforestation, can restrict and reduce forest productivity by its intense and constant leaf-cutting activities on plants at all stages. Therefore, the demand for new products to control A. sexdens rubropilosa indicates the study of the utilization of the dry powder formulation of diatomaceous earth (DE) against this pest in the eucalyptus cultivars. The study was conducted using 120 colonies of A. sexdens rubropilosa in Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex. Maiden x Eucalyptus urophylla Blake (Myrtaceae) (urograndis) stand. The randomized block experimental design was used with six treatments (1, 10, 25, and 50 g/m2 of DE, 6.0 g/m2 sulfluramid bait per square meter of loose soil, and the control) with five replications, each with four colonies of this ant. Diatomaceous earth was applied to the active A. sexdens rubropilosa ant holes, and the sulfluramid bait was applied in bulk in a localized manner. The control efficacy of A. sexdens rubropilosa with DE was low, showing values similar to that of the control, and, for this reason, it cannot be used to control this ant. The bait with sulfluramid showed higher efficacy than those of the other treatments. PMID:26470237

  1. The Ants Have It!

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

    Uses the GEMS guide, "Ants at Home Underground", to explore the life of ants and teach about them in a classroom setting. The activity applies students' knowledge of ants and students learn about ant colonies, what ants eat, and how they live. (SAH)

  2. Fungos Filamentosos Associados às Espécies Atta sexdens (Linnaeus e Atta laevigata (F. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Aline Dornelas

    2016-04-01

    Abstract. Leaf-cutting ants, Atta and Acromyrmex genera, are considered major pests in a neotropical agroforestry system because they cut plant material that will serve as food for the symbiotic fungus cultivated by them. Several fungi naturally occurring in the soil can be found associated with leaf-cutting ants, many of them are demonstrably entomopathogenic. However, these agents have not been used as biological control of leaf-cutting ants. The aim of this study was to isolate and to identify filamentous fungi associated with forage workers of Atta sexdens (Linnaeus and Atta laevigata (F. Smith and to test their pathogenicity against workers from laboratory colonies. To isolate filamentous fungi, it was collected a total of 180 forage workers (30 in each colony in six field colonies, 90 of A. sexdens and 90 workers of A. laevigata. Six fungi species from A. sexdens were isolated and identified: Metarhizium anisopliae (Metchnikoff Sorokin, Aspergillus flavus Link, Acremonium sp. 1, Aspergillus sp. 1, Colletotrichum sp. and Acremonium sp. 2. In A. laevigata, it was found four species: Mucor sp., Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium solani (Martius Saccardo, Aspergillus niger van Tieghem. Three of these fungi were selected for pathogenicity tests against workers of the leaf-cutting ant A. sexdens: A. flavus, A. niger and M. anisopliae. The LT50 (time to cause 50% mortality of workers in tests with A. niger and M. anisopliae were five days and significantly lower than the control group. Therefore, further tests should proceed with those isolates to demonstrate their potential use in the biological control of leaf-cutting ants.

  3. EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT DOSES OF THE FORMICIDE “CITROMAX” ON THE CONTROL OF Acromyrmex lundi (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE

    Edison Bisognin Cantarelli

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was the analysis of the effect of the formicide “Citromax”, formulated with Ateleia glazioviana, in different doses on the control of Acromyrmex lundi, in native field in São Sepé county,  Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Four treatments were analyzed, constituted of doses of 5, 10 and 15g of “Citromax” and 10g of “Mirex-S” (sulphluramide 0,3% in each nest. The statistical design was completely randomized with 10 repetitions, considering each nest as one repetition. The effectiveness was evaluated in the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th day after treatment application. The obtained results allow to conclude that “Citromax” shows an impact action, because there was a high percentage of control in the first five days. The Acromyrmex lundi control due to “Citromax” formicide was efficient in all the evaluated doses, obtaining a control percentage up to 85%. The influence of net size was not observed in relation to the percentage control.

  4. Screening of Leaf Cutting Flower Varieties Interplanted With Areca Catechu in Hainan Province%海南槟榔林下套种切叶花卉品种筛选

    任军方; 张浪; 姜殿强; 李海文; 云勇

    2015-01-01

    After respectively interplanting Asplenium nidus ,Chrysalidocarpuslutescens and Philodenron selloum Koch in the undergrow th of Areca catechu ,the research conducts a study on the grow th process at different matrixes and canopy densities .The results show that the best effect comes from the mixed matrix of coconut residuum ,farmyard manure and undergrow th original soil .When canopy density is 70% ,the grow th of leaf cutting flowers is the best .While the growing status of Asplenium nidus and Chrysalidocarpuslutes‐cens in undergrowth of Areca catechu is fine and the two can be selected as the preferred varieties .%在槟榔林下分别套种鸟巢蕨、散尾葵、春羽,对不同基质,不同郁闭度,进行了生长过程研究,结果表明:椰糠、农家肥和槟榔林下原土混合基质,效果最好;70%郁闭度时,切叶花卉生长最好;而鸟巢蕨和散尾葵在槟榔林下生长状态良好,为优选品种。

  5. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Produces Diverse Enzymes for the Degradation of Recalcitrant Plant Polymers in Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens

    Aylward, Frank O. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Tringe, Susannah G. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Teiling, Clotilde [Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN (United States); Tremmel, Daniel [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Moeller, Joseph [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Scott, Jarrod J. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Barry, Kerrie W. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Piehowski, Paul D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Nicora, Carrie D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Malfatti, Stephanie [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Monroe, Matthew E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Purvine, Samuel O. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Goodwin, Lynne A. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Smith, Richard D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Weinstock, George [Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis, MS (United States); Gerardo, Nicole [Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA (United States); Suen, Garret [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Lipton, Mary S. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Currie, Cameron R. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Smothsonian Tropical Research Inst., Balboa (Panama)

    2013-06-12

    Plants represent a large reservoir of organic carbon comprised largely of recalcitrant polymers that most metazoans are unable to deconstruct. Many herbivores gain access to nutrients in this material indirectly by associating with microbial symbionts, and leaf-cutter ants are a paradigmatic example. These ants use fresh foliar biomass as manure to cultivate fungus gardens composed primarily of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a basidiomycetous symbiont that produces specialized hyphal swellings that serve as a food source for the host ant colony. Although leaf-cutter ants are conspicuous herbivores that contribute substantially to carbon turnover in Neotropical ecosystems, the process through which plant biomass is degraded in their fungus gardens is not well understood. Here we present the first draft genome of L. gongylophorus, and using genomic, metaproteomic, and phylogenetic tools we investigate its role in lignocellulose degradation in the fungus gardens of both Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutter ants. We show that L. gongylophorus produces a diversity of lignocellulases in fungus gardens, and is likely the primary driver of plant biomass degradation in these ecosystems. We also show that this fungus produces distinct sets of lignocellulases throughout the different stages of biomass degradation, including numerous cellulases and laccases that may be playing an important but previously uncharacterized role in lignocellulose degradation. Our study provides a comprehensive analysis of plant biomass degradation in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and provides insight into the molecular dynamics underlying the symbiosis between these dominant herbivores and their obligate fungal cultivar.

  6. Fire Ant Bites

    ... Favorite Name: Category: Share: Yes No, Keep Private Fire Ant Bites Share | Fire ants are aggressive, venomous insects that have pinching ... across the United States, even into Puerto Rico. Fire ant stings usually occur on the feet or ...

  7. Are workers of Atta leafcutter ants capable of reproduction?

    Dijkstra, Michiel Bendert; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    ovaries. Workers of Atta leafcutter ants only lay trophic eggs in queenright colonies. Although Atta colonies are commonly kept at universities, museums, and zoos, no reports of worker sons in orphaned colonies exist, suggesting that Atta workers are infertile. To explicitly test this, we created eleven...... orphaned laboratory nests of Atta cephalotes, A. sexdens, and A. colombica, and maintained them for 3-6 months after queen loss. Eight colonies did not produce any brood, but three nests produced 1-4 worker-derived male larvae and pupae. Microsatellite genotyping indicated that these were worker sons...... fertility is low compared to the sister genus Acromyrmex, where workers routinely produce normally-size males after queen loss in the laboratory. We hypothesize that worker reproduction in orphaned Atta field colonies is almost never successful because the last workers die before their sons can be raised to...

  8. Influências de Atta spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae na recuperação da vegetação pós-fogo em floresta de transição amazônica Influences of leafcutter ant Atta spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae on vegetation recovery after fire in Amazonian transitional forest

    Karine Santana Carvalho

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Este estudo investigou o papel das saúvas na recuperação da vegetação pós-fogo. Foi hipotetizado que a perturbação do fogo aumenta a abundância de ninhos de saúva (1 e as atividades de remoção de sementes (2 e desfolha (3, especialmente no ambiente de borda. Os ninhos de saúva foram inventariados e mapeados e após 17 meses, checados para o registro de sua atividade e de novas colônias emergindo na área. Realizou-se experimentos comparativos de remoção de sementes e desfolha de plântulas em duas parcelas de 50 ha, uma submetida a fogo anual (tratamento e outra sem fogo (controle. A abundância de ninhos de saúva foi maior na parcela tratamento que na parcela controle, especialmente na borda da floresta. As espécies encontradas foram: Atta cephalotes, A. laevigata e A. sexdens , sendo esta última a espécie mais abundante e que mostrou aumento em número de colônias ativas após 17 meses. O aumento na abundância de ninhos na parcela tratamento foi acompanhado por um aumento na atividade dessas formigas. Enquanto mais de duas folhas foram arrancadas por plântula nessa parcela, menos de uma foi registrada na parcela controle. Também a abundância média de galhos desfolhados e de sementes removidas por saúvas foi maior na parcela tratamento que na parcela controle. As saúvas tanto podem diminuir ou retardar o processo de regeneração florestal pós-fogo, quanto acelerá-lo, devido à elevada predação seletiva que favorece as espécies menos palatáveis. Desta forma, suas atividades podem modificador apenas a composição da vegetação recuperando-se do fogo.In this study we investigated the role of leaf-cutting ants in the post-fire vegetation recovery. We hypothesized that a forest plot submitted to annual fire presents: (1 higher abundance of leaf-cutting ant nests; (2 higher removal of seeds; and (3 higher herbivory rates of leaf-cutting ants, when compared to the forest plots without fire (control. The leaf-cutting

  9. MECHANIZED SYSTEMATIC APPLICATION OF GRANULETED ANTS BAITS IN EUCALYPTUS PLANTATIONS IN MAINTENANCE PHASE

    Marcelo de Almeida Reis

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Compared to manual control, systematic control WITH ant bait requires less labor, results in lower exposure of workers and increases operating YIELD. This study aimed to evaluate the mortality of leaf-cutting ants nests with a mechanized systematic application of ant bait in three spacings on eucalyptus plantations in maintenance phase, the operational capability of mechanized application and the quality of the distribution of bait throughout the area. The experiment was conducted in the city of Paropeba, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in stands of eucalyptus plantations in maintenance phase. A sulfluramid (0.3% based bait was systematically applied at 1 kg.ha-1 every 6 x 2.5 9 x 2.5 and 12 x 2.5 meters, with an application equipment attached to the hydraulic system of a tractor, comprising three treatments with five repetitions. Nests with a size of up to one square meter of land area were selected and marked and evaluated their inactivity at 60 and 210 days after bait application. The percentage of bait loading, the operational capability of the mechanized process and the quality of the distribution process of the bait were also evaluated, using control charts. It was found that the different spacings applied did not influence the effectiveness of control. The largest spacing used provided greater operational capacity (8.42 ha.h-1. The mechanized systematic application provided good distribution as to the process’ statistical control, being a viable alternative to manual application.

  10. [Composition, abundance and infestation rate of ant species in a children's hospital in the city of Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil].

    Bragança, Marcos A L; Lima, Jefferson D

    2010-01-01

    This first survey of the ant fauna in a children's hospital in the city of Palmas, state of Tocantins, compares species composition, abundance and infestation rate of ants between rainy and dry seasons, day and night periods, and among 15 hospital sectors. Forty-eight collections, being 12 diurnal and 12 nocturnal in each season using five attractive baits distributed per sector, maintained for 3h per sampling. A total of 34,309 ants were collected, distributed in 12 species: Acromyrmex sp., Brachymyrmex sp., Camponotus spp. (four morphospecies), Dorymyrmex sp., Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis globularia (Creighton), Solenopsis saevissima Smith, Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius) and Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille). The hospital presented an average building infestation rate (40.3%), when compared with hospitals from other Brazilian regions. In general, there was no difference in the species composition between seasons and the period of the day, although abundance of ants was higher at night. The dry season and the nocturnal period showed the highest infestation rate, mainly by T.melanocephalum and S.globularia. Gynecologic ward, lactation unit, preconception and pediatric ward access ramp showed higher infestation rate, although these varied between seasons. The significant infestation levels by the three species above, especially in sectors with restricted access such as lactation unit, laboratory, Intensive Care Unit e surgery center, indicate potential risks for contamination of patients by multi resistant pathogens possibly present in ants' bodies, as verified in others studies. PMID:20305908

  11. Ant colony for TSP

    Feng, Yinda

    2010-01-01

    The aim of this work is to investigate Ant Colony Algorithm for the traveling salesman problem (TSP). Ants of the artificial colony are able to generate successively shorter feasible tours by using information accumulated in the form of a pheromone trail deposited on the edges of the TSP graph. This paper is based on the ideas of ant colony algorithm and analysis the main parameters of the ant colony algorithm. Experimental results for solving TSP problems with ant colony algorithm show great...

  12. Velvet Ants: Hymenoptera: Mutillidae

    Dellinger, Theresa A.; Day, Eric R.

    2012-01-01

    Describes Velvet Ants, their life cycle, habitats, and discusses control if necessary, although they are generally not regarded as pests. Caution is noted in handling velvet ants, since their stings are very painful.

  13. ACO - Ant Colony Optimization

    Žumer, Viljem; Brest, Janez; Pešl, Ivan

    2015-01-01

    Ant colony optimization is a relatively new approach to solving NP-Hard problems. It is based on the behavior of real ants, which always find the shortest path between their nest and a food source. Such behavior can be transferred into the discrcte world, were real ants are replaced by simple agents. Such simple agents are placed into the environment where different combinatorial problems can be solved In this paper we describe an artificial ant colony capable of solving the travelling salesm...

  14. Cassava leaf methanolic extract as an alternative to control of fall armyworm and leaf cutter ants

    Mírian Aparecida Isidro Santos

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to characterize phenolic compounds and evaluate the effect, under laboratory conditions, of the cassava leaf powder methanol extract on the development of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda and of leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa. The extract was incorporated into an artificial diet, to which the armyworm was exposed, at concentrations of 250, 500, 1,000 and 1,500 mg kg-1, in order to evaluate biological characteristics. Soon after the insects emergence, another experiment was conducted to verify the possible sub lethal activity of the extract; therefore, S. frugiperda couples were isolated in cages and eggs were collected and counted. The Manihot esculenta Crantz extract caused a reduction in the percentage of armyworm survival, as well as in the eggs number. Then, the same extract was solubilized in 10% ethanol and applied to ants; mortality was observed, compared to the control. It is possible to conclude that the M. esculenta Crantz leaf powder methanolic extract, containing gallic acid and catechin, is a promising alternative to control S. frugiperda and Atta sexdens rubropilosa.

  15. Ant- and Ant-Colony-Inspired ALife Visual Art.

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior. PMID:26280070

  16. Ant Colony Optimization

    Zahálka, Jaroslav

    2007-01-01

    This diploma thesis deals with Ant Colony algorithms and their usage for solving Travelling Salesman Problems and Vehicle Routing Problems. These algorithms are metaheuristics offering new approach to solving NP-hard problems. Work begins with a description of the forementioned tasks including ways to tackle them. Next chapter analyses Ant Colony metaheuristic and its possible usage and variations. The most important part of the thesis is practical and is represented by application Ant Colony...

  17. Specificity in chemical profiles of workers, brood and mutualistic fungi in Atta, Acromyrmex, and Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ants

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Poulsen, Michael; Drijfhout, Falko; Jones, Graeme; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2007-01-01

    , acetates, acids, and esters. The chemical profiles in all three species are likely to be sufficiently different to allow discrimination at the species and colony level and sufficiently similar within colonies to generate a relatively constant colony-specific chemical gestalt. The relative likelihood of...

  18. Alternativas de formicidas em pó no controle da formiga-vermelha-de-monte, Acromyrmex heyeri.

    Fábio Moreira Link

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Normal 0 21 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabela normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} Com o objetivo de criar alternativas no controle químico da formiga-vermelha-de-monte, Acromyrmex heyeri (Forel, 1899 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini  foram instalados quatro ensaios com formicidas em pó, em Santa Maria, estado do Rio Grande do Sul, entre 1996 e 1998. Avaliaram-se em formigueiros médios (+/- 45cm de diâmetro ou em formigueiros grandes (diâmetro superior a 60cm, doses de Deltametrina (2g i.a./kg, de Acefato (750g i.a./kg, de Clorpirifós (20g i.a./kg e 50g i.a./kg, de Fentiom (50g i.a./kg e de Diazinom (10g i.a./kg. Deltametrina e Acefato, partindo-se de 5g/ninho e, Clorpirifós (50g i.a./kg e Fentiom, partindo-se de 10g/ninho, foram eficazes no controle de formigueiros médios. Clorpirifós (50 g i.a./kg e Diazinom, com base em 10g/ninho e, Clorpirifós (20g i.a./kg, partindo-se de 30g/ninho controlaram eficientemente os formigueiros grandes dessa espécie.

  19. Ant Ballet: Phase I

    Ollie Palmer

    2014-01-01

    The Ant Ballet project aims to create a precisely choreographed movement from a colony of ants through the use of artificial pheromones. This article presents an annotated storyboard of the film that documents the first set of experiments within the project. The full film can be viewed online at href="http://www.antballet.org"www.antballet.org.

  20. Formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae como vetores de bactérias em dois hospitais do município de Divinópolis, Estado de Minas Gerais Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae as vectors for bacteria in two hospitals in the municipality of Divinópolis, State of Minas Gerais

    Paula Fernandes dos Santos

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available A presença de formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae em ambientes hospitalares pode constituir um problema de saúde pública, especialmente por serem vetores mecânicos de organismos patogênicos. O trabalho teve como objetivo realizar o levantamento de formigas e analisar a presença de bactérias a elas associadas em dois hospitais regionais de médio porte da cidade de Divinópolis, MG. As coletas foram realizadas mensalmente, durante um período de seis meses. Foram coletadas formigas Pheidole sp1 e sp2, Linepithema humile, Wasmannia auropunctata, Camponotus sp1 e sp2, Odontomachus sp, Solenopsis sp, Acromyrmex sp e Tapinoma melenocephalum. Observou-se que estas transportavam mecanicamente Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus patogênico e não patogênico e Escherichia coli. Tais resultados evidenciam a propensão à ocorrência de infecções hospitalares nesses locais pela transmissão mecânica de agentes patogênicos por formigas.The presence of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in hospital environments may constitute a public health problem, especially since they are mechanical vectors for pathogenic organisms. This study aimed to survey the ant populations and analyze the presence of bacteria associated with them in two medium-sized regional hospitals in the municipality of Divinópolis, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Specimens were collected every monthly over a six-month period. The following ant species were found: Pheidole sp1 and sp2, Linepithema humile, Wasmannia auropunctata, Camponotus sp1 and sp2, Odontomachus sp, Solenopsis sp, Acromyrmex sp and Tapinoma melenocephalum. It was observed that these ants mechanically transported Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Escherichia coli and non-pathogenic and pathogenic Staphylococcus. These results show the propensity for occurrences of hospital infections at these sites caused by mechanical transmission of pathogens by ants.

  1. Sick ants become unsociable

    Bos, Nicky Peter Maria; Lefevre, T.; Jensen, A.B.;

    2012-01-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), we...... show that infected ants radically change their behaviour over time to reduce the risk of colony infection. Infected individuals (i) performed less social interactions than their uninfected counterparts, (ii) did not interact with brood anymore and (iii) spent most of their time outside the nest from...... day 3 post-infection until death. Furthermore, infected ants displayed an increased aggressiveness towards non-nestmates. Finally, infected ants did not alter their cuticular chemical profile, suggesting that infected individuals do not signal their physiological status to nestmates. Our results...

  2. The Cocktail ant count

    A better understanding of Cocktail ant populations (Crematogaster) is engendered by the use of 32P labelling to measure the population density of the colonies, once the biology of the species is known

  3. Ant traffic rules.

    Fourcassié, Vincent; Dussutour, Audrey; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2010-07-15

    Many animals take part in flow-like collective movements. In most species, however, the flow is unidirectional. Ants are one of the rare group of organisms in which flow-like movements are predominantly bidirectional. This adds to the difficulty of the task of maintaining a smooth, efficient movement. Yet, ants seem to fare well at this task. Do they really? And if so, how do such simple organisms succeed in maintaining a smooth traffic flow, when even humans experience trouble with this task? How does traffic in ants compare with that in human pedestrians or vehicles? The experimental study of ant traffic is only a few years old but it has already provided interesting insights into traffic organization and regulation in animals, showing in particular that an ant colony as a whole can be considered as a typical self-organized adaptive system. In this review we will show that the study of ant traffic can not only uncover basic principles of behavioral ecology and evolution in social insects but also provide new insights into the study of traffic systems in general. PMID:20581264

  4. It is not all pheromones: No evidence that pheromones affect digging face choice during ant nest excavation.

    Bruce, Andrew I

    2016-01-01

    Ants create nests of a size that is tailored to the number of individuals in a nest via a self-organized process. It is not yet clear how they accomplish this. Deposition and evaporation of pheromones at the digging face has been hypothesised by Deneubourg and Franks (1995) and Buhl et al. (2005) to be part of the nest construction process, with models being presented to support this contention. This hypothesis was tested by allowing groups of 5 Acromyrmex lundi workers to choose between two excavation sites, one that was freshly exposed to digging and one where digging had ceased an hour previously. It was expected that if pheromones played a role in stimulating digging, then ants would show a preference for digging in the "fresh" sites rather than the "aged" sites where the putative digging pheromone had decayed. No significant difference in digging activity between "fresh" and "aged" sites was detected. It is therefore likely that, while digging pheromones may play other roles in other parts of the digging system, they do not play an important role in regulation of soil excavation at the digging face. PMID:26529291

  5. Alate susceptibility in ants.

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-11-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  6. Utilization of Anting-Anting (Acalypha indica) Leaves as Antibacterial

    Batubara, Irmanida; Wahyuni, Wulan Tri; Firdaus, Imam

    2016-01-01

    Anting-anting (Acalypha indica) plants is a species of plant having catkin type of inflorescence. This research aims to utilize anting-anting as antibacterial toward Streptococcus mutans and degradation of biofilm on teeth. Anting-anting leaves were extracted by maceration technique using methanol, chloroform, and n-hexane. Antibacterial and biofilm degradation assays were performed using microdilution technique with 96 well. n-Hexane extracts of anting-anting leaves gave the best antibacterial potency with minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration value of 500 μg/mL and exhibited good biofilm degradation activity. Fraction of F3 obtained from fractionation of n-hexane's extract with column chromatography was a potential for degradation of biofilm with IC50 value of 56.82 μg/mL. Alkaloid was suggested as antibacterial and degradation of biofilm in the active fraction.

  7. Morpho-physiological Differences of the Spermatheca of Attini Ants (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae

    Gabriela Ortiz

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The insect's spermatheca store the spermatozoa from the time of copulation until the fertilization of the eggs and consists of a sac, usually associated to glands. The ant species Atta laevigata, Atta sexdens sexdens, Atta sexdens piriventris, Acromyrmex coronatus and Cyphomyrmex muelleri are considered pests, as they cause economics losses to several crops. The spermatheca of these species were examined by scanning electron microscopy, histological and histochemical techniques. Their morphology resembled that of a bilobular pouch partially jointed in the central portion. In A. coronatus and C. muelleri it is flatter in shape than those of other species. The external spermathecal gland, groups of secretory cells, was located at the joining point of the two spermathecal lobes of the reservoir. This was observed in A. laevigata, A. s. sexdens and A. coronatus, like a group of cells, while in C. muelleri, like filaments. An external associated gland was not observed in A. s. piriventris, instead secretory cells were arranged in a simple prismatic epithelium internally lining the spermathecal lumen. This epithelium was also observed in A. s. sexdens, although it was restricted to the joining point of the spermathecal lobes. The presence of an internal secretory epithelium in A. s. piriventris and A. s. sexdens suggests that their physiology for the maintenance of spermatozoa in viable conditions for egg fertilization might differ from A. laevigata, A. coronatus and C. muelleri, in which only an external spermathecal gland was observed.

  8. The Ants Go Marching Millions by Millions: Invasive Ant Research

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  9. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

    The very basis of this thesis is the collective behavior of ants in colonies. Ants are an excellent example of how rather simple behavior on a local level can lead to complex behavior on a global level that is beneficial for the individuals. The key in the self-organization of ants is communication

  10. ANT i arbejdslivsforskningen

    2012-01-01

    for Tidsskrift for Arbejdsliv at stille skarpt på, hvorledes teknologi kan forstås og udforskes, og her står nyere teoridannelser som STS (Science- and Technology Studies) og ANT (Actor-Network Theory) centralt. Dette temanummer af tidsskriftet har derfor disse teorier og deres anvendelse i studier af...

  11. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

    Peering through a thematic science lens--elementary students embarked on a one-week study of ants during a month-long summer school program. This integrated unit addressed reading and writing skills while developing the science-process skills of observation, inferring, and communicating in a motivating and authentic way. Pre- and post-assessments…

  12. Ant Colony Optimization: A Review and Comparison

    Sundus Shaukat; Riaz Ahmed Bhatti; Khalid Ibrahim Qureshi; Shafqat Ali Shad

    2014-01-01

    Many optmization algorithms are developed over period of time, among these most famous and widely used is Ant Colony systems (ACA). Ant Colony Systems (ACS) are the collection of different ant colony optimization algorithms. Different algorithms are used for solve the Travelling salesmen Problem (TCP) but ant colony algorithm is more preferred to solve the travelling salesmen problem. In ant colony best solution is found with the help of cooperating agents called ants. Ants cooperate with eac...

  13. Antártida

    Ricardo Felicio

    2007-01-01

    No extremo Sul do planeta Terra há a última fronteira ao avanço e controle total do homem. Se já são tantas as dificuldades para a sobrevivência em um ambiente hostil, podemos imaginar o esforço maior para a permanência total e indefinida. Tal território, sempre idealizado pelos antigos gregos, cerca de 300 a.C., mas descoberto há pouco mais de um século é a Antártida. Suas diferenças são marcantes em relação ao seu par, no pólo Norte, em todos os sentidos. O mais importante é o fato de a Ant...

  14. Ante la ley

    Kafka Franz

    1999-12-01

    Full Text Available Ante las puertas de la ley hay un guardian. Un campesino se llega hasta ese guardian y le pide que le permita entra en la ley, pero el guardian le dice que por ahora no se lo puede permitir. El hombre reflexiona y entonces pregunta si podria entrar despues. Es posible -dice el guardian-; pero no ahora. La puerta de entrada a la ley esta abierta como siempre.

  15. Alate susceptibility in ants

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investm...

  16. Artificial Ant Species on Solving Optimization Problems

    Pintea, Camelia-M.

    2013-01-01

    During the last years several ant-based techniques were involved to solve hard and complex optimization problems. The current paper is a short study about the influence of artificial ant species in solving optimization problems. There are studied the artificial Pharaoh Ants, Lasius Niger and also artificial ants with no special specificity used commonly in Ant Colony Optimization.

  17. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks.

  18. Further travels with my ant

    Gale, David; Propp, James; Sutherland, Scott; Troubetzkoy, Serge

    1995-01-01

    We discuss some properties of a class of cellular automata sometimes called a "generalized ant". This system is perhaps most easily understood by thinking of an ant which moves about a lattice in the plane. At each vertex (or "cell"), the ant turns right or left, depending on the the state of the cell, and then changes the state of the cell according to certain prescribed rule strings. (This system has been the subject of several Mathematical Entertainments columns in the Mathematical Intelli...

  19. Extrações de óleos de sementes de citros e suas atividades sobre a formiga cortadeira Atta sexdens e seu fungo simbionte Citrus seed oils extractions and their activity against leaf cutting ant Atta sexdens and its symbiotic fungus

    João B Fernandes; Valmir David; Patrícia H. Facchini; M. Fátima das G. F. da Silva; Edson Rodrigues Filho; Paulo C. Vieira; Mário S. Galhiane; Pagnocca, Fernando C.; Odair C. Bueno; M. José Hebling; Sandra R. Victor; Ana Maria Rodrigues dos Santos

    2002-01-01

    Seeds Citrus oils (C. sinensis, C. limon and C. reticulata) extraction with hexane in a soxhlet apparatus and through supercritical fluid (CO2) were done. Besides triglycerides, the oils obtained with hexane comprised volatile compounds such as terpenes and fatty alcohols, esters, and aldehydes. However, the oils obtained by extraction with supercritical fluid presented only triglycerides. These results indicate that the extraction using supercritical fluid presents better selectivity. The ac...

  20. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    Adams, R. M. M.; Liberti, J.; Illum, A. A.; Jones, T H; Nash, D R; Boomsma, J.J.

    2013-01-01

    We document the behavioral interactions among three ant species: a fungus-growing host ant, a permanently associated parasitic guest ant, and a raiding agro-predator ant. We show that the presence of guest ants becomes advantageous when host ants are attacked by raider ants, because guest ants use alkaloid venom to defend their host ant colony. Furthermore, detection of the guest ant odors is sufficient to discourage raider scouts from recruiting nestmates to host colonies. Guest ants likely ...

  1. Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants

    The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and...

  2. Ex Ante Allusions

    Holt, Jason

    2015-01-01

    We tend to think of allusions as indirect references to objects that already exist. Here I argue against this post facto orthodoxy and for the view that certain cases of allusion count as ex ante allusions (i.e. allusions before the fact). I argue that the standard view conflates the epistemic dependence of allusion (knowledge of the object of allusion) with an existential dependence (the object must already exist). As an adequate account of allusion should explain both the apparent paradoxic...

  3. Army Ants as Research and Collection Tools

    Smith, Adrian A.; Haight, Kevin L.

    2008-01-01

    Ants that fall prey to the raids of army ants commonly respond by evacuating their nests. This documented behavior has been underexploited by researchers as an efficient research tool. This study focuses on the evacuation response of the southwestern desert ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli André (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to the army ant Newamyrmex nigrescens Cresson. It is shown that army ants can be used to collect mature colonies of ants. The applicability of this tool to ecologically meaningfu...

  4. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

    Biological processes speed up as temperature rises. Procedures for demonstrating this with ants traveling on trails, and data gathered by students on the Argentine ant ("Linepithema humile") are presented. The concepts of temperature regulation and conformity are detailed with a focus on the processes rather than on terms that label the organisms.

  5. The metapleural gland of ants

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-01-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions of th...... MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non...... more commonly absent in males than in workers. MG chemistry has been characterized mostly in derived ant lineages with unique biologies (e.g. leafcutter ants, fire ants), currently precluding any inferences about MG chemistry at the origin of the ants. A synthetic approach integrating functional...

  6. AntR-mediated bidirectional activation of antA and antR, anthranilate degradative genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    Kim, Soo-Kyoung; Im, Su-Jin; Yeom, Doo-Hwan; Lee, Joon-Hee

    2012-08-15

    Bidirectional activation of transcription is a peculiar regulation mode of gene expression. In this study, we show that genes involved in the metabolism of anthranilate, a precursor of biosynthesis of tryptophan and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) are regulated by this bidirectional activation of transcription. Anthranilate is degraded by anthranilate dioxygenase complex encoded by antABC operon, and AntR, a LysR-type regulator encoded by antR activates the transcription of antABC operon in the presence of anthranilate. In P. aeruginosa, antABC and antR are divergently located and AntR binds to the intergenic region between antA and antR to activate the antABC transcription. In this study, we determined the transcriptional start site of the antA promoter (antA(p)) and AntR-responsive elements (AREs) in P. aeruginosa. The upstream deletion analysis of antA(p) and in vitro gel shift assay with purified AntR showed that there are two AREs at -194 to -148 and -88 to -47 regions. We also found that AntR activates antR promoter (antR(p)) in the opposite direction and both AREs are important in the bidirectional activation of antA(p) and antR(p). Two AREs have different binding affinities to AntR and the strength of transcriptional activation was dramatically asymmetric depending on the direction. We suggest that the different affinities of two AREs may explain the asymmetry of the bidirectional activation by AntR. PMID:22609066

  7. Ants for Document Clustering

    Priya Vaijayanthi

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The usage of computers for mass storage has become mandatory nowadays due to World Wide Web (WWW. This has placed many challenges to the Information Retrieval (IR system. Clustering of documents available improves the efficiency of IR system. The problem of clustering has become a combinatorial optimization problem in IR system due to the exponential growth in information over WWW. In this paper, a hybrid algorithm that combines the basic Ant Colony Optimization with Tabu search has been proposed. The feasibility of the proposed algorithm is tested over a few standard benchmark datasets. The experimental results reveal that the proposed algorithm yields promising quality clusters compared to other ones produced by K-means algorithm.

  8. ESTUDIOS SOBRE EL COMPORTAMIENTO DE FORRAJEO DE Acromyrmex lundi Guering (HYMENOPTERA, FORMICIDAE Y SU EFECTO SOBRE EL CRECIMIENTO DE PROCEDENCIAS DE Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (Myrtaceae

    Carmen Lidia Martínez

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available El ataque de las hormigas cortadoras es una de las principales razones de pérdida de plantas durante la etapa de establecimiento de un monte forestal. Los objetivos de este estudio fueron evaluar la intensidad de forrajeo de Acromyrmex lundi asociado a algunas condiciones ambientales y procedencias de Eucalyptus globulus y estimar el impacto de la herbivoría sobre el crecimiento inicial de estos árboles. Dos ensayos se llevaron a cabo durante dos temporadas estivo-otoñales consecutivas, en el Campo Experimental de la Universidad Nacional de Luján, Argentina. Los materiales de diferentes procedencias fueron dispuestos en bloques equidistantes a 5 m de un nido activo de A. lundi. Durante doce semanas se contabilizó el número de hojas cortadas por las hormigas y se registraron algunas variables meteorológicas. En el segundo año la mitad de las parcelas fue protegida de las hormigas y se midieron variables de crecimiento. Los materiales de todas las procedencias fueron atacadas por A. lundi, aunque el número de hojas cosechada fue significativamente diferente sólo entre los orígenes Flinders Island (52,5 hojas y Nullo Mountain (28,5 hojas. El número de días lluviosos fue el único factor ambiental que se relacionó positivamente con la actividad de las hormigas.Todos los tratamientos redujeron significativamente la altura, el diámetro y el área foliar cuando fueron atacados por las hormigas. Las distintas procedencias compensaron diferencialemnte la herbivoría. Se discuten los resultados en función de los criterios a tener en cuenta para la selección de materiales genéticos como herramienta de manejo y control del ataque de A. lundi.

  9. Runtime analysis of the 1-ANT ant colony optimizer

    Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sudholt, Dirk;

    2011-01-01

    The runtime analysis of randomized search heuristics is a growing field where, in the last two decades, many rigorous results have been obtained. First runtime analyses of ant colony optimization (ACO) have been conducted only recently. In these studies simple ACO algorithms such as the 1-ANT are...... investigated. The influence of the evaporation factor in the pheromone update mechanism and the robustness of this parameter w.r.t. the runtime behavior have been determined for the example function OneMax.This work puts forward the rigorous runtime analysis of the 1-ANT on the example functions Leading......Ones and BinVal. With respect to Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs), such analyses were essential to develop methods for the analysis on more complicated problems. The proof techniques required for the 1-ANT, unfortunately, differ significantly from those for EAs, which means that a new reservoir of methods has...

  10. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    Ants control pests via predation and physical deterrence; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may serve as warning signals to potential prey and other intruders. The presence of ant pheromones may, thus, be sufficient to repel pests from ant territories. This mini-review shows that four out of five tested ant species deposit pheromones that repel herbivorous prey from their host plants.

  11. Le cybercommerçant

    Lauboué, Adongon Sylvain

    2015-01-01

    Le cybercommerçant se distingue du commerçant traditionnel à travers ladématérialisation de ses activités due à l’utilisation d’Internet. Ainsi, la dématérialisation desactivités du cybercommerçant, en dépit des avantages, pose deux séries de problèmes dues àl’ubiquité et à la dépersonnalisation. L’ubiquité se manifeste par le fait que le site Internet ducybercommerçant est accessible dans presque tous les États. La dépersonnalisation crée desrisques dus d’une part, au défaut de présence phys...

  12. Neuroretinitis following bull ant sting

    Ullrich, Katja; Saha, Niladri; Lake, Stewart

    2012-01-01

    Cat scratch disease causes the majority of cases of neuroretinitis. Neuroretinitis is characterised by clinical features of papillitis, macular oedema and macular star. We report a case study of infection with Bartonella henselae most likely transmitted by a bull ant sting. The patient presented with blurred vision and reduced visual acuity after being stung by an ant in her garden some 7 days earlier. Further testing revealed positive serology to B henselae and the patient improved with appr...

  13. Termites, hemimetabolous diploid white ants?

    Korb Judith

    2008-01-01

    Abstract Ants and termites are the most abundant animals on earth. Their ecological success is attributed to their social life. They live in colonies consisting of few reproducing individuals, while the large majority of colony members (workers/soldiers) forego reproduction at least temporarilly. Despite their apparent resemblance in social organisation, both groups evolved social life independently. Termites are basically social cockroaches, while ants evolved from predatory wasps. In this r...

  14. Identifying potential evolutionary relationships within a facultative lycaenid-ant system: Ant association,oviposition, and butterfly-ant conflict

    NEIL COLLIER

    2007-01-01

    Facultative associations are commonly encountered between ants and lycaenids,although the nature and patterns of associations are typically unclear. This study investigated a facultative symbiosis involving the lycaenid Theclinesthes albocincta (Lycaenidae), its host plant Adriana quadripartita and Australian native ants. Ants in the genera Ochetellus and Iridomyrmex were most frequently found in association with T. albocincta larvae,although Iridomyrmex ants were found in much lower abundance than were ants in Ochetellus. The abundances of Ochetellus and Iridomyrmex were highly correlated with larval abundance, but not egg abundance. Observations and experiments recorded oviposition on male inflorescences on more than 95% of occasions, but oviposition was not greater on inflorescences with ants present. Behavioral assays showed that Iridomyrmex ants were aggressive towards female butterflies on significantly more occasions than were Ochetellus ants. These findings indicate potential evolutionary relationships between T. albocincta and two genera of ants that were abundant within the habitat.

  15. Determinação do fator de conversão em colônias de Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae e sua relação com a qualidade do material vegetal cortado Determination of the conversion factor in colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae and its relationship with the quality of harvested leaf substrate

    Leandro Sousa-Sou

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available As formigas cortadeiras (Atta e Acromyrmex são consideradas importantes pragas na agricultura e silvicultura, mas pouco se sabe sobre os reais danos dessas espécies. Uma forma bastante difundida de avaliação do dano é por meio do cálculo da taxa de conversão, dividindo-se o peso do material cortado pelo peso de lixo produzido pelas colônias. Foi levantada a hipótese de que a qualidade do substrato cortado pode influenciar no forrageamento das operárias, alterando a taxa de conversão e dificultando as estimativas de dano. A taxa de conversão de oito colônias de Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae foi calculada com duas espécies vegetais com diferentes concentrações de lignina e celulose, para testar essa hipótese. Colônias mantidas com folhas de baixa qualidade (razão lignina/celulose elevada tiveram maior forrageamento e produziram mais lixo. Entretanto, a taxa de conversão das colônias foi semelhante com essas duas plantas (média = 1,54. Esse valor está dentro da variação encontrada para outras espécies no campo (1,5-1,8, indicando um fator semelhante de conversão entre os gêneros Atta e Acromyrmex. O consumo médio de material vegetal, em termos de pesos seco e fresco, de uma colônia de A. sexdens rubropilosa com 4.500 operárias, foi estimado em 520 e 1.100 g/ano, respectivamente.Leaf-cutting ants (Atta and Acromyrmex are important pests in agriculture and forestry, although few data exist on the actual damage caused by these species. A model used to evaluate damage by leaf-cutting ants are estimates of the conversion factor, which is the ratio between the weight of material cut by the ants and the refuse produced by the colonies. The hypothesis that substrate quality influences foraging by workers, modifying the conversion factor and impairing damage estimates was put forward. To test this hypothesis, the conversion factor was calculated for eight colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel

  16. Ant larval demand reduces aphid colony growth rates in an ant-aphid interaction

    Cook, James M.; Leather, Simon R; Oliver, Tom H.

    2012-01-01

    Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates. However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial exper...

  17. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    Ants control pests via predation and physical deterrence; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may serve as warning signals to potential prey and other intruders. The presence of ant pheromones may, thus, be sufficient to repel pests from ant territories. This mini-review sh......Ants control pests via predation and physical deterrence; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may serve as warning signals to potential prey and other intruders. The presence of ant pheromones may, thus, be sufficient to repel pests from ant territories. This mini......-review shows that four out of five tested ant species deposit pheromones that repel herbivorous prey from their host plants....

  18. Using Ants as bioindicators: Multiscale Issues in Ant Community Ecology

    Alan Andersen

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available Ecological patterns and processes are characteristically scale dependent, and research findings often cannot be translated easily from one scale to another. Conservation biology is challenged by a lack of congruence between the spatial scales of ecological research (typically involving small plots and land management (typically involving whole landscapes. Here, I discuss spatial scaling issues as they relate to an understanding of ant communities and, consequently, their use as bioindicators in land management. Our perceptions of fundamental patterns and processes in ant communities depend on scale: taxa that are behaviorally dominant at one scale are not necessarily so at others, functional groups recognized at one scale are often inappropriate for others, and the role of competition in community structure depends on the scale of analysis. Patterns of species richness and composition, and the ability of total richness to be estimated by surrogates, are all also scale dependent. Ant community ecology has a tradition of detailed studies in small plots, but the use of ants as bioindicators requires a predictive understanding of community structure and dynamics at a range of spatial scales. Such an appreciation of ant communities and their most effective use as bioindicators is best served by studies integrating results from plot-scale research with the broad-scale paradigms of biogeography, systematics, and evolutionary biology.

  19. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Ulrich G Mueller

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Leafcutter ants depend on the cultivation of symbiotic Attamyces fungi for food, which are thought to be grown by the ants in single-strain, clonal monoculture throughout the hundreds to thousands of gardens within a leafcutter nest. Monoculture eliminates cultivar-cultivar competition that would select for competitive fungal traits that are detrimental to the ants, whereas polyculture of several fungi could increase nutritional diversity and disease resistance of genetically variable gardens. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using three experimental approaches, we assessed cultivar diversity within nests of Atta leafcutter ants, which are most likely among all fungus-growing ants to cultivate distinct cultivar genotypes per nest because of the nests' enormous sizes (up to 5000 gardens and extended lifespans (10-20 years. In Atta texana and in A. cephalotes, we resampled nests over a 5-year period to test for persistence of resident cultivar genotypes within each nest, and we tested for genetic differences between fungi from different nest sectors accessed through excavation. In A. texana, we also determined the number of Attamyces cells carried as a starter inoculum by a dispersing queens (minimally several thousand Attamyces cells, and we tested for genetic differences between Attamyces carried by sister queens dispersing from the same nest. Except for mutational variation arising during clonal Attamyces propagation, DNA fingerprinting revealed no evidence for fungal polyculture and no genotype turnover during the 5-year surveys. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Atta leafcutter ants can achieve stable, fungal monoculture over many years. Mutational variation emerging within an Attamyces monoculture could provide genetic diversity for symbiont choice (gardening biases of the ants favoring specific mutational variants, an analog of artificial selection.

  20. Evaluation of the possible role of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae as mechanical vectors of nematodes and protists

    Fabio Villani

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Nematodes and protists can be transmitted to humans in many ways and little concern has been given to the mechanical transmission by ants. This study aimed at analysing how the eggs of Ascaris lumbricoides and cysts of Entamoeba coli could be mechanically transmitted to the man by Formicidae. Through the experiments using nests of Tapinoma melanocephalum, Linepithema humile and Monomorium pharaonis reared in the laboratory allied to observations of some 17 ant species in an urban park area in Mogi das Cruzes (SP, it was found that L. humile was capable of carrying eggs of A. lumbricoides both in the field and laboratory conditions (1 worker, as well as was Camponotus rufipes (2, Solenopsis saevissima (1 and Acromyrmex niger (1. The cysts of Escherichia coli were found over three workers of C. rufipes. Although the frequency of the workers found transporting pathogens was low, the capacity of common household species in carrying pathogens like nematodes and protists was demonstrated.Os Nematoda e Protista podem ser transmitidos ao homem de diversas maneiras, mas pouca ênfase é dada para a transmissão mecânica por intermédio de formigas. Assim, esse trabalho procurou investigar a transmissão mecânica de ovos de Ascaris lumbricoides e cistos de Entamoeba coli pelos Formicidae. Através de experimentos com espécies mantidas em ninhos no laboratório (Tapinoma melanocephalum, Linepithema humile e Monomorium pharaonis e com 17 espécies de formigas de uma área antropizada na região de Mogi as Cruzes (SP, foi possível constar que os ovos A. lumbricoides foram transportados por L. humile, tanto no campo (1 operária como no laboratório (1 operária, por Camponotus rufipes (2, por Solenopsis saevissima (1 e por Acromyrmrex niger (1. Em três operárias de C. rufipes foram encontrados cistos de E. coli. Apesar da baixa incidência de transporte, as três primeiras espécies pelo fato de viverem muito próximas ao ser humano, podem levar para

  1. Detrimental effects of highly efficient interference competition: invasive Argentine ants outcompete native ants at toxic baits.

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Bennett, Gary W

    2008-06-01

    The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is an invasive species that disrupts the balance of natural ecosystems by displacing indigenous ant species throughout its introduced range. Previous studies that examined the mechanisms by which Argentine ants attain ecological dominance showed that superior interference and exploitation competition are key to the successful displacement of native ant species. The objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that effective interference competition by Argentine ants may also be detrimental to the survival of Argentine ant colonies where Argentine ants and native ants compete at toxic baits used to slow the spread of Argentine ants. To study this hypothesis, we examined the competitive interactions between Argentine ants and native odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile, in the presence and absence of toxic baits. Results showed that Argentine ants aggressively outcompete T. sessile from toxic baits through efficient interference competition and monopolize bait resources. This has severe negative consequences for the survival of Argentine ants as colonies succumb to the toxic effects of the bait. In turn, T. sessile avoid areas occupied by Argentine ants, give up baits, and consequently suffer minimal mortality. Our results provide experimental evidence that highly efficient interference competition may have negative consequences for Argentine ants in areas where toxic baits are used and may provide a basis for designing innovative management programs for Argentine ants. Such programs would have the double benefit of selectively eliminating the invasive species while simultaneously protecting native ants from the toxic effects of baits. PMID:18559180

  2. Ants as flower visitors : floral ant-repellence and the impact of ant scent-marks on pollinator behaviour

    Ballantyne, Gavin

    2011-01-01

    As flower visitors, ants rarely benefit a plant, commonly disrupting pollination by deterring other flower visitors, or stealing nectar. This thesis examines three aspects of ant-flower interactions, focusing on the occurrence of floral traits that prevent disruption of pollination and a novel means by which ants may influence pollinator behaviour. To assess which types of plant species possess ant-repelling floral traits I carried out a survey of 49 Neotropical plant species. ...

  3. Myrmecotrophy: Plants fed by ants.

    Beattie, A

    1989-06-01

    Two plant genera with tubers specialized for occupation by ants absorb nutrients from waste materials accumulated by the resident colonies. The mineral resources of these host plants are augmented by colony foraging which functions as a second root system. This mutualistic interaction has become known as myrmecotrophy. Many other kinds of plant structure are apparent adaptations to accommodate ant colonies; these include pouches on leaves or petioles and hollow twigs, stems or thorns. Sometimes the ant species residing in these structures are aggressive towards enemies of the host plant and are important for plant defence. Recent research provides some evidence that myrmecotrophy may have a wider role in plant nutrition, at least when subsidizing the costs of plant defence. PMID:21227344

  4. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    ... Snowboarding, Skating Crushes What's a Booger? Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! KidsHealth > For Kids > Hey! A ... Me picó una roja o colorada! What's a Fire Ant? There are many different types of fire ...

  5. Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    multiple crops. Their efficiency is comparable to chemical pesticides or higher, while at lower costs. They provide a rare example of documented efficient conservation biological control. 3. Weaver ants share beneficial traits with almost 13 000 other ant species and are unlikely to be unique in their....... Being predatory and organized as superorganisms, ants possess traits making them suitable agents in IPM. Recent works on weaver ants Oecophylla spp. showcase ants as highly efficient pest controllers. A synthesis shows that weaver ants can reduce pest numbers and their damage and increase yields in...... properties as control agents. A synthesis of applied work on other ant species illustrates potentials for control of arthropod pests, weeds and plant diseases in orchards, forestry and arable crops. 4. Synthesis and applications. By showing that ant biocontrol can match synthetic pesticides in a wide setting...

  6. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Sibel Gokce; Ozhan Kayacan

    2013-05-01

    In this study, the unidirectional ant traffic flow with U-turn in an ant trail was investigated using one-dimensional cellular automata model. It is known that ants communicate with each other by dropping a chemical, called pheromone, on the substrate. Apart from the studies in the literature, it was considered in the model that (i) ant colony consists of two kinds of ants, goodand poor-smelling ants, (ii) ants might make U-turn for some special reasons. For some values of densities of good- and poor-smelling ants, the flux and mean velocity of the colony were studied as a function of density and evaporation rate of pheromone.

  7. The biochemical toxin arsenal from ant venoms

    Aili, Samira R.; Fox, Eduardo Goncalves Paterson; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M.; Dejean, Alain

    2016-01-01

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralyt...

  8. Ants defend coffee from berry borer colonization

    Gonthier, DJ; Ennis, KK; Philpott, SM; Vandermeer, J; Perfecto, I.

    2013-01-01

    Ants frequently prevent herbivores from damaging plants. In agroecosystems they may provide pest control services, although their contributions are not always appreciated. Here we compared the ability of eight ant species to prevent the coffee berry borer from colonizing coffee berries with a field exclusion experiment. We removed ants from one branch (exclusion) and left ants to forage on a second branch (control) before releasing 20 berry borers on each branch. After 24 h, six of eight spec...

  9. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Axel Touchard; Aili, Samira R.; Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson Fox; Pierre Escoubas; Jérôme Orivel; Nicholson, Graham M; Alain Dejean

    2016-01-01

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralyt...

  10. Ants as Fluids: Physics-Inspired Biology

    Streiff, Micah; Shinotsuka, Sho; Alexeev, Alex; Hu, David

    2010-01-01

    Fire ants use their claws to grip diverse surfaces, including each other. As a result of their mutual adhesion and large numbers, ant colonies flow like inanimate fluids. In this sequence of films, we demonstrate how ants behave similarly to the spreading of drops, the capillary rise of menisci, and gravity-driven flow down a wall. By emulating the flow of fluids, ant colonies can remain united under stressful conditions.