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Sample records for acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

  1. Foraging of Psilocybe basidiocarps by the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lobicornis in Santa Fé, Argentina.

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    Masiulionis, Virginia E; Weber, Roland Ws; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2013-12-01

    It is generally accepted that material collected by leaf-cutting ants of the genus Acromyrmex consists solely of plant matter, which is used in the nest as substrate for a symbiotic fungus providing nutrition to the ants. There is only one previous report of any leaf-cutting ant foraging directly on fungal basidiocarps. Basidiocarps of Psilocybe coprophila growing on cow dung were actively collected by workers of Acromyrmex lobicornis in Santa Fé province, Argentina. During this behaviour the ants displayed typical signals of recognition and continuously recruited other foragers to the task. Basidiocarps of different stages of maturity were being transported into the nest by particular groups of workers, while other workers collected plant material. The collection of mature basidiocarps with viable spores by leaf-cutting ants in nature adds substance to theories relating to the origin of fungiculture in these highly specialized social insects.

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

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

    2014-01-01

    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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  4. Diversity and transmission of gut bacteria in Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants during development

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zhukova, Mariya; Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Schiøtt, Morten

    2017-01-01

    . To elucidate the extent to which metamorphosis interrupts associations between bacteria and hosts, we analyzed changes in gut microbiota during development and traced the transmission routes of dominant symbionts from the egg to adult stage in the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex echinatior and Atta cephalotes...... was the absolute dominant bacterial species across developmental stages in Acromyrmex and we confirmed that Atta lacks Wolbachia also in the immature stages, and had mostly Mollicutes bacteria in the adult worker guts. Wolbachia in Acromyrmex appeared to be transovarially transmitted similar to transmission...... in solitary insects. In contrast, Mollicutes were socially transmitted from old workers to newly emerged callows. We found that larval and pupal guts of both ant species contained Pseudomonas and Enterobacter bacteria that are also found in fungus gardens, but hardly or not in adult workers, suggesting...

  5. Partial incompatibility between ants and symbiotic fungi in two sympatric species of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

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    Bot, A N; Rehner, S A; Boomsma, J J

    2001-10-01

    We investigate the nature and duration of incompatibility between certain combinations of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants and symbiotic fungi, taken from sympatric colonies of the same or a related species. Ant-fungus incompatibility appeared to be largely independent of the ant species involved, but could be explained partly by genetic differences among the fungus cultivars. Following current theoretical considerations, we develop a hypothesis, originally proposed by S. A. Frank, that the observed incompatibilities are ultimately due to competitive interactions between genetically different fungal lineages, and we predict that the ants should have evolved mechanisms to prevent such competition between cultivars within a single garden. This requires that the ants are able to recognize unfamiliar fungi, and we show that this is indeed the case. Amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping further shows that the two sympatric Acromyrmex species share each other's major lineages of cultivar, confirming that horizontal transfer does occasionally take place. We argue and provide some evidence that chemical substances produced by the fungus garden may mediate recognition of alien fungi by the ants. We show that incompatibility between ants and transplanted, genetically different cultivars is indeed due to active killing of the novel cultivar by the ants. This incompatibility disappears when ants are force-fed the novel cultivar for about a week, a result that is consistent with our hypothesis of recognition induced by the resident fungus and eventual replacement of incompatibility compounds during force-feeding.

  6. Behavioural and chemical studies of discrimination processes in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus (Forel, 1908

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    D. J. Souza

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ants live in symbiosis with a basidiomycete fungus that is exploited as a source of nutrients for ant larvae. Tests of brood transport revealed that Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus workers did not discriminate a concolonial brood from an alien brood. The same result was observed with tests of fungus transport. Adult workers showed no aggressive behaviour to workers from other alien colonies (non-nestmates. There was no qualitative variation in the chemical profiles of larvae, pupae and adult workers from the different colonies. However, quantitative differences were observed between the different colonies. Hypotheses about the lack of intraspecific aggression in this subspecies of ants are discussed.

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

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    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...

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

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    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.

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

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    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

  10. Dynamic Wolbachia prevalence in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants: potential for a nutritional symbiosis.

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    Andersen, S B; Boye, M; Nash, D R; Boomsma, J J

    2012-07-01

    Wolbachia are renowned as reproductive parasites, but their phenotypic effects in eusocial insects are not well understood. We used a combination of qrt-PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization and laser scanning confocal microscopy to evaluate the dynamics of Wolbachia infections in the leaf-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-specific prevalence of the two genotypes differs, with the rarer genotype being over-represented in the adult foregut and thorax muscles. Both genotypes occur extracellularly in the foregut, suggesting an unknown mutualistic function in worker ant nutrition. Both genotypes are also abundant in the faecal fluid of the ants, suggesting that they may have extended functional phenotypes in the fungus garden that the ants manure with their own faeces. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2012 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  11. Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants Have Simple Gut Microbiota with Nitrogen-Fixing Potential.

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    Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Zhukova, Mariya; Hansen, Lars H; Sørensen, Søren J; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-08-15

    Ants and termites have independently evolved obligate fungus-farming mutualisms, but their gardening procedures are fundamentally different, as the termites predigest their plant substrate whereas the ants deposit it directly on the fungus garden. Fungus-growing termites retained diverse gut microbiota, but bacterial gut communities in fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants have not been investigated, so it is unknown whether and how they are specialized on an exclusively fungal diet. Here we characterized the gut bacterial community of Panamanian Acromyrmex species, which are dominated by only four bacterial taxa: Wolbachia, Rhizobiales, and two Entomoplasmatales taxa. We show that the Entomoplasmatales can be both intracellular and extracellular across different gut tissues, Wolbachia is mainly but not exclusively intracellular, and the Rhizobiales species is strictly extracellular and confined to the gut lumen, where it forms biofilms along the hindgut cuticle supported by an adhesive matrix of polysaccharides. Tetracycline diets eliminated the Entomoplasmatales symbionts but hardly affected Wolbachia and only moderately reduced the Rhizobiales, suggesting that the latter are protected by the biofilm matrix. We show that the Rhizobiales symbiont produces bacterial NifH proteins that have been associated with the fixation of nitrogen, suggesting that these compartmentalized hindgut symbionts alleviate nutritional constraints emanating from an exclusive fungus garden diet reared on a substrate of leaves. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2003-01-01

    In Acromyrmex octospinosus leaf-cutting ants the metapleural glands produce an array of antibiotic compounds that serve as a general defence against unwanted microbes on the cuticle. Leaf-cutting ants also grow mutualistic Pseudonocardiaceae bacteria on their cuticle that produce antibiotics...

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

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

    2010-01-01

    defence is affected by both age and the short-term presence or absence of nestmates in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus. We predicted that older ants would show immune senescence and that group living may result in prophylactic differences in immune defence compared to solitarily kept ants. We...

  14. Leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex niger Smith, 1858 (Hymenoptera; Formicidae) used as bioindicators of agrotoxics residues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liriana Belizi; Rio Cantagalli; Denise Alves Lopes; Ana Liscia Paz Barateiro Stuchi; Maria Claudia Colla Ruvolo Takasusuki

    2014-01-01

    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 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 ± b esterases. EST-5 is considered an enzyme of the type cholinesterase ii and the others are of the type carboxylesterase. The electrophoretic analysis showed partial inhibition to all esterases subjected to the contact with Malathion organophosforate at the concentrations 1 x 10-3 % 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.

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

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

    2011-01-01

    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......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......, 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...

  16. Trail pheromone of the leaf-cutting ant,Acromyrmex octospinosus (Reich), (Formicidae: Myrmicinae).

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    Cross, J H; West, J R; Silverstein, R M; Jutsum, A R; Cherrett, J M

    1982-08-01

    The most active component of the trail pheromone of the leafcutting ant,Acromyrmex octospinosus, is methyl 4-methylpyrrole-2-carboxylate (I). Two pyrazine isomers (II) and (III) are present but inactive.

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

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    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.

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

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    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...

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

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    Hughes, William; Petersen, Klaus; Ugelvig, Line

    2004-01-01

    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...

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

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    Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Roepstorff, Peter; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2010-12-31

    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. 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. 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 those normally found in phytopathogens.

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

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    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

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

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    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Nygaard, Sanne; Roepstorff, Peter; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2013-01-08

    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 neotropical ecosystems has remained elusive. Here we show how coevolutionary adaptation of a specific enzyme in the fungal symbiont has helped leaf-cutting ants overcome plant defensive phenolic compounds. We identify nine putative laccase-coding genes in the fungal genome of Leucocoprinus gongylophorus cultivated by the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. One of these laccases (LgLcc1) is highly expressed in the specialized hyphal tips (gongylidia) that the ants preferentially eat, and we confirm that these ingested laccase molecules pass through the ant guts and remain active when defecated on the leaf pulp that the ants add to their gardens. This accurate deposition ensures that laccase activity is highest where new leaf material enters the fungus garden, but where fungal mycelium is too sparse to produce extracellular enzymes in sufficient quantities to detoxify phenolic compounds. Phylogenetic analysis of LgLcc1 ortholog sequences from symbiotic and free-living fungi revealed significant positive selection in the ancestral lineage that gave rise to the gongylidia-producing symbionts of leaf-cutting ants and their non-leaf-cutting ant sister group. Our results are consistent with fungal 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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    Fernando C. Pagnocca

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available 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 cellulolytic enzymes, 44% exhibited pectinolytic activity while 27% and 17% possess enzyme systems for the degradation of protease and amylase, respectively. Galacturonic acid, which had been reported in previous work to be poorly assimilated by the ant fungus and also to have a negative effect on ants’ survival, was assimilated by 64% and 79% of yeasts isolated from nests of A. texana and Acromyrmex respectively. Our results suggest that yeasts found in ant nests may participate in generation of nutrients and removal of potentially toxic compounds, thereby contributing to the stability of the complex microbiota found in the leaf-cutting ant nests.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

  8. Endophytic fungi reduce leaf-cutting ant damage to seedlings

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    Bittleston, L. S.; Brockmann, F.; Wcislo, W.; Van Bael, S. A.

    2011-01-01

    Our study examines how the mutualism between Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants and their cultivated fungus is influenced by the presence of diverse foliar endophytic fungi (endophytes) at high densities in tropical leaf tissues. We conducted laboratory choice trials in which ant colonies chose between Cordia alliodora seedlings with high (Ehigh) or low (Elow) densities of endophytes. The Ehigh seedlings contained 5.5 times higher endophyte content and a greater diversity of fungal morphospecies than the Elow treatment, and endophyte content was not correlated with leaf toughness or thickness. Leaf-cutting ants cut over 2.5 times the leaf area from Elow relative to Ehigh seedlings and had a tendency to recruit more ants to Elow plants. Our findings suggest that leaf-cutting ants may incur costs from cutting and processing leaves with high endophyte loads, which could impact Neotropical forests by causing variable damage rates within plant communities. PMID:20610420

  9. Long-term avoidance memory formation is associated with a transient increase in mushroom body synaptic complexes in leaf-cutting ants

    OpenAIRE

    Falibene, Agustina; Roces, Flavio; R?ssler, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Long-term behavioral changes related to learning and experience have been shown to be associated with structural remodeling in the brain. Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid previously preferred plants after they have proved harmful for their symbiotic fungus, a process that involves long-term olfactory memory. We studied the dynamics of brain microarchitectural changes after long-term olfactory memory formation following avoidance learning in Acromyrmex ambiguus. After performing experiments to...

  10. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

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

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    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.

  12. Essential Oils of Hyptis pectinata Chemotypes: Isolation, Binary Mixtures and Acute Toxicity on Leaf-Cutting Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feitosa-Alcantara, Rosana B; Bacci, Leandro; Blank, Arie F; Alves, Péricles B; Silva, Indira Morgana de A; Soares, Caroline A; Sampaio, Taís S; Nogueira, Paulo Cesar de L; Arrigoni-Blank, Maria de Fátima

    2017-04-12

    Leaf-cutting ants are pests of great economic importance due to the damage they cause to agricultural and forest crops. The use of organosynthetic insecticides is the main form of control of these insects. In order to develop safer technology, the objective of this work was to evaluate the formicidal activity of the essential oils of two Hyptis pectinata genotypes (chemotypes) and their major compounds on the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex balzani Emery and Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel. Bioassays of exposure pathways (contact and fumigation) and binary mixtures of the major compounds were performed. The major compounds identified in the essential oils of H. pectinata were β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide and calamusenone. The essential oils of H. pectinata were toxic to the ants in both exposure pathways. Essential oils were more toxic than their major compounds alone. The chemotype calamusenone was more toxic to A. balzani in both exposure pathways. A. sexdens rubropilosa was more susceptible to the essential oil of the chemotype β-caryophyllene in both exposure pathways. In general, the binary mixtures of the major compounds resulted in additive effect of toxicity. The essential oils of H. pectinata is a raw material of great potential for the development of new insecticides.

  13. Low variation in ribosomal DNA and internal transcribed spacers of the symbiotic fungi of leaf-cutting ants (Attini: Formicidae

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    Silva-Pinhati A.C.O.

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex (tribe Attini are symbiotic with basidiomycete fungi of the genus Leucoagaricus (tribe Leucocoprineae, which they cultivate on vegetable matter inside their nests. We determined the variation of the 28S, 18S, and 5.8S ribosomal DNA (rDNA gene loci and the rapidly evolving internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2 (ITS1 and ITS2 of 15 sympatric and allopatric fungi associated with colonies of 11 species of leafcutter ants living up to 2,600 km apart in Brazil. We found that the fungal rDNA and ITS sequences from different species of ants were identical (or nearly identical to each other, whereas 10 GenBank Leucoagaricus species showed higher ITS variation. Our findings suggest that Atta and Acromyrmex leafcutters living in geographic sites that are very distant from each other cultivate a single fungal species made up of closely related lineages of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. We discuss the strikingly high similarity in the ITS1 and ITS2 regions of the Atta and Acromyrmex symbiotic L. gongylophorus studied by us, in contrast to the lower similarity displayed by their non-symbiotic counterparts. We suggest that the similarity of our L. gongylophorus isolates is an indication of the recent association of the fungus with these ants, and propose that both the intense lateral transmission of fungal material within leafcutter nests and the selection of more adapted fungal strains are involved in the homogenization of the symbiotic fungal stock.

  14. Leaf processing behaviour in Atta leafcutter ants: 90% of leaf cutting takes place inside the nest, and ants select pieces that require less cutting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrett, Ryan W; Carlson, Katherine A; Goggans, Matthew Scott; Nesson, Michael H; Shepard, Christopher A; Schofield, Robert M S

    2016-01-01

    Leafcutter ants cut trimmings from plants, carry them to their underground nests and cut them into smaller pieces before inoculating them with a fungus that serves as a primary food source for the colony. Cutting is energetically costly, so the amount of cutting is important in understanding foraging energetics. Estimates of the cutting density, metres of cutting per square metre of leaf, were made from samples of transported leaf cuttings and of fungal substrate from field colonies of Atta cephalotes and Atta colombica. To investigate cutting inside the nest, we made leaf-processing observations of our laboratory colony, A. cephalotes. We did not observe the commonly reported reduction of the leaf fragments into a pulp, which would greatly increase the energy cost of processing. Video clips of processing behaviours, including behaviours that have not previously been described, are linked. An estimated 2.9 (±0.3) km of cutting with mandibles was required to reduce a square metre of leaf to fungal substrate. Only about 12% (±1%) of this cutting took place outside of the nest. The cutting density and energy cost is lower for leaf material with higher ratios of perimeter to area, so we tested for, and found that the laboratory ants had a preference for leaves that were pre-cut into smaller pieces. Estimates suggest that the energy required to transport and cut up the leaf material is comparable to the metabolic energy available from the fungus grown on the leaves, and so conservation of energy is likely to be a particularly strong selective pressure for leafcutter ants.

  15. 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

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    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

  16. Consumo Foliar de Eucalyptus spp. por Acromyrmex disciger (Mayr, 1887 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

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    Wagner Calixto Morais

    2011-07-01

    Abstract. The productive potential of forest stands is reduced by pest occurrence among other factors. In Brazil, leaf-cutting ants are the most severe eucalypt pests. Acromyrmex disciger (Mayr is prevalent in the south east Brazil. However, scarce information about its potential damage for Eucalyptus forests is available. This work deals to quantifying the eucalypt leaf-consumption by such specie of leaf-cutting ant. Fresh leaves were taken from trees of Eucalyptus grandis W. Hill ex Maiden, Eucalyptus urophylla ST Blake, and hybrid E. urophylla x E. grandis and served to different colonies of A. disciger, during 24 hours period, over eight different times. Leaf-consumption was calculated throughout fresh weights of leaves, before and after ants foraging. Each colony of A. disciger consumed 38.8 ± 3.2 g e 22.0 ± 2.3 g of eucalypt leaves, per day.

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

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    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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    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......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...

  19. Carbon dioxide sensing in the social context: Leaf-cutting ants prefer elevated CO2 levels to tend their brood.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Römer, Daniela; Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2018-05-18

    Social insects show temperature and humidity preferences inside their nests to successfully rear brood. In underground nests, ants also encounter rising CO 2 concentrations with increasing depth. It is an open question whether they use CO 2 as a cue to decide where to place and tend the brood. Leaf-cutting ants do show CO 2 preferences for the culturing of their symbiotic fungus. We evaluated their CO 2 choices for brood placement in laboratory experiments. Workers of Acromyrmex lundii in the process of relocating brood were offered a binary choice consisting of two interconnected chambers with different CO 2 concentrations. Values ranged from atmospheric to high concentrations of 4% CO 2 . The CO 2 preferences shown by workers for themselves and for brood placement were assessed by quantifying the number of workers and relocated brood in each chamber. Ants showed clear CO 2 preferences for brood placement. They avoided atmospheric levels, 1% and 4% CO 2 , and showed a preference for levels of 3%. This is the first report of CO 2 preferences for the maintenance of brood in social insects. The observed preferences for brood location were independent of the workers' own CO 2 preferences, since they showed no clear-cut pattern. Workers' CO 2 preferences for brood maintenance were slightly higher than those reported for fungus culturing, although brood is reared in the same chambers as the fungus in leaf-cutting ant nests. Workers' choices for brood placement in natural nests are likely the result of competing preferences for other environmental factors more crucial for brood survival, aside from those for CO 2 . Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. A pest is a pest is a pest? The dilemma of neotropical leaf-cutting ants: Keystone taxa of natural ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fowler, Harold G.; Pagani, Maria Inez; da Silva, Osvaldo Aulino; Forti, Luis Carlos; da Silva, Virgilio Pereira; de Vasconcelos, Heraldo Luis

    1989-11-01

    Leaf-cutting ants of the genera Acromyrmex and Atta are considered the principal polyphagous pests of the Neotropics Although some members of these genera are of economic importance, have a broad geographic distribution, and are extremely good colonizers, others are endemic and closely interact with native ecosystems. Control is generally practiced against any colony, irrespective of its taxonomic status. Indiscriminate control coupled with habitat destruction threatens endemic species with extinction, and, through habitat simplification, favors other pest species. As nests of Atta are large, having several square meters of nest surface, the endemic taxa can be easily used as environmental indicators for natural ecosystems Likewise, the pest species can be used to detect environmental disturbance As these ants are keystone species and easily identified by nonspecialists, efforts should be made to integrate these into viable conservation programs

  1. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

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    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.

  2. Carbon dioxide sensing in an obligate insect-fungus symbiosis: CO2 preferences of leaf-cutting ants to rear their mutualistic fungus.

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    Daniela Römer

    Full Text Available Defense against biotic or abiotic stresses is one of the benefits of living in symbiosis. Leaf-cutting ants, which live in an obligate mutualism with a fungus, attenuate thermal and desiccation stress of their partner through behavioral responses, by choosing suitable places for fungus-rearing across the soil profile. The underground environment also presents hypoxic (low oxygen and hypercapnic (high carbon dioxide conditions, which can negatively influence the symbiont. Here, we investigated whether workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lundii use the CO2 concentration as an orientation cue when selecting a place to locate their fungus garden, and whether they show preferences for specific CO2 concentrations. We also evaluated whether levels preferred by workers for fungus-rearing differ from those selected for themselves. In the laboratory, CO2 preferences were assessed in binary choices between chambers with different CO2 concentrations, by quantifying number of workers in each chamber and amount of relocated fungus. Leaf-cutting ants used the CO2 concentration as a spatial cue when selecting places for fungus-rearing. A. lundii preferred intermediate CO2 levels, between 1 and 3%, as they would encounter at soil depths where their nest chambers are located. In addition, workers avoided both atmospheric and high CO2 levels as they would occur outside the nest and at deeper soil layers, respectively. In order to prevent fungus desiccation, however, workers relocated fungus to high CO2 levels, which were otherwise avoided. Workers' CO2 preferences for themselves showed no clear-cut pattern. We suggest that workers avoid both atmospheric and high CO2 concentrations not because they are detrimental for themselves, but because of their consequences for the symbiotic partner. Whether the preferred CO2 concentrations are beneficial for symbiont growth remains to be investigated, as well as whether the observed preferences for fungus

  3. Pathogenicity of Bacillus thuringiensis isolated from two species of Acromyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

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    L. M. N. Pinto

    Full Text Available The control of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants is necessary due to the severe damage they cause to diverse crops. A possibility was to control them using the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt that characteristically produces insecticidal crystal proteins (ICPs. The ICPs have been effective in controlling lepidopterans, dipterans, and coleopterans, but their action against hymenopterans is unknown. This paper describes an attempt to isolate Bt from ants of two Acromyrmex species, to evaluate its pathogenicity towards these ants, and to test isolates by PCR. Bacterial isolates of Bt obtained from A. crassispinus and A. lundi have been assayed against A. lundi in the laboratory. The bioassays were carried out in BOD at 25°C, with a 12-hour photoperiod, until the seventh day after treatment. The Bt isolates obtained were submitted to total DNA extraction and tested by PCR with primers specific to cry genes. The results showed Bt presence in 40% of the assessed samples. The data from the in vivo assays showed a mortality rate higher than 50% in the target population, with the Bt HA48 isolate causing 100% of corrected mortality. The PCR results of Bt isolates showed a magnification of DNA fragments relative to cry1 genes in 22% of the isolates, and cry9 in 67%. Cry2, cry3, cry7, and cry8 genes were not detected in the tested samples, and 22% had no magnified DNA fragments corresponding to the assessed cry genes. The results are promising not only regarding allele identification in new isolates, but also fort the assays aimed at determining the Bt HA48 LC50's, which can eventually be applied in controlling of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2007-01-01

    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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  6. Refuse dumps from leaf-cutting ant nests reduce the intensity of above-ground competition among neighboring plants in a Patagonian steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G.; Lescano, María Natalia

    2017-11-01

    In arid environments, the high availability of sunlight due to the scarcity of trees suggests that plant competition take place mainly belowground for water and nutrients. However, the occurrence of soil disturbances that increase nutrient availability and thereby promote plant growth may enhance shoot competition between neighboring plants. We conducted a greenhouse experiment to evaluate the influence of the enriched soil patches generated by the leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex lobicornis, on the performance of the alien forb Carduus thoermeri (Asteraceae) under different intraspecific competition scenarios. Our results showed that substrate type and competition scenario affected mainly aboveground plant growth. As expected, plants growing without neighbors and in nutrient-rich ant refuse dumps showed more aboveground biomass than plants growing with neighbors and in nutrient-poor steppe soils. However, aboveground competition was more intense in nutrient-poor substrates: plants under shoot and full competition growing in the nutrient-rich ant refuse dumps showed higher biomass than those growing on steppe soils. Belowground biomass was similar among focal plants growing under different substrate type. Our results support the traditional view that increments in resource availability reduce competition intensity. Moreover, the fact that seedlings in this sunny habitat mainly compete aboveground illustrates how limiting factors may be scale-dependent and change in importance as plants grow.

  7. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2004-01-01

    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......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...... 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....

  8. Recursos vegetais usados por Acromyrmex striatus (Roger (Hymenoptera, Formicidae em restinga da Praia da Joaquina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil Vegetable resources used by Acromyrmex striatus (Roger (Hymenoptera, Formicidae in sand dunes at Joaquina Beach, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil

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    Benedito C. Lopes

    2005-06-01

    Full Text Available Foram amostrados 400 ninhos de Acromyrmex striatus entre 1997 e 1998, nas dunas da praia da Joaquina, Florianópolis, SC, para a verificação do material vegetal trazido para o ninho. Estas formigas usam partes de 50 espécies de plantas dispostas em 22 famílias, sendo as principais, representantes de Compositae, Gramineae e Leguminosae. Nesta última família, Stylosanthes viscosa foi a espécie mais utilizada nos dois anos de amostragem. Acromyrmex striatus corta matéria vegetal fresca, bem como se utiliza de material vegetal já caído, podendo, então se comportar como cortadeira ou como uma espécie oportunista.A total of 400 nests of Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863 was evaluated between 1997 and 1998 at the dunes of the Joaquina Beach, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State, in order to determine the vegetable substrate brought back to the nests. These ants use some parts of 50 plant species in 22 botanical families, being Compositae, Gramineae and Leguminosae the principal ones. In this last family, Stylosanthes viscosa Swartz was the most herbivored species in the two years samplings. Acromyrmex striatus cut fresh vegetables, as well as use decayed materials, being then a true leaf-cutter ant or a opportunistic ant.

  9. Integrating Paleodistribution Models and Phylogeography in the Grass-Cutting Ant Acromyrmex striatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Southern Lowlands of South America.

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    Maykon Passos Cristiano

    Full Text Available Past climate changes often have influenced the present distribution and intraspecific genetic diversity of organisms. The objective of this study was to investigate the phylogeography and historical demography of populations of Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863, a leaf-cutting ant species restricted to the open plains of South America. Additionally, we modeled the distribution of this species to predict its contemporary and historic habitat. From the partial sequences of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I of 128 A. striatus workers from 38 locations we estimated genetic diversity and inferred historical demography, divergence time, and population structure. The potential distribution areas of A. striatus for current and quaternary weather conditions were modeled using the maximum entropy algorithm. We identified a total of 58 haplotypes, divided into five main haplogroups. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA revealed that the largest proportion of genetic variation is found among the groups of populations. Paleodistribution models suggest that the potential habitat of A. striatus may have decreased during the Last Interglacial Period (LIG and expanded during the Last Maximum Glacial (LGM. Overall, the past potential distribution recovered by the model comprises the current potential distribution of the species. The general structuring pattern observed was consistent with isolation by distance, suggesting a balance between gene flow and drift. Analysis of historical demography showed that populations of A. striatus had remained constant throughout its evolutionary history. Although fluctuations in the area of their potential historic habitat occurred during quaternary climate changes, populations of A. striatus are strongly structured geographically. However, explicit barriers to gene flow have not been identified. These findings closely match those in Mycetophylax simplex, another ant species that in some areas occurs in sympatry

  10. Genetic royal cheats in leaf-cutting ant societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, William O H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    of the former. The most significant potential conflict in social insect colonies is over which individuals become reproductive queens rather than sterile workers. This reproductive division of labor is a defining characteristic of eusocial societies, but individual larvae will maximize their fitness 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 nestmates...

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

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    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.

  12. Yet More “Weeds” in the Garden: Fungal Novelties from Nests of Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augustin, Juliana O.; Groenewald, Johannes Z.; Nascimento, Robson J.; Mizubuti, Eduardo S. G.; Barreto, Robert W.; Elliot, Simon L.; Evans, Harry C.

    2013-01-01

    Background Symbiotic relationships modulate the evolution of living organisms in all levels of biological organization. A notable example of symbiosis is that of attine ants (Attini; Formicidae: Hymenoptera) and their fungal cultivars (Lepiotaceae and Pterulaceae; Agaricales: Basidiomycota). In recent years, this mutualism has emerged as a model system for studying coevolution, speciation, and multitrophic interactions. Ubiquitous in this ant-fungal symbiosis is the “weedy” fungus Escovopsis (Hypocreales: Ascomycota), known only as a mycoparasite of attine fungal gardens. Despite interest in its biology, ecology and molecular phylogeny—noting, especially, the high genetic diversity encountered—which has led to a steady flow of publications over the past decade, only two species of Escovopsis have formally been described. Methods and Results We sampled from fungal gardens and garden waste (middens) of nests of the leaf-cutting ant genus Acromyrmex in a remnant of subtropical Atlantic rainforest in Minas Gerais, Brazil. In culture, distinct morphotypes of Escovopsis sensu lato were recognized. Using both morphological and molecular analyses, three new species of Escovopsis were identified. These are described and illustrated herein—E. lentecrescens, E. microspora, and E. moelleri—together with a re-description of the genus and the type species, E. weberi. The new genus Escovopsioides is erected for a fourth morphotype. We identify, for the first time, a mechanism for horizontal transmission via middens. Conclusions The present study makes a start at assigning names and formal descriptions to these specific fungal parasites of attine nests. Based on the results of this exploratory and geographically-restricted survey, we expect there to be many more species of the genus Escovopsis and its relatives associated with nests of both the lower and higher Attini throughout their neotropical range, as suggested in previous studies. PMID:24376525

  13. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  14. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  15. ACTIVITY OF LEAF-CUTTING ANT Atta sexdens piriventris SUBMITED TO HIGH DILUTION HOMEOPATHIC PREPARATIONS

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    Alexandre Giesel

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available The effect of high dilution preparations on the movement and foraging activities of Atta sexdens piriventris was evaluated. Five colonies of ants were located on each of the five experimental areas using a randomized complete block design. Three main forage trails from each colony were selected from where evaluations were made. Ten mL of high dilution preparation of Atta sexdens piriventris nosodes and Belladonna homeopathy solution were sprayed over 0.5 m of each selected trail, 1.0 m far from the nest. The controls were pure water and non treated trails. Applications were made daily during 10 days. The total number of ants moving on each trail one meter away from the nest, carrying or not plant fragments, were assessed before the daily application. Dilution preparations at 30CH (thirtieth centesimal Hahnemannian dilution of A. sexdens piriventris nosodes and Belladonna reduced the activities of ants from the fifth day after the first application. The treatment effect lasted more than 20 days after the last application. The use of preparation at 30CH dilution order to reduce the foraging activity of leaf-cutting ants is a potential non residual method to manage leaf-cutting ants.

  16. Crescimento do fungo simbionte de formigas cortadeiras do gênero Acromyrmex em meios de cultura com diferentes extratos Growth of symbiont fungi of cutter ants of the genus Acromyrmex in means of culture with different extracts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Regina da Silva Borba

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available As formigas cortadeiras mostram preferência por algumas espécies vegetais, as quais são constantemente desfolhadas, enquanto outras não são atacadas, embora sejam abundantes e localizadas próximas ao ninho. As formigas dos gêneros Atta e Acromyrmex cortam plantas e transportam pedaços para os formigueiros. O material vegetal é usado para o cultivo do fungo Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, do qual se alimentam. Vários trabalhos utilizando extratos de plantas têm sido realizados para avaliar o efeito sobre o desenvolvimento do fungo simbionte. O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar a influência de meios de cultura acrescidos de diferentes extratos sobre o crescimento do fungo L. gongylophorus. Fungos das espécies Acromyrmex ambiguus, Acromyrmex crassispinus, Acromyrmex heyeri e Acromyrmex lundi foram inoculados nos meios Ágar Nutritivo e BDA, ambos acrescidos de melaço e de extratos de azevém (Lolium multiflorum Lam., tifa (Typha angustifolia L. e formiga (Atta sexdens piriventris. O meio Pagnocca foi utilizado como padrão. As placas foram mantidas em câmaras climatizadas à temperatura de 25 + 1°C e escotofase de 24 hs, por um período de 49 dias. O crescimento fúngico foi avaliado com base no diâmetro da colônia, sendo este avaliado em intervalos semanais, totalizando sete avaliações. Também foi avaliado o peso seco do fungo aos 53 dias. Os resultados mostraram que o fungo cultivado por diferentes espécies de formigas tem crescimento diferenciado em meios de cultura com diferentes extratos.The cutter ants show preference for some vegetable species, which are constantly defoliated, while others are not attacked, although they are abundant and located close to the nest. The ants of the goods Atta and Acromyrmex cut plants and they transport pieces to the anthills. The vegetable material is used for the cultivation of the mushroom Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, mushroom from of which theyfeed. Several works using extracts of

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; 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 neo...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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

  19. Long-term avoidance memory formation is associated with a transient increase in mushroom body synaptic complexes in leaf-cutting ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agustina eFalibene

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Long-term behavioral changes related to learning and experience have been shown to be associated with structural remodeling in the brain. Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid previously preferred plants after they have proved harmful for their symbiotic fungus, a process that involves long-term olfactory memory. We studied the dynamics of brain microarchitectural changes after long-term olfactory memory formation following avoidance learning in Acromyrmex ambiguus. After performing experiments to control for possible neuronal changes related to age and body size, we quantified synaptic complexes (microglomeruli, MG in olfactory regions of the mushroom bodies (MB at different times after learning. Long-term avoidance memory formation was associated with a transient change in MG densities. Two days after learning, MG density was higher than before learning. At days 4 and 15 after learning — when ants still showed plant avoidance — MG densities had decreased to the initial state. The structural reorganization of MG triggered by long-term avoidance memory formation clearly differed from changes promoted by pure exposure to and collection of novel plants with distinct odors. Sensory exposure by the simultaneous collection of several, instead of one, non-harmful plant species resulted in a decrease in MG densities in the olfactory lip. We hypothesize that while sensory exposure leads to MG pruning in the MB olfactory lip, the formation of long-term avoidance memory involves an initial growth of new MG followed by subsequent pruning.

  20. Long-term avoidance memory formation is associated with a transient increase in mushroom body synaptic complexes in leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falibene, Agustina; Roces, Flavio; Rössler, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Long-term behavioral changes related to learning and experience have been shown to be associated with structural remodeling in the brain. Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid previously preferred plants after they have proved harmful for their symbiotic fungus, a process that involves long-term olfactory memory. We studied the dynamics of brain microarchitectural changes after long-term olfactory memory formation following avoidance learning in Acromyrmex ambiguus. After performing experiments to control for possible neuronal changes related to age and body size, we quantified synaptic complexes (microglomeruli, MG) in olfactory regions of the mushroom bodies (MBs) at different times after learning. Long-term avoidance memory formation was associated with a transient change in MG densities. Two days after learning, MG density was higher than before learning. At days 4 and 15 after learning-when ants still showed plant avoidance-MG densities had decreased to the initial state. The structural reorganization of MG triggered by long-term avoidance memory formation clearly differed from changes promoted by pure exposure to and collection of novel plants with distinct odors. Sensory exposure by the simultaneous collection of several, instead of one, non-harmful plant species resulted in a decrease in MG densities in the olfactory lip. We hypothesize that while sensory exposure leads to MG pruning in the MB olfactory lip, the formation of long-term avoidance memory involves an initial growth of new MG followed by subsequent pruning.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli

    2014-05-01

    A pesar de la condición de plaga de las hormigas cortadoras en agroecosistemas, no se pueden negar los beneficios que ellas pueden traer en determinadas situaciones o en determinados ambientes. Las hormigas cortadoras del género Acromyrmex atacan principalmente las hojas de hortalizas y hojas de plantas fructíferas, exponiéndose no solo a los agroquímicos utilizados para su control sino también a aquellos utilizados en el control de otras plagas. Debido al potencial bioindicador de la calidad ambiental de las hormigas y su frecuente exposición a los agrotóxicos como organofosforados, neonicotinoides y reguladores de crecimiento, utilizados en el control de plagas, es necesario el estudio de los efectos subletales que estos agrotóxicos pueden causar. La técnica de electroforesis fue utilizada para evaluar la actividad de las isoenzimas esterasas involucradas en el metabolismo de xenobióticos de  A. niger, asociada a las alteraciones en la expresión de las isoenzimas después de la contaminación con pesticidas.  Acromyrmex niger demostró ocho regiones de actividad esterasa, las cuales fueron denominadas EST-1, EST-2, EST-3, EST-4, EST-5, EST-6, EST-7 e EST-8 de acuerdo con la movilidad electroforética. En cuanto a la especificación de los substratos α y β-nafitl acetato, las EST-7 e EST-8 son clasificadas como α- esterasa y las demás αβ esterasas. EST-5 es considerada una enzima del tipo colinesterasa II y las demás son carboxilesterasas. El análisis electroforético presentó inhibición parcial para todas las esterasas sometidas al contacto con malathion en las concentraciones 1x10-3 % e 5x10-3 %, que puede ser considerado un biomarcador para la presencia de residuos de este insecticida en el ambiente. El análisis de regresión para el efecto subletal de los pesticidas evaluados demostró correlación entre la dosis y la causa de muerte solo para el pesticida neonicotinoide thiametoxam.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    are substantially larger than those of any workers, for their body size. The gland size of large workers varies significantly between patrilines in both Acromyrmex echinatior and Acromyrmex octospinosus. We also examined small workers and gynes in A. echinatior, again finding genetic variation in gland size...... in these castes. There were significant positive relationships between the gland sizes of patrilines in the different castes, indicating that the genetic mechanism underpinning the patriline variation has remained similar across phenotypes. The level of expressed genetic variation decreased from small workers......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 leaf...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    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...... 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...

  4. Recognition of endophytic Trichoderma species by leaf-cutting ants and their potential in a Trojan-horse management strategy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocha, Silma L.; Evans, Harry C.; Jorge, Vanessa L.; Cardoso, Lucimar A. O.; Pereira, Fernanda S. T.; Rocha, Fabiano B.; Barreto, Robert W.; Hart, Adam G.

    2017-01-01

    Interactions between leaf-cutting ants, their fungal symbiont (Leucoagaricus) and the endophytic fungi within the vegetation they carry into their colonies are still poorly understood. If endophytes antagonistic to Leucoagaricus were found in plant material being carried by these ants, then this might indicate a potential mechanism for plants to defend themselves from leaf-cutter attack. In addition, it could offer possibilities for the management of these important Neotropical pests. Here, we show that, for Atta sexdens rubropilosa, there was a significantly greater incidence of Trichoderma species in the vegetation removed from the nests—and deposited around the entrances—than in that being transported into the nests. In a no-choice test, Trichoderma-infested rice was taken into the nest, with deleterious effects on both the fungal gardens and ant survival. The endophytic ability of selected strains of Trichoderma was also confirmed, following their inoculation and subsequent reisolation from seedlings of eucalyptus. These results indicate that endophytic fungi which pose a threat to ant fungal gardens through their antagonistic traits, such as Trichoderma, have the potential to act as bodyguards of their plant hosts and thus might be employed in a Trojan-horse strategy to mitigate the negative impact of leaf-cutting ants in both agriculture and silviculture in the Neotropics. We posit that the ants would detect and evict such ‘malign’ endophytes—artificially inoculated into vulnerable crops—during the quality-control process within the nest, and, moreover, that the foraging ants may then be deterred from further harvesting of ‘Trichoderma-enriched’ plants. PMID:28484603

  5. Nest Digging by Leaf-Cutting Ants: Effect of Group Size and Functional Structures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto da Silva Camargo

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ant workers dig underground chambers, for housing their symbiotic fungus, interconnected by a vast quantity of tunnels whose function is to permit the entrance of food (leaves, gaseous exchanges, and movement of workers, offspring, and the queen. Digging is a task executed by a group of workers, but little is known about the group effect and group-constructed functional structures. Thus, we analyzed the structures formed by worker groups (5, 10, 20, and 40 individuals of the leaf-cutting ant, Atta sexdens rubropilosa, for 2 days of excavation. The digging arena was the same for the 4 groups, with each group corresponding to a different density. Our results verified a pattern of tunneling by the workers, but no chamber was constructed. The group effect is well known, since the 40-worker group dug significantly more than the groups of 5, 10, and 20. These groups did not differ statistically from each other. Analysis of load/worker verified that workers of the smallest group carried the greatest load. Our paper demonstrates the group effect on the digging of nests, namely, that excavation is proportional to group size, but without emergence of a functional structure such as a chamber.

  6. Survey of Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Eucalyptus plantations in the region of Paraopeba, Minas Gerais, Brasil

    OpenAIRE

    Araújo, Márcio S.; Delia Lucia, Terezinha M.C.; Mayhé-Nunes, Antonio J.

    1997-01-01

    This Work was conducted in Eucalyptus stands at the Itapoã farm of the Mannesmann Fi-El Florestal Ltda. in Paraopeba, MG. The species of fungus growing-ants and leaf-cutting ants found in regrowth areas and in harvesting phase plantings were: Acromyrmex balzani Emery, 1890; Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel 1908; Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus Forel, 1893; Atta laevigala (F. Smith, 1858); Alta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, 1908; Mycocepurus goeldii Forel, 1893; Sericomyrmex sp.; Trach...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex and Atta) are highly multiply mated, resulting in a potential queenworker and worker-worker conflict over who should produce the males in the colony. We studied whether this conflict is expressed, by determining the amount of reproductive egg-laying by worker...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  9. Evolutionary patterns of proteinase activity in attine ant fungus gardens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Semenova, Tatyana; Hughes, David Peter; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2011-01-01

    hypothesized that fungal proteinase activity may have been under selection for efficiency and that different classes of proteinases might be involved. Results: We determined proteinase activity profiles across a wide pH range for fungus gardens of 14 Panamanian species of fungus-growing ants, representing...... classes. Remarkably, the single symbiont that is shared by species of the crown group of Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants mostly showed metalloproteinase activity, suggesting that recurrent changes in enzyme production may have occurred throughout the domestication history of fungus-garden symbionts......Background: Attine ants live in symbiosis with a basidiomycetous fungus that they rear on a substrate of plant material. This indirect herbivory implies that the symbiosis is likely to be nitrogen deprived, so that specific mechanisms may have evolved to enhance protein availability. We therefore...

  10. Chemical and behavioural studies of the trail-following pheromone in the leaf-cutting ant Atta opaciceps, Borgmeier (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Campos, R. S.; Mendonca, A. L.; Cabral Jr, C. R.; Vaníčková, Lucie; do Nascimento, R. R.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 86, Mar (2016), s. 25-31 ISSN 0022-1910 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : venom gland * trail pheromone * two-dimensional gas chromatography * leaf-cutting ants Atta sp. Subject RIV: ED - Physiology Impact factor: 2.227, year: 2016

  11. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus produces diverse enzymes for the degradation of recalcitrant plant polymers in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aylward, Frank O; Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E; Tringe, Susannah G; Teiling, Clotilde; Tremmel, Daniel M; Moeller, Joseph A; Scott, Jarrod J; Barry, Kerrie W; Piehowski, Paul D; Nicora, Carrie D; Malfatti, Stephanie A; Monroe, Matthew E; Purvine, Samuel O; Goodwin, Lynne A; Smith, Richard D; Weinstock, George M; Gerardo, Nicole M; Suen, Garret; Lipton, Mary S; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-06-01

    Plants represent a large reservoir of organic carbon comprised primarily 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 gardens composed primarily of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a basidiomycetous fungus 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 and metaproteomic tools, we investigate its role in lignocellulose degradation in the gardens of both Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutter ants. We show that L. gongylophorus produces a diversity of lignocellulases in ant 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 likely play an important role in lignocellulose degradation. Our study provides a detailed analysis of plant biomass degradation in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and insight into the enzymes underlying the symbiosis between these dominant herbivores and their obligate fungal cultivar.

  12. The Evolution of Personally Disadvantageous Punishment among Cofoundresses of the Ant Acromyrmex Versicolor

    OpenAIRE

    Cabrales, Antonio; Pollock, Gregory B.; Rissing, Steven W.

    1998-01-01

    Cofoundresses of the desert fungus garden ant Acromyrmex versicolor exhibit a forager specialist who subsumes all foraging risk prior to first worker eclosion (Rissing et al. 1989). In an experiment designed to mimic a "cheater" who refuses foraging assignment when her lot, cofoundresses delayed/failed to replace their forager, often leading to demise of their garden (Rissing et al. 1996). The cheater on task assignment is harmed, but so too is the punisher, as all will die without a healthy ...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

    -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...

  14. Cryptococcus haglerorum, sp. nov., an anamorphic basidiomycetous yeast isolated from nests of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middelhoven, W.J.; Fonseca, A.; Carreiro, S.C.; Pagnocca, F.C.; Bueno, O.C.

    2003-01-01

    A yeast strain (CBS 8902) was isolated from the nest of a leaf-cutting ant and was shown to be related to Cryptococcus humicola. Sequencing of the D1/D2 region of the 26S ribosomal DNA and physiological characterization revealed a separate taxonomic position. A novel species named Cryptococcus

  15. Chemical composition of metapleural gland secretions of fungus-growing and non-fungus-growing ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Alexsandro S; Morgan, E David; Drijfhout, Falko P; Camargo-Mathias, Maria I

    2012-10-01

    The metapleural gland is exclusive to ants, and unusual among exocrine glands in having no mechanism for closure and retention of secretion. As yet, no clear conclusion has been reached as to the function of metapleural gland secretion. Metapleural gland secretions were investigated for fungus-growing ants representing the derived attines Trachymyrmex fuscus, Atta laevigata, and Acromyrmex coronatus, the basal attines Apterostigma pilosum and Mycetarotes parallelus, and non-fungus-growing ants of the tribes Ectatommini (Ectatomma brunneum) and Myrmicini (Pogonomyrmex naegeli). Our results showed that the secretions of leaf-cutting ants (A. laevigata and A. coronatus) and the derived attine, T. fuscus, contain a greater variety and larger quantities of volatile compounds than those of myrmicine and ectatommine ants. The most abundant compounds found in the metapleural glands of A. laevigata and A. coronatus were hydroxyacids, and phenylacetic acid (only in A. laevigata). Indole was present in all groups examined, while skatole was found in large quantities only in attines. Ketones and aldehydes are present in the secretion of some attines. Esters are present in the metapleural gland secretion of all species examined, although mainly in A. laevigata, A. coronatus, and T. fuscus. Compared with basal attines and non-fungus-growing ants, the metapleural glands of leaf-cutting ants produce more acidic compounds that may have an antibiotic or antifungal function.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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.

  17. Cloning and sequencing of wsp encoding gene fragments reveals a diversity of co-infecting Wolbachia strains in Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van Borm, S.; Wenseleers, T.; Billen, J.

    2003-01-01

    Acromyrmex insinuator hosted two additional infections. The multiple Wolbachia strains may influence the expression of reproductive conflicts in leafcutter ants, but the expected turnover of infections may make the cumulative effects on host ant reproduction complex. The additional Wolbachia infections......By sequencing part of the wsp gene of a series of clones, we detected an unusually high diversity of nine Wolbachia strains in queens of three species of leafcutter ants. Up to four strains co-occurred in a single ant. Most strains occurred in two clusters (InvA and InvB), but the social parasite...

  18. Microbial Communities in Different Tissues of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Leaf-cutting Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Alexsandro S; Ramalho, Manuela O; Martins, Cintia; Martins, Vanderlei G; Bueno, Odair C

    2017-10-01

    Bacterial endosymbionts are common in all insects, and symbiosis has played an integral role in ant evolution. Atta sexdens rubropilosa leaf-cutting ants cultivate their symbiotic fungus using fresh leaves. They need to defend themselves and their brood against diseases, but they also need to defend their obligate fungus gardens, their primary food source, from infection, parasitism, and usurpation by competitors. This study aimed to characterize the microbial communities in whole workers and different tissues of A. sexdens rubropilosa queens using Ion Torrent NGS. Our results showed that the microbial community in the midgut differs in abundance and diversity from the communities in the postpharyngeal gland of the queen and in whole workers. The main microbial orders in whole workers were Lactobacillales, Clostridiales, Enterobacteriales, Actinomycetales, Burkholderiales, and Bacillales. In the tissues of the queens, the main orders were Burkholderiales, Clostridiales, Syntrophobacterales, Lactobacillales, Bacillales, and Actinomycetales (midgut) and Entomoplasmatales, unclassified γ-proteobacteria, and Actinomycetales (postpharyngeal glands). The high abundance of Entomoplasmatales in the postpharyngeal glands (77%) of the queens was an unprecedented finding. We discuss the role of microbial communities in different tissues and castes. Bacteria are likely to play a role in nutrition and immune defense as well as helping antimicrobial defense in this ant species.

  19. Underground anemotactic orientation in leaf-cutting ants: perception of airflow and experience-dependent choice of airflow direction during digging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halboth, Florian; Roces, Flavio

    2017-10-01

    Air exchange between the large nests of Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutting ants and the environment strongly relies on a passive, wind-induced ventilation mechanism. Air moves through nest tunnels and airflow direction depends on the location of the tunnel openings on the nest mound. We hypothesized that ants might use the direction of airflow along nest tunnels as orientation cue in the context of climate control, as digging workers might prefer to broaden or to close tunnels with inflowing or outflowing air in order to regulate nest ventilation. To investigate anemotactic orientation in Atta vollenweideri, we first tested the ants' ability to perceive air movements by confronting single workers with airflow stimuli in the range 0 to 20 cm/s. Workers responded to airflow velocities ≥ 2 cm/s, and the number of ants reacting to the stimulus increased with increasing airflow speed. Second, we asked whether digging workers use airflow direction as an orientation cue. Workers were exposed to either inflow or outflow of air while digging in the nest and could subsequently choose between two digging sites providing either inflow or outflow of air, respectively. Workers significantly chose the side with the same airflow direction they experienced before. When no airflow was present during initial digging, workers showed no preference for airflow directions. Workers developed preferences for airflow direction only after previous exposure to a given airflow direction. We suggest that experience-modified anemotaxis might help leaf-cutting ants spatially organize their digging activity inside the nest during tasks related to climate control.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    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 phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent.We showthat particularly the smallestworkers...... 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...

  1. Polimorfismo do fungo simbionte de formigas cortadeiras submetido à luz ultravioleta Polymorphism of the cutting ants symbiotic fungus submitted to ultraviolet light

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Regina da Silva Borba

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available O presente trabalho teve por objetivo verificar o efeito de diferentes períodos de luz ultravioleta sobre a similaridade genética do fungo simbionte de formigas cortadeiras pertencentes às espécies Acromyrmex ambiguus, Acromyrmex crassispinus e Acromyrmex lundi, através da técnica AFLP. Os fungos foram inoculados em meio de cultura Pagnocca e mantidos em câmaras climatizadas à temperatura de 25 + 1°C e escotofase de 24h, por um período de 15 dias. Posteriormente, foram expostos à luz ultravioleta por períodos de: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 e 30 minutos. Aos 45 dias após o tratamento, foi realizada a extração do DNA e padronização, realizando-se as reações de PCR por meio de 24 combinações de primers AFLP, das quais quatro foram selecionadas por apresentarem maior polimorfismo e consistência. Os dados moleculares foram transformados em matriz binária e analisados pelo programa estatístico NTSYS v. 2.1. As quatro combinações de primers utilizadas geraram 152 bandas polimórficas. As populações de fungos originárias de diferentes espécies de Acromyrmex apresentaram uma similaridade genética média de 37%, sendo que a indução de mutação através da luz ultravioleta permitiu obter isolados mais dissimilares.The present research was aimed at verifing the effect of different periods of ultraviolet light on the development of the symbiont fungus of leaf cutting ants belonging to the species Acromyrmex ambiguus, Acromyrmex crassispinus and Acromyrmex lundi, through the AFLP technique. The fungus were inoculated in Pagnocca's medium and maintained in climatized cameras at 25 + 1°C and 24 hours of darkness, for a period of 15 days. After that, they were exposed to ultraviolet light for 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes. At 45 days after the treatment, the extraction and standardization of DNA was performed. PCR reactions were tested using 24 AFLP primer combinations, from which four were selected because they presented

  2. Comparative physical mapping of 18S rDNA in the karyotypes of six leafcutter ant species of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex (Formicidae: Myrmicinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teixeira, Gisele Amaro; Barros, Luísa Antônia Campos; de Aguiar, Hilton Jeferson Alves Cardoso; das Graças Pompolo, Silvia

    2017-10-01

    Leafcutter ants of the Atta and Acromyrmex genera are important plagues in different cultures. Cytogenetic data on chromosome number, morphology, and chromosomal banding pattern are only available for 17 species of leafcutter ants. Molecular cytogenetic data for the detection of ribosomal genes by the FISH technique are scarce, and only 15 Neotropical ant species have been studied. This study aimed to physically map the 18S ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) of six leafcutter ants belonging to the genera Atta and Acromyrmex using FISH. The results were compared with data on the fluorochrome CMA 3 currently available for these species. All analyzed species presented the 18S rDNA on one pair of chromosomes. In Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans and Ac. aspersus, FISH signals were observed in the terminal region of the short arm of the largest subtelocentric pair, while in Atta bisphaerica, A. laevigata, and A. sexdens, FISH signals were observed in the interstitial region of the long arm of the fourth metacentric pair. In Acromyrmex striatus, 18S rDNA was located in the interstitial region of the second metacentric pair. The karyotypic formula for Ac. aspersus was 2n = 38 (8m + 10sm + 16st + 4a), representing the first report in this species. The observed 18S rDNA regions in A. laevigata, A. sexdens, A. bisphaerica, Ac. aspersus, and Ac. subterraneus molestans corresponded to the CMA 3 + bands, while in Ac. striatus, several GC-rich bands and one pair of 18S rDNA bands were observed. No differential bands were visible using the DAPI fluorochrome. Karyotype uniformity with previously studied Atta spp. was also observed at the level of molecular cytogenetics using 18S rDNA FISH. A difference in the size of the chromosomal pair carrying the 18S rDNA gene was observed in Ac. striatus (2n = 22) and Atta spp. (2n = 22) highlighting the dissimilarity between these species. The results from the present study contribute to the description of 18S rDNA clusters

  3. RESISTÊNCIA DE ISCAS GRANULADAS, DISTRIBUÍDAS A GRANEL E EM MICROPORTA-ISCAS, À AÇÃO DA UMIDADE EM PLANTIO DE Pinus taeda NO PLANALTO SUL-CATARINENSE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Alexandre Buratto

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Control programs for leaf-cutting ants of the genus Acromyrmex in southern Brazil are poorly studied and the information comes from the control of the genus Atta and the damage caused by leaf-cutting ants in Eucalyptus spp. This lack of information about this ant makes some forest companies of Santa Catarina repeat patterns that are not suitable for infestations and for the species of leaf-cutting ants that occur in this state. Along with this, an inadequate distribution of bulk granular baits, in the four seasons, which end up degraded by excessive moisture caused by fog and by constant rainfall occurring in the region. Given this context, the experiments of this work had the following objectives: identify the species of leaf-cutting ants; determine the nest density per unit area; analyze and evaluate the influence of the year and the rainfall stations in each season, about the conservation and degradation of granulated baits based on sulfluramide (0.3% in bulk and distributed in the form of bait holder. To do so, experiments in Dois Irmãos Farm, owned by Florestal Rio Marombas company in areas of Pinus taeda L., located in the municipality of São Cristóvão do Sul, in the southern highlands of Santa Catarina state were installed. It was concluded that: the only species found in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex crassispinus area is assessed (FOREL, 1909. At the experimental site there are 17 nests, the average is 0.94 nests per hectare, less than 1 m² each apparent area; moisture from southern Santa Catarina plateau region degrades the granulated baits distributed in bulk; the granulated baits distributed in bulk remain conserved seven days in the spring and three days in other seasons; the granulated baits distributed in bait holder remain preserved 15 days in the summer and 30 days in other seasons; the bait holder presents greater resistance to moisture in the field in relation to granulated baits distributed in bulk; the opening of the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  5. A new genus and species of Macrochelidae (Acari:Mesostigmata) associated with the Texas leaf cutting ant, Atta texana (Buckley) in Louisiana, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerald W. Krantz; John Moser

    2012-01-01

    Adults and nymphs of a new genus and species of the family Macrochelidae are described from detritus cavities of the leaf-cutting ant, Atta texana. This new species is notable in having peritremes with no posterior loop, a series of small subterminal teeth on the fixed cheliceral digit rather than the single large tooth typical of other macrochelids...

  6. Comparative reproductive biology of the social parasite Acromyrmex ameliae de Souza, Soares & Della Lucia and of its host Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soares, Ilka M F; Della Lucia, Terezinha M C; Pereira, Alice S; Serrão, José E; Ribeiro, Myriam M R; De Souza, Danival J

    2010-01-01

    Social parasites exhibit several characteristics that allow them to exploit their host species efficiently. The smaller size of parasite species is a trait commonly found in ants. In this work, we investigated several aspects of the reproductive biology of Acromyrmex ameliae De Souza, Soares & Della Lucia, a recently discovered parasite of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus Forel. Sexuals of A. ameliae are substantially smaller than those from host species. Parasite queens laid significantly less worker eggs than host queens and inhibit sexual production of the host. The sex ratio of parasite species is highly female biased. Interestingly, we have observed parasite coupling on the laboratory, inside the nests and in the ground, opening the possibility to use controlled mating to study genetic approaches of parasitism in the ants.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  9. Levantamento de Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae em povoamento de Eucalyptus na região de Paraopeba, Minas Gerais, Brasil Survey of Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae in Eucalyptus plantations in the region of Paraopeba, Minas Gerais, Brasil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Márcio S. Araújo

    1997-01-01

    Full Text Available This Work was conducted in Eucalyptus stands at the Itapoã farm of the Mannesmann Fi-El Florestal Ltda. in Paraopeba, MG. The species of fungus growing-ants and leaf-cutting ants found in regrowth areas and in harvesting phase plantings were: Acromyrmex balzani Emery, 1890; Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel 1908; Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus Forel, 1893; Atta laevigala (F. Smith, 1858; Alta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, 1908; Mycocepurus goeldii Forel, 1893; Sericomyrmex sp.; Trachymyrmex fuscus Emery, 1894 and three morphospecies of Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893. Taxa belonging to the genus Atta Fabricius, 1804 represented 39.14 and 41.22% of the total number of nests found in the regrowth area and in the harvesting phase plantings, respectively. For Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 these values were 14.34 and 13.16%; for Trachymyrmex, 40.59 and 30.89%; for Mycocepurus Forel, 1893, 5.34 and 12.50% and Sericomyrmex Mayr, 1865, 0.59 and 2.23% in the regrowth area and in the harvesting phase plantations, respectively.

  10. A Single Streptomyces Symbiont Makes Multiple Antifungals to Support the Fungus Farming Ant Acromyrmex octospinosus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seipke, Ryan F.; Barke, Jörg; Brearley, Charles; Hill, Lionel; Yu, Douglas W.; Goss, Rebecca J. M.; Hutchings, Matthew I.

    2011-01-01

    Attine ants are dependent on a cultivated fungus for food and use antibiotics produced by symbiotic Actinobacteria as weedkillers in their fungus gardens. Actinobacterial species belonging to the genera Pseudonocardia, Streptomyces and Amycolatopsis have been isolated from attine ant nests and shown to confer protection against a range of microfungal weeds. In previous work on the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus we isolated a Streptomyces strain that produces candicidin, consistent with another report that attine ants use Streptomyces-produced candicidin in their fungiculture. Here we report the genome analysis of this Streptomyces strain and identify multiple antibiotic biosynthetic pathways. We demonstrate, using gene disruptions and mass spectrometry, that this single strain has the capacity to make candicidin and multiple antimycin compounds. Although antimycins have been known for >60 years we report the sequence of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the first time. Crucially, disrupting the candicidin and antimycin gene clusters in the same strain had no effect on bioactivity against a co-evolved nest pathogen called Escovopsis that has been identified in ∼30% of attine ant nests. Since the Streptomyces strain has strong bioactivity against Escovopsis we conclude that it must make additional antifungal(s) to inhibit Escovopsis. However, candicidin and antimycins likely offer protection against other microfungal weeds that infect the attine fungal gardens. Thus, we propose that the selection of this biosynthetically prolific strain from the natural environment provides A. octospinosus with broad spectrum activity against Escovopsis and other microfungal weeds. PMID:21857911

  11. A single Streptomyces symbiont makes multiple antifungals to support the fungus farming ant Acromyrmex octospinosus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan F Seipke

    Full Text Available Attine ants are dependent on a cultivated fungus for food and use antibiotics produced by symbiotic Actinobacteria as weedkillers in their fungus gardens. Actinobacterial species belonging to the genera Pseudonocardia, Streptomyces and Amycolatopsis have been isolated from attine ant nests and shown to confer protection against a range of microfungal weeds. In previous work on the higher attine Acromyrmex octospinosus we isolated a Streptomyces strain that produces candicidin, consistent with another report that attine ants use Streptomyces-produced candicidin in their fungiculture. Here we report the genome analysis of this Streptomyces strain and identify multiple antibiotic biosynthetic pathways. We demonstrate, using gene disruptions and mass spectrometry, that this single strain has the capacity to make candicidin and multiple antimycin compounds. Although antimycins have been known for >60 years we report the sequence of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the first time. Crucially, disrupting the candicidin and antimycin gene clusters in the same strain had no effect on bioactivity against a co-evolved nest pathogen called Escovopsis that has been identified in ∼30% of attine ant nests. Since the Streptomyces strain has strong bioactivity against Escovopsis we conclude that it must make additional antifungal(s to inhibit Escovopsis. However, candicidin and antimycins likely offer protection against other microfungal weeds that infect the attine fungal gardens. Thus, we propose that the selection of this biosynthetically prolific strain from the natural environment provides A. octospinosus with broad spectrum activity against Escovopsis and other microfungal weeds.

  12. Wind-induced ventilation of the giant nests of the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kleineidam, Christoph; Ernst, Roman; Roces, Flavio

    2001-06-01

    To understand the significance of elaborate nest architecture for the control of nest climate, we investigated the mechanisms governing nest ventilation in a large field nest of Atta vollenweideri. Surface wind, drawing air from the central tunnels of the nest mound, was observed to be the main driving force for nest ventilation during summer. This mechanism of wind-induced ventilation has so far not been described for social insect colonies. Thermal convection, another possible force driving ventilation, contributed very little. According to their predominant airflow direction, two functionally distinct tunnel groups were identified: outflow tunnels in the upper, central region, and inflow tunnels in the lower, peripheral region of the nest mound. The function of the tunnels was independent of wind direction. Outflow of air through the central tunnels was followed by a delayed inflow through the peripheral tunnels. Leaf-cutting ants design the tunnel openings on the top of the nest with turrets which may reinforce wind-induced nest ventilation.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holman, Luke; Stürup, Marlene; Trontti, Kalevi

    2011-01-01

    Sperm competition can produce fascinating adaptations with far-reaching evolutionary consequences. Social taxa make particularly interesting models, because the outcome of sexual selection determines the genetic composition of groups, with attendant sociobiological consequences. Here, we use...... molecular tools to uncover some of the mechanisms and consequences of sperm competition in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica, a species with extreme worker size polymorphism. Competitive PCR allowed quantification of the relative numbers of sperm stored by queens from different males, and offspring...... 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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten

    2011-01-01

    ant-derived contribution to the fecal fluid, which otherwise consists of "garden manuring" fungal enzymes that are unaffected by ant digestion. The second is multiple mating of queens and ejaculate competition, which may be associated with a greatly expanded nardilysin-like peptidase gene family...

  15. Symbiont interactions in a tripartite mutualism: exploring the presence and impact of antagonism between two fungus-growing ant mutualists.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Poulsen

    Full Text Available Mutualistic associations are shaped by the interplay of cooperation and conflict among the partners involved, and it is becoming increasingly clear that within many mutualisms multiple partners simultaneously engage in beneficial interactions. Consequently, a more complete understanding of the dynamics within multipartite mutualism communities is essential for understanding the origin, specificity, and stability of mutualisms. Fungus-growing ants cultivate fungi for food and maintain antibiotic-producing Pseudonocardia actinobacteria on their cuticle that help defend the cultivar fungus from specialized parasites. Within both ant-fungus and ant-bacterium mutualisms, mixing of genetically distinct strains can lead to antagonistic interactions (i.e., competitive conflict, which may prevent the ants from rearing multiple strains of either of the mutualistic symbionts within individual colonies. The success of different ant-cultivar-bacterium combinations could ultimately be governed by antagonistic interactions between the two mutualists, either as inhibition of the cultivar by Pseudonocardia or vice versa. Here we explore cultivar-Pseudonocardia antagonism by evaluating in vitro interactions between strains of the two mutualists, and find frequent antagonistic interactions both from cultivars towards Pseudonocardia and vice versa. To test whether such in vitro antagonistic interactions affect ant colonies in vivo, we performed sub-colony experiments using species of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. We created novel ant-fungus-bacterium pairings in which there was antagonism from one, both, or neither of the ants' microbial mutualists, and evaluated the effect of directional antagonism on cultivar biomass and Pseudonocardia abundance on the cuticle of workers within sub-colonies. Despite the presence of frequent in vitro growth suppression between cultivars and Pseudonocardia, antagonism from Pseudonocardia towards the cultivar did not reduce sub

  16. 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

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    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

  17. Molecular phylogenetic reconstruction and localization of the (TTAGG)n telomeric repeats in the chromosomes of Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863) suggests a lower ancestral karyotype for leafcutter ants (Hymenoptera).

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    Pereira, Tássia Tatiane Pontes; Dos Reis, Ana Caroline Coelho Corrêa; Cardoso, Danon Clemes; Cristiano, Maykon Passos

    2018-01-01

    Chromosome counts and karyotype characterization have proved to be important features of a genome. Chromosome changes during the diversification of ants might play an important role, given the diversity and success of Formicidae. Comparative karyotype analyses on ants have enriched and helped ant systematics. Among leafcutter ants, two major chromosome counts have been described, one frequent in Atta Fabricius, 1804 (2n = 22 in all Atta spp. whose karyotype is known) and the other frequent in Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 (2n = 38 in the majority of species whose karyotype is known). The main exception is Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863), which harbors a diploid chromosome set of 22. Here we describe the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with telomeric probes with (TTAGG) 6 repeats to describe the telomere composition of A. striatus and to recover potential interstitial non-telomeric signals that may reflect fusion events during the evolution of leafcutter lineage from 38 to 22 chromosomes. Further, we reconstruct the ancestral chromosome numbers of the leafcutter clade based on a recently proposed molecular phylogenetic hypothesis and phylogenomic tree. Distinct signals have been observed in both extremities on the telomere chromosomes of A. striatus . Non-telomeric signals have not been retrieved in our analysis. It could be supposed that the low-numbered karyotype indeed represents the ancestral chromosome number of leafcutters. The phylogenetic reconstruction also recovered a low chromosome number from the diverse approaches implemented, suggesting that n = 11 is the most likely ancestral karyotype of the leafcutter ants and is a plesiomorphic feature shared between A. striatus and Atta spp.

  18. Molecular phylogenetic reconstruction and localization of the (TTAGGn telomeric repeats in the chromosomes of Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863 suggests a lower ancestral karyotype for leafcutter ants (Hymenoptera

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    Tássia Tatiane Pontes Pereira

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Chromosome counts and karyotype characterization have proved to be important features of a genome. Chromosome changes during the diversification of ants might play an important role, given the diversity and success of Formicidae. Comparative karyotype analyses on ants have enriched and helped ant systematics. Among leafcutter ants, two major chromosome counts have been described, one frequent in Atta Fabricius, 1804 (2n = 22 in all Atta spp. whose karyotype is known and the other frequent in Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 (2n = 38 in the majority of species whose karyotype is known. The main exception is Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863, which harbors a diploid chromosome set of 22. Here we describe the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH with telomeric probes with (TTAGG6 repeats to describe the telomere composition of A. striatus and to recover potential interstitial non-telomeric signals that may reflect fusion events during the evolution of leafcutter lineage from 38 to 22 chromosomes. Further, we reconstruct the ancestral chromosome numbers of the leafcutter clade based on a recently proposed molecular phylogenetic hypothesis and phylogenomic tree. Distinct signals have been observed in both extremities on the telomere chromosomes of A. striatus. Non-telomeric signals have not been retrieved in our analysis. It could be supposed that the low-numbered karyotype indeed represents the ancestral chromosome number of leafcutters. The phylogenetic reconstruction also recovered a low chromosome number from the diverse approaches implemented, suggesting that n = 11 is the most likely ancestral karyotype of the leafcutter ants and is a plesiomorphic feature shared between A. striatus and Atta spp.

  19. Growth and enzymatic activity of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a mutualistic fungus isolated from the leaf-cutting ant Atta mexicana, on cellulose and lignocellulosic biomass.

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    Vigueras, G; Paredes-Hernández, D; Revah, S; Valenzuela, J; Olivares-Hernández, R; Le Borgne, S

    2017-08-01

    A mutualistic fungus of the leaf-cutting ant Atta mexicana was isolated and identified as Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. This isolate had a close phylogenetic relationship with L. gongylophorus fungi cultivated by other leaf-cutting ants as determined by ITS sequencing. A subcolony started with ~500 A. mexicana workers could process 2 g day -1 of plant material and generate a 135 cm 3 fungus garden in 160 days. The presence of gongylidia structures of ~35 μm was observed on the tip of the hyphae. The fungus could grow without ants on semi-solid cultures with α-cellulose and microcrystalline cellulose and in solid-state cultures with grass and sugarcane bagasse, as sole sources of carbon. The maximum CO 2 production rate on grass (V max  = 17·5 mg CO 2  L g -1  day -1 ) was three times higher than on sugarcane bagasse (V max  = 6·6 mg CO 2  L g -1 day -1 ). Recoveries of 32·9 mg glucose  g biomass -1 and 12·3 mg glucose  g biomass -1 were obtained from the fungal biomass and the fungus garden, respectively. Endoglucanase activity was detected on carboxymethylcellulose agar plates. This is the first study reporting the growth of L. gongylophorus from A. mexicana on cellulose and plant material. According to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the growth of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, isolated from the colony of the ant Atta mexicana, on semisolid medium with cellulose and solid-state cultures with lignocellulosic materials. The maximum CO 2 production rate on grass was three times higher than on sugarcane bagasse. Endoglucanase activity was detected and it was possible to recover glucose from the fungal gongylidia. The cellulolytic activity could be used to process lignocellulosic residues and obtain sugar or valuable products, but more work is needed in this direction. © 2017 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  20. Information needs at the beginning of foraging: grass-cutting ants trade off load size for a faster return to the nest.

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    Martin Bollazzi

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Acquisition of information about food sources is essential for animals that forage collectively like social insects. Foragers deliver two commodities to the nest, food and information, and they may favor the delivery of one at the expenses of the other. We predict that information needs should be particularly high at the beginning of foraging: the decision to return faster to the nest will motivate a grass-cutting ant worker to reduce its loading time, and so to leave the source with a partial load.Field results showed that at the initial foraging phase, most grass-cutting ant foragers (Acromyrmex heyeri returned unladen to the nest, and experienced head-on encounters with outgoing workers. Ant encounters were not simply collisions in a probabilistic sense: outgoing workers contacted in average 70% of the returning foragers at the initial foraging phase, and only 20% at the established phase. At the initial foraging phase, workers cut fragments that were shorter, narrower, lighter and tenderer than those harvested at the established one. Foragers walked at the initial phase significantly faster than expected for the observed temperatures, yet not at the established phase. Moreover, when controlling for differences in the fragment-size carried, workers still walked faster at the initial phase. Despite the higher speed, their individual transport rate of vegetable tissue was lower than that of similarly-sized workers foraging later at the same patch.At the initial foraging phase, workers compromised their individual transport rates of material in order to return faster to the colony. We suggest that the observed flexible cutting rules and the selection of partial loads at the beginning of foraging are driven by the need of information transfer, crucial for the establishment and maintenance of a foraging process to monopolize a discovered resource.

  1. TRICHODERMA SPECIES ASSOCIATED WITH ACROMYRMEX ANT NESTS FROM ARGENTINA AND FIRST REPORT OF TRICHODERMA LENTIFORME FOR THE COUNTRY

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    Natalia G. Armando

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Este trabajo tiene como objetivo la identificación morfológica y molecular de cinco especies de Trichoderma asociadas con los nidos de hormigas cortadoras de hojas del género Acromyrmex presentes en Argentina. Las especies identificadas fueron: T. lentiforme, T. inhamatum, T. virens, T. koningiopsis y T. aff. neotropicale resultando éste el primer registro de T. lentiforme y T. inhamatum asociados a hormigas cortadoras de hojas Acromyrmex, en particular Acromyrmex lobicornis y Acromyrmex lundii para el primero y de A. lobicornis para el segundo. Además T. lentiforme representa el primer registro para la Argentina. En este trabajo se amplían medidas del conidióforo y conidios y se aportan datos adicionales sobre la distribución de las especies de Trichoderma en el país. Se ilustran con fotografías los conidióforos, células conidiógenas, conidios y el fenotipo de la colonia para cada especie.

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

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    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.

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

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    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. © 2016 The Author(s).

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodovalho, Cynara M; Ferro, Milene; Fonseca, Fernando Pp; Antonio, Erik A; Guilherme, Ivan R; Henrique-Silva, Flávio; Bacci, Maurício

    2011-06-17

    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. 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. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Thomas-Poulsen, Michael; Maynard, Janielle; Roland, Damien L.

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants display symbiont preference in behavioral assays, both towards the fungus they cultivate for food and Actinobacteria they maintain on their cuticle for antibiotic production against parasites. These Actinobacteria, genus Pseudonocardia Henssen (Pseudonocardiacea: Actinomycetales...

  7. Nest architecture, fungus gardens, queen, males and larvae of the fungus-growing ant Mycetagroicus inflatus Brandão & Mayhé-Nunes.

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    Jesovnik, A; Sosa-Calvo, J; Lopes, C T; Vasconcelos, H L; Schultz, T R

    2013-01-01

    All known fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) are obligately symbiotic with their cultivated fungi. The fungal cultivars of "lower" attine ants are facultative symbionts, capable of living apart from ants, whereas the fungal cultivars of "higher" attine ants, including leaf-cutting genera Atta and Acromyrmex , are highly specialized, obligate symbionts. Since higher attine ants and fungi are derived from lower attine ants and fungi, understanding the evolutionary transition from lower to higher attine agriculture requires understanding the historical sequence of change in both ants and fungi. The biology of the poorly known ant genus Mycetagroicus is of special interest in this regard because it occupies a phylogenetic position intermediate between lower and higher ant agriculture. Here, based on the excavations of four nests in Pará, Brazil, we report the first biological data for the recently described species Mycetagroicus inflatus , including the first descriptions of Mycetagroicus males and larvae. Like M. cerradensis , the only other species in the genus for which nesting biology is known, the garden chambers of M. inflatus are unusually deep and the garden is most likely relocated vertically in rainy and dry seasons. Due to the proximity of nests to the Araguaia River, it is likely that even the uppermost chambers and nest entrances of M. inflatus are submerged during the rainy season. Most remarkably, all three examined colonies of M. inflatus cultivate the same fungal species as their congener, M. cerradensis , over 1,000 km away, raising the possibility of long-term symbiont fidelity spanning speciation events within the genus.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... sympatric fungus-growing ant species. As predicted from relatedness, female bias was greater in four singly mated Sericomyrmex and Trachymyrmex species than in two multiply mated Acromyrmex species. Colonies tended to raise mainly a single sex, which could be partly explained by variation in queen number......, 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...

  9. Fire ants protect mealybugs against their natural enemies by utilizing the leaf shelters constructed by the leaf roller Sylepta derogata.

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    Aiming Zhou

    Full Text Available The importance of mutualism is receiving more attention in community ecology. In this study, the fire ant Solenopsis invicta was found to take advantage of the shelters constructed by the leaf roller Sylepta derogata to protect mealybugs (Phenacoccus solenopsis against their natural enemies. This protective effect of fire ant tending on the survival of mealybugs in shelters was observed when enemies and leaf rollers were simultaneously present. Specifically, fire ants moved the mealybugs inside the shelters produced by S. derogata on enemy-infested plants. Compared with that in plants without ants, the survival of mealybugs in shelters in the presence of natural enemies in plants with ants markedly improved. Both the protection of ants and the shelters provided by leaf rollers did not affect the survival of mealybugs in the absence of enemies in plants. Ants and leaf rollers significantly improved the survival of mealybugs in predator-infested plants, whereas no such improvement was observed in parasitoid-infested ones.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... for decomposition enzymes....

  11. Novel Phialophora species from leaf-cutting ants (tribe Attini)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Attili-Angelis, D.; Duarte, A.P.M.; Pagnocca, F.C.; Nagamoto, N.S.; de Vries, M.; Stielow, J.B.; de Hoog, G.S.

    2014-01-01

    Ants in the tribe Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) maintain a 50 million-year-old lifestyle of co-evolution with symbiotic basidiomycetous fungi which they cultivate as essential source of nutrition. However, other microorganisms have been reported from ant habitats indicating a higher diversity of

  12. Two castes sizes of leafcutter ants in task partitioning in foraging activity

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    Marcelo Arruda de Toledo

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT: Task partitioning in eusocial animals is most likely an evolutionary adaptation that optimizes the efficiency of the colony to grow and reproduce. It was investigated indirect task partitioning in two castes sizes; this involves task partitioning in which the material transported is not transferred directly from one individual to another, but where it is dropped by one ant to be picked up by another. In two separate approaches, it was confirmed previous results pertaining to leaf caching activities among Atta colombica with task partitioning activities involving leaf dropping among Atta sexdens rubropilosa , in which there is a correlation between the size of an individual ant and the leaf fragment it transports. It was also suggested that this correlation exists only in individual ants that cut and transport (CaT the same fragment to the nest. When task partitioning occurs and individual ants transporting (T leaf fragments cut by other ants, the correlation becomes looser or disappears. We also observed that CaT ants are smaller than T ants.

  13. 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

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    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

  14. Fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae on Santa Catarina Island, Brazil: patterns of occurrence

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    Benedito Cortês Lopes

    2000-06-01

    Full Text Available A taxonomic survey on fungus-growing ants (Attini was made at 14 beaches on Santa Catarina Island (SC, Brazil. The samplings were manual, in soil or litterfall, in the following habitats: sandy beach, herbaceous vegetation and shrubby vegetation. From 12 species of Attini (ten of Acromyrmex Mayr and two of Cyphomyrmex Mayr, the most frequent were Cyphomyrmex morschi Emery and Acromyrmex crassispinus Forel, collected, respectively, on eight and ten of the monitored beaches. Altogether, Sorensen’s similarity coefficients were high (range: 0.59-0.80, in spite of the lower numbers of ant species on sandy beaches

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    Introduction: Fungus-growing ants cultivate specialized fungi in the tribe Leucocoprineae (Lepiotaceae: Basidiomycota) inside their nests. The conspicuous leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex ...... garden. This system can be viewed as ant induced crop optimization similar to human agricultural practices....... 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...... feces and insect carcasses. This diverse array of fungal substrates across the attine lineage implies that the symbiotic fungus needs different enzymes to break down the plant material that the ants provide or different efficiencies of enzyme function. Methods: (1.) We made a literature survey...

  16. The construction of ventilation turrets in Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutting ants: Carbon dioxide levels in the nest tunnels, but not airflow or air humidity, influence turret structure.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian Halboth

    Full Text Available Nest ventilation in the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri is driven via a wind-induced mechanism. On their nests, workers construct small turrets that are expected to facilitate nest ventilation. We hypothesized that the construction and structural features of the turrets would depend on the colony's current demands for ventilation and thus might be influenced by the prevailing environmental conditions inside the nest. Therefore, we tested whether climate-related parameters, namely airflow, air humidity and CO2 levels in the outflowing nest air influenced turret construction in Atta vollenweideri. In the laboratory, we simulated a semi-natural nest arrangement with fungus chambers, a central ventilation tunnel providing outflow of air and an aboveground building arena for turret construction. In independent series, different climatic conditions inside the ventilation tunnel were experimentally generated, and after 24 hours, several features of the built turret were quantified, i.e., mass, height, number and surface area (aperture of turret openings. Turret mass and height were similar in all experiments even when no airflow was provided in the ventilation tunnel. However, elevated CO2 levels led to the construction of a turret with several minor openings and a larger total aperture. This effect was statistically significant at higher CO2 levels of 5% and 10% but not at 1% CO2. The construction of a turret with several minor openings did not depend on the strong differences in CO2 levels between the outflowing and the outside air, since workers also built permeated turrets even when the CO2 levels inside and outside were both similarly high. We propose that the construction of turrets with several openings and larger opening surface area might facilitate the removal of CO2 from the underground nest structure and could therefore be involved in the control of nest climate in leaf-cutting ants.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    Wolbachia are renowned as reproductive parasites, but their phenotypic effects in eusocial insects are not well understood. We used a combination of qrt‐PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization and laser scanning confocal microscopy to evaluate the dynamics of Wolbachia infections in the leaf‐cutting...

  18. EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITIONS IN ENZYME ACTIVITY OF ANT FUNGUS GARDENS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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. Fungus gardens of the leafcutter ant Atta colombica function as egg nurseries for the snake Leptodeira annulata

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Baer, Boris; Den Boer, Susanne Petronella A; Kronauer, Daniel

    2009-01-01

    by ant soldiers and that also newly hatched snakes manage to avoid ant attacks when they leaving their host colony. We speculate that L. annulata might use Atta and Acromyrmex leafcutter ant colonies as egg nurseries by some form of chemical insignificance, but more work is needed to understand...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  1. Variation in fungal enzyme spectra may affect mutualistic division of labour between ants and fungus gardens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    partners vary in metabolic performance, division of labour may not always be optimized and co-evolutionary trajectories become less predictable. The higher fungus-growing (attine) ants consist of the leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex and Atta), which rear a single fungal species throughout their Latin American...

  2. Mathematical modeling on obligate mutualism: Interactions between leaf-cutter ants and their fungus garden.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Yun; Clark, Rebecca; Makiyama, Michael; Fewell, Jennifer

    2011-11-21

    We propose a simple mathematical model by applying Michaelis-Menton equations of enzyme kinetics to study the mutualistic interaction between the leaf cutter ant and its fungus garden at the early stage of colony expansion. We derive sufficient conditions on the extinction and coexistence of these two species. In addition, we give a region of initial condition that leads to the extinction of two species when the model has an interior attractor. Our global analysis indicates that the division of labor by worker ants and initial conditions are two important factors that determine whether leaf cutter ants' colonies and their fungus garden can survive and grow or not. We validate the model by comparing model simulations and data on fungal and ant colony growth rates under laboratory conditions. We perform sensitive analysis of the model based on the experimental data to gain more biological insights on ecological interactions between leaf-cutter ants and their fungus garden. Finally, we give conclusions and discuss potential future work. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  3. Microbial community structure of leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and refuse dumps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott, Jarrod J; Budsberg, Kevin J; Suen, Garret; Wixon, Devin L; Balser, Teri C; Currie, Cameron R

    2010-03-29

    Leaf-cutter ants use fresh plant material to grow a mutualistic fungus that serves as the ants' primary food source. Within fungus gardens, various plant compounds are metabolized and transformed into nutrients suitable for ant consumption. This symbiotic association produces a large amount of refuse consisting primarily of partly degraded plant material. A leaf-cutter ant colony is thus divided into two spatially and chemically distinct environments that together represent a plant biomass degradation gradient. Little is known about the microbial community structure in gardens and dumps or variation between lab and field colonies. Using microbial membrane lipid analysis and a variety of community metrics, we assessed and compared the microbiota of fungus gardens and refuse dumps from both laboratory-maintained and field-collected colonies. We found that gardens contained a diverse and consistent community of microbes, dominated by Gram-negative bacteria, particularly gamma-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. These findings were consistent across lab and field gardens, as well as host ant taxa. In contrast, dumps were enriched for Gram-positive and anaerobic bacteria. Broad-scale clustering analyses revealed that community relatedness between samples reflected system component (gardens/dumps) rather than colony source (lab/field). At finer scales samples clustered according to colony source. Here we report the first comparative analysis of the microbiota from leaf-cutter ant colonies. Our work reveals the presence of two distinct communities: one in the fungus garden and the other in the refuse dump. Though we find some effect of colony source on community structure, our data indicate the presence of consistently associated microbes within gardens and dumps. Substrate composition and system component appear to be the most important factor in structuring the microbial communities. These results thus suggest that resident communities are shaped by the plant degradation

  4. Ant Colony Optimization and the Minimum Cut Problem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kötzing, Timo; Lehre, Per Kristian; Neumann, Frank

    2010-01-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a powerful metaheuristic for solving combinatorial optimization problems. With this paper we contribute to the theoretical understanding of this kind of algorithm by investigating the classical minimum cut problem. An ACO algorithm similar to the one that was prov...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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. Diet...

  6. Influence of leaf retention on cutting propagation of Lavandula dentata L.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudine Maria de Bona

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Vegetative propagation of lavender offers several advantages over sexual propagation, among them crop homogeneity and yield of higher quality essential oil. However, Lavandula species have been propagated mostly by seeds and are said to be recalcitrant to rooting when propagated by cuttings. During cutting propagation, one of the important variables that influence the rooting capacity of cuttings is the leaf retention. The objective of this work was to evaluate the influence of leaf retention on rooting of L. dentata cuttings. Apical cuttings of L. dentata of 10 cm in length, keeping approximately 1/3, 1/2 or 2/3 of their leaves were planted in commercial substrate Plantmax HT® under intermittent mist. After two months, averages of root number, length of the longest root, root fresh and dry weights, and the survival percentage were evaluated. Root length and fresh weight were statistically greater with 2/3 of leaf retention and when fewer leaves were kept on the cuttings, lower means of root dry weight was observed. Under the conditions applied in this study, greater leaf retention was better for rooting of L. dentata cuttings.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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 secreted...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, William O H; Pagliarini, Roberta; Madsen, Henning Bang

    2008-01-01

    of the reservoir did not relate with the evolutionary transition from lower to higher attines and correlated at most only slightly with colony size. The results thus suggest that the relationship between leaf-cutting ants and their parasites is distinctly different from that for other attine ants, in accord...

  9. Formation of adventitious roots on green leaf cuttings of Phaseolus vulgaris L.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oppenoorth, Johanna Margriet

    1980-01-01

    n this thesis the development of adventitious roots on green leaf cuttings of Phaseolus vulgaris L. is studies. The use of green leaf cuttings has the advantage that the leaf blade provides the developing roots inthe petiole with all the nutrients required, a disadvantage is that the composition of

  10. Habitat Modification by the Leaf-Cutter Ant, Atta cephalotes, and Patterns of Leaf-Litter Arthropod Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wells, Rachel L; Murphy, Serena K; Moran, Matthew D

    2017-12-08

    Ecosystem engineers are profoundly important in many biological communities. A Neotropical taxonomic group considered to have engineering effects is the Formicidae (ants). Leaf-cutter ants (LCAs), in particular, which form extensive colonies of millions of individuals, can be important ecosystem engineers in these environments. While the effects of LCAs on plant community structure and soil chemistry are well-studied, their effects on consumers are poorly understood. Therefore, we examined the indirect effects of the LCA Atta cephalotes L. on the leaf-litter arthropod community. We compared abundance and diversity patterns at ant nests to areas distant from nests, utilizing both a factorial design and gradient analysis for both nocturnal and diurnal arthropods. We found that arthropod abundance and diversity was significantly lower for multiple taxonomic groups and trophic levels near leaf-cutter nests, and this pattern was strongest at night. Exceptions to this pattern included two morphospecies of Collembola that were more abundant on nests, suggesting some specialization for these species. For the gradient analysis, abundance increased exponentially for most groups of arthropods. However, for the dominant arthropod species, the amphipod Cerrorchestia hyloraina Lindeman, a quadratic function was the best fit curvilinear model for abundance. It appeared that C. hyloraina had maximal abundance at the transition between nest site and less disturbed forest. These results indicate that LCA activity has a strong effect on the leaf-litter arthropod community, adding to spatial heterogeneity within neotropical forests. These effects may translate into changes in important ecological processes such as nutrient cycling and food web function. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Evolutionary transitions in enzyme activity of ant fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-07-01

    Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained 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 toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated 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 breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    Honeybees are known to have genetically diverse colonies because queens mate with many males and the recombination rate is extremely high. Genetic diversity among social insect workers has been hypothesized to improve general performance of large and complex colonies, but this idea has not been t...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pielström, Steffen; Roces, Flavio

    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 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. PMID:24748382

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  15. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    behaviour is thought to be rare in one of the classic examples of cooperation--social insect colonies--because the colony-level costs of individual selfishness select against cues that would allow workers to recognize their closest relatives. In accord with this, previous studies of wasps and ants have...... 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...

  16. Aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus nomius ASR3, a pathogen isolated from the leaf-cutter ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Afonso da Silva-Junior

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Aspergillus spp. cause economic impacts due to aflatoxins production. Although the toxicity of aflatoxins is already known, little information about their ecological roles is available. Here we investigated the compounds produced by Aspergillus nomius ASR3 directly from a dead leaf-cutter queen ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa and the fungal axenic culture. Chemical analyses were carried out by high-resolution mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry techniques. Aflatoxins B1 and G1 were detected in both the axenic culture and in the dead leaf-cutter queen ant. The presence of these mycotoxins in the dead leaf-cutter queen ant suggests that these compounds can be related to the insect pathogenicity of A. nomius against A. sexdens rubropilosa.

  17. An insect countermeasure impacts plant physiology: midrib vein cutting, defoliation and leaf photosynthesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delaney, Kevin J; Higley, Leon G

    2006-07-01

    One type of specialised herbivory receiving little study even though its importance has frequently been mentioned is vein cutting. We examined how injury to a leaf's midrib vein impairs gas exchange, whether impairment occurs downstream or upstream from injury, duration of impairment, compared the severity of midrib injury with non-midrib defoliation, and modelled how these two leaf injuries affect whole-leaf photosynthesis. Leaf gas exchange response to midrib injury was measured in five Asclepiadaceae (milkweed), one Apocynaceae (dogbane), one Polygonaceae and one Fabaceae species, which have been observed or reported to have midrib vein cutting injury in their habitats. Midrib vein injury impaired several leaf gas exchange parameters, but only downstream (distal) from the injury location. The degree of gas exchange impairment from midrib injury was usually more severe than from manually imposed and actual insect defoliation (non-midrib), where partial recovery occurred after 28 d in one milkweed species. Non-midrib tissue defoliation reduced whole-leaf photosynthetic activity mostly by removing photosynthetically active tissue, while midrib injury was most severe as the injury location came closer to the petiole. Midrib vein cutting has been suggested to have evolved as a countermeasure to deactivate induced leaf latex or cardenolide defences of milkweeds and dogbanes, yet vein cutting effects on leaf physiology seem more severe than the non-midrib defoliation the defences evolved to deter.

  18. The fungal cultivar of leaf-cutter ants produces specific enzymes in response to different plant substrates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Khadempour, Lily [Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706 USA; Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706 USA; Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706 USA; Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Baker, Erin S. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Nicora, Carrie D. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Webb-Robertson, Bobbie-Jo M. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; White, Richard A. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Monroe, Matthew E. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Huang, Eric L. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Smith, Richard D. [Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Currie, Cameron R. [Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706 USA; Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706 USA

    2016-10-26

    Herbivores use symbiotic microbes to help gain access to energy and nutrients from plant material. Leaf-cutter ants are a paradigmatic example, having tremendous impact on their ecosystems as dominant generalist herbivores through cultivation of a fungus, Leucoagaricus gongylophorous. Here we examine how this mutualism could facilitate the flexible substrate incorporation of the ants by providing leaf-cutter ant subcolonies four substrate types: leaves, flowers, oats, and a mixture of all three. Through metaproteomic analysis of the fungus gardens, we were able to identify and quantify 1766 different fungal proteins, including 161 biomass-degrading enzymes. This analysis revealed that fungal protein profiles were significantly different between subcolonies fed different substrates with the highest abundance of cellulolytic enzymes observed in the leaf and flower treatments. When the fungus garden is provided with leaves and flowers, which contain the majority of their energy in recalcitrant material, it increases its production of proteins that break down cellulose: endoglucanases, exoglucanase and β-glucosidase. Further, the complete metaproteomes for the leaves and flowers treatments were very similar, the mixed treatment closely resembled the treatment with oats alone. This suggests that when provided a mixture of substrates, the fungus garden preferentially produces enzymes necessary for breakdown of simpler, more digestible substrates. This flexible, substrate-specific response of the fungal cultivar allows the leaf-cutter ants to derive energy from a wide range of substrates, which may contribute to their ability to be dominant generalist herbivores.

  19. Exploitation Strategies in Social Parasites of Fungus Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clement, Janni Dolby

    One of the most remarkable and complex parasitic interactions is social parasitism, where a parasite exploits a complete society, rather than an individual organism. By integrating into a society the parasite gains protection against predators and diseases, and can redirect resources from the host...... to increase its own fitness. The host will use a sophisticated recognition system in order to accept nestmates and expel intruders from their societies. However this defence barrier can be overcome by parasites. Among the most specialized social parasites are the inquilines that exploit social insect colonies...... to this are Acromyrmex insinuator and Acromyrmex ameliae, parasites of fungus-growing ants. By still producing a worker caste both species offers a rare opportunity to study adaptive features in parasite worker behaviour. Furthermore can closely related inquiline-host combinations give us an insight in the trade...

  20. Leaf-litter amount as a factor in the structure of a ponerine ants community (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae in an eastern Amazonian rainforest, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandro Herbert dos Santos Bastos

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-litter amount as a factor in the structure of a ponerine ants community (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae in an eastern Amazonian rainforest, Brazil. Leaf-litter may be an important factor in structuring ponerine ant communities (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae in tropical rainforests. We specifically examined how leaf-litter affects the structure of a ponerine ant community in primary Amazonian rainforest sites at the Ferreira Penna Scientific Station, Pará, Brazil. A total of 53 species belonging to eight genera of three ponerine tribes were collected with mini-Winkler extractors. The amount of leaf-litter positively affected the abundance and richness of the ponerine ant community, and also influenced species composition. Nearby samples often had low species similarity, especially when adjacent samples differed in the amount of leaf-litter. Leaf-litter availability in Amazonian primary forests is a key factor for distribution of ground-dwelling ponerine species, even at small scales.

  1. The Genome Sequence of the Leaf-Cutter Ant Atta cephalotes Reveals Insights into Its Obligate Symbiotic Lifestyle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suen, Garret; Holt, Carson; Abouheif, Ehab; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Bouffard, Pascal; Caldera, Eric J.; Cash, Elizabeth; Cavanaugh, Amy; Denas, Olgert; Elhaik, Eran; Favé, Marie-Julie; Gadau, Jürgen; Gibson, Joshua D.; Graur, Dan; Grubbs, Kirk J.; Hagen, Darren E.; Harkins, Timothy T.; Helmkampf, Martin; Hu, Hao; Johnson, Brian R.; Kim, Jay; Marsh, Sarah E.; Moeller, Joseph A.; Muñoz-Torres, Mónica C.; Murphy, Marguerite C.; Naughton, Meredith C.; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Smith, Chris R.; Tao, Shu; Tsutsui, Neil D.; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wissler, Lothar; Yandell, Mark D.; Zimmer, Fabian; Taylor, James; Slater, Steven C.; Clifton, Sandra W.; Warren, Wesley C.; Elsik, Christine G.; Smith, Christopher D.; Weinstock, George M.; Gerardo, Nicole M.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutter ants are one of the most important herbivorous insects in the Neotropics, harvesting vast quantities of fresh leaf material. The ants use leaves to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely facilitated the formation of their massive colonies. Mature leaf-cutter ant colonies contain millions of workers ranging in size from small garden tenders to large soldiers, resulting in one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems within ants. To begin uncovering the genomic underpinnings of this system, we sequenced the genome of Atta cephalotes using 454 pyrosequencing. One prediction from this ant's lifestyle is that it has undergone genetic modifications that reflect its obligate dependence on the fungus for nutrients. Analysis of this genome sequence is consistent with this hypothesis, as we find evidence for reductions in genes related to nutrient acquisition. These include extensive reductions in serine proteases (which are likely unnecessary because proteolysis is not a primary mechanism used to process nutrients obtained from the fungus), a loss of genes involved in arginine biosynthesis (suggesting that this amino acid is obtained from the fungus), and the absence of a hexamerin (which sequesters amino acids during larval development in other insects). Following recent reports of genome sequences from other insects that engage in symbioses with beneficial microbes, the A. cephalotes genome provides new insights into the symbiotic lifestyle of this ant and advances our understanding of host–microbe symbioses. PMID:21347285

  2. The genome sequence of the leaf-cutter ant Atta cephalotes reveals insights into its obligate symbiotic lifestyle.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Garret Suen

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutter ants are one of the most important herbivorous insects in the Neotropics, harvesting vast quantities of fresh leaf material. The ants use leaves to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely facilitated the formation of their massive colonies. Mature leaf-cutter ant colonies contain millions of workers ranging in size from small garden tenders to large soldiers, resulting in one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems within ants. To begin uncovering the genomic underpinnings of this system, we sequenced the genome of Atta cephalotes using 454 pyrosequencing. One prediction from this ant's lifestyle is that it has undergone genetic modifications that reflect its obligate dependence on the fungus for nutrients. Analysis of this genome sequence is consistent with this hypothesis, as we find evidence for reductions in genes related to nutrient acquisition. These include extensive reductions in serine proteases (which are likely unnecessary because proteolysis is not a primary mechanism used to process nutrients obtained from the fungus, a loss of genes involved in arginine biosynthesis (suggesting that this amino acid is obtained from the fungus, and the absence of a hexamerin (which sequesters amino acids during larval development in other insects. Following recent reports of genome sequences from other insects that engage in symbioses with beneficial microbes, the A. cephalotes genome provides new insights into the symbiotic lifestyle of this ant and advances our understanding of host-microbe symbioses.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    of the 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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  5. Community Structure of Leaf-Litter Ants in a Neotropical Dry Forest: A Biogeographic Approach to Explain Betadiversity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rogério Silvestre

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper describes habitat and geographic correlates of ant diversity in Serra da Bodoquena, a poorly surveyed region of central-western Brazil. We discuss leaf-litter ant diversity on a regional scale, with emphasis on the contribution of each of the processes that form the evolutionary basis of contemporary beta diversity. The diversity of leaf-litter ants was assessed from a series of 262 Winkler samples conducted in two microbasins within a deciduous forest domain. A total of 170 litter-dwelling ant species in 45 genera and 11 subfamilies was identified. The data showed that the study areas exhibited different arrangements of ant fauna, with a high turnover in species composition between sites, indicating high beta diversity. Our analysis suggests that the biogeographic history of this tropical dry forest in the centre of South America could explain ant assemblage structure more than competitive dominance. The co-occurrence analysis showed that species co-occur less often than expected by chance in only two of the localities, suggesting that, for most of the species, co-occurrences are random. The assessment of the structure of the diversity of litter-dwelling ants is the first step in understanding the beta diversity patterns in this region of great biogeographic importance.

  6. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Den Boer, Susanne Petronella A; Baer, Boris; Dreier, Stéphanie Agnès Jeanine

    2009-01-01

    are able to fertilize close to 100 per cent of the eggs and that the average sperm use per egg is very low, but increases with queen age. The robustness of stored sperm was found to decrease with years of storage, signifying that senescence affects sperm either directly or indirectly via the declining...... glandular secretions or deteriorating sperm-storage organs. We evaluate our findings with a heuristic model, which suggests that the average queen has sperm for almost 9 years of normal colony development. We discuss the extent to which leaf-cutter ant queens have been able to optimize their sperm...

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    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.

  8. The fungus gardens of leaf-cutter ants undergo a distinct physiological transition during biomass degradation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Huang, Eric L.; Aylward, Frank O.; Kim, Young-Mo; Webb-Robertson, Bobbie-Jo M.; Nicora, Carrie D.; Hu, Zeping; Metz, Thomas O.; Lipton, Mary S.; Smith, Richard D.; Currie, Cameron R.; Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E.

    2014-08-01

    Leaf-cutter ants are dominant herbivores in ecosystems throughout the Neotropics. Rather than directly consuming the fresh foliar biomass they harvest, these ants use it to cultivate specialized fungus gardens. Although recent investigations have shed light on how plant biomass is degraded in fungus gardens, the cycling of nutrients that takes place in these specialized microbial ecosystems is still not well understood. Here, using metametabolomics and metaproteomics techniques, we examine the dynamics of nutrient turnover and biosynthesis in these gardens. Our results reveal that numerous free amino acids and sugars are depleted throughout the process of biomass degradation, indicating that easily accessible nutrients from plant material are readily consumed by microbes in these ecosystems. Accumulation of cellobiose and lignin derivatives near the end of the degradation process is consistent with previous findings of cellulases and laccases produced by Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the fungus cultivated by leaf-cutter ants. Our results also suggest that ureides may be an important source of nitrogen in fungus gardens, especially during nitrogen-limiting conditions. No free arginine was detected in our metametabolomics experiments despite evidence that the host ants cannot produce this amino acid, suggesting that biosynthesis of this metabolite may be tightly regulated in the fungus garden. These results provide new insights into the dynamics of nutrient cycling that underlie this important ant-fungus symbiosis.

  9. Sperm storage induces an immunity cost in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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), whereas...

  11. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus; Aanen, D.K.; Schiøtt, Morten

    2015-01-01

    to be lowly and facultatively polyploid (just over two haplotypes on average), whereas Atta and Acromyrmex symbionts are highly and obligatorily polyploid (ca. 5-7 haplotypes on average). This stepwise transition appears analogous to ploidy variation in plants and fungi domesticated by humans and in fungi...... the number of nuclei per fungal cell for 42 symbionts reared by 14 species of Panamanian fungus-growing ants. This showed that domesticated symbionts of higher attine ants are polykaryotic with 7-17 nuclei per cell, whereas nonspecialized crops of lower attines are dikaryotic similar to most free...... domesticated by termites and plants, where gene or genome duplications were typically associated with selection for higher productivity, but allopolyploid chimerism was incompatible with sexual reproduction....

  12. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  13. Critical PO2 of developing Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee

    Science.gov (United States)

    The alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. Juvenile bees develop inside brood cells constructed out of leaf pieces. During development inside the brood cell, pre-pupae may experience hypoxic conditions from both the cavity nesting behavior and brood cell ...

  14. Primeiro registro da quenquém cisco-da-Amazônia Acromyrmex hystrix Latreille (Formicidae: Myrmicinae para o estado do Maranhão, Brasil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wesley Dáttilo

    2010-12-01

    Abstract. It is recorded, for the first time, using pitfall traps, four workers of ant “quenquém-cisco-da-Amazônia”, Acromyrmex hystrix (Latreille (Formicidae: Myrmicinae in a cave at state of Maranhão, northeastern Brazil. However, we could not imply any additional information about the abundance of this species in the region once that this record was accidental. The region where the individuals were found is placed at border of state of Maranhão and state of Tocantins suggesting that this species also occurs in this state.

  15. Comparison Between Ground Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities Foraging in the Straw Mulch of Sugarcane Crops and in the Leaf Litter of Neighboring Forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, N S; Saad, L P; Souza-Campana, D R; Bueno, O C; Morini, M S C

    2017-02-01

    In many sugarcane plantations in Brazil, the straw is left on the soil after harvesting, and vinasse, a by-product of the production of sugar and ethanol, is used for fertigation. Our goal was to compare ant community composition and species richness in the straw mulch of sugarcane crops with the leaf litter of neighboring forests. We tested the hypothesis that ant communities in the straw mulch of vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops and in the forest leaf litter were similar, because the combination of straw mulching and vinasse irrigation has a positive effect on soil fauna. Straw mulch and leaf litter were collected from 21 sites and placed in Berlese funnels. In total, 61 species were found in the forest leaf litter, whereas 34 and 28 species were found in the straw mulch of sugarcane fields with and without vinasse, respectively. Ant communities differed between forest and crop fields, but the species in the sugarcane straw mulch were a subset of the species found in the forest leaf litter. Although vinasse is rich in organic matter, it did not increase ant diversity. Seven feeding and/or foraging types were identified and, among the different types, surface-foraging omnivorous ants were the most prevalent in all habitats. Vinasse-irrigated sugarcane straw mulch had more predatory species than mulch from vinasse-free fields, but fewer than forest leaf litter. However, this positive effect of vinasse irrigation should be carefully evaluated because vinasse has negative effects on the environment. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Howe, Jack; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    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......, 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...

  17. Diversity of leaf litter ant communities in Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary and nearby rubber plantations, Songkhla, Southern Thailand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tobias O. Bickel

    2005-09-01

    Full Text Available Large areas of Southern Thailand's former natural rainforest have been replaced by rubber plantations. Despite the fact that rubber plantations dominate the landscape, little is known about its capacity to sustain forest dwelling species. We used leaf litter ants as a bioindicator from two natural forests, a rubber plantation forest and a completely cleared ruderal area in Southern Thailand, Songkla Province. There was a substantial decline in ant diversity from the undisturbed forest towards the ruderal area along a gradient of environmental disturbance. Additionally, there was a turnover in species composition between the different habitats and an increase in arboreal species "enhancing" the sparse ground foraging ant community in the plantation habitat. Also, alien tramp species replaced native species in the plantation and ruderal habitats. This study shows that despite their forest like appearance rubber plantations are a poor habitat for native leaf litter-inhabiting ants and unsuitable to sustain biodiversity in general. The changes in community structure in the secondary forest showed the importance of primary forest habitat to maintain regional biodiversity.

  18. Loss of Wolbachia infection during colonisation in the invasive Argentine ant Linepithema humile

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Reuter, M.; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Keller, L.

    2005-01-01

    Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacteria, which are very common in arthropods and nematodes. Wolbachia infection may affect host reproduction through feminisation, parthenogenesis, male-killing, cytoplasmic incompatibility and increased fecundity. Previous studies showing discrepancies between...... of Wolbachia were studied in three native and eight introduced populations of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile. The screening shows that the symbiont is common in the three native L. humile populations analysed. In contrast, Wolbachia was detected in only one of the introduced populations. The loss...... transmission of the symbiont may be important in ants as suggested by the sequence similarity of strains in the three genera Linepithema, Acromyrmex, and Solenopsis native from South and Central America....

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2014-01-01

    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...... fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi....

  20. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  1. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  2. Discrimination between workers of Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans from monogynous and polygynous colonies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danival José de Souza

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Behavioral assays were conducted with individuals from monogynous and polygynous colonies of Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans to evaluate the discriminatory ability of ant workers. These bioassays showed that this subspecies could not discriminate among non-nestmates or nestmate workers. However, nestmates of these same colonies did discriminate among workers of another subspecies Ac. subterraneus subterraneus. When discrimation occurred there were no differences in the response of workers from either monogynous or polygynous colonies. Similarities or differences in the chemical profile of both subspecies explained the absence or occurence of aggressiveness among workers. The chemical profile of colonies of the same subspecies was very similar among them, although distinct among subspecies. The number of queens did not influence the cuticular chemical composition of the workers or their behavior.Ensaios comportamentais foram conduzidos com indivíduos de colônias monogínicas e poligínicas de Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans a fim de avaliar a habilidade discriminatória de suas operárias. Estes bioensaios mostraram que esta subespécie não é capaz de discriminar entre não companheiras e companheiras de ninho. Entretanto, companheiras de mesma colônia discriminam operárias pertencentes à outra subespécie, Ac. subterraneus subterraneus. Nesta situação, não houve diferença na resposta de operárias oriundas de colônias monogínicas e poligínicas. Similaridades ou diferenças no perfil químico de ambas as subespécies podem explicar a ausência ou presença de agressividade entre operárias. O perfil químico de colônias de mesma subespécie foi muito similar entre si e muito distinto entre subespécies. O número de rainhas não influenciou a composição química cuticular das operárias e nem o seu comportamento discriminatório.

  3. Association between Pseudonocardia symbionts and Atta leaf-cutting ants suggested by improved isolation methods

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B.

    2013-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants associate with multiple symbiotic microbes, including Actinobacteria for production of antibiotics. The best studied of these bacteria are within the genus Pseudonocardia, which in most fungus-growing ants are conspicuously visible on the external cuticle of workers. However......, given that fungus-growing ants in the genus Atta do not carry visible Actinobacteria on their cuticle, it is unclear if this genus engages in the symbiosis with Pseudonocardia. Here we explore whether improving culturing techniques can allow for successful isolation of Pseudonocardia from Atta...

  4. The leaf litter ant fauna of an Atlantic Forest area in the Cantareira State Park – São Paulo, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre Soliva Ribeiro

    2005-11-01

    Full Text Available The present work surveys the leaf litter ant fauna of an Atlantic Forest area in Cantareira State Park – SP, Brazil as a complement to the project “Richness and diversity of Hymenoptera and Isoptera along a latitudinal gradient in the Atlantic Forest – the eastern Brazilian rain forest” that forms part of the BIOTA-FAPESP program. The general protocol of the project was to collect 50 leaf litter samples of 1 m2 which were then sifted and submitted to Winkler extractors for 48 hours. Sixty-two species of 25 genera in eight ant subfamilies were collected. Myrmicinae was the richest with 39 species, followed by Ponerinae (14, Ectatomminae, Heteroponerinae and Formicinae (two species each, Amblyoponinae, Proceratiinae and Dolichoderinae (one species each. The richest genera were Solenopsis and Hypoponera (12 morph-species each, and Pheidole (eight. Richness estimators indicated that the total number of species in the area should be between 68 and 85, in a confidence interval of 95%. In comparison, other locations of the evergreen Atlantic Forest have shown a significantly higher richness. Our hypothesis is that the proximity of regions of great urban concentration, allied to the factors that act on a local scale, modifies the structure of the local community of leaf litter ants.

  5. Queen influence on workers behavior of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Forel, 1908

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Sousa-Souto

    Full Text Available In an ant colony, the queen is the single reproducer and can interact with her workers via pheromones and cuticular compounds. However, in most species queen importance is not restricted to reproduction: in the initial development of the colony, her presence might play a more important role. In this work, we studied the effects of queen absence on workers behavior displayed in the foraging arena. Ant’s mortality and refuse accumulation was also measured daily. The results showed that queen absence did not alter either workers behavior or foraging efficiency. However, we observed increased ant mortality accompanied by a decrease in refuse dumping outside the nest. These results corroborate the hypothesis that environmental factors are more important than intrinsical factors in the allocation of external tasks. Probably, the queen could only influence internal activities of the colony.

  6. Psidium guajava and Piper betle leaf extracts prolong vase life of cut carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) flowers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahman, M M; Ahmad, S H; Lgu, K S

    2012-01-01

    The effect of leaf extracts of Psidium guajava and Piper betle on prolonging vase life of cut carnation flowers was studied. "Carola" and "Pallas Orange" carnation flowers, at bud stage, were pulsed 24 hours with a floral preservative. Then, flowers were placed in a vase solution containing sprite and a "germicide" (leaf extracts of P. guajava and P. betle, 8-HQC, or a copper coin). Flowers treated with 8-HQC, copper coin, and leaf extracts had longer vase life, larger flower diameter, and higher rate of water uptake compared to control (tap water). The leaf extracts of P. guajava and P. betle showed highest antibacterial and antifungal activities compared to the other treatments. Both showed similar effects on flower quality as the synthetic germicide, 8-HQC. Therefore, these extracts are likely natural germicides to prolong vase life of cut flowers.

  7. Undecomposed Twigs in the Leaf Litter as Nest-Building Resources for Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Areas of the Atlantic Forest in the Southeastern Region of Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tae Tanaami Fernandes

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In tropical forests, the leaf-litter stratum exhibits one of the greatest abundances of ant species. This diversity is associated with the variety of available locations for nest building. Ant nests can be found in various microhabitats, including tree trunks and fallen twigs in different stages of decomposition. In this study, we aimed to investigate undecomposed twigs as nest-building resources in the leaf litter of dense ombrophilous forest areas in the southeastern region of Brazil. Demographic data concerning the ant colonies, the physical characteristics of the nests, and the population and structural of the forest were observed. Collections were performed manually over four months in closed canopy locations that did not have trails or flooded areas. A total of 294 nests were collected, and 34 ant species were recorded. Pheidole, Camponotus, and Hypoponera were the richest genera observed; these genera were also among the most populous and exhibited the greatest abundance of nests. We found no association between population size and nest diameter. Only tree cover influenced the nest abundance and species richness. Our data indicate that undecomposed twigs may be part of the life cycle of many species and are important for maintaining ant diversity in the leaf litter.

  8. Psidium guajava and Piper betle Leaf Extracts Prolong Vase Life of Cut Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus Flowers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. M. Rahman

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The effect of leaf extracts of Psidium guajava and Piper betle on prolonging vase life of cut carnation flowers was studied. “Carola” and “Pallas Orange” carnation flowers, at bud stage, were pulsed 24 hours with a floral preservative. Then, flowers were placed in a vase solution containing sprite and a “germicide” (leaf extracts of P. guajava and P. betle, 8-HQC, or a copper coin. Flowers treated with 8-HQC, copper coin, and leaf extracts had longer vase life, larger flower diameter, and higher rate of water uptake compared to control (tap water. The leaf extracts of P. guajava and P. betle showed highest antibacterial and antifungal activities compared to the other treatments. Both showed similar effects on flower quality as the synthetic germicide, 8-HQC. Therefore, these extracts are likely natural germicides to prolong vase life of cut flowers.

  9. Clarifying Cutting and Sewing Processes with Due Windows Using an Effective Ant Colony Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rong-Hwa Huang

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The cutting and sewing process is a traditional flow shop scheduling problem in the real world. This two-stage flexible flow shop is often commonly associated with manufacturing in the fashion and textiles industry. Many investigations have demonstrated that the ant colony optimization (ACO algorithm is effective and efficient for solving scheduling problems. This work applies a novel effective ant colony optimization (EACO algorithm to solve two-stage flexible flow shop scheduling problems and thereby minimize earliness, tardiness, and makespan. Computational results reveal that for both small and large problems, EACO is more effective and robust than both the particle swarm optimization (PSO algorithm and the ACO algorithm. Importantly, this work demonstrates that EACO can solve complex scheduling problems in an acceptable period of time.

  10. Influence of light and shoot development stage on leaf photosynthesis and carbohydrate status during the adventitious root formation in cuttings of Corylus avellana L.

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    Sergio eTombesi

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Adventitious root formation in plant cuttings is influenced by many endogenous and environmental factors. Leaf photosynthesis during rooting of leafy cuttings in hard to root species can contribute to supply carbohydrates to the intensive metabolic processes related to adventious root formation. Light intensity during rooting is artificially kept low to decrease potential cutting desiccation, but can be limiting for photosynthetic activity. Furthermore, leafy cuttings collected from different part of the shoot can have a different ability to fuel adventitious root formation in cutting stem. The aim of this work was to determine the role of leaf photosynthesis on adventitious root formation in hazelnut (Corylus avellana L (a hard-to-root specie leafy cuttings and to investigate the possible influence of the shoot developmental stage on cutting rooting and survival in the post-rooting phase. Cutting rooting was closely related to carbohydrate content in cutting stems during the rooting process. Cutting carbohydrate status was positively influenced by leaf photosynthesis during rooting. Non saturating light exposure of leafy cuttings can contribute to improve photosynthetic activity of leafy cuttings. Collection of cuttings from different part of the mother shoots influenced rooting percentage and this appear related to the different capability to concentrate soluble sugars in the cutting stem during rooting. Adventitious root formation depend on the carbohydrate accumulation at the base of the cutting. Mother shoot developmental stage and leaf photosynthesis appear pivotal factors for adventitious roots formation.

  11. Effect of post-fire resprouting on leaf fluctuating asymmetry, extrafloral nectar quality, and ant-plant-herbivore interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

    Fires in the Cerrado savanna are a severe form of disturbance, but some species are capable of resprouting afterwards. It is unknown, however, how and whether post-fire resprouting represents a stressful condition to plants and how their rapid re-growth influences both the production of biochemical compounds, and interactions with mutualistic ants. In this study, we examined the influence of post-fire resprouting on biotic interactions (ant-plant-herbivore relationships) and on plant stress. The study was performed on two groups of the extrafloral nectaried shrub Banisteriopsis campestris (Malpighiaceae); one group was recovering from fire while the other acted as control. With respect to biotic interactions, we examined whether resprouting influenced extrafloral nectar concentration (milligrams per microliter), the abundance of the ant Camponotus crassus and leaf herbivory rates. Plant stress was assessed via fluctuating asymmetry (FA) analysis, which refers to deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits (e.g., leaves) and indicates whether species are under stress. Results revealed that FA, sugar concentration, and ant abundance were 51.7 %, 35.7 % and 21.7 % higher in resprouting plants. Furthermore, C. crassus was significantly associated with low herbivory rates, but only in resprouting plants. This study showed that post-fire resprouting induced high levels of plant stress and influenced extrafloral nectar quality and ant-herbivore relationships in B. campestris. Therefore, despite being a stressful condition to the plant, post-fire resprouting individuals had concentrated extrafloral nectar and sustained more ants, thus strengthening the outcomes of ant-plant mutualism.

  12. Comparison between Winkler's extractor and pitfall traps to estimate leaf litter ants richness (Formicidae at a rainforest site in southest Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Orsolon-Souza

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to compare in the same site the efficiency of the two most used techniques for sampling ant diversity, Winkler's extractors and pitfalls. We studied communities of leaf litter ants from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, compared richness estimates for genera and species, and built species accumulation curves. These two methods resulted in a satisfactory sampling of richness; 21.3% of the genera and 47.6% of the species were collected exclusively with Winkler's extractors, whereas 6.4% of the genera and 9.5% of the species were collected exclusively with pitfalls. Winkler's extractor had proven to be the most efficient single sampling technique to estimate richness. However, pitfalls also recorded a significant portion of the total richness. Despite differences in efficiency, species accumulation curves for both techniques were similar, as well as the curve obtained with both methods combined. We noticed that Winkler's extractors were c. 74.0% more efficient than pitfalls in the Atlantic Forest. Therefore, sampling techniques must be used with a well-structured sampling design in order to advance knowledge on the ant fauna of Brazilian biomes, especially in the leaf litter, allowing more complete environmental analyses.

  13. Industrious leaf cutter ants and their carbon footprints

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swanson, A. C.; Dierick, D.; Trahan, N. A.; Allen, M. F.; Schwendenmann, L.; Harmon, T. C.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Fernandez Bou, A. S.; Zelikova, T. J.

    2017-12-01

    Leaf cutter ants (LCA) are considered ecosystem engineers in Neotropical forest ecosystems because they alter physical and environmental conditions for other organisms. LCA excavate large underground nests, maintaining intricate tunnels and fungal and waste chambers, and they continuously bring in vast amounts of fresh leaf material. In order to understand their ecosystem-wide impacts, we set out to determine whether their engineering activities fundamentally alter soil structure, soil nutrient pools, and gas fluxes in a wet tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. To directly compare LCA nest to non-nest sites, we utilized embedded sensor arrays with series of soil moisture, CO2, O2, and temperature sensors placed at four soil depths and automated minirhizotrons (AMR) to measure root and hyphal production and turnover. We also collected soils for biogeochemical analyses and measured soil CO2 fluxes and carbon isotope ratios of below-ground CO2 for two years. Our measurements confirmed that LCA alter their soil environment to regulate internal soil CO2 concentrations, moisture, and temperature, increasing O2 concentrations in the process. There were marked differences in soil structure inside nests relative to non-nests and these were associated with increased root and hyphal production and turnover in nests. Soil C, N, P, and their respective degrading enzymes were highly variable among sites and between nests and controls but N and P increased with soil depth and were generally higher in nests than controls. Contrary to our expectations, C mineralization rates were lower in nests but CO2 fluxes were high from nest vents and similar to non-nests elsewhere. At the system scale, LCA appear to fundamentally change the soil environment inside their nests and create spatial heterogeneity in biogeochemical processes and root and hyphal growth, influencing the overall C balance of Neotropical forests.

  14. Psidium guajava and Piper betle Leaf Extracts Prolong Vase Life of Cut Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) Flowers

    OpenAIRE

    Rahman, M. M.; Ahmad, S. H.; Lgu, K. S.

    2012-01-01

    The effect of leaf extracts of Psidium guajava and Piper betle on prolonging vase life of cut carnation flowers was studied. “Carola” and “Pallas Orange” carnation flowers, at bud stage, were pulsed 24 hours with a floral preservative. Then, flowers were placed in a vase solution containing sprite and a “germicide” (leaf extracts of P. guajava and P. betle, 8-HQC, or a copper coin). Flowers treated with 8-HQC, copper coin, and leaf extracts had longer vase life, larger flower diameter, and hi...

  15. Value of Riparian Vegetation Remnants for Leaf-Litter Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a Human-Dominated Landscape in Central Veracruz, Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Martínez, Miguel Á; Escobar-Sarria, Federico; López-Barrera, Fabiola; Castaño-Meneses, Gabriela; Valenzuela-González, Jorge E

    2015-12-01

    Riparian remnants are linear strips of vegetation immediately adjacent to rivers that may act as refuges for biodiversity, depending on their habitat quality. In this study, we evaluated the role of riparian remnants in contributing to the diversity of leaf-litter ants by determining the relationship between ant diversity and several riparian habitat characteristics within a human-dominated landscape in Veracruz, Mexico. Sampling was carried out in 2012 during both dry and rainy seasons at 12 transects 100 m in length, where 10 leaf-litter samples were collected along each transect and processed with Berlese-Tullgren funnels and Winkler sacks. A total of 8,684 individuals belonging to 53 species, 22 genera, and seven subfamilies were collected. The observed mean alpha diversity accounted for 34.4% of the total species recorded and beta diversity for 65.6%. Species richness and composition were significantly related to litter-layer depth and soil compaction, which could limit the distribution of ant species depending on their nesting, feeding, and foraging habits. Riparian remnants can contribute toward the conservation of ant assemblages and likely other invertebrate communities that are threatened by anthropogenic pressures. In human-dominated landscapes where remnants of riparian vegetation give refuge to a diverse array of myrmecofauna, the protection of the few remaining and well-preserved riparian sites is essential for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2007-01-01

    with 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...

  17. Benefits conferred by "timid" ants: active anti-herbivore protection of the rainforest tree Leonardoxa africana by the minute ant Petalomyrmex phylax.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaume, Laurence; McKey, Doyle; Anstett, Marie-Charlotte

    1997-10-01

    In this study, we demonstrate that an important benefit provided by the small host-specific ant Petalomyrmex phylax to its host plant Leonardoxa africana is efficient protection against herbivores. We estimate that in the absence of ants, insect herbivory would reduce the leaf area by about one-third. This contributes considerably to the fitness of the plant. Our estimates take into account not only direct damage, such as removal of leaf surface by chewing insects, but also the effects of sucking insects on leaf growth and expansion. Sucking insects are numerically predominant in this system, and the hitherto cryptic effects of ant protection against the growth-reducing effects of sucking insects accounted for half of the total estimated benefit of ant protection. We propose that the small size of workers confers a distinct advantage in this system. Assuming that resource limitation implies a trade off between size and number of ants, and given the small size of phytophagous insects that attack Leonardoxa, we conclude that fine-grained patrolling by a large number of small workers maximises protection of young leaves of this plant. Since herbivores are small and must complete their development on the young leaves of Leonardoxa, and since a high patrolling density is required for a fine-grained search for these enemies, numerous small ants should provide the most effective protection of young leaves of Leonardoxa. We also discuss other factors that may have influenced worker size in this ant.

  18. Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens Are Biphasic Mixed Microbial Bioreactors That Convert Plant Biomass to Polyols with Biotechnological Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somera, Alexandre F.; Lima, Adriel M.; dos Santos-Neto, Álvaro J.; Lanças, Fernando M.

    2015-01-01

    Leaf-cutter ants use plant matter to culture the obligate mutualistic basidiomycete Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. This fungus mediates ant nutrition on plant resources. Furthermore, other microbes living in the fungus garden might also contribute to plant digestion. The fungus garden comprises a young sector with recently incorporated leaf fragments and an old sector with partially digested plant matter. Here, we show that the young and old sectors of the grass-cutter Atta bisphaerica fungus garden operate as a biphasic solid-state mixed fermenting system. An initial plant digestion phase occurred in the young sector in the fungus garden periphery, with prevailing hemicellulose and starch degradation into arabinose, mannose, xylose, and glucose. These products support fast microbial growth but were mostly converted into four polyols. Three polyols, mannitol, arabitol, and inositol, were secreted by L. gongylophorus, and a fourth polyol, sorbitol, was likely secreted by another, unidentified, microbe. A second plant digestion phase occurred in the old sector, located in the fungus garden core, comprising stocks of microbial biomass growing slowly on monosaccharides and polyols. This biphasic operation was efficient in mediating symbiotic nutrition on plant matter: the microbes, accounting for 4% of the fungus garden biomass, converted plant matter biomass into monosaccharides and polyols, which were completely consumed by the resident ants and microbes. However, when consumption was inhibited through laboratory manipulation, most of the plant polysaccharides were degraded, products rapidly accumulated, and yields could be preferentially switched between polyols and monosaccharides. This feature might be useful in biotechnology. PMID:25911490

  19. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  20. Isolation of xanthyletin, an inhibitor of ants' symbiotic fungus, by high-speed counter-current chromatography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cazal, Cristiane de Melo; Domingues, Vanessa de Cássia; Batalhão, Jaqueline Raquel; Bueno, Odair Corrêa; Filho, Edson Rodrigues; da Silva, Maria Fátima G Fernandes; Vieira, Paulo Cezar; Fernandes, João Batista

    2009-05-08

    Xanthyletin, an inhibitor of symbiotic fungus (Leucoagaricus gongylophorus) of leaf-cutting ant (Atta sexdens rubropilosa), as well as suberosin, seselin and xanthoxyletin were isolated from Citrus sinensis grafted on Citrus limonia. A two-phase solvent system composed of hexane/ethanol/acetonitrile/water (10:8:1:1, v/v) was used for the high-speed counter-current chromatographic isolation of xanthyletin with high yield and over 99% purity as determined by liquid and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection. Identifications were performed by UV spectra, IR spectra, (1)H NMR and (13)C NMR.

  1. Fluid intake rates in ants correlate with their feeding habits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, J; Roces, F

    2003-04-01

    This study investigates the techniques of nectar feeding in 11 different ant species, and quantitatively compares fluid intake rates over a wide range of nectar concentrations in four species that largely differ in their feeding habits. Ants were observed to employ two different techniques for liquid food intake, in which the glossa works either as a passive duct-like structure (sucking), or as an up- and downwards moving shovel (licking). The technique employed for collecting fluids at ad libitum food sources was observed to be species-specific and to correlate with the presence or absence of a well-developed crop in the species under scrutiny. Workers of ponerine ants licked fluid food during foraging and transported it as a droplet between their mandibles, whereas workers of species belonging to phylogenetically more advanced subfamilies, with a crop capable of storing liquids, sucked the fluid food, such as formicine ants of the genus Camponotus. In order to evaluate the performance of fluid collection during foraging, intake rates for sucrose solutions of different concentrations were measured in four ant species that differ in their foraging ecology. Scaling functions between fluid intake rates and ant size were first established for the polymorphic species, so as to compare ants of different size across species. Results showed that fluid intake rate depended, as expected and previously reported in the literature, on sugar concentration and the associated fluid viscosity. It also depended on both the species-specific feeding technique and the extent of specialization on foraging on liquid food. For similarly-sized ants, workers of two nectar-feeding ant species, Camponotus rufipes (Formicinae) and Pachycondyla villosa (Ponerinae), collected fluids with the highest intake rates, while workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Myrmicinae) and a predatory ant from the Rhytidoponera impressa-complex (Ponerinae) did so with the lowest rate. Calculating the

  2. Rapid shifts in Atta cephalotes fungus-garden enzyme activity after a change in fungal substrate (Attini, Formicidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, P W; Schiøtt, M; Boomsma, J J

    2011-01-01

    Fungus gardens of the basidiomycete Leucocoprinus gongylophorus sustain large colonies of leaf-cutting ants by degrading the plant material collected by the ants. Recent studies have shown that enzyme activity in these gardens is primarily targeted toward starch, proteins and the pectin matrix......, we measured the changes in enzyme activity after a controlled shift in fungal substrate offered to six laboratory colonies of Atta cephalotes. An ant diet consisting exclusively of grains of parboiled rice rapidly increased the activity of endo-proteinases and some of the pectinases attacking...... from the rice diet, relative to the leaf diet controls. Enzyme activity in the older, bottom sections of fungus gardens decreased, indicating a faster processing of the rice substrate compared to the leaf diet. These results suggest that leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens can rapidly adjust enzyme...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  4. Characterization of Ant Communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Twigs in the Leaf Litter of the Atlantic Rainforest and Eucalyptus Trees in the Southeast Region of Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Debora R. de Souza

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Fragments of Atlantic Rainforest and extensive eucalyptus plantations are part of the landscape in the southeast region of Brazil. Many studies have been conducted on litter ant diversity in these forests, but there are few reports on the nesting sites. In the present study, we characterized the ant communities that nest in twigs in the leaf litter of dense ombrophilous forests and eucalyptus trees. The colony demographics associated with the physical structure of the nest were recorded. In the eucalyptus forests, the study examined both managed and unmanaged plantations. During five months, all undecomposed twigs between 10 and 30 cm in length containing ants found within a 16-m2 area on the surface of the leaf litter were collected. A total of 307 nests and 44 species were recorded. Pheidole, Solenopsis, and Camponotus were the most represented genera. Pheidole sp.13, Pheidole sp.43 and Linepithema neotropicum were the most populous species. The dense ombrophilous forest and a eucalyptus plantation unmanaged contained the highest number of colonized twigs; these communities were the most similar and the most species rich. Our results indicate that the twigs are important resources as they help to maintain the litter diversity of dense rain forest and abandoned eucalypt crops.

  5. An assessment of leaf-litter and epigaeic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae living in different landscapes of the Atlantic Forest Biome in the State of Bahia, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberta de Jesus Santos

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The Brazilian Atlantic Forest has a rich biodiversity increasingly threatened by human activities. Since the colonial period, the coast of the state of Bahia is among the most affected regions of Brazil by anthropic pressure. Bahia encloses Atlantic Forest remnants distributed in an area reaching 100-200 km along the east-west axis, by 1,000 km along the north-south axis, parallel to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. We report hereafter the results of an intensive field survey of leaf litter and epigaeic ants realized in forest remnants of the Atlantic Forest landscapes within the original extension of the biome in 11 localities distributed along four degrees of latitude in the state of Bahia. In each site, 16 plots were collected using pitfall and eight using Winkler traps. We identified 391 ant species belonging to 71 genera and nine subfamilies. Among all species recorded, 21 were common to the whole 11 localities, while 98 species were recorded in a single locality. This study highlights the richness and diversity of epigaeic and leaf-litter ants living in the northern part of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and is one of the most representative soil ants’ inventories ever done in this biome for a single state of Brazil.

  6. Are ant feces nutrients for plants? A metabolomics approach to elucidate the nutritional effects on plants hosting weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vidkjær, Nanna Hjort; Wollenweber, Bernd; Gislum, René

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (genus Oecophylla) are tropical carnivorous ant species living in high numbers in the canopies of trees. The ants excrete copious amounts of fecal matter on leaf surfaces, and these feces may provide nutrients to host trees. This hypothesis is supported by studies of ant......-plant interactions involving other ant species that have demonstrated the transfer of nutrients from ants to plants. In this 7-months study, a GC–MS-based metabolomics approach along with an analysis of total nitrogen and carbon levels was used to study metabolic changes in ant-hosting Coffea arabica plants compared...... with control plants. The results showed elevated levels of total nitrogen, amino acids, fatty acids, caffeine, and secondary metabolites of the phenylpropanoid pathway in leaves from ant-hosting plants. Minor effects were observed for sugars, whereas little or no effect was observed for organic acids, despite...

  7. Leafcutter Ant Nests Inhibit Low-Intensity Fire Spread in the Understory of Transitional Forests at the Amazon's Forest-Savanna Boundary

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karine S. Carvalho

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutter ants (Atta spp. remove leaf litter and woody debris—potential fuels—in and around their nests and foraging trails. We conducted single and three annual experimental fires to determine the effects of this leaf-cutter ant activity on the behavior of low-intensity, slow-moving fires. In a transitional forest, where the southern Amazon forest meets the Brazilian savanna, we tested whether leaf-cutter ant nests and trails (i inhibit fire spread due to a lack of fuels, and (ii, thereby, reduce the total burned area during these experimental low-intensity fires, particularly at forest edges where leaf-cutter ant abundance was higher. Fine-medium fuel mass increased with an increase in distance from ant nest, and the mean area of bare soil was greater on nests than on the forest floor. Between 60 to 90 percent of the unburned area was within 30 m of ant nests, and burned area significantly increased with increasing distance to ant nests. In addition, the number of ant nests declined with increasing distance from the forest edge, and, with exception of the first experimental fire, burned area also increased with increasing distance from the edge. The present study provides new insight to fire ecology in Amazon environments.

  8. Competence of Litter Ants for Rapid Biodiversity Assessments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. H. Saumya E. Silva

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Rapid Biodiversity Assessment approaches associated with focusing taxa have overcome many of the problems related to large scale surveys. This study examined the suitability of litter ants as a focusing taxon by checking whether diversity and species assemblages of litter ants reflect the overall picture of arthropod diversity and assemblages in leaf litter in two vegetation types: secondary forest and pine plantation in Upper Hanthana forest reserve, Sri Lanka. In each vegetation type, arthropods were sampled using three sampling methods (Winkler extraction, hand collection, and pitfall traps along three 100 m line transects. From the two sites, 1887 litter ants (34 species and 3488 litter arthropods (52 species were collected. Species assemblages composition of both ants and other arthropods differed significantly between the two sites (ANOSIM, p=0.001 with both groups generating distinct clusters for the two sites (SIMPROF, p=0.001. But there was no significant correlation (p>0.05 between abundance and richness of litter ants and those of other arthropods in both vegetation types. The overall finding suggests that the litter ants do not reflect the holistic picture of arthropod diversity and assemblages in leaf litter, but the quality of the habitat for the survival of all litter arthropods.

  9. Purificación de antígeno de Candida albicans para pruebas cutáneas: estudio preliminar

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miriam Díaz

    1996-04-01

    Full Text Available La evaluación de la inmunidad celular mediante la respuesta producida por los linfocitos T, que son estimulados por la presencia de un antígeno determinado, es de sumo interés para el tratamiento de diversas enfermedades infecciosas que se producen durante el transcurso de quemaduras, lesiones, traumatismos, etcétera, por lo que la obtención de antígenos purificados para su uso en pruebas cutáneas que se emplean para dicha evaluación es de gran importancia. En nuestro trabajo nos dimos a la tarea de desarrollar un método de purificación para la obtención de uno de estos antígenos, a partir de la Candida albicans. El método utilizado fue el descrito por Buckley et al., al cual se le realizaron modificaciones. Se encontró que la metodología era adecuada y reproducible, pues el antígeno obtenido tenía características similares al antígeno de referencia.The assessment of cellular immunity by means of the response produced by T-lymphocytes stimulated by the presence of a determined antigen, is of great interest in the treatment of several infectious diseases during the course of burns, lesions, traumas, etc., and due to this it is very important to obtain purified antigens for their usage in the skin tests used in such assessment. The authors developed a purification method to obtain one of these antigens, from Candida albicans. They carried out modifications on the method described by Buckley et al., and found that the methodology was adequate and reproducible, since the antigen obtained had similar characteristics to those of the reference antigen.

  10. Response Ant Colony Optimization of End Milling Surface Roughness

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    Ahmed N. Abd Alla

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Metal cutting processes are important due to increased consumer demands for quality metal cutting related products (more precise tolerances and better product surface roughness that has driven the metal cutting industry to continuously improve quality control of metal cutting processes. This paper presents optimum surface roughness by using milling mould aluminium alloys (AA6061-T6 with Response Ant Colony Optimization (RACO. The approach is based on Response Surface Method (RSM and Ant Colony Optimization (ACO. The main objectives to find the optimized parameters and the most dominant variables (cutting speed, feedrate, axial depth and radial depth. The first order model indicates that the feedrate is the most significant factor affecting surface roughness.

  11. A molecular phylogeny of Dorylus army ants provides evidence for multiple evolutionary transitions in foraging niche

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schöning, Caspar; Vilhelmsen, Lars

    2007-01-01

    in the leaf-litter and some as conspicuous swarm raiders on the forest floor and in the lower vegetation (the infamous driver ants). Here we use a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Dorylus s.l. army ants and to infer the evolutionary transitions...... in foraging niche and associated morphological adaptations. RESULTS: Underground foraging is basal and gave rise to leaf-litter foraging. Leaf-litter foraging in turn gave rise to two derived conditions: true surface foraging (the driver ants) and a reversal to subterranean foraging (a clade with most......BACKGROUND: Army ants are the prime arthropod predators in tropical forests, with huge colonies and an evolutionary derived nomadic life style. Five of the six recognized subgenera of Old World Dorylus army ants forage in the soil, whereas some species of the sixth subgenus (Anomma) forage...

  12. Insects associated with tropical foliage produced in the coffee growing region of Colombia

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    Luis F. Aristizábal

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available We conducted a survey of insects and pest management practices on 34 farms growing ornamental tropical foliage plants in the central coffee region of Colombia over two years. Tropical foliage provided habitat for a diverse range of insects. In total, phytophagous or detritivorous insects from six orders, 40 families and 62 genera were collected. The most common were Hemiptera (29 genera from 16 families, followed by Coleoptera (17 genera from 4 families, Diptera (5 genera from 5 families, Lepidoptera (5 genera from 4 families, Hymenoptera (3 genera from 2 families and Orthoptera (2 genera from 2 families. The most common phytophagous species were leaf cutting ants (Atta and Acromyrmex spp., leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae, leafhoppers (Cicadellidae, stinkbugs (Pentatomidae, squash bugs (Coreidae, tree hoppers (Membracidae and plant hoppers (Fulgoridae. Beneficial insects identified from tropical foliage included predators and parasitoids amongst 5 orders, 12 families and 22 genera. The most abundant were predators among the Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae, Reduviidae, Lycidae and Formicidae but only low numbers of parasitoids (Ichneumonidae, Braconidae and Tachinidae were collected. A pest management questionnaire given to growers revealed a preponderance of reliance on broad spectrum insecticides with a smaller number of growers (approximately one third also using some biological control methods. Our survey contributes basic information regarding diversity of Neotropical insects associated with ornamental foliage plants.

  13. The conservation value of South East Asia's highly degraded forests: evidence from leaf-litter ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, David P.; Fayle, Tom M.; Newton, Rob J.; Khen, Chey Vun; Bottrell, Simon H.; Hamer, Keith C.

    2011-01-01

    South East Asia is widely regarded as a centre of threatened biodiversity owing to extensive logging and forest conversion to agriculture. In particular, forests degraded by repeated rounds of intensive logging are viewed as having little conservation value and are afforded meagre protection from conversion to oil palm. Here, we determine the biological value of such heavily degraded forests by comparing leaf-litter ant communities in unlogged (natural) and twice-logged forests in Sabah, Borneo. We accounted for impacts of logging on habitat heterogeneity by comparing species richness and composition at four nested spatial scales, and examining how species richness was partitioned across the landscape in each habitat. We found that twice-logged forest had fewer species occurrences, lower species richness at small spatial scales and altered species composition compared with natural forests. However, over 80 per cent of species found in unlogged forest were detected within twice-logged forest. Moreover, greater species turnover among sites in twice-logged forest resulted in identical species richness between habitats at the largest spatial scale. While two intensive logging cycles have negative impacts on ant communities, these degraded forests clearly provide important habitat for numerous species and preventing their conversion to oil palm and other crops should be a conservation priority. PMID:22006966

  14. Has substrate-dependent co-evolution of enzyme function occured in the attine ant-fungus symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    The conspicuous leaf-cutter ants in the genus Atta build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex have small nests with a fungus garden the size of a table-tennis ball. Only the leaf-cutter ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as su...

  15. Do herbivores eavesdrop on ant chemical communication to avoid predation?

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    David J Gonthier

    Full Text Available Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis, I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis, exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min. revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus, ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants.

  16. Behavioral mechanisms and morphological symptoms of zombie ants dying from fungal infection

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    Himaman Winanda

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Parasites that manipulate host behavior can provide prominent examples of extended phenotypes: parasite genomes controlling host behavior. Here we focus on one of the most dramatic examples of behavioral manipulation, the death grip of ants infected by Ophiocordyceps fungi. We studied the interaction between O. unilateralis s.l. and its host ant Camponotus leonardi in a Thai rainforest, where infected ants descend from their canopy nests down to understory vegetation to bite into abaxial leaf veins before dying. Host mortality is concentrated in patches (graveyards where ants die on sapling leaves ca. 25 cm above the soil surface where conditions for parasite development are optimal. Here we address whether the sequence of ant behaviors leading to the final death grip can also be interpreted as parasite adaptations and describe some of the morphological changes inside the heads of infected workers that mediate the expression of the death grip phenotype. Results We found that infected ants behave as zombies and display predictable stereotypical behaviors of random rather than directional walking, and of repeated convulsions that make them fall down and thus precludes returning to the canopy. Transitions from erratic wandering to death grips on a leaf vein were abrupt and synchronized around solar noon. We show that the mandibles of ants penetrate deeply into vein tissue and that this is accompanied by extensive atrophy of the mandibular muscles. This lock-jaw means the ant will remain attached to the leaf after death. We further present histological data to show that a high density of single celled stages of the parasite within the head capsule of dying ants are likely to be responsible for this muscular atrophy. Conclusions Extended phenotypes in ants induced by fungal infections are a complex example of behavioral manipulation requiring coordinated changes of host behavior and morphology. Future work should address the

  17. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

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    María José Campos-Navarrete

    Full Text Available Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD and genotypic diversity (GD on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and -within each of these two plot types- mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity.

  18. The effects of ant nests on soil fertility and plant performance: a meta-analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Werenkraut, Victoria

    2017-07-01

    Ants are recognized as one of the major sources of soil disturbance world-wide. However, this view is largely based on isolated studies and qualitative reviews. Here, for the first time, we quantitatively determined whether ant nests affect soil fertility and plant performance, and identified the possible sources of variation of these effects. Using Bayesian mixed-models meta-analysis, we tested the hypotheses that ant effects on soil fertility and plant performance depend on the substrate sampled, ant feeding type, latitude, habitat and the plant response variable measured. Ant nests showed higher nutrient and cation content than adjacent non-nest soil samples, but similar pH. Nutrient content was higher in ant refuse materials than in nest soils. The fertilizer effect of ant nests was also higher in dry habitats than in grasslands or savannas. Cation content was higher in nests of plant-feeding ants than in nests of omnivorous species, and lower in nests from agro-ecosystems than in nests from any other habitat. Plants showed higher green/root biomass and fitness on ant nests soils than in adjacent, non-nest sites; but plant density and diversity were unaffected by the presence of ant nests. Root growth was particularly higher in refuse materials than in ant nest soils, in leaf-cutting ant nests and in deserts habitats. Our results confirm the major role of ant nests in influencing soil fertility and vegetation patterns and provide information about the factors that mediate these effects. First, ant nests improve soil fertility mainly through the accumulation of refuse materials. Thus, different refuse dump locations (external or in underground nest chambers) could benefit different vegetation life-forms. Second, ant nests could increase plant diversity at larger spatial scales only if the identity of favoured plants changes along environmental gradients (i.e. enhancing β-diversity). Third, ant species that feed on plants play a relevant role fertilizing soils

  19. Loss of Wolbachia infection during colonisation in the invasive Argentine ant Linepithema humile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reuter, M; Pedersen, J S; Keller, L

    2005-03-01

    WOLBACHIA are maternally inherited bacteria, which are very common in arthropods and nematodes. Wolbachia infection may affect host reproduction through feminisation, parthenogenesis, male-killing, cytoplasmic incompatibility and increased fecundity. Previous studies showing discrepancies between the phylogenies of Wolbachia and its arthropod hosts indicate that infection is frequently lost, but the causes of symbiont extinction have so far remained elusive. Here, we report data showing that colonisation of new habitats is a possible mechanism leading to the loss of infection. The presence and prevalence of Wolbachia were studied in three native and eight introduced populations of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile. The screening shows that the symbiont is common in the three native L. humile populations analysed. In contrast, Wolbachia was detected in only one of the introduced populations. The loss of infection associated with colonisation of new habitats may result from drift (founder effect) or altered selection pressures in the new habitat. Furthermore, a molecular phylogeny based on sequences of the Wolbachia wsp gene indicates that L. humile has been infected by a single strain. Horizontal transmission of the symbiont may be important in ants as suggested by the sequence similarity of strains in the three genera Linepithema, Acromyrmex, and Solenopsis native from South and Central America.

  20. Physiological, vascular and nanomechanical assessment of hybrid poplar leaf traits in micropropagated plants and plants propagated from root cuttings: A contribution to breeding programs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ďurkovič, Jaroslav; Husárová, Hana; Javoříková, Lucia; Čaňová, Ingrid; Šuleková, Miriama; Kardošová, Monika; Lukáčik, Ivan; Mamoňová, Miroslava; Lagaňa, Rastislav

    2017-09-01

    Micropropagated plants experience significant stress from rapid water loss when they are transferred from an in vitro culture to either greenhouse or field conditions. This is caused both by inefficient stomatal control of transpiration and the change to a higher light intensity and lower humidity. Understanding the physiological, vascular and biomechanical processes that allow micropropagated plants to modify their phenotype in response to environmental conditions can help to improve both field performance and plant survival. To identify changes between the hybrid poplar [Populus tremula × (Populus × canescens)] plants propagated from in vitro tissue culture and those from root cuttings, we assessed leaf performance for any differences in leaf growth, photosynthetic and vascular traits, and also nanomechanical properties of the tracheary element cell walls. The micropropagated plants showed significantly higher values for leaf area, leaf length, leaf width and leaf dry mass. The greater leaf area and leaf size dimensions resulted from the higher transpiration rate recorded for this stock type. Also, the micropropagated plants reached higher values for chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters and for the nanomechanical dissipation energy of tracheary element cell walls which may indicate a higher damping capacity within the primary xylem tissue under abiotic stress conditions. The performance of the plants propagated from root cuttings was superior for instantaneous water-use efficiency which signifies a higher acclimation capacity to stressful conditions during a severe drought particularly for this stock type. Similarities were found among the majority of the examined leaf traits for both vegetative plant origins including leaf mass per area, stomatal conductance, net photosynthetic rate, hydraulic axial conductivity, indicators of leaf midrib vascular architecture, as well as for the majority of cell wall nanomechanical traits. This research revealed that

  1. Low Herbivory among Targeted Reforestation Sites in the Andean Highlands of Southern Ecuador.

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    Marc-Oliver Adams

    Full Text Available Insect herbivory constitutes an important constraint in the viability and management of targeted reforestation sites. Focusing on young experimental stands at about 2000 m elevation in southern Ecuador, we examined foliar damage over one season as a function of tree species and habitat. Native tree species (Successional hardwood: Cedrela montana and Tabebuia chrysantha; fast-growing pioneer: Heliocarpus americanus have been planted among prevailing local landcover types (abandoned pasture, secondary shrub vegetation, and a Pinus patula plantation in 2003/4. Plantation trees were compared to conspecifics in the spontaneous undergrowth of adjacent undisturbed rainforest matched for height and foliar volume. Specifically, we tested the hypotheses that H. americanus as a pioneer species suffers more herbivory compared to the two successional tree species, and that damage is inversely related to habitat complexity. Overall leaf damage caused by folivorous insects (excluding leafcutter ants was low. Average leaf loss was highest among T. chrysantha (7.50% ± 0.19 SE of leaf area, followed by H. americanus (4.67% ± 0.18 SE and C. montana (3.18% ± 0.15 SE. Contrary to expectations, leaf area loss was highest among trees in closed-canopy natural rainforest, followed by pine plantation, pasture, and secondary shrub sites. Harvesting activity of leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex sp. was strongly biased towards T. chrysantha growing in open habitat (mean pasture: 2.5%; shrub: 10.5% where it could result in considerable damage (> 90.0%. Insect folivory is unlikely to pose a barrier for reforestation in the tropical Andean mountain forest zone at present, but leafcutter ants may become problematic if local temperatures increase in the wake of global warming.

  2. Reconhecimento da prole por operárias companheiras e não companheiras de ninho em Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae Brood recognition by workers of Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

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    Danival José de Souza

    2003-02-01

    Full Text Available Estudou-se a capacidade de discriminação de formas jovens de Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus por operárias adultas da mesma subespécie. Eram oferecidas, na área de forrageamento, larvas e pupas companheiras e não companheiras de ninho, sendo quantificado o comportamento frente a essas formas jovens. Foram utilizadas colônias oriundas do município de Paraopeba, MG, Brasil, mantidas em condições de laboratório. Os resultados evidenciaram que essa subespécie não é capaz de discriminar formas jovens companheiras e não companheiras de ninho, ou seja, transportaram indiscriminadamente as formas jovens oferecidas para o interior do ninho. Também não se observou diferença significativa para o tempo de resposta de aceitação de prole companheira e não companheira de ninho.This study investigated the behavioral response (acception or rejection of Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus to their brood and to brood from different colonies of this subespecies. The four colonies used in the bioassays came from Paraopeba, MG, Brazil. Workers accepted either brood from their colonies or from different colonies. There was no significant difference on the time for brood acceptance (transport to the interior of the nest among nestmates and non-nestmates.

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

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    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.

  4. Diploid male production in a leaf-cutting ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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 a...

  5. Nectar and pollen sugars constituting larval provisions of the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee (Megachile rotundata) (Hymenoptera: Apiformes: Megachilidae)

    OpenAIRE

    Cane , James; Gardner , Dale; Harrison , Philip

    2011-01-01

    International audience; As with most solitary bees, larvae of the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata Fab., eat a diet blended from pollen and nectar of unknown proportions. In this study, we developed protocols to isolate and quantify sugars from larval provision masses. The method removed free amino acids that leach from pollen and confound chromatography, but without autohydrolyzing sucrose. Pollen sugars were a negligible fraction of provision mass sugars. Glucose and fructose c...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stürup, Marlene

    The males of the most advanced eusocial Hymenoptera live short protected lives inside colonies where climatic conditions are meticulously controlled, and where disease pressure is low due to the social immunity provided by their worker sisters. Mature males only leave the colony to mate and die......’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......’, where paternity shares in offspring can be accurately predicted from relative number of sperm stored. Furthermore, sperm was completely mixed inside the spermatheca and sperm used is highly consistent over time in leaf-cutting ants, supporting expectations if polyandrous queens are to obtain the highest...

  7. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... 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...... essential for the symbiosis in general, but have contributed specifically to the evolution of the symbiosis....

  8. Tracing the rise of ants - out of the ground.

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    Andrea Lucky

    Full Text Available The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil. Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today.

  9. Rooting of stem cuttings of ixora

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    Aline De Souza Silva

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The ixora is ornamental plant widely used in landscaping. In order to maximize the propagation of cuts, we evaluated the concentrations of auxin (indolbutiric acid and the presence of leaves on the rooting in cuts of Ixora coccinea L. The experiment was conducted in randomized block design, in factorial design 3x4, with three types of cuts (without leaf, with two or four leaves, four concentrations of indolbutiric acid (0, 1000, 2000 and 4000 mg L-1, with four replications and 10 cuts in each experimental unit. After 53 days of implantation the experiment, evaluated the survival(%, rooting(%, sprouting(%, formation of callus(%, number, length and biomass of roots formed. The interaction of the type of cuts with concentrations of auxin was not significant for any of the variables analyzed. The survival of cuttings was not influenced by the treatments. Cuts with two or four leaves presented rooting and length of roots above the cuttings without leaves. The application of auxin does not substitute the presence of leaf in cuts of ixora in vegetative propagation. The vegetative propagation by cut of ixora can be made without application of auxin, and the leaves must be maintained in the cuttings.

  10. Ants at Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, Songkhla

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    Watanasit, S.

    2005-03-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to investigate diversity of ant at Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, Hat Yai, Songkhla. Three line transects (100 m each were randomly set up in 2 types of forest area, disturbed and undisturbed. Hand collecting (HC and leaf litter sampling (LL were applied for ant collection within a time limit of 30 minutes for each method. This study was carried out every month during Febuary 2002- Febuary 2003. The results showed that 206 species were placed under 8 subfamilies: Aenictinae, Cerapachyinae, Dolichoderinae, Formicinae, Leptanillinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinae and Pseudomyrmecinae. Study sites and collection methods could divide ant species into 2 groups, whereas seasonal change could not distinguish the groups by DCA of multivariate analysis.

  11. Antagonism of Trichoderma isolates against Leucoagaricus gongylophorus (Singer) Möller.

    Science.gov (United States)

    do Nascimento, Mariela Otoni; de Almeida Sarmento, Renato; Dos Santos, Gil Rodrigues; de Oliveira, Cléia Almeida; de Souza, Danival José

    2017-08-01

    Filamentous fungi from the genus Trichoderma are commonly found in soil. They are considered facultative mycoparasites, and are antagonists of other fungi such as the cultivar of leaf-cutting ants (Leucoagaricus gongylophorus). The aim of the present study was to bioprospect Trichoderma spp. from different soils collected from Gurupi, Tocantins, Brazil, for antagonistic effects against the mutualistic fungus of leaf-cutting ants. To isolate filamentous fungi, samples were collected from six locations. Preliminarily, isolates were identified by morphological analysis as belonging to Trichoderma. Trichoderma spp. had their internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) of ribosomal RNA genes (rRNA) sequenced to confirm species-level taxonomy. L. gongylophorus was isolated from a laboratory ant colony. Antagonistic properties of seven isolates of Trichoderma against L. gongylophorus were measured using paired disks in Petri dishes with potato dextrose agar medium (PDA). All Trichoderma isolates inhibited the growth of L. gongylophorus in Petri dishes. Isolate 2 of Trichoderma spirale group exhibited slow mycelial growth in the Petri dish, and a high rate of inhibition against L. gongylophorus. This isolate is a promising fungus for field tests of biological control methods for leaf-cutting ants. © 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  12. Graveyards on the Move: The Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Dead Ophiocordyceps-Infected Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontoppidan, Maj-Britt; Himaman, Winanda; Hywel-Jones, Nigel L.

    2009-01-01

    rainforest. We established that high density aggregations exist (up to 26 dead ants/m2), which we coined graveyards. We further established that graveyards are patchily distributed in a landscape with no or very few O. unilateralis-killed ants. At some, but not all, spatial scales of analysis the density...... unilateralis, which is pan-tropical in distribution, causes infected worker ants to leave their nest and die under leaves in the understory of tropical rainforests. Working in a forest dynamic plot in Southern Thailand we mapped the occurrence of these dead ants by examining every leaf in 1,360 m2 of primary...... of dead ants correlated with temperature, humidity and vegetation cover. Remarkably, having found 2243 dead ants inside graveyards we only found 2 live ants of the principal host, ant Camponotus leonardi, suggesting that foraging host ants actively avoid graveyards. We discovered that the principal host...

  13. Caracterização de ninhos e tamanho de colônia de Acromyrmex rugosus (F. Smith (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Attini em restingas de Ilhéus, BA, Brasil Characterization of nest and colony size of Acromyrmex rugosus (F. Smith (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Attini in sandbanks at Ilhéus, BA, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilka Maria Fernandes Soares

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Oito ninhos de Acromyrmex rugosus foram escavados para estudar sua estrutura e estimar sua população. Esses ninhos eram sempre encontrados escondidos por plantas; apresentaram pequena quantidade de solo e tinham 1 ou 2 entradas; uma delas tinham a forma de um "U" invertido. Internamente, o número de câmaras foi variável e o volume de fungo foi pequeno(X=196 ml. O total da população do ninho foi aproximadamente, 895 indivíduos.Eight nests of Acromyrmex rugosus were excavated aiming to study their structure and to estimate their population. These nests were always found hidden by plants; presented a small heap of sandy soil and had 1 or 2 nest entrances; one of this had the shape of an inverted "U". Internally, the number of chambers was variable and the volume of fungus small (X=196 ml. The total nest population amounted, on the average, to 895 individuals.

  14. Espécies de formigas que interagem com as sementes de Mabea fistulifera Mart. (Euphorbiaceae Interaction between ant species and seeds of Mabea fistulifera Mart. (Euphorbiaceae

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    Ethel Fernandes de Oliveira Peternelli

    2004-10-01

    Full Text Available As formigas, quando atraídas por um apêndice nutritivo, produzido na semente de certas plantas, podem exercer o papel de agente predador ou dispersor das sementes. No processo de dispersão, grande número desses insetos pode interagir com sementes de determinada planta. O objetivo deste trabalho foi identificar as espécies de formigas em contato com sementes de Mabea fistulifera Mart. - uma espécie arbórea e colonizadora em áreas antrópicas no Brasil - e o tipo de interação desses insetos com as sementes, bem como determinar as espécies dispersoras. Foram realizadas coletas manuais de formigas em fragmentos de vegetação com alta densidade de M. fistulifera, no município de Viçosa, MG, no momento de sua visitação às sementes. As formigas capturadas foram triadas e identificadas por espécie. Além disso, durante as coletas foram feitas observações quanto ao tipo de comportamento das formigas que se associaram às sementes e ao cálculo da taxa de remoção destas, verificando-se que 16 espécies tiveram contato com estas. Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus, Atta sexdens rubropilosa, Ectatomma edentatum, Pachycondyla sp.1 e Pheidole sp. 2 foram, de fato, dispersoras, já que transportaram efetivamente as sementes. Ac. subterraneus subterraneus, Camponotus rufipes, Ectatomma permagnum, Megalomyrmex sp.1, Pachycondyla sp. 1, Pachycondyla sp. 2, Pheidole sp. 4, Pheidole sp. 5 e Pogonomyrmex sp. são, pela primeira vez, relatadas interagindo com sementes. A taxa de remoção das sementes de M. fistulifera pelas formigas foi de 85 a 97%.Ants, when attracted by nutritious corpuscles produced by seeds of certain plant species, can act as predators or dispersing agents. During seed dispersal, a great number of ant species can interact with seeds of a particular plant species. The purpose of this study was to identify the ant species that interact with seeds of Mabea fistulifera Mart., a pioneer tree species in anthropic disturbed

  15. Fungal communities in gardens of the leafcutter ant Atta cephalotes in forest and cabruca agrosystems of southern Bahia State (Brazil).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reis, Bárbara Monique Dos Santos; Silva, Aline; Alvarez, Martín Roberto; Oliveira, Tássio Brito de; Rodrigues, Andre

    2015-12-01

    Leaf-cutting ants interact with several fungi in addition to the fungal symbiont they cultivate for food. Here, we assessed alien fungal communities in colonies of Atta cephalotes. Fungus garden fragments were sampled from colonies in the Atlantic Rainforest and in a cabruca agrosystem in the state of Bahia (Brazil) in two distinct periods to evaluate whether differences in nest habitat influence the diversity of fungi in the ant colonies. We recovered a total of 403 alien fungi isolates from 628 garden fragments. The prevalent taxa found in these samples were Escovopsis sp. (26 %), Escovopsioides nivea (24 %), and Trichoderma spirale (10.9 %). Fungal diversity was similar between the colonies sampled in both areas suggesting that ants focus on reducing loads of alien fungi in the fungus gardens instead of avoiding specific fungi. However, fungal taxa composition differed between colonies sampled in the two areas and between the sampling periods. These differences are likely explained by the availability of plant substrates available for foraging over habitats and periods. Ordination analysis further supported that sampling period was the main attribute for community structuring but also revealed that additional factors may explain the structuring of fungal communities in colonies of A. cephalotes. Copyright © 2015 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    nomius hyphae and spores appear on the cadavers of workers dead from infection, is significantly increased in the small worker caste. In addition to supporting previous findings that the metapleural glands have an important defence function, the results of this study indicate that the relatively large...

  17. PREFERÊNCIA DE CORTE DE Eucalyptus spp. POR Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus FOREL, 1908 (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE EM CONDIÇÕES DE LABORATÓRIO

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    Alberto Luiz Marsaro Júnior

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar a preferência de corte das operárias de Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel, 1908, em três espécies e um clone de eucalipto. Plantas de Eucalyptus urophylla S.T. Blake, 1977, Eucalyptus cloeziana F. Muell., 1878, Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., 1832, e o Clone 129 foram oferecidas, simultaneamente, para três colônias de Acromyrmex laticeps nigrosetosus Forel, 1908. O bioensaio finalizou 6 horas após o seu início ou até que uma das colônias cortasse todas as folhas de um dos eucaliptos oferecidos. As colônias cortaram e carregaram, em média, 0,453g ± 0,064 de Eucalyptus camaldulensis; 0,384g ± 0,052 do Clone 129; 0,341g ± 0,054 de Eucalyptus urophylla e 0,102 ± 0,027 de Eucalyptus cloeziana, sendo essa última a espécie menos preferida para o corte. Por outro lado, não houve diferença significativa entre a quantidade de folhas cortadas nos outros eucaliptos.

  18. Colony structure and spatial partitioning of cavity dwelling ant species in nuts of eastern US forest floors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nut-bearing trees create islands of high efficiency, low cost housing opportunities for ant colonies. Fallen nuts in leaf litter from previous seasons provide ready-made nest sites for cavity dwelling ant species, as well as affording protection from the elements. Suitable nuts for nests require an ...

  19. A molecular phylogeny of Dorylus army ants provides evidence for multiple evolutionary transitions in foraging niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vilhelmsen Lars B

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Army ants are the prime arthropod predators in tropical forests, with huge colonies and an evolutionary derived nomadic life style. Five of the six recognized subgenera of Old World Dorylus army ants forage in the soil, whereas some species of the sixth subgenus (Anomma forage in the leaf-litter and some as conspicuous swarm raiders on the forest floor and in the lower vegetation (the infamous driver ants. Here we use a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Dorylus s.l. army ants and to infer the evolutionary transitions in foraging niche and associated morphological adaptations. Results Underground foraging is basal and gave rise to leaf-litter foraging. Leaf-litter foraging in turn gave rise to two derived conditions: true surface foraging (the driver ants and a reversal to subterranean foraging (a clade with most of the extant Dorylus s.s. species. This means that neither the subgenus Anomma nor Dorylus s.s. is monophyletic, and that one of the Dorylus s.s. lineages adopted subterranean foraging secondarily. We show that this latter group evolved a series of morphological adaptations to underground foraging that are remarkably convergent to the basal state. Conclusion The evolutionary transitions in foraging niche were more complex than previously thought, but our comparative analysis of worker morphology lends strong support to the contention that particular foraging niches have selected for very specific worker morphologies. The surprising reversal to underground foraging is therefore a striking example of convergent morphological evolution.

  20. Ant-mediated effects on spruce litter decomposition, solution chemistry, and microbial activity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stadler, B.; Schramm, Andreas; Kalbitz, K.

    2006-01-01

    the effects of ants and aphid honeydew on litter solution of Norway spruce, microbial enzyme activities, and needle decomposition in a field and greenhouse experiment during summer 2003. In the field, low ant densities had relatively little effects on litter solution 30 cm away from a tree trunk...... and %N were not affected by ants or honeydew. Our results suggest that ants have a distinct and immediate effect on solution composition and microbial activity in the litter layer indicating accelerated litter decay whereas the effect of honeydew was insignificant. Keywords: Ants; Decomposition; Formica......Forest management practices often generate clear-cut patches, which may be colonized by ants not present in the same densities in mature forests. In addition to the associated changes in abiotic conditions ants can initiate processes, which do not occur in old-growth stands. Here, we analyse...

  1. Magnetic anisotropy and organization of nanoparticles in heads and antennae of neotropical leaf-cutter ants, Atta colombica

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alves, Odivaldo C; Srygley, Robert B; Riveros, Andre J; Barbosa, Marcia A; Esquivel, Darci M S; Wajnberg, Eliane

    2014-01-01

    Oriented magnetic nanoparticles have been suggested as a good candidate for a magnetic sensor in ants. Behavioural evidence for a magnetic compass in neotropical leaf-cutter ants, Atta colombica (Formicidae: Attini), motivated a study of the arrangement of magnetic particles in the ants’ four major body parts by measuring the angular dependence of the ferromagnetic resonance spectra at room temperature. Spectra of the thoraces and those of the abdomens showed no significant angular dependence, while those of the antennae and those of the heads exhibited a periodic dependence relative to the magnetic field. Fitting of the angular dependence of the resonant field resulted in an unexpected magnetic anisotropy with uniaxial symmetry. High values of the first order anisotropy constant were observed for the magnetic material in antennae (−2.9  ×  10 5  erg cm −3 ) and heads (−1  ×  10 6  erg   cm −3 ) as compared to body parts of other social insects. In addition, the magnitude of the anisotropy in the heads was comparable to that observed in magnetite nanoparticles of 4–5 nm diameter. For the antennae, the mean angle of the particles’ easy magnetization axis (EA) was estimated to be 41° relative to the straightened antenna’s long axis. For the heads, EA was approximately 60° relative to the head’s axis running from midway between the spines to the clypeus. These physical characteristics indicate organized magnetic nanoparticles with a potential for directional sensitivity, which is an important feature of magnetic compasses. (paper)

  2. The effect of symbiotic ant colonies on plant growth: a test using an Azteca-Cecropia system.

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    Karla N Oliveira

    Full Text Available In studies of ant-plant mutualisms, the role that ants play in increasing the growth rates of their plant partners is potentially a key beneficial service. In the field, we measured the growth of Cecropia glaziovii saplings and compared individuals that were naturally colonized by Azteca muelleri ants with uncolonized plants in different seasons (wet and dry. We also measured light availability as well as attributes that could be influenced by the presence of Azteca colonies, such as herbivory, leaf nutrients (total nitrogen and δ(15N, and investments in defense (total phenolics and leaf mass per area. We found that colonized plants grew faster than uncolonized plants and experienced a lower level of herbivory in both the wet and dry seasons. Colonized plants had higher nitrogen content than uncolonized plants, although the δ(15N, light environment, total phenolics and leaf mass per area, did not differ between colonized and uncolonized plants. Since colonized and uncolonized plants did not differ in the direct defenses that we evaluated, yet herbivory was lower in colonized plants, we conclude that biotic defenses were the most effective protection against herbivores in our system. This result supports the hypothesis that protection provided by ants is an important factor promoting plant growth. Since C. glaziovii is widely distributed among a variety of forests and ecotones, and since we demonstrated a strong relationship with their ant partners, this system can be useful for comparative studies of ant-plant interactions in different habitats. Also, given this study was carried out near the transition to the subtropics, these results help generalize the geographic distribution of this mutualism and may shed light on the persistence of the interactions in the face of climate change.

  3. Urban physiology: city ants possess high heat tolerance.

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    Michael J Angilletta

    Full Text Available Urbanization has caused regional increases in temperature that exceed those measured on a global scale, leading to urban heat islands as much as 12 degrees C hotter than their surroundings. Optimality models predict ectotherms in urban areas should tolerate heat better and cold worse than ectotherms in rural areas. We tested these predications by measuring heat and cold tolerances of leaf-cutter ants from South America's largest city (São Paulo, Brazil. Specifically, we compared thermal tolerances of ants from inside and outside of the city. Knock-down resistance and chill-coma recovery were used as indicators of heat and cold tolerances, respectively. Ants from within the city took 20% longer to lose mobility at 42 degrees C than ants from outside the city. Interestingly, greater heat tolerance came at no obvious expense of cold tolerance; hence, our observations only partially support current theory. Our results indicate that thermal tolerances of some organisms can respond to rapid changes in climate. Predictive models should account for acclimatory and evolutionary responses during climate change.

  4. The side effect of Paecilomyces fumosoroseusapplication on the black ant, Dolichoderus thoracicus, the predator of Helopeltis antoniiand cocoa pod borer

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    Endang Sulistyowai

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available Paecilomyces fumosoroseuswas known as one of the effective biological agents of cocoa pod borer and Helopeltis antonii. To find out the side effect of application of P. fumosoroseuson black ant, Dolichoderus thoracicus, a series of observations were carried out at the Laboratory of Pest and Diseases Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI and in a cocoa plantation of Glenmore, Banyuwangi district, since June until October, 2004. Laboratory research used four concentrations of P. fumosoroseusnamely 105, 106, 107 and 108 spores/ml, while in the field used concentration 2, 4, 6, 8 g dry spores/ml. Each trial as compared with spraying of carbamate and synthetic pyrethroid insecticides as control and untreated This research was designed by randomized block design and four replications. The results showed that in the laboratory, direct spraying suspension of P. fumosoroseuskilled black ant between 20—39% which infected fungi about 2.5—12.5%. The relationship between log of spores concentration of P. fumosoroseus and probit of ant mortality followed the regression equation Y = 3.653 + 0.097 X with LC 50 was 8 x 10 13 spore/ml. The period needed to kill a half of ant population at the laboratory (LT 50 at concentration 107 spores/ml followed the regression equation Y = 1.851 + 1.522 X, with LT50 is 12,01 days. The effect of pyrethroid and carbamate insecticide on ants mortality were 91.25% and 98.75% respectively. In the field, the effect of P. fumosoroseusspray on black ant population was very low, with the percentage of ant mortality at cocoa leaf nest were 0.25–0.46% and at cocoa leaf nest in plastic bag were 0.06–0.21%, while carbamate and pyrethroid synthetic effect were 37.35% and 52.37% at cocoa leaf nest, and 19.15% and 46.67% at cocoa leaf nest in plastic bags. Key words : Cocoa, capsid, Helopeltis antonii, biological control, biological agents, Paecilomyces fumosoroseus, Dolichoderus tharacicus.

  5. Evidences that human disturbance simplify the ant fauna associated a Stachytarpheta glabra Cham. (Verbenaceae compromising the benefits of ant-plant mutualism

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    BC. Barbosa

    Full Text Available Interaction among species, like ants and plants through extrafloral nectaries (EFNs, are important components of ecological communities’ evolution. However, the effect of human disturbance on such specific interactions and its ecological consequences is poorly understood. This study evaluated the outcomes of mutualism between ants and the EFN-bearing plant Stachytarpheta glabra under anthropogenic disturbance. We compared the arthropod fauna composition between two groups of twenty plant individuals, one in an area disturbed by human activities and one in a preserved area. We also check the plant investment in herbivory defense and the consequential leaf damage by herbivore. Our results indicate that such disturbances cause simplification of the associated fauna and lack of proper ant mutualist. This led to four times more herbivory on plants of disturbed areas, despite the equal amount of EFN and ant visitors and low abundance of herbivores. The high pressure of herbivory may difficult the re-establishment of S. glabra, an important pioneer species in ferruginous fields, therefore it may affect resilience of this fragile ecological community.

  6. Conflict over reproduction in an ant-plant symbiosis: why Allomerus octoarticulatus ants sterilize Cordia nodosa trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E

    2009-05-01

    The evolutionary stability of mutualism is thought to depend on how well the fitness interests of partners are aligned. Because most ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms are persistent and horizontally transmitted, partners share an interest in growth but not in reproduction. Resources invested in reproduction are unavailable for growth, giving rise to a conflict of interest between partners. I investigated whether this explains why Allomerus octoarticulatus ants sterilize Cordia nodosa trees. Allomerus octoarticulatus nests in the hollow stem domatia of C. nodosa. Workers protect C. nodosa leaves against herbivores but destroy inflorescences. Using C. nodosa trees with Azteca ants, which do not sterilize their hosts, I cut inflorescences off trees to simulate sterilization by A. octoarticulatus. Sterilized C. nodosa grew faster than control trees, providing evidence for a trade-off between growth and reproduction. Allomerus octoarticulatus manipulates this trade-off to its advantage; sterilized trees produce more domatia and can house larger, more fecund colonies.

  7. Impact of African weaver ant nests [Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)] on Mango [Mangifera indica L. (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae)] leaves

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Anato, Florence; Sinzogan, Antonio; Adandonon, Appolinaire

    2015-01-01

    Oecophylla ants are appreciated for their control of pests in plantation crops. However, the ants´ nest building may have negative impacts on trees. In this study we tested the effect of ant densities and nest building on the leaf performance of mango trees. Trees were divided into three groups......: trees without ants, trees with low and trees with high ant densities. Subsequently, the total number of leaves, the proportion of leaves used for nest construction, and tree growth was compared between these groups. The percentage of leaves used for nests was between 0.42-1.2 % (mean = 0...

  8. An Improved Hierarchical Genetic Algorithm for Sheet Cutting Scheduling with Process Constraints

    OpenAIRE

    Yunqing Rao; Dezhong Qi; Jinling Li

    2013-01-01

    For the first time, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm for sheet cutting problem which involves n cutting patterns for m non-identical parallel machines with process constraints has been proposed in the integrated cutting stock model. The objective of the cutting scheduling problem is minimizing the weighted completed time. A mathematical model for this problem is presented, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm (ant colony—hierarchical genetic algorithm) is developed for better ...

  9. Handling and Curing Characteristics of Cut-Strip Tobacco. Part 2: Effect of Yellowing Time and Drying Potential

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johnson WH

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents Part 2 of a study on comparative handling and curing characteristics of cut-strip vs. whole leaf tobacco. Part 1 considered the effect of leaf size (cut-strip size vs. whole leaf, packing density and mode of leaf orientation on cured leaf chemistry and leaf quality; whereas, the present study considers further the effect of leaf form, two yellowing times and two drying potentials during yellowing. Results showed that leaf chemistry and quality were quite similar for cut-strip (15.2 × 22.9 cm and whole leaf. Insignificant differences were noted for cured leaf starch and sugars, although slightly lower levels of alkaloids (significant at the 0.01 level were observed for cut strip. Curing treatments significantly affected leaf chemistry. Increased yellowing time resulted in lower levels of starch and higher levels of sugar. Sugars were also higher for tobacco yellowed under the higher drying potential. The two forms of leaf responded similarly to different curing schedules (i.e. no interaction of leaf form with schedule. Also, government grade and price data were essentially unaffected by leaf form or curing schedule over the range of variables tested. Cured leaf starch was abnormally high on the average for both leaf forms. Interestingly, starch levels were lower when intact tobacco was bulk-cured in racks rather than box cured (6.35% vs. 9.02%. Since curing schedules were similar, air velocity in the two curing methods might be a factor. Also the cured leaf starch content was about 56% lower for tobacco produced at the Oxford Tobacco Research Station (in a secondary study than at the Central Crops Research Station. It is postulated that carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism during growth and maturation might be affected by excess rainfall events and/or nitrogen availability, with subsequent effects on starch-to-sugar conversion during curing.

  10. Leaf glands of Banisteriopsis muricata (Malpighiaceae: distribution, secretion composition, anatomy and relationship to visitors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lays Araújo Nery

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Leaf glands are common structures in Malpighiaceae and exhibit great morphological diversity, yet information on their anatomy, secretion and type of visitors remains scarce. The aim of this study was to describe the distribution, anatomical development and chemical and functional properties of leaf glands of Banisteriopsis muricata (Malpighiaceae. Leaves at different stages of development were collected and processed according to standard techniques for light and scanning electron microscopy. Secretion composition was determined by histochemical tests and test-strips, while gland funciton was determined by field observation of interactions with visitors. Leaf glands were located on the petiole and on the abaxial base of the leaf blade. The gland secretion was found to be a protein-rich nectar that was foraged upon by ants ( Solenopsis; it was found accumulated in subcuticular spaces without pores or stomata for its release. Leaf glands were found to develop from protoderm and ground meristem, and consisted of typical secretory epidermis, nectariferous parenchyma and vascularized subnectariferous parenchyma. Therefore, it can be concluded that the distribution, chemical nature of secretion and anatomy of leaf glands of B. muricata characterize them as EFNs, while foraging by ants indicate a mutualistic relationship that possibly protects the plant against herbivores.

  11. Asymmetric dispersal and colonization success of Amazonian plant-ants queens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emilio M Bruna

    Full Text Available The dispersal ability of queens is central to understanding ant life-history evolution, and plays a fundamental role in ant population and community dynamics, the maintenance of genetic diversity, and the spread of invasive ants. In tropical ecosystems, species from over 40 genera of ants establish colonies in the stems, hollow thorns, or leaf pouches of specialized plants. However, little is known about the relative dispersal ability of queens competing for access to the same host plants.We used empirical data and inverse modeling--a technique developed by plant ecologists to model seed dispersal--to quantify and compare the dispersal kernels of queens from three Amazonian ant species that compete for access to host-plants. We found that the modal colonization distance of queens varied 8-fold, with the generalist ant species (Crematogaster laevis having a greater modal distance than two specialists (Pheidole minutula, Azteca sp. that use the same host-plants. However, our results also suggest that queens of Azteca sp. have maximal distances that are four-sixteen times greater than those of its competitors.We found large differences between ant species in both the modal and maximal distance ant queens disperse to find vacant seedlings used to found new colonies. These differences could result from interspecific differences in queen body size, and hence wing musculature, or because queens differ in their ability to identify potential host plants while in flight. Our results provide support for one of the necessary conditions underlying several of the hypothesized mechanisms promoting coexistence in tropical plant-ants. They also suggest that for some ant species limited dispersal capability could pose a significant barrier to the rescue of populations in isolated forest fragments. Finally, we demonstrate that inverse models parameterized with field data are an excellent means of quantifying the dispersal of ant queens.

  12. Development of Myrmeleon brasiliensis (Navas) (Neuroptera, Myrmeleontidae), in laboratory, with different natural diets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Missirian, Giani L.B. [Centro Universitario da Grande Dourados, MS (Brazil). Curso de Ciencias Biologicas; Uchoa-Fernandes, Manoel A. [Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados, MS (Brazil). Faculdade de Ciencias Biologicas e Ambientais]. E-mail: uchoa.fernandes@ufgd.edu.br; Fischer, Erich [Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, MS (Brazil). Dept. de Biologia

    2006-07-01

    Antlions larvae are sit-and-wait predators that capture arthropod prey in conical sand pits. The aim of this paper were to determine the effect of different natural diets [leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp.), fruit fly larvae (Anastrepha spp. and Ceratitis capitata) and mixed diet (Atta spp. plus fruit fly larvae)] on the development of larvae and pupae of M. brasiliensis (Navas, 1914) and to estimate the number and size of prey caught in each instar and on each kind of diet. The average duration (days) of the second and third instars of M. brasiliensis was longer when larvae of antlion were fed with leaf-cutting ants. The diets did not affect the duration of the pupal stage nor the pupae size. The different diets did not affect the mean width of head capsule (mm), the mean weight (mg) or the mean body size (mm) in the different instars of M. brasiliensis. In the second and third instars, the larvae of M. brasiliensis fed with leaf-cutting ants consumed more prey than larvae kept on other diets. Adults whose larvae were fed fruit fly larvae were larger than adults on other diets. Although Myrmeleontidae are few studied in Brazil, these results contribute to knowledge of M. brasiliensis biology, but also suggest the need of studies about the development of larvae and pupae in natural environments. (author)

  13. 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?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  14. Predation and aggressiveness in host plant protection: a generalization using ants from the genus Azteca

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Grangier, Julien; Leroy, Céline; Orivel, Jerôme

    2009-01-01

    In studying the ant genus Azteca, a Neotropical group of arboreal species, we aimed to determine the extent to which the ants use predation and/or aggressiveness to protect their host plants from defoliating insects. We compared a territorially dominant, carton-nester, Azteca chartifex, and three plant-ant species. Azteca alfari and Azteca ovaticeps are associated with the myrmecophyte Cecropia (Cecropiaceae) and their colonies shelter in its hollow branches; whereas Azteca bequaerti is associated with Tococa guianensis (Melastomataceae) and its colonies shelter in leaf pouches situated at the base of the laminas. Whereas A. bequaerti workers react to the vibrations transmitted by the lamina when an alien insect lands on a leaf making it unnecessary for them to patrol their plant, the workers of the three other species rather discover prey by contact. The workers of all four species use a predatory behaviour involving spread-eagling alien insects after recruiting nestmates at short range, and, in some cases, at long range. Because A. alfari and A. ovaticeps discard part of the insects they kill, we deduced that the workers’ predatory behaviour and territorial aggressiveness combine in the biotic defence of their host tree.

  15. Mutualism, hybrid inviability and speciation in a tropical ant-plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Léotard, G; Saltmarsh, A; Kjellberg, F; McKey, D

    2008-07-01

    Although biotic interactions are particularly intricate in the tropics, few studies have examined whether divergent adaptations to biotic interactions lead to speciation in tropical organisms. Ant-plant mutualisms are widespread in the tropics. Within Leonardoxa africana, two subspecies present contrasting defences against herbivores. Young leaves of subsp. africana are defended by mutualistic ants, whereas subsp. gracilicaulis satiates herbivores by synchronized leaf production. Subsp. africana possesses hollow internodes and many large foliar nectaries, housing and feeding ants. We detected no genetic introgression between the two subspecies in the contact zone between them. F1 hybrids were present. They were intermediate in phenotype, expressing reduced, nonfunctional but costly myrmecophilic traits. However, they suffered more herbivory than their parents. Hybrids remained small, failing to reach reproductive size, probably due to their maladapted defence phenotype. Hence, there could be a direct link between adaptation to mutualism and reproductive isolation: biotic interactions could be a driver of tropical diversity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  17. Effect of the presence of brood and fungus on the nest architecture and digging activity of Acromyrmex subterraneus Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos Magno dos Santos

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT This study investigated the stimuli that trigger digging behavior in Acromyrmex subterraneus during nest building. The hypothesis was that the presence of the fungus garden and/or brood triggers the excavation of tunnels and chambers. For the experiment, the excavation rate of individually marked workers kept in plastic cylinders filled with soil was recorded. Four treatments were applied: (1 30 medium-sized workers, 5 g fungus garden and 30 brood items (larvae and pupae; (2 30 medium-sized workers and 5 g fungus garden; (3 30 medium-sized workers and 30 brood items; (4 30 medium-sized workers without fungus and brood. After 24 h, morphological parameters of nest structure (length and width of the chambers and tunnels in cm and the volume of excavated soil were recorded. In contrast to the expected findings, no change in morphological structure, rate of excavation by workers, or volume of excavated soil was observed between treatments, except for tunnel width, which was greater, when no brood or fungus garden was present. Thus, the results do not support the hypothesis that the fungus garden and/or brood are local stimuli for nest excavation or that they mold the internal architecture of the nest. Although this hypothesis was confirmed for Acromyrmex lundii and Atta sexdens rubropilosa, the same does not apply to A. subterraneus. The digging behavior of workers is probably the result of adaptation during nest building in different habitats.

  18. The effect of cutting origin and organic plant growth regulator on the growth of Daun Ungu (Graptophyllum pictum) through stem cutting method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratama, S. P.; Yunus, A.; Purwanto, E.; Widyastuti, Y.

    2018-03-01

    Graptophyllum pictum is one of medical plants which has important chemical content to treat diseases. Leaf, bark and flower can be used to facilitate menstruation, treat hemorrhoid, constipation, ulcers, ulcers, swelling, and earache. G. pictum is difficult to propagated by seedling due to the long duration of seed formation, thusvegetative propagation is done by stem cutting. The aims of this study are to obtain optimum combination of cutting origin and organic plant growth regulator in various consentration for the growth of Daun Ungu through stem cutting method. This research was conducted at Research center for Medicinal Plant and Traditional DrugTanjungsari, Tegal Gede, Karanganyar in June to August 2016. Origin of cuttings and organic plant growth regulator were used as treatments factor. A completely randomized design (RAL) is used and data were analyzed by F test (ANOVA) with a confidence level of 95%. Any significant differences among treatment followed with Duncan test at a = 5%. The research indicates that longest root was resulted from the treatment of 0,5 ml/l of organic plant growth regulator. The treatment of 1 ml/l is able to increase the fresh and dry weight of root, treatment of 1,5 ml/l of organic plant growth regulator was able to increase the percentage of growing shoots. Treatment of base part as origin of cuttings increases the length, fresh weight and and dry weight of shoot, increase the number of leaves. Interaction treatment between 1 ml/l consentration of organic plant growth regulator and central part origin of cuttings is capable of increasing the leaf area, whereas treatment without organic plant growth regulator and base part as planting material affects the smallest leaf area.

  19. ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van der Duim, René; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór

    2017-01-01

    Ten years ago actor-network theory (ANT) entered this journal. To illustrate how the relational ontology and sensibilities of ANT lend themselves to particular kinds of research, we first interrogate the main controversies as a way to open up and discuss the main premises of ANT. These debates...... concern the status and agency of objects and non-humans, ANT’s denial of the explanatory power of social structures, and the political implications of ANT. Second we present ANT’s relevance for tourism studies and discuss what ANT ‘does’ in practice. After summarizing a decade of relations between ANT...... and tourism, we conclude by tracing three future trajectories of how we have ‘moved away with’ ANT into new areas of discovery....

  20. Riqueza de formigas de solo na praia da Pedreira, Parque Estadual de Itapuã, Viamão, RS, Brasil Richness of ground-dwelling ants in the Praia da Pedreira, Parque Estadual de Itapuã, Viamão, RS, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Diehl

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available Neste trabalho são listadas as espécies de formigas de solo encontradas em três ambientes (mata nativa, barreira pedregosa e areias da orla na praia da Pedreira, localizada na Zona de Uso Intensivo do Parque Estadual de Itapuã, município de Viamão, RS. No total, foram identificadas 60 espécies representantes de 24 gêneros, 18 tribos e oito subfamílias (Dolichoderinae, Ecitoninae, Ectatomminae, Formicinae, Heteroponerinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinae e Pseudomyrmecinae. Dos três ambientes amostrados, de acordo com o estimador de riqueza jackknife de primeira ordem, a mata nativa apresentou a maior riqueza (Sest= 37,5, seguindo-se a barreira pedregosa (Sest= 8,9 e as areias da orla (Sest= 5,9. Apenas Acromyrmex laticeps, Crematogaster sp. e Solenopsis invicta foram comuns aos três ambientes. Neste trabalho é feito o primeiro registro de ocorrência de Pachycondyla crenata e Pachycondyla laevigata (Ponerinae para o Rio Grande do Sul.Aiming to improve the knowledge on the Brazilian biodiversity, especially the ant fauna of Rio Grande do Sul State (Southern Brazil, this survey was conducted in the Praia da Pedreira, a site of Intensive Use of the Parque Estadual de Itapuã. Ground-dwelling ant species were surveyed for three environments in the beach (native forest, rock bar and sand bar, during 12 months (April/2000 - March/2001. Collections resulted in 60 species belonging to 24 genera, 18 tribes and eight subfamilies (Dolichoderinae, Ecitoninae, Ectatomminae, Formicinae, Heteroponerinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinae and Pseudomyrmecinae. According to the first order jackknife estimator, the native forest area presented the greatest richness (Sest= 37.5, followed by rock bar (Sest= 8.9 and sand bar (Sest= 5.9. Only Acromyrmex laticeps, Crematogaster sp. and Solenopsis invicta were common to all three environments. This paper presents the first record of Pachycondyla crenata and Pachycondyla laevigata (Ponerinae occurrence in the Rio Grande do Sul

  1. Geographical variation in host-ant specificity of the parasitic butterfly Maculinea alcon in Denmark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Als, Thomas Damm; Nash, David Richard; Boomsma, J. J.

    2002-01-01

    1. Maculinea alcon uses three different species of Myrmica host ants along a north-south gradient in Europe. Based on this geographical variation in host ant use, Elmes et al. (1994) suggested that M. alcon might consist of three or more cryptic species or host races, each using a single...... and different host-ant species.2. Population-specific differences in allozyme genotypes of M. alcon in Denmark (Gadeberg Boomsma, 1997) have suggested that genetically differentiated forms may occur in a gradient across Denmark, possibly in relation to the use of different host ants.3. It was found that two...... host-ant species are indeed used as hosts in Denmark, but not in a clear-cut north-south gradient. Furthermore, specificity was not complete for many M. alcon populations. Of five populations investigated in detail, one used primarily M. rubra as a host, another exclusively used M. ruginodis, while...

  2. A phylogenetic perspective on the association between ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and black yeasts (Ascomycota: Chaetothyriales).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasse, Marie; Voglmayr, Hermann; Mayer, Veronika; Gueidan, Cécile; Nepel, Maximilian; Moreno, Leandro; de Hoog, Sybren; Selosse, Marc-André; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2017-03-15

    The frequency and the geographical extent of symbiotic associations between ants and fungi of the order Chaetothyriales have been highlighted only recently. Using a phylogenetic approach based on seven molecular markers, we showed that ant-associated Chaetothyriales are scattered through the phylogeny of this order. There was no clustering according to geographical origin or to the taxonomy of the ant host. However, strains tended to be clustered according to the type of association with ants: strains from ant-made carton and strains from plant cavities occupied by ants ('domatia') rarely clustered together. Defining molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs) with an internal transcribed spacer sequence similarity cut-off of 99% revealed that a single MOTU could be composed of strains collected from various ant species and from several continents. Some ant-associated MOTUs also contained strains isolated from habitats other than ant-associated structures. Altogether, our results suggest that the degree of specialization of the interactions between ants and their fungal partners is highly variable. A better knowledge of the ecology of these interactions and a more comprehensive sampling of the fungal order are needed to elucidate the evolutionary history of mutualistic symbioses between ants and Chaetothyriales. © 2017 The Author(s).

  3. Effect of planting density and cutting frequency on forage and grain yields of kochia (Kochia scoparia under saline water irrigation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    mseou ziyaeii

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available AField experiment was conducted at Research Farms of Center of Excellence for Special Crops, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran, in 2006 to evaluate the effect of planting density on forage and grain yield of kochia (Kochia scoparia. Experimental design was a randomized complete block with split-plot arrangement of treatments,with three replications, where different planting densities (10, 20, 30 and 40 plant m-2 were assigned to main plots and number of cutting (including a single cutting, two cutting and no cutting i.e. allowing the crop to grow until maturity allocated to sub-plots. At each harvest date (cutting the biological yield, leaf and stem dry weight, plant height, number of branches and the individual plant biomass were measured. Grain yield and thousand seed weight were also determined at the end of growing season. Result showed the highest biological yield and leaf and stem dry weights for kochia obtaind at 30 plant m-2. The total biomass, leaf and stem dry weights, plant height, number of branches were greater for the first cutting as compared to the second cutting. Planting density and cutting number interacted to affect the leaf dry weight. At physiological maturity stage there were no significant differences among planting densities for plant height and number of branches. The best planting density, in terms of biomass production and leaf and stem dry weight, was found as 30 plant m-2, while for grain production a planting density of 20 plant m-2 could be recommended. Key words: Kochia, planting density, sward, biological yield, grain production.

  4. Crescimento de folhas do capim-bermuda tifton 85 submetido à adubação nitrogenada após o corte Leaf growth of tifton 85 bermudagrass submitted to nitrogen fertilization after cutting

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linda Monica Premazzi

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Com o objetivo de avaliar a influência de doses e épocas de aplicação de nitrogênio após o corte no fator de correção de área foliar, na taxa de alongamento de folhas e no comprimento e área da lâmina foliar do capim-bermuda tifton 85 (Cynodon spp foram conduzidos dois experimentos em casa de vegetação. Ambos os experimentos foram estabelecidos em vasos com capacidade para 7 kg de terra, com solo classificado como Neossolo Quartzarênico Órtico típico, em esquema fatorial 4 × 2, para avaliação de quatro doses de nitrogênio (0, 80, 160 e 240 mg kg-1 de solo e duas épocas de aplicação (imediatamente após o corte e sete dias após o corte das plantas. O delineamento experimental foi em blocos completos ao acaso, com quatro repetições. Com o fornecimento de nitrogênio, observou-se diminuição no fator de correção de área foliar. O nitrogênio proporciona variação positiva no comprimento foliar, na área da lâmina foliar e na taxa de alongamento da folha, variações que ocorreram em maior grandeza entre a não-aplicação de nitrogênio e a dose de 80 mg kg-1 de solo.With the objective of evaluating the influence of nitrogen rates and application time after cutting on correction factor for leaf area, on leaf elongation rate and on blade leaf length and area of tifton 85 bermudagrass (Cynodon spp, two experiments were carried out in a greenhouse. Both experiments were established in pots with capacity for 7 kg of soil classified as Entisol, in a 4 × 2 factorial scheme, for evaluation of four nitrogen rates (0, 80, 160 and 240 mg kg-1 of soil and two application times (immediately after cutting and seven days after cutting of the plants. It was used a complete randomized block design, with four replications. As nitrogen was supplied, it was observed a decrease in the correction factor for leaf area. There is a predominance of positive effects of nitrogen on leaf length, on leaf blade area and on leaf elongation rate

  5. The nature of culture: technological variation in chimpanzee predation on army ants revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin

    2008-01-01

    -eating may represent local behavioral responses of the chimpanzees to the anti-predator traits of the army ant species present at the different sites. We examined assemblages of available prey species, their behavior and morphology, consumption by chimpanzees, techniques employed, and tool lengths at 14...... sites in eastern, central, and western Africa. Where army ants are eaten, tool length and concomitant technique are a function of prey type. Epigaeically foraging species with aggressive workers that inflict painful bites are harvested with longer tools and usually by the "pull-through" technique......; species foraging in leaf-litter with less aggressive workers that inflict less painful bites are harvested with short tools and by the "direct-mouthing" technique. However, prey species characteristics do not explain several differences in army-ant-eating between Bossou (Guinea) and Taï (Ivory Coast...

  6. Grapevine fruiting cuttings: validation of an experimental system to study grapevine physiology. I. Main vegetative characteristics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nathalie Ollat

    1998-03-01

    Full Text Available A method for producing fruiting cuttings of grapevine cv. Cabernet Sauvignon is described. The main developmental features of these cuttings are presented. The clusters reach maturity after 5 months and the period of cluster development is not shortened. Before flowering, a careful control of stem and leaf growth improves the partitioning of stored carbon towards the roots and the cluster. Vegetative growth occurs mainly between fruit set and veraison. During ripening, the leaf to fruit ratio is between 20 and 30 cm2 of leaf area per gram of fruit. In the cuttings as well as in grapevines from the vineyard, free polyamine content in the leafblade does not change during development. Conjugate polyamine content does not evolve in the same way. It peaks at veraison for vineyard leaves but decreases continuously for cuttings. A proper nutrient solution provides a minerai composition in accordance with viticultural requirements. The cuttings also behave like vineyard plants in response to different levels of potassium in the nutrient solution.

  7. Identifying Shifts in Leaf-Litter Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae across Ecosystem Boundaries Using Multiple Sampling Methods.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michal Wiezik

    Full Text Available Global or regional environmental changes in climate or land use have been increasingly implied in shifts in boundaries (ecotones between adjacent ecosystems such as beech or oak-dominated forests and forest-steppe ecotones that frequently co-occur near the southern range limits of deciduous forest biome in Europe. Yet, our ability to detect changes in biological communities across these ecosystems, or to understand their environmental drivers, can be hampered when different sampling methods are required to characterize biological communities of the adjacent but ecologically different ecosystems. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae have been shown to be particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and vegetation and they require different sampling methods in closed vs. open habitats. We compared ant assemblages of closed-forests (beech- or oak-dominated and open forest-steppe habitats in southwestern Carpathians using methods for closed-forest (litter sifting and open habitats (pitfall trapping, and developed an integrated sampling approach to characterize changes in ant assemblages across these adjacent ecosystems. Using both methods, we collected 5,328 individual ant workers from 28 species. Neither method represented ant communities completely, but pitfall trapping accounted for more species (24 than litter sifting (16. Although pitfall trapping characterized differences in species richness and composition among the ecosystems better, with beech forest being most species poor and ecotone most species rich, litter sifting was more successful in identifying characteristic litter-dwelling species in oak-dominated forest. The integrated sampling approach using both methods yielded more accurate characterization of species richness and composition, and particularly so in species-rich forest-steppe habitat where the combined sample identified significantly higher number of species compared to either of the two methods on their own. Thus, an integrated

  8. Identifying Shifts in Leaf-Litter Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across Ecosystem Boundaries Using Multiple Sampling Methods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiezik, Michal; Svitok, Marek; Wieziková, Adela; Dovčiak, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Global or regional environmental changes in climate or land use have been increasingly implied in shifts in boundaries (ecotones) between adjacent ecosystems such as beech or oak-dominated forests and forest-steppe ecotones that frequently co-occur near the southern range limits of deciduous forest biome in Europe. Yet, our ability to detect changes in biological communities across these ecosystems, or to understand their environmental drivers, can be hampered when different sampling methods are required to characterize biological communities of the adjacent but ecologically different ecosystems. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have been shown to be particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and vegetation and they require different sampling methods in closed vs. open habitats. We compared ant assemblages of closed-forests (beech- or oak-dominated) and open forest-steppe habitats in southwestern Carpathians using methods for closed-forest (litter sifting) and open habitats (pitfall trapping), and developed an integrated sampling approach to characterize changes in ant assemblages across these adjacent ecosystems. Using both methods, we collected 5,328 individual ant workers from 28 species. Neither method represented ant communities completely, but pitfall trapping accounted for more species (24) than litter sifting (16). Although pitfall trapping characterized differences in species richness and composition among the ecosystems better, with beech forest being most species poor and ecotone most species rich, litter sifting was more successful in identifying characteristic litter-dwelling species in oak-dominated forest. The integrated sampling approach using both methods yielded more accurate characterization of species richness and composition, and particularly so in species-rich forest-steppe habitat where the combined sample identified significantly higher number of species compared to either of the two methods on their own. Thus, an integrated sampling

  9. Discovery of defense- and neuropeptides in social ants by genome-mining.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian W Gruber

    Full Text Available Natural peptides of great number and diversity occur in all organisms, but analyzing their peptidome is often difficult. With natural product drug discovery in mind, we devised a genome-mining approach to identify defense- and neuropeptides in the genomes of social ants from Atta cephalotes (leaf-cutter ant, Camponotus floridanus (carpenter ant and Harpegnathos saltator (basal genus. Numerous peptide-encoding genes of defense peptides, in particular defensins, and neuropeptides or regulatory peptide hormones, such as allatostatins and tachykinins, were identified and analyzed. Most interestingly we annotated genes that encode oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (inotocins and their putative receptors. This is the first piece of evidence for the existence of this nonapeptide hormone system in ants (Formicidae and supports recent findings in Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle and Nasonia vitripennis (parasitoid wasp, and therefore its confinement to some basal holometabolous insects. By contrast, the absence of the inotocin hormone system in Apis mellifera (honeybee, another closely-related member of the eusocial Hymenoptera clade, establishes the basis for future studies on the molecular evolution and physiological function of oxytocin/vasopressin-related peptides (vasotocin nonapeptide family and their receptors in social insects. Particularly the identification of ant inotocin and defensin peptide sequences will provide a basis for future pharmacological characterization in the quest for potent and selective lead compounds of therapeutic value.

  10. Preliminary survey of ants at a reserve area of Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla Province, Southern Thailand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Niranee Binnima

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available Prince of Songkla University is the first university established in the southern part of Thailand. A reserve area is planned at Ko Hong Hill near the university. The flora of this area has been previously explored but a few fauna species have been studied. Although ants are one of dominant groups in this forest, there is no record of their diversity. Thus, the aim of this study is to determine the ant diversity in terms of species composition. Three sampling methods, pitfall trap (PF, hand collecting (HC and leaf litter sifting (LL were applied to collection of ants along 3 line transects each of 90 meter in length and 500 meter apart during April 2001. Six subfamilies (Formicinae, Myrmicinae, Dorylinae, Ponerinae, Dolichoderinae and Pseudomyrmecinae of ants, comprising 44 species, were found. The results also showed that HC was the most sufficient method resulting in the highest number of ant species, while the combination of two methods (HC and LL yielded the highest number of ant species.

  11. USING ANT COMMUNITIES FOR RAPID ASSESSMENT OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM HEALTH

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wike, L; Doug Martin, D; Michael Paller, M; Eric Nelson, E

    2007-01-12

    Ecosystem health with its near infinite number of variables is difficult to measure, and there are many opinions as to which variables are most important, most easily measured, and most robust, Bioassessment avoids the controversy of choosing which physical and chemical parameters to measure because it uses responses of a community of organisms that integrate all aspects of the system in question. A variety of bioassessment methods have been successfully applied to aquatic ecosystems using fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Terrestrial biotic index methods are less developed than those for aquatic systems and we are seeking to address this problem here. This study had as its objective to examine the baseline differences in ant communities at different seral stages from clear cut back to mature pine plantation as a precursor to developing a bioassessment protocol. Comparative sampling was conducted at four seral stages; clearcut, 5 year, 15 year and mature pine plantation stands. Soil and vegetation data were collected at each site. All ants collected were preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol and identified to genus. Analysis of the ant data indicates that ants respond strongly to the habitat changes that accompany ecological succession in managed pine forests and that individual genera as well as ant community structure can be used as an indicator of successional change. Ants exhibited relatively high diversity in both early and mature seral stages. High ant diversity in the mature seral stages was likely related to conditions on the forest floor which favored litter dwelling and cool climate specialists.

  12. Diversity of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in two rubber plantations in Songkhla Province, Southern Thailand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suparoek Watanasit

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Ants play important roles in tropical rainforest ecosystems. In southern Thailand, many such areas have been extensivelylogged and replaced by rubber plantations. Since changes to the environment can cause changes to the diversity offlora and fauna, the objectives of this study were to determine habitat influences on the ant composition between homogenousand heterogeneous rubber plantations, and to investigate if any environmental factors can be directly correlated withchanges in the ant community. Three 100 m–line-transects, spaced 100 m apart, were laid out at two study sites. Four samplingmethods, hand collecting (HC, leaf litter sampling (LL, honey bait (HB and soil sampling (SS, were used to sample ants.Temperature, humidity, and precipitation were recorded. Samples were collected every two months from June 2004 to April2005. The results showed that a total of six subfamilies (Aenictinae, Dolichoderinae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinaemand Pseudomyrmecinae, comprising 29 genera and 87 species were found in the two study sites. The dominant genera werePheidole and Crematogaster, followed by Pheidologeton and Pachycondyla. The sampling methods used in this studyindicated that LL and HC were most suitable for sampling ants, and any combination of sampling methods detected moreant species than a single method did. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA grouped ant species between the two typesof rubber plantation, and also divided ant species into three groups by sampling method: HC group, SS group and LL+HBgroup. DCA did not group ant species by seasonal changes, however. Further, canonical correspondence analysis detectedno effect of temperature, humidity, or precipitation on the ant community.

  13. Antimicrobial compounds from leaf extracts of Jatropha curcas, Psidium guajava, and Andrographis paniculata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahman, M M; Ahmad, S H; Mohamed, M T M; Ab Rahman, M Z

    2014-01-01

    The present research was conducted to discover antimicrobial compounds in methanolic leaf extracts of Jatropha curcas and Andrographis paniculata and ethanolic leaf extract of Psidium guajava and the effectiveness against microbes on flower preservative solution of cut Mokara Red orchid flowers was evaluated. The leaves were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total of nine, 66, and 29 compounds were identified in J. curcas, P. guajava, and A. paniculata leaf extracts, with five (88.18%), four (34.66%), and three (50.47%) having unique antimicrobial compounds, respectively. The experimental design on vase life was conducted using a completely randomized design with 10 replications. The flower vase life was about 6 days in the solution containing the P. guajava and A. paniculata leaf extracts at 15 mg/L. Moreover, solution with leaf extracts of A. paniculata had the lowest bacterial count compared to P. guajava and J. curcas. Thus, these leaf extracts revealed the presence of relevant antimicrobial compounds. The leaf extracts have the potential as a cut flower solution to minimize microbial populations and extend flower vase life. However, the activities of specific antimicrobial compounds and double or triple combination leaf extracts to enhance the effectiveness to extend the vase life need to be tested.

  14. Propagation of the endangered Azorean cherry Prunus azorica using stem cuttings and air layering

    OpenAIRE

    Moreira, Orlanda; Martins, José; Silva, Luís; Moura, Mónica

    2009-01-01

    Prunus azorica (Hort. ex Mouillef.) Rivas Mart., Lousã, Fern. Prieto, E. Dias, J.C. Costa & C. Aguiar is an endangered tree endemic to the Azores, with an ecological and ornamental interest. The objective of this study was to determine the conditions necessary for the successful propagation of P. azorica by stem cuttings and air-layering. Stem cuttings collected in March with two apical leaf pairs pruned to 1/3 of their leaf area were submitted to different treatments, including a basal split...

  15. Arboreal ants use the "Velcro(R principle" to capture very large prey.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Plant-ants live in a mutualistic association with host plants known as "myrmecophytes" that provide them with a nesting place and sometimes with extra-floral nectar (EFN and/or food bodies (FBs; the ants can also attend sap-sucking Hemiptera for their honeydew. In return, plant-ants, like most other arboreal ants, protect their host plants from defoliators. To satisfy their nitrogen requirements, however, some have optimized their ability to capture prey in the restricted environment represented by the crowns of trees by using elaborate hunting techniques. In this study, we investigated the predatory behavior of the ant Azteca andreae which is associated with the myrmecophyte Cecropia obtusa. We noted that up to 8350 ant workers per tree hide side-by-side beneath the leaf margins of their host plant with their mandibles open, waiting for insects to alight. The latter are immediately seized by their extremities, and then spread-eagled; nestmates are recruited to help stretch, carve up and transport prey. This group ambush hunting technique is particularly effective when the underside of the leaves is downy, as is the case for C. obtusa. In this case, the hook-shaped claws of the A. andreae workers and the velvet-like structure of the underside of the leaves combine to act like natural Velcro that is reinforced by the group ambush strategy of the workers, allowing them to capture prey of up to 13,350 times the mean weight of a single worker.

  16. Cyatta abscondita: taxonomy, evolution, and natural history of a new fungus-farming ant genus from Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo

    Full Text Available Cyatta abscondita, a new genus and species of fungus-farming ant from Brazil, is described based on morphological study of more than 20 workers, two dealate gynes, one male, and two larvae. Ecological field data are summarized, including natural history, nest architecture, and foraging behavior. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data from four nuclear genes indicate that Cyatta abscondita is the distant sister taxon of the genus Kalathomyrmex, and that together they comprise the sister group of the remaining neoattine ants, an informal clade that includes the conspicuous and well-known leaf-cutter ants. Morphologically, Cyatta abscondita shares very few obvious character states with Kalathomyrmex. It does, however, possess a number of striking morphological features unique within the fungus-farming tribe Attini. It also shares morphological character states with taxa that span the ancestral node of the Attini. The morphology, behavior, and other biological characters of Cyatta abscondita are potentially informative about plesiomorphic character states within the fungus-farming ants and about the early evolution of ant agriculture.

  17. The nature of culture: technological variation in chimpanzee predation on army ants revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin; McGrew, W C

    2008-07-01

    Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) predation on army ants (Dorylus, subgenus Anomma) is an impressive example of skillful use of elementary technology, and it has been suggested to reflect cultural differences among chimpanzee communities. Alternatively, the observed geographic diversity in army-ant-eating may represent local behavioral responses of the chimpanzees to the anti-predator traits of the army ant species present at the different sites. We examined assemblages of available prey species, their behavior and morphology, consumption by chimpanzees, techniques employed, and tool lengths at 14 sites in eastern, central, and western Africa. Where army ants are eaten, tool length and concomitant technique are a function of prey type. Epigaeically foraging species with aggressive workers that inflict painful bites are harvested with longer tools and usually by the "pull-through" technique; species foraging in leaf-litter with less aggressive workers that inflict less painful bites are harvested with short tools and by the "direct-mouthing" technique. However, prey species characteristics do not explain several differences in army-ant-eating between Bossou (Guinea) and Taï (Ivory Coast), where the same suite of prey species is available and is consumed. Moreover, the absence of army-ant-eating at five sites cannot be explained by the identity of available prey species, as all the species found at these sites are eaten elsewhere. We conclude that some of the observed variation in the predator-prey relationship of chimpanzees and army ants reflects environmental influences driven by the prey, while other variation is not linked to prey characteristics and may be solely sociocultural.

  18. POPULATION GENETICS OF Atta sexdens rubropilosa (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The genetic variability of Atta sexdens rubropilosa leaf-cutting ants collected from five brazilian localities was evaluated with PCR-RAPD technique. We used 15 primers producing 148 fragments of which 123 (83,11 % contained polymorphisms. The estimated Shannon index was 0.3836 ± 0.2335 showing that these ants possess high genetic diversity. The GST value was 0,2372 and PT = 0,184, indicating that the analyzed populations are moderately differentiated and 82 % of the variation obtained occur within populations. Although Mantel’s test had shown correlation between genetic distances and geographic was observed that Ivatuba and Itambé (33,8 km have the small geographical distance and the largest genetic distance. The lower genetic distance was estimated for Maringá and Ivatuba but this localities have a small geographic distance (42,3 km, indicating that there are no barriers for mating among reproducers in these populations. The high degree of polymorphism (83,11 % and the ability to cross among the populations in the studied regions indicate that this species of leaf-cutting ant is well adapted to the region; therefore, integrated control programs can be developed.

  19. Population genetics of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Belizario Cantagalli, Liriana; Aparecida Mangolin, Claudete; Colla Ruvolo Takasusuki, Maria Claudia

    2013-01-01

    The genetic variability of Atta sexdens rubropilosa leaf-cutting ants collected from five Brazilian localities was evaluated with PCR-RAPD technique. we used 15 primers producing 148 fragments of which 123 (83.11 %) contained polymorphisms. the estimated Shannon index was 0.3836 ± 0.2335 showing that these ants possess high genetic diversity. the G S T value was 0.2372 and Φ p t = 0.184, indicating that the analyzed populations are moderately differentiated and 82 % of the variation obtained occur within populations. although mantel's test had shown correlation between genetic distances and geographic was observed that Ivatuba and Itambe (33.8 km) have the small geographical distance and the largest genetic distance. the lower genetic distance was estimated for Maringa and Ivatuba but this localities have a small geographic distance (42.3 km), indicating that there are no barriers for mating among reproducers in these populations. the high degree of polymorphism (83.11 %) and the ability to cross among the populations in the studied regions indicate that this species of leaf-cutting ant is well adapted to the region; therefore, integrated control programs can be developed.

  20. Arboreal Ants Use the “Velcro® Principle” to Capture Very Large Prey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Roux, Olivier; Céréghino, Régis; Orivel, Jérôme; Boulay, Raphaël

    2010-01-01

    Plant-ants live in a mutualistic association with host plants known as “myrmecophytes” that provide them with a nesting place and sometimes with extra-floral nectar (EFN) and/or food bodies (FBs); the ants can also attend sap-sucking Hemiptera for their honeydew. In return, plant-ants, like most other arboreal ants, protect their host plants from defoliators. To satisfy their nitrogen requirements, however, some have optimized their ability to capture prey in the restricted environment represented by the crowns of trees by using elaborate hunting techniques. In this study, we investigated the predatory behavior of the ant Azteca andreae which is associated with the myrmecophyte Cecropia obtusa. We noted that up to 8350 ant workers per tree hide side-by-side beneath the leaf margins of their host plant with their mandibles open, waiting for insects to alight. The latter are immediately seized by their extremities, and then spread-eagled; nestmates are recruited to help stretch, carve up and transport prey. This group ambush hunting technique is particularly effective when the underside of the leaves is downy, as is the case for C. obtusa. In this case, the hook-shaped claws of the A. andreae workers and the velvet-like structure of the underside of the leaves combine to act like natural Velcro® that is reinforced by the group ambush strategy of the workers, allowing them to capture prey of up to 13,350 times the mean weight of a single worker. PMID:20593032

  1. Predation success by a plant-ant indirectly favours the growth and fitness of its host myrmecophyte.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

    Full Text Available Mutualisms, or interactions between species that lead to net fitness benefits for each species involved, are stable and ubiquitous in nature mostly due to "byproduct benefits" stemming from the intrinsic traits of one partner that generate an indirect and positive outcome for the other. Here we verify if myrmecotrophy (where plants obtain nutrients from the refuse of their associated ants can explain the stability of the tripartite association between the myrmecophyte Hirtella physophora, the ant Allomerus decemarticulatus and an Ascomycota fungus. The plant shelters and provides the ants with extrafloral nectar. The ants protect the plant from herbivores and integrate the fungus into the construction of a trap that they use to capture prey; they also provide the fungus and their host plant with nutrients. During a 9-month field study, we over-provisioned experimental ant colonies with insects, enhancing colony fitness (i.e., more winged females were produced. The rate of partial castration of the host plant, previously demonstrated, was not influenced by the experiment. Experimental plants showed higher δ(15N values (confirming myrmecotrophy, plus enhanced vegetative growth (e.g., more leaves produced increased the possibility of lodging ants in leaf pouches and fitness (i.e., more fruits produced and more flowers that matured into fruit. This study highlights the importance of myrmecotrophy on host plant fitness and the stability of ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms.

  2. Genome-Wide Association Studies of Anthracnose and Angular Leaf Spot Resistance in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L..

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliana Morini Küpper Cardoso Perseguini

    Full Text Available The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. is the world's most important legume for human consumption. Anthracnose (ANT; Colletotrichum lindemuthianum and angular leaf spot (ALS; Pseudocercospora griseola are complex diseases that cause major yield losses in common bean. Depending on the cultivar and environmental conditions, anthracnose and angular leaf spot infections can reduce crop yield drastically. This study aimed to estimate linkage disequilibrium levels and identify quantitative resistance loci (QRL controlling resistance to both ANT and ALS diseases of 180 accessions of common bean using genome-wide association analysis. A randomized complete block design with four replicates was performed for the ANT and ALS experiments, with four plants per genotype in each replicate. Association mapping analyses were performed for ANT and ALS using a mixed linear model approach implemented in TASSEL. A total of 17 and 11 significant statistically associations involving SSRs were detected for ANT and ALS resistance loci, respectively. Using SNPs, 21 and 17 significant statistically associations were obtained for ANT and angular ALS, respectively, providing more associations with this marker. The SSR-IAC167 and PvM95 markers, both located on chromosome Pv03, and the SNP scaffold00021_89379, were associated with both diseases. The other markers were distributed across the entire common bean genome, with chromosomes Pv03 and Pv08 showing the greatest number of loci associated with ANT resistance. The chromosome Pv04 was the most saturated one, with six markers associated with ALS resistance. The telomeric region of this chromosome showed four markers located between approximately 2.5 Mb and 4.4 Mb. Our results demonstrate the great potential of genome-wide association studies to identify QRLs related to ANT and ALS in common bean. The results indicate a quantitative and complex inheritance pattern for both diseases in common bean. Our findings will

  3. Genome-Wide Association Studies of Anthracnose and Angular Leaf Spot Resistance in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perseguini, Juliana Morini Küpper Cardoso; Oblessuc, Paula Rodrigues; Rosa, João Ricardo Bachega Feijó; Gomes, Kleber Alves; Chiorato, Alisson Fernando; Carbonell, Sérgio Augusto Morais; Garcia, Antonio Augusto Franco; Vianello, Rosana Pereira; Benchimol-Reis, Luciana Lasry

    2016-01-01

    The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the world's most important legume for human consumption. Anthracnose (ANT; Colletotrichum lindemuthianum) and angular leaf spot (ALS; Pseudocercospora griseola) are complex diseases that cause major yield losses in common bean. Depending on the cultivar and environmental conditions, anthracnose and angular leaf spot infections can reduce crop yield drastically. This study aimed to estimate linkage disequilibrium levels and identify quantitative resistance loci (QRL) controlling resistance to both ANT and ALS diseases of 180 accessions of common bean using genome-wide association analysis. A randomized complete block design with four replicates was performed for the ANT and ALS experiments, with four plants per genotype in each replicate. Association mapping analyses were performed for ANT and ALS using a mixed linear model approach implemented in TASSEL. A total of 17 and 11 significant statistically associations involving SSRs were detected for ANT and ALS resistance loci, respectively. Using SNPs, 21 and 17 significant statistically associations were obtained for ANT and angular ALS, respectively, providing more associations with this marker. The SSR-IAC167 and PvM95 markers, both located on chromosome Pv03, and the SNP scaffold00021_89379, were associated with both diseases. The other markers were distributed across the entire common bean genome, with chromosomes Pv03 and Pv08 showing the greatest number of loci associated with ANT resistance. The chromosome Pv04 was the most saturated one, with six markers associated with ALS resistance. The telomeric region of this chromosome showed four markers located between approximately 2.5 Mb and 4.4 Mb. Our results demonstrate the great potential of genome-wide association studies to identify QRLs related to ANT and ALS in common bean. The results indicate a quantitative and complex inheritance pattern for both diseases in common bean. Our findings will contribute to more

  4. Diversity and ecology of ground dwelling ants at Khao Nan National Park, southern Thailand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suparoek Watanasit

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Khao Nan National Park (KNNP is located in the southern part of Thailand. Its flora and fauna are diverse, however there is little information about the diversity of ants. The aim of this study was to determine species diversity and ecology of ants at KNNP. Three study sites (Baucheak Trail, Pra Forest and Sunantha Trail were chosen and at each three permanent plots of 30x30 m were selected at least 500 m apart. The ant sampling was extracted from leaf litter by the Winkler bag method. Physical factors of precipitation, humidity, air temperature, and soil temperature were recorded during the collection of ants every two months between January 2006 and January 2007. A total number of 172 species and 43 genera belonging to 9 subfamilies were identified. The top five dominant genera of ants were Pheidole (27 species following by Tetramorium (14 species, Camponotus (13 species, Pachycondyla (12 species, and Crematogaster (9 species. The influence of the study sites on the species number of ants in this study indicated that the study sites had an affect on the species number. Regarding the environmental factors, the results showed that the individual numbers of Pheidole was significantly negatively correlated to precipitation, whereas Pachycondyla was significantly negatively correlated to humidity, while both genera were significantly positively correlated to air temperature and soil temperature. Moreover, Camponotus was the only genus significantly positively correlated to the air temperature.

  5. Ancient death-grip leaf scars reveal ant-fungal parasitism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, David P; Wappler, Torsten; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2011-02-23

    Parasites commonly manipulate host behaviour, and among the most dramatic examples are diverse fungi that cause insects to die attached to leaves. This death-grip behaviour functions to place insects in an ideal location for spore dispersal from a dead body following host death. Fossil leaves record many aspects of insect behaviour (feeding, galls, leaf mining) but to date there are no known examples of behavioural manipulation. Here, we document, to our knowledge, the first example of the stereotypical death grip from 48 Ma leaves of Messel, Germany, indicating the antiquity of this behaviour. As well as probably being the first example of behavioural manipulation in the fossil record, these data support a biogeographical parallelism between mid Eocene northern Europe and recent southeast Asia.

  6. Leaf Cutter Ant (Atta cephalotes) Soil Modification and In Situ CO2 Gas Dynamics in a Neotropical Wet Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez Bou, A. S.; Carrasquillo Quintana, O.; Dierick, D.; Harmon, T. C.; Johnson, S.; Schwendenmann, L.; Zelikova, T. J.

    2016-12-01

    The goal of this work is to advance our understanding of soil carbon cycling in highly productive neotropical wet forests. More specifically, we are investigating the influence of leaf cutter ants (LCA) on soil CO2 gas dynamics in primary and secondary forest soils at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. LCA are the dominant herbivore in tropical Americas, responsible for as much as 50% of the total herbivory. Their presence is increasing and their range is expanding because of forest fragmentation and other human impacts. We installed gas sampling wells in LCA (Atta cephalotes) nest and control sites (non-nests in the same soil and forest settings). The experimental design encompassed land cover (primary and secondary forest) and soil type (residual and alluvial). We collected gas samples monthly over an 18-month period. Several of the LCA nests were abandoned during this period. Nevertheless, we continued to sample these sites for LCA legacy effects. In several of the sites, we also installed sensors to continuously monitor soil moisture content, temperature, and CO2 levels. Within the 18-month period we conducted a 2-month field campaign to collect soil and nest vent CO2 efflux data from 3 of the nest-control pairs. Integrating the various data sets, we observed that for most of the sites nest and control soils behaved similarly during the tropical dry season. However, during the wet season gas well CO2 concentrations increased in the control sites while levels in the nests remained at dry season levels. This outcome suggests that ants modify soil gas transport properties (e.g., tortuosity). In situ time series and efflux sampling campaign data corroborated these findings. Abandoned nest CO2 levels were similar to those of the active nests, supporting the notion of a legacy effect from LCA manipulations. For this work, the period of abandonment was relatively short (several months to 1 year maximum), which appears to be insufficient for estimating the

  7. Rationality in collective decision-making by ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Susan C; Pratt, Stephen C

    2009-10-22

    Economic models of animal behaviour assume that decision-makers are rational, meaning that they assess options according to intrinsic fitness value and not by comparison with available alternatives. This expectation is frequently violated, but the significance of irrational behaviour remains controversial. One possibility is that irrationality arises from cognitive constraints that necessitate short cuts like comparative evaluation. If so, the study of whether and when irrationality occurs can illuminate cognitive mechanisms. We applied this logic in a novel setting: the collective decisions of insect societies. We tested for irrationality in colonies of Temnothorax ants choosing between two nest sites that varied in multiple attributes, such that neither site was clearly superior. In similar situations, individual animals show irrational changes in preference when a third relatively unattractive option is introduced. In contrast, we found no such effect in colonies. We suggest that immunity to irrationality in this case may result from the ants' decentralized decision mechanism. A colony's choice does not depend on site comparison by individuals, but instead self-organizes from the interactions of multiple ants, most of which are aware of only a single site. This strategy may filter out comparative effects, preventing systematic errors that would otherwise arise from the cognitive limitations of individuals.

  8. EFEITO DO FOGO SOBRE A RIQUEZA DE FORMIGAS (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE ASSOCIADAS À Pinus elliottii ENGELM. NO SUL DO BRASIL

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jardel Boscardin

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available This work aimed at assessing the effect of fire over an ant fauna associated to Pinus elliottii Engelm. The study was developed in the city of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, in an experimental area next to the Campus of Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM, in a 28-year-old plantation of an hectare of Pinus elliottii, spacing 2m x 2m, on which a fire happened in the end of November, 2008. One month later, an ant fauna sampling was initiated, being concluded in November, 2009. The method of interception of wandering insects has been used through soil traps without attraction, distributed in the center of the population, being prepared 10 traps in simple linear transection, in intervals of 10 meters that remained buried for 48 hours. After such period, the biological material was packed in plastic pots, transported to the laboratory for a triage, where the ants were separated into morphospecies and proceeded to identification.From the surveys, 25 ant species were found, distributed in eleven genera, eight tribes and four subfamilies. From these, the ones who presented the biggest occurrence frequencies in their respective subfamilies were Pseudomyrmex termitarius (46,7%, Acromyrmex crassispinus, and Pachycondyla striata (both with 35,8%, and Camponotus blandus (25,0%. Fire is an agent of environmental disturbance many times significant, causing positive and negative effects over the edaphic fauna. Its action might have caused a negative indirect effect over Crematogaster victima and positive over Pseudomyrmex termitarius, Acromyrmex crassispinus, Pachycondyla striata and Camponotus blandus present in the understory of Pinus elliottii, after the fire.

  9. Granular rheology: measuring boundary forces with laser-cut leaf springs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Zhu; Brzinski, Theodore A.; Daniels, Karen E.

    2017-06-01

    In granular physics experiments, it is a persistent challenge to obtain the boundary stress measurements necessary to provide full a rheological characterization of the dynamics. Here, we describe a new technique by which the outer boundary of a 2D Couette cell both confines the granular material and provides spatially- and temporally- resolved stress measurements. This key advance is enabled by desktop laser-cutting technology, which allows us to design and cut linearly-deformable walls with a specified spring constant. By tracking the position of each segment of the wall, we measure both the normal and tangential stress throughout the experiment. This permits us to calculate the amount of shear stress provided by basal friction, and thereby determine accurate values of μ(I).

  10. Development Potential, in a Greenhouse, of Cuttings of the Hybrid Eucalyptus grandis x Eucalyptus camaldulensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. N. Garcia

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract: This study evaluated the potential for development in the greenhouse, cuttings of the hybrid of Eucalyptus grandis x Eucalyptus camaldulensis in Sinop - Mato Grosso and generated equations to estimate the percentage of rooting parameters. Were measured: the percentage of cuttings with some degree of modification, the percentage of cuttings in the percentage of cuttings with roots larger than 10 cm in length. Also measured was the neck diameter, height and leaf area index. The heights and leaf area showed lower development within the greenhouse. The rooting potential is based on curve speed of rooting and was found 12 days after staking. The identification of the optimal point of withdrawal of the shoots of the greenhouse through the intercept curves daily current increase curve (DCI e daily average increase (DAI, being 19 days after staking. The company derives the stakes with 24 days underdoing the potential of the species and structures used.Keywords: Eucalyptus, greenhouse management and rooting

  11. Traumatic brain injury: Comparison between autopsy and ante-mortem CT.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panzer, Stephanie; Covaliov, Lidia; Augat, Peter; Peschel, Oliver

    2017-11-01

    The aim of this study was to compare pathological findings after traumatic brain injury between autopsy and ante-mortem computed tomography (CT). A second aim was to identify changes in these findings between the primary posttraumatic CT and the last follow-up CT before death. Through the collaboration between clinical radiology and forensic medicine, 45 patients with traumatic brain injury were investigated. These patients had undergone ante-mortem CT as well as autopsy. During autopsy, the brain was cut in fronto-parallel slices directly after removal without additional fixation or subsequent histology. Typical findings of traumatic brain injury were compared between autopsy and radiology. Additionally, these findings were compared between the primary CT and the last follow-up CT before death. The comparison between autopsy and radiology revealed a high specificity (≥80%) in most of the findings. Sensitivity and positive predictive value were high (≥80%) in almost half of the findings. Sixteen patients had undergone craniotomy with subsequent follow-up CT. Thirteen conservatively treated patients had undergone a follow-up CT. Comparison between the primary CT and the last ante-mortem CT revealed marked changes in the presence and absence of findings, especially in patients with severe traumatic brain injury requiring decompression craniotomy. The main pathological findings of traumatic brain injury were comparable between clinical ante-mortem CT examinations and autopsy. Comparison between the primary CT after trauma and the last ante-mortem CT revealed marked changes in the findings, especially in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. Hence, clinically routine ante-mortem CT should be included in the process of autopsy interpretation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.

  12. Ant-plant mutualism: a dietary by-product of a tropical ant's macronutrient requirements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arcila Hernández, Lina M; Sanders, Jon G; Miller, Gabriel A; Ravenscraft, Alison; Frederickson, Megan E

    2017-12-01

    Many arboreal ants depend on myrmecophytic plants for both food and shelter; in return, these ants defend their host plants against herbivores, which are often insects. Ant-plant and other mutualisms do not necessarily involve the exchange of costly rewards or services; they may instead result from by-product benefits, or positive outcomes that do not entail a cost for one or both partners. Here, we examined whether the plant-ant Allomerus octoarticulatus pays a short-term cost to defend their host plants against herbivores, or whether plant defense is a by-product benefit of ant foraging for insect prey. Because the food offered by ant-plants is usually nitrogen-poor, arboreal ants may balance their diets by consuming insect prey or associating with microbial symbionts to acquire nitrogen, potentially shifting the costs and benefits of plant defense for the ant partner. To determine the effect of ant diet on an ant-plant mutualism, we compared the behavior, morphology, fitness, stable isotope signatures, and gaster microbiomes of A. octoarticulatus ants nesting in Cordia nodosa trees maintained for nearly a year with or without insect herbivores. At the end of the experiment, ants from herbivore exclosures preferred protein-rich baits more than ants in the control (i.e., herbivores present) treatment. Furthermore, workers in the control treatment were heavier than in the herbivore-exclusion treatment, and worker mass predicted reproductive output, suggesting that foraging for insect prey directly increased ant colony fitness. The gaster microbiome of ants was not significantly affected by the herbivore exclusion treatment. We conclude that the defensive behavior of some phytoecious ants is a by-product of their need for external protein sources; thus, the consumption of insect herbivores by ants benefits both the ant colony and the host plant. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  13. An Improved Hierarchical Genetic Algorithm for Sheet Cutting Scheduling with Process Constraints

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yunqing Rao

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available For the first time, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm for sheet cutting problem which involves n cutting patterns for m non-identical parallel machines with process constraints has been proposed in the integrated cutting stock model. The objective of the cutting scheduling problem is minimizing the weighted completed time. A mathematical model for this problem is presented, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm (ant colony—hierarchical genetic algorithm is developed for better solution, and a hierarchical coding method is used based on the characteristics of the problem. Furthermore, to speed up convergence rates and resolve local convergence issues, a kind of adaptive crossover probability and mutation probability is used in this algorithm. The computational result and comparison prove that the presented approach is quite effective for the considered problem.

  14. An improved hierarchical genetic algorithm for sheet cutting scheduling with process constraints.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rao, Yunqing; Qi, Dezhong; Li, Jinling

    2013-01-01

    For the first time, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm for sheet cutting problem which involves n cutting patterns for m non-identical parallel machines with process constraints has been proposed in the integrated cutting stock model. The objective of the cutting scheduling problem is minimizing the weighted completed time. A mathematical model for this problem is presented, an improved hierarchical genetic algorithm (ant colony--hierarchical genetic algorithm) is developed for better solution, and a hierarchical coding method is used based on the characteristics of the problem. Furthermore, to speed up convergence rates and resolve local convergence issues, a kind of adaptive crossover probability and mutation probability is used in this algorithm. The computational result and comparison prove that the presented approach is quite effective for the considered problem.

  15. BOREAS TE-9 NSA Leaf Chlorophyll Density

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Forrest G. (Editor); Curd, Shelaine (Editor); Margolis, Hank; Sy, Mikailou

    2000-01-01

    The BOREAS TE-9 team collected several data sets related to chemical and photosynthetic properties of leaves in boreal forest tree species. These data were collected to help provide an explanation of potential seasonal and spatial changes of leaf pigment properties in boreal forest species at the NSA. At different dates (FFC-Winter, FFC-Thaw, IFC-1, IFC-2, and IMC-3), foliage samples were collected from the upper third of the canopy for five NSA sites (YJP, OJP, OBS, UBS, and OA) near Thompson, Manitoba. Subsamples of 100 needles for black spruce, 20 needles for jack pine, and single leaf for trembling aspen were cut into pieces and immersed in a 20-mL DMF aliquot in a Nalgene test tube. The extracted foliage materials were then oven-dried at 68 C for 48 hours and weighed. Extracted leaf dry weight was converted to a total leaf area basis to express the chlorophyll content in mg/sq cm of total leaf area. The data are provided in tabular ASCII files. The data files are available on a CD-ROM (see document number 20010000884), or from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

  16. Simultaneous minimization of leaf travel distance and tongue-and-groove effect for segmental intensity-modulated radiation therapy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dai Jianrong; Que, William

    2004-01-01

    This paper introduces a method to simultaneously minimize the leaf travel distance and the tongue-and-groove effect for IMRT leaf sequences to be delivered in segmental mode. The basic idea is to add a large enough number of openings through cutting or splitting existing openings for those leaf pairs with openings fewer than the number of segments so that all leaf pairs have the same number of openings. The cutting positions are optimally determined with a simulated annealing technique called adaptive simulated annealing. The optimization goal is set to minimize the weighted summation of the leaf travel distance and tongue-and-groove effect. Its performance was evaluated with 19 beams from three clinical cases; one brain, one head-and-neck and one prostate case. The results show that it can reduce the leaf travel distance and (or) tongue-and-groove effect; the reduction of the leaf travel distance reaches its maximum of about 50% when minimized alone; the reduction of the tongue-and-groove reaches its maximum of about 70% when minimized alone. The maximum reduction in the leaf travel distance translates to a 1 to 2 min reduction in treatment delivery time per fraction, depending on leaf speed. If the method is implemented clinically, it could result in significant savings in treatment delivery time, and also result in significant reduction in the wear-and-tear of MLC mechanics

  17. Ant Larval Demand Reduces Aphid Colony Growth Rates in an Ant-Aphid Interaction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James M. Cook

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available 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 experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies. Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies (two separate colonies were used and previous diet (sugar only or sugar and protein. We found that the presence of larvae in the ant colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates. Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest. Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes.

  18. Dynamic extrafloral nectar production: the timing of leaf damage affects the defensive response in Senna mexicana var. chapmanii (Fabaceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Ian M; Koptur, Suzanne

    2015-01-01

    • Extrafloral nectar (EFN) mediates food for protection mutualisms between plants and defensive insects. Understanding sources of variation in EFN production is important because such variations may affect the number and identity of visitors and the effectiveness of plant defense. We investigated the influence of plant developmental stage, time of day, leaf age, and leaf damage on EFN production in Senna mexicana var. chapmanii. The observed patterns of variation in EFN production were compared with those predicted by optimal defense theory.• Greenhouse experiments with potted plants were conducted to determine how plant age, time of day, and leaf damage affected EFN production. A subsequent field study was conducted to determine how leaf damage, and the resulting increase in EFN production, affected ant visitation in S. chapmanii.• More nectar was produced at night and by older plants. Leaf damage resulted in increased EFN production, and the magnitude of the response was greater in plants damaged in the morning than those damaged at night. Damage to young leaves elicited a stronger defensive response than damage to older leaves, in line with optimal defense theory. Damage to the leaves of S. chapmanii also resulted in significantly higher ant visitation in the field.• Extrafloral nectar is an inducible defense in S. chapmanii. Developmental variations in its production support the growth differentiation balance hypothesis, while within-plant variations and damage responses support optimal defense theory. © 2015 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  19. Intercropping of taro and sunn hemp with cutting periods during the cycle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Nacir Colombo

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Intercropping using legumes is one of the ways to protect the main crop, and in long term improve the physical and chemical properties of the soil. The aim of this work was to evaluate the intercropping of Colocasia esculenta (L. Schott (taro and the tropical legume Crotalaria juncea L. (sunn hemp, cutting sunn hemp at ten periods during the cycle. The experiment was carried out under field conditions between 09/23/2010 and 06/04/2011. It consisted of 11 treatments related to the 10 cutting times of sunn hemp (55, 70, 85,100, 115, 130, 145, 160, 190, and 220 days after sowing - DAS plus a control of taro with no sunn hemp. During the cycle, taro was evaluated for plant height and incidence of leaf burn. At the time of cutting the sunn hemp, the plant height, fresh and dry matter masses, and nutrient content of the biomass were calculated. During taro harvest, we evaluated the productivity of the mother rhizomes and classified the cormels. Taro plants shaded by sunn hemp showed a lower incidence of leaf burn. The sunn hemp cut from 145 DAS onwards affected the yield of comercial rhizomes and total and agroeconomic indexes. Sunn hemp cut up to 130 DAS provided better performance of taro, without compromising productivity and economic indicators, with the highest amounts of N and K observed in the biomass cut at 115 DAS.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... 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...

  1. Anti-hyperglycemic effect and glucose tolerance of guajava (Psidium guajava L.) leaf ethanol extract in diabetic rats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yanis Musdja, Muhammad; Mahendra, Feizar; Musir, Ahmad

    2017-12-01

    Traditionally guava (Psidium guajava L) leaf is used for treatment of various ailments like diarrhea, wounds, rheumatism, anti-allergy, ant-spasmodic, etc, as folk medicine. The aim of this research is to know the effect of hypoglycemia and glucose tolerance of ethanol extract of guava leaf against male white rat. The guajava leaf was obtained from Balitro Bogor. Preparation of guajava leaf extract was done by cold maceration extraction technique using ethanol 70%. Male albino rats were made into diabetics using the alloxan method. Rats were divided into 6 groups, as a comparative drug for anti-hyperglycemic used glibenclamid and as a comparative drug for glucose tolerance used acarbose. The result of blood glucometer test showed that ethanol extract 70% of guajava leaf had effect as anti-hyperglycemic and glucose tolerance with no significant difference with glibenclamid drug as anti-hyperglycemic and acarbose as glucose tolerance drug.

  2. Fire Ant Bites

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... 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 ...

  3. Dependence of plant biometrics of cutting lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. varietis on the concentration of microfertilizer Avatar-1

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    В. Б. Кутовенко

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Purpose. To investigate the variability of plant biometrics of cutting lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. varieties depending on the concentration of microfertilizer Avatar-1. Methods. Field study, biometric technique, comparative approach, statistical evaluation, generalization. Results. Dependence of the plant height, the diameter of the leaf rosette, the number of leaves per plant, the leaf area of plants on the concentration of microfertilizer Avatar-1 was defined. Investigations of cutting lettuce ‘Afitsyon’ and ‘Concord’ varieties by Dutch breeding were conducted in 2016–2017 in the collection sites of the department of vegetable growing in the scientific-experimental field  “Fruit and vegetable garden” of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine. In order to determine dependence of plant biometrics of cutting lettuce varieties on the concentration of complex microfertilizer Avatar-1, the following scheme was used for the both varieties: variant 1 – water (control; variant 2 – 0,10% solution; variant 3 – 0,25% solution; variant 4 – 0,50% solution. Plants were treated with microfertilizer three times during the vegetative period. Alterations of plant biometrics of cutting lettuce ‘Afitsyon’ and ‘Concord’ varieties  depending on the concentration of complex microfertilizer Avatar-1 was studied. Conclusions. It was found that in case of three-time plant treatment with complex microfertilizer Avatar-1 at the time of harvesting, the best plant biometrics was registered in variant 3 (concentration 0,25% for the both ‘Afitsyon’ and ‘Concord’ varie­ties of cutting lettuce. The height of plants of the cutting lettuce in ‘Afitsyon’ variety exceeded this figure in ‘Concord variety by 1,1–1,4 cm. The concentration of microfertilizer had no significant effect on the diameter of the leaf rosette of ‘Concord’ variety (25,1–25,9 см. The diame­ter of the leaf rosette of

  4. Ant aggression and evolutionary stability in plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oña, L; Lachmann, M

    2011-03-01

    Mutualistic partners derive a benefit from their interaction, but this benefit can come at a cost. This is the case for plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualistic associations. In exchange for protection from herbivores provided by the resident ants, plants supply various kinds of resources or nests to the ants. Most ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms are horizontally transmitted, and therefore, partners share an interest in growth but not in reproduction. This lack of alignment in fitness interests between plants and ants drives a conflict between them: ants can attack pollinators that cross-fertilize the host plants. Using a mathematical model, we define a threshold in ant aggressiveness determining pollinator survival or elimination on the host plant. In our model we observed that, all else being equal, facultative interactions result in pollinator extinction for lower levels of ant aggressiveness than obligatory interactions. We propose that the capacity to discriminate pollinators from herbivores should not often evolve in ants, and when it does it will be when the plants exhibit limited dispersal in an environment that is not seed saturated so that each seed produced can effectively generate a new offspring or if ants acquire an extra benefit from pollination (e.g. if ants eat fruit). We suggest specific mutualism examples where these hypotheses can be tested empirically. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2010 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  5. Monocot leaves are eaten less than dicot leaves in tropical lowland rain forests: correlations with toughness and leaf presentation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Grubb, P.J.; Jackson, R.V.; Barberis, I.M.

    2008-01-01

    . It was hypothesized that (a) losses of leaf area to herbivorous invertebrates are generally greatest during leaf expansion and smaller for monocots than for dicots, and (b) where losses after expansion are appreciable any difference between monocots and dicots then is smaller than that found during expansion. Methods......: At six sites on four continents, estimates were made of lamina area loss from the four most recently mature leaves of focal monocots and of the nearest dicot shoot. Measurements of leaf mass per unit area, and the concentrations of water and nitrogen were made for many of the species. In Panama...... of leaf mass per unit area, or concentrations of water or nitrogen. At only one site was the increase in loss from first to fourth mature leaf significant (also large and the same in monocots and dicots), but the losses sustained during expansion were much smaller in the monocots. In the leaf-cutter ant...

  6. Antifungal effects of sisal leaf juice on Lasiodiplodia theobromae ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Among the nine varieties, the inhibition effects of hybrid 76416 and Agave americana were the best with absolute inhibition of all the leaf juice treatments against the mycelial growth, followed by Agave Amaniensis, Agave virdis, Agave angustifolia and Hybrid 11648. The inhibitory effect of some fresh juices would be cut ...

  7. Physical and biological determinants of collective behavioural dynamics in complex systems: pulling chain formation in the nest-weaving ant Oecophylla smaragdina.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Bochynek

    Full Text Available The evolution of nest weaving, the inclusion of larval silk in the nest walls, is considered one of the pinnacles of cooperative behaviour in social insects. Within the four ant genera in which this has evolved, Oecophylla are unique in being the only group that precedes the deposition of larval silk by actively manipulating the leaf substrate to form a nest chamber. Here we provide the first descriptions of the manipulation process within a complex-systems framework. Substrate manipulation involves individual ants selecting, grasping and attempting to pull the edge of the substrate. These individuals are then joined by nest mates at the work site, who either select a site beside the first individual or grasp the body of the first or preceding worker to form a chain of pulling ants that together drag and bend the substrate. Site selection by individual workers is not random when confronted with an artificial leaf, with individuals more likely to grasp a substrate at its tip rather than along a more broad edge. The activity of additional individuals is also not random, with their activity being grouped in both space and time. Additional individuals are more likely to join an existing biting individual or pulling group. The positive feedback associated with the early stages of pulling behaviour appears typical for many of the collective actions observed in social insects.

  8. Effects of an ultraviolet-visible rays translation film on growth of leaf or root vegetables

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hamamoto, H.; Ueno, K.; Yamazaki, K.

    2008-01-01

    A new film that absorbs ultraviolet radiation (UV) and fluoresces red light was tested as a rain shelter for the cultivation of turnip (Brassica rapa L.), spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), and Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum L.). The effect of this UV-visible ray translation film on various growth parameters (height, fresh and dry weight, leaf area and leaf sheath diameter) was compared with those under normal clear film, new UV-cut film, and used UV-cut film respectively. The transmissivity of UV was about 70% for the normal clear film, about 20% for the UV-visible ray translation film and used UV-cut film, and about 10% for the new UV-cut film. The transmissivity of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) was about 90% for the normal clear film and the new UV-cut film, and about 80% for the used UV-cut film, while the mean transmissivity of PAR was about 80% for the UV-visible ray translation film, with about 60% transmissivity of blue radiation and over 90% of red radiation. The UV-visible ray translation film did not promote the growth of turnip roots but did significantly promote the growth of spinaches and Welsh onions compared with the normal clear film. The UV-visible ray translation film cover promoted the growth of spinaches and Welsh onions to a similar or greater extent compared to the new UV-cut film and also to a greater extent compared to the used UV-cut film

  9. AntStar: Enhancing Optimization Problems by Integrating an Ant System and A⁎ Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammed Faisal

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Recently, nature-inspired techniques have become valuable to many intelligent systems in different fields of technology and science. Among these techniques, Ant Systems (AS have become a valuable technique for intelligent systems in different fields. AS is a computational system inspired by the foraging behavior of ants and intended to solve practical optimization problems. In this paper, we introduce the AntStar algorithm, which is swarm intelligence based. AntStar enhances the optimization and performance of an AS by integrating the AS and A⁎ algorithm. Applying the AntStar algorithm to the single-source shortest-path problem has been done to ensure the efficiency of the proposed AntStar algorithm. The experimental result of the proposed algorithm illustrated the robustness and accuracy of the AntStar algorithm.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... that give us a more detailed impression of the 1-ANT’s performance. Furthermore, the experiments also deal with the question whether using many ant solutions in one iteration can decrease the total runtime....

  11. Microorganisms transported by ants induce changes in floral nectar composition of an ant-pollinated plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vega, Clara; Herrera, Carlos M

    2013-04-01

    Interactions between plants and ants abound in nature and have significant consequences for ecosystem functioning. Recently, it has been suggested that nectar-foraging ants transport microorganisms to flowers; more specifically, they transport yeasts, which can potentially consume sugars and alter nectar composition. Therefore, ants could indirectly change nectar sugar profile, an important floral feature involved in the plant-pollinator mutualism. But this novel role for ants has never been tested. We here investigate the effects of nectarivorous ants and their associated yeasts on the floral nectar sugar composition of an ant-pollinated plant. Differences in the nectar sugar composition of ant-excluded and ant-visited flowers were examined in 278 samples by using high-performance liquid-chromatography. The importance of the genetic identity and density of ant-transported basidiomycetous and ascomycetous yeasts on the variation of nectar traits was also evaluated. Ant visitation had significant effects on nectar sugar composition. The nectar of ant-visited flowers contained significantly more fructose, more glucose, and less sucrose than the nectar of ant-excluded flowers, but these effects were context dependent. Nectar changes were correlated with the density of yeast cells in nectar. The magnitude of the effects of ant-transported ascomycetes was much higher than that of basiodiomycetes. Ants and their associated yeasts induce changes in nectar sugar traits, reducing the chemical control of the plant over this important floral trait. The potential relevance of this new role for ants as indirect nectar modifiers is a rich topic for future research into the ecology of ant-flower interactions.

  12. Diversity of the ground-dwelling ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of a moist, Montane forest of the semi-arid Brazilian "Nordeste".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hites, N L; Mourão, M A N; Araújo, F O; Melo, M V C; de Biseau, J C; Quinet, Y

    2005-01-01

    Although the so called "green islands" of the semi-arid Brazilian "Nordeste" are economically, socially, and ecologically important. relatively little is known about their biodiversity. We present the results of the first survey of the ground-dwelling ant fauna of a secondary forest in the Serra de Baturité (4 degrees 05'-4 degrees 40' S / 38 degrees 30'-39 degrees 10' W), among the biggest of the moist, montane forests of the state of Ceará, Brazil. From February to March 2001, samples were taken every 50 m along twelve 200 m transects, each separated from the others by at least 50 m and cut on either side of a recreational trail. Where possible, two transects were cut from the same starting point on the trail, one on either side. At each sample site two methods were used, as recommended in the ALL. protocol: a pitfall trap and the treatment of 1 m2 of leaf litter with the Winkler extractor. The myrmecofauna of the Serra de Baturité is quite diverse: individuals from 72 species, 23 genera, and six subfamilies were collected. The observed patterns of specific richness show the same tendencies noted in other tropical regions, particularly the frequency of capture distribution with many rare and few abundant species. Differences with the Atlantic and Amazonian forests were also observed, especially the relative importance of the Ponerinac and Formicinae subfamilies, indicating a possible influence of the surrounding "caatinga" (savanna-like ecosystem) on the myrmecofauna of the moist, montane forest.

  13. Using Decision Analysis to Select Facility Maintenance Management Information Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-01

    Hart, A., & Ratnieks, F. L. (2002). Waste management in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Behavioral Ecology , 224-231. Heintz, J., Pollin ... Pollin , & Garret-Peltier, 2009). Maintenance departments can help themselves by implementing an information system to help better manage personnel...Wastewater collection system infrastructure research needs in the USA. Urban Water , 21-29. Takata, S., Kimura, F., van Houten, F., Westkamper, E

  14. The effect of air pollution and other environmental stressors on leaf fluctuating asymmetry and specific leaf area of Salix alba L

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wuytack, Tatiana, E-mail: tatiana.wuytack@ua.ac.be [Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp (Belgium); Wuyts, Karen, E-mail: karen.wuyts@ugent.be [Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp (Belgium); Laboratory of Forestry, Department of Forest and Water Management, Ghent University, Geraardsbergsesteenweg 267, B-9090 Gontrode (Melle) (Belgium); Van Dongen, Stefan, E-mail: stefan.vandongen@ua.ac.be [Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp (Belgium); Baeten, Lander, E-mail: lander.baeten@ugent.be [Laboratory of Forestry, Department of Forest and Water Management, Ghent University, Geraardsbergsesteenweg 267, B-9090 Gontrode (Melle) (Belgium); Kardel, Fatemeh, E-mail: fatemeh.kardel@ua.ac.be [Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp (Belgium); Verheyen, Kris, E-mail: kris.verheyen@ugent.be [Laboratory of Forestry, Department of Forest and Water Management, Ghent University, Geraardsbergsesteenweg 267, B-9090 Gontrode, Melle (Belgium); Samson, Roeland, E-mail: roeland.samson@ua.ac.be [Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp (Belgium)

    2011-10-15

    We aimed at evaluating the effect of low-level air pollution on leaf area fluctuating asymmetry (FAA) and specific leaf area (SLA) of Salix alba L., taking into account other environmental factors. Cuttings were grown in standardized conditions in the near vicinity of air quality measuring stations in Belgium. Variability of SLA and FAA between measuring stations explained 83% and 7.26%, respectively, of the total variability. FAA was not influenced by air pollution or environmental factors such as shading, herbivory, air temperature and humidity. SLA was increased by an increase in shadow, while NO{sub x} and O{sub 3} concentrations had only a marginal influence. The influence of SO{sub 2} concentration was negligible. Although our data analysis suggests a relationship between SLA and NO{sub x}/O{sub 3} concentration, the absence of a straightforward relationship between FAA and SLA and air pollution still questions the usefulness of these bio-indicators for monitoring air pollution. - Highlights: > Leaf characteristics of white willow as possible bio-indicators for air quality. > Fluctuating asymmetry is not a good bio-indicator for monitoring the air quality. > Shadow increases specific leaf area. > NO{sub x} and O{sub 3} change specific leaf area of white willow. - Specific leaf area of S. alba increased with increasing shade and, in less extent, with increasing NO{sub x} and decreasing O{sub 3} concentration, while leaf asymmetry did not respond to air pollution

  15. The effect of air pollution and other environmental stressors on leaf fluctuating asymmetry and specific leaf area of Salix alba L

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wuytack, Tatiana; Wuyts, Karen; Van Dongen, Stefan; Baeten, Lander; Kardel, Fatemeh; Verheyen, Kris; Samson, Roeland

    2011-01-01

    We aimed at evaluating the effect of low-level air pollution on leaf area fluctuating asymmetry (FAA) and specific leaf area (SLA) of Salix alba L., taking into account other environmental factors. Cuttings were grown in standardized conditions in the near vicinity of air quality measuring stations in Belgium. Variability of SLA and FAA between measuring stations explained 83% and 7.26%, respectively, of the total variability. FAA was not influenced by air pollution or environmental factors such as shading, herbivory, air temperature and humidity. SLA was increased by an increase in shadow, while NO x and O 3 concentrations had only a marginal influence. The influence of SO 2 concentration was negligible. Although our data analysis suggests a relationship between SLA and NO x /O 3 concentration, the absence of a straightforward relationship between FAA and SLA and air pollution still questions the usefulness of these bio-indicators for monitoring air pollution. - Highlights: → Leaf characteristics of white willow as possible bio-indicators for air quality. → Fluctuating asymmetry is not a good bio-indicator for monitoring the air quality. → Shadow increases specific leaf area. → NO x and O 3 change specific leaf area of white willow. - Specific leaf area of S. alba increased with increasing shade and, in less extent, with increasing NO x and decreasing O 3 concentration, while leaf asymmetry did not respond to air pollution

  16. Leaf area estimation of cassava from linear dimensions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    SAMARA ZANETTI

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to determine predictor models of leaf area of cassava from linear leaf measurements. The experiment was carried out in greenhouse in the municipality of Botucatu, São Paulo state, Brazil. The stem cuttings with 5-7 nodes of the cultivar IAC 576-70 were planted in boxes filled with about 320 liters of soil, keeping soil moisture at field capacity, monitored by puncturing tensiometers. At 80 days after planting, 140 leaves were randomly collected from the top, middle third and base of cassava plants. We evaluated the length and width of the central lobe of leaves, number of lobes and leaf area. The measurements of leaf areas were correlated with the length and width of the central lobe and the number of lobes of the leaves, and adjusted to polynomial and multiple regression models. The linear function that used the length of the central lobe LA = -69.91114 + 15.06462L and linear multiple functions LA = -69.9188 + 15.5102L + 0.0197726K - 0.0768998J or LA = -69.9346 + 15.0106L + 0.188931K - 0.0264323H are suitable models to estimate leaf area of cassava cultivar IAC 576-70.

  17. Effect of weed control treatments and cutting frequency on weed dry ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Two experiments were conducted during the rainy seasons of 2012 and 2013 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to evaluate the growth and leaf yield of Telfairia occidentials Hook F. as influenced by weed control treatments and cutting frequencies.

  18. Measurement and modelling ozone fluxes over a cut and fertilized grassland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Mészáros

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available During the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment between 20 May and 15 June 2000, the ozone flux was measured by the eddy covariance method above intensively managed grassland in Braunschweig, northern Germany. Three different phases of vegetation were covered during the measuring campaign: tall grass canopy before cut (29 May 2000, short grass after cut, and re-growing vegetation after fertilization (5 June 2000. Results show that beside weather conditions, the agricultural activities significantly influenced the O3 fluxes. After the cut the daytime average of the deposition velocity (vd decreased from 0.44 cm s−1 to 0.26 cm s−1 and increased again to 0.32 cm s−1 during the third period. Detailed model calculations were carried out to estimate deposition velocity and ozone flux. The model captures the general diurnal patter of deposition, with vd daytime values of 0.52, 0.24, and 0.35 cm s−1 in the first, second and third period, respectively. Thus the model predicts a stronger response to the cut than the measurements, which is nevertheless smaller than expected on the basis of change in leaf area. The results show that both cut and fertilization have complex impacts on fluxes. Reduction of vegetation by cutting decreased the stomatal flux initially greatly, but the stomatal flux recovered to 80% of its original value within a week. At the same time, the non-stomatal flux appears to have increased directly after the cut, which the model partially explains by an increase in the deposition to the soil. A missing sink after the cut may be the chemical interaction with biogenic volatile organic compounds released after the cut and exposed senescent plant parts, or the increase in soil NO emissions after fertilization. Increased canopy temperatures may also have promoted ozone destruction on leaf surfaces. These results demonstrate the importance of canopy

  19. The ant nest of Crematogaster rogenhoferi (Mayr, 1879 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae at Tarutao National Park, Satun Province, Southern Thailand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suparoek Watanasit

    2006-07-01

    Full Text Available Nests of the ant Crematogaster rogenhoferi (Mayr, 1879 were investigated at Tarutao National Park, Satun Province. Fifteen ant nests were selected at random along Phante Malacca Bay between the 2-7 March 2004. They built their nests from leaf and stick debris on branches of trees, at between 248-469 cm above the ground level. The vegetation on which nests were built was composed of 5 species: Vitex pinnata L., Oleasalicifolia Wall, Syzygium gratum (Wight, Ardisia elliptica Thum and one unknown species. The physical features of each nest were recorded. The average dimensions of the nest width and length were 10.65±2.57 cm and 22.10±1.22 cm, respectively.Each nest was cut into small pieces for counting the numbers of each caste and developing stages. The results showed that the average number of queens, winged females, males and workers in each nest were 1.53±0.38, 1,753.33±506.55, 4,970.67±2,227.00, 15,577.93±2,637.84 respectively, while the developing stages of pupae, larvae, eggs were 1,589.93±480.37, 4,113.20±1,469.49 and 1,942.80±741.67 respectively. Thus the total number of ants in the population in each nest was 29,949.40±5,358.31.The relationships between the number of castes, developing stages and physical features of the nests were explored. The Spearman Rank Correlation indicated that the width of nest positively correlated with the number of queens (rs = 0.862, p = . 000, winged females (rs = 0.691, p = 0.004 and workers (rs = 0.667, p = 0.007. A comparison of the effects of vegetation types on the number of castes and development stages, showed that vegetation type did have an influence but only on the number of the worker caste (F = 7.712, P = 0.011, one-way ANOVA. Most workers were associated with nests from Vitex pinnata. No nests were found on the dominant tree species of the area probably due to its ability to produce an insect repellant oil.

  20. Does shoot water status limit leaf expansion of nitrogen-deprived barley?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dodd, I C; Munns, Rana; Passioura, J B

    2002-08-01

    The role of shoot water status in mediating the decline in leaf elongation rate of nitrogen (N)-deprived barley plants was assessed. Plants were grown at two levels of N supply, with or without the application of pneumatic pressure to the roots. Applying enough pressure (balancing pressure) to keep xylem sap continuously bleeding from the cut surface of a leaf allowed the plants to remain at full turgor throughout the experiments. Plants from which N was withheld required a greater balancing pressure during both day and night. This difference in balancing pressure was greater at high (2.0 kPa) than low (1.2 kPa) atmospheric vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Pressurizing the roots did not prevent the decline in leaf elongation rate induced by withholding N at either high or low VPD. Thus low shoot water status did not limit leaf growth of N-deprived plants.

  1. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G

    2014-06-22

    In horizontally transmitted mutualisms, mutualists disperse separately and reassemble in each generation with partners genetically unrelated to those in the previous generation. Because of this, there should be no selection on either partner to enhance the other's reproductive output directly. In symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms, myrmecophytic plants host defensive ant colonies, and ants defend the plants from herbivores. Plants and ants disperse separately, and, although ant defence can indirectly increase plant reproduction by reducing folivory, it is unclear whether ants can also directly increase plant reproduction by defending seeds. The neotropical tree Cordia alliodora hosts colonies of Azteca pittieri ants. The trees produce domatia where ants nest at stem nodes and also at the node between the peduncle and the rachides of the infloresence. Unlike the stem domatia, these reproductive domatia senesce after the tree fruits each year. In this study, I show that the tree's resident ant colony moves into these ephemeral reproductive domatia, where they tend honeydew-producing scale insects and patrol the nearby developing fruits. The presence of ants significantly reduced pre-dispersal seed predation by Amblycerus bruchid beetles, thereby directly increasing plant reproductive output.

  2. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clemmensen, Kåre; Enghild, Jan J; Ivarsen, Anders

    2017-01-01

    -ray scans and electron microscopy. The purpose of this study was to further characterize "ant-egg" cataract using modern technology and display the history of the "ant-eggs" after cataract extraction. METHODS: "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT...

  3. Ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae from the seasonally dry tropical forest of northeastern Brazil: a compilation from field surveys in Bahia and literature records

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica A. Ulysséa

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae from the seasonally dry tropical forest of northeastern Brazil: a compilation from field surveys in Bahia and literature records. The Caatingas occur predominantly in northeastern Brazil and comparatively it is the biome that received less attention than any other ecosystem in Brazil, representing the region where invertebrate groups are less known. We present here the first list of ant species of the Caatingas, compiling information from the literature, from a study of samples preserved in alcohol in the Laboratory of Entomology (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, and from a field survey conducted in Milagres, Bahia, submitting standardized 1-m² samples of the leaf-litter to Winkler extractors. Summing all information, 11 subfamilies, 61 genera and 173 species (plus one subspecies of ants are recognized in the biome. This species number does not consider morphospecies that could not be named due to the lack of reliable recent taxonomic information for some Neotropical ant genera. The list presented here for ant species of the Caatingas is therefore underestimated, but it is relevant because it allows the identification of areas to be sampled in order to improve our knowledge of the diversity of ants in this biome.

  4. How ants drop out: ant abundance on tropical mountains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longino, John T; Branstetter, Michael G; Colwell, Robert K

    2014-01-01

    In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and examined the impact of elevation (as a proxy for temperature) and community species richness. Sites were intentionally chosen to minimize variation in precipitation and seasonality. From sea level to 1500 m ant abundance very gradually declined, community richness declined more rapidly than abundance, and the local frequency of the locally most common species increased. These results suggest that within this elevational zone, density compensation is acting, maintaining high ant abundance as richness declines. In contrast, in sites above 1500 m, ant abundance dropped abruptly to much lower levels. Among these high montane sites, community richness explained much more of the variation in abundance than elevation, and there was no evidence of density compensation. The relative stability of abundance below 1500 m may be caused by opposing effects of temperature on productivity and metabolism. Lower temperatures may decrease productivity and thus the amount of food available for consumers, but slower metabolisms of consumers may allow maintenance of higher biomass at lower resource supply rates. Ant communities at these lower elevations may be highly interactive, the result of continuous habitat presence over geological time. High montane sites may be ephemeral in geological time, resulting in non-interactive communities dominated by historical and stochastic processes. Abundance in these sites may be determined by the number of species that manage to colonize and/or avoid extinction on mountaintops.

  5. How ants drop out: ant abundance on tropical mountains.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John T Longino

    Full Text Available In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica and examined the impact of elevation (as a proxy for temperature and community species richness. Sites were intentionally chosen to minimize variation in precipitation and seasonality. From sea level to 1500 m ant abundance very gradually declined, community richness declined more rapidly than abundance, and the local frequency of the locally most common species increased. These results suggest that within this elevational zone, density compensation is acting, maintaining high ant abundance as richness declines. In contrast, in sites above 1500 m, ant abundance dropped abruptly to much lower levels. Among these high montane sites, community richness explained much more of the variation in abundance than elevation, and there was no evidence of density compensation. The relative stability of abundance below 1500 m may be caused by opposing effects of temperature on productivity and metabolism. Lower temperatures may decrease productivity and thus the amount of food available for consumers, but slower metabolisms of consumers may allow maintenance of higher biomass at lower resource supply rates. Ant communities at these lower elevations may be highly interactive, the result of continuous habitat presence over geological time. High montane sites may be ephemeral in geological time, resulting in non-interactive communities dominated by historical and stochastic processes. Abundance in these sites may be determined by the number of species that manage to colonize and/or avoid extinction on mountaintops.

  6. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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......-review shows that four out of five tested ant species deposit pheromones that repel herbivorous prey from their host plants.......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...

  7. Nectar Theft and Floral Ant-Repellence: A Link between Nectar Volume and Ant-Repellent Traits?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballantyne, Gavin; Willmer, Pat

    2012-01-01

    As flower visitors, ants rarely benefit a plant. They are poor pollinators, and can also disrupt pollination by deterring other flower visitors, or by stealing nectar. Some plant species therefore possess floral ant-repelling traits. But why do particular species have such traits when others do not? In a dry forest in Costa Rica, of 49 plant species around a third were ant-repellent at very close proximity to a common generalist ant species, usually via repellent pollen. Repellence was positively correlated with the presence of large nectar volumes. Repellent traits affected ant species differently, some influencing the behaviour of just a few species and others producing more generalised ant-repellence. Our results suggest that ant-repellent floral traits may often not be pleiotropic, but instead could have been selected for as a defence against ant thieves in plant species that invest in large volumes of nectar. This conclusion highlights to the importance of research into the cost of nectar production in future studies into ant-flower interactions. PMID:22952793

  8. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

    of ant pheromones may be sufficient to repel pest insects from ant territories. The study of ant semiochemicals is in its infancy, yet, evidence for their potential use in pest management is starting to build up. Pheromones from four of five tested ant species have been shown to deter herbivorous insect...... prey and competing ant species are also deterred by ant deposits, whereas ant symbionts may be attracted to them. Based on these promising initial findings, it seems advisable to further elucidate the signaling properties of ant pheromones and to test and develop their use in future pest management....

  9. Combined preharvest and postharvest treatments affect rapid leaf wilting in Bouvardia cut flowers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schouten, Rob E.; Dien, van Luka; Shahin, Arwa; Heimovaara, Sjoukje; Meeteren, van Uulke; Verdonk, Julian C.

    2018-01-01

    Bouvardia is an ornamental shrub, commercially cultivated as flowering stem. Occasionally, negative water balance, which leads to rapid leaf wilting, ends vase life immediately. This work studies the effect of preharvest and postharvest conditions on vase life, water uptake and transpiration.

  10. First observation of Dorylus ant feeding in Budongo chimpanzees supports absence of stick-tool culture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mugisha, Steven; Zuberbühler, Klaus; Hobaiter, Catherine

    2016-07-01

    The use of stick- or probe-tools is a chimpanzee universal, recorded in all long-term study populations across Africa, except one: Budongo, Uganda. Here, after 25 years of observation, stick-tool use remains absent under both natural circumstances and strong experimental scaffolding. Instead, the chimpanzees employ a rich repertoire of leaf-tools for a variety of dietary and hygiene tasks. One use of stick-tools in other communities is in feeding on the aggressive Dorylus 'army ant' species, consumed by chimpanzees at all long-term study sites outside of mid-Western Uganda. Here we report the first observation of army-ant feeding in Budongo, in which individuals from the Waibira chimpanzee community employed detached leaves to feed on a ground swarm. We describe the behaviour and discuss whether or not it can be considered tool use, together with its implication for the absence of stick-tool 'culture' in Budongo chimpanzees.

  11. Influence of leaf number and nodes on the rooting of semiwoody cuttings of flame vine

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marília Milani

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta (Ker-Gawl. Miers is a semihardwood vine, vigorous, native, native, occurring in all Brazilian biomes and ornamental potential. Technical information about the propagation of this species will contribute to the production of seedlings and with that, their greatest use in landscaping. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of the number of leaves and nodes in rooting intermediate flame vine. The experiment was conducted under conditions of intermittent mist. The experimental design was a randomized block in factorial 2 x 3, being respectively cuttings with one or two nodes, and zero, one or two leaflets. We used four replicates with plots consisting of 12 cuttings placed in substrate of rice hulls in polystyrene trays with 72 cells. We evaluated at 84 days the porcentage of rooted cuttings, length of shoots, dry weight of shoots and, per cutting, average: number of roots - first order; maximum length of each root of the first order, volume and dry weight of roots. It was observed that cuttings with two leaflets enabled 66% of rooting, greater length and dry mass of shoots. The higher quality of the root system occurs with stakes with two leaflets and two nodes. The spread of flame vine is efficient with semi-hardwood cuttings with two nodes and two leaflets, kept in a greenhouse under intermittent mist.

  12. Relief of mitral leaflet tethering following chronic myocardial infarction by chordal cutting diminishes left ventricular remodeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messas, Emmanuel; Bel, Alain; Szymanski, Catherine; Cohen, Iris; Touchot, Bernard; Handschumacher, Mark D; Desnos, Michel; Carpentier, Alain; Menasché, Philippe; Hagège, Albert A; Levine, Robert A

    2010-11-01

    one of the key targets in treating mitral regurgitation (MR) is reducing the otherwise progressive left ventricular (LV) remodeling that exacerbates MR and conveys adverse prognosis. We have previously demonstrated that severing 2 second-order chordae to the anterior mitral leaflet relieves tethering and ischemic MR acutely. The purpose of this study was to test whether this technique reduces the progression of LV remodeling in the chronic ischemic MR setting. a posterolateral MI was created in 18 sheep by obtuse marginal branch ligation. After chronic remodeling and MR development at 3 months, 6 sheep were randomized to sham surgery (control group) and 12 to second-order chordal cutting (6 each to anterior leaflet [AntL] and bileaflet [BiL] chordal cutting, techniques that are in clinical application). At baseline, chronic infarction (3 months), and follow-up at a mean of 6.6 months post-myocardial infarction (MI) (euthanasia), we measured LV end-diastolic (EDV) and end-systolic volume (ESV), ejection fraction, wall motion score index, and posterior leaflet (PL) restriction angle relative to the annulus by 2D and 3D echocardiography. All measurements were comparable among groups at baseline and chronic MI. At euthanasia, AntL and BiL chordal cutting limited the progressive remodeling seen in controls. LVESV increased relative to chronic MI by 109±8.7% in controls versus 30.5±6.1% with chordal cutting (Pbenefits have the potential to improve clinical outcomes.

  13. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heraldo L. Vasconcelos

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available 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 from 21 species of nine genera were found. Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893 was the most diverse genus with 10 species. Eighteen species were found in the savannas, including Mycetagroicus cerradensis Brandão & Mayhé-Nunes, 2001, a species from a recently-described genus of Attini, whereas in the forests only 12 species were found. Forest and savannas support relatively distinct faunas, each with a number of unique species; the species present in the forest habitats did not represent a nested subset of the species found in the savannas. Furthermore, although many species were common to both types of vegetation, their abundances were quite different. The density of attine nests is relatively high at some sites, exceeding an estimated 4,000 nests per hectare. In this sense, attine ants can be regarded as prevalent invertebrate taxa in the Brazilian Cerrado.As formigas cultivadoras de fungos (tribo Attini são exclusivas da fauna do Novo Mundo. Entretanto, existem poucas informações sobre os padrões de diversidade, abundância e distribuição das espécies de Attini em seus ecossistemas nativos, em especial para os gêneros menos derivados desta tribo. Um levantamento de ninhos de Attini (excluindo Atta Fabricius, 1804 e Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865 foi realizado em diversos ambientes savânicos e de floresta do bioma Cerrado próximos à Uberlândia, Brasil. Encontramos 314 ninhos de 21 espécies pertencentes a nove gêneros da tribo. Trachymyrmex Forel, 1893 foi o g

  14. A New Constructive Method for Electric Power System Reconfiguration Using Ant Colony

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Habib HAMDAOUI

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available This electric power distribution system delivers power to the customers from a set of distribution substations. While the transmission lines are configured in a meshed network, the distribution feeders are configured radially in almost all cases. The proposed problem in this work is to determine the optimal topology among a various alternatives. This problem is known as a problem of total investment-cost minimization, subject to power constraints. In fact, the paper addresses an ant colony met-heuristic optimization method to solve this combinatorial problem. Due to the variation of demand, the reconfiguration may be considered in two different situations: in the system planning or system design stage. The proposed met-heuristic determines the minimal investment-cost system configuration during the considered study period to satisfy power transit constraints. The algorithm of ant colony approach (ACA is required to identify the optimal combination of adding or cut off feeders with different parameters for the new topology design.

  15. Yielding of leaf celery Apium graveolens L. var. secalinum Alef. depending on the number of harvests and irrigation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ewa Rożek

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Leaf celery (Apium graveolensvar. secalinum is a vegetable with medicinal and spicy properties. Its numerous intensely fragrant leaves can be cut several times during the plant growing period. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of irrigation and number of harvests on leaf celery yield of the cultivars ‘Afina’ and‘Gewone Snij’. Plant irrigation significantly increased leaf yield and plant height of leaf celery. Higher total yield was obtained from non-irrigated plants when leaves were harvested three times, whereas for irrigated plants yield was higher in the case of two leaf harvests. Irrespective of the experimental factors, higher yield was obtained from the cultivar ‘Gewone Snij’.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  17. The diet of the black widow spider Latrodectus mirabilis (Theridiidae in two cereal crops of central Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriel Pompozzi

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The spider Latrodectus mirabilis (Holmberg, 1876 is commonly found in cereals crops of central Argentina. We studied its diet composition at the field and capture rate on leaf-cutting ants based on laboratory experiments. This study comprises the first approach that documents the diet of L. mirabilis in wheat and oat fields of central Argentina. We identified 1,004 prey items collected from its webs during the last phenological stages of both cereal crops. The prey composition was variable but the spiders prey mainly on ants (Formicidae, Hymenoptera, who represented more than 86% of the total. Meanwhile, in the capture rate experiences we registered a high proportion of ants captured by spiders at the beginning of experiences, capturing the half of the ants from total in the first four hours. Summarizing, we reported a polyphagous diet of this spider species in wheat and oat fields. Ants were the most important prey item of this spider, as found in other Latrodectus spiders around the world.

  18. Plant lock and ant key: pairwise coevolution of an exclusion filter in an ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brouat, C; Garcia, N; Andary, C; McKey, D

    2001-10-22

    Although observations suggest pairwise coevolution in specific ant-plant symbioses, coevolutionary processes have rarely been demonstrated. We report on, what is to the authors' knowledge, the strongest evidence yet for reciprocal adaptation of morphological characters in a species-specific ant-plant mutualism. The plant character is the prostoma, which is a small unlignified organ at the apex of the domatia in which symbiotic ants excavate an entrance hole. Each myrmecophyte in the genus Leonardoxa has evolved a prostoma with a different shape. By performing precise measurements on the prostomata of three related myrmecophytes, on their specific associated ants and on the entrance holes excavated by symbiotic ants at the prostomata, we showed that correspondence of the plant and ant traits forms a morphological and behavioural filter. We have strong evidence for coevolution between the dimensions and shape of the symbiotic ants and the prostoma in one of the three ant-Leonardoxa associations.

  19. Beyond ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jansen, Till

    2017-01-01

    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....

  20. Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Nathaniel Holland, J.

    2015-03-01

    In this paper, we consider plant-pollinator-ant systems in which plant-pollinator interaction and plant-ant interaction are both mutualistic, but there also exists interference of pollinators by ants. The plant-pollinator interaction can be described by a Beddington-DeAngelis formula, so we extend the formula to characterize plant-pollinator mutualisms, including the interference by ants, and form a plant-pollinator-ant model. Using dynamical systems theory, we show uniform persistence of the model. Moreover, we demonstrate conditions under which boundary equilibria are globally asymptotically stable. The dynamics exhibit mechanisms by which the three species could coexist when ants interfere with pollinators. We define a threshold in ant interference. When ant interference is strong, it can drive plant-pollinator mutualisms to extinction. Furthermore, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for their persistence, then sufficiently strong ant interference could lead to their own extinction as well. Yet, when ant interference is weak, plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms can promote the persistence of one another.

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

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    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.

  2. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from the pres......Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from...... the presence of these ants. First of all, the chemical footprint left by the high density of ants in managed host trees may results in additional benefits. (i) Ant deposits may lead to improved fruit quality, e.g. increased sugar content, (ii) ant deposits may deter important pests (chemical deterrence) from...... crops, and lastly, (iii) ant waste products deposited ias anal spots contain urea that may be taken up by plant leaves and in this way fertilize ant-plants. On top of chemical services, weaver ants have been shown to reduce plant disease incidence via competitive exclusion of other ant species because...

  3. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Libert, Michel; Compin, Arthur; Hérault, Bruno; Orivel, Jérôme; Bouyer, Thierry; Corbara, Bruno

    2017-02-01

    Working along forest edges, we aimed to determine how some caterpillars can co-exist with territorially dominant arboreal ants (TDAAs) in tropical Africa. We recorded caterpillars from 22 lepidopteran species living in the presence of five TDAA species. Among the defoliator and/or nectarivorous caterpillars that live on tree foliage, the Pyralidae and Nymphalidae use their silk to protect themselves from ant attacks. The Notodontidae and lycaenid Polyommatinae and Theclinae live in direct contact with ants; the Theclinae even reward ants with abundant secretions from their Newcomer gland. Lichen feeders (lycaenid; Poritiinae), protected by long bristles, also live among ants. Some lycaenid Miletinae caterpillars feed on ant-attended membracids, including in the shelters where the ants attend them; Lachnocnema caterpillars use their forelegs to obtain trophallaxis from their host ants. Caterpillars from other species live inside weaver ant nests. Those of the genus Euliphyra (Miletinae) feed on ant prey and brood and can obtain trophallaxis, while those from an Eberidae species only prey on host ant eggs. Eublemma albifascia (Erebidae) caterpillars use their thoracic legs to obtain trophallaxis and trophic eggs from ants. Through transfer bioassays of last instars, we noted that herbivorous caterpillars living in contact with ants were always accepted by alien conspecific ants; this is likely due to an intrinsic appeasing odor. Yet, caterpillars living in ant shelters or ant nests probably acquire cues from their host colonies because they were considered aliens and killed. We conclude that co-evolution with ants occurred similarly in the Heterocera and Rhopalocera.

  4. Limonoids from Cipadessa fruticosa and Cedrela fissilis and their insecticidal activity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Leite, Ana C.; Fernandes, Joao B.; Vieira, Paulo C.; Silva, M. Fatima das G. Fernandes da; Bueno, Fabiana C.; Oliveira, Cintia G.; Bueno, Odair C.; Pagnocca, Fernando C.; Hebling, M. Jose A.; Bacci Junior, Mauricio

    2005-01-01

    The chemical investigation of the fruits of Cipadessa fruticosa (Meliaceae) afforded the new limonoid cipadesin B and the known swietemahonolide. From the roots of Cedrela fissilis (Meliaceae) were isolated the limonoid 3β-acetoxycarapin, new as natural product, along with the triterpenes oleanolic and oleanonic acid. These compounds and other six mexicanolide limonoids previously isolated from C. fruticosa showed insecticidal activity against the leaf-cutting ants Atta sexdens rubropilosa. (author)

  5. The metapleural gland of ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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......-compressible invagination of the integument and the secretion is thought to ooze out passively through the non-closable opening of the MG or is groomed off by the legs and applied to target surfaces. MG loss has occurred repeatedly among the ants, particularly in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae, and the MG...... is 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. Online image databases as multi-purpose resources: discovery of a new host ant of Rickia wasmannii Cavara (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales by screening AntWeb.org

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ferenc Báthori

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Public awareness has been raised on the importance of natural history and academic collections for science and society in a time when reduced financial support and staff cuts are prevalent. In the field of biology, new species and new interspecies associations are constantly discovered by making use of museum collections, digitalised materials or citizen science programs. In our study, the Myrmica Latreille, 1804 image collection of AntWeb.org was screened for fungal ectoparasites. A total of 397 imaged specimens from 133 species were visually investigated. A single specimen of M. hellenica Finzi, 1926, collected in Greece by U. Sahlberg, showed a conspicuous fungal infection. The parasite was identified using microscopic methods as Rickia wasmannii Cavara, an ectoparasitic fungal species specialised to Myrmica ants. This finding represents a new country record and a new Myrmica species for the host spectrum of R. wasmannii. According to our results, online entomological databases can be screened relatively easily for ectoparasitic fungal infections from new hosts and new regions. However, depending on quality of the insect voucher photos, additional investigation of the material could be needed to confirm the identity of the parasite.

  7. Foliar uptake of nitrogen from ant fecal droplets: an overlooked service to ant plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pinkalski, Christian Alexander Stidsen; Jensen, Karl-Martin Vagn; Damgaard, Christian Frølund

    2018-01-01

    and subsequently deposited fecal droplets on the seedlings, coffee leaves showed increased levels of 15N and total N compared to control plants without ants. This was evident for both exposed leaves and leaves covered in plastic bags (i.e. not directly exposed to ants). Thus, N from ant excretions was absorbed...

  8. Insetos em presépios e as "formigas vestidas" de Jules Martin (1832-1906: uma curiosa manufatura paulistana do final do século XIX

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dante Martins Teixeira

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Present in Brazil since the beginning of Portuguese colonization, crèche nativity scenes were soon adapted to local reality, a propitious circumstance for the appearance of heterodox conceptions and the use of exotic elements of the fauna and flora peculiar to each region. As records about insects are very uncommon, it is noteworthy that females of leaf-cutting ants, Atta sp. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, were used to compose crèche nativity scenes in São Paulo State. Having subsisted at least up to the decade of 1960, the "ant crèches" of cities such as Embu das Artes could be related to the then famous "dressed ants" created by Jules Martin, a curious manufacture of the city of São Paulo in the last quarter of the 19th century.

  9. Parachuting behavior and predation by ants in the nettle caterpillar, Scopelodes contracta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamazaki, Kazuo

    2010-01-01

    This paper documents the bizarre descending behavior from the tree crown to the ground of the larvae of the moth, Scopelodes contracta Walker (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) and the interaction of the larva with predatory ants. S. contracta larvae infest leaves of many tree species in urban areas and orchards in Japan. Mature larvae and leaves without basal leaf parts were found under trees of four species infested with S. contracta larvae in Osaka, Japan. Individual larvae riding on leaves were observed falling from tree crowns to the ground. Many S. contracta cocoons were found in the soil below the trees two weeks after the observed parachuting. These observations indicate that S. contracta larvae parachuted to the ground where they spin their cocoons in the soil. When a larva that had just parachuted down was returned to an arboreal twig, the larva repeated the parachuting behavior. This parachuting behavior appears to be adaptive, because larvae can descend to the ground safely and with low energy cost. Worker ants of Tetramorium tsushimae Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Pristomyrmex punctatus Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) occasionally attacked larvae on the ground before they had a chance to burrow in the soil.

  10. A Breath of Fresh Air in Foraging Theory: The Importance of Wind for Food Size Selection in a Central-Place Forager.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alma, Andrea Marina; Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Elizalde, Luciana

    2017-09-01

    Empirical data about food size carried by central-place foragers do not often fit with the optimum predicted by classical foraging theory. Traditionally, biotic constraints such as predation risk and competition have been proposed to explain this inconsistency, leaving aside the possible role of abiotic factors. Here we documented how wind affects the load size of a central-place forager (leaf-cutting ants) through a mathematical model including the whole foraging process. The model showed that as wind speed at ground level increased from 0 to 2 km/h, load size decreased from 91 to 30 mm 2 , a prediction that agreed with empirical data from windy zones, highlighting the relevance of considering abiotic factors to predict foraging behavior. Furthermore, wind reduced the range of load sizes that workers should select to maintain a similar rate of food intake and decreased the foraging rate by ∼70% when wind speed increased 1 km/h. These results suggest that wind could reduce the fitness of colonies and limit the geographic distribution of leaf-cutting ants. The developed model offers a complementary explanation for why load size in central-place foragers may not fit theoretical predictions and could serve as a basis to study the effects of other abiotic factors that influence foraging.

  11. Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile as back-seat drivers of localized ant decline in urban habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Salyer

    Full Text Available Invasive species and habitat disturbance threaten biodiversity worldwide by modifying ecosystem performance and displacing native organisms. Similar homogenization impacts manifest locally when urbanization forces native species to relocate or reinvade perpetually altered habitat. This study investigated correlations between ant richness and abundance in response to urbanization and the nearby presence of invasive ant species, odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile, within its native region. Surveying localized ant composition within natural, semi-natural, and urban habitat supported efforts to determine whether T. sessile appear to be primary (drivers threats as instigators or secondary (passengers threats as inheritors of indigenous ant decline. Sampling 180 sites, evenly split between all habitats with and without T. sessile present, yielded 45 total species. Although urbanization and T. sessile presence factors were significantly linked to ant decline, their interaction correlated to the greatest reduction of total ant richness (74% and abundance (81%. Total richness appeared to decrease from 27 species to 18 when natural habitat is urbanized and from 18 species to 7 with T. sessile present in urban plots. Odorous house ant presence minimally influenced ant communities within natural and semi-natural habitat, highlighting the importance of habitat alteration and T. sessile presence interactions. Results suggest urbanization releases T. sessile from unknown constraints by decreasing ant richness and competition. Within urban environment, T. sessile are pre-adapted to quickly exploit new resources and grow to supercolony strength wherein T. sessile drive adjacent biodiversity loss. Odorous house ants act as passengers and drivers of ecological change throughout different phases of urban 'invasion'. This progression through surviving habitat alteration, exploiting new resources, thriving, and further reducing interspecific competition supports a

  12. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Boomsma, JJ

    2002-01-01

    We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...... developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants....

  13. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen Fredsted, Palle; Gertsch, Pia J.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan (Koos)

    2002-01-01

    We isolated five polymorphic microsatellite loci from a library of two thousand recombinant clones of two fungus-growing ant species, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus and Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki. Amplification and heterozygosity were tested in five species of higher attine ants using both the newly...... developed primers and earlier published primers that were developed for fungus-growing ants. A total of 20 variable microsatellite loci, developed for six different species of fungus-growing ants, are now available for studying the population genetics and colony kin-structure of these ants....

  14. Optimal Portfolio Selection in Ex Ante Stock Price Bubble and Furthermore Bubble Burst Scenario from Dhaka Stock Exchange with Relevance to Sharpe’s Single Index Model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javed Bin Kamal

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The paper aims at constructing an optimal portfolio by applying Sharpe’s single index model of capital asset pricing in different scenarios, one is ex ante stock price bubble scenario and stock price bubble and bubble burst is second scenario. Here we considered beginning of year 2010 as rise of stock price bubble in Dhaka Stock Exchange. Hence period from 2005 -2009 is considered as ex ante stock price bubble period. Using DSI (All share price index in Dhaka Stock Exchange as market index and considering daily indices for the March 2005 to December 2009 period, the proposed method formulates a unique cut off point (cut off rate of return and selects stocks having excess of their expected return over risk-free rate of return surpassing this cut-off point. Here, risk free rate considered to be 8.5% per annum (Treasury bill rate in 2009. Percentage of an investment in each of the selected stocks is then decided on the basis of respective weights assigned to each stock depending on respective ‘β’ value, stock movement variance representing unsystematic risk, return on stock and risk free return vis-à-vis the cut off rate of return. Interestingly, most of the stocks selected turned out to be bank stocks. Again we went for single index model applied to same stocks those made to the optimum portfolio in ex ante stock price bubble scenario considering data for the period of January 2010 to June 2012. We found that all stocks failed to make the pass Single Index Model criteria i.e. excess return over beta must be higher than the risk free rate. Here for the period of 2010 to 2012, the risk free rate considered to be 11.5 % per annum (Treasury bill rate during 2012.

  15. Effects of simulated acid rain on leaf anatomy and micromorphology of Genipa americana L. (Rubiaceae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Francisco Sant'Anna-Santos

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Experiments were conducted in order to characterize the injuries on leaf structure and micromorphology of G. americana and evaluate the degree of susceptibility of this species to simulated acid rain. Plants were exposed to acid rain (pH 3.0 for ten consecutive days. Control plants were submitted only to distilled water (pH 6.0. Leaf tissue was sampled and fixed for light and scanning electron microscopy. Necrotic interveinal spots on the leaf blade occurred. Epidermis and mesophyll cells collapse, hypertrophy of spongy parenchyma cells, accumulation of phenolic compounds and starch grains were observed in leaves exposed to acid rain. The micromorphological analysis showed, in necrotic areas, plasmolized guard cells and cuticle rupture. Epidermal and mesophyll cells alterations occurred before symptoms were visualized in the leaves. These results showed the importance of anatomical data for precocious diagnosis injury and to determine the sensitivity of G. americana to acid rain.Experimentos foram conduzidos para avaliar o grau de susceptibilidade e determinar as injúrias causadas pela chuva ácida simulada na anatomia e micromorfologia foliar de Genipa americana. Plantas foram expostas à chuva com pH 3,0 durante 10 dias consecutivos. No tratamento controle utilizou-se apenas água destilada (pH 6,0. Amostras foliares foram coletadas e fixadas para microscopia de luz e eletrônica de varredura. Foram observados nas folhas expostas à chuva ácida: necroses pontuais intervenais, colapso das células do mesofilo e da epiderme; hipertrofia do parênquima lacunoso e acúmulo de compostos fenólicos e grãos de amido. A análise micromorfológica evidenciou, nas áreas necrosadas, plasmólise das células-guarda e ruptura da cutícula e da crista estomática. Alterações anatômicas ocorreram antes que sintomas visuais fossem observados nas folhas. Estes resultados comprovam a importância de dados anatômicos na diagnose precoce da injúria e na

  16. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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

  17. Dynamics of ammonia exchange with cut grassland: synthesis of results and conclusions of the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. A. Sutton

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Improved data on biosphere-atmosphere exchange are fundamental to understanding the production and fate of ammonia (NH3 in the atmosphere. The GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment combined novel measurement and modelling approaches to provide the most comprehensive analysis of the interactions to date. Major inter-comparisons of micrometeorological parameters and NH3 flux measurements using the aerodynamic gradient method and relaxed eddy accumulation (REA were conducted. These showed close agreement, though the REA systems proved insufficiently precise to investigate vertical flux divergence. Grassland management had a large effect on fluxes: emissions increased after grass cutting (−50 to 700 ng m−2 s−1 NH3 and after N-fertilization (0 to 3800 ng m−2 s−1 compared with before the cut (−60 to 40 ng m−2 s−1.

    Effects of advection and air chemistry were investigated using horizontal NH3 profiles, acid gas and particle flux measurements. Inverse modelling of NH3 emission from an experimental farm agreed closely with inventory estimates, while advection errors were used to correct measured grassland fluxes. Advection effects were caused both by the farm and by emissions from the field, with an inverse dispersion-deposition model providing a reliable new approach to estimate net NH3 fluxes. Effects of aerosol chemistry on net NH3 fluxes were small, while the measurements allowed NH3-induced particle growth rates to be calculated and aerosol fluxes to be corrected.

    Bioassays estimated the emission potential Γ = [NH4+]/[H+] for different plant pools, with the apoplast having the smallest values (30–1000. The main within-canopy sources of NH3 emission appeared to be leaf litter and the soil surface, with Γ up to 3 million and

  18. Clonal Propagation of Khaya senegalensis: The Effects of Stem Length, Leaf Area, Auxins, Smoke Solution, and Stockplant Age

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine Ky-Dembele

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Khaya senegalensis is a multipurpose African timber species. The development of clonal propagation could improve plantation establishment, which is currently impeded by mahogany shoot borer. To examine its potential for clonal propagation, the effects of cutting length, leaf area, stockplant maturation, auxin, and smoke solution treatments were investigated. Leafy cuttings rooted well (up to 80% compared to leafless cuttings (0%. Cuttings taken from seedlings rooted well (at least 95%, but cuttings obtained from older trees rooted poorly (5% maximum. The rooting ability of cuttings collected from older trees was improved (16% maximum by pollarding. Auxin application enhanced root length and the number of roots while smoke solution did not improve cuttings' rooting ability. These results indicate that juvenile K. senegalensis is amenable to clonal propagation, but further work is required to improve the rooting of cuttings from mature trees.

  19. Sick ants become unsociable

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  20. Interactive effects of soil-dwelling ants, ant mounds and simulated grazing on local plant community composition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, G.F.; Olff, H.

    2011-01-01

    Interactions between aboveground vertebrate herbivores and subterranean yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus) can drive plant community patterns in grassland ecosystems. Here, we study the relative importance of the presence of ants (L. flavus) and ant mounds under different simulated grazing regimes

  1. Roadside Survey of Ants on Oahu, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tong, Reina L.; Grace, J. Kenneth; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2018-01-01

    Hawaii is home to over 60 ant species, including five of the six most damaging invasive ants. Although there have been many surveys of ants in Hawaii, the last island-wide hand-collection survey of ants on Oahu was conducted in 1988–1994. In 2012, a timed hand-collection of ants was made at 44 sites in a systematic, roadside survey throughout Oahu. Ants were identified and species distribution in relation to elevation, precipitation and soil type was analyzed. To assess possible convenience sampling bias, 15 additional sites were sampled further from roads to compare with the samples near roads. Twenty-four species of ants were found and mapped; Pheidole megacephala (F.), Ochetellus glaber (Mayr), and Technomyrmex difficilis Forel were the most frequently encountered ants. For six ant species, a logistic regression was performed with elevation, average annual precipitation, and soil order as explanatory variables. O. glaber was found in areas with lower precipitation around Oahu. Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle) and Tetramorium simillimum (Smith, F.) were found more often in lower elevations and in areas with the Mollisol soil order. Elevation, precipitation, and soil type were not significant sources of variation for P. megacephala, Plagiolepis alluaudi Emery, and T. difficilis. P. megacephala was associated with fewer mean numbers of ants where it occurred. Ant assemblages near and far from roads did not significantly differ. Many species of ants remain established on Oahu, and recent invaders are spreading throughout the island. Mapping ant distributions contributes to continued documentation and understanding of these pests. PMID:29439503

  2. Non-binary decomposition trees - a method of reliability computation for systems with known minimal paths/cuts

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Malinowski, Jacek

    2004-01-01

    A coherent system with independent components and known minimal paths (cuts) is considered. In order to compute its reliability, a tree structure T is constructed whose nodes contain the modified minimal paths (cuts) and numerical values. The value of a non-leaf node is a function of its child nodes' values. The values of leaf nodes are calculated from a simple formula. The value of the root node is the system's failure probability (reliability). Subsequently, an algorithm computing the system's failure probability (reliability) is constructed. The algorithm scans all nodes of T using a stack structure for this purpose. The nodes of T are alternately put on and removed from the stack, their data being modified in the process. Once the algorithm has terminated, the stack contains only the final modification of the root node of T, and its value is equal to the system's failure probability (reliability)

  3. Dealing with water deficit in Atta ant colonies: large ants scout for water while small ants transport it

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Carlos Da-Silva

    2012-07-01

    Leafcutter ants (Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Forel 1908 have an elaborate social organization, complete with caste divisions. Activities carried out by specialist groups contribute to the overall success and survival of the colony when it is confronted with environmental challenges such as dehydration. Ants detect variations in humidity inside the nest and react by activating several types of behavior that enhance water uptake and decrease water loss, but it is not clear whether or not a single caste collects water regardless of the cost of bringing this resource back to the colony. Accordingly, we investigated water collection activities in three colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa experimentally exposed to water stress. Specifically, we analyzed whether or not the same ant caste foraged for water, regardless of the absolute energetic cost (distance of transporting this resource back to the colony. Our experimental design offered water sources at 0 m, 1 m and 10 m from the nest. We studied the body size of ants near the water sources from the initial offer of water (time  =  0 to 120 min, and tested for specialization. We observed a reduction in the average size and variance of ants that corroborated the specialization hypothesis. Although the temporal course of specialization changed with distance, the final outcome was similar among distances. Thus, we conclude that, for this species, a specialist (our use of the word “specialist” does not mean exclusive task force is responsible for collecting water, regardless of the cost of transporting water back to the colony.

  4. The evolution of genome size in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Spagna Joseph C

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Despite the economic and ecological importance of ants, genomic tools for this family (Formicidae remain woefully scarce. Knowledge of genome size, for example, is a useful and necessary prerequisite for the development of many genomic resources, yet it has been reported for only one ant species (Solenopsis invicta, and the two published estimates for this species differ by 146.7 Mb (0.15 pg. Results Here, we report the genome size for 40 species of ants distributed across 10 of the 20 currently recognized subfamilies, thus making Formicidae the 4th most surveyed insect family and elevating the Hymenoptera to the 5th most surveyed insect order. Our analysis spans much of the ant phylogeny, from the less derived Amblyoponinae and Ponerinae to the more derived Myrmicinae, Formicinae and Dolichoderinae. We include a number of interesting and important taxa, including the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Neotropical army ants (genera Eciton and Labidus, trapjaw ants (Odontomachus, fungus-growing ants (Apterostigma, Atta and Sericomyrmex, harvester ants (Messor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex, carpenter ants (Camponotus, a fire ant (Solenopsis, and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia. Our results show that ants possess small genomes relative to most other insects, yet genome size varies three-fold across this insect family. Moreover, our data suggest that two whole-genome duplications may have occurred in the ancestors of the modern Ectatomma and Apterostigma. Although some previous studies of other taxa have revealed a relationship between genome size and body size, our phylogenetically-controlled analysis of this correlation did not reveal a significant relationship. Conclusion This is the first analysis of genome size in ants (Formicidae and the first across multiple species of social insects. We show that genome size is a variable trait that can evolve gradually over long time spans, as well as rapidly, through processes that may

  5. Aboveground biomass and nutrient accumulation 20 years after clear-cutting a southern Appalachian watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katherine J. Elliott; Lindsay R. Boring; Wayne T. Swank

    2002-01-01

    In 1975, we initiated a long-term interdisciplinary study of forest watershed ecosystem response to clear- cutting and cable logging in watershed 7 at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. This paper describes ~20 years of change in species composition, aboveground biomass, leaf area index (LAI),...

  6. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Renner, Susanne S

    2017-03-15

    This s pecial feature results from the symposium 'Ants 2016: ant interactions with their biotic environments' held in Munich in May 2016 and deals with the interactions between ants and other insects, plants, microbes and fungi, studied at micro- and macroevolutionary levels with a wide range of approaches, from field ecology to next-generation sequencing, chemical ecology and molecular genetics. In this paper, we review key aspects of these biotic interactions to provide background information for the papers of this s pecial feature After listing the major types of biotic interactions that ants engage in, we present a brief overview of ant/ant communication, ant/plant interactions, ant/fungus symbioses, and recent insights about ants and their endosymbionts. Using a large molecular clock-dated Formicidae phylogeny, we map the evolutionary origins of different ant clades' interactions with plants, fungi and hemiptera. Ants' biotic interactions provide ideal systems to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions about mutualism, coevolution, adaptation and animal communication. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Adams, Rachelle Martha Marie; Liberti, Joanito; Illum, Anders A.

    2013-01-01

    guest ants are sufficient to kill raiders that invariably exterminate host nests without a cohabiting guest ant colony. We also show that the odor of guest ants discourages raider scouts from recruiting nestmates to host colonies. Our results imply that Sericomyrmex fungus-growers obtain a net benefit......The ants are extraordinary in having evolved many lineages that exploit closely related ant societies as social parasites, but social parasitism by distantly related ants is rare. Here we document the interaction dynamics among a Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ant host, a permanently associated...... parasitic guest ant of the genus Megalomyrmex, and a raiding agro-predator of the genus Gnamptogenys. We show experimentally that the guest ants protect their host colonies against agro-predator raids using alkaloid venom that is much more potent than the biting defenses of the host ants. Relatively few...

  8. Proposed algorithm to improve job shop production scheduling using ant colony optimization method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pakpahan, Eka KA; Kristina, Sonna; Setiawan, Ari

    2017-12-01

    This paper deals with the determination of job shop production schedule on an automatic environment. On this particular environment, machines and material handling system are integrated and controlled by a computer center where schedule were created and then used to dictate the movement of parts and the operations at each machine. This setting is usually designed to have an unmanned production process for a specified interval time. We consider here parts with various operations requirement. Each operation requires specific cutting tools. These parts are to be scheduled on machines each having identical capability, meaning that each machine is equipped with a similar set of cutting tools therefore is capable of processing any operation. The availability of a particular machine to process a particular operation is determined by the remaining life time of its cutting tools. We proposed an algorithm based on the ant colony optimization method and embedded them on matlab software to generate production schedule which minimize the total processing time of the parts (makespan). We test the algorithm on data provided by real industry and the process shows a very short computation time. This contributes a lot to the flexibility and timelines targeted on an automatic environment.

  9. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    In this study, the unidirectional ant traffic flow with U-turn in an ant trail was inves- tigated using ... the literature, it was considered in the model that (i) ant colony consists of two kinds of ants, good- ... ponents without a central controller [8].

  10. Leaf area index estimation of Eucalyptus grandis W.Hill. in plantations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dubal Papamija-Muñoz

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available We estimated leaf area index (LAI in Eucalyptus grandis W.Hill. plantations in four farms in the Smurfit Kappa Carton de Colombia (SKCC with three farms located in the city of Popayan (Cauca and one located in the municipality of Restrepo (Valle del Cauca. Each farm had three fertilized and three unfertilized plots with 64 individuals in each. We used three methods, Plant Canopy Analyzer 2000 (PCA 2000, flat photograph PIPEcv software and a destructive method, which was generated using a mathematical model. The first two methods were measured bimonthly for a year and the final method required trees being cut to measure their diameter. Estimation of leaf area index was 2.01 for PCA 2000, 3.12 for PIPEcv and 2.83 for the mathematical model. These values correspond to the average and range of leaf area indices obtained for each method on all farms. Statistically the three methodologies developed in this study were not closely related.

  11. Using pleometrosis (multiple queens) and pupae transplantation to boost weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) colony growth in ant nurseries

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; Peng, Renkang

    2011-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are increasingly being used for biocontrol and are targeted for future production of insect protein in ant farms. An efficient production of live ant colonies may facilitate the utilization of these ants but the production of mature colonies is hampered by the long...... and no transplantation. Thus, in ant nurseries the use of multiple queens during nest founding as well as transplantation of pupae from foreign colonies may be utilised to decrease the time it takes to produce a colony ready for implementation....

  12. Ant-plants and fungi: a new threeway symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Defossez, Emmanuel; Selosse, Marc-André; Dubois, Marie-Pierre; Mondolot, Laurence; Faccio, Antonella; Djieto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2009-06-01

    Symbioses between plants and fungi, fungi and ants, and ants and plants all play important roles in ecosystems. Symbioses involving all three partners appear to be rare. Here, we describe a novel tripartite symbiosis in which ants and a fungus inhabit domatia of an ant-plant, and present evidence that such interactions are widespread. We investigated 139 individuals of the African ant-plant Leonardoxa africana for occurrence of fungus. Behaviour of mutualist ants toward the fungus within domatia was observed using a video camera fitted with an endoscope. Fungi were identified by sequencing a fragment of their ribosomal DNA. Fungi were always present in domatia occupied by mutualist ants but never in domatia occupied by opportunistic or parasitic ants. Ants appear to favour the propagation, removal and maintenance of the fungus. Similar fungi were associated with other ant-plants in Cameroon. All belong to the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales; those from L. africana formed a monophyletic clade. These new plant-ant-fungus associations seem to be specific, as demonstrated within Leonardoxa and as suggested by fungal phyletic identities. Such tripartite associations are widespread in African ant-plants but have long been overlooked. Taking fungal partners into account will greatly enhance our understanding of symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms.

  13. Invasiveness of Cut-Leaf Ground-Cherry (Physalis angulata L. Populations and Impact of Soil Water and Nutrient Availability Potencial Invasor de Poblaciones de Tomatillos de Brihuega (Physalis angulata L. e Impacto del Contenido de Agua y Disponibilidad de Nutrientes del Suelo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilias S Travlos

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Biological invasions are a major threat to natural ecosystems and agroecosystems, while weed flora is noticeably changing globally. In this study we evaluated the potential of cut-leaf ground-cherry (Physalis angulata L., a species native to America, to invade the semi-arid regions of Greece. Greenhouse and laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of different environmental resources (nutrient and water availability on seedling growth, biomass production, fecundity, and seed germination of four populations of cut-leaf ground-cherry. Our results suggest that cut-leaf ground-cherry does not tolerate extreme drought during the first growth stages, while it can survive and produce adequate and rapidly germinated seed (> 85% under low soil moisture conditions. Moreover, high water and nutrient availability results in high growth and biomass production and ensures high seed production, reaching more than 4000 seeds plant-1. We suggest that soil water content and nutrient availability are the two critical factors affecting the invasive potential of cut-leaf ground-cherry in semi-arid environments. Understanding the plant's ecological features through a study conducted at an early stage rather than a late stage of invasion will help us to take appropriate control measures for this species, which should primarily target frequently fertilized fields after precipitation events.Las invasiones biológicas son una amenaza importante para los ecosistemas naturales y agroecosistemas, mientras que, globalmente, la flora de malezas parece cambiar notablemente. En este estudio se evaluó el potencial de una especie nativa de América, tomatillos de Brihuega (Physalis angulata L., para invadir las regiones semiáridas de Grecia. Se realizaron experimentos de invernadero y laboratorio para evaluar los efectos de diferentes recursos ambientales (disponibilidad de nutrientes y agua, crecimiento de las plántulas, producción de biomasa, fecundidad

  14. Food source quality and ant dominance hierarchy influence the outcomes of ant-plant interactions in an arid environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores-Flores, Rocío Vianey; Aguirre, Armando; Anjos, Diego V.; Neves, Frederico S.; Campos, Ricardo I.; Dáttilo, Wesley

    2018-02-01

    In this study, we conducted a series of experiments in a population of Vachellia constricta (Fabaceae) in the arid Tehuacan-Cuicatláan valley, Mexico, in order to evaluate if the food source quality and ant dominance hierarchy influence the outcomes of ant-plant interactions. Using an experiment with artificial nectaries, we observed that ants foraging on food sources with higher concentration of sugar are quicker in finding and attacking potential herbivorous insects. More specifically, we found that the same ant species may increase their defence effectiveness according to the quality of food available. These findings indicate that ant effectiveness in plant protection is context-dependent and may vary according to specific individual characteristics of plants. In addition, we showed that competitively superior ant species tend to dominate plants in periods with high nectar activity, emphasizing the role of the dominance hierarchy structuring ant-plant interactions. However, when high sugar food sources were experimentally available ad libitum, the nocturnal and competitively superior ant species, Camponotus atriceps, did not dominate the artificial nectaries during the day possibly due to limitation of its thermal tolerance. Therefore, temporal niche partitioning may be allowing the coexistence of two dominant ant species (Camponotus rubritorax during the day and C. atriceps at night) on V. constricta. Our findings indicate that the quality of the food source, and temporal shifts in ant dominance are key factors which structure the biotic plant defences in an arid environment.

  15. Persistence of pollination mutualisms in the presence of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; Wang, Shikun

    2015-01-01

    This paper considers plant-pollinator-ant systems in which the plant-pollinator interaction is mutualistic but ants have both positive and negative effects on plants. The ants also interfere with pollinators by preventing them from accessing plants. While a Beddington-DeAngelis (BD) formula can describe the plant-pollinator interaction, the formula is extended in this paper to characterize the pollination mutualism under the ant interference. Then, a plant-pollinator-ant system with the extended BD functional response is discussed, and global dynamics of the model demonstrate the mechanisms by which pollination mutualism can persist in the presence of ants. When the ant interference is strong, it can result in extinction of pollinators. Moreover, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for survival, the strong interference could drive pollinators into extinction, which consequently lead to extinction of the ants themselves. When the ant interference is weak, a cooperation between plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms could occur, which promotes survival of both ants and pollinators, especially in the case that ants (respectively, pollinators) cannot survive in the absence of pollinators (respectively, ants). Even when the level of ant interference remains invariant, varying ants' negative effect on plants can result in survival/extinction of both ants and pollinators. Therefore, our results provide an explanation for the persistence of pollination mutualism when there exist ants.

  16. Branch Width and Height Influence the Incorporation of Branches into Foraging Trails and Travel Speed in Leafcutter Ants Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, B M; Chaves-Campos, J

    2016-06-01

    Fallen branches are often incorporated into Atta cephalotes (L.) foraging trails to optimize leaf tissue transport rates and economize trail maintenance. Recent studies in lowlands show laden A. cephalotes travel faster across fallen branches than on ground, but more slowly ascending or descending a branch. The latter is likely because (1) it is difficult to travel up or downhill and (2) bottlenecks occur when branches are narrower than preceding trail. Hence, both branch height and width should determine whether branches decrease net travel times, but no study has evaluated it yet. Laden A. cephalotes were timed in relation to branch width and height across segments preceding, accessing, across, and departing a fallen branch in the highlands of Costa Rica. Ants traveled faster on branches than on cleared segments of trunk-trail, but accelerated when ascending or descending the branch-likely because of the absence of bottlenecks during the day in the highlands. Branch size did not affect ant speed in observed branches; the majority of which (22/24) varied from 11 to 120 mm in both height and width (average 66 mm in both cases). To determine whether ants exclude branches outside this range, ants were offered the choice between branches within this range and branches that were taller/wider than 120 mm. Ants strongly preferred the former. Our results indicate that A. cephalotes can adjust their speed to compensate for the difficulty of traveling on branch slopes. More generally, branch size should be considered when studying ant foraging efficiency.

  17. Water status and gas exchange of umbu plants (Spondias tuberosa Arr. Cam.) propagated by seeds and stem cuttings.

    OpenAIRE

    LIMA FILHO, J. M. P.

    2008-01-01

    The experiment was carried out at the Embrapa Semi-Árido, Petrolina-PE, Brazil, in order to study the physiological responses of umbu plants propagated by seeds and by stem cuttings under water stress conditions, based on leaf water potential and gas exchange measurements. Data were collected in one-year plants established in pots containing 30 kg of a sandy soil and submitted to twenty-day progressive soil water deficit. The evaluations were based on leaf water potential and gas exchange dat...

  18. Effect of different auxins on the establishment of damask rose cuttings in different media

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Khan, M.S.; Khan, R.U.K.; Baloach, J.U.D.

    2007-01-01

    Effect of indole-3-acetic acid and naphthalene acetic acid treatments on the establishment of damask rose (Rosa damascena Mill) cuttings indifferent growth media was evaluated and it was revealed that the average number of roots and rooting percentage gradually increased with increase in hormone concentration. The maximum number of roots (15.72), rooting percentage (94.17 %), plant height (134.2 cm), plant spread (46.3 cm), primary shoots (6.3), secondary shoots (25) and survival percentage (94.72%) was recorded for 50 mg/l naphthalene acetic acid application; the results were superior to indole-3-acetic acid, the optimum level being in the range of 50 and 75 mg/l. No such conclusion could be drawn for indole-3-acetic acid. The leaf mold was t.he best growth medium giving the maximum number of roots per cutting (10.78), rooting percentage (87.68%), plant height (125.1 cm), plant spread (37 cm), primary shoots (5.2), secondary shoots (19.48) and survival percentage (85.67%), followed by soil + leaf mold, while soil medium was the least effective. (author)

  19. Non-binary decomposition trees - a method of reliability computation for systems with known minimal paths/cuts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Malinowski, Jacek

    2004-05-01

    A coherent system with independent components and known minimal paths (cuts) is considered. In order to compute its reliability, a tree structure T is constructed whose nodes contain the modified minimal paths (cuts) and numerical values. The value of a non-leaf node is a function of its child nodes' values. The values of leaf nodes are calculated from a simple formula. The value of the root node is the system's failure probability (reliability). Subsequently, an algorithm computing the system's failure probability (reliability) is constructed. The algorithm scans all nodes of T using a stack structure for this purpose. The nodes of T are alternately put on and removed from the stack, their data being modified in the process. Once the algorithm has terminated, the stack contains only the final modification of the root node of T, and its value is equal to the system's failure probability (reliability)

  20. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, A. P. M.; Attili-Angelis, D.; Baron, N. C.; Groenewald, Johannes Z.; Crous, Pedro W.; Pagnocca, F. C.

    Isolates of Teratosphaeriaceae have frequently been found in the integument of attine ants, proving to be common and diverse in this microenvironment. The LSU phylogeny of the ant-isolated strains studied revealed that they cluster in two main lineages. The first was associated with the genus

  1. The importance of ants in cave ecology, with new records and behavioral observations of ants in Arizona caves

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert B. Pape

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The importance of ants as elements in cave ecology has been mostly unrecognized. A global list of ant species recorded from caves, compiled from a review of existing literature, is presented. This paper also reviews what is currently known about ants occurring in Arizona (USA caves. The diversity and distribution represented in these records suggests ants are relatively common cave visitors (trogloxenes. A general utilization of caves by ants within both temperate and tropical latitudes may be inferred from this combined evidence. Observations of ant behavior in Arizona caves demonstrate a low level and sporadic, but persistent, use of these habitats and their contained resources by individual ant colonies. Documentation of Neivamyrmex sp. preying on cave-inhabiting arthropods is reported here for the first time. Observations of hypogeic army ants in caves suggests they may not penetrate to great vertical depth in search of prey, but can be persistent occupants in relatively shallow, horizontal sections of caves where they may prey on endemic cave animals. First cave records for ten ant species are reported from Arizona caves. These include two species of Neivamyrmex (N. nigrescens Cresson and Neivamyrmex sp.; Formicidae: Dorylinae, four myrmicines (Pheidole portalensis Wilson, Pheidole cf. porcula Wheeler, Solenopsis aurea Wheeler and Stenamma sp. Westwood, one dolichoderine (Forelius keiferi Wheeler and three formicines (Lasius arizonicus Wheeler, L. sitiens Wilson, and Camponotus sp. Mayr.

  2. Leaf dynamics of Festulolium and Dactylis glomerata L. at the end of the growing season

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiří Skládanka

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available The paper is focused on the assessment of leaf extension rate (LER, leaf appearance rate (LAR and leaf senescence rate (LSR in the Festulolium (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. × Lolium multiflorum Lam. and in the Dactylis glomerata L. at the end of the growing season from the end of September to the beginning of December. In summer, the swards were used for a single cut (beginning of June or for a double cut (beginning of June and end of July. Measurements were made in three periods from 14 Sept. to 11 Oct., from 11 Oct. to 29 Oct., and from 29 Oct. to 6 Dec. In the first period, LER was higher in Dactylis glomerata L. (3.770 mm tiller−1 d−1 than in Festulolium (2.376 mm tiller−1 d−1. In the second and third period, LER was higher in Festulolium (0.859 resp. 0.271 mm tiller−1 d−1 than in Dactylis glomerata L. (0.694, resp. 0.199 mm tiller−1 d−1. LAR values measured in Festulolium in the studied pe­riods were 0.277 leaf tiller−1 d−1, 0.079 leaf tiller−1 d−1 and 0.038 leaf tiller−1 d−1 and LAR values of Dactylis glomerata L. were 0.225 leaf tiller−1 d−1, 0.054 leaf tiller−1 d−1 and 0.027 leaf tiller−1 d−1. In the course of the whole pe­riod of study, LSR showed the highest values in Dactylis glomerata L. (7.869 mm til­ler−1 d−1, 5.947 mm til­ler−1 d−1 and 4.757 mm tiller−1 d−1 while the LSR values of Festulolium were lower (2.904 mm tiller−1 d−1, 2.375 mm tiller−1 d−1 and 1.205 mm tiller−1 d−1. The influence of both the species and the period of measurement on the LER, LAR and LSR values was statistically highly significant (P < 0.01 to very highly significant (P < 0.001. The interaction between the species and the period of measurement was very highly significant (P < 0.001 in the LER characteristic. The influence of the intensity of sward use in summer on the LSR values was very highly significant (P < 0.001, too.

  3. Ant-plant-homopteran mutualism: how the third partner affects the interaction between a plant-specialist ant and its myrmecophyte host

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaume, L.; McKey, D.; Terrin, S.

    1998-01-01

    By estimating relative costs and benefits, we explored the role of the homopteran partner in the protection mutualism between the myrmecophyte Leonardoxa africana T3, the ant Aphomomyrmex afer, and sap-sucking homopterans tended by ants in the tree's swollen hollow twigs. The ants obtain nest sites and food from their host-plant (food is obtained either directly by extrafloral nectar or indirectly via homopterans). Aphomomyrmex workers patrol the young leaves of L. africana T3 and protect them against phytophagous insects. Because ants tended, either solely or primarily, coccids in some trees and pseudococcids in others, we were able to study whether the nature of the interaction was dependent on the identity of the third partner. First, the type of homopteran affects the benefits to the tree of maintaining a large ant colony. Larger colony size (relative to tree size) confers greater protection against herbivory; this relationship is more pronounced for trees whose ants tend pseudococcids than for those in which ants tend coccids. Second, for trees (and associated ant colonies) of comparable size, homopteran biomass was much larger in trees harbouring coccids than in trees with pseudococcids. Thus, the cost to the tree of maintaining ants may be greater when ants are associated with coccids. The net benefits to the plant of maintaining ants appear to be much greater with pseudococcids as the third partner. To explore how the type of homopteran affects functioning of the system, we attempted to determine which of the resources (nest sites, extrafloral nectar, and homopterans) is likely to limit ant colony size. In trees where ants tended coccids, ant-colony biomass was strongly dependent on the number of extrafloral nectaries. In contrast, in trees whose ants tended only pseudococcids, colony biomass was not related to the number of nectaries and was most strongly determined by the volume of available nest sites. We present hypotheses to explain how the type of

  4. The distribution of weaver ant pheromones on host trees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2007-01-01

    The visible anal spots deposited by Oecophylla smaragdina ants have been suggested to deter ant prey, affect interspecific competition and facilitate mutualists and parasites in tracking down Oecophylla ants. I measured the density of anal spots on host trees with and without ants and tested for ...... to leaves. Also there was a positive correlation between spot density and the likelihood of being detected by ants. Anal spots may thus function as reliable cues to interacting species and be an important factor in shaping the community around Oecophylla colonies.......The visible anal spots deposited by Oecophylla smaragdina ants have been suggested to deter ant prey, affect interspecific competition and facilitate mutualists and parasites in tracking down Oecophylla ants. I measured the density of anal spots on host trees with and without ants and tested...... for correlations between spot density, ant activity and the likelihood of being detected by an ant. Spots were only found on trees with ants. On ant-trees, spots were distributed throughout the trees but with higher densities in areas with high ant activity and pheromone densities were higher on twigs compared...

  5. Relative effects of disturbance on red imported fire ants and native ant species in a longleaf pine ecosystem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stuble, Katharine L.; Kirkman, L. Katherine; Carroll, C. Ronald

    2011-01-01

    and cases in which non-native species become established in intact (lacking extensive anthropogenic soil disturbance) communities and subsequently diminish the abundance and richness of native species is challenging on the basis of observation alone. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta......), an invasive species that occurs throughout much of the southeastern United States, is such an example. Rather than competitively displacing native species, fire ants may become established only in disturbed areas in which native species richness and abundance are already reduced. We used insecticide to reduce......, the abundance of native ants increased to levels comparable to those in control plots after 1 year. Our findings suggest that factors other than large reductions in ant abundance and species density (number of species per unit area) may affect the establishment of fire ants and that the response of native ants...

  6. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Rachelle M. M.; Liberti, Joanito; Illum, Anders A.; Jones, Tappey H.; Nash, David R.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2013-01-01

    The ants are extraordinary in having evolved many lineages that exploit closely related ant societies as social parasites, but social parasitism by distantly related ants is rare. Here we document the interaction dynamics among a Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ant host, a permanently associated parasitic guest ant of the genus Megalomyrmex, and a raiding agro-predator of the genus Gnamptogenys. We show experimentally that the guest ants protect their host colonies against agro-predator raids using alkaloid venom that is much more potent than the biting defenses of the host ants. Relatively few guest ants are sufficient to kill raiders that invariably exterminate host nests without a cohabiting guest ant colony. We also show that the odor of guest ants discourages raider scouts from recruiting nestmates to host colonies. Our results imply that Sericomyrmex fungus-growers obtain a net benefit from their costly guest ants behaving as a functional soldier caste to meet lethal threats from agro-predator raiders. The fundamentally different life histories of the agro-predators and guest ants appear to facilitate their coexistence in a negative frequency-dependent manner. Because a guest ant colony is committed for life to a single host colony, the guests would harm their own interests by not defending the host that they continue to exploit. This conditional mutualism is analogous to chronic sickle cell anemia enhancing the resistance to malaria and to episodes in human history when mercenary city defenders offered either net benefits or imposed net costs, depending on the level of threat from invading armies. PMID:24019482

  7. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Rachelle M M; Liberti, Joanito; Illum, Anders A; Jones, Tappey H; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2013-09-24

    The ants are extraordinary in having evolved many lineages that exploit closely related ant societies as social parasites, but social parasitism by distantly related ants is rare. Here we document the interaction dynamics among a Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ant host, a permanently associated parasitic guest ant of the genus Megalomyrmex, and a raiding agro-predator of the genus Gnamptogenys. We show experimentally that the guest ants protect their host colonies against agro-predator raids using alkaloid venom that is much more potent than the biting defenses of the host ants. Relatively few guest ants are sufficient to kill raiders that invariably exterminate host nests without a cohabiting guest ant colony. We also show that the odor of guest ants discourages raider scouts from recruiting nestmates to host colonies. Our results imply that Sericomyrmex fungus-growers obtain a net benefit from their costly guest ants behaving as a functional soldier caste to meet lethal threats from agro-predator raiders. The fundamentally different life histories of the agro-predators and guest ants appear to facilitate their coexistence in a negative frequency-dependent manner. Because a guest ant colony is committed for life to a single host colony, the guests would harm their own interests by not defending the host that they continue to exploit. This conditional mutualism is analogous to chronic sickle cell anemia enhancing the resistance to malaria and to episodes in human history when mercenary city defenders offered either net benefits or imposed net costs, depending on the level of threat from invading armies.

  8. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulrich G Mueller

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available 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.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.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.

  9. Carcass characteristics and tissue composition of commercial cuts of lambs fed with banana crop residues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tânia Dayana do Carmo

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of substitution of Cynodon hay with banana plantation residue hay on the carcass characteristics and tissue composition of commercial cuts of feedlot Santa Inês lambs. Twenty-five whole lambs were used, with an average age of five months and an initial live weight of 26.95 kg (± 1.5, distributed in a completely randomized design with five treatments (1 = 40% Cynodon spp. hay + 60% concentrate; 2 = 20% banana leaf hay + 20% Cynodon spp. hay + 60% concentrate; 3 = 40% banana leaf hay + 60% concentrate; 4 = 20% banana pseudostem hay + 20% Cynodon spp. hay + 60% concentrate; 5 = 40% banana pseudostem hay + 60% concentrate and five repetitions. The lambs were slaughtered on day 69 of the experiment. The variables evaluated were: live weight without fasting (LWWF, live weight post-fasting (LWPF, morphometric measurements in vivo and postmortem, hot and cold carcass weights (HCW, CCW, hot and cold carcass yield (HCY, CCY, biological performance and weight loss by chilling. The carcasses were divided into eight commercial cuts: neck, shoulder, foreshank and hindshank, breast and flank, loin, leg and rack. The leg, shoulder and loin were dissected into muscle, fat and bone. The animals fed on pseudostem hay showed higher LWWF, LWPF, body length, HCW and CCW; however, the HCY, CCY, morphometric measurements and commercial cut weights and yields were not altered by the treatments. The use of pseudostem hay allows for heavier carcasses; however, the use of coproducts changed the characteristics and carcass yield of the assessed commercial cuts.

  10. Relationships of leaf dark respiration to leaf nitrogen, specific leaf area and leaf life-span: a test across biomes and functional groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reich, Peter B; Walters, Michael B; Ellsworth, David S; Vose, James M; Volin, John C; Gresham, Charles; Bowman, William D

    1998-05-01

    Based on prior evidence of coordinated multiple leaf trait scaling, we hypothesized that variation among species in leaf dark respiration rate (R d ) should scale with variation in traits such as leaf nitrogen (N), leaf life-span, specific leaf area (SLA), and net photosynthetic capacity (A max ). However, it is not known whether such scaling, if it exists, is similar among disparate biomes and plant functional types. We tested this idea by examining the interspecific relationships between R d measured at a standard temperature and leaf life-span, N, SLA and A max for 69 species from four functional groups (forbs, broad-leafed trees and shrubs, and needle-leafed conifers) in six biomes traversing the Americas: alpine tundra/subalpine forest, Colorado; cold temperate forest/grassland, Wisconsin; cool temperate forest, North Carolina; desert/shrubland, New Mexico; subtropical forest, South Carolina; and tropical rain forest, Amazonas, Venezuela. Area-based R d was positively related to area-based leaf N within functional groups and for all species pooled, but not when comparing among species within any site. At all sites, mass-based R d (R d-mass ) decreased sharply with increasing leaf life-span and was positively related to SLA and mass-based A max and leaf N (leaf N mass ). These intra-biome relationships were similar in shape and slope among sites, where in each case we compared species belonging to different plant functional groups. Significant R d-mass -N mass relationships were observed in all functional groups (pooled across sites), but the relationships differed, with higher R d at any given leaf N in functional groups (such as forbs) with higher SLA and shorter leaf life-span. Regardless of biome or functional group, R d-mass was well predicted by all combinations of leaf life-span, N mass and/or SLA (r 2 ≥ 0.79, P morphological, chemical and metabolic traits.

  11. Dependence of fluence errors in dynamic IMRT on leaf-positional errors varying with time and leaf number

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zygmanski, Piotr; Kung, Jong H.; Jiang, Steve B.; Chin, Lee

    2003-01-01

    In d-MLC based IMRT, leaves move along a trajectory that lies within a user-defined tolerance (TOL) about the ideal trajectory specified in a d-MLC sequence file. The MLC controller measures leaf positions multiple times per second and corrects them if they deviate from ideal positions by a value greater than TOL. The magnitude of leaf-positional errors resulting from finite mechanical precision depends on the performance of the MLC motors executing leaf motions and is generally larger if leaves are forced to move at higher speeds. The maximum value of leaf-positional errors can be limited by decreasing TOL. However, due to the inherent time delay in the MLC controller, this may not happen at all times. Furthermore, decreasing the leaf tolerance results in a larger number of beam hold-offs, which, in turn leads, to a longer delivery time and, paradoxically, to higher chances of leaf-positional errors (≤TOL). On the other end, the magnitude of leaf-positional errors depends on the complexity of the fluence map to be delivered. Recently, it has been shown that it is possible to determine the actual distribution of leaf-positional errors either by the imaging of moving MLC apertures with a digital imager or by analysis of a MLC log file saved by a MLC controller. This leads next to an important question: What is the relation between the distribution of leaf-positional errors and fluence errors. In this work, we introduce an analytical method to determine this relation in dynamic IMRT delivery. We model MLC errors as Random-Leaf Positional (RLP) errors described by a truncated normal distribution defined by two characteristic parameters: a standard deviation σ and a cut-off value Δx 0 (Δx 0 ∼TOL). We quantify fluence errors for two cases: (i) Δx 0 >>σ (unrestricted normal distribution) and (ii) Δx 0 0 --limited normal distribution). We show that an average fluence error of an IMRT field is proportional to (i) σ/ALPO and (ii) Δx 0 /ALPO, respectively, where

  12. Leaves Of Cut Rose Flower Convert Exogenously Applied Glucose To Sucrose And Translocate It To Petals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Horibe Takanori

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available To understand the role that the leaves play in the translocation of soluble carbohydrates in cut rose flowers, we first evaluated the effect of leaf removal on flower quality and the sugar content in petals. Cut rose flowers with leaves had higher soluble sugar content in petals compared with cut flower without leaves. Next, we treated cut flowers with radioactive glucose to clarify translocation routes of exogenously applied sugar. There was no significant difference between the specific radioactivity of sucrose and glucose in leaves, but specific radioactivity of sucrose in petals was much higher than that of glucose. These results suggested that most of the exogenously applied glucose first moved to the leaves, where it was converted into sucrose and then the synthesised sucrose was translocated to the petals. Our results showed that the leaves of cut rose flowers play an important role in the metabolism and transportation of exogenously applied soluble carbohydrates toward the petals, thus contributing to sustaining the post-harvest quality.

  13. Leaf-IT: An Android application for measuring leaf area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schrader, Julian; Pillar, Giso; Kreft, Holger

    2017-11-01

    The use of plant functional traits has become increasingly popular in ecological studies because plant functional traits help to understand key ecological processes in plant species and communities. This also includes changes in diversity, inter- and intraspecific interactions, and relationships of species at different spatiotemporal scales. Leaf traits are among the most important traits as they describe key dimensions of a plant's life history strategy. Further, leaf area is a key parameter with relevance for other traits such as specific leaf area, which in turn correlates with leaf chemical composition, photosynthetic rate, leaf longevity, and carbon investment. Measuring leaf area usually involves the use of scanners and commercial software and can be difficult under field conditions. We present Leaf-IT, a new smartphone application for measuring leaf area and other trait-related areas. Leaf-IT is free, designed for scientific purposes, and runs on Android 4 or higher. We tested the precision and accuracy using objects with standardized area and compared the area measurements of real leaves with the well-established, commercial software WinFOLIA using the Altman-Bland method. Area measurements of standardized objects show that Leaf-IT measures area with high accuracy and precision. Area measurements with Leaf-IT of real leaves are comparable to those of WinFOLIA. Leaf-IT is an easy-to-use application running on a wide range of smartphones. That increases the portability and use of Leaf-IT and makes it possible to measure leaf area under field conditions typical for remote locations. Its high accuracy and precision are similar to WinFOLIA. Currently, its main limitation is margin detection of damaged leaves or complex leaf morphologies.

  14. The distribution and diversity of insular ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roura-Pascual, Núria; Sanders, Nate; Hui, Cang

    2016-01-01

    Aim: To examine the relationship between island characteristics (area, distance to the nearest continent, climate and human population size) and ant species richness, as well as the factors underlying global geographical clustering of native and exotic ant composition on islands. Location: One...... hundred and two islands from 20 island groups around the world. Methods: We used spatial linear models that consider the spatial structure of islands to examine patterns of ant species richness. We also performed modularity analyses to identify clusters of islands hosting a similar suite of species...... and constructed conditional inference trees to assess the characteristics of islands that explain the formation of these island-ant groups. Results: Island area was the best predictor of ant species richness. However, distance to the nearest continent was an important predictor of native ant species richness...

  15. Antígona y la muerte

    OpenAIRE

    Pérez Alcolea, Simona Micaela

    2012-01-01

    La ponencia analiza la muerte de Antígona en la obra de Sófocles. Se propone que su suicidio es un acto consciente de voluntad preanunciado a lo largo de toda la obra y no una medida desesperada. Con ese fin se exploran las posibles motivaciones de Antígona para poner fin a su vida. En el análisis se proponen tres respuestas (no necesariamente excluyentes): -Antígona responde a la ética homérica. Está en lucha con Creón, y su suicidio es su golpe de gracia al poder del rey. -Antígona...

  16. From Ant Trails to Pedestrian Dynamics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Schadschneider

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a model for the simulation of pedestrian dynamics inspired by the behaviour of ants in ant trails. Ants communicate by producing a pheromone that can be smelled by other ants. In this model, pedestrians produce a virtual pheromone that influences the motion of others. In this way all interactions are strictly local, and so even large crowds can be simulated very efficiently. Nevertheless, the model is able to reproduce the collective effects observed empirically, eg the formation of lanes in counterflow. As an application, we reproduce a surprising result found in experiments of evacuation from an aircraft.

  17. Safety evaluation of Sapindus laurifolius leaf extract in Wistar rats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. N. Santhosh Kumar

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Objectives:The present work was aimed to study the phytochemical composition of the Sapindus laurifolius leaves andtoxicological effect of the Sapindus laurifolius leaf extract in a systematic way using Wistar albino rats as a model animal.Materials and Methods :The identification of phytoconstituents present in the leaf extract was performed using Highperformance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC. In toxicity studies, the acute oral toxicity study was conducted as per theguidelines of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 423 Acute Toxic Class Method for testingof chemicals. In repeated dose 28-day oral toxicity study (OECD 407, methanolic leaf extract administered at the dose of 50,200 and 800 mg/kg BWand limit dose of 1000 mg/kg BW.Results: Saponins, flavanoids, glycosides and bitter principles were the major phytoconstituents identified. In acute toxicitystudy, the LD cut-off values were found to be more than 2g/kg in leaf extract. In repeated dose 28-day oral toxicity, significant 50(P<0.05 increase in AST, ALT, BUN and creatinine, significant (P<0.05 increase in total protein was noticed. Thehistopathological changes confined to liver, kidney and intestine, revealed mild to moderate hepatotoxicity, severenephrotoxicity and increased goblet cell activity. The changes were found to correlate with increased dose of leaf extract.Conclusion:The phytochemical analysis of Sapindus laurifolius revealed the presence of saponins, glycosides, flavonoidsand bitter principles.The acute oral toxicity study of S. laurifolius methanolic leaf extract in rats resulted in no toxicity even atthe highest dose, but in repeated 28-day oral toxicity study revealed mild to moderate hepatotoxicity, severe nephrotoxicityand intestinal damage.

  18. Ants defend aphids against lethal disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, Charlotte; Agrawal, Anurag A.; Hajek, Ann E.

    2010-01-01

    Social insects defend their own colonies and some species also protect their mutualist partners. In mutualisms with aphids, ants typically feed on honeydew produced by aphids and, in turn guard and shelter aphid colonies from insect natural enemies. Here we report that Formica podzolica ants tending milkweed aphids, Aphis asclepiadis, protect aphid colonies from lethal fungal infections caused by an obligate aphid pathogen, Pandora neoaphidis. In field experiments, bodies of fungal-killed aphids were quickly removed from ant-tended aphid colonies. Ant workers were also able to detect infective conidia on the cuticle of living aphids and responded by either removing or grooming these aphids. Our results extend the long-standing view of ants as mutualists and protectors of aphids by demonstrating focused sanitizing and quarantining behaviour that may lead to reduced disease transmission in aphid colonies. PMID:19923138

  19. Pengkajian Penerapan Teknik Budidaya Rhizophora mucronata dengan Stek Hipokotil (Study on Propagation Technique Application of Rhizophora mucronata Using Hypocotyl Cutting System

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neni Mulyani

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available Research on the vegetative propagation of Rhizophora mucronata using hypocotyl cutting sistem was carried out at Faculty of Forestry, Bogor Agricultural University. Histological analysis of adventitous shoot was done at Biotechnology and Tree Breeding Laboratory, SEAMEO-BIOTROP. Three types of hypocotyl cutting (complete hypocotyl, top part of cut-hypocotyl and bottom part of cut-hypocotyl were induced using 6-BAP hormones at 0 and 500 ppm. Adventitous shoot of bottom part of cut-hypocotyl appeared 140 days after planting. Shoot from complete hypocotyl and top part of cut-hypocotyl grew earlier than adventitous shoot from bottom part of cut-hypocotyl. Hystologycal analysis of adventitous shoot showed the existance of primary meristem, stipule and leaf primordia. The growth of complete hipocotyl was higher than both of top part of cut-hypocotyl and bottom part of cut-hypocotyl. There was no effect of hormone induction on the shoot growth of them.

  20. Collective search by ants in microgravity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stefanie M. Countryman

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The problem of collective search is a tradeoff between searching thoroughly and covering as much area as possible. This tradeoff depends on the density of searchers. Solutions to the problem of collective search are currently of much interest in robotics and in the study of distributed algorithms, for example to design ways that without central control robots can use local information to perform search and rescue operations. Ant colonies operate without central control. Because they can perceive only local, mostly chemical and tactile cues, they must search collectively to find resources and to monitor the colony's environment. Examining how ants in diverse environments solve the problem of collective search can elucidate how evolution has led to diverse forms of collective behavior. An experiment on the International Space Station in January 2014 examined how ants (Tetramorium caespitum perform collective search in microgravity. In the ISS experiment, the ants explored a small arena in which a barrier was lowered to increase the area and thus lower ant density. In microgravity, relative to ground controls, ants explored the area less thoroughly and took more convoluted paths. It appears that the difficulty of holding on to the surface interfered with the ants’ ability to search collectively. Ants frequently lost contact with the surface, but showed a remarkable ability to regain contact with the surface.

  1. Application of Gamma Irradiation and Its Convergent Treatments on Several Varieties of Oriental Hybrid Lily to Control Leaf Blight

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ji-Hoon Kim

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available In order to seek more eco-friend, economic and safer quarantine method than current methyl bromide fumigation, the convergent treatment with 200 Gy of gamma irradiation and several chemicals such as nano-siver particles (NSS, sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC was tried on the cuttings of lily in the packing of catonnage box for export. With 6 independent experiments of gamma irradiation on the three lily cultivars, cvs. Siberia, Le reve and Sorbonne, incidence and severity of lily leaf blight was investigated on leaves and petals at 8-d after infection. 200 Gy of gamma irradiation decreased at 13-25% of severity on the leaf of Sorbonne, but it increased at 2-5% of severity on the leaf of Siberia and Le reve. Chemical substitutes such as NSS and NaDCC were not effective to control of lily blight on cuttings. By 200 Gy of gamma irradiation treatment, chlorophyll contents were statistically significantly decreased at 12-d after irradiation and the longevities vaselife of fully open flower of Siberia and Sorbonne were increased at 0.4 to 1.2 days. In addition, the relative fresh weights of the gamma irradiated cuttings were severely dried compared to the non-irradiated control. On the other hands, the symptoms of phyto-toxicity of high dose gamma irradiation at 1 or 2 kGy on cv. Siberia were to be blight at the tip of bloom, bent necks of flower, and delayed the process of flowering.

  2. Pericarpial nectary-visiting ants do not provide fruit protection against pre-dispersal seed predators regardless of ant species composition and resource availability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Priscila Andre Sanz-Veiga

    Full Text Available Extrafloral nectaries can occur in both vegetative and reproductive plant structures. In many Rubiaceae species in the Brazilian Cerrado, after corolla abscission, the floral nectary continues to secret nectar throughout fruit development originating post-floral pericarpial nectaries which commonly attract many ant species. The occurrence of such nectar secreting structures might be strategic for fruit protection against seed predators, as plants are expected to invest higher on more valuable and vulnerable parts. Here, we performed ant exclusion experiments to investigate whether the interaction with ants mediated by the pericarpial nectaries of Tocoyena formosa affects plant reproductive success by reducing the number of pre-dispersal seed predators. We also assessed whether ant protection was dependent on ant species composition and resource availability. Although most of the plants were visited by large and aggressive ant species, such as Ectatomma tuberculatum and species of the genus Camponotus, ants did not protect fruits against seed predators. Furthermore, the result of the interaction was neither related to ant species composition nor to the availability of resources. We suggest that these results may be related to the nature and behavior of the most important seed predators, like Hemicolpus abdominalis weevil which the exoskeleton toughness prevent it from being predated by most ant species. On the other hand, not explored factors, such as reward quality, local ant abundance, ant colony characteristics and/or the presence of alternative energetic sources could also account for variations in ant frequency, composition, and finally ant protective effects, highlighting the conditionality of facultative plant-ant mutualisms.

  3. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Axel Touchard

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available 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 paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents.

  4. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira R.; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves 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 paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents. PMID:26805882

  5. The devil to pay: a cost of mutualism with Myrmelachista schumanni ants in ‘devil's gardens’ is increased herbivory on Duroia hirsuta trees

    OpenAIRE

    Frederickson, Megan E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2007-01-01

    ‘Devil's gardens’ are nearly pure stands of the myrmecophyte, Duroia hirsuta, that occur in Amazonian rainforests. Devil's gardens are created by Myrmelachista schumanni ants, which nest in D. hirsuta trees and kill other plants using formic acid as an herbicide. Here, we show that this ant–plant mutualism has an associated cost; by making devil's gardens, M. schumanni increases herbivory on D. hirsuta. We measured standing leaf herbivory on D. hirsuta trees and found that they sustain higher...

  6. Aphid egg protection by ants: a novel aspect of the mutualism between the tree-feeding aphid Stomaphis hirukawai and its attendant ant Lasius productus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

    Aphids often form mutualistic associations with ants, in which the aphids provide the ants with honeydew and the ants defend the aphids from predators. In this paper, we report aphid egg protection by ants as a novel aspect of the deeply interdependent relationship between a tree-feeding aphid and its attendant ant. The ant Lasius productus harbours oviparous females, males, and eggs of the hinoki cypress-feeding aphid Stomaphis hirukawai in its nests in winter. We investigated the behaviour of ants kept with aphid eggs in petri dishes to examine whether the ants recognise the aphid eggs and tend them or only provide a refuge for the aphids. Workers carried almost all of the aphid eggs into the nest within 24 h. The ants indiscriminately tended aphid eggs collected from their own colonies and those from other ant colonies. The ants cleaned the eggs and piled them up in the nest, and egg tending by ants dramatically increased aphid egg survival rates. Starving the ants showed no significant effect on aphid egg survivorship. Without ants, aphid eggs were rapidly killed by fungi. These results suggested that grooming by the ants protected the aphid eggs, at least, against pathogenic fungi. This hygienic service afforded by the ants seems indispensable for egg survival of these aphids in an environment rich in potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

  7. Fire ants perpetually rebuild sinking towers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phonekeo, Sulisay; Mlot, Nathan; Monaenkova, Daria; Hu, David L.; Tovey, Craig

    2017-07-01

    In the aftermath of a flood, fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, cluster into temporary encampments. The encampments can contain hundreds of thousands of ants and reach over 30 ants high. How do ants build such tall structures without being crushed? In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we investigate the shape and rate of construction of ant towers around a central support. The towers are bell shaped, consistent with towers of constant strength such as the Eiffel tower, where each element bears an equal load. However, unlike the Eiffel tower, the ant tower is built through a process of trial and error, whereby failed portions avalanche until the final shape emerges. High-speed and novel X-ray videography reveal that the tower constantly sinks and is rebuilt, reminiscent of large multicellular systems such as human skin. We combine the behavioural rules that produce rafts on water with measurements of adhesion and attachment strength to model the rate of growth of the tower. The model correctly predicts that the growth rate decreases as the support diameter increases. This work may inspire the design of synthetic swarms capable of building in vertical layers.

  8. Influence of leaf and base lesion of herbaceous cutting in the guava rooting of the selection 8501-9 / Influência de folhas e lesões na base de estacas herbáceas no enraizamento de goiabeira da seleção 8501-9

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sérgio Ruffo Roberto

    2010-07-01

    Full Text Available With the objective of evaluate the potential of rooting of the selection of guava tree 8501-9 were using herbaceous cutting with 10-12 cm of length in two make of the prepared (simple cut without lesions and cambium exposition, and three suppression intensity of the leaves (without leaves, with half leaves and intact leaves. The experimental design was completely randomized with five repetitions in factorial arrangement 2 x 3, with ten cutting for parcel. After the preparation with IBA the cutting had been placed to rooting in plastic box (44 x 30 x 7 cm with carbonized rice hulls, in camera of nebulization. After 78 days, evaluated the leaf retention, survive of the cutting, the number of cutting roots and of roots, the length and fresh and dry mass of the roots. The interaction between lesions and presence of leaves was not significant, indicating like this factors act in independent form in relation the study factors. The leaves suppression resulted in cutting death. The cambium exposition not proportion vantage on root cutting herbaceous. For the gotten results it was observed that the interaction between lesion and leaf presence was not significant, indicating that these factors act of independent form in relation to the evaluated parameters. Cutting with base lesion presented addition of only 10% of foliar retention and percentage of roots cutting. Cutting with a pair of leaves had been superior to the parameters of the mass fresh and dry of root in relation to the cutting with half leaves, and the cutting without leaves not presented formation of roots being presence of leaves fundamental to roots promotion.Com o objetivo de avaliar o potencial de enraizamento da seleção 8501-9 de goiabeira utilizou-se estacas herbáceas com 10-12 cm de comprimento em duas formas de preparo (corte simples sem lesão e exposição do câmbio e três intensidades de supressão das folhas (sem folhas, com folhas cortadas ao meio e folhas intactas. O

  9. Recycling stabilised/solidified drill cuttings for forage production in acidic soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kogbara, Reginald B; Dumkhana, Bernard B; Ayotamuno, Josiah M; Okparanma, Reuben N

    2017-10-01

    Stabilisation/solidification (S/S), which involves fixation and immobilisation of contaminants using cementitious materials, is one method of treating drill cuttings before final fate. This work considers reuse of stabilised/solidified drill cuttings for forage production in acidic soils. It sought to improve the sustainability of S/S technique through supplementation with the phytoremediation potential of plants, eliminate the need for landfill disposal and reduce soil acidity for better plant growth. Drill cuttings with an initial total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentration of 17,125 mg kg -1 and low concentrations of metals were treated with 5%, 10%, and 20% cement dosages. The treated drill cuttings were reused in granular form for growing a forage, elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum), after mixing with uncontaminated soil. The grasses were also grown in uncontaminated soil. The phytoremediation and growth potential of the plants was assessed over a 12-week period. A mix ratio of one part drill cuttings to three parts uncontaminated soil was required for active plant growth. The phytoremediation ability of elephant grass (alongside abiotic losses) reduced the TPH level (up to 8795 mg kg -1 ) in the soil-treated-drill cuttings mixtures below regulatory (1000 mg kg -1 ) levels. There were also decreased concentrations of metals. The grass showed better heights and leaf lengths in soil containing drill cuttings treated with 5% cement dosage than in uncontaminated soil. The results suggest that recycling S/S treated drill cuttings for forage production may be a potential end use of the treated waste. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Ants Orase kultuurisõnum

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

    26. jaanuaril toimub Tallinna Ülikooli Akadeemilises Raamatukogus seminar silmapaistvast Eesti teadlasest ja tõlkijast Ants Orasest. Esinevad kirjandusteadlased Tallinna Ülikoolist, Tartu Ülikoolist ja Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumist. Avaettekandeks on sõna Oklahoma Ülikooli professoril Vincent B. Leitchil, kes oli Ants Orase viimaseks juhendatavaks doktorandiks. Seminari korraldavad Tallinna Ülikool ja Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum. Vt ka Postimees, 26, jaan., lk. 18

  11. Ant-plant symbioses: Stalking the chuyachaqui.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davidson, D W; McKey, D

    1993-09-01

    According to Quechua-speaking peoples, orchard-like stands ('Supay Chacras') of two Amazonian ant-plant species are cultivated by the devil, or 'Chuyachaqui'. These "devil gardens" offer extreme examples of specializations that have evolved repeatedly in ant-plant associations. Numerous investigations are beginning to disclose the identity of the Chuyachaqui - the forces behind evolutionary specialization in ant-plant symbioses. These developments have important implications for our understanding of modes of coevolution in symbiotic mutualism, remarkable convergent similarities in the form of ant-plant symbioses on different continents, and pronounced intercontinental differences in the diversity and taxonomic composition of associates. Copyright © 1993. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  12. A new ant species of Oxyepoecus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae, with the description of Oxyepoecus browni gyne and new records for the genus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica A. Ulysséa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We describe a new species of Oxyepoecus Santschi, 1926, Oxyepoecus regularis sp. nov., based on workers and a gyne collected in "Caatinga Arbórea" (Arboreal Shrubland in Milagres and "Mata Seca" (Dry Forest in Boa Vista do Tupim, both in the state of Bahia, Brazil. The gyne of Oxyepoecus browni Albuquerque & Brandão, 2004, collected in the same leaf litter ant survey, is also described. In addition, we present new records for Oxyepoecus species in Northeastern Brazil.

  13. Using SNP genetic markers to elucidate the linkage of the Co-34/Phg-3 anthracnose and angular leaf spot resistance gene cluster with the Ur-14 resistance gene

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Ouro Negro common bean cultivar contains the Co-34/Phg-3 gene cluster that confers resistance to the anthracnose (ANT) and angular leaf spot (ALS) pathogens. These genes are tightly linked on chromosome 4. Ouro Negro also has the Ur-14 rust resistance gene, reportedly in the vicinity of Co- 34; ...

  14. Effect of forest clear cuts on plant–pollinator interactions: the case of three ericaceous subshrubs in Lithuanian pine forests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Remigijus Daubaras

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Managed boreal pine forests are subject to regular clear cuts causing significant disturbances to these ecosystems. It is believed that, to some extent, they resemble natural cycles of forest growth, decline, and regeneration and can benefit, e.g., mutualistic relations among plants and pollinators. To study the impact of forest management (clear cuts on pollinator visitation, we focused on three ericaceous plant species, Vaccinium myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, and Calluna vulgaris, common elements of pine forest understory. Our observations, conducted in Lithuania, showed that there are no differences among control mature stands and clear cut areas in terms of visitation frequency for all three studied species. However, at least for C. vulgaris, a shift toward fly visits was observed in the clear cut site, showing that open areas are preferred habitats for these insects. Ants constituted an important share of visitors to flowers of V. myrtillus and C. vulgaris, suggesting their important role in reproduction of these plant species.

  15. Pollination and facultative ant-association in the African leopard ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The role of extra-floral nectar appears to be recruitment of foraging ants to tend the flowers resulting in a facultative ant-association between the orchid and gregarious ants. Four different ant species were found to forage on A. africana's inflorescences. Ant-tended inflorescences suffered significantly less damage by insects.

  16. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; van der Duim, René

    2015-01-01

    viable descriptions of the collective condition of humans and more-than-humans in the Anthropocene. Also and moving past a merely descriptive approach, it discusses it as a useful tool to engage with the situated globalities which come into being through the socio-spatial coupling of tourism......In recent years Actor-network theory (ANT) has increasingly been felt in the field of tourism studies (Van der Duim, Ren, & Jóhannesson, 2012). An important implication of the meeting between ANT and tourism studies is the notion of tourism being described as a heterogeneous assemblage of what we...... are used to define as the separate spheres of nature and culture. This paper explores and relates the central tenets of ANT in tourism with regard to the concept of the Anthropocene. It presents the ANT approach as a flat and object-oriented ontology and methodology and explores its potentials to carve out...

  17. Effects of terrestrial isopods (Crustacea: Oniscidea on leaf litter decomposition processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Khaleid F. Abd El-Wakeil

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The leaf litter decomposition is carried out by the combined action of microorganisms and decomposer invertebrates such as earthworms, diplopods and isopods. The present work aimed to evaluate the impact of terrestrial isopod on leaf litter decomposition process. In Lab experimental food sources from oak and magnolia leaves litter were prepared. Air dried leaf litter were cut to 9 mm discs and sterilized in an autoclave then soaked in distilled water or water percolated through soil and left to decompose for 2, 4 and 6 weeks. 12 groups from two isopods species Porcellio scaber and Armadillidium vulgare, were prepared with each one containing 9 isopods. They were fed individually on the prepared food for 2 weeks. The prepared food differed in Carbon stable isotope ratio (δ13C, C%, N% and C/N ratios. At the end of the experiment, isopods were dissected and separated into gut, gut content and rest of the body. The δ13C for the prepared food, faecal pellets, remaining food, gut content, gut and rest of isopod were compared. The feeding activities of the two isopods were significantly different among isopods groups. Consumption and egestion ratios of magnolia leaf were higher than oak leaf. P. scaber consumed and egested litter higher than A. vulgare. The present results suggested that the impact of isopods and decomposition processes is species and litter specific.

  18. Recurrence analysis of ant activity patterns.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Felipe Marcel Neves

    Full Text Available In this study, we used recurrence quantification analysis (RQA and recurrence plots (RPs to compare the movement activity of individual workers of three ant species, as well as a gregarious beetle species. RQA and RPs quantify the number and duration of recurrences of a dynamical system, including a detailed quantification of signals that could be stochastic, deterministic, or both. First, we found substantial differences between the activity dynamics of beetles and ants, with the results suggesting that the beetles have quasi-periodic dynamics and the ants do not. Second, workers from different ant species varied with respect to their dynamics, presenting degrees of predictability as well as stochastic signals. Finally, differences were found among minor and major caste of the same (dimorphic ant species. Our results underscore the potential of RQA and RPs in the analysis of complex behavioral patterns, as well as in general inferences on animal behavior and other biological phenomena.

  19. Disc size regulation in the brood cell building behavior of leaf-cutter bee, Megachile tsurugensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Jong-yoon

    2007-12-01

    The leaf-cutter bee, Megachile tsurugensis, builds a brood cell in a preexisting tunnel with leaf discs that she cuts in decreasing sizes and assembles them like a Russian matryoshka doll. By experimentally manipulating the brood cell, it was investigated how she regulates the size of leaf discs that fit in the brood cell's internal volume. When the internal volume was artificially increased by removing a bulk of leaf discs, she decreased the leaf disc size, although increasing it would have made the leaf disc more fitting in the increased internal volume. As a reverse manipulation, when the internal volume was decreased by inserting a group of inner layers of preassembled leaf discs to a brood cell, she decreased the leaf disc size, so that the leaf disc could fit in the decreased internal volume. These results suggest that she uses at least two different mechanisms to regulate the disc size: the use of some internal memory about the degree of building work accomplished in the first and of sensory feedback of dimensional information at the construction site in the second manipulation, respectively. It was concluded that a stigmergic mechanism, an immediate sensory feedback from the brood cell changed by the building work, alone cannot explain the details of the bee's behavior particularly with respect to her initial response to the first manipulation. For a more complete explanation of the behavior exhibited by the solitary bee, two additional behavioral elements, reinforcement of building activity and processing of dimensional information, were discussed along with stigmergy.

  20. Symbiotic mutualism with a community of opportunistic ants: protection, competition, and ant occupancy of the myrmecophyte Barteria nigritana (Passifloraceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Dejean, Alain; Gibernau, Marc; Hossaert-McKey, Martine; McKey, Doyle

    2004-10-01

    Barteria nigritana is a myrmecophyte tree of Lower Guinea coastal vegetation. Unlike the more specialised B. fistulosa, which harbours a single host-specific mutualistic ant, B. nigritana is associated with several opportunistic ants. Such symbiotic, yet opportunistic, ant-plant associations have been little studied. On 113 clumps of B. nigritana, we censused ant associates and herbivores and compared herbivory on plants occupied by different ants. In addition to these correlative data, protection conferred by different ant species was compared by herbivore-placement experiments. Identity of ant associate changed predictably over plant ontogeny. Pheidole megacephala was restricted to very small plants; saplings were occupied by either Oecophylla longinoda or Crematogaster sp., and the latter species was the sole occupant of larger trees. Damage by caterpillars of the nymphalid butterfly Acraea zetes accounted for much of the herbivory to leaves. Ant species differed in the protection provided to hosts. While P. megacephala provided no significant protection, plants occupied by O. longinoda and Crematogaster sp. suffered less damage than did unoccupied plants or those occupied by P. megacephala. Furthermore, O. longinoda provided more effective protection than did Crematogaster sp. Herbivore-placement experiments confirmed these results. Workers of O. longinoda killed or removed all larval instars of A. zetes. Crematogaster preyed on only the two first larval instars, and P. megacephala preyed mainly on eggs, only rarely attacking the two first larval instars. Opportunistic ants provided significant protection to this relatively unspecialised myrmecophyte. The usual associate of mature trees was not the species that provided most protection.

  1. Final report on the safety assessment of AloeAndongensis Extract, Aloe Andongensis Leaf Juice,aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Protoplasts, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice,aloe Barbadensis Leaf Polysaccharides, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice, and Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice Extract.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-01-01

    Plant materials derived from the Aloe plant are used as cosmetic ingredients, including Aloe Andongensis Extract, Aloe Andongensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Protoplasts, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Polysaccharides, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice, and Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice Extract. These ingredients function primarily as skin-conditioning agents and are included in cosmetics only at low concentrations. The Aloe leaf consists of the pericyclic cells, found just below the plant's skin, and the inner central area of the leaf, i.e., the gel, which is used for cosmetic products. The pericyclic cells produce a bitter, yellow latex containing a number of anthraquinones, phototoxic compounds that are also gastrointestinal irritants responsible for cathartic effects. The gel contains polysaccharides, which can be acetylated, partially acetylated, or not acetylated. An industry established limit for anthraquinones in aloe-derived material for nonmedicinal use is 50 ppm or lower. Aloe-derived ingredients are used in a wide variety of cosmetic product types at concentrations of raw material that are 0.1% or less, although can be as high as 20%. The concentration of Aloe in the raw material also may vary from 100% to a low of 0.0005%. Oral administration of various anthraquinone components results in a rise in their blood concentrations, wide systemic distribution, accumulation in the liver and kidneys, and excretion in urine and feces; polysaccharide components are distributed systemically and metabolized into smaller molecules. aloe-derived material has fungicidal, antimicrobial, and antiviral activities, and has been effective in wound healing and infection treatment in animals. Aloe barbadensis (also known as Aloe vera)-derived ingredients were not toxic

  2. Plant-ants use symbiotic fungi as a food source: new insight into the nutritional ecology of ant-plant interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Mondolot, Laurence; La Fisca, Philippe; Voglmayr, Hermann; McKey, Doyle

    2012-10-07

    Usually studied as pairwise interactions, mutualisms often involve networks of interacting species. Numerous tropical arboreal ants are specialist inhabitants of myrmecophytes (plants bearing domatia, i.e. hollow structures specialized to host ants) and are thought to rely almost exclusively on resources derived from the host plant. Recent studies, following up on century-old reports, have shown that fungi of the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales live in symbiosis with plant-ants within domatia. We tested the hypothesis that ants use domatia-inhabiting fungi as food in three ant-plant symbioses: Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana, Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa and Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. Labelling domatia fungal patches in the field with either a fluorescent dye or (15)N showed that larvae ingested domatia fungi. Furthermore, when the natural fungal patch was replaced with a piece of a (15)N-labelled pure culture of either of two Chaetothyriales strains isolated from T. aethiops colonies, these fungi were also consumed. These two fungi often co-occur in the same ant colony. Interestingly, T. aethiops workers and larvae ingested preferentially one of the two strains. Our results add a new piece in the puzzle of the nutritional ecology of plant-ants.

  3. Is the WBE model appropriate for semi-arid shrubs subjected to clear cutting?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Issoufou, Hassane Bil-Assanou; Rambal, Serge; Le Dantec, Valérie; Oï, Monique; Laurent, Jean-Paul; Saadou, Mahamane; Seghieri, Josiane

    2015-02-01

    It is crucial to understand the adaptive mechanisms of woody plants facing periodic drought to assess their vulnerability to the increasing climate variability predicted in the Sahel. Guiera senegalensis J.F.Gmel is a semi-evergreen Combretaceae commonly found in Sahelian rangelands, fallows and crop fields because of its value as an agroforestry species. We compared canopy leafing, and allometric measurements of leaf area, stem area and stem length and their relationships with leaf water potential, stomatal conductance (gs) and soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductance (KS-L), in mature and current-year resprouts of G. senegalensis in Sahelian Niger. In mature shrubs, seasonal drought reduced the ratio of leaf area to cross-sectional stem area (AL : AS), mainly due to leaf shedding. The canopy of the current-year resprouts remained permanently leafed as the shrubs produced leaves and stems continuously, and their AL : AS ratio increased throughout the dry season. Their KS-L increased, whereas gs decreased. West, Brown and Enquist's (WBE) model can thus describe allometric trends in the seasonal life cycle of undisturbed mature shrubs, but not that of resprouts. Annual clear cutting drives allometric scaling relationships away from theoretical WBE predictions in the current-year resprouts, with scaling exponents 2.5 times greater than those of mature shrubs. High KS-L (twice that of mature shrubs) supports this intensive regeneration process. The adaptive strategy described here is probably common to many woody species that have to cope with both severe seasonal drought and regular disturbance over the long term. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Systematic control of leaf-cutting ants in areas with eucalyptus stands under minimum cultivation system

    OpenAIRE

    Zanetti, Ronald; Zanuncio, José Cola; Mayhé-Nunes, Antônio José; Medeiros, Alex Giovanny Barros; Souza-Silva, Alan

    2003-01-01

    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...

  5. The devil to pay: a cost of mutualism with Myrmelachista schumanni ants in ‘devil's gardens’ is increased herbivory on Duroia hirsuta trees

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2007-01-01

    ‘Devil's gardens’ are nearly pure stands of the myrmecophyte, Duroia hirsuta, that occur in Amazonian rainforests. Devil's gardens are created by Myrmelachista schumanni ants, which nest in D. hirsuta trees and kill other plants using formic acid as an herbicide. Here, we show that this ant–plant mutualism has an associated cost; by making devil's gardens, M. schumanni increases herbivory on D. hirsuta. We measured standing leaf herbivory on D. hirsuta trees and found that they sustain higher herbivory inside than outside devil's gardens. We also measured the rate of herbivory on nursery-grown D. hirsuta saplings planted inside and outside devil's gardens in ant-exclusion and control treatments. We found that when we excluded ants, herbivory on D. hirsuta was higher inside than outside devil's gardens. These results suggest that devil's gardens are a concentrated resource for herbivores. Myrmelachista schumanni workers defend D. hirsuta against herbivores, but do not fully counterbalance the high herbivore pressure in devil's gardens. We suggest that high herbivory may limit the spread of devil's gardens, possibly explaining why devil's gardens do not overrun Amazonian rainforests. PMID:17301016

  6. Características químicas do lixo de formigueiros de Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae mantidos com diferentes substratos Chemical characteristics of nest refuse of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae reared with different substrates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Braga Bueno Guerra

    2007-10-01

    ecossistema. O lixo pode ser uma das principais razões para o aumento da concentração de nutrientes em solos de formigueiros.Leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp. are widely distributed in South America, and are considered to be important components of the neotropical ecosystems. Several studies have demonstrated the effect of ant-nesting in soil enrichment, thus facilitating vegetation succession. Possibly, this enrichment is due to decomposed organic matter concentration after disposal of nest refuse in the deep soil by the colonies. However, little is known about the chemical composition of refuse material produced by leaf-cutting ants. The present work aimed to compare the macronutrient concentration in nest refuse and leaves of two different harvested plants (Acalypha sp. or Bauhinia sp. in colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae maintained in laboratory. Eight colonies were divided into two groups (n = 4, and each one was maintained with only one feed type. After 30 days of experiment, samples of leaves and refuse were oven-dried at 70 ºC and subjected to acid digestion for chemical determination of total N, P, K, S, Ca and Mg. Differences in concentrations of macronutrients in both leaves and refuse were compared using ANOVA and T test. Nutrient concentration in the refuse material was consistently higher than in leaves, for both plants. Acalypha sp. leaves showed greater nutrient concentration than those of Bauhinia sp., while the concentration of all refuses were very similar. This indicates an additional enrichment of nutrients in the refuse material by either ant carcasses, fungus cycling or excretions. Results suggest that nests of leaf-cutting ant are important loci of nutrient recycling of the ecosystem. Moreover, the refuse may represent an important factor for chemical enrichment in soils influenced by leaf-cutting ants.

  7. Response of the grass-cutting ant Atta capiguara Gonçalves, 1944 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae to sugars and artificial sweeteners Resposta da saúva Atta capiguara Gonçalves, 1944 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae a açúcares e edulcorantes artificiais

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Aparecida Castellani Boaretto

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available Using of toxic baits made of dehydrated citric pulp to control grass-cutting ants can lead to unsatisfactory results because of the low attractiveness of the substrate to worker ants. This work aimed to identify attractive substances, with potential for incorporation in a matrix of granulated baits for grass-cutting ants, among several kinds of sugars and substances used in artificial sweeteners. Experiments were carried out in mature nests of Atta capiguara (Hym.: Formicidae set in pasture. Studied substances were sucrose, fructose, soluble starch, raffinose, maltose, lactose, sorbose, cellobiose, arabinose, xylose, glucose, galactose, rhamnose, arabinose, melezitose, saccharine and cyclamate (at 5.0% w/v. Later, on maltose, xylose, sucrose, fructose and glucose solutions were included at 5.0%, 7.5%, 10.0% and 20.0% w/v, respectively. Cellulose rectangles were used as vehicle and number of rectangles carried into the colonies was evaluated. Carrying rates were very low with maximum means of 9.6% for lactose and 6.0% for arabinose and cyclamate, at the 5.0% concentration. No differences (P > 0.05 were observed relatively to the control (distilled water. No effects were detected for solution, concentration and for the interaction of these factors. Sugars and artificial sweeteners studied were not attractive to Atta capiguara workers, turning their inclusion as attractants in toxic ant baits not viable.O uso de iscas tóxicas, formuladas à base de polpa cítrica desidratada, para o controle de formigas cortadeiras de gramíneas pode levar a resultados insatisfatórios devido à baixa atratividade do substrato às operárias. Este trabalho foi realizado com o objetivo de identificar substâncias atrativas e com potencial para incorporação em matrizes de iscas granuladas para formigas cortadeiras de gramíneas, dentre diversos tipos de açúcares e edulcorantes artificiais. Os experimentos foram realizados em ninhos adultos de Atta capiguara Gon

  8. A novel life cycle arising from leaf segments in plants regenerated from horseradish hairy roots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mano, Y; Matsuhashi, M

    1995-03-01

    Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) hairy root clones were established from hairy roots which were transformed with the Ri plasmid in Agrobacterium rhizogenes 15834. The transformed plants, which were regenerated from hairy root clones, had thicker roots with extensive lateral branches and thicker stems, and grew faster compared with non-transformed horseradish plants. Small sections of leaves of the transformed plants generated adventitious roots in phytohormone-free G (modified Gamborg's) medium. Root proliferation was followed by adventitious shoot formation and plant regeneration. Approximately twenty plants were regenerated per square centimeter of leaf. The transformed plants were easily transferable from sterile conditions to soil. When leaf segments of the transformed plants were cultured in a liquid fertilizer under non-sterile conditions, adventitious roots were generated at the cut ends of the leaves. Adventitious shoots were generated at the boundary between the leaf and the adventitious roots and developed into complete plants. This novel life cycle arising from leaf segments is a unique property of the transformed plants derived from hairy root clones.

  9. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Manning, L.M.; Stringer, L.D.; Cappadonna, J.; El-Sayed, A. M.

    2008-01-01

    Disruption of Argentine ant trail following and reduced ability to forage (measured by bait location success) was achieved after presentation of an oversupply of trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal. Experiments tested single pheromone point sources and dispersion of a formulation in small field plots. Ant walking behavior was recorded and digitized by using video tracking, before and after presentation of trail pheromone. Ants showed changes in three parameters within seconds of treatment: (1) Ants on trails normally showed a unimodal frequency distribution of walking track angles, but this pattern disappeared after presentation of the trail pheromone; (2) ants showed initial high trail integrity on a range of untreated substrates from painted walls to wooden or concrete floors, but this was significantly reduced following presentation of a point source of pheromone; (3) the number of ants in the pheromone-treated area increased over time, as recruitment apparently exceeded departures. To test trail disruption in small outdoor plots, the trail pheromone was formulated with carnuba wax-coated quartz laboratory sand (1 g quartz sand/0.2 g wax/1 mg pheromone). The pheromone formulation, with a half-life of 30 h, was applied by rotary spreader at four rates (0, 2.5, 7.5, and 25 mg pheromone/m2) to 1- and 4-m2 plots in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Ant counts at bait cards in treated plots were significantly reduced compared to controls on the day of treatment, and there was a significant reduction in ant foraging for 2 days. These results show that trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ants is possible, but a much more durable formulation is needed before nest-level impacts can be expected. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  10. Does genetic diversity hinder parasite evolution in social insect colonies?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, William Owen Hamar; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    of host genetic diversity on parasite evolution by carrying out serial passages of a virulent fungal pathogen through leaf-cutting ant workers of known genotypes. Parasite virulence increased over the nine-generation span of the experiment while spore production decreased. The effect of host relatedness...... upon virulence appeared limited. However, parasites cycled through more genetically diverse hosts were more likely to go extinct during the experiment and parasites cycled through more genetically similar hosts had greater spore production. These results indicate that host genetic diversity may indeed...

  11. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gravish, Nick; Gold, Gregory; Zangwill, Andrew; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2014-03-01

    Many social animals move and communicate within confined spaces. In subterranean fire ants Solenopsis invicta, mobility within crowded nest tunnels is important for resource and information transport. Within confined tunnels, communication and traffic flow are at odds: trafficking ants communicate through tactile interactions while stopped, yet ants that stop to communicate impose physical obstacles on the traffic. We monitor the bi-directional flow of fire ant workers in laboratory tunnels of varied diameter D. The persistence time of communicating ant aggregations, τ, increases approximately linearly with the number of participating ants, n. The sensitivity of traffic flow increases as D decreases and diverges at a minimum diameter, Dc. A cellular automata model incorporating minimal traffic features--excluded volume and communication duration--reproduces features of the experiment. From the model we identify a competition between information transfer and the need to maintain jam-free traffic flow. We show that by balancing information transfer and traffic flow demands, an optimum group strategy exists which maximizes information throughput. We acknowledge funding from NSF PoLS #0957659 and #PHY-1205878.

  12. Selenium exposure results in reduced reproduction in an invasive ant species and altered competitive behavior for a native ant species

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    De La Riva, Deborah G.; Trumble, John T.

    2016-01-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL −1 ) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL −1 ) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species. - Highlights: • Argentine ant colonies exposed to selenium had reduced fecundity compared to unexposed colonies. • Viability of offspring was negatively impacted by selenium. • Queen survival was reduced in colonies

  13. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Clustering analysis is used in many disciplines and applications; it is an important tool that descriptively identifies homogeneous groups of objects based on attribute values. The ant colony clustering algorithm is a swarm-intelligent method used for clustering problems that is inspired by the behavior of ant colonies that cluster their corpses and sort their larvae. A new abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm using a data combination mechanism is proposed to improve the computational efficiency and accuracy of the ant colony clustering algorithm. The abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm is used to cluster benchmark problems, and its performance is compared with the ant colony clustering algorithm and other methods used in existing literature. Based on similar computational difficulties and complexities, the results show that the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm produces results that are not only more accurate but also more efficiently determined than the ant colony clustering algorithm and the other methods. Thus, the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm can be used for efficient multivariate data clustering. PMID:26839533

  14. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    Worldwide, ants are a powerful ecological force, and they appear to be dominant components of animal communities of many tropical and temperate ecosystems in terms of biomass and numbers of individuals (Bluthgen et al. 2000). For example, ants comprise up to 94% of arthropod individuals in fogging samples taken from diverse lowland tropical rainforest canopies, and 86% of the biomass (Davidson et al. 2003). The majority of these ant species and individuals obtain carbohydrates either from extrafloral nectaries or from sap-feeding Hemiptera that pass carbohydrate-rich “honeydew” to attending ants while concentrating nitrogen (N) from N-poor plant sap (Davidson et al. 2003). Honeydew and nectar represent key resources for arboreal ant species, although most ant species are at least partly carnivorous or scavengers (Bluthgen et al. 2004). In contrast to most of the terrestrial world, the biotas of many Pacific islands evolved without ants. Whereas endemic ant species are found in New Zealand (ca. 10 spp.), Tonga (ca. 10 spp.), and Samoa (ca. 12 spp.), other islands of Polynesia and parts of Micronesia likely lack native ants (Wilson and Taylor 1967, Wetterer 2002, Wetterer and Vargo 2003). About 20 Indo-Australian and western Pacific ant species range to the east and north of Samoa, but it is unclear how many of these were transported there by humans at some time (Wilson and Taylor 1967). Most of the remainder of the ant species currently found on Pacific islands are widespread species that fall in the category of “tramp species,” dispersed by recent human commerce and generally closely tied to human activity and urban areas (Wilson and Taylor 1967, McGlynn 1999). In Pacific island situations, some of these tramp ant species are able to thrive beyond areas of human activity. Relatively few ant species have been successful invaders of native communities on continents, and these include most of the species that pose the greatest problems for Pacific islands

  15. Report of Sphenochernes camponoti (Beier, 1970 (Pseudoscorpiones, Chernetidae in phoresy on Fanniidae (Diptera

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    André Felipe de Araujo Lira

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Phoresy is a common dispersal behavior among pseudoscorpions. Neotropical pseudoscorpions, mainly from the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, are known for their dispersal relationships with beetles and flies. Here, we report phoretic association among nymphs of Sphenochernes camponoti (Chernetidae and Fannia flies (F. pusio, F. yenhedi, and F. canicularis (Diptera, Fanniidae. Twelve flies, each carrying a young pseudoscorpion, were collected in Caatinga vegetation in Pernambuco State, Brazil. Sphenochernes camponoti is a myrmecophilous pseudoscorpion that lives in Camponotus and Acromyrmex colonies. Despite its association with ants, this pseudoscorpion uses other winged arthropods to disperse. This is the first report of phoresy by Sphenochernes camponoti.

  16. Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    can be combined with the use of the ants in biological control programmes in tropical plantations where pest insects are converted into ant biomass. To assess the cost-benefits of ant farming based on artificial feeding, food consumption and food conversion efficiency (ECI) of Oecophylla smaragdina......Oecophylla ants are sold at high prices on several commercial markets as a human delicacy, as pet food or as traditional medicine. Currently markets are supplied by ants collected from the wild; however, an increasing interest in ant farming exists as all harvest is easily sold and as ant farming...... selling prices these efficiencies led to rates of return from 1.52 to 4.56, respectively, if: (i) protein is supplied from commercial products; or (ii) alternatively supplied from free sources such as insects and kitchen waste. These results suggest that Oecophylla ant farming may become highly profitable...

  17. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    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 ...

  18. First standardized inventory of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in the natural grasslands of Paraná: New records for Southern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Weslly Franco

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Despite the large number of studies investigating ant diversity in Brazilian biomes, no ant-related studies have been carried out in Campos Gerais, a grassland physiognomy in Paraná state. The present study is the first inventory of the ant fauna in one of the few conservation units protecting the Campos Gerais landscape, the Guartelá State Park (PEG. Sixty samples were collected from different habitats within PEG using pitfall traps. Qualitative samples of leaf litter were collected from forest fragments and submitted to Winkler extractors. In addition, manual qualitative sampling was carried out in the various physiognomies within the PEG. A total of 163 species was collected and sorted into 43 genera and nine subfamilies. Five genera and 28 species were recorded for the first time in the state of Paraná. Out of these, 17 species were also recorded for the first time in the Southern Region of Brazil and two were recorded for the first time to the country. The significant species richness in the PEG and the high number of new records is a strong sign of this ecosystem’s potential to reveal taxonomic novelties. These results suggest that PEG, and the Campos Gerais as a whole, should be the target of greater conservation efforts to preserve native remnants.

  19. Ant-Related Oviposition and Larval Performance in a Myrmecophilous Lycaenid

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew D. Trager

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We experimentally assessed ant-related oviposition and larval performance in the Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri. Ant tending had sex-dependent effects on most measures of larval growth: female larvae generally benefitted from increased tending frequency whereas male larvae were usually unaffected. The larger size of female larvae tended by ants resulted in a substantial predicted increase in lifetime egg production. Oviposition by adult females that were tended by C. floridanus ants as larvae was similar between host plants with or without ants. However, they laid relatively more eggs on plants with ants than did females raised without ants, which laid less than a third of their eggs on plants with ants present. In summary, we found conditional benefits for larvae tended by ants that were not accompanied by oviposition preference for plants with ants present, which is a reasonable result for a system in which ant presence at the time of oviposition is not a reliable indicator of future ant presence. More broadly, our results emphasize the importance of considering the consequences of variation in interspecific interactions, life history traits, and multiple measures of performance when evaluating the costs and benefits of mutualistic relationships.

  20. Maize YABBY genes drooping leaf1 and drooping leaf2 affect agronomic traits by regulating leaf architecture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leaf architectural traits, such as length, width and angle, directly influence canopy structure and light penetration, photosynthate production and overall yield. We discovered and characterized a maize (Zea mays) mutant with aberrant leaf architecture we named drooping leaf1 (drl1), as leaf blades ...

  1. Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    1. With an expanding human population placing increasing pressure on the environment, agriculture needs sustainable production that can match conventional methods. Integrated pest management (IPM) is more sustainable, but not necessarily as efficient as conventional non-sustainable measures. 2...... in 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...... of agricultural systems, this review emphasizes the potential of managing ants to achieve sustainable pest management solutions. The synthesis suggests future directions and may catalyse a research agenda on the utilization of ants, not only against arthropod pests, but also against weeds and plant diseases...

  2. Forage growth, yield and quality responses of Napier hybrid grass cultivars to three cutting intervals in the Himalayan foothills

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kesang Wangchuk

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available A 3 x 3 factorial study was conducted in the southern foothills of Bhutan to compare 3 cultivars of Napier hybrid grass (Pennisetum purpureum x P. glaucum: Pakchong-1, CO-3 and Giant Napier, at 3 cutting intervals (40, 60 and 80 days, in terms of forage growth, dry matter (DM yield and crude protein (CP concentration. The effects of cultivar x cutting interval were significant only on tiller number per plant and leaf:stem ratio (LSR. CO-3 consistently produced the highest tiller number per plant, leaves per plant and LSR, while Pakchong-1 produced the lowest. Pakchong-1 plants were taller, had bigger tillers and basal circumference and higher stem DM production than CO-3 and Giant. Leaf CP for all cultivars was about 17%, while stem CP concentration was lower for Pakchong-1 than for the other cultivars (3.6 vs. 5.3%, P<0.05. While 40-day cutting intervals produced high quality forage, yields suffered marked-ly and the best compromise between yield and quality of forage seemed to occur with 60-day cutting intervals. Pakchong-1 seems to have no marked advantages over CO-3 and Giant for livestock feed, and feeding studies would verify this. Its higher stem DM yields may be advantageous for biogas production and this aspect should be investigated.Keywords: Bhutan, CO-3, crude protein , dry matter, Giant Napier, Pakchong-1.DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(3142-150

  3. ADAPTIVE ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION BASED GRADIENT FOR EDGE DETECTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Febri Liantoni

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is a nature-inspired optimization algorithm which is motivated by ants foraging behavior. Due to its favorable advantages, ACO has been widely used to solve several NP-hard problems, including edge detection. Since ACO initially distributes ants at random, it may cause imbalance ant distribution which later affects path discovery process. In this paper an adaptive ACO is proposed to optimize edge detection by adaptively distributing ant according to gradient analysis. Ants are adaptively distributed according to gradient ratio of each image regions. Region which has bigger gradient ratio, will have bigger number of ant distribution. Experiments are conducted using images from various datasets. Precision and recall are used to quantitatively evaluate performance of the proposed algorithm. Precision and recall of adaptive ACO reaches 76.98 % and 96.8 %. Whereas highest precision and recall for standard ACO are 69.74 % and 74.85 %. Experimental results show that the adaptive ACO outperforms standard ACO which randomly distributes ants.

  4. Plasma arc cutting: speed and cut quality

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nemchinsky, V A; Severance, W S

    2009-01-01

    When cutting metal with plasma arc cutting, the walls of the cut are narrower at the bottom than at the top. This lack of squareness increases as the cutting speed increases. A model of this phenomenon, affecting cut quality, is suggested. A thin liquid layer, which separates the plasma from the solid metal to be melted, plays a key role in the suggested model. This layer decreases heat transfer from the plasma to the solid metal; the decrease is more pronounced the higher the speed and the thicker the liquid metal layer. Since the layer is thicker at the bottom of the cut, the heat transfer effectiveness is lower at the bottom. The decrease in heat transfer effectiveness is compensated by the narrowness of the cut. The suggested model allows one to calculate the profile of the cut. The result of the calculations of the cutting speeds for plates of various thicknesses, at which the squareness of the cut is acceptable, agrees well with the speeds recommended by manufacturers. The second effect considered in the paper is the deflection of the plasma jet from the vertical at a high cutting speed. A qualitative explanation of this phenomenon is given. We believe the considerations of this paper are pertinent to other types of cutting with moving heat sources.

  5. Cutting

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Staying Safe Videos for Educators Search English Español Cutting KidsHealth / For Teens / Cutting What's in this article? ... Getting Help Print en español Cortarse What Is Cutting? Emma's mom first noticed the cuts when Emma ...

  6. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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 fo...... that the fungus evolved some incredible adaptations to a mutualistic life with the ants....

  7. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Tatiana P; Pinter-Wollman, Noa M; Moses, Melanie E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-01-01

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  8. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Videos for Educators Search English Español 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 ...

  9. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiana P Flanagan

    Full Text Available Argentine ants (Linepithema humile live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  10. Chloride absorption by root, leaf and floral tissues of Petunia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jooste, J.H.

    1980-01-01

    Chloride absorption by root, leaf and floral tissues of Petunia was compared at two temperatures (30 and 2 degrees Celcius), employing different absorption periods, and in the presence and absence of a desorption treatment. All treatments revealed highest absorption by floral tissue. This was further confirmed by the absorption of chloride by the various tissues from solutions in the low (0-1 mM) and high (1-50 mM) concentration ranges. The results offer a possible explanation for the observed effects of organic and inorganic solutes on the longevity of cut flowers [af

  11. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana Santos de Jesus

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus.

  12. [Ants as carriers of microorganisms in hospital environments].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Rogério Dos Santos; Ueno, Mariko

    2008-01-01

    Concern exists regarding the real possibility of public health threats caused by pathogenic agents that are carried by urban ants. The present study had the objective of isolating and identifying the microorganisms that are associated with ants in hospital environments. One hundred and twenty-five ants of the same species were collected from different units of a university hospital. Each ant was collected using a swab soaked with physiological solution and was transferred to a tube containing brain heart infusion broth and incubated at 35 degrees C for 24 hours. From each tube, with growth, inoculations were made into specific culturing media, to isolate any microorganisms. The ants presented a high capacity for carrying microorganism groups: spore-producing Gram-positive bacilli 63.5%, Gram-negative bacilli 6.3%, Gram-positive cocci 23.1%, filamentous fungi 6.7% and yeast 0.5%. Thus, it can be inferred that ants may be one of the agents responsible for disseminating microorganisms in hospital environments.

  13. Cuando dialogan dos Antígonas: La tumba de Antígona de María Zambrano y Antígona furiosa de Griselda Gambaro

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rose Duroux

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Antígona ha sido un tópico por más de 2.000 años, participando de una historia que siempre puede ser reconocida. Tanto la Guerra Civil española como la dictadura argentina vieron surgir Antígonas en busca de justicia. A partir de los trabajos de María Zambrano y Griselda Gambaro, este artículo busca rehabilitar discursivamente estas versiones. Por un lado, la filósofa española nunca regresó del exilio iniciado en 1939 y defendió hasta el final los valores republicanos. Cuando asumió que su expatriación era irreversible, ingresó en un exilio profundo del cual Antígona revela lo esencial, pasando de la "privación" a la "revelación" tanto en un modo filosófico como en el poético, tanto en sus ensayos como en su única pieza teatral, La Tumba de Antígona [1967], una significativa metáfora de la guerra fratricida y del exilio. Por otro, Antígona furiosa [1986] de Gambaro, reescribe la tragedia de Sófocles cuando denuncia el terrorismo de estado argentino en una furiosa Antígona. Gambaro, hermana y madre de desaparecidos de la guerra sucia eleva su grito por justicia en nombre de la fraternidad humanaAntigone has been a topical figure for more than 2,000 years. She plays a part in a story that one can always identify. Spanish Civil War and Argentine dictatorship saw the birth of many Antigones seeking justice. Starting from the M. Zambrano and G. Gambaro's creations, this work rehabilitates the speech and the incarnations of the Iberian and Ibero-american Antigone. On the one hand, Spanish philosopher María Zambrano never came out of the exodus which began in 1939, and she defended the values of the Republic all the way. Once she acknowledged that expatriation was irreversible, she entered a profound exile of which Antigone reveals the essence, going from "deprivation" to "revelation" in a philosophical as well as a poetical manner, both in her essays and in her unique play, La Tumba de Antígona [1967], a striking metaphor

  14. Predaceous ants, beach replenishment, and nest placement by sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetterer, James K; Wood, Lawrence D; Johnson, Chris; Krahe, Holly; Fitchett, Stephanie

    2007-10-01

    Ants known for attacking and killing hatchling birds and reptiles include the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), tropical fire ant [Solenopsis geminata (Fabr.)], and little fire ant [Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger)]. We tested whether sea turtle nest placement influenced exposure to predaceous ants. In 2000 and 2001, we surveyed ants along a Florida beach where green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta L.) nest. Part of the beach was artificially replenished between our two surveys. As a result, mean beach width experienced by nesting turtles differed greatly between the two nesting seasons. We surveyed 1,548 sea turtle nests (2000: 909 nests; 2001: 639 nests) and found 22 ant species. S. invicta was by far the most common species (on 431 nests); S. geminata and W. auropunctata were uncommon (on 3 and 16 nests, respectively). In 2000, 62.5% of nests had ants present (35.9% with S. invicta), but in 2001, only 30.5% of the nests had ants present (16.4% with S. invicta). Turtle nests closer to dune vegetation had significantly greater exposure to ants. Differences in ant presence on turtle nests between years and among turtle species were closely related to differences in nest placement relative to dune vegetation. Beach replenishment significantly lowered exposure of nests to ants because on the wider beaches turtles nested farther from the dune vegetation. Selective pressures on nesting sea turtles are altered both by the presence of predaceous ants and the practice of beach replenishment.

  15. Rooting of cuttings of vanilla plant (Orchidaceae / Enraizamento de estacas da baunilheira (Orchidaceae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aparecida Gomes de Araujo

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available The vanilla plant (Vanilla planifolia could have a higher commercial production but there are problems in the efficiency of propagation. The present work was conducted with the aim of studying the effect of different substrates, in the adventitious rooting of cuttings taken at five heights in the plant stem. The cuttings were 20cm long and had two buds and one leaf and were planted in: 1 Liquid medium formed by Clark’s nutrient added of 2.5mg L-1 of IBA placed in plastic foam box with a capacity of 1.5L lined inside with transparent plastic bag and lidded with proper lid. 2 Solid substrate formed by the mixture of sand, carbonized rice husk, soil and cured cow manure in equal proportions of volume, they being placed in rigid polypropylene with a capacity of 0.28L. 3 Pre-rooting of the cuttings in liquid medium (20 days before planting, and later transferred into seedling tubes containing solid substrate. The cuttings planted in the solid substrate were maintained under intermittent mist condition controlled by a timer. After 90 days, the percentage of rooting was of 98-100%, regardless of the treatment. Larger and more vigorous sproutings were obtained from cuttings planted directly into solid substrate. Adventitious rooting of cuttings and formation of new vanilla cuttings occurred, when the cuttings were obtained from position P2 (ranging between 20 to 40cm in stem height and planted in solid substrate in greenhouse with intermittent misting system. A baunilheira (Vanilla planifolia é uma planta pouco explorada comercialmente, devido ao emprego de tecnologias de baixa eficiência para a produção de mudas. Assim sendo, realizou-se o presente trabalho com o objetivo de estudar o efeito de diferentes substratos, no enraizamento adventício de estacas retiradas de diferentes posições na planta. Estacas com 20cm de comprimento, duas gemas e uma folha, tomadas na haste da planta, em cinco posições subseqüentes, a partir do ápice caulinar

  16. Determination of cut front position in laser cutting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, M.; Thombansen, U.

    2016-07-01

    Laser cutting has a huge importance to manufacturing industry. Laser cutting machines operate with fixed technological parameters and this does not guarantee the best productivity. The adjustment of the cutting parameters during operation can improve the machine performance. Based on a coaxial measuring device it is possible to identify the cut front position during the cutting process. This paper describes the data analysis approach used to determine the cut front position for different feed rates. The cut front position was determined with good resolution, but improvements are needed to make the whole process more stable.

  17. Studies on the environmental implications of ants (Hymenoptera ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A study of ants associated wh two synanthropcenvironments in Awka was carried out in 2008 using pitfall and bait traps. The study yelded a total of 561 ants wth 409 obtaned from the hemisynanthrophic environment while 192 ants were collected from the endophilic environment. The percentage occurrence, total dstribution ...

  18. Diversity of fungi colonizing leaves of Rhododendron (Rhododendron L. cuttings

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Kierpiec-Baran

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Rhododendrons (Rhododendron L. are shrubs whose attractiveness is determined by their multi-coloured flowers and evergreen leaves. Necroses visible on the leaves of rhododendron cuttings diminish the suitability of nursery material for marketing. These symptoms are most frequently caused by fungi. The investigations were conducted in 2010–2011 in an ornamental shrub nursery to identify fungi colonizing the phyllosphere of rhododendron cuttings and causing leaf necroses. The material for analysis consisted of leaves of 11 rhododendron cultivars. 550 leaves were collected from 110 half-year-old cuttings for mycological analysis. Over 350 fungal colonies belonging to 15 species were isolated from the leaves of rhododendron cuttings. The dominants included: Pestalotiopsis sydowiana, Trichoderma koningii and Alternaria alternata. The influents included: Aspergillus brasiliensis, Mucor hiemalis f. hiemalis, Epicoccum nigrum, Sordaria fimicola and Umbelopsis isabellina. A large majority of the fungi preferred the phyllosphere environment of Yakushima rhododendron (R. yakushimanum cultivars ‘Sneezy’ and ‘Golden Torch’ as well as of the large-flowered cultivars ‘Flautando’, ‘Dominik’, and ‘Simona’. The phyllosphere of the large-flowered cultivars ‘Bernstein’, ‘Nova Zembla’, and ‘Goldbuckett’ was a reservoir for many fungal colonies and fungi species. The cultivars less susceptible to colonization by fungi and the most promising for planting in green areas and home gardens are the large-flowered cultivars ‘Bernstein’, ‘Nova Zembla’, ‘Goldbuckett’, ‘Rasputin’, and ‘Roseum Elegans’.

  19. Experimental testing of exchangeable cutting inserts cutting ability

    OpenAIRE

    Čep, Robert; Janásek, Adam; Čepová, Lenka; Petrů, Jana; Hlavatý, Ivo; Car, Zlatan; Hatala, Michal

    2013-01-01

    The article deals with experimental testing of the cutting ability of exchangeable cutting inserts. Eleven types of exchangeable cutting inserts from five different manufacturers were tested. The tested cutting inserts were of the same shape and were different especially in material and coating types. The main aim was both to select a suitable test for determination of the cutting ability of exchangeable cutting inserts and to design such testing procedure that could make it possible...

  20. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hooper-Bui, L.M. [Department of Environmental Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (United States); Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Kwok, E.S.C. [Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Buchholz, B.A., E-mail: buchholz2@llnl.gov [Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551 (United States); Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 (United States); Rust, M.K. [Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Eastmond, D.A. [Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Vogel, J.S. [Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551 (United States)

    2015-10-15

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of {sup 14}C-sucrose, {sup 14}C-hydramethylnon, and {sup 14}C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

  1. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hooper-Bui, L.M.; Kwok, E.S.C.; Buchholz, B.A.; Rust, M.K.; Eastmond, D.A.; Vogel, J.S.

    2015-01-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14 C-sucrose, 14 C-hydramethylnon, and 14 C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

  2. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle's Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Di Giulio

    Full Text Available Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants' activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can "speak" three different "languages", each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen. Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants.

  3. Ant species confer different partner benefits on two neotropical myrmecophytes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E

    2005-04-01

    The dynamics of mutualistic interactions involving more than a single pair of species depend on the relative costs and benefits of interaction among alternative partners. The neotropical myrmecophytes Cordia nodosa and Duroia hirsuta associate with several species of obligately symbiotic ants. I compared the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia with respect to two benefits known to be important in ant-myrmecophyte interactions: protection against herbivores provided by ants, and protection against encroaching vegetation provided by ants. Azteca spp., Myrmelachista schumanni, and Allomerus octoarticulatus demerarae ants all provide the leaves of Cordia and Duroia some protection against herbivores. However, Azteca and Allomerus provide more protection than does Myrmelachista to the leaves of their host plants. Although Allomerus protects the leaves of its hosts, plants occupied by Allomerus suffer more attacks by herbivores to their stems than do plants occupied by other ants. Relative to Azteca or Allomerus, Myrmelachista ants provide better protection against encroaching vegetation, increasing canopy openness over their host plants. These differences in benefits among the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia are reflected in the effect of each ant species on host plant size, growth rate, and reproduction. The results of this study show how mutualistic ant partners can differ with respect to both the magnitude and type of benefits they provide to the same species of myrmecophytic host.

  4. Life-Histories of Sub-Arctic Ants

    OpenAIRE

    Heinze, Jürgen

    1993-01-01

    Ant species belonging to seven genera occur in habitats near the tree line in the Northern Hemisphere. An analysis of colony founding strategies suggests that in addition to physiological cold resistance, behavioral and sociometric adaptations might be important for survival and propagation of ants in subarctic biomes.

  5. Determination of cut front position in laser cutting

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pereira, M; Thombansen, U

    2016-01-01

    Laser cutting has a huge importance to manufacturing industry. Laser cutting machines operate with fixed technological parameters and this does not guarantee the best productivity. The adjustment of the cutting parameters during operation can improve the machine performance. Based on a coaxial measuring device it is possible to identify the cut front position during the cutting process. This paper describes the data analysis approach used to determine the cut front position for different feed rates. The cut front position was determined with good resolution, but improvements are needed to make the whole process more stable. (paper)

  6. Water stress-induced modifications of leaf hydraulic architecture in sunflower: co-ordination with gas exchange.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nardini, Andrea; Salleo, Sebastiano

    2005-12-01

    The hydraulic architecture, water relationships, and gas exchange of leaves of sunflower plants, grown under different levels of water stress, were measured. Plants were either irrigated with tap water (controls) or with PEG600 solutions with osmotic potential of -0.4 and -0.8 MPa (PEG04 and PEG08 plants, respectively). Mature leaves were measured for hydraulic resistance (R(leaf)) before and after making several cuts across minor veins, thus getting the hydraulic resistance of the venation system (R(venation)). R(leaf) was nearly the same in controls and PEG04 plants but it was reduced by about 30% in PEG08 plants. On the contrary, R(venation) was lowest in controls and increased in PEG04 and PEG08 plants as a likely result of reduction in the diameter of the veins' conduits. As a consequence, the contribution of R(venation) to the overall R(leaf) markedly increased from controls to PEG08 plants. Leaf conductance to water vapour (g(L)) was highest in controls and significantly lower in PEG04 and PEG08 plants. Moreover, g(L) was correlated to R(venation) and to leaf water potential (psi(leaf)) with highly significant linear relationships. It is concluded that water stress has an important effect on the hydraulic construction of leaves. This, in turn, might prove to be a crucial factor in plant-water relationships and gas exchange under water stress conditions.

  7. Edge detection in digital images using Ant Colony Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marjan Kuchaki Rafsanjani

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is an optimization algorithm inspired by the behavior of real ant colonies to approximate the solutions of difficult optimization problems. In this paper, ACO is introduced to tackle the image edge detection problem. The proposed approach is based on the distribution of ants on an image; ants try to find possible edges by using a state transition function. Experimental results show that the proposed method compared to standard edge detectors is less sensitive to Gaussian noise and gives finer details and thinner edges when compared to earlier ant-based approaches.

  8. Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heinze, J.; Cremer, Sylvia; Eckl, N.

    2006-01-01

    Many invasive ant species, such as the Argentine ant or the red imported fire ant, have huge colonies with thousands of mass-foraging workers, which quickly monopolise resources and therefore represent a considerable threat to the native ant fauna. Cardiocondyla obscurior and several other specie...

  9. The AINTEGUMENTA genes, MdANT1 and MdANT2, are associated with the regulation of cell production during fruit growth in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dash, Madhumita; Malladi, Anish

    2012-06-25

    Fruit growth in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) is mediated by cell production and expansion. Genes involved in regulating these processes and thereby fruit growth, are not well characterized. We hypothesized that the apple homolog(s) of AINTEGUMENTA (ANT), an APETALA2-repeat containing transcription factor, regulates cell production during fruit growth in apple. Two ANT genes, MdANT1 and MdANT2, were isolated from apple and their expression was studied during multiple stages of fruit development. MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression was high during early fruit growth coincident with the period of cell production, rapidly declined during exit from cell production, and remained low during the rest of fruit development. The effects of increase in carbohydrate availability during fruit growth were characterized. Increase in carbohydrate availability enhanced fruit growth largely through an increase in cell production. Expression of MdANT1 and MdANT2 increased sharply by up to around 5-fold in response to an increase in carbohydrate availability. Expression of the ANT genes was compared across two apple genotypes, 'Gala' and 'Golden Delicious Smoothee' (GS), which differ in the extent of fruit growth, largely due to differences in cell production. In comparison to 'Gala', the larger fruit-size genotype, GS, displayed higher levels and a longer duration of MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression. Expression of the ANTs and cell cycle genes in the fruit core and cortex tissues isolated using laser capture microdissection was studied. During early fruit growth, expression of the MdANTs was higher within the cortex, the tissue that constitutes the majority of the fruit. Additionally, MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression was positively correlated with that of A- and B-type CYCLINS, B-type CYCLIN-DEPENDENT-KINASES (CDKBs) and MdDEL1. Multiple lines of evidence from this study suggest that MdANT1 and MdANT2 regulate cell production during fruit growth in apple. ANTs may coordinate the expression of

  10. Current issues in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Veronika E; Frederickson, Megan E; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2014-05-01

    Ant-plant symbioses involve plants that provide hollow structures specialized for housing ants and often food to ants. In return, the inhabiting ants protect plants against herbivores and sometimes provide them with nutrients. Here, we review recent advances in ant-plant symbioses, focusing on three areas. First, the nutritional ecology of plant-ants, which is based not only on plant-derived food rewards, but also on inputs from other symbiotic partners, in particular fungi and possibly bacteria. Food and protection are the most important 'currencies' exchanged between partners and they drive the nature and evolution of the relationships. Secondly, studies of conflict and cooperation in ant-plant symbioses have contributed key insights into the evolution and maintenance of mutualism, particularly how partner-mediated feedbacks affect the specificity and stability of mutualisms. There is little evidence that mutualistic ants or plants are under selection to cheat, but the costs and benefits of ant-plant interactions do vary with environmental factors, making them vulnerable to natural or anthropogenic environmental change. Thus, thirdly, ant-plant symbioses should be considered good models for investigating the effects of global change on the outcome of mutualistic interactions. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  11. Performance characteristics of broilers fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ayo-Ajasa, O.Y.

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Cost of conventional protein sources is on the increase recently; hence, there is the need for cheaper alternative sources that will not compromise the performance characteristics of broiler birds taking into consideration the cost of production. Moringa leaf meal has been reported to increase the performance of broiler birds due to its rich protein content. Two hundred day-old broiler chicks were used to assess the effects of partial replacement of soya bean meal with Moringa (Moringa oleifera leaf meal on broiler chickens in an 8-wk feeding trial. The birds were randomly assigned in equal numbers into five dietary treatments: 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 % Moringa leaf meal (MOLM. Each treatment was replicated four times with 10 birds per replicate. The results showed that final weight, weight gain, daily weight gain, total feed intake, daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio were significantly (p0.05 effect on primal cut parts and relative organ weight. From the results of this study, replacement of soybean meal with MOLM up to 20% did not have any adverse effect on growth performance and carcass traits of broiler chickens.

  12. Annual and Seasonal Changes in the Structure of Litter-Dwelling Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Atlantic Semideciduous Forests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Flávio Siqueira de Castro

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We surveyed ant fauna in the leaf litter in an Atlantic Semideciduous forest in the State Park of Rio Doce (PERD. The work aimed to produce basic information about habitat effects on diversity, as well as about how the ant fauna in a such buffered forest habitat, as the litter layer, could respond the climate variation in a short and long term. We sampled two years in two distinct forest physiognomies, which respond to different geomorphologic backgrounds, in dry and rainy seasons. Species composition, richness and abundance of these forests were distinct. However, both forests hosted similar numbers of rare and specialized, habitat demanding species, thus suggesting both are similarly well preserved, despite distinct physiognomies. However, the lower and more open forest was, more susceptible to dry season effects, showing a steeper decline in species numbers in such season, but similar numbers in the wet seasons. The pattern varied between years, which corroborates the hypothesis of a strongly variable community in response to subtle climatic variation among years. The present results are baselines for future long term monitoring projects, and could support protocols for early warnings of global climatic changes effects on biodiversity.

  13. Freqüência e severidade de corte das fôlhas do sisal(*. Influência sôbre o desenvolvimento das plantas, produção e características da fibra Frequency and severity of leaf cutting upon the growth, longevity and yield of the sisal plant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. C. Medina

    1954-01-01

    considerably and induced the formation of short leaves containing less fiber weight per leaf. There was. therefore, a significant decrease in total fiber yield per area. (d The final fiber yields indicated that a light cutting (30% at three or six-month intervals gave higher yields per area than any of the other treatments. Life cycle was slightly prolonged by this treatment and significantly more leaves were produced per plant without adverse effects upon leaf weight and actual fiber content. (e Fiber analysis showed that its chemical characteristics were not affected by the treatments, even by heavy and frequent cuttings. Heavy cuttings, especially at a three--month cycle, had a marked effect on the physical fiber characteristics.

  14. "Breath figures" on leaf surfaces-formation and effects of microscopic leaf wetness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burkhardt, Juergen; Hunsche, Mauricio

    2013-01-01

    "Microscopic leaf wetness" means minute amounts of persistent liquid water on leaf surfaces which are invisible to the naked eye. The water is mainly maintained by transpired water vapor condensing onto the leaf surface and to attached leaf surface particles. With an estimated average thickness of less than 1 μm, microscopic leaf wetness is about two orders of magnitude thinner than morning dewfall. The most important physical processes which reduce the saturation vapor pressure and promote condensation are cuticular absorption and the deliquescence of hygroscopic leaf surface particles. Deliquescent salts form highly concentrated solutions. Depending on the type and concentration of the dissolved ions, the physicochemical properties of microscopic leaf wetness can be considerably different from those of pure water. Microscopic leaf wetness can form continuous thin layers on hydrophobic leaf surfaces and in specific cases can act similar to surfactants, enabling a strong potential influence on the foliar exchange of ions. Microscopic leaf wetness can also enhance the dissolution, the emission, and the reaction of specific atmospheric trace gases e.g., ammonia, SO2, or ozone, leading to a strong potential role for microscopic leaf wetness in plant/atmosphere interaction. Due to its difficult detection, there is little knowledge about the occurrence and the properties of microscopic leaf wetness. However, based on the existing evidence and on physicochemical reasoning it can be hypothesized that microscopic leaf wetness occurs on almost any plant worldwide and often permanently, and that it significantly influences the exchange processes of the leaf surface with its neighboring compartments, i.e., the plant interior and the atmosphere. The omission of microscopic water in general leaf wetness concepts has caused far-reaching, misleading conclusions in the past.

  15. The use of weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) in tropical agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    by the consumed pest insects, can be harvested and utilised for nutrition as they are tasty and high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Thus, plantations may function as ant farms and in addition to plant production also hosts the production of edible animal protein. In this setup harmful pest insects are turned...... farming as a way forward to solve an increasing future demand for protein. Weaver ant farming may build on natural food collected by the ants or alternatively be boosted by feeding the ant colonies actively with protein and sugar. In both cases, when ant biocontrol is combined with ant farming......, the environmental cost of protein production may fall even lower than for other insects as the ants feed on pests that would otherwise reduce the plant yield and since the farming area is simultaneously in use for plant production. In this presentation I provide data showing (i) how the harvest of ants can...

  16. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Toxic industrial deposits are often contaminated by heavy metals and the substrates have low pH values. In such systems, soil development is thus slowed down by high toxicity and acidic conditions which are unfavourable to soil fauna. Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) are considered tolerant to heavy metal pollution and are known to increase organic matter content and microbial activity in their nests. Here, we focused on soil remediation caused by three ant species (Formica sanguinea, Lasius niger, and Tetramorium sp.) in an ore-washery sedimentation basin near Chvaletice (Czech Republic). Soil samples were taken from the centre of ant nests and from the nest surroundings (>3 m from nests). Samples were then analyzed for microbial activity and biomass and contents of organic matter and nutrients. As a result, ant species that most influenced soil properties was F. sanguinea as there were higher microbial activity and total nitrogen and ammonia contents in ant nests than in the surrounding soil. We expected such a result because F. sanguinea builds conspicuous large nests and is a carnivorous species that brings substantial amounts of nitrogen in insect prey to their nests. Effects of the other two ant species might be lower because of smaller nests and different feeding habits as they rely mainly on honeydew from aphids or on plant seeds that do not contain much nutrients.

  17. Heat-induced symmetry breaking in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae escape behavior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuan-Kai Chung

    Full Text Available The collective egress of social insects is important in dangerous situations such as natural disasters or enemy attacks. Some studies have described the phenomenon of symmetry breaking in ants, with two exits induced by a repellent. However, whether symmetry breaking occurs under high temperature conditions, which are a common abiotic stress, remains unknown. In our study, we deposited a group of Polyrhachis dives ants on a heated platform and counted the number of escaping ants with two identical exits. We discovered that ants asymmetrically escaped through two exits when the temperature of the heated platform was >32.75°C. The degree of asymmetry increased linearly with the temperature of the platform. Furthermore, the higher the temperature of heated platform was, the more ants escaped from the heated platform. However, the number of escaping ants decreased for 3 min when the temperature was higher than the critical thermal limit (39.46°C, which is the threshold for ants to endure high temperature without a loss of performance. Moreover, the ants tended to form small groups to escape from the thermal stress. A preparatory formation of ant grouping was observed before they reached the exit, indicating that the ants actively clustered rather than accidentally gathered at the exits to escape. We suggest that a combination of individual and grouping ants may help to optimize the likelihood of survival during evacuation.

  18. Ants Orasest ja Anne Lange monograafiast / Jüri Talvet

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Talvet, Jüri, 1945-

    2005-01-01

    Arvustus: Oras, Ants. Luulekool. I, Apoloogia / koostajad Hando Runnel ja Jaak Rähesoo. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2003 ; Oras, Ants. Luulekool II, Meistriklass. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004 ; Lange, Anne. Ants Oras : [kirjandusteadlane, -kriitik ja tõlkija (1900-1982)]. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004

  19. Ant tending influences soldier production in a social aphid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shingleton, A W; Foster, W A

    2000-09-22

    The aphid Pseudoregma sundanica (Van der Goot) (Homoptera: Aphididae) has two defence strategies. It is obligatorily tended by various species of ant and also produces sterile soldiers. We investigated how they allocate their investment in these two strategies. We measured the size, number of soldiers, number and species of tending ant, and number and species of predators in P. sundanica populations. We found that the level of ant tending correlated negatively with soldier investment in P. sundanica. The species of tending ant also influenced soldier investment. We excluded ants from aphid populations and recorded changes in population size and structure over four weeks. Ant exclusion led to population decline and extinction. At the same time, surviving populations showed a significant increase in soldier investment. The data demonstrate that social aphids can adjust their investment in soldiers in direct response to environmental change.

  20. Core Cutting Test with Vertical Rock Cutting Rig (VRCR)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasar, Serdar; Osman Yilmaz, Ali

    2017-12-01

    Roadheaders are frequently used machines in mining and tunnelling, and performance prediction of roadheaders is important for project economics and stability. Several methods were proposed so far for this purpose and, rock cutting tests are the best choice. Rock cutting tests are generally divided into two groups which are namely, full scale rock cutting tests and small scale rock cutting tests. These two tests have some superiorities and deficiencies over themselves. However, in many cases, where rock sampling becomes problematic, small scale rock cutting test (core cutting test) is preferred for performance prediction, since small block samples and core samples can be conducted to rock cutting testing. Common problem for rock cutting tests are that they can be found in very limited research centres. In this study, a new mobile rock cutting testing equipment, vertical rock cutting rig (VRCR) was introduced. Standard testing procedure was conducted on seven rock samples which were the part of a former study on cutting rocks with another small scale rock cutting test. Results showed that core cutting test can be realized successfully with VRCR with the validation of paired samples t-test.

  1. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, P.E.; Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.

    2014-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail, Colinus virginianus (L.) (Galliformes: Odontophoridae), population declines are well documented, but pinpointing the reasons for these decreases has proven elusive. Bobwhite population declines are attributed primarily to loss of habitat and land use changes. This, however, does not entirely explain population declines in areas intensively managed for bobwhites. Although previous research demonstrates the negative impact of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on northern bobwhites, the mechanisms underlying this effect are largely unknown. To meet the protein demands of early growth and development, bobwhite chicks predominantly consume small insects, of which ants are a substantial proportion. Fire ants alter ant community dynamics by often reducing native ant diversity and abundance while concurrently increasing the abundance of individuals. Fire ants have negative effects on chicks, but they are also a large potential protein source, making it difficult to disentangle their net effect on bobwhite chicks. To help investigate these effects, we conducted a laboratory experiment to understand (1) whether or not bobwhites consume fire ants, and (2) how the benefits of this consumption compare to the deleterious impacts of bobwhite chick exposure to fire ants. Sixty bobwhite chicks were separated into two groups of 30; one group was provided with starter feed only and the second group was provided with feed and fire ants. Bobwhite chicks were observed feeding on fire ants. Chicks that fed on fire ants had reduced survival and weight gain. Our results show that, while fire ants increase potential food sources for northern bobwhite, their net effect on bobwhite chicks is deleterious. This information will help inform land managers and commercial bobwhite rearing operations.

  2. Effect of Plant Growth Regulators on Leaf Number, Leaf Area and Leaf Dry Matter in Grape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zahoor Ahmad BHAT

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Influence of phenylureas (CPPU and brassinosteriod (BR along with GA (gibberellic acid were studied on seedless grape vegetative characteristics like leaf number, leaf area and leaf dry matter. Growth regulators were sprayed on the vines either once (7 days after fruit set or 15 days after fruit set or twice (7+15 days after fruit set. CPPU 2 ppm+BR 0.4 ppm+GA 25 ppm produced maximum number of leaves (18.78 while as untreated vines produced least leaf number (16.22 per shoot. Maximum leaf area (129.70 cm2 and dry matter content (26.51% was obtained with higher CPPU (3 ppm and BR (0.4 ppm combination along with GA 25 ppm. Plant growth regulators whether naturally derived or synthetic are used to improve the productivity and quality of grapes. The relatively high value of grapes justifies more expensive inputs. A relatively small improvement in yield or fruit quality can justify the field application of a very costly product. Application of new generation growth regulators like brassinosteroids and phenylureas like CPPU have been reported to increase the leaf number as well as leaf area and dry matter thereby indirectly influencing the fruit yield and quality in grapes.

  3. Agronomical characteristics of elephant grass variety “roxo” in different cut ages in Cuiabana Lowlands Características agronômicas do capim-elefante roxo em diferentes idades de corte na Depressão Cuiabana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rosane Cláudia Rodrigues

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available At this work was evaluated the effect of cut age variation of “Roxo” elephant grass under its agronomical parameters, as yield, height, stem:leave relation and leave proportion. The grass was cultivated on farm located in Santo Antonio of Leverger – MT. The area was divided in paddocks with 10, 40m2, that were submitted to different cut age, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 and 105 days, during the dry and rainy season, in a randomized block arrange, with four repetions by treatment. After cut, data of yield/ha, height, leave proportion and leave:stem relation were collected. On each age, the paddock grass was cut, weighted and guided to the animal nutrition laboratory at UFMT for dry matter determination. In the dry season, the increase on elephant grass cut age caused quadratic effect in all variables evaluated, except for the grass height, that was linearly incremented. On rainy season, the advance in grass cut age affected, in a linear way, the analyzed variables and promoted increase on dry matter production and height of grass, but reduction at the leaf percentage and leaf/steam ration.Objetivou-se, com este trabalho, avaliar o efeito da variação na idade de corte do capim elefante variedade roxa (Pennisetum purpureum cv. Napier roxo sobre as suas características agronômicas, como produtividade, altura, relação colmo:folha e diâmetro do colmo. O capim foi cultivado em área de capineira, localizada no município de Santo Antônio do Leverger – MT. A área foi dividida em parcelas com área útil de 10,40m² cada, submetidas a diferentes idades de corte, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 e 105 dias, durante as épocas das águas e de seca, em um delineamento em blocos ao acaso com 4 repetições. Após o corte efetuado rente ao solo, foram realizadas as seguintes avaliações: produtividade/ha, altura médias das plantas, relação folha:colmo, diâmetro dos colmos e percentagem de folhas. Em cada idade, o capim proveniente da área útil da parcela foi

  4. Extended phenotype: nematodes turn ants into bird-dispersed fruits

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, D P; Kronauer, D J C; Boomsma, J J

    2008-01-01

    A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs.......A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs....

  5. Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    the more basal attine genera use substrates such as flowers, plant debris, small twigs, insect feces and insect carcasses. This diverse array of fungal substrates across the attine lineage implies that the symbiotic fungus needs different enzymes to break down the plant material that the ants provide...... or different efficiencies of enzyme function. Fungal enzymes that degrade plant cell walls may have functionally co-evolved with the ants in this scenario. We explore this hypothesis with direct measurements of enzyme activity in fungus gardens in 12 species across 8 genera spanning the entire phylogeny...... and diversity of life-styles within the attine clade. We find significant differences in enzyme activity between different genera and life-styles of the ants. How these findings relate to attine ant coevolution and crop optimization are discussed....

  6. The invasive ant, Solenopsis invicta, reduces herpetofauna richness and abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.; Slater, J.; Wiggers, E.

    2017-01-01

    Amphibians and reptiles are declining globally. One potential cause of this decline includes impacts resulting from co-occurrence with non-native red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Although a growing body of anecdotal and observational evidence from laboratory experiments supports this hypothesis, there remains a lack of field scale manipulations testing the effect of fire ants on reptile and amphibian communities. We addressed this gap by measuring reptile and amphibian (“herpetofauna”) community response to successful fire ant reductions over the course of 2 years following hydramethylnon application to five 100–200 ha plots in southeastern coastal South Carolina. By assessing changes in relative abundance and species richness of herpetofauna in response to fire ant reductions, we were able to assess whether some species were particularly vulnerable to fire ant presence, and whether this sensitivity manifested at the community level. We found that herpetofauna abundance and species richness responded positively to fire ant reductions. Our results document that even moderate populations of red imported fire ants decrease both the abundance and diversity of herpetofauna. Given global herpetofauna population declines and continued spread of fire ants, there is urgency to understand the impacts of fire ants beyond anecdotal and singles species studies. Our results provides the first community level investigation addressing these dynamics, by manipulating fire ant abundance to reveal a response in herpetofauna species abundance and richness.

  7. Influence of nutrient solutions in an open-field soilless system on the quality characteristics and shelf life of fresh-cut red and green lettuces (Lactuca sativa L.) in different seasons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luna, María C; Martínez-Sánchez, Ascensión; Selma, María V; Tudela, Juan A; Baixauli, Carlos; Gil, María I

    2013-01-01

    Little information is available about the impact of nutrient solution ion concentration on quality characteristics and shelf life of fresh-cut lettuce grown in soilless systems in open field. Three lettuce genotypes, lollo rosso and red oak leaf as red-leafed genotypes and butterhead as green-leafed genotype, were studied. The influence of three nutrient solutions with low, medium and high ion concentrations, which varied in the macroanion (NO₃⁻) and macrocations (K⁺, Ca²⁺ and NH₄⁺), were compared in summer and winter. The nutrient solutions evaluated in this study for the production of lettuce in a soilless system did not strongly influence the quality characteristics of the raw material. When the ion concentration of the nutrient solution was increased, fresh weight decreased, although it depended on the genotype and season. Maturity index and dry matter content varied with the season but independently of the nutrient solution. In summer, maturity index was higher and dry matter lower than in winter. Initial texture and visual quality were not influenced by the nutrient solution. Medium ion concentration provided the highest content of vitamin C and phenolic compounds. Our observations pointed out that the genotype had a strong influence on the shelf life of the fresh-cut product with minor differences among nutrient solutions. In general, red-leafed lettuces showed the highest antioxidant content, helping the maintenance of sensory characteristics throughout storage. The combination of optimal nutrient solution ion concentration and suitable cultivar is considered essential to ensure lettuce post-cutting life. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

  8. Improved cutting performance in high power laser cutting

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Olsen, Flemming Ove

    2003-01-01

    Recent results in high power laser cutting especially with focus on cutting of mild grade steel types for shipbuilding are described.......Recent results in high power laser cutting especially with focus on cutting of mild grade steel types for shipbuilding are described....

  9. Identification of Alfalfa Leaf Diseases Using Image Recognition Technology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Feng Qin

    Full Text Available Common leaf spot (caused by Pseudopeziza medicaginis, rust (caused by Uromyces striatus, Leptosphaerulina leaf spot (caused by Leptosphaerulina briosiana and Cercospora leaf spot (caused by Cercospora medicaginis are the four common types of alfalfa leaf diseases. Timely and accurate diagnoses of these diseases are critical for disease management, alfalfa quality control and the healthy development of the alfalfa industry. In this study, the identification and diagnosis of the four types of alfalfa leaf diseases were investigated using pattern recognition algorithms based on image-processing technology. A sub-image with one or multiple typical lesions was obtained by artificial cutting from each acquired digital disease image. Then the sub-images were segmented using twelve lesion segmentation methods integrated with clustering algorithms (including K_means clustering, fuzzy C-means clustering and K_median clustering and supervised classification algorithms (including logistic regression analysis, Naive Bayes algorithm, classification and regression tree, and linear discriminant analysis. After a comprehensive comparison, the segmentation method integrating the K_median clustering algorithm and linear discriminant analysis was chosen to obtain lesion images. After the lesion segmentation using this method, a total of 129 texture, color and shape features were extracted from the lesion images. Based on the features selected using three methods (ReliefF, 1R and correlation-based feature selection, disease recognition models were built using three supervised learning methods, including the random forest, support vector machine (SVM and K-nearest neighbor methods. A comparison of the recognition results of the models was conducted. The results showed that when the ReliefF method was used for feature selection, the SVM model built with the most important 45 features (selected from a total of 129 features was the optimal model. For this SVM model, the

  10. Identification of Alfalfa Leaf Diseases Using Image Recognition Technology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qin, Feng; Liu, Dongxia; Sun, Bingda; Ruan, Liu; Ma, Zhanhong; Wang, Haiguang

    2016-01-01

    Common leaf spot (caused by Pseudopeziza medicaginis), rust (caused by Uromyces striatus), Leptosphaerulina leaf spot (caused by Leptosphaerulina briosiana) and Cercospora leaf spot (caused by Cercospora medicaginis) are the four common types of alfalfa leaf diseases. Timely and accurate diagnoses of these diseases are critical for disease management, alfalfa quality control and the healthy development of the alfalfa industry. In this study, the identification and diagnosis of the four types of alfalfa leaf diseases were investigated using pattern recognition algorithms based on image-processing technology. A sub-image with one or multiple typical lesions was obtained by artificial cutting from each acquired digital disease image. Then the sub-images were segmented using twelve lesion segmentation methods integrated with clustering algorithms (including K_means clustering, fuzzy C-means clustering and K_median clustering) and supervised classification algorithms (including logistic regression analysis, Naive Bayes algorithm, classification and regression tree, and linear discriminant analysis). After a comprehensive comparison, the segmentation method integrating the K_median clustering algorithm and linear discriminant analysis was chosen to obtain lesion images. After the lesion segmentation using this method, a total of 129 texture, color and shape features were extracted from the lesion images. Based on the features selected using three methods (ReliefF, 1R and correlation-based feature selection), disease recognition models were built using three supervised learning methods, including the random forest, support vector machine (SVM) and K-nearest neighbor methods. A comparison of the recognition results of the models was conducted. The results showed that when the ReliefF method was used for feature selection, the SVM model built with the most important 45 features (selected from a total of 129 features) was the optimal model. For this SVM model, the

  11. Red imported fire ant impacts on upland arthropods in Southern Mississippi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epperson, D.M.; Allen, Craig R.

    2010-01-01

    Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have negative impacts on a broad array of invertebrate species. We investigated the impacts of fire ants on the upland arthropod community on 20???40 ha study sites in southern Mississippi. Study sites were sampled from 19972000 before, during, and after fire ant bait treatments to reduce fire ant populations. Fire ant abundance was assessed with bait transects on all sites, and fire ant population indices were estimated on a subset of study sites. Species richness and diversity of other ant species was also assessed from bait transects. Insect biomass and diversity was determined from light trap samples. Following treatments, fire ant abundance and population indices were significantly reduced, and ant species diversity and richness were greater on treated sites. Arthropod biomass, species diversity and species richness estimated from light trap samples were negatively correlated with fire ant abundance, but there were no observable treatment effects. Solenopsis invicta has the potential to negatively impact native arthropod communities resulting in a potential loss of both species and function.

  12. Host ant independent oviposition in the parasitic butterfly Maculinea alcon

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fürst, Matthias A; Nash, David Richard

    2010-01-01

    to host-ant nests and non-host-ant nests, and the number and position of eggs attached were assessed. Our results show no evidence for host-ant-based oviposition in M. alcon, but support an oviposition strategy based on plant characteristics. This suggests that careful management of host-ant distribution......Parasitic Maculinea alcon butterflies can only develop in nests of a subset of available Myrmica ant species, so female butterflies have been hypothesized to preferentially lay eggs on plants close to colonies of the correct host ants. Previous correlational investigations of host......-ant-dependent oviposition in this and other Maculinea species have, however, shown equivocal results, leading to a long-term controversy over support for this hypothesis. We therefore conducted a controlled field experiment to study the egg-laying behaviour of M. alcon. Matched potted Gentiana plants were set out close...

  13. What do myrmecophagous geckos eat when ants are not available ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Like other Pristurus species, P. samhaensis on Samha and P. sokotranus on Socotra were highly myrmecophagous (76.7% and 38.6% ants, respectively). However, ants were absent from the diet of P. samhaensis on Darsa. In contrast to the rich native ant fauna of the other islands, only one ant species was reported for ...

  14. Signals can trump rewards in attracting seed-dispersing ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyle M Turner

    Full Text Available Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds.

  15. Fuzzy Rules for Ant Based Clustering Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amira Hamdi

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides a new intelligent technique for semisupervised data clustering problem that combines the Ant System (AS algorithm with the fuzzy c-means (FCM clustering algorithm. Our proposed approach, called F-ASClass algorithm, is a distributed algorithm inspired by foraging behavior observed in ant colonyT. The ability of ants to find the shortest path forms the basis of our proposed approach. In the first step, several colonies of cooperating entities, called artificial ants, are used to find shortest paths in a complete graph that we called graph-data. The number of colonies used in F-ASClass is equal to the number of clusters in dataset. Hence, the partition matrix of dataset founded by artificial ants is given in the second step, to the fuzzy c-means technique in order to assign unclassified objects generated in the first step. The proposed approach is tested on artificial and real datasets, and its performance is compared with those of K-means, K-medoid, and FCM algorithms. Experimental section shows that F-ASClass performs better according to the error rate classification, accuracy, and separation index.

  16. The direct and ecological costs of an ant-plant symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E; Ravenscraft, Alison; Miller, Gabriel A; Arcila Hernández, Lina M; Booth, Gregory; Pierce, Naomi E

    2012-06-01

    How strong is selection for cheating in mutualisms? The answer depends on the type and magnitude of the costs of the mutualism. Here we investigated the direct and ecological costs of plant defense by ants in the association between Cordia nodosa, a myrmecophytic plant, and Allomerus octoarticulatus, a phytoecious ant. Cordia nodosa trees produce food and housing to reward ants that protect them against herbivores. For nearly 1 year, we manipulated the presence of A. octoarticulatus ants and most insect herbivores on C. nodosa in a full-factorial experiment. Ants increased plant growth when herbivores were present but decreased plant growth when herbivores were absent, indicating that hosting ants can be costly to plants. However, we did not detect a cost to ant colonies of defending host plants against herbivores. Although this asymmetry in costs suggests that the plants may be under stronger selection than the ants to cheat by withholding investment in their partner, the costs to C. nodosa are probably at least partly ecological, arising because ants tend scale insects on their host plants. We argue that ecological costs should favor resistance or traits other than cheating and thus that neither partner may face much temptation to cheat.

  17. Competitive assembly of South Pacific invasive ant communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarty Megan

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The relative importance of chance and determinism in structuring ecological communities has been debated for nearly a century. Evidence for determinism or assembly rules is often evaluated with null models that randomize the occurrence of species in particular locales. However, analyses of the presence or absence of species ignores the potential influence of species abundances, which have long been considered of major importance on community structure. Here, we test for community assembly rules in ant communities on small islands of the Tokelau archipelago using both presence-absence and abundance data. We conducted three sets of analyses on two spatial scales using three years of sampling data from 39 plots on 11 islands. Results First, traditional null model tests showed support for negative species co-occurrence patterns among plots within islands, but not among islands. A plausible explanation for this result is that analyses at larger spatial scales merge heterogeneous habitats that have considerable effects on species occurrences. Second, analyses of ant abundances showed that samples with high ant abundances had fewer species than expected by chance, both within and among islands. One ant species, the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes, appeared to have a particularly strong effect on community structure correlated with its abundance. Third, abundances of most ant species were inversely correlated with the abundances of all other ants at both spatial scales. This result is consistent with competition theory, which predicts species distributions are affected by diffuse competition with suites of co-occurring species. Conclusion Our results support a pluralistic explanation for ant species abundances and assembly. Both stochastic and deterministic processes interact to determine ant community assembly, though abundance patterns clearly drive the deterministic patterns in this community. These deterministic

  18. Exploring with PAM: Prospecting ANTS Missions for Solar System Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, P. E.; Rilee, M. L.; Curtis, S. A.

    2003-01-01

    ANTS (Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm), a large (1000 member) swarm of nano to picoclass (10 to 1 kg) totally autonomous spacecraft, are being developed as a NASA advanced mission concept. ANTS, based on a hierarchical insect social order, use an evolvable, self-similar, hierarchical neural system in which individual spacecraft represent the highest level nodes. ANTS uses swarm intelligence attained through collective, cooperative interactions of the no