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Sample records for acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

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

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    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2012-09-01

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

  2. 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.

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

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    Sirviö, A; Gadau, J; Rueppell, O; Lamatsch, D; Boomsma, J J; Pamilo, P; Page, R E

    2006-09-01

    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 tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM(-1) (or 6.2 cM Mb(-1)). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have demonstrated that variation in division of labour and pathogen resistance has a genetic component and that genotypic diversity among workers may thus give colonies of this leaf-cutting ant a functional advantage. The present result is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that complex social life can select for an increased recombination rate through effects on genotypic diversity and colony performance.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudon......Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry...... occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure...

  5. 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.

  6. 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...... strains. Our finding that individual colonies cultivate a single actinomycete strain is in agreement with predictions from evolutionary theory on host-symbiont conflict over symbiont mixing, but indicates that there may be constraints on the effectiveness of the bacterial symbionts on an evolutionary...

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

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    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli

    2013-11-01

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

  8. 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 Johannes; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    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 chara...

  9. 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

    Paired exocrine metapleural glands are present in almost all ants and produce compounds with antibiotic properties towards a variety of pathogenic fungi and bacteria. In Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, small workers have relatively large metapleural glands compared to large workers, and thus harbour...... glands in small workers makes this caste particularly well adapted to preventing pathogenic microorganisms from entering the colony....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudonocardia Actinobacteria exosymbiont on their bodies that produces antifungal compounds that help inhibit specialized parasites of the ants' fungal garden. Major workers emerge from their pupal cases (eclose) symbiont-free, but exhibit visible Actinobacterial coverage within 14 days post-eclosion. Using subcolony experiments, we investigate exosymbiont transmission within Acromyrmex colonies. We found successful transmission to newly eclosed major workers fostered by major workers with visible Actinobacteria in all cases (100% acquiring, n = 19). In contrast, newly eclosed major workers reared without exosymbiont-carrying major workers did not acquire visible Actinobacteria (0% acquiring, n = 73). We further show that the majority of ants exposed to major workers with exosymbionts within 2 hours of eclosion acquired bacteria (60.7% acquiring, n = 28), while normal acquisition did not occur when exposure occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure the defensive function within colonies, as well as specificity and partner fidelity in the ant-bacterium association.

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

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

    2011-01-01

    ), help defend the ants’ fungal mutualist from specialized parasites. In Acromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) leaf-cutting ants, individual colonies maintain either a single or a few strains of Pseudonocardia, and the symbiont is primarily vertically transmitted between generations by colony...

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

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

    2007-01-01

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

  13. The Role of Symbiont Genetic Distance and Potential Adaptability in Host Preference Towards Pseudonocardia Symbionts in Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants

    OpenAIRE

    Thomas-Poulsen, Michael; Maynard, Janielle; Roland, Damien L; Currie, Cameron R

    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), help defend the ants’ fungal mutualist from specialized parasites. In Acromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) leaf-cutting ants, individual colonies maintain either a single or a few strains of...

  14. 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

    ), help defend the ants’ fungal mutualist from specialized parasites. In Acromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) leaf-cutting ants, individual colonies maintain either a single or a few strains of Pseudonocardia, and the symbiont is primarily vertically transmitted between generations by colony...... to the role of adaptive recognition, potential ecological flexibility in symbiont preference, and more broadly, in relation to self versus non-self recognition....

  15. 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.

  16. 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...... tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage...... groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM-1 (or 6.2 cM Mb-1). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have...

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

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    LIRIANA BELIZÁRIO CANTAGALLI

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available 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 expo- sición a los agrotóxicos como organofosforados, neonicoti- noides 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 electrofo- resis 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 iso- enzimas 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 electro- forética. 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 carboxiles- terasas. El análisis electroforético presentó inhibición parcial para todas las esterasas sometidas al contacto con malathion en las concentraciones 1 x 10-3 % e 5 x 10-3 %, 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.

  18. 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 by an actino...

  19. 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......Parasites represent significant challenges to social insects. The high density, interaction rate and relatedness of individuals within colonies are all predicted to make social insect colonies particularly vulnerable to parasites. To cope with this pressure, social insects have evolved a number...... of defence mechanisms. These include the immune response, which, aside from in bumblebees, has been relatively little studied in social insects. Here we compare the immune responses of males and workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and examine the effect upon immunocompetence of prior...

  20. The fungal symbiont of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants expresses the full spectrum of genes to degrade cellulose and other plant cell wall polysaccharides.

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    Grell, Morten N; Linde, Tore; Nygaard, Sanne; Nielsen, Kåre L; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Lange, Lene

    2013-12-28

    The fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants are natural biomass conversion systems that turn fresh plant forage into fungal biomass to feed the farming ants. However, the decomposition potential of the symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus for processing polysaccharides has remained controversial. We therefore used quantifiable DeepSAGE technology to obtain mRNA expression patterns of genes coding for secreted enzymes from top, middle, and bottom sections of a laboratory fungus-garden of Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants. A broad spectrum of biomass-conversion-relevant enzyme genes was found to be expressed in situ: cellulases (GH3, GH5, GH6, GH7, AA9 [formerly GH61]), hemicellulases (GH5, GH10, CE1, GH12, GH74), pectinolytic enzymes (CE8, GH28, GH43, PL1, PL3, PL4), glucoamylase (GH15), α-galactosidase (GH27), and various cutinases, esterases, and lipases. In general, expression of these genes reached maximal values in the bottom section of the garden, particularly for an AA9 lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase and for a GH5 (endocellulase), a GH7 (reducing end-acting cellobiohydrolase), and a GH10 (xylanase), all containing a carbohydrate binding module that specifically binds cellulose (CBM1). Although we did not directly quantify enzyme abundance, the profile of expressed cellulase genes indicates that both hydrolytic and oxidative degradation is taking place. The fungal symbiont of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants can degrade a large range of plant polymers, but the conversion of cellulose, hemicellulose, and part of the pectin occurs primarily towards the end of the decomposition process, i.e. in the bottom section of the fungus garden. These conversions are likely to provide nutrients for the fungus itself rather than for the ants, whose colony growth and reproductive success are limited by proteins obtained from ingesting fungal gongylidia. These specialized hyphal tips are hardly produced in the bottom section of fungus gardens, consistent with the ants

  1. 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

  2. Variation in Pseudonocardia antibiotic defence helps govern parasite-induced morbidity in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    OpenAIRE

    Poulsen, Michael; Cafaro, Matías J.; Erhardt, Daniel P.; Little, Ainslie E. F.; Gerardo, Nicole M.; Tebbets, Brad; Klein, Bruce S.; Currie, Cameron R

    2009-01-01

    Host–parasite associations are potentially shaped by evolutionary reciprocal selection dynamics, in which parasites evolve to overcome host defences and hosts are selected to counteract these through the evolution of new defences. This is expected to result in variation in parasite-defence interactions, and the evolution of resistant parasites causing increased virulence. Fungus-growing ants maintain antibiotic-producing Pseudonocardia (Actinobacteria) that aid in protection against specializ...

  3. Symbiotic bacteria on the cuticle of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus protect workers from attack by entomopathogenic fungi.

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    Mattoso, Thalles C; Moreira, Denise D O; Samuels, Richard I

    2012-06-23

    Although only discovered in 1999, the symbiotic filamentous actinobacteria present on the integument of certain species of leaf-cutting ants have been the subject of intense research. These bacteria have been shown to specifically suppress fungal garden parasites by secretion of antibiotics. However, more recently, a wider role for these bacteria has been suggested from research revealing their generalist anti-fungal activity. Here we show, for the first time, evidence for a role of these bacteria in the defence of young worker ants against a fungal entomopathogen. Experimental removal of the bacterial bio-film using an antibiotic resulted in a significant increase in susceptibility of worker ants to infection by the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. This is the first direct evidence for the advantage of maintaining a bacterial bio-film on the cuticle as a defensive strategy of the ants themselves and not exclusively for protection of the fungus garden.

  4. Candicidin-producing Streptomyces support leaf-cutting ants to protect their fungus garden against the pathogenic fungus Escovopsis

    OpenAIRE

    Haeder, Susanne; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2009-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants such as Acromyrmex octospinosus live in obligate symbiosis with fungi of the genus Leucoagaricus, which they grow with harvested leaf material. The symbiotic fungi, in turn, serve as a major food source for the ants. This mutualistic relation is disturbed by the specialized pathogenic fungus Escovopsis sp., which can overcome Leucoagaricus sp. and thus destroy the ant colony. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants have been suggested to protect the fungus garden against Es...

  5. 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

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    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

  6. 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

    and evaluated the quantitative variation of the 47 compounds in a multivariate analysis. Colony-specific chemical profiles of fungal symbionts were highly distinct and significantly different between the two ant species. We also estimated the relative genetic distances between the fungal symbionts using...... in chemical profiles could be explained by genetic differences between the fungal symbionts. However, there was no significant effect of ant species in partial analyses because genetic differences between symbionts tend to coincide with being reared by different ant species. However, compound groups differed...... significantly with amides, aldehydes, and methyl esters contributing to the correlations, but acetates, alkanes, and formates being unrelated to genetic variation among symbionts. We show experimentally that workers that are previously exposed to and fed with the fungal symbiont of another colony are met...

  7. 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

    on aspects of the genome likely to be associated with known evolutionary changes. The first is the specialized fungal diet of A. echinatior, where we find gene loss in the ant's arginine synthesis pathway, loss of detoxification genes, and expansion of a group of peptidase proteins. One of these is a unique...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus......, 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...

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

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    Douglas Daniel Grutzmacher

    2007-08-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 gardens...... against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies are inoculated with one of two vertically transmitted phylotypes (Ps1 or Ps2), and maintain the same...... phylotype over their lifetime. We performed a cross-fostering experiment to test whether co-adaptations between ants and bacterial phylotypes have evolved, and how this affects bacterial growth and ant prophylactic behavior after infection with Escovopsis.Results: We show that Pseudonocardia readily...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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 somatic incompatibility enforces single-clone gardens within mature colonies, thereby constraining horizontal transmission of fungal symbionts. However, phylogenetic analyses indicate that symbiont switches occur frequently enough to remove most signs of host-symbiont cocladogenesis. Here we resolve...... this paradox by showing that transmission among newly founded Acromyrmex colonies is not constrained. All tested queens of sympatric A. octospinosus and A. echinatior offered a novel fragment of fungus garden accepted the new symbiont. The outcome was unaffected by genetic distance between the novel...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-02-25

    The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies are inoculated with one of two vertically transmitted phylotypes (Ps1 or Ps2), and maintain the same phylotype over their lifetime. We performed a cross-fostering experiment to test whether co-adaptations between ants and bacterial phylotypes have evolved, and how this affects bacterial growth and ant prophylactic behavior after infection with Escovopsis. We show that Pseudonocardia readily colonized ants irrespective of their colony of origin, but that the Ps2 phylotype, which was previously shown to be better able to maintain its monocultural integrity after workers became foragers than Ps1, reached a higher final cover when grown on its native host than on alternative hosts. The frequencies of major grooming and weeding behaviors co-varied with symbiont/host combinations, showing that ant behavior also was affected when cuticular actinomycete phylotypes were swapped. These results show that the interactions between leaf-cutting ants and Pseudonocardia bear signatures of mutual co-adaptation within a single ant population.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kooij, Pepijn W; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Hoffmann, Daniel; Roepstorff, Peter; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Schiøtt, Morten

    2014-05-01

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen limited, we cloned and sequenced six fungal proteases found in the fecal fluid of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and identified them as two metalloendoproteases, two serine proteases and two aspartic proteases. The metalloendoproteases and serine proteases showed significant activity in fecal 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 upregulated in the gongylidia, specialized hyphal tips whose only known function is to provide food to the ants. These combined results indicate that the enzymes are derived from the ingested fungal tissues. We infer that the five proteases are likely to accelerate protein extraction from plant cells in the leaf pulp that the ants add to the fungus garden, but regulatory functions such as activation of proenzymes are also possible, particularly for the aspartic proteases that were present but without showing activity. The proteases had high sequence similarities to proteolytic enzymes of phytopathogenic fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... among the five host ants, the ability of Ophiocordyceps to shift between such distant hosts is remarkable; the results are discussed in the context of ant ecological immunology and fungal invasion strategies....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-02-23

    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 (E(high)) or low (E(low)) densities of endophytes. The E(high) seedlings contained 5.5 times higher endophyte content and a greater diversity of fungal morphospecies than the E(low) treatment, and endophyte content was not correlated with leaf toughness or thickness. Leaf-cutting ants cut over 2.5 times the leaf area from E(low) relative to E(high) seedlings and had a tendency to recruit more ants to E(low) 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.

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

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    Sunshine A. Van Bael

    2011-01-01

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

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...... 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...

  6. Chemical disguise of myrmecophilous cockroaches and its implications for understanding nestmate recognition mechanisms in leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nehring, Volker; Dani, Francesca R; Calamai, Luca; Turillazzi, Stefano; Bohn, Horst; Klass, Klaus-Dieter; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2016-08-05

    Cockroaches of the genus Attaphila regularly occur in leaf-cutting ant colonies. The ants farm a fungus that the cockroaches also appear to feed on. Cockroaches disperse between colonies horizontally (via foraging trails) and vertically (attached to queens on their mating flights). We analysed the chemical strategies used by the cockroaches to integrate into colonies of Atta colombica and Acromyrmex octospinosus. Analysing cockroaches from nests of two host species further allowed us to test the hypothesis that nestmate recognition is based on an asymmetric mechanism. Specifically, we test the U-present nestmate recognition model, which assumes that detection of undesirable cues (non-nestmate specific substances) leads to strong rejection of the cue-bearers, while absence of desirable cues (nestmate-specific substances) does not necessarily trigger aggression. We found that nests of Atta and Acromyrmex contained cockroaches of two different and not yet described Attaphila species. The cockroaches share the cuticular chemical substances of their specific host species and copy their host nest's colony-specific cuticular profile. Indeed, the cockroaches are accepted by nestmate but attacked by non-nestmate ant workers. Cockroaches from Acromyrmex colonies bear a lower concentration of cuticular substances and are less likely to be attacked by non-nestmate ants than cockroaches from Atta colonies. Nest-specific recognition of Attaphila cockroaches by host workers in combination with nest-specific cuticular chemical profiles suggest that the cockroaches mimic their host's recognition labels, either by synthesizing nest-specific substances or by substance transfer from ants. Our finding that the cockroach species with lower concentration of cuticular substances receives less aggression by both host species fully supports the U-present nestmate recognition model. Leaf-cutting ant nestmate recognition is thus asymmetric, responding more strongly to differences than to

  7. Contact rate modulates foraging efficiency in leaf cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-21

    Lane segregation is rarely observed in animals that move in bidirectional flows. Consequently, these animals generally experience a high rate of head-on collisions during their journeys. Although these collisions have a cost (each collision induces a delay resulting in a decrease of individual speed), they could also have a benefit by promoting information transfer between individuals. Here we explore the impact of head-on collisions in leaf-cutting ants moving on foraging trails by artificially decreasing the rate of head-on collisions between individuals. We show that head-on collisions do not influence the rate of recruitment in these ants but do influence foraging efficiency, i.e. the proportion of ants returning to the nest with a leaf fragment. Surprisingly, both unladen and laden ants returning to the nest participate in the modulation of foraging efficiency: foraging efficiency decreases when the rate of contacts with both nestbound laden or unladen ants decreases. These results suggest that outgoing ants are able to collect information from inbound ants even when these latter do not carry any leaf fragment and that this information can influence their foraging decisions when reaching the end of the trail.

  8. Diploid male production in a leaf-cutting ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    assumed to have reduced fitness compared with their haploid brothers. 2. While studying the reproductive biology of a leaf-cutting ant, Atta sexdens, in Gamboa, Republic of Panama, we detected the presence of a larger male morph. Using microsatellite markers we were able to confirm that the large male...... morph was diploid in 87% of cases. 3. We infer that the Gamboa population of A. sexdens experiences inbreeding depression because diploid males were found in three out of five mature colonies. However, their frequencies were relatively low because queens were multiply mated and our estimates suggest...... would be reduced compared with haploid males if they were able to copulate. 5. We conclude that diploid male production is likely to affect the fitness of A. sexdens queens with a matched mating, as these males are produced at the cost of workers and, if the colony survives to reach mature size, also...

  9. 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...... by biasing their larval development toward becoming queens rather than workers. Two distinct mechanisms appear to be involved, one most probably involving a general tendency to become a larger adult and the other relating specifically to the queen-worker developmental switch. Just as evolutionary theory...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  11. Ecological engineering by a native leaf-cutting ant increases the performance of exotic plant species.

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    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Lescano, Natalia; Ghermandi, Luciana

    2010-05-01

    Numerous mechanisms are proposed to explain why exotic plants successfully invade natural communities. However, the positive effects of native engineers on exotic plant species have received less consideration. We tested whether the nutrient-rich soil patches created by a native ecological engineer (refuse dumps from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lobicornis) increase the performance of exotic more than native plants. In a greenhouse experiment, individuals from several native and exotic species were planted in pots with refuse dumps (RDs) and non-nest soils (NNSs). Total plant biomass and foliar nutrient content were measured at the end of the experiment. We also estimated the cover of exotic and native plant species in external RDs from 54 field ant nests and adjacent areas. Greenhouse plants showed more biomass and foliar nutrient content in RDs than in NNS pots. Nevertheless, differences in the final mean biomass among RD and NNS plants were especially great in exotics. Accordingly, the cover of exotic plants was higher in field RDs than in adjacent, non-nest soils. Our results demonstrated that plants can benefit from the enhanced nutrient content of ant RDs, and that A. lobicornis acts as an ecosystem engineer, creating a substrate that especially increases the performance of exotics. This supports the fluctuating resource hypothesis as a mechanism to promote biological invasions, and illustrates how this hypothesis may operate in nature. Since ant nests and exotic plants are more common in disturbed than in pristine environments, the role of ant nests in promoting biological invasions might be of particular interest. Proposals including the use of engineer species to restore disturbed habitats should be planned with caution because of their potential role in promoting invasions.

  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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Römer, Daniela; Roces, Flavio

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Römer, Daniela; Roces, Flavio

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R; Jensen, Annette B; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2012-10-22

    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, we show that the ants adjust the amount of MG secretion to the virulence of the fungus with which they are infected. We further applied fixed volumes of MG secretion of ants challenged with constant conidia doses to agar mats of the same fungal species. This showed that inhibition halos were significantly larger for ants challenged with virulent and mild pathogens/weeds than for controls and Escovopsis-challenged ants. We conclude that the MG defence system of leaf-cutting ants has characteristics reminiscent of an additional cuticular immune system, with specific and non-specific components, of which some are constitutive and others induced.

  1. 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

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen li...... fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 9 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.231....

  2. 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

  3. The Dynamics of Plant Cell-Wall Polysaccharide Decomposition in Leaf-Cutting Ant Fungus Gardens

    OpenAIRE

    Moller, Isabel E.; De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Jesper Harholt; Willats, William G. T; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2011-01-01

    The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus 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 establish...

  4. Symbiotic adaptations in the fungal cultivar of leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Tunlid, Anders

    2014-01-01

    Centuries of artificial selection have dramatically improved the yield of human agriculture; however, strong directional selection also occurs in natural symbiotic interactions. Fungus-growing attine ants cultivate basidiomycete fungi for food. One cultivar lineage has evolved inflated hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants. Here we show extensive regulation and molecular signals of adaptive evolution in gene trancripts associated with gongylidia biosynthesis, morphogenesis and enzymatic plant cell wall degradation in the leaf-cutting ant cultivar Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. Comparative analysis of staphylae growth morphology and transcriptome-wide expressional and nucleotide divergence indicate that gongylidia provide leaf-cutting ants with essential amino acids and plant-degrading enzymes, and that they may have done so for 20-25 million years without much evolutionary change. These molecular traits and signatures of selection imply that staphylae are highly advanced coevolutionary organs that play pivotal roles in the mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal cultivars.

  5. Genetic caste polymorphism and the evolution of polyandry in Atta leaf-cutting ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evison, Sophie Elizabeth Frances; Hughes, William O. H.

    2011-08-01

    Multiple mating by females with different males (polyandry) is difficult to explain in many taxa because it carries significant costs to females, yet benefits are often hard to identify. Polyandry is a derived trait in social insects, the evolutionary origins of which remain unclear. One of several leading hypotheses for its evolution is that it improves division of labour by increasing intra-colonial genetic diversity. Division of labour is a key player in the ecological success of social insects, and in many successful species of ants is based on morphologically distinct castes of workers, each with their own task specialisations. Atta leaf-cutting ants exhibit one of the most extreme and complicated forms of morphologically specialised worker castes and have been reported to be polyandrous but with relatively low mating frequencies (~2.5 on average). Here, we show for the first time that there is a significant genetic influence on worker size in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants. We also provide the first estimate of the mating frequency of Atta cephalotes (four matings) and, by analysing much higher within-colony sample sizes, find that Atta are more polyandrous than previously thought (approximately six to seven matings). The results show that high polyandry and a genetic influence on worker caste are present in both genera of leaf-cutting ants and add weight to the hypothesis that division of labour is a potential driver of the evolution of polyandry in this clade of ants.

  6. Chemical warfare: Leaf-cutting ants defend themselves and their gardens against parasite attack by deploying antibiotic secreting bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuels, Richard Ian; Mattoso, Thalles Cardoso; Moreira, Denise D O

    2013-03-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are well known for their highly complex social organization, which provides them with a strong defense against parasites invading their colonies. Besides this attribute, these insects have morphological, physiological and structural characteristics further reinforcing the defense of their colonies. With the discovery of symbiotic bacteria present on the integument of leaf-cutting ants, a new line of defense was proposed and considered to be specific for the control of a specialized fungal parasite of the ants' fungus gardens (Escovopsis). However, recent studies have questioned the specificity of the integumental bacteria, as they were also found to inhibit a range of fungi, including entomopathogens. The microbiota associated with the leaf-cutting ant gardens has also been proposed as another level of chemical defense, protecting the garden from parasite invasion. Here we review the chemical defense weaponry deployed by leaf-cutting ants against parasites of their fungus gardens and of the ants themselves.

  7. Essential Oil of Aristolochia trilobata: Synthesis, Routes of Exposure, Acute Toxicity, Binary Mixtures and Behavioral Effects on Leaf-Cutting Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Oliveira, Bruna Maria S; Melo, Carlisson R; Alves, Péricles B; Santos, Abraão A; Santos, Ane Caroline C; Santana, Alisson da S; Araújo, Ana Paula A; Nascimento, Pedro E S; Blank, Arie F; Bacci, Leandro

    2017-02-25

    Plants of the genus Aristolochia have been frequently reported as important medicinal plants. Despite their high bioactive potential, to date, there are no reports of their effects on leaf-cutting ants. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the insecticidal activity of the essential oil of Aristolochia trilobata and its major components on Atta sexdens and Acromyrmex balzani, two species of leaf-cutting ants. The bioassays were performed regarding routes of exposure, acute toxicity, binary mixtures of the major components and behavioral effects. Twenty-five components were identified in the essential oil of A. trilobata using a gas chromatographic system equipped with a mass spectrometer and a flame ionization detector. The components found in higher proportions were sulcatyl acetate, limonene, p-cymene and linalool. The essential oil of A. trilobata and its individual major components were efficient against A. balzani and A. sexdens workers when applied by fumigation. These components showed fast and efficient insecticidal activity on ants. The components acted synergistically and additively on A. balzani and A. sexdens, respectively, and caused a strong repellency/irritability in the ants. Thus, our results demonstrate the great potential of the essential oil of A. trilobata and its major components for the development of new insecticides.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Bael, Sunshine A; Estrada, Catalina; Rehner, Stephen A; Santos, Janette Fabiola; Wcislo, William T

    2012-11-09

    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. 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. 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.

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

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    Roberto da Silva Camargo

    2013-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Römer, Daniela; Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    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-rearing influences the ants

  13. Yeasts and filamentous fungi carried by the gynes of leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagnocca, Fernando C; Rodrigues, André; Nagamoto, Nilson S; Bacci, Maurício

    2008-11-01

    Insect-associated microbes exhibit a wide range of interactions with their hosts. One example of such interactions is the insect-driven dispersal of microorganisms, which plays an essential role in the ecology of several microbes. To study dispersal of microorganisms by leaf-cutting ants (Formicidae: Attini), we applied culture-dependent methods to identify the filamentous fungi and yeasts found in two different body parts of leaf-cutting ant gynes: the exoskeleton and the infrabuccal pocket. The gynes use the latter structure to store a pellet of the ants' symbiotic fungus during nest founding. Many filamentous fungi (n = 142) and yeasts (n = 19) were isolated from the gynes' exoskeleton. In contrast, only seven filamentous fungi and three yeasts isolates were recovered from the infrabuccal pellets, suggesting an efficient mechanism utilized by the gynes to prevent contamination of the symbiotic fungus inoculum. The genus Cladosporium prevailed (78%) among filamentous fungi whereas Aureobasidium, Candida and Cryptococcus prevailed among yeasts associated with gynes. Interestingly, Escovopsis, a specialized fungal pathogen of the leaf-cutting ant-fungus symbiosis, was not isolated from the body parts or from infrabuccal pellets of any gynes sampled. Our results suggest that gynes of the leaf-cutter ants Atta laevigata and A. capiguara do not vertically transmit any particular species of yeasts or filamentous fungi during the foundation of a new nest. Instead, fungi found in association with gynes have a cosmopolitan distribution, suggesting they are probably acquired from the environment and passively dispersed during nest foundation. The possible role of these fungi for the attine ant-microbial symbiosis is discussed.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Masiulionis, Virginia E; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-03-01

    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 cephalotes leaf-cutting ants. We obtained Pseudonocardia from 9 of 11 isolation method/colony component combinations from all 5 colonies intensively sampled. The most efficient technique was bead-beating workers in phosphate buffer solution, then plating the suspension on carboxymethylcellulose medium. Placing these strains in a fungus-growing ant-associated Pseudonocardia phylogeny revealed that while some strains grouped with clades of Pseudonocardia associated with other genera of fungus-growing ants, a large portion of the isolates fell into two novel phylogenetic clades previously not identified from this ant-microbe symbiosis. Our findings suggest that Pseudonocardia may be associated with Atta fungus-growing ants, potentially internalized, and that localizing the symbiont and exploring its role is necessary to shed further light on the association.

  15. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  16. The thermo-sensitive sensilla coeloconica of leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruchty, Markus; Romani, Roberto; Kuebler, Linda S; Ruschioni, Sara; Roces, Flavio; Isidoro, Nunzio; Kleineidam, Christoph J

    2009-05-01

    Social insects show a variety of temperature-guided behaviors. Depending on whether heat reaches the sensillum via air movements (convective heat) or as radiant heat, specific adaptations of thermo-sensitive sensilla are expected. In the present study the morphology and the physiology of thermo-sensitive peg-in-pit sensilla (S. coeloconica) of the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri were investigated. S. coeloconica are located predominantly in a single cluster on the apical antennomere, and connect to the outside through a small aperture. The sensory peg is double-walled, embedded in a chamber and innervated by three unbranched dendrites. Using tungsten electrodes, activity of the sensory neurons was measured. In most cases, the neuron with the largest spike amplitude responds to changes in air temperature (convective heat) as well as to radiant heat. In response to a drop in air temperature, the neuron shows a phasic-tonic response followed by a complete adaptation within 1 min (cold-sensitive neuron). Based on their morphology and physiology, it is suggested that the S. coeloconica are involved in the recently described thermal orientation behavior of A. vollenweideri leaf-cutting ants.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elizalde, Luciana; Folgarait, Patricia Julia

    2012-01-01

    Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Attini), host-related behavioral strategies (i.e., host searching and oviposition) for 13 phorid species, and host defensive responses (i.e., hitchhikers and particular body postures) for 11 ant species, were studied. Data was collected at 14 localities, one of them characterized by its high species richness for this host-parasitoid system. Phorid species showed both great variation and specificity in attacking behaviors. Some chose their hosts using either an ambush or an actively searching strategy, while some species attacked ants on different body parts, and specialized on ants performing different tasks, such as when ants were foraging, removing wastes to refuse piles, or repairing the nest. Combining all the behaviors recorded, most phorid species differed in performance in at least one, making it possible to recognize species in the field through their behavior. Phorid species that attacked hosts with greater activity levels showed overall higher attack rates, although there was no significant correlation between attack rates by most phorid species and ant activity outside the nest while parasitoids were attacking. The presence of phorids was a significant determinant for the presence of defensive behaviors by the ants. Although ant species varied in the incidence levels of these defensive behaviors, most ant species reacted against different phorids by utilizing similar behaviors, in contrast to what parasitoids do. General features of the observed phorid-ant interactions were parasitoid specialization and corresponding high interspecific variation in their behaviors, while their hosts showed generalized responses to attacks

  18. Symbiotic fungi alter plant chemistry that discourages leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estrada, Catalina; Wcislo, William T; Van Bael, Sunshine A

    2013-04-01

    Fungal symbionts that live asymptomatically inside plant tissues (endophytes) can influence plant-insect interactions. Recent work has shown that damage by leaf-cutting ants, a major Neotropical defoliator, is reduced to almost half in plants with high densities of endophytes. We investigated changes in the phenotype of leaves that could influence ants' behavior to result in the reduction of foliar damage. We produced cucumber seedlings with high and low densities of one common endophyte species, Colletotrichum tropicale. We used the leaves in bioassays and to compare chemical and physical leaf characteristics important for ants' food selection. Ants cut about one-third more area of cucumber leaves with lower densities of endophytes and removed c. 20% more paper disks impregnated with the extracts of those leaves compared with leaves and disks from plants hosting the fungus. Colletotrichum tropicale colonization did not cause detectable changes in the composition of volatile compounds, cuticular waxes, nutrients or leaf toughness. Our study shows that endophytes changed leaf chemistry and suggests that compounds with relative low volatility released after leaf wounding are a major factor influencing foraging decisions by ants when choosing between plants with low or high endophyte loads. No claim to original US government works. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

  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

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen li...... fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi....

  20. 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.

  1. Spatio-temporal permanence and plasticity of foraging trails in young and mature leaf-cutting ant colonies (Atta spp.)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    C. Kost (Christian); E.G. de Oliveira (Evandro); T.A. Knoch (Tobias); R. Wirth (Rainer)

    2005-01-01

    textabstractThe distribution and formation of foraging trails have largely been neglected as factors explaining harvesting patterns of leaf-cutting ants.We applied fractal analysis, circular, and conventional statistics to published and newly recorded trailmaps of seven Atta colonies focusing on

  2. Starch metabolism in Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the symbiotic fungus of leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, A; Bacci, M; Pagnocca, F C; Bueno, O C; Hebling, M J A

    2006-01-01

    Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the symbiotic fungus of the leaf-cutting ants, degrades starch, this degradation being supposed to occur in the plant material which leafcutters forage to the nests, generating most of the glucose which the ants utilize for food. In the present investigation, we show that laboratory cultures of L. gongylophorus produce extracellular alpha-amylase and maltase which degrade starch to glucose, reinforcing that the ants can obtain glucose from starch through the symbiotic fungus. Glucose was found to repress alpha-amylase and, more severely, maltase activity, thus repressing starch degradation by L. gongylophorus, so that we hypothesize that: (1) glucose down-regulation of starch degradation also occurs in the Atta sexdens fungus garden; (2) glucose consumption from the fungus garden by A. sexdens stimulates degradation of starch from plant material by L. gongylophorus, which may represent a mechanism by which leafcutters can control enzyme production by the symbiotic fungus. Since glucose is found in the fungus garden inside the nests, down-regulation of starch degradation by glucose is supposed to occur in the nest and play a part in the control of fungal enzyme production by leafcutters.

  3. 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.

  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. PMID:27149618

  5. 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.

  6. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    that forage on crude substrates such as insect frass and dry plant material, to large colonies of the leaf-cutting ants with several thousands to several million workers that provide live plant material to their fungus gardens. Leaf-cutting ants are the dominant herbivores of the Neo-tropics, and have a major...... on specific enzyme groups and Acromyrmex having an overall high enzyme activity. Finally, I show that the fungal symbiont of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior produces large amounts of biodegrading enzymes in special structures called gongylidia. The ants eat these structures, but enzymes pass...

  7. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniela Isabel Brayer Pereira

    2015-07-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Learning through the waste: olfactory cues from the colony refuse influence plant preferences in foraging leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2016-08-15

    Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid plants initially harvested if they prove to be harmful for their symbiotic fungus once incorporated into the nest. At this point, waste particles removed from the fungus garden are likely to contain cues originating from both the unsuitable plant and the damaged fungus. We investigated whether leaf-cutting ant foragers learn to avoid unsuitable plants solely through the colony waste. We fed subcolonies of Acromymex ambiguus privet leaves treated with a fungicide undetectable to the ants, then collected the produced waste, and placed it into the fungus chamber of naive subcolonies. In individual choice tests, naive foragers preferred privet leaves before waste was put into the fungus chamber, but avoided them afterwards. Evidence on the influence of olfactory cues from the waste on decision making by foragers was obtained by scenting and transferring waste particles from subcolonies that had been fed either fungicide-treated or untreated leaves. In choice experiments, foragers from subcolonies given scented waste originating from fungicide-treated leaves collected fewer sugared paper discs with that scent compared with foragers from subcolonies given scented waste from untreated leaves. The results indicate that foragers learn to avoid plants unsuitable for the fungus by associating plant odours and cues from the damaged fungus that are present in waste particles. It is argued that waste particles may contribute to spread information about noxious plants for the fungus within the colony. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  11. Seasonal Activity and Foraging Preferences of the Leaf-Cutting Ant Atta sexdens piriventris (Santschi) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giesel, A; Boff, M I C; Boff, P

    2013-12-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are known for their habit of foraging. These habits can be influenced by several factors, including variations in topography, soil, and climate among others. The objective of this research was to study the seasonal activity and foraging preferences of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens piriventris (Santschi). The study was carried out from January to October of 2007 in grasslands of the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Nests of A. sexdens piriventris were randomly selected and the forager's activities were recorded. Damaged plant species, soil fertility, and climatic conditions were recorded. The maximum foraging activity in the summer was recorded during periods of darkness or low light (between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.). In autumn and spring, foraging was the highest in the morning, but during winter time the foraging activity was high in the afternoon. Fourteen plant species were frequently visited during our study with the lowest foraging activity being recorded at very low (1 to 4°C) or very high temperatures (above 26°C). The number of exploited plant species was higher in winter (13) than in summer (9). Baccharis trimera (Asteraceae) (43%) and Paspalum spp. (Poaceae) (33%) were the most exploited plants among the identified species.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-11-15

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-05-22

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Individual and collective problem-solving in a foraging context in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    In this paper we investigate the flexibility of foraging behavior in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica, both at the individual and collective levels, following a change in the physical properties of their environment. We studied in laboratory conditions the changes occurring in foraging behavior when a height constraint was placed 1 cm above part of the trail linking the nest to the foraging area. We found that the size and shape of the fragments of foraging material brought back to the nest were significantly modified when the constraint was placed on the trail: independent of their size, forager ants cut smaller and rounder fragments in the presence of a height constraint than in its absence. This size adjustment does not require any direct sensory feedback because it occurred when the ants cut fragments in the foraging area; no further cutting was done when they encountered the constraint. This points to the existence of a template that ants store and use as a reference to adjust their reach while cutting. Remarkably, despite the decrease in the foraging material brought to the nest per capita the colony was still able to improve its foraging performance by doubling the number of transporters. This study illustrates the flexibility of foraging behavior exhibited by an ant colony. It provides a rare example of insects finding an intelligent solution to a problem occurring in a foraging context, at both the individual and collective levels.

  17. Metapleural gland secretion of the leaf-cutter ant Acromyrmex octospinosus: New compounds and their functional significance

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ortius-Lechner, Diethe; Maile, Roland; Morgan, E. David

    2000-01-01

    formicidae, leaf-cutter ants, Acromyrmex octospinosus, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, metapleural gland, carboxylic and fatty acids, lactones, keto acids, antibiotics.......formicidae, leaf-cutter ants, Acromyrmex octospinosus, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, metapleural gland, carboxylic and fatty acids, lactones, keto acids, antibiotics....

  18. 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

    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......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...

  19. Behavioural effects of juvenile hormone and their influence on division of labour in leaf-cutting ant societies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norman, Victoria C; Hughes, William O H

    2016-01-01

    Division of labour in social insects represents a major evolutionary transition, but the physiological mechanisms that regulate this are still little understood. Experimental work with honey bees, and correlational analyses in other social insects, have implicated juvenile hormone (JH) as a regulatory factor, but direct experimental evidence of behavioural effects of JH in social insects is generally lacking. Here, we used experimental manipulation of JH to show that raised JH levels in leaf-cutting ants results in workers becoming more active, phototactic and threat responsive, and engaging in more extranidal activity - behavioural changes that we show are all characteristic of the transition from intranidal work to foraging. These behavioural effects on division of labour suggest that the JH mediation of behaviour occurs across multiple independent evolutions of eusociality, and may be a key endocrine regulator of the division of labour which has produced the remarkable ecological and evolutionary success of social insects. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. Foraging leaf-cutting ants learn to reject Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera plants that emit herbivore-induced volatiles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thiele, Theresa; Kost, Christian; Roces, Flavio; Wirth, Rainer

    2014-06-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are dominant herbivores of the Neotropics, as well as economically important pests. Their foraging ecology and patterns/mechanisms of food selection have received considerable attention. Recently, it has been documented that LCAs exhibit a delayed rejection of previously accepted food plants following treatment with a fungicide that makes the plants unsuitable as substrate for their symbiotic fungus. Here, we investigated whether LCAs similarly reject plants with induced chemical defenses, by combining analysis of volatile emissions with dual-choice bioassays that used LCA subcolonies (Atta sexdens L.). On seven consecutive days, foraging ants were given the choice between leaf disks from untreated control plants and test plants of Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera L. treated with the phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) to mimic herbivore attack. Chemical analysis revealed the emission of a characteristic set of herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds (VOC) from JA-induced plants. Dual-choice experiments indicated that workers did not show any preference initially, but that they avoided JA-treated plants from day five onwards. Our finding that A. sexdens foragers learn to avoid VOC-emitting plants, which are likely detrimental to their symbiotic fungus, represents the first evidence for avoidance learning in attine ants toward plants with induced defenses.

  3. Hongos asociados con dos poblaciones de Acromyrmex lobicornis (Formicidae) de San Luis, Argentina

    OpenAIRE

    Lugo, Mónica Alejandra; Crespo, Esteban María; Cafaro, Matias Jose; Jofre, Laura Elizabeth

    2015-01-01

    Fungi associated with two populations of Acromyrmex lobicornis (Formicidae) from San Luis, Argentina. The ant genera Atta and Acromyrmex (Tribe Attini) include the mowers or trimmers of leaves called leaf-cutting ants, which are the only ants that show an obligate dependence of fungal symbionts as a food source. Fragments of plants collected by these ants are used to grow the fungal symbionts, which produce gongylidia for the larvae and queen of the colony to feed on. The aim of this study wa...

  4. 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 gardens...

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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 an

  8. 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

    upregulated in the gongylidia, specialized hyphal tips whose only known function is to provide food to the ants. These combined results indicate that the enzymes are derived from the ingested fungal tissues. We infer that the five proteases are likely to accelerate protein extraction from plant cells...... in the leaf pulp that the ants add to the fungus garden, but regulatory functions such as activation of proenzymes are also possible, particularly for the aspartic proteases that were present but without showing activity. The proteases had high sequence similarities to proteolytic enzymes of phytopathogenic...... fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G.; Elizalde, Luciana; Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Do leaf cutting ants cut undetected? Testing the effect of ant-induced plant defences on foraging decisions in Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kost, Christian; Tremmel, Martin; Wirth, Rainer

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are polyphagous, yet highly selective herbivores. The factors that govern their selection of food plants, however, remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the induction of anti-herbivore defences by attacked food plants, which are toxic to either ants or their mutualistic fungus, should significantly affect the ants' foraging behaviour. To test this "induced defence hypothesis," we used lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), a plant that emits many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) upon herbivore attack with known anti-fungal or ant-repellent effects. Our results provide three important insights into the foraging ecology of LCAs. First, leaf-cutting by Atta ants can induce plant defences: Lima bean plants that were repeatedly exposed to foraging workers of Atta colombica over a period of three days emitted significantly more VOCs than undamaged control plants. Second, the level to which a plant has induced its anti-herbivore defences can affect the LCAs' foraging behaviour: In dual choice bioassays, foragers discriminated control plants from plants that have been damaged mechanically or by LCAs 24 h ago. In contrast, strong induction levels of plants after treatment with the plant hormone jasmonic acid or three days of LCA feeding strongly repelled LCA foragers relative to undamaged control plants. Third, the LCA-specific mode of damaging leaves allows them to remove larger quantities of leaf material before being recognized by the plant: While leaf loss of approximately 15% due to a chewing herbivore (coccinelid beetle) was sufficient to significantly increase VOC emission levels after 24 h, the removal of even 20% of a plant's leaf area within 20 min by LCAs did not affect its VOC emission rate after 24 h. Taken together, our results support the "induced defence hypothesis" and provide first empirical evidence that the foraging behaviour of LCAs is affected by the induction of plant defence responses.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

    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...

  12. 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.

  13. Genome Analysis of Two Pseudonocardia Phylotypes Associated with Acromyrmex Leafcutter Ants Reveals Their Biosynthetic Potential.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmes, Neil A; Innocent, Tabitha M; Heine, Daniel; Bassam, Mahmoud Al; Worsley, Sarah F; Trottmann, Felix; Patrick, Elaine H; Yu, Douglas W; Murrell, J C; Schiøtt, Morten; Wilkinson, Barrie; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Hutchings, Matthew I

    2016-01-01

    The attine ants of South and Central America are ancient farmers, having evolved a symbiosis with a fungal food crop >50 million years ago. The most evolutionarily derived attines are the Atta and Acromyrmex leafcutter ants, which harvest fresh leaves to feed their fungus. Acromyrmex and many other attines vertically transmit a mutualistic strain of Pseudonocardia and use antifungal compounds made by these bacteria to protect their fungal partner against co-evolved fungal pathogens of the genus Escovopsis. Pseudonocardia mutualists associated with the attines Apterostigma dentigerum and Trachymyrmex cornetzi make novel cyclic depsipeptide compounds called gerumycins, while a mutualist strain isolated from derived Acromyrmex octospinosus makes an unusual polyene antifungal called nystatin P1. The novelty of these antimicrobials suggests there is merit in exploring secondary metabolites of Pseudonocardia on a genome-wide scale. Here, we report a genomic analysis of the Pseudonocardia phylotypes Ps1 and Ps2 that are consistently associated with Acromyrmex ants collected in Gamboa, Panama. These were previously distinguished solely on the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequencing but genome sequencing of five Ps1 and five Ps2 strains revealed that the phylotypes are distinct species and each encodes between 11 and 15 secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). There are signature BGCs for Ps1 and Ps2 strains and some that are conserved in both. Ps1 strains all contain BGCs encoding nystatin P1-like antifungals, while the Ps2 strains encode novel nystatin-like molecules. Strains show variations in the arrangement of these BGCs that resemble those seen in gerumycin gene clusters. Genome analyses and invasion assays support our hypothesis that vertically transmitted Ps1 and Ps2 strains have antibacterial activity that could help shape the cuticular microbiome. Thus, our work defines the Pseudonocardia species associated with Acromyrmex ants and supports the hypothesis

  14. Activity of Ricinus communis (Euphorbiaceae) and ricinine against the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the symbiotic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bigi, Maria Fátima; Torkomian, Vera L V; de Groote, Suzanne T C S; Hebling, Maria José A; Bueno, Odair C; Pagnocca, Fernando C; Fernandes, João B; Vieira, Paulo C; da Silva, Maria Fátima G F

    2004-09-01

    The focus of this study was the identification of compounds from plant extracts for use in crop protection. This paper reports on the toxic activity of fractions of leaf extracts of Ricinus communis L (Euphorbiaceae) and isolated active compounds in the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel and its symbiotic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus (Singer) Möller. The main compounds responsible for activity against the fungus and ant in leaf extracts of R communis were found to be fatty acids for the former and ricinine for the ants.

  15. Use of geostatistics to determine the spatial distribution and infestation rate of leaf-cutting ant nests (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in eucalyptus plantations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lasmar, O; Zanetti, R; dos Santos, A; Fernandes, B V

    2012-08-01

    One of the fundamental steps in pest sampling is the assessment of the population distribution in the field. Several studies have investigated the distribution and appropriate sampling methods for leaf-cutting ants; however, more reliable methods are still required, such as those that use geostatistics. The objective of this study was to determine the spatial distribution and infestation rate of leaf-cutting ant nests in eucalyptus plantations by using geostatistics. The study was carried out in 2008 in two eucalyptus stands in Paraopeba, Minas Gerais, Brazil. All of the nests in the studied area were located and used for the generation of GIS maps, and the spatial pattern of distribution was determined considering the number and size of nests. Each analysis and map was made using the R statistics program and the geoR package. The nest spatial distribution in a savanna area of Minas Gerais was clustered to a certain extent. The models generated allowed the production of kriging maps of areas infested with leaf-cutting ants, where chemical intervention would be necessary, reducing the control costs, impact on humans, and the environment.

  16. Priority rules govern the organization of traffic on foraging trails under crowding conditions in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dussutour, A; Beshers, S; Deneubourg, J L; Fourcassié, V

    2009-02-01

    Foraging in leaf-cutting ants is generally organized along well-defined recruitment trails supporting a bi-directional flow of outbound and nestbound individuals. This study attempts to reveal the priority rules governing the organization of traffic on these trails. Ants were forced to move on a narrow trail, allowing the passage of only two individuals at a time. In this condition, a desynchronization of inbound and outbound traffic was observed, involving the formation of alternating clusters of inbound and outbound ants. Most clusters of inbound ants were headed by laden ants followed by unladen ants. This occurred because inbound unladen ants did not attempt to overtake the laden ants in front of them. As unladen ants move on average faster than laden ants, these ants were thus forced to decrease their speed. By contrast, this decrease was counterbalanced by the fact that, by staying in a cluster instead of moving in isolation, inbound unladen ants limit the number of head-on encounters with outbound ants. Our analysis shows that the delay induced by these head-on encounters would actually be twice as high as the delay induced by the forced decrease in speed incurred by ants staying in a cluster. The cluster organization also promotes information transfer about the level of food availability by increasing the number of contacts between outbound and inbound laden ants, which could possibly stimulate these former to cut and retrieve leaf fragments when reaching the end of the trail.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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

    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...... 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...

  20. 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....

  1. 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

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

  2. Actinomycetes inhibit filamentous fungi from the cuticle of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dângelo, Rômulo Augusto Cotta; de Souza, Danival José; Mendes, Thais Demarchi; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro Della

    2016-03-01

    Actinomycetes bacteria associated with leafcutter ants produce secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties against Escovopsis, a fungus specialized in attacking the gardens of fungus-growing ants, which denies the ants their food source. Because previous studies have used fungi isolated from fungus gardens but not from ant integument, the aims of the present study were to isolate actinomycetes associated with the cuticle of the Acromyrmex spp. and to quantify their inhibition abilities against the filamentous fungal species carried by these ants. The results demonstrated that actinomycetes had varied strain-dependent effects on several filamentous fungal species in addition to antagonistic activity against Escovopsis. The strain isolated from Acromyrmex balzani was identified as a Streptomyces species, whereas the remaining isolates were identified as different strains belonging to the genus Pseudonocardia. These findings corroborate the hypothesis that actinomycetes do not act specifically against Escovopsis mycoparasites and may have the ability to inhibit other species of pathogenic fungi. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  3. 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.

  4. Production of polysaccharidases in different carbon sources by Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Möller (Singer), the symbiotic fungus of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens Linnaeus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, Aline; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C; Bueno, Odair C; Hebling, Maria J A

    2006-07-01

    Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the fungus cultured by the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens, produces polysaccharidases that degrade leaf components by generating nutrients believed to be essential for ant nutrition. We evaluated pectinase, amylase, xylanase, and cellulase production by L. gongylophorus in laboratory cultures and found that polysaccharidases are produced during fungal growth on pectin, starch, cellulose, xylan, or glucose but not cellulase, whose production is inhibited during fungal growth on xylan. Pectin was the carbon source that best stimulated the production of enzymes, which showed that pectinase had the highest production activity of all of the carbon sources tested, indicating that the presence of pectin and the production of pectinase are key features for symbiotic nutrition on plant material. During growth on starch and cellulose, polysaccharidase production level was intermediate, although during growth on xylan and glucose, enzyme production was very low. We propose a possible profile of polysaccharide degradation inside the nest, where the fungus is cultured on the foliar substrate.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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 workers....... octospinosus workers (n = 552), had ready-to-lay reproductive eggs. Old workers in all four species are incapable of laying eggs due to ovary resorption. We conclude that Atta workers are sterile, while Acromyrmex workers display reproductive self-restraint, possibly representing an earlier stage...

  7. 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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schiøtt, Morten; De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Lange, Lene;

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cristiano, Maykon Passos; Clemes Cardoso, Danon; Fernandes-Salomão, Tânia Maria; Heinze, Jürgen

    2016-01-01

    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 with A. striatus

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

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    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.

  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.

  11. 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...

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

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    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.

  13. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  14. Isolation of compounds attractive to the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa forel (hymenoptera: Formicidae from Mabea fistulifera elaiosome

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    Ethel Fernandes de O. Peternelli

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Mabea fistulifera (Euphorbiaceaeis a pioneer plant species with seeds dispersed by the ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa. Since the ants are attracted to the seeds to use its elaiosome as a source of energy, we investigated its composition. The elaiosomes from 13,000 seeds were extracted with a methanol:chloroform mixture (2:1 v/v and yielded 22% of a residue. This residue was fractionated by column chromatography and its composition determined by infrared spectroscopy and chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS. The elaiosome lipids are constituted mainly by free fatty acids, triacylglycerols and minor quantities of monoacylglycerols or diacylglycerols.

  15. 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.

  16. Could pseudogenes be widespread in ants? Evidence of numts in the leafcutter ant Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863) (Formicidae: Attini).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cristiano, Maykon Passos; Cardoso, Danon Clemes; Fernandes-Salomão, Tânia Maria

    2014-02-01

    The incorporation of fragments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the nuclear genome, known as numts (nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes), undermines general assumptions concerning the use of mtDNA in phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies. Accidental amplifications of these nuclear copies instead of the mitochondrial target can lead to crucial misinterpretations, thus the correct identification of numts and their differentiation from true mitochondrial sequences are important in preventing this kind of error. Our goal was to describe the existence of cytochrome b (cytb) numts in the leafcutter ant Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863). PCR products were directly sequenced using a pair of universal primers designed to amplify the cytb gene of these insects. Other species of leafcutter ants were also sequenced. The sequences were analyzed and the numts were identified by the presence of double peaks, indels and premature stop codons. Only A. striatus clearly showed the presence of numts, while the other species displayed the expected amplification of the mtDNA cytb gene target using the same primer pair. We hope that our report will highlight the benefits and challenges of using mtDNA in the molecular phylogenetic reconstruction and phylogeographic studies of ants, while establishing the importance of numts reports for future studies.

  17. Genotoxicity evaluation of two metallic-insecticides using Allium cepa and Tradescantia pallida: A new alternative against leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Souza, Raphael Bastão; de Souza, Cleiton Pereira; Bueno, Odair Correa; Fontanetti, Carmem Silvia

    2017-02-01

    In order to combat leaf-cutting ants, the pesticide sulfluramid used to be the most widely utilized active ingredient. However, its use was banned in 2009 by the Stockholm Convention, although some countries were allowed to continue using it. As an effective alternative to its replacement, researchers developed a metallic-insecticide system, which is a natural product linked to metal complexes. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of these new metallic-insecticides in change the genetic material of non-target organisms. The tests were performed utilizing chromosomal aberrations and micronucleus tests in the Allium cepa test system and the Trad-MCN test in Tradescantia pallida. To better understand the results, one of the components of the formula, 5-methyl-phenanthroline, was also analyzed according to the same parameters. To A. cepa, the results showed that one of the metallic insecticides induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity at different concentrations, while the other metallic-insecticide showed chromosomal instability only at the highest concentration. The analysis of 5-methyl-phenanthroline revealed that it can be related with the positive results, since genotoxic effects were induced. In the Trad-MCN test, none of the metallic-insecticides showed genotoxic activity, although one of them induced more micronucleus formation. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

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    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.

  19. 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...... of the social parasite A. insinuator were almost certainly acquired by horizontal transmission, but may have facilitated reproductive isolation from its closely related host....

  20. Avoidance of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus in leaf-cutting ants: Learning can take place entirely at the colony dump.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    Plants initially accepted by foraging leaf-cutting ants are later avoided if they prove unsuitable for their symbiotic fungus. Plant avoidance is mediated by the waste produced in the fungus garden soon after the incorporation of the unsuitable leaves, as foragers can learn plant odors and cues from the damaged fungus that are both present in the recently produced waste particles. We asked whether avoidance learning of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus can take place entirely at the colony dump. In order to investigate whether cues available in the waste chamber induce plant avoidance in naïve subcolonies, we exchanged the waste produced by subcolonies fed either fungicide-treated privet leaves or untreated leaves and measured the acceptance of untreated privet leaves before and after the exchange of waste. Second, we evaluated whether foragers could perceive the avoidance cues directly at the dump by quantifying the visits of labeled foragers to the waste chamber. Finally, we asked whether foragers learn to specifically avoid untreated leaves of a plant after a confinement over 3 hours in the dump of subcolonies that were previously fed fungicide-treated leaves of that species. After the exchange of the waste chambers, workers from subcolonies that had access to waste from fungicide-treated privet leaves learned to avoid that plant. One-third of the labeled foragers visited the dump. Furthermore, naïve foragers learned to avoid a specific, previously unsuitable plant if exposed solely to cues of the dump during confinement. We suggest that cues at the dump enable foragers to predict the unsuitable effects of plants even if they had never been experienced in the fungus garden.

  1. Isolation and characterization of actinobacteria ectosymbionts from Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zucchi, Tiago D; Guidolin, Aline S; Cônsoli, Fernando L

    2011-01-20

    The ectosymbiont actinobacterium Pseudonocardia was isolated from the integument of Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants and seems to play a crucial role in maintaining asepsis of the nest. Currently, there has been an intensive search for Pseudonocardia associated with several attine species, but few studies have indicated that other actinobacteria may be associated with these ants as well. We therefore characterized the culturable actinobacteria community associated with the integument of the fungus-growing ant Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus Forel, 1893 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ectosymbionts were isolated using four different media and characterized by morphological and molecular (16S rDNA) methods. A total of 20 strains were isolated, of which 17 were characterized as Streptomyces spp., and one isolate each as Pseudonocardia, Kitassatospora and Propionicimonas. Unlike other Acromyrmex species, A. subterraneus brunneus is associated with a diversity of actinobacteria. Even though Pseudonocardia is present on this leaf-cutting ant's integument, the number and diversity of Streptomyces spp. found differs from those of previous studies with other attine ants and suggest that different culturing approaches are needed to characterize the true diversity of microbes colonizing the integument of attine ants. Moreover, understanding the diversity of the culturable actinobacteria associated with A. subterraneus brunneus should increase our knowledge of the evolutionary relationship of this intricate symbiotic association.

  2. 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

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    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

    Neotropical attine ants live in obligatory symbiosis with a fungus that they grow for food on a substrate of primarily plant material harvested by workers. Nestmate recognition is likely based on chemical cues as in most other social insects, but recent studies have indicated that both the ants and their mutualistic fungi may contribute to the recognition templates. To investigate the within-colony variation in chemical profiles, we extracted and identified compounds from the cuticle of workers, the postpharyngeal gland of workers, ant pupae and larvae, and the fungal symbiont of three species of higher attine ants: Atta colombica, Acromyrmex echinatior, and Sericomyrmex amabilis. The relative proportions of identified compounds were compared and represented 11 classes: n-alkanes, alkenes, branched methylalkanes, branched dimethylalkanes, trimethylalkanes, branched alkenes, aldehydes, alcohols, acetates, acids, and esters. The chemical profiles in all three species are likely to be sufficiently different to allow discrimination at the species and colony level and sufficiently similar within colonies to generate a relatively constant colony-specific chemical gestalt. The relative likelihood of individual compounds being derived from the ants, the ant brood, or the fungal symbiont are discussed. We hypothesize that hydrocarbons are particularly important as recognition cues because they appear to simultaneously allow the assessment of developmental stages and the identification of symbiont, colony, and species.

  4. 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

    Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are essential for nestmate recognition in insect societies, and quantitative variation in these recognition cues is both environmentally and genetically determined. Environmental cues are normally derived from food or nest material, but an exceptional situation may...... significantly with amides, aldehydes, and methyl esters contributing to the correlations, but acetates, alkanes, and formates being unrelated to genetic variation among symbionts. We show experimentally that workers that are previously exposed to and fed with the fungal symbiont of another colony are met...

  5. 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...... 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...

  6. 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.

  7. Quelques aspects (anatomie et enzymologie) des relations nutritionnelles entre la fourmi attine Acromyrmex octospinosus (Hymenoptera - Formicidae) et son champignon symbiotique

    OpenAIRE

    Febvay, Gérard

    1981-01-01

    Some aspects of the digestive physiology of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus were studied. The results are important for research on the development of new methods of control.; Les Attines ou fourmis champignonnistes sont d'importants ravageurs des cultures du monde néotropical. L'indispensable effet retard, à conférer aux insecticides chimiques ou biologiques pour une lutte efficace pourrait être obtenu par une encapsulation dans une enveloppe digestible par les sécrétions des fo...

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

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    Tiago Pikart

    2010-11-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B.; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Masiulionis, Virginia E. [UNESP; Currie, Cameron R

    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...

  10. 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, ...

  11. 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...

  12. 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

    2017-06-16

    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 CMA3 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 CMA3(+) 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 in

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

    OpenAIRE

    Barke Jörg; Seipke Ryan F; Grüschow Sabine; Heavens Darren; Drou Nizar; Bibb Mervyn J; Goss Rebecca JM; Yu Douglas W; Hutchings Matthew I

    2010-01-01

    This work was supported by a UEA-funded PhD studentship (JB) and an MRC Milstein award, G0801721 (MIH, RJMG and DY). MIH is a Research Councils UK Fellow. DY also received support from the Yunnan provincial government (20080A001) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (0902281081). 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 hypot...

  14. Alarm Pheromone Composition and Behavioral Activity in Fungus-Growing Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norman, Victoria C; Butterfield, Thomas; Drijfhout, Falko; Tasman, Kiah; Hughes, William O H

    2017-03-01

    Chemical communication is a dominant method of communication throughout the animal kingdom and can be especially important in group-living animals in which communicating threats, either from predation or other dangers, can have large impacts on group survival. Social insects, in particular, have evolved a number of pheromonal compounds specifically to signal alarm. There is predicted to be little selection for interspecific variation in alarm cues because individuals may benefit from recognizing interspecific as well as conspecific cues and, consequently, alarm cues are not normally thought to be used for species or nestmate recognition. Here, we examine the composition of the alarm pheromones of seven species of fungus-growing ants (Attini), including both basal and derived species and examine the behavioral responses to alarm pheromone of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, the sister genus to the highly studied Atta leaf-cutting ants. We find surprisingly high interspecific variation in alarm pheromone composition across the attine phylogeny. Interestingly, the active component of the alarm pheromone was different between the two leaf-cutting ant genera. Furthermore, in contrast to previous studies on Atta, we found no differences among morphological castes in their responses to alarm pheromone in Acromyrmex but we did find differences in responses among putative age classes. The results suggest that the evolution of alarm communication and signaling within social insect clades can be unexpectedly complex and that further work is warranted to understand whether the evolution of different alarm pheromone compounds is adaptive.

  15. Biomass conversion in the fungal garden of the leaf-cutter ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Grell, Morten Nedergaard; Nygaard, Sanne; Linde, Tore

    2011-01-01

    It has been demonstrated that fungal enzymes play a significant role in the fungal garden conversion of the fresh-cut leaves into accessible food for the ant larvae (Schiøtt et al. 2008, BMC Microbiol, 8:40; Licht et al. 2010, Evolution 64: 2055-2069). However, so far specific documentation...... of conversion of also the cellulose fibers itself has been scarce. In the current study, we have taken an experimental approach allowing us to discover which genes are specifically expressed in the upper, middle, and bottom layers of the fungal garden. Using the DeepSAGE technique (Nielsen et al. 2006, Nucleic...... Acids Res 34:e133) short cDNA tags of the mRNA molecules produced in each of the fungal garden layers were achieved. Subtractive comparisons were made, identifying the genes at least 2x over-expressed in the bottom layer compared to the upper layer. Extended sequence of the selected genes were acquired...

  16. 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...... 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...... for this pattern would be co-adaptation between host colonies and their vertically transmitted mutualist. These results illustrate the complexity of the selection pressures that affect the expression of multilevel immune defenses....

  17. Controle da formiga-preta-pastadeira, acromyrmex crassispinus, com formicidas em pó

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henrique Link Moreira

    2000-01-01

    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.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, L; Grell, M N

    2014-06-01

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

  20. Genetic variability and social structure of colonies in Acromyrmex heyeri and A. striatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. DIEHI

    Full Text Available The breeding structure of both colony and population of social insects can be examined by genetic analysis. Colonies of the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex heyeri and A. striatus (Myrmicinae, Attini were thus analyzed for isoenzyme systems MDH, a-GPDH, and AMY to describe genotype variability and social structure. A total of five loci were investigated (three for amylase and one for each other system. Ninety-seven colonies of A. heyeri and 103 of A. striatus were sampled in different localities in Southern Brazil (State of Rio Grande do Sul. The genotypes found show the occurrence of monogyny and polygyny associated or not with polyandry, which indicates that the social organization is colony-specific. The polygyny and polyandry observed are likely to be responsible for the great genotypic diversity of the colonies. The average inbreeding coefficient per colony was higher in A. striatus than in A. heyeri, which may reflect the different patterns of production of sexual individuals and nuptial flight of those two species.

  1. Effects of substrate, ant and fungal species on plant fiber degradation in a fungus-gardening ant symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMilto, Alexandria M; Rouquette, Monte; Mueller, Ulrich G; Kellner, Katrin; Seal, Jon N

    2017-04-01

    Fungus-gardening or attine ants have outsourced most of their digestive function to a symbiotic fungus. The ants feed their fungus - essentially an external digestive organ - a variety of substrates of botanical origin, including fresh and dried flowers, leaves and insect frass (processed leaves). Although plant tissues are rich in fibers (lignocelluloses, hemicelluloses, pectins and starches) and the symbiotic fungus possesses the genetic and enzymatic machinery to metabolize these compounds, the highly derived attines, the leaf-cutters (Atta and Acromyrmex), are known to produce fiber-rich waste. While leaf-cutting ants are important consumers of primary plant tissue, there have been fewer studies on physiological activity of fungi grown by closely related ant species in the genus Trachymyrmex, which generally grow related species of fungi, have smaller colonies and consume a wider variety of fungal substrates in addition to fresh leaves and flowers. In this study, we measured the cellulase activity of the fungus-gardening ants Atta texana, Trachymyrmex arizonensis and T. septentrionalis. We then quantified fiber consumption of the fungus-gardening ants Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Trachymyrmex arizonensis by comparing the amounts and percentages present in their food and in fungus garden refuse during a controlled feeding experiment over the span of several months. Finally, we compared waste composition of T. arizonensis colonies growing different fungal strains, because this species is known to cultivate multiple strains of Leucoagaricus in its native range. The leaf-cutting ant A. texana was found to have lower cellulytic activity than T. arizonensis or T. septentrionalis. Total lignocellulose and hemicellulose amounts were significantly lower in refuse piles than in the substrates fed to the Trachymyrmex colonies, thus these fibers were consumed by the fungal symbionts of these ant species. Although lignocellulose utilization was similar in two distinct

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-10-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wilson Reis Filho

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available

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

    doi: 10.4336/2011.pfb.31.65.37

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

  5. Patrones de actividad forrajera y tamaño de nido de Acromyrmex lobicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae en una zona urbana de San Luis, Argentina Foraging activity patterns and nest size of Acromyrmex lobicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in an urban zone of San Luis, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura E. Jofré

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Diversos factores pueden influir sobre la actividad de forrajeo de las hormigas cortadoras de hojas. Sin embargo, los factores climáticos, especialmente la temperatura, pueden ser considerados los más importantes en las regiones templadas. Se midió la actividad de forrajeo y el tamaño del nido en cuatro colonias de Acromyrmex lobicornis Emery en la localidad de Juana Koslay, San Luis. La actividad forrajera se determinó a partir del número de hormigas que ingresan al nido cargadas con fragmentos vegetales por unidad de tiempo, a lo largo de un año. Se midió la temperatura del aire y el suelo en cada oportunidad. Para estimar el tamaño del nido, se midió el área de forrajeo, el diámetro del túmulo y el número de obreras en cada colonia. Se encontraron asociaciones entre la actividad de forrajeo y las temperaturas del aire y del suelo en todos los meses del año, a excepción de febrero, julio y diciembre. Esta asociación fue positiva en los meses de octubre, mayo, junio, agosto y setiembre; pero negativa en los meses de noviembre, enero, marzo y abril. Las colonias mostraron actividad diurna en invierno y nocturna en verano. La temperatura y el tamaño del nido son factores que influyen sobre la actividad de forrajeo de A. lobicornis.Many factors can affect the foraging activity of leaf-cutting ants. However, climatic factors, especially temperature, could be considered the most important in temperate regions. In this work, we measured foraging activity and nest size in four colonies of Acromyrmex lobicornis Emery located in Juana Koslay, San Luis. Foraging activity was determined by the number of ants carrying plant fragments that entered the nest per unit time during a year. In each opportunity air and soil temperature were measured. To estimate nest size we used foraging area, mound diameter and number of workers in each colony Foraging activity and air and soil temperature correlated in every month of the year except February

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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....

  9. 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...... in the female sexual tract. Reconstruction of the sperm storage process indicated that sperm is transferred to the spermatheca during or immediately after ejaculation and without being mixed with sperm and seminal fluids from other males. A convergent mechanism of direct sperm transfer to the spermatheca...

  10. Forager Polymorphism and Foraging Ecology in the Leaf-Cutting Ant, Atta colombica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James K. Wetterer

    1995-01-01

    workers are smaller and do not appear to be so specialized as soldiers as are A. cephalotes maxima workers. The broader size-range of workers participating in foraging appears to allow A. colombica to exploit a wider range of resources than A. cephalotes, including tougher, denser vegetation and fallen fruits.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    Both developmental and environmental factors shape investment in costly immune defences. Social insect workers have different selection pressures on their innate immune system compared to non-social insects because workers do not reproduce and their longevity affects the fitness of relatives...... kept old and young workers alone or in nestmate groups for 48 h and assayed a key innate immune system enzyme, expressing phenoloxidase (PO) and its stored precursor (proPO), a defence that acts immediately, i.e. it is constitutive. Short-term solitary living did not affect PO or proPO levels relative....... Furthermore, hygienic behavioural defences found in social insects can result in increased survival after fungal infection, although it is not known if there is modulation in physiological immune defence associated with group living vs. solitary living. Here we investigated whether physiological immune...

  12. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    . However, in rare occasions fungal symbionts might come into contact with symbionts from other colonies. I showed that in both leaf-cutting ant genera incompatibility reactions between fungal strains can avoid intermixing of different strains, and that these reactions strengthen when genetic distance...... successful. To understand the evolutionary development of domestication of the fungus over the phylogeny of the Attine ants, I compared the average number of nuclei per cell for the fungal symbionts, for each of the different groups of fungus-growing ants. I found that the fungal symbionts of the paleo...... is increased. This pattern, however, becomes distorted when fungal symbionts are contested across ant genera. The most important mechanism in the succession of this mutualism of leaf-cutting ants is the controlled degradation of plant material. I show that in the area of Gamboa, Panama, the two leaf...

  13. 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 leave...

  14. Exploitation Strategies in Social Parasites of Fungus Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clement, Janni Dolby

    . Inquilines are usually close relatives of their host and so share ancestral characteristics (Emery’s rule). They are dependent on being fully integrated into their host’s colony throughout their lives in order to reproduce. Most inquiline ants have completely lost their sterile worker caste. Exceptions...... 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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

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

  17. Ant-fungus species combinations engineer physiological activity of fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seal, J N; Schiøtt, M; Mueller, U G

    2014-07-15

    Fungus-gardening insects are among the most complex organisms because of their extensive co-evolutionary histories with obligate fungal symbionts and other microbes. Some fungus-gardening insect lineages share fungal symbionts with other members of their lineage and thus exhibit diffuse co-evolutionary relationships, while others exhibit little or no symbiont sharing, resulting in host-fungus fidelity. The mechanisms that maintain this symbiont fidelity are currently unknown. Prior work suggested that derived leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta interact synergistically with leaf-cutter fungi (Attamyces) by exhibiting higher fungal growth rates and enzymatic activities than when growing a fungus from the sister-clade to Attamyces (so-called 'Trachymyces'), grown primarily by the non-leaf cutting Trachymyrmex ants that form, correspondingly, the sister-clade to leaf-cutting ants. To elucidate the enzymatic bases of host-fungus specialization in leaf-cutting ants, we conducted a reciprocal fungus-switch experiment between the ant Atta texana and the ant Trachymyrmex arizonensis and report measured enzymatic activities of switched and sham-switched fungus gardens to digest starch, pectin, xylan, cellulose and casein. Gardens exhibited higher amylase and pectinase activities when A. texana ants cultivated Attamyces compared with Trachymyces fungi, consistent with enzymatic specialization. In contrast, gardens showed comparable amylase and pectinase activities when T. arizonensis cultivated either fungal species. Although gardens of leaf-cutting ants are not known to be significant metabolizers of cellulose, T. arizonensis were able to maintain gardens with significant cellulase activity when growing either fungal species. In contrast to carbohydrate metabolism, protease activity was significantly higher in Attamyces than in Trachymyces, regardless of the ant host. Activity of some enzymes employed by this symbiosis therefore arises from complex interactions between the

  18. 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...

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2010-07-01

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

  20. Morphophysiological Differences between the Metapleural Glands of Fungus-Growing and Non–Fungus-Growing Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Bueno, Odair Correa; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel

    2012-01-01

    The metapleural gland is an organ exclusive to ants. Its main role is to produce secretions that inhibit the proliferation of different types of pathogens. The aim of the present study was to examine the morphophysiological differences between the metapleural gland of 3 non–fungus-growing ants of the tribes Ectatommini, Myrmicini, and Blepharidattini and that of 5 fungus-growing ants from 2 basal and 3 derived attine genera. The metapleural gland of the non–fungus-growing ants and the basal attine ants has fewer secretory cells than that of the derived attine ants (leaf-cutting ants). In addition, the metapleural gland of the latter had more clusters of secretory cells and sieve plates, indicating a greater storage capacity and demand for secretion in these more advanced farming ants. The glands of the derived attine ants also produced higher levels of polysaccharides and acidic lipids than those of Myrmicini, Blepharidattini, and basal attines. Our results confirm morphophysiological differences between the metapleural glands of the derived attines and those of the basal attines and non–fungus-growing ants, suggesting that the metapleural glands of the derived attines (leaf-cutting ants) are more developed in morphology and physiology, with enhanced secretion production (acidic lipids and protein) to protect against the proliferation of unwanted fungi and bacteria in the fungal garden, it is possible that leaf-cutting ants may have evolved more developed metapleural glands in response to stronger pressure from parasites. PMID:22927993

  1. Morphophysiological differences between the metapleural glands of fungus-growing and non-fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Bueno, Odair Correa; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel

    2012-01-01

    The metapleural gland is an organ exclusive to ants. Its main role is to produce secretions that inhibit the proliferation of different types of pathogens. The aim of the present study was to examine the morphophysiological differences between the metapleural gland of 3 non-fungus-growing ants of the tribes Ectatommini, Myrmicini, and Blepharidattini and that of 5 fungus-growing ants from 2 basal and 3 derived attine genera. The metapleural gland of the non-fungus-growing ants and the basal attine ants has fewer secretory cells than that of the derived attine ants (leaf-cutting ants). In addition, the metapleural gland of the latter had more clusters of secretory cells and sieve plates, indicating a greater storage capacity and demand for secretion in these more advanced farming ants. The glands of the derived attine ants also produced higher levels of polysaccharides and acidic lipids than those of Myrmicini, Blepharidattini, and basal attines. Our results confirm morphophysiological differences between the metapleural glands of the derived attines and those of the basal attines and non-fungus-growing ants, suggesting that the metapleural glands of the derived attines (leaf-cutting ants) are more developed in morphology and physiology, with enhanced secretion production (acidic lipids and protein) to protect against the proliferation of unwanted fungi and bacteria in the fungal garden, it is possible that leaf-cutting ants may have evolved more developed metapleural glands in response to stronger pressure from parasites.

  2. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    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...... in phylogenetically independent contrasts. Some of the remaining variation was explained by the relative size of the sperm-storage organ, but only in the multiply mating leaf-cutting ants, suggesting that sperm-storage constraints become important for the evolution of sperm length in this derived group. Mate number...... affected sperm length to a minor extent, and only in interaction with other predictor variables, suggesting that sperm competition has not been a major selective force for sperm length evolution in these ants....

  3. 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......, indirectly, on fungal enzymes to break down the plant material brought in by the ants as fungal substrate. The more than 210 extant fungus-growing ant species differ considerably in colony size, social complexity and substrate-use. Only the derived leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves...... enzyme activity across ant genera could indeed be partially explained by substrate differences. This implies that fungal enzyme activity has likely coevolved with the genus- or species-specific substrates that the ants use to manure their fungus garden. Plant decomposing enzymes are thus not only...

  4. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard

    not been done. Such studies are important as the single specific fungal adaptation that can (almost) be seen with the bare eye (gongylidia; inflated hyphal tips that are preferentially eaten by the ants and their larvae) evolved earlier and therefore does not characterize the transition to leafcutting......, showed that this enzyme is exclusively found in the gardens of leaf-cutting ants, where it is significantly upregulated in the gongylidia. I’ll discuss the possible role of this enzyme and other fungal modifications in the evolution of the leafcutter ants and their non-leafcutting attine relatives....

  6. 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...... 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. Implications of season and management protocol on the landscape of gene regulation during diapause development in the Alfalfa Leaf Cutting Bee

    Science.gov (United States)

    : The alfalfa leaf cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee for commercial pollination. It is the primary pollinator of seed alfalfa, a valuable crop for dairy cow feed. Overwintering bees emerge in the spring during alfalfa bloom to mate an...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

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

  11. 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

    the ants increased the share of fresh leaves in their forage. However, once in place, this novel enzyme function gave the entire mutualism a significant colony-level advantage, which allowed the leaf-cutting ants to evolve very large long-lived colonies and to become one of the most important...... 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    Ants possess many exocrine glands that produce a variety of compounds important for chemical communication. Fungus-growing ants, a tribe of over 230 species within the subfamily Myrmicinae, are unique among ants because they cultivate fungus gardens inside their nests as food. Here the chemistry...... possess many derived characteristics such as extensive leaf-cutting behavior and massive colony sizes, effectively making them major herbivores in many Neotropical habitats. This is the first comparison of the chemistry of eight Trachymyrmex and one Sericomyrmex species in a phylogenetic context. Most...

  15. 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.

  16. Evaluation of the Toxicity of Virola sebifera Crude Extracts, Fractions and Isolated Compounds on the Nest of Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keylla Utherdyany Bicalho

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The phytochemical study of Virola sebifera leaves led to the isolation of three lignans: (+-sesamin, (−-hinokinin, and (−-kusunokinin and three flavonoids: quercetin-3-O-α-L-rhamnoside, quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucoside, and quercetin-3-methoxy-7-O-β-D-glucoside by using techniques as high-speed counter-current chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography. The crude extracts, fractions, and isolated compounds were evaluated for their insecticidal and fungicidal potential against Atta sexdens rubropilosa and its symbiotic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. The bioassay results showed a high insecticidal activity for the methanol crude extract of the leaves of V. sebifera and its n-hexane, dichloromethane and ethyl acetate fractions. The fungicidal bioassay revealed high toxicity of the lignans against L. gongylophorus.

  17. 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

    range, and a paraphyletic assembly of Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species that cultivate more genetically diverse fungal symbionts. Leaf-decomposition productivity of colonies depends on the combined efforts of ant foragers collecting and macerating plant material and fungal enzymes excreted directly...... 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...... or indirectly via ant fecal fluid. We determined the interaction specificity between ant species and fungal strains across sympatric populations of six Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species in Panama, and established that these ants jointly reared eight fungal haplotype groups that differed significantly...

  18. 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...

  19. Fungi associated with Acromyrmex and basal Attini ants from Argentina and Brasil

    OpenAIRE

    Masiulionis, Virginia Elena [UNESP

    2013-01-01

    As formigas cultivadoras de fungo (tribo Attini) são insetos eusociais, os quais formam colônias de centenas até milhões de indivíduos, sendo o fungo a principal fonte de alimentação das larvas e a rainha. Segundo sua fungicultura, elas são divididas em grupos, onde encontram-se as denominadas agricultura de “Lower-Attini” (agricultura das formigas basais) e aquelas com agricultura derivada ou “Higher-Attini”. Dentro da agricultura derivada, estão as formigas conhecidas como “cortadeiras”, qu...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  1. Honey Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conway, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)

  2. The Evolutionary Innovation of Nutritional Symbioses in Leaf-Cutter Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frank O. Aylward

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Fungus-growing ants gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass through their association with a mutualistic fungus they grow for food. This 50 million-year-old obligate mutualism likely facilitated some of these species becoming dominant Neotropical herbivores that can achieve immense colony sizes. Recent culture-independent investigations have shed light on the conversion of plant biomass into nutrients within ant fungus gardens, revealing that this process involves both the fungal cultivar and a symbiotic community of bacteria including Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea species. Moreover, the genome sequences of the leaf-cutter ants Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior have provided key insights into how this symbiosis has shaped the evolution of these ants at a genetic level. Here we summarize the findings of recent research on the microbial community dynamics within fungus-growing ant fungus gardens and discuss their implications for this ancient symbiosis.

  3. 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

    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 associa......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...

  4. 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

    from rearing leucocoprinous fungi to cultivating pterulaceous fungi, but the evolutionary derived transition to yeast growing in the Cyphomyrmex rimosus group, which relies almost exclusively on nectar and insect frass, was associated with specific changes in diet composition. 5. The co-evolutionary...... 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...... transitions in diet composition across the genera of attine ants indicate that fungus-farming insect societies have the possibility to obtain more optimal fungal crops via artificial selection, analogous to documented practice in human subsistence farming....

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche (De Fine Licht, Schiøtt, Mueller & Boomsma, 2010, Evolution), particul......Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche (De Fine Licht, Schiøtt, Mueller & Boomsma, 2010, Evolution......), particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which leaf-cutting ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that laccases may have...... in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf compounds are most likely to hinder decomposition. A combination of genomic and transcriptional analyses showed that there are at least eight copies of putative laccase coding genes in a draft genome of the fungal symbiont Leucocoprinus...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    is differentially expressed in the modified hyphal tips (gongylidia) that the fungal symbiont produces. We can also show that this laccase enzyme passes through the ant gut to be expressed in the fecal droplets that the ants mix with their chewed-up fresh leaf forage, providing strong indications for an adaptive......Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche, particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet...... generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf compounds...

  7. Bacterial community composition and diversity in an ancestral ant fungus symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellner, Katrin; Ishak, Heather D; Linksvayer, Timothy A; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2015-07-01

    Fungus-farming ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini) exhibit some of the most complex microbial symbioses because both macroscopic partners (ants and fungus) are associated with a rich community of microorganisms. The ant and fungal microbiomes are thought to serve important beneficial nutritional and defensive roles in these symbioses. While most recent research has investigated the bacterial communities in the higher attines (e.g. the leaf-cutter ant genera Atta and Acromyrmex), which are often associated with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria, very little is known about the microbial communities in basal lineages, labeled as 'lower attines', which retain the ancestral traits of smaller and more simple societies. In this study, we used 16S amplicon pyrosequencing to characterize bacterial communities of the lower attine ant Mycocepurus smithii among seven sampling sites in central Panama. We discovered that ant and fungus garden-associated microbiota were distinct from surrounding soil, but unlike the situation in the derived fungus-gardening ants, which show distinct ant and fungal microbiomes, microbial community structure of the ants and their fungi were similar. Another surprising finding was that the abundance of actinomycete bacteria was low and instead, these symbioses were characterized by an abundance of Lactobacillus and Pantoea bacteria. Furthermore, our data indicate that Lactobacillus strains are acquired from the environment rather than acquired vertically.

  8. 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

    'leafcutter' niche acquired by the common ancestor of Acromyrmex and Atta, or earlier, at the transition to rearing specialized long-term clonal fungi in the common ancestor of the larger group of higher attines that also includes the genera Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex. We use DNA microsatellite analysis...... the four evolutionarily derived higher attine genera have highly specialized, long-term clonal symbionts. In this paper, we investigate whether the transition from single to multiple mating occurred relatively recently in the evolution of the attine ants, in conjunction with the novel herbivorous...

  9. The most relictual fungus-farming ant species cultivates the most recently evolved and highly domesticated fungal symbiont species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Ted R; Sosa-Calvo, Jeffrey; Brady, Seán G; Lopes, Cauê T; Mueller, Ulrich G; Bacci, Mauricio; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L

    2015-05-01

    Fungus-farming (attine) ant agriculture is made up of five known agricultural systems characterized by remarkable symbiont fidelity in which five phylogenetic groups of ants faithfully cultivate five phylogenetic groups of fungi. Here we describe the first case of a lower-attine ant cultivating a higher-attine fungus based on our discovery of a Brazilian population of the relictual fungus-farming ant Apterostigma megacephala, known previously from four stray specimens from Peru and Colombia. We find that A. megacephala is the sole surviving representative of an ancient lineage that diverged ∼39 million years ago, very early in the ∼55-million-year evolution of fungus-farming ants. Contrary to all previously known patterns of ant-fungus symbiont fidelity, A. megacephala cultivates Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a highly domesticated fungal cultivar that originated only 2-8 million years ago in the gardens of the highly derived and recently evolved (∼12 million years ago) leaf-cutting ants. Because no other lower fungus-farming ant is known to cultivate any of the higher-attine fungi, let alone the leaf-cutter fungus, A. megacephala may provide important clues about the biological mechanisms constraining the otherwise seemingly obligate ant-fungus associations that characterize attine ant agriculture.

  10. Diversification of the ant odorant receptor gene family and positive selection on candidate cuticular hydrocarbon receptors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engsontia, Patamarerk; Sangket, Unitsa; Robertson, Hugh M; Satasook, Chutamas

    2015-08-27

    Chemical communication plays important roles in the social behavior of ants making them one of the most successful groups of animals on earth. However, the molecular evolutionary process responsible for their chemosensory adaptation is still elusive. Recent advances in genomic studies have led to the identification of large odorant receptor (Or) gene repertoires from ant genomes providing fruitful materials for molecular evolution analysis. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that diversification of this gene family is involved in olfactory adaptation of each species. We annotated the Or genes from the genome sequences of two leaf-cutter ants, Acromyrmex echinatior and Atta cephalotes (385 and 376 putative functional genes, respectively). These were used, together with Or genes from Camponotus floridanus, Harpegnathos saltator, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Linepithema humile, Cerapachys biroi, Solenopsis invicta and Apis mellifera, in molecular evolution analysis. Like the Or family in other insects, ant Or genes evolve by the birth-and-death model of gene family evolution. Large gene family expansions involving tandem gene duplications, and gene gains outnumbering losses, are observed. Codon analysis of genes in lineage-specific expansion clades revealed signatures of positive selection on the candidate cuticular hydrocarbon receptor genes (9-exon subfamily) of Cerapachys biroi, Camponotus floridanus, Acromyrmex echinatior and Atta cephalotes. Positively selected amino acid positions are primarily in transmembrane domains 3 and 6, which are hypothesized to contribute to the odor-binding pocket, presumably mediating changing ligand specificity. This study provides support for the hypothesis that some ant lineage-specific Or genes have evolved under positive selection. Newly duplicated genes particularly in the candidate cuticular hydrocarbon receptor clade that have evolved under positive selection may contribute to the highly sophisticated lineage

  11. Sperm storage induces an immunity cost in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    what selective forces determine the upper limit to sperm storage. Here we show that sperm storage carries a significant cost of reduced immunity during colony founding. Newly mated queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica upregulate their immune response shortly after completing their nest burrow......, probably as an adaptive response to a greater exposure to pathogens in the absence of grooming workers. However, the immune response nine days after colony founding is negatively correlated with the amount of sperm in the sperm storage organ, indicating that short-term survival is traded off against long......-term reproductive success. The immune response was lower when more males contributed to the stored sperm, indicating that there might be an additional cost of mating or storing genetically different ejaculates....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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......, 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....

  15. Susceptibility of the ant-cultivated fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus (Agaricales: Basidiomycota) towards microfungi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, A; Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Pagnocca, F C; Bueno, O C

    2006-08-01

    The aim of this study was to select virulent strains of microfungi against Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, a symbiotic fungus cultivated by leaf-cutting ants. The results from in vitro assays showed that microfungal strains had a variable and significant impact on the colony development of L. gongylophorus. Specifically, Trichoderma harzianum, Escovopsis weberi CBS 810.71 and E. weberi A088 were more effective, inhibiting the L. gongylophorus colonies by 75, 68 and 67%, respectively (P < 0.05) after 15 days. Strain E. weberi A086 and Acremonium kiliense were less effective: 43 and 26%, respectively (P < 0.05). In spite of the current negative perspective of a microbiological control approach for these ants, the present work discusses the possibility of using mycopathogenic fungi for the control of these insects, and points out the importance of encouraging more studies in this area.

  16. Struggling Ants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Some of China’s college graduates are barely scraping by The village of Tangjialing, 20 km north of down town Beijing, was thrust into the public consciousness in November. Publishers that month released a book titled Ants

  17. 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

    with the theoretical queen and worker optima for a range of values of k, the correction factor for sex differences in metabolic rate and fat content. The results were consistent with either worker or queen control, but never with fungal control for any realistic value of k. We conclude that the fungal symbiont does......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...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  19. 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

    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. Ant Farm

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Publié à l’occasion de l’exposition d’Ant Farm au Frac Centre du 12 au 23 décembre 2007, ce très beau catalogue, qui fait état des dix ans de création du collectif californien, propose un nombre important de documents iconographiques, de notices et de textes concernant leurs différents projets. Fondé en 1968 par Doug Michels et Chip Lord, rejoints par la suite par Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez, Douglas Hurr et d’autres encore, le collectif Ant Farm a marqué les esprits par quelques œuvres s...

  1. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edison Rogério Perrando

    2005-08-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fábio Moreira Link

    2000-11-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

  6. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edison Bisognin Cantarelli

    2010-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  9. Fire Ant Allergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Treatments ▸ Library ▸ Allergy Library ▸ Fire ant allergy Share | Fire Ant Allergy This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Fire ants are a stinging insect typically found in ...

  10. 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 ...

  11. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aline Dornelas

    2016-04-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Avaliação de sauveiros externos em eucaliptais de Minas Gerais

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Iris Cristiane Magistrali

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available There is great difficulty to improve techniques of integrated pest management of leaf cutting ants, mainly when found outside of, but near to, forest plantations. This work aims to characterize aspects such as nest size and foraging distance from eucalypt plantations. Studies were performed near forest plantations in the counties of João Pinheiro and Buritizeiro, in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Six months before, all leaf cutting ant nests received chemical control with sulfluramid baits. Nine nests were located outside the eucalypt plantations. Nest area was 62.5 ± 11.1 m2 and nests were located 33.94 ± 8.68 m from plantation boundary. Such characteristics may be useful to fix the boundary range used to control leaf cutting ant mounds outside the eucalypt plantation. Results show that boundary range should be 50 m wide. Acromyrmex sp. is a new occurrence for both Buritizeiro and João Pinheiro counties, but Atta laevigata, Atta sexdens rubropilosa and Trachymyrmex sp. are new occurrences for Buritizeiro only.

  15. The Metapleural Secretion of Acromyrmex laticeps (Forel does not have Fungicide Effect on the Entomopathogenic Fungus Beauveria bassiana (Bals. Vuill

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luciane Junqueira

    2014-12-01

    Resumo. A glândula metapleural (GMP é uma estrutura exógena, encontrada apenas nos formicídeos, sendo mais desenvolvida nas fêmeas e operárias, enquanto nos machos ou está atrofiada ou não existe. Tem sido sugerido várias possíveis funções para a secreção produzida por esta glândula, sendo a hipótese de efeito protetor contra entomopatógenos a mais estudada. Para testar esta hipótese, foi aplicada uma suspensão de conídios (1,30 x 106 de Beauveria bassiana (Bals. Vuill. nas GMP e na porção ântero-superior do metatórax (ASM de fêmeas aladas de Acromyrmex laticeps (Forel, enquanto nos machos a suspensão foi aplicada apenas na porção ASM, pois estes não apresentam o átrio característico da GMP. Os resultados obtidos indicaram que a secreção metapleural das fêmeas desta espécie não possui efeito fungicida sobre B. bassiana, e que tanto os machos como as fêmeas alados são sensíveis a este fungo entomopatogênico.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Vitellogenin underwent subfunctionalization to acquire caste and behavioral specific expression in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corona, Miguel; Libbrecht, Romain; Wurm, Yannick; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Studer, Romain A; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH) proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg), is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2) and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A) or in foraging workers (subfamily B). Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to acquire caste- and

  19. Vitellogenin underwent subfunctionalization to acquire caste and behavioral specific expression in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Corona

    Full Text Available The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg, is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2 and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A or in foraging workers (subfamily B. Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to

  20. Vitellogenin Underwent Subfunctionalization to Acquire Caste and Behavioral Specific Expression in the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wurm, Yannick; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Studer, Romain A.; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH) proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg), is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2) and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A) or in foraging workers (subfamily B). Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to acquire caste- and

  1. 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

  2. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2017-01-01

    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 Xenope

  3. 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.

    2016-01-01

    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 Xenope

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Poulsen, Michael; Drijfhout, Falko

    2007-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. The first mesozoic ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, E O; Carpenter, F M; Brown, W L

    1967-09-01

    Two worker ants preserved in amber of Upper Cretaceous age have been found in New Jersey. They are the first undisputed remains of social insects of Mesozoic age, extending the existence of social life in insects back to approximately 100 million years. They are also the earliest known fossils that can be assigned with certainty to aculeate Hymenoptera. The species, Sphecomyrma freyi, is considered to represent a new subfamily (Sphecomyrminae), more primitive than any previously known ant group. It forms a near-perfect link between certain nonsocial tiphiid wasps and the most primitive myrmecioid ants.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula Fernandes dos Santos

    2009-10-01

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

  8. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants occur in most environments and ecologists ask a diverse array of questions involving ants. Thus, a key consideration in ant studies is to match the environment and question (and associated environmental variables) to the ant sampling technique. Since each technique has distinct limitations, usi...

  9. Sick ants become unsociable.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, N; Lefèvre, T; Jensen, A B; d'Ettorre, P

    2012-02-01

    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 provide evidence for the evolution of unsociability following pathogen infection in a social animal and suggest an important role of inclusive fitness in driving such evolution.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce, Andrew I

    2016-01-01

    Ants create nests of a size that is tailored to the number of individuals in a nest via a self-organized process. It is not yet clear how they accomplish this. Deposition and evaporation of pheromones at the digging face has been hypothesised by Deneubourg and Franks (1995) and Buhl et al. (2005) to be part of the nest construction process, with models being presented to support this contention. This hypothesis was tested by allowing groups of 5 Acromyrmex lundi workers to choose between two excavation sites, one that was freshly exposed to digging and one where digging had ceased an hour previously. It was expected that if pheromones played a role in stimulating digging, then ants would show a preference for digging in the "fresh" sites rather than the "aged" sites where the putative digging pheromone had decayed. No significant difference in digging activity between "fresh" and "aged" sites was detected. It is therefore likely that, while digging pheromones may play other roles in other parts of the digging system, they do not play an important role in regulation of soil excavation at the digging face. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Record dynamics in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas O Richardson

    Full Text Available The success of social animals (including ourselves can be attributed to efficiencies that arise from a division of labour. Many animal societies have a communal nest which certain individuals must leave to perform external tasks, for example foraging or patrolling. Staying at home to care for young or leaving to find food is one of the most fundamental divisions of labour. It is also often a choice between safety and danger. Here we explore the regulation of departures from ant nests. We consider the extreme situation in which no one returns and show experimentally that exiting decisions seem to be governed by fluctuating record signals and ant-ant interactions. A record signal is a new 'high water mark' in the history of a system. An ant exiting the nest only when the record signal reaches a level it has never perceived before could be a very effective mechanism to postpone, until the last possible moment, a potentially fatal decision. We also show that record dynamics may be involved in first exits by individually tagged ants even when their nest mates are allowed to re-enter the nest. So record dynamics may play a role in allocating individuals to tasks, both in emergencies and in everyday life. The dynamics of several complex but purely physical systems are also based on record signals but this is the first time they have been experimentally shown in a biological system.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Nesting biology and fungiculture of the fungus-growing ant, Mycetagroicus cerradensis: new light on the origin of higher attine agriculture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, Scott E; Lopes, Cauê T; Mueller, Ulrich G; Rodrigues, Andre; Sosa-Calvo, Jeffrey; Schultz, Ted R; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L

    2011-01-01

    The genus Mycetagroicus is perhaps the least known of all fungus-growing ant genera, having been first described in 2001 from museum specimens. A recent molecular phylogenetic analysis of the fungus-growing ants demonstrated that Mycetagroicus is the sister to all higher attine ants (Trachymyrmex, Sericomyrmex, Acromyrmex, Pseudoatta, and Atta), making it of extreme importance for understanding the transition between lower and higher attine agriculture. Four nests of Mycetagroicus cerradensis near Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil were excavated, and fungus chambers for one were located at a depth of 3.5 meters. Based on its lack of gongylidia (hyphal-tip swellings typical of higher attine cultivars), and a phylogenetic analysis of the ITS rDNA gene region, M. cerradensis cultivates a lower attine fungus in Clade 2 of lower attine (G3) fungi. This finding refines a previous estimate for the origin of higher attine agriculture, an event that can now be dated at approximately 21-25 mya in the ancestor of extant species of Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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), w...

  17. ANT i arbejdslivsforskningen

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    2012-01-01

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

  18. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

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

  19. The Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baxter, G. William

    2009-03-01

    We experimentally study the foraging of small black ants, Formicinae lasius flavus, in order to describe their foraging behavior mathematically. Individual ants are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional surface in the absence of any food sources. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined using a high-resolution digital camera. Analysis of the average square displacements of many ants suggests that the foraging strategy is a non-reversing random walk. Moreover, the ants do not retrace their steps to return home but instead continue the random walk until it brings them back near their starting point.

  20. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

    PURPOSE: Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X......-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......-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location....

  1. Ante la ley

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kafka Franz

    1999-12-01

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

  2. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response.

  3. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemmensen, Kåre; Enghild, Jan J; Ivarsen, Anders; Riise, Ruth; Vorum, Henrik; Heegaard, Steffen

    2017-01-01

    Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X-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. "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)(Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg, Germany). Ten "ant-eggs" were extracted; four of these as well as control tissue were analyzed by mass spectrometry (AB Sciex). Proteins were identified and their approximate abundances were determined. Immunohistochemical staining was carried out on the remaining "ant-eggs" for cytokeratin and S100. In anterior OCT-images, the "ant-egg" structures are localized on the iris. Comparative pictures showed that they stayed in the same location for more than 45 years. Mass spectrometry of "ant-eggs" yielded a proteome of 56 different proteins. Eighteen of the 56 "ant-egg" proteins (32 %) were neither present in our controls nor in a known fetal lens proteome. Among these were cytokeratin and Matrix-Gla protein. Immunohistochemical reactions were positive for cytokeratin and S100. This study demonstrates the previously unknown protein composition of the "ant-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  5. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

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

  6. The metapleural gland of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-11-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non-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 morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants.

  7. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

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

  8. Invasive ants of Bermuda revisited

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James K. Wetterer

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available For 60+ years, two of the world’s most widespread and destructive invasive ant species, the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala from tropical Africa and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile from subtropical South America, have been engaged in an epic battle on the islands of Bermuda. Both species are completely intolerant of the other and are also well-known for killing off native invertebrates, particularly other ants. Here I surveyed sites across Bermuda in 2016, including resurveys of the locations previously surveyed in 1963, 1966, 1973, 1986, and 2002, to provide an update on this conflict. The status of all other ant species present in the islands, including previous records from literature, is also provided. In addition, I surveyed ants nesting in red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle trees to evaluate whether this arboreal habitat may serve as a refuge for previously overlooked ant species. In 2016, L. humile occurred at most surveyed sites in Bermuda, including all ten resurveyed sites. Pheidole megacephala was present at only two resurveyed sites, a lower proportion of sites than any of the five earlier surveys. Still, P. megacephala occupied substantial areas, particularly in and around Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. This survey increased the number of ant species with verified records from Bermuda to 25, including four exotic species recorded for the first time: Cardiocondyla minutior, Pheidole navigans, Strumigenys emmae, and Strumigenys membranifera. I found five ant species nesting in mangroves: L. humile plus four Old World exotics, C. minutior, Cardiocondyla obscurior, Monomorium floricola, and Plagiolepis alluaudi. It appears that L. humile may be better suited to the subtropical climate of Bermuda than P. megacephala, except perhaps in warmer and sunnier habitats, such as plantings along urban streets and in open parks, where P. megacephala may hold the advantage. The dataset on the new ant records from 2016 is

  9. Hospitales seguros ante desastres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celso Vladimir Bambaren Alatrista

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Entre 1982 a 2005 se registraron daños en 1 143 establecimientos de salud en el Perú, generalmente debido a sismos, lluvias e inundaciones. Los daños en los servicios de salud producen la interrupción de la atención de la población y de los programas de salud, así como generan un gran gasto para la rehabilitación y reconstrucción. Por ello, se requiere proteger a los establecimientos de salud y desarrollar una política de hospitales seguros ante desastres que incluya medidas para prevenir o reducción de la vulnerabilidad estructural, no estructural y funcional en los nuevos establecimientos y en los existentes.(Rev Med Hered 2007;18:149-154.

  10. FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brosens, Dimitri; Vankerkhoven, François; Ignace, David; Wegnez, Philippe; Noé, Nicolas; Heughebaert, André; Bortels, Jeannine; Dekoninck, Wouter

    2013-01-01

    FORMIDABEL is a database of Belgian Ants containing more than 27.000 occurrence records. These records originate from collections, field sampling and literature. The database gives information on 76 native and 9 introduced ant species found in Belgium. The collection records originated mainly from the ants collection in Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the 'Gaspar' Ants collection in Gembloux and the zoological collection of the University of Liège (ULG). The oldest occurrences date back from May 1866, the most recent refer to August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year. THE LATEST VERSION OF THE DATASET IS PUBLICLY AND FREELY ACCESSIBLE THROUGH THIS URL: http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel. The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14697 A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at: http://www.formicidae-atlas.be FORMIDABEL is a joint cooperation of the Flemish ants working group "Polyergus" (http://formicidae.be) and the Wallonian ants working group "FourmisWalBru" (http://fourmiswalbru.be). The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish Ants (Dekoninck et al. 2003). Later, in 2005, data from the Southern part of Belgium; Wallonia and Brussels were added. In 2012 this dataset was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas (Figure 1) (Dekoninck et al. 2012). The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living ant species in Belgium using an overlay of the standard Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species, we can discern a clear and often restricted distribution pattern in Belgium, mainly based on vegetation and soil types.

  11. 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...... are investigated. The influence of the evaporation factor in the pheromone update mechanism and the robustness of this parameter w.r.t. the runtime behavior have been determined for the example function OneMax.This work puts forward the rigorous runtime analysis of the 1-ANT on the example functions Leading......Ones and BinVal. With respect to Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs), such analyses were essential to develop methods for the analysis on more complicated problems. The proof techniques required for the 1-ANT, unfortunately, differ significantly from those for EAs, which means that a new reservoir of methods has...

  12. 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...

  13. Patrones de actividad forrajera y tamaño de nido de Acromyrmex lobicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae en una zona urbana de San Luis, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura E. JOFRÉ

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Diversos factores pueden influir sobre la actividad de forrajeo de las hormigas cortadoras de hojas. Sin embargo, los factores climáticos, especialmente la temperatura, pueden ser considerados los más importantes en las regiones templadas. Se midió la actividad de forrajeo y el tamaño del nido en cuatro colonias de Acromyrmex lobicornis Emery en la localidad de Juana Koslay, San Luis. La actividad forrajera se determinó a partir del número de hormigas que ingresan al nido cargadas con fragmentos vegetales por unidad de tiempo, a lo largo de un año. Se midió la temperatura del aire y el suelo en cada oportunidad. Para estimar el tamaño del nido, se midió el área de forrajeo, el diámetro del túmulo y el número de obreras en cada colonia. Se encontraron asociaciones entre la actividad de forrajeo y las temperaturas del aire y del suelo en todos los meses del año, a excepción de febrero, julio y diciembre. Esta asociación fue positiva en los meses de octubre, mayo, junio, agosto y setiembre; pero negativa en los meses de noviembre, enero, marzo y abril. Las colonias mostraron actividad diurna en invierno y nocturna en verano. La temperatura y el tamaño del nido son factores que influyen sobre la actividad de forrajeo de A. lobicornis.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carmen Lidia Martínez

    2015-02-01

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

  15. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

    Many ant species are efficient control agents against a wide range of pest insects in many crops. They control pest insects via predation; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may be eavesdropped by potential prey and serve as chemical warning signals. Thus, the presence...... 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....

  16. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin Bollazzi

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2011-03-09

    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.

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    NEIL COLLIER

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulrich G Mueller

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

  3. 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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  4. Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses: Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Ward, Philip S; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-11-22

    Symbioses include some of the clearest cases of coevolution, but their origin, loss or reassembly with different partners can rarely be inferred. Here we use ant/plant symbioses involving three plant clades to investigate the evolution of symbioses. We generated phylogenies for the big-eyed arboreal ants (Pseudomyrmecinae), including 72% of their 286 species, as well as for five of their plant host groups, in each case sampling more than 61% of the species. We show that the ant-housing Vachellia (Mimosoideae) clade and its ants co-diversified for the past 5 Ma, with some species additionally colonized by younger plant-nesting ant species, some parasitic. An apparent co-radiation of ants and Tachigali (Caesalpinioideae) was followed by waves of colonization by the same ant clade, and subsequent occupation by a younger ant group. Wide crown and stem age differences between the ant-housing genus Triplaris (Polygonaceae) and its obligate ant inhabitants, and stochastic trait mapping, indicate that its domatium evolved earlier than the ants now occupying it, suggesting previous symbioses that dissolved. Parasitic ant species evolved from generalists, not from mutualists, and are younger than the mutualistic systems they parasitize. Our study illuminates the macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses, which has been highly dynamic, even in very specialized systems. © 2015 The Author(s).

  5. 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

  6. 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...... of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non...... morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants....

  7. Ants medicate to fight disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, Nick; Sundström, Liselotte; Fuchs, Siiri; Freitak, Dalial

    2015-11-01

    Parasites are ubiquitous, and the ability to defend against these is of paramount importance. One way to fight diseases is self-medication, which occurs when an organism consumes biologically active compounds to clear, inhibit, or alleviate disease symptoms. Here, we show for the first time that ants selectively consume harmful substances (reactive oxygen species, ROS) upon exposure to a fungal pathogen, yet avoid these in the absence of infection. This increased intake of ROS, while harmful to healthy ants, leads to higher survival of exposed ants. The fact that ingestion of this substance carries a fitness cost in the absence of pathogens rules out compensatory diet choice as the mechanism, and provides evidence that social insects medicate themselves against fungal infection, using a substance that carries a fitness cost to uninfected individuals.

  8. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Sibel Gokce; Ozhan Kayacan

    2013-05-01

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

  9. Ant opsins: sequences from the Saharan silver ant and the carpenter ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popp, M P; Grisshammer, R; Hargrave, P A; Smith, W C

    1996-03-01

    cDNA clones encoding opsins from compound eyes of carpenter ant, Camponotus abdominalis, and Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, were isolated from cDNA libraries. The opsin cDNAs from each species code for deduced proteins with 378 amino acids which are 92% identical. Of the 30 amino acid differences between the two proteins, 13 are non-conservative. Eight of these non-conservative substitutions are within the membrane spanning domain. The presence of a potential Schiff-base counterion in helix III in both species suggests that these opsins are the protein moiety of the visible range pigments. When compared to all known opsins, these opsins are most similar to the opsin from preying mantis (76% identity at the amino acid level). Phyletic comparisons group the two ant opsins with the other arthropod long wavelength opsins.

  10. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

    ant species (iii) Azteca instabilis and (iv) Camponotus textor reduce herbivory by flea beetles (Margaridisa sp.), whereas (v) deposits from Solenopsis geminata, did not lead to reduced herbivory. Further evidence for the impact of ant pheromones comes from studies showing that non-herbivorous ant...

  11. Ant colony optimization in continuous problem

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YU Ling; LIU Kang; LI Kaishi

    2007-01-01

    Based on the analysis of the basic ant colony optimization and optimum problem in a continuous space,an ant colony optimization (ACO) for continuous problem is constructed and discussed. The algorithm is efficient and beneficial to the study of the ant colony optimization in a continuous space.

  12. Using Ants to Investigate the Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagevik, Rita A.

    2005-01-01

    The best place for students to begin to understand complex environmental relationships is in their own back yards. Doing investigations of ants allows students to establish a baseline survey of ant fauna, test the importance of ants in nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenance, and increase their understanding of the environment and their…

  13. Male parentage in army ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schöning, Caspar; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2006-01-01

    of active research in insect sociobiology. Here we present microsatellite data for 176 males from eight colonies of the African army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus. Comparison with worker genotypes and inferred queen genotypes from the same colonies show that workers do not or at best very rarely reproduce...

  14. Optimal cue integration in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wystrach, Antoine; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2015-10-07

    In situations with redundant or competing sensory information, humans have been shown to perform cue integration, weighting different cues according to their certainty in a quantifiably optimal manner. Ants have been shown to merge the directional information available from their path integration (PI) and visual memory, but as yet it is not clear that they do so in a way that reflects the relative certainty of the cues. In this study, we manipulate the variance of the PI home vector by allowing ants (Cataglyphis velox) to run different distances and testing their directional choice when the PI vector direction is put in competition with visual memory. Ants show progressively stronger weighting of their PI direction as PI length increases. The weighting is quantitatively predicted by modelling the expected directional variance of home vectors of different lengths and assuming optimal cue integration. However, a subsequent experiment suggests ants may not actually compute an internal estimate of the PI certainty, but are using the PI home vector length as a proxy. © 2015 The Author(s).

  15. The antipredatory behaviours of Neotropical ants towards army ant raids (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)

    OpenAIRE

    Dejean, A.; Corbara, B.; Roux, Olivier; Orivel, J.

    2014-01-01

    Group hunting, nomadism, wingless queens and colony fission characterize army ants, allowing them to have become the main tropical arthropod predators, mostly of other social insects. We studied the reactions of different ant species to the New World army ants Eciton burchellii (WESTWOOD, 1842) and E. hamatum (FABRICUS, 1782) (Ecitoninae). We compiled our results with those already known in a synthetic appendix. A wide range of ant species react to the approach of army ant raids by evacuating...

  16. Evolutional Ant Colony Method Using PSO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morii, Nobuto; Aiyoshi, Eitarou

    The ant colony method is one of heuristic methods capable of solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP), in which a good tour is generated by the artificial ant's probabilistic behavior. However, the generated tour length depends on the parameter describing the ant's behavior, and the best parameters corresponding to the problem to be solved is unknown. In this technical note, the evolutional strategy is presented to find the best parameter of the ant colony by using Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) in the parameter space. Numerical simulations for benchmarks demonstrate effectiveness of the evolutional ant colony method.

  17. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

    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.......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...

  18. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

    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.......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...

  19. 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....

  20. 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....

  1. Introduced fire ants can exclude native ants from critical mutualist-provided resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, Shawn M; Barnum, Thomas R; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; Eubanks, Micky D

    2013-05-01

    Animals frequently experience resource imbalances in nature. For ants, one resource that may be particularly valuable for both introduced and native species is high-carbohydrate honeydew from hemipteran mutualists. We conducted field and laboratory experiments: (1) to test if red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) competed with native ants for access to mutualisms with aphids, and (2) to quantify the effects of aphid honeydew presence or absence on colony growth of native ants. We focused on native dolichoderine ants (Formicidae, Dolichoderinae) because they are abundant ants that have omnivorous diets that frequently include mutualist-provided carbohydrates. At two sites in the southeastern US, native dolichoderine ants were far less frequent, and fire ants more frequent, at carbohydrate baits than would be expected based on their frequency in pitfall traps. A field experiment confirmed that a native ant species, Dorymyrmex bureni, was only found tending aphids when populations of S. invicta were suppressed. In the laboratory, colonies of native dolichoderine ants with access to both honeydew and insect prey had twice as many workers and over twice as much brood compared to colonies fed only ad libitum insect prey. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that introduced ants compete for access to mutualist-provided carbohydrates with native ants and that these carbohydrates represent critical resources for both introduced and native ants. These results challenge traditional paradigms of arthropod and ant nutrition and contribute to growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in mediating ecological interactions.

  2. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearcy, Morgan; Delescaille, Noémie; Lybaert, Pascale; Aron, Serge

    2014-06-01

    In species where females mate promiscuously, competition between ejaculates from different males to fertilize the ova is an important selective force shaping many aspects of male reproductive traits, such as sperm number, sperm length and sperm-sperm interactions. In eusocial Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), males die shortly after mating and their reproductive success is ultimately limited by the amount of sperm stored in the queen's spermatheca. Multiple mating by queens is expected to impose intense selective pressure on males to optimize the transfer of sperm to the storage organ. Here, we report a remarkable case of cooperation between spermatozoa in the desert ant Cataglyphis savignyi. Males ejaculate bundles of 50-100 spermatozoa. Sperm bundles swim on average 51% faster than solitary sperm cells. Team swimming is expected to increase the amount of sperm stored in the queen spermatheca and, ultimately, enhance male posthumous fitness.

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...... 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...

  6. Bio-inspired Ant Algorithms: A review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sangita Roy

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Ant Algorithms are techniques for optimizing which were coined in the early 1990’s by M. Dorigo. The techniques were inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants in the nature. The focus of ant algorithms is to find approximate optimized problem solutions using artificial ants and their indirect decentralized communications using synthetic pheromones. In this paper, at first ant algorithms are described in details, then transforms to computational optimization techniques: the ACO metaheuristics and developed ACO algorithms. A comparative study of ant algorithms also carried out, followed by past and present trends in AAs applications. Future prospect in AAs also covered in this paper. Finally a comparison between AAs with well-established machine learning techniques were focused, so that combining with machine learning techniques hybrid, robust, novel algorithms could be produces for outstanding result in future.

  7. 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....... Being predatory and organized as superorganisms, ants possess traits making them suitable agents in IPM. Recent works on weaver ants Oecophylla spp. showcase ants as highly efficient pest controllers. A synthesis shows that weaver ants can reduce pest numbers and their damage and increase yields...... in 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...

  8. 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

    2017-01-01

    facultative relationships, where ants forage on plants. 2. In a laboratory setupexperiment, weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) were confined to the canopies of coffee (Coffea arabica) seedlings, excluding any ant-to-plant transfer of nutrients via the soil strata. When ants were fed 15N-labelled glycine......-recognised but probably more fluctuating benefit from herbivore protection. Given the worldwide abundance of plant canopies foraged by ants, this nutrient pathway may be of high ecological significance.......1. Nutrient supplies to plants from ants are well known from specialised myrmecophytic symbioses and from plants growing in soil close to ant nests. However, above ground nutrient pathways may play a hitherto largely unrecognised role also in less specialised ant-plant interactions – the numerous...

  9. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    OpenAIRE

    Liqiang Liu; Yuntao Dai; Jinyu Gao

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules...

  10. 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.

  11. GRID SCHEDULING USING ENHANCED ANT COLONY ALGORITHM

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Mathiyalagan

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Grid computing is a high performance computing used to solve larger scale computational demands. Task scheduling is a major issue in grid computing systems. Scheduling of tasks is the NP hard problem. The heuristic approach provides optimal solution for NP hard problems .The ant colony algorithm provides optimal solution. The existing ant colony algorithm takes more time to schedule the tasks. In this paper ant colony algorithm improved by enhancing pheromone updating rule such that it schedules the tasks efficiently and better resource utilization. The simulation results prove that proposed method reduces the execution time of tasks compared to existing ant colony algorithm.

  12. 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.

  13. Ilmub suurmeister Evald Okase monograafia / Ants Juske

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Juske, Ants, 1956-

    2009-01-01

    22. aprillil Kumu Kunstimuuseumis esitletavast monograafiast "Evald Okas", mille on kirjutanud Ants Juske, kujundanud Tiit Jürna. Evald Okasest, tema loomingust, elust Jaroslavlis ja rindekunstnikuna

  14. Enhanced ants system and its application

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2005-01-01

    NP-hard combinational optimization problem is not solved very well until now. One enhanced ants system based on ants system is advanced after analysis of the deficiencies of existing ants systems. Some improvements are made in state transfer rule and local modification rule. Furthermore, the enhanced ants system can solve NP-hard combinational optimization problem with restraints and condition path. The successful application of TSP problem and transportation net problem indicates that the proposed system has stronger function and higher efficiency than the original system.

  15. Conflict resolution in an ant-plant interaction: Acacia constricta traits reduce ant costs to reproduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicklen, E Fleur; Wagner, Diane

    2006-05-01

    Many plant species attract ants onto their foliage with food rewards or nesting space. However, ants can interfere with plant reproduction when they visit flowers. This study tests whether Acacia constricta separates visiting ant species temporally or spatially from newly opened inflorescences and pollinators. The diurnal activity patterns of ants and A. constricta pollinators peaked at different times of day, and the activity of pollinators followed the daily dehiscence of A. constricta inflorescences. In addition to being largely temporally separated, ants rarely visited open inflorescences. A floral ant repellent contributes to the spatial separation of ants and inflorescences. In a field experiment, ants of four species were given equal access to inflorescences in different developmental stages. On average, the frequency with which ants made initial, antennal contact with the floral stages did not differ, but ants significantly avoided secondary contact with newly opened inflorescences relative to buds and old inflorescences, and old inflorescences relative to buds. Ants also avoided contact with pollen alone, indicating that pollen is at least one source of the repellent. The results suggest A. constricta has effectively resolved the potential conflict between visiting ants and plant reproduction.

  16. Plants in Your Ants: Using Ant Mounds to Test Basic Ecological Principles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zettler, Jennifer A.; Collier, Alexander; Leidersdorf, Bil; Sanou, Missa Patrick

    2010-01-01

    Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.

  17. Plants in Your Ants: Using Ant Mounds to Test Basic Ecological Principles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zettler, Jennifer A.; Collier, Alexander; Leidersdorf, Bil; Sanou, Missa Patrick

    2010-01-01

    Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.

  18. Effects of planting spacing and leaf-cutting on canopy interception of light energy in greenhouse tomato%定植密度和剪叶处理对日光温室番茄冠层光截获性能的影响

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    高志奎; 王梅; 任士福; 高洪波

    2011-01-01

    to red light. However, the ratio of εred/εblue of ‘ Harvest’, ‘ Laifu 60 , , ‘ Hongli’ and ‘ Israel 1498’ varieties was less than 1, which indicated that leaf of these varieties had strong absorption capacity to blue light. Increasing row space could inhibited effectively group unrestrained growth and decreased the leaf area index (ILA) by 22.3 %, which could avoid closure of inside canopy. As the degree of leaf-cutting increasing,the tomato plant width in greenhouse significantly decreased, meanwhile the overlap rate of plant width (ξp), the overlap coefficient of leaf area(ξ) and complex light absorption coefficient (a′) of canopy consisting with canopy leaves and canopy air space were all decreased accordingly. Using the techniques of cutting-half-leaf with the close-planting, namely, ear inferior leaves were cut 1/3-1/2 as fruit expanding stage to maintaining overlap rate of plant width(ξp) between 10% and 20% when the planting density increased by 17%-30%, achieved the double effects of both improving the light energy interception of middle and lower canopy and enhancing the groups photosynthetic capacity.

  19. 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

  20. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Fuminori; Hashim, Rosli; Huei, Yek Sze; Kaufmann, Eva; Akino, Toshiharu; Billen, Johan

    2004-10-01

    The mechanism by which palatable species take advantage of their similarity in appearance to those that are unpalatable, in order to avoid predation, is called Batesian mimicry. Several arthropods are thought to be Batesian mimics of social insects; however, social insects that are Batesian mimics among themselves are rare. In Malaysia we found a possible Batesian mimic in an arboreal ant species, Camponotus sp., which was exclusively observed on foraging trails of the myrmicine ant Crematogaster inflata. The bright yellow and black colouring pattern, as well as the walking behaviour, were very similar in both species. We observed general interactions between the two species, and tested their palatability and the significance of the remarkably similar visual colour patterns for predator avoidance. Prey offered to C. inflata was also eaten by Camponotus workers in spite of their being attacked by C. inflata, indicating that Camponotus sp. is a commensal of C. inflata. An experiment with chicks as potential predators suggests that Camponotus sp. is palatable whereas C. inflata is unpalatable. After tasting C. inflata, the chicks no longer attacked Camponotus sp., indicating that Camponotus sp. is a Batesian mimic of Crematogaster inflata.

  1. Antthrushes, antpittas, and gnateaters (Aves, Formicariidae) as army ant followers

    OpenAIRE

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Antthrushes (Formicarius, Chamaeza) sometimes walk around swarms of army ants and capture ground prey, but do not follow ants regularly. Among antpittas, only fast-leaping Pittasoma michleri and P. rufopileatum regularly follow ants. Gnateaters (Conopophaga) follow ants little. All these ground-foraging genera are poorly adapted for rapid flying, and failure to follow ants is perhaps due to inability to evade predators or out fly competitors near groups of birds attracted by ants.

  2. Fire Evacuation using Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Kanika Singhal; Shashank Sahu

    2016-01-01

    ... planning.The objective of the algorithm is to minimizes the entire rescue time of all evacuees.The ant colony optimization algorithm is used to solve the complications of shortest route planning. Presented paper gives a comparative overview of various emergency scenarios using ant colony optimization algorithm.

  3. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aranda-Rickert, Adriana; Diez, Patricia; Marazzi, Brigitte

    2014-11-07

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal desert of northwestern Argentina, we surveyed the richness and phenology of EFN plants and their associated ants and examined the patterns in ant-plant interaction networks. We found that 25 ant species and 11 EFN-bearing plant species were linked together through 96 pairs of associations. Plants bearing EFNs were abundant, representing ca. 19 % of the species encountered in transects and 24 % of the plant cover. Most ant species sampled (ca. 77 %) fed on EF nectar. Interactions showed a marked seasonal pattern: EFN secretion was directly related to plant phenology and correlated with the time of highest ant ground activity. Our results reveal that EFN-mediated interactions are ecologically relevant components of deserts, and that EFN-bearing plants are crucial for the survival of desert ant communities. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.

  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

    2016-01-20

    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.

  5. Dynamical Equilibrium of Interacting Ant Societies

    CERN Document Server

    Leok, B T M

    1996-01-01

    The sustainable biodiversity associated with a specific ecological niche as a function of land area is analysed computationally by considering the interaction of ant societies over a collection of islands. A power law relationship between sustainable species and land area is observed. We will further consider the effect a perturbative inflow of ants has upon the model.

  6. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitt, Franziska; Vanselow, Jens T; Schlosser, Andreas; Kahnt, Jörg; Rössler, Wolfgang; Wegener, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Ants show a rich behavioral repertoire and a highly complex organization, which have been attracting behavioral and sociobiological researchers for a long time. The neuronal underpinnings of ant behavior and social organization are, however, much less understood. Neuropeptides are key signals that orchestrate animal behavior and physiology, and it is thus feasible to assume that they play an important role also for the social constitution of ants. Despite the availability of different ant genomes and in silico prediction of ant neuropeptides, a comprehensive biochemical survey of the neuropeptidergic communication possibilities of ants is missing. We therefore combined different mass spectrometric methods to characterize the neuropeptidome of the adult carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus. We also characterized the local neuropeptide complement in different parts of the nervous and neuroendocrine system, including the antennal and optic lobes. Our analysis identifies 39 neuropeptides encoded by different prepropeptide genes, and in silico predicts new prepropeptide genes encoding CAPA peptides, CNMamide as well as homologues of the honey bee IDLSRFYGHFNT- and ITGQGNRIF-containing peptides. Our data provides basic information about the identity and localization of neuropeptides that is required to anatomically and functionally address the role and significance of neuropeptides in ant behavior and physiology.

  7. Ants, rodents and seed predation in Proteaceae

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Ants may reduce seed predation by rapidly transporting and burying seeds in their .... the size and shape of inverted waste paper baskets or b) by securing a lid 5 ... Mimetes experiment was dry for only 3 h before rain set in. Ant activity ceased ...

  8. 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.

  9. Open Problem: Analyzing Ant Robot Coverage

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Efficient and inefficient ant coverage methods. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 31, 41–76. The proofs can be found in the technical...Wagner, I., & Bruckstein, A. (2001). Special issue on ant robotics. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, 31. Wagner, I., Lindenbaum, M

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Modified chaotic ant swarm to function optimization

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI Yu-ying; WEN Qiao-yan; LI Li-xiang

    2009-01-01

    The chaotic ant swarm algorithm (CAS) is an optimization algorithm based on swarm intelligence theory, and it is inspired by the chaotic and self-organizing behavior of the ants in nature. Based on the analysis of the properties of the CAS, this article proposes a variation on the CAS called the modified chaotic ant swarm (MCAS), which employs two novel strategies to significantly improve the performance of the original algorithm. This is achieved by restricting the variables to search ranges and making the global best ant to learn from different ants' best information in the end. The simulation of the MCAS on five benchmark functions shows that the MCAS improves the precision of the solution.

  14. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2017-05-01

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  15. Uncovering the complexity of ant foraging trails.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Jones, Sam M; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2012-01-01

    The common garden ant Lasius niger use both trail pheromones and memory of past visits to navigate to and from food sources. In a recent paper we demonstrated a synergistic effect between route memory and trail pheromones: the presence of trail pheromones results in experienced ants walking straighter and faster. We also found that experienced ants leaving a pheromone trail deposit less pheromone. Here we focus on another finding of the experiment: the presence of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), which are used as home range markers by ants, also affects pheromone deposition behavior. When walking on a trail on which CHCs are present but trail pheromones are not, experienced foragers deposit less pheromone on the outward journey than on the return journey. The regulatory mechanisms ants use during foraging and recruitment behavior is subtle and complex, affected by multiple interacting factors such as route memory, travel direction and the presence trail pheromone and home-range markings.

  16. Spatiotemporal chemotactic model for ant foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramakrishnan, Subramanian; Laurent, Thomas; Kumar, Manish; Bertozzi, Andrea L.

    2014-12-01

    In this paper, we present a generic theoretical chemotactic model that accounts for certain emergent behaviors observed in ant foraging. The model does not have many of the constraints and limitations of existing models for ants colony dynamics and takes into account the distinctly different behaviors exhibited in nature by ant foragers in search of food and food ferrying ants. Numerical simulations based on the model show trail formation in foraging ant colonies to be an emergent phenomenon and, in particular, replicate behavior observed in experiments involving the species P. megacephala. The results have broader implications for the study of randomness in chemotactic models. Potential applications include the developments of novel algorithms for stochastic search in engineered complex systems such as robotic swarms.

  17. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Véle, Adam; Holuša, Jaroslav

    2016-11-01

    Like other organisms, ants require suitable microclimatic conditions for their development. Thus, ant species inhabiting colder climates build nest mounds that rise above the soil surface, presumably to obtain heating from solar radiation. Although some ant species construct mounds of organic materials, which generate substantial heat due to microbial metabolism, Lasius flavus mounds consists mostly of soil, not organic material. The use of artificial shading in the current study demonstrated that L. flavus depends on direct solar radiation to regulate the temperature in its mound-like nests. Temperatures were much lower in shaded mounds than in unshaded mounds and were likely low enough in shaded mounds to reduce ant development and reproduction. In areas where L. flavus and similar ants are undesirable, they might be managed by shading.

  18. Optimal Load Dispatch Using Ant Lion Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Menakshi Mahendru Nischal

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents Ant lion optimization (ALO technique to solve optimal load dispatch problem. Ant lion optimization (ALO is a novel nature inspired algorithm. The ALO algorithm mimics the hunting mechanism of ant lions in nature. Five main steps of hunting prey such as the random walk of ants, building traps, entrapment of ants in traps, catching preys, and re-building traps are implemented. Optimal load dispatch (OLD is a method of determining the most efficient, low-cost and reliable operation of a power system by dispatching available electricity generation resources to supply load on the system. The primary objective of OLD is to minimize total cost of generation while honoring operational constraints of available generation resources. The proposed technique is implemented on 3, 6 & 20 unit test system for solving the OLD. Numerical results shows that the proposed method has good convergence property and better in quality of solution than other algorithms reported in recent literature.

  19. [The ants: a strategy of population concentration].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zakharov, A A

    2011-01-01

    Ants are provided with a balanced system of reactions either to the original paucity of socia or to their secondary depopulation. This system can be defined as a strategy of population concentration. Both a successful reproduction of workers and queen fertilization are necessary conditions for ant communities' survival and development. Thus, the anthills must be large enough to ensure optimal conditions for reproduction. It is the strategy of population concentration that is directed to an accelerated attainment (or rehabilitation) by a socium of a state of stable development by way of concentrating the existent ant staff in an accessible number of viable nests. This strategy is realized throughout the life of ant communities by way of (a) fusing the starting family cells left by founder females, (b) fusing small anthills during artificial ant migrations, (c) uniting smaller socia or their joining other anthills, (d) reintegrating the secondary anthills (fragmentants) after an exogenous fragmentation of formicaries. Pooling and the attraction of deficient demographic resources from outside form the most efficient and quickest ways of reaching or restoring the threshold density levels. By realizing this strategy, the ants solve their paramount problems of anthill or settlement conservation at any particular time, as well as of providing some prospects for ant existence in the future. These problems are so vital for ant socia that they appear to hold priority over such other characteristics of utmost importance as genetic kinship or even species identity. The priority of social basics over genetic ones is unequivocally supported through mixed formicaries. A necessary condition for the realization of the strategy of population concentration is tolerance of highly developed social systems to the diversity of forms and to deviations from the norm. The use of one and the same mechanism at all stages of the life both of an individual socium and large ant settlements is

  20. Individual Recognition in Ant Queens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-01-01

    recognize each other's unique facial color patterns [3] . Individual recognition is advantageous when dominance hierarchies control the partitioning of work and reproduction 2 and 4 . Here, we show that unrelated founding queens of the ant Pachycondyla villosa use chemical cues to recognize each other......Personal relationships are the cornerstone of vertebrate societies, but insect societies are either too large for individual recognition, or their members were assumed to lack the necessary cognitive abilities 1 and 2 . This paradigm has been challenged by the recent discovery that paper wasps...... perception, was prevented and in tests with anaesthetized queens. The cuticular chemical profiles of queens were neither associated with dominance nor fertility and, therefore, do not represent status badges 5 and 6 , and nestmate queens did not share a common odor. Personal recognition facilitates...

  1. Some enzymic activities of two Australian ant venoms: a jumper ant Myrmecia pilosula and a bulldog ant Myrmecia pyriformis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matuszek, M A; Hodgson, W C; King, R G; Sutherland, S K

    1994-12-01

    Venoms from two related Australian ants, a jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula) and a bulldog ant (Myrmecia pyriformis), were quantitatively analysed for the following enzymic activities: phospholipase A2, phospholipase B, phospholipase C, hyaluronidase, esterase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase and phosphodiesterase. Both venoms contained phospholipase A2, phospholipase B, hyaluronidase, acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase activities. Myrmecia pyriformis venom had significantly greater phospholipase B, acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase activities than Myrmecia pilosula venom. No detectable quantities of phospholipase C, esterase or phosphodiesterase activities were found in either venom.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Differential Recruitment of Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) Ants in Response to Ant Garden Herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vicente, R E; Dáttilo, W; Izzo, T J

    2014-12-01

    Although several studies have shown that ants can recognize chemical cues from their host plants in ant-plant systems, it is poorly demonstrated in ant gardens (AGs). In this interaction, ant species constantly interact with various epiphyte species. Therefore, it is possible to expect a convergence of chemical signals released by plants that could be acting to ensure that ants are able to recognize and defend epiphyte species frequently associated with AGs. In this study, it was hypothesized that ants recognize and differentiate among chemical stimuli released by AG epiphytes and non-AG epiphytes. We experimentally simulated leaf herbivore damage on three epiphyte species restricted to AGs and a locally abundant understory herb, Piper hispidum, in order to quantify the number of recruited Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius) defenders. When exposed to the AG epiphytes Peperomia macrostachya and Codonanthe uleana leaves, it was observed that the recruitment of C. femoratus workers was, on average, respectively 556% and 246% higher than control. However, the number of ants recruited by the AG epiphyte Markea longiflora or by the non-AG plant did not differ from paper pieces. This indicated that ants could discern between chemicals released by different plants, suggesting that ants can select better plants. These results can be explained by evolutionary process acting on both ants' capability in discerning plants' chemical compounds (innate attraction) or by ants' learning based on the epiphyte frequency in AGs (individual experience). To disentangle an innate behavior, a product of classical coevolutionary process, from an ant's learned behavior, is a complicated but important subject to understand in the evolution of ant-plant mutualisms.

  5. How to be an ant on figs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bain, Anthony; Harrison, Rhett D.; Schatz, Bertrand

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are open to exploitation by one or other of the partners and a diversity of other organisms, and hence are best understood as being embedded in a complex network of biotic interactions. Figs participate in an obligate mutualism in that figs are dependent on agaonid fig wasps for pollination and the wasps are dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. Ants are common insect predators and abundant in tropical forests. Ants have been recorded on approximately 11% of fig species, including all six subgenera, and often affect the fig-fig pollinator interaction through their predation of either pollinating and parasitic wasps. On monoecious figs, ants are often associated with hemipterans, whereas in dioecious figs ants predominantly prey on fig wasps. A few fig species are true myrmecophytes, with domatia or food rewards for ants, and in at least one species this is linked to predation of parasitic fig wasps. Ants also play a role in dispersal of fig seeds and may be particularly important for hemi-epiphytic species, which require high quality establishment microsites in the canopy. The intersection between the fig-fig pollinator and ant-plant systems promises to provide fertile ground for understanding mutualistic interactions within the context of complex interaction networks.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Ant colonies for the travelling salesman problem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorigo, M; Gambardella, L M

    1997-01-01

    We describe an artificial ant colony capable of solving the travelling salesman problem (TSP). Ants of the artificial colony are able to generate successively shorter feasible tours by using information accumulated in the form of a pheromone trail deposited on the edges of the TSP graph. Computer simulations demonstrate that the artificial ant colony is capable of generating good solutions to both symmetric and asymmetric instances of the TSP. The method is an example, like simulated annealing, neural networks and evolutionary computation, of the successful use of a natural metaphor to design an optimization algorithm.

  9. Faster-is-slower effect in escaping ants revisited: Ants do not behave like humans

    CERN Document Server

    Parisi, Daniel R; Josens, Roxana

    2014-01-01

    In this work we studied the trajectories, velocities and densities of ants when egressing under controlled levels of stress produced by a chemical repellent at different concentrations. We found that, unlike other animals escaping under life-and-death conditions and pedestrian simulations, ants do not produce a higher density zone near the exit door. Instead, ants are uniformly distributed over the available space allowing for efficient evacuations. Consequently, the faster-is-slower effect observed in ants (Soria et al., 2012) is clearly of a different nature to that predicted by de social force model. In the case of ants, the minimum evacuation time is correlated with the lower probability of taking backward steps. Thus, as biological model ants have important differences that make their use inadvisable for the design of human facilities.

  10. 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 species...

  11. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection. 354.121 Section 354.121 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE... Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.121 Ante-mortem inspection. An ante-mortem inspection of...

  12. Faster-is-slower effect in escaping ants revisited: Ants do not behave like humans

    OpenAIRE

    Parisi, Daniel R.; Soria, Sabrina A; Josens, Roxana

    2014-01-01

    In this work we studied the trajectories, velocities and densities of ants when egressing under controlled levels of stress produced by a chemical repellent at different concentrations. We found that, unlike other animals escaping under life-and-death conditions and pedestrian simulations, ants do not produce a higher density zone near the exit door. Instead, ants are uniformly distributed over the available space allowing for efficient evacuations. Consequently, the faster-is-slower effect o...

  13. Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez-Bauer, Angélica E; Martínez, Gerardo Cerón; Murphy, Daniel J; Burd, Martin

    2015-06-01

    Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia using ant and pollinator exclusion as well as direct observation of ants and pollinators to assess the potential for ant-pollinator conflict to affect seed set. Native bees were the only group of floral visitors whose visitation rates were a significant predictor of fruiting success, although beetles and wasps may play an important role as "insurance" pollinators. We found no increase in pollinator visitation or fruiting success following ant exclusion, even with large sample sizes and effective exclusion. Because ants are facultative visitors to A. myrtifolia plants, their presence may be insufficient to interfere greatly with floral visitors. It is also likely that the morphological location of extrafloral nectaries tends to draw ants away from reproductive parts, although we commonly observed ants on inflorescences, so the spatial separation is not strict. A. myrtifolia appears to maintain a generalized mutualism over a wide geographic range without the need for elaborate adaptations to resolve ant-pollinator conflict.

  14. Deterministic ants in labirynth -- information gained by map sharing

    CERN Document Server

    Malinowski, Janusz

    2014-01-01

    A few of ant robots are dropped to a labirynth, formed by a square lattice with a small number of nodes removed. Ants move according to a deterministic algorithm designed to explore all corridors. Each ant remembers the shape of corridors which she has visited. Once two ants met, they share the information acquired. We evaluate how the time of getting a complete information by an ant depends on the number of ants, and how the length known by an ant depends on time. Numerical results are presented in the form of scaling relations.

  15. Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant-plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sensenig, Ryan L; Kimuyu, Duncan K; Ruiz Guajardo, Juan C; Veblen, Kari E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2017-05-01

    Although disturbance theory has been recognized as a useful framework in examining the stability of ant-plant mutualisms, very few studies have examined the effects of fire disturbance on these mutualisms. In myrmecophyte-dominated savannas, fire and herbivory are key drivers that could influence ant-plant mutualisms by causing complete colony mortality and/or decreasing colony size, which potentially could alter dominance hierarchies if subordinate species are more fire resilient. We used a large-scale, replicated fire experiment to examine long-term effects of fire on acacia-ant community composition. To determine if fire shifted ant occupancy from a competitive dominant to a subordinate ant species, we surveyed the acacia-ant community in 6-7 yr old burn sites and examined how the spatial scale of these burns influenced ant community responses. We then used two short-term fire experiments to explore possible mechanisms for the shifts in community patterns observed. Because survival of ant colonies is largely dependent on their ability to detect and escape an approaching fire, we first tested the evacuation response of all four ant species when exposed to smoke (fire signal). Then to better understand how fire and its interaction with large mammal herbivory affect the density of ants per tree, we quantified ant worker density in small prescribed burns within herbivore exclusion plots. We found clear evidence suggesting that fire disturbance favored the subordinate ant Crematogaster nigriceps more than the dominant and strong mutualist ant C. mimosae, whereby C. nigriceps (1) was the only species to occupy a greater proportion of trees in 6-7 yr old burn sites compared to unburned sites, (2) had higher burn/unburn tree ratios with increasing burn size, and (3) evacuated significantly faster than C. mimosae in the presence of smoke. Fire and herbivory had opposite effects on ant density per meter of branch for both C. nigriceps and C. mimosae, with fire

  16. Mutualism exploitation: predatory drosophilid larvae sugar-trap ants and jeopardize facultative ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidal, Mayra C; Sendoya, Sebastian F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2016-07-01

    An open question in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant facultative mutualism is how other members of the associated community can affect the interaction to a point where reciprocal benefits are disrupted. While visiting Qualea grandiflora shrubs to collect sugary rewards at extrafloral nectaries, tropical savanna ants deter herbivores and reduce leaf damage. Here we show that larvae of the fly Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga, which develop on extrafloral nectaries, lure potentially mutualistic, nectar-feeding ants and prey on them. Foraging ants spend less time on fly-infested foliage. Field experiments showed that predation (or the threat of predation) on ants by fly larvae produces cascading effects through three trophic levels, resulting in fewer protective ants on leaves, increased numbers of chewing herbivores, and greater leaf damage. These results reveal an undocumented mode of mutualism exploitation by an opportunistic predator at a plant-provided food source, jeopardizing ant-derived protection services to the plant. Our study documents a rather unusual case of predation of adult ants by a dipteran species and demonstrates a top-down trophic cascade within a generalized ant-plant mutualism. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  17. KohonAnts: A Self-Organizing Ant Algorithm for Clustering and Pattern Classification

    CERN Document Server

    Fernandes, C; Merelo, J J; Ramos, V; Laredo, J L J

    2008-01-01

    In this paper we introduce a new ant-based method that takes advantage of the cooperative self-organization of Ant Colony Systems to create a naturally inspired clustering and pattern recognition method. The approach considers each data item as an ant, which moves inside a grid changing the cells it goes through, in a fashion similar to Kohonen's Self-Organizing Maps. The resulting algorithm is conceptually more simple, takes less free parameters than other ant-based clustering algorithms, and, after some parameter tuning, yields very good results on some benchmark problems.

  18. 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....

  19. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi

    an increasing need to understand which factors promote the ecological dominance of these species, and particularly how the discrimination of both conspecifics and heterospecifics (including parasites) might influence structure and ecological success of invasive populations. In this PhD thesis I investigated...... the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...

  20. Rose Atoll - Eradication of Invasive Ants

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — There are at least 9 species of ants introduced to Rose Atoll, including species that tend to scale insects that are devastating the Pisonia grandis trees on the 15...

  1. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi

    an increasing need to understand which factors promote the ecological dominance of these species, and particularly how the discrimination of both conspecifics and heterospecifics (including parasites) might influence structure and ecological success of invasive populations. In this PhD thesis I investigated...... the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...

  2. 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

    , 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...

  3. 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 t...

  4. An Improved Heuristic Ant-Clustering Algorithm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yunfei Chen; Yushu Liu; Jihai Zhao

    2004-01-01

    An improved heuristic ant-clustering algorithm(HAC)is presented in this paper. A device of 'memory bank' is proposed,which can bring forth heuristic knowledge guiding ant to move in the bi-dimension grid space.The device experiments on real data sets and synthetic data sets.The results demonstrate that HAC has superiority in misclassification error rate and runtime over the classical algorithm.

  5. Ants (Formicidae): models for social complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Chris R; Dolezal, Adam; Eliyahu, Dorit; Holbrook, C Tate; Gadau, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

    The family Formicidae (ants) is composed of more than 12,000 described species that vary greatly in size, morphology, behavior, life history, ecology, and social organization. Ants occur in most terrestrial habitats and are the dominant animals in many of them. They have been used as models to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, behavior, and development. The literature on ants is extensive, and the natural history of many species is known in detail. Phylogenetic relationships for the family, as well as within many subfamilies, are known, enabling comparative studies. Their ease of sampling and ecological variation makes them attractive for studying populations and questions relating to communities. Their sociality and variation in social organization have contributed greatly to an understanding of complex systems, division of labor, and chemical communication. Ants occur in colonies composed of tens to millions of individuals that vary greatly in morphology, physiology, and behavior; this variation has been used to address proximate and ultimate mechanisms generating phenotypic plasticity. Relatedness asymmetries within colonies have been fundamental to the formulation and empirical testing of kin and group selection theories. Genomic resources have been developed for some species, and a whole-genome sequence for several species is likely to follow in the near future; comparative genomics in ants should provide new insights into the evolution of complexity and sociogenomics. Future studies using ants should help establish a more comprehensive understanding of social life, from molecules to colonies.

  6. Visual scene perception in navigating wood ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lent, David D; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2013-04-22

    Ants, like honeybees, can set their travel direction along foraging routes using just the surrounding visual panorama. This ability gives us a way to explore how visual scenes are perceived. By training wood ants to follow a path in an artificial scene and then examining their path within transformed scenes, we identify several perceptual operations that contribute to the ants' choice of direction. The first is a novel extension to the known ability of insects to compute the "center of mass" of large shapes: ants learn a desired heading toward a point on a distant shape as the proportion of the shape that lies to the left and right of the aiming point--the 'fractional position of mass' (FPM). The second operation, the extraction of local visual features like oriented edges, is familiar from studies of shape perception. Ants may use such features for guidance by keeping them in desired retinal locations. Third, ants exhibit segmentation. They compute the learned FPM over the whole of a simple scene, but over a segmented region of a complex scene. We suggest how the three operations may combine to provide efficient directional guidance. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Entangled active matter: From cells to ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, D. L.; Phonekeo, S.; Altshuler, E.; Brochard-Wyart, F.

    2016-07-01

    Both cells and ants belong to the broad field of active matter, a novel class of non-equilibrium materials composed of many interacting units that individually consume energy and collectively generate motion or mechanical stresses. However cells and ants differ from fish and birds in that they can support static loads. This is because cells and ants can be entangled, so that individual units are bound by transient links. Entanglement gives cells and ants a set of remarkable properties usually not found together, such as the ability to flow like a fluid, spring back like an elastic solid, and self-heal. In this review, we present the biology, mechanics and dynamics of both entangled cells and ants. We apply concepts from soft matter physics and wetting to characterize these systems as well as to point out their differences, which arise from their differences in size. We hope that our viewpoints will spur further investigations into cells and ants as active materials, and inspire the fabrication of synthetic active matter.

  11. Bacterial associates of arboreal ants and their putative functions in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eilmus, Sascha; Heil, Martin

    2009-07-01

    Bacterial communities are highly diverse and have great ecological importance. In the present study, we used an in silico analysis of terminal restriction fragments (tRF) to characterize the bacterial community of the plant ant Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus. This species is an obligate inhabitant of Acacia myrmecophytes and feeds exclusively on plant-derived food sources. Ants are the dominant insect group in tropical rain forests. Associations of ants with microbes, which contribute particularly to the ants' nitrogen nutrition, could allow these insects to live on mostly or entirely plant-based diets and could thus contribute to the explanation of the high abundances that are reached by tropical ants. We found tRF patterns representing at least 30 prokaryotic taxa, of which the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes comprised 93%. Because most bacterial taxa were found in all ant-derived samples studied and because the bacteria detected on the ants' host plant revealed little overlap with this community, we regard our results as reliably representing the bacterial community that is associated with P. ferrugineus. Genera with a likely function as ant symbionts were Burkholderia, Pantoea, Weissella, and several members of the Enterobacteriaceae. The presence of these and various other groups was confirmed via independent PCR and cultivation approaches. Many of the bacteria that we detected belong to purportedly N-fixing taxa. Bacteria may represent important further partners in ant-plant mutualisms, and their influences on ant nutrition can contribute to the extraordinary abundance and evolutionary success of tropical arboreal ants.

  12. Solution to the problem of ant being stuck by ant colony routing algorithm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHAO Jing; TONG Wei-ming

    2009-01-01

    Many ant colony routing (ACR) algorithms have been presented in recent years, but few have studied the problem that ants will get stuck with probability in any terminal host when they are searching paths to route packets around a network. The problem has to be faced when designing and implementing the ACR algorithm. This article analyzes in detail the differences between the ACR and the ant colony optimization (ACO). Besides, particular restrictions on the ACR are pointed out and the three causes of ant being-stuck problem are obtained. Furthermore, this article proposes a new ant searching mechanism through dual path-checking and online routing loop removing by every intermediate node an ant visited and the destination host respectively, to solve the problem of ant being stuck and routing loop simultaneously. The result of numerical simulation is abstracted from one real network. Compared with existing two typical ACR algorithms, it shows that the proposed algorithm can settle the problem of ant being stuck and achieve more effective searching outcome for optimization path.

  13. Applied Ecology and Control of Imported Fire Ants and Argentine Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), are invasive species that are major pests in urban, natural, and agricultural habitats. The goal of this dissertation was to study aspects the chemical sensitivity, behavior, and ecology of each specie...

  14. Taxonomic and functional ecology of montane ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Rhys Bishop

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Why is biological diversity distributed in the way that it is? This question has been central to ecology and biogeography for centuries and is of great importance for pure and applied reasons. I use a functional trait view of ecology to complement standard sampling protocols to better understand the distribution and structure of ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae diversity across mountains. I use a long-term dataset of ant diversity and abundance, combined with a recently collected morphological trait dataset to examine how the alpha and beta diversity of ants responds to changes in temperature along an extensive elevational gradient in southern Africa. In addition, I link morphological thermoregulatory traits to each other and to the environment with a new database of ant elevational abundances from across the globe. Finally, I analyse how physiological thermal tolerances vary and constrain foraging patterns in montane ants. I find that temperature is a strong driver of both alpha and beta diversity patterns. In addition, morphological traits such as colour and body size are found to have a significant relationship to ambient temperatures. This relationship also implies that the relative abundances of different ant species change depending on their thermoregulatory traits (colour and body size and the surrounding thermal environment. Furthermore, the critical thermal minimum (CTmin of the ant species investigated and the lowest environmental temperatures are found to be key in constraining foraging activity patterns. The data presented here strengthen and link existing ideas about how thermoregulation can influence ecological communities and also suggests important ways in which diversity patterns may change in the future.

  15. Ecology of a fig ant-plant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Rhett D.

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are embedded in networks of interactions that affect the benefits accruing to the mutualistic partners. Figs and their pollinating wasps are engaged in an obligate mutualism in which the fig is dependent on the fig pollinator for pollination services and the pollinator is dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. This mutualism is exploited by non-pollinating fig wasps that utilise the same ovules, but do not provide a pollination service. Most non-pollinating wasps oviposit from outside the inflorescence (syconium), where they are vulnerable to ant predation. Ficus schwarzii is exposed to high densities of non-pollinating wasps, but Philidris sp. ants patrolling the syconia prevent them from ovipositing. Philidris rarely catch wasps, but the fig encourages the patrolling by providing a reward through extra-floral nectaries on the surface of syconia. Moreover, the reward is apparently only produced during the phase when parasitoids are ovipositing. An ant-exclusion experiment demonstrated that, in the absence of ants, syconia were heavily attacked and many aborted as a consequence. Philidris was normally rare on the figs during the receptive phase or at the time of day when wasp offspring are emerging, so predation on pollinators was limited. However, Myrmicaria sp. ants, which only occurred on three trees, preyed substantially on pollinating as well as non-pollinating wasps. F. schwarzii occurs in small clusters of trees and has an exceptionally rapid crop turnover. These factors appear to promote high densities of non-pollinating wasps and, as a consequence, may have led to both a high incidence of ants on trees and increased selective pressure on fig traits that increase the payoffs of the fig-ant interaction for the fig. The fig receives no direct benefit from the reward it provides, but protects pollinating wasps that will disperse its pollen.

  16. Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    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...... 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...... (Fabricius) was tested under laboratory conditions. Of the two types of food offered, the ants ingested 76% pure sucrose and 24% insect prey (dry weights) leading to ECI’s of 29% and 39% including brood only or brood plus imago gain, respectively. Based on Thai sugar and protein food costs and ant brood...

  17. The use of weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) in tropical agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    Canopy dwelling weaver ants are widely distributed throughout the Old World Tropics where they build up high densities on their host trees. If managed properly the high number of ants will control a range of pest insects and benefit crop production. Simultaneously the ant larvae production, fuelled...... 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...

  18. Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    (Fabricius) was tested under laboratory conditions. Of the two types of food offered, the ants ingested 76% pure sucrose and 24% insect prey (dry weights) leading to ECI’s of 29% and 39% including brood only or brood plus imago gain, respectively. Based on Thai sugar and protein food costs and ant brood......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...... 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...

  19. The descent of ant: field-measured performance of gliding ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munk, Yonatan; Yanoviak, Stephen P; Koehl, M A R; Dudley, Robert

    2015-05-01

    Gliding ants avoid predatory attacks and potentially mortal consequences of dislodgement from rainforest canopy substrates by directing their aerial descent towards nearby tree trunks. The ecologically relevant measure of performance for gliding ants is the ratio of net horizontal to vertical distance traveled over the course of a gliding trajectory, or glide index. To study variation in glide index, we measured three-dimensional trajectories of Cephalotes atratus ants gliding in natural rainforest habitats. We determined that righting phase duration, glide angle, and path directness all significantly influence variation in glide index. Unsuccessful landing attempts result in the ant bouncing off its target and being forced to make a second landing attempt. Our results indicate that ants are not passive gliders and that they exert active control over the aerodynamic forces they experience during their descent, despite their apparent lack of specialized control surfaces. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  20. Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains based on position distribution model of ant colony foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao; Gao, Jinyu

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  1. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liqiang Liu

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  2. Ants as shell collectors: notes on land snail shells found around ant nests

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barna Páll-Gergely

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available We investigated the shell collecting activities of harvester ants (Messor spp. in semi-arid grasslands and shrubs in Turkey. We found eleven species of snails in the area, two of them were not collected by ants. Eight – mainly small sized – snail species were found on ant nests in a habitat characterized by shrubs, three in rocky grassland and four in a grassland habitat. Some shells (e.g. Chondrus zebrula tantalus, Multidentula ovularis might be taken into the nests, and we hypothesise that some of these snail species are consumed by ants (Monacha spp.. From a fauna inventory perspective, shell collecting activities of harvester ant may help malacologists to find snail species which are normally hidden for a specialist (e.g. Oxychilus hydatinus, Cecilioides spp. due to their special habits.

  3. 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...

  4. Impacts of residual insecticide barriers on perimeter-invading ants, with particular reference to the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scharf, Michael E; Ratliff, Catina R; Bennett, Gary W

    2004-04-01

    Three liquid insecticide formulations were evaluated as barrier treatments against perimeter-invading ants at a multifamily housing complex in West Lafayette, IN. Several ant species were present at the study site, including (in order of abundance) pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (L.); honey ant, Prenolepis imparis (Say); odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say); thief ant, Solenopsis molesta (Say); acrobat ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi (Mayr); crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), field ants, Formica spp.; and carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer). Studies began in May 2001 and concluded 8 wk later in July. Individual replicate treatments were placed 0.61 in (2 feet) up and 0.92 m (3 feet) out from the ends of 46.1 by 10.1-m (151 by 33-foot) apartment buildings. Ant sampling was performed with 10 placements of moist cat food for 1 h within treatment zones, followed by capture and removal of recruited ants for later counting. All treatments led to substantial reductions in ant numbers relative to untreated controls. The most effective treatment was fipronil, where 2% of before-treatment ant numbers were present at 8 wk after treatment. Both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin barrier treatments had efficacy comparative with fipronil, but to 4 and 2 wk, respectively. Odorous house ants were not sampled before treatment. Comparisons of ant species composition between treatments and controls revealed an increase in odorous house ant frequencies at 1-8 wk after treatment in treated locations only. These results demonstrate efficacy for both nonrepellent and repellent liquid insecticides as perimeter treatments for pest ants. In addition, our findings with odorous house ant highlight an apparent invasive-like characteristic of this species that may contribute to its dramatic increase in structural infestation rates in many areas of the United States.

  5. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrichot, Vincent; Lacau, Sébastien; Néraudeau, Didier; Nel, André

    2008-02-01

    Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.

  6. Lycaenid Caterpillar Secretions Manipulate Attendant Ant Behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hojo, Masaru K; Pierce, Naomi E; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2015-08-31

    Mutualistic interactions typically involve the exchange of different commodities between species. Nutritious secretions are produced by a number of insects and plants in exchange for services such as defense. These rewards are valuable metabolically and can be used to reinforce the behavior of symbiotic partners that can learn and remember them effectively. We show here novel effects of insect exocrine secretions produced by caterpillars in modulating the behavior of attendant ants in the food-for-defense interaction between lycaenid butterflies and ants. Reward secretions from the dorsal nectary organ (DNO) of Narathura japonica caterpillars function to reduce the locomotory activities of their attendant ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus workers. Moreover, workers that feed from caterpillar secretions are significantly more likely to show aggressive responses to eversion of the tentacle organs of the caterpillars. Analysis of the neurogenic amines in the brains of workers that consumed caterpillar secretions showed a significant decrease in levels of dopamine compared with controls. Experimental treatments in which reserpine, a known inhibitor of dopamine in Drosophila, was fed to workers similarly reduced their locomotory activity. We conclude that DNO secretions of lycaenid caterpillars can manipulate attendant ant behavior by altering dopaminergic regulation and increasing partner fidelity. Unless manipulated ants also receive a net nutritional benefit from DNO secretions, this suggests that similar reward-for-defense interactions that have been traditionally considered to be mutualisms may in fact be parasitic in nature. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. 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.

  8. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fayle, Tom M; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs.

  9. Detection of mitochondrial COII DNA sequences in ant guts as a method for assessing termite predation by ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom M Fayle

    Full Text Available Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1 to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1, there was no evidence (with small sample sizes for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs.

  10. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cornelia Buehlmann

    Full Text Available The desert ants Cataglyphis navigate not only by path integration but also by using visual and olfactory landmarks to pinpoint the nest entrance. Here we show that Cataglyphis noda can additionally use magnetic and vibrational landmarks as nest-defining cues. The magnetic field may typically provide directional rather than positional information, and vibrational signals so far have been shown to be involved in social behavior. Thus it remains questionable if magnetic and vibration landmarks are usually provided by the ants' habitat as nest-defining cues. However, our results point to the flexibility of the ants' navigational system, which even makes use of cues that are probably most often sensed in a different context.

  11. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krzysztof Miler

    Full Text Available When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed.

  12. Hopfield neural network based on ant system

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    洪炳镕; 金飞虎; 郭琦

    2004-01-01

    Hopfield neural network is a single layer feedforward neural network. Hopfield network requires some control parameters to be carefully selected, else the network is apt to converge to local minimum. An ant system is a nature inspired meta heuristic algorithm. It has been applied to several combinatorial optimization problems such as Traveling Salesman Problem, Scheduling Problems, etc. This paper will show an ant system may be used in tuning the network control parameters by a group of cooperated ants. The major advantage of this network is to adjust the network parameters automatically, avoiding a blind search for the set of control parameters.This network was tested on two TSP problems, 5 cities and 10 cities. The results have shown an obvious improvement.

  13. 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.

  14. An ants-eye view of an ant-plant protection mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanan, M. C.; Bronstein, J. L.

    2013-01-01

    Ant protection of extrafloral nectar-secreting plants (EFN plants) is a common form of mutualism found in most habitats around the world. However, very few studies have considered these mutualisms from the ant, rather than the plant, perspective. In particular, a whole-colony perspective that takes into account the spatial structure and nest arrangement of the ant colonies that visit these plants has been lacking, obscuring when and how colony-level foraging decisions might affect tending rates on individual plants. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that recruitment of Crematogaster opuntiae (Buren) ant workers to the extrafloral nectar-secreting cactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Englem) is not independent between plants up to 5m apart. Colony territories of C. opuntiae are large, covering areas of up to 5000m2, and workers visit between five and thirty-four extrafloral nectar-secreting barrel cacti within the territories. These ants are highly polydomous, with up to twenty nest entrances dispersed throughout the territory and interconnected by trail networks. Our study demonstrates that worker recruitment is not independent within large polydomous ant colonies, highlighting the importance of considering colonies rather than individual workers as the relevant study unit within ant/plant protection mutualisms PMID:23515612

  15. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vogel, Valerie; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Giraud, Tatiana

    2010-01-01

    DNA haplotypes also suggests that supercolonies in the introduced range each derive from a single source supercolony and that one of these source supercolonies has been particularly successful, being the basis of many introduced populations spread across the world. Comparison of the genetic diversity......Aim The aim of this study was to determine the number of successful establishments of the invasive Argentine ant outside native range and to see whether introduced supercolonies have resulted from single or multiple introductions. We also compared the genetic diversity of native versus introduced...... to possible strategies to be used to control invasive ants....

  16. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    den Boer, Susanne; Stürup, Marlene; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    The eusocial ants are unique in that females (queens) acquire and store sperm on a single mating flight early in adult life. This event largely determines the size (possibly millions of workers), longevity (possibly decades) and genetic variation of the colonies that queens found, but our...... understanding of the fundamental biology of ejaculate production, transfer and physiological function remains extremely limited. We studied the ejaculation process in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found that it starts with the appearance of a clear pre-ejaculatory fluid (PEF) at the tip...

  17. Chaotic ant swarm optimization to economic dispatch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cai, Jiejin; Ma, Xiaoqian [Electric Power College, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640 (China); Li, Lixiang; Yang, Yixian [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); Peng, Haipeng [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China); Wang, Xiangdong [School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China)

    2007-08-15

    This paper developed a novel algorithm named chaotic ant swarm optimization (CASO) for solving the economic dispatch (ED) problems of thermal generators in power systems. This algorithm combines with the chaotic and self-organization behavior of ants in the foraging process. It includes both effects of chaotic dynamics and swarm-based search. The algorithm was employed to solve the ED problems of thermal generators. The proposed method was applied to three examples of power systems. Simulation results demonstrated that the method can obtain feasible and effective solutions, and it is a promising alternative approach for solving the ED problems in practical power systems. (author)

  18. Ant functional responses along environmental gradients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim; Retana, Javier

    2014-11-01

    Understanding species distributions and diversity gradients is a central challenge in ecology and requires prior knowledge of the functional traits mediating species' survival under particular environmental conditions. While the functional ecology of plants has been reasonably well explored, much less is known about that of animals. Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth, and they perform a great variety of ecological functions. In this study, we analyse how the functional species traits present in ant communities vary along broad gradients in climate, productivity and vegetation type in the south-western Mediterranean. To this end, we compiled one of the largest animal databases to date: it contains information on 211 local ant communities (including eight climate variables, productivity, and vegetation type) and 124 ant species, for which 10 functional traits are described. We used traits that characterize different dimensions of the ant functional niche with respect to morphology, life history and behaviour at both individual and colony level. We calculated two complementary functional trait community indices ('trait average' and 'trait dissimilarity') for each trait, and we analysed how they varied along the three different gradients using generalized least squares models that accounted for spatial autocorrelation. Our results show that productivity, vegetation type and, to a lesser extent, each climate variable per se might play an important role in shaping the occurrence of functional species traits in ant communities. Among the climate variables, temperature and precipitation seasonality had a much higher influence on functional responses than their mean values, whose effects were almost lacking. Our results suggest that strong relationships might exist between the abiotic environment and the distribution of functional traits among south-western Mediterranean ant communities. This finding indicates that

  19. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Denise; Calixto, Eduardo Soares; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system.

  20. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system. PMID:28046069

  1. Research on the Perceptual Law of Artificial Ants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG Zhaobao

    2005-01-01

    Beginning with the analysis of the behavior of natural ants, this paper illuminates the principle and method that, by adopting image texture energy as pheromone and finding their way on the track of the pheromone, artificial ants have the ability to identify and remember through similar measurement of pheromone. Based on the quantity of experiments, this paper analyzes some factors that influence the ability of artificial ants and draws some conclusions about the law of ant perception.

  2. 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....

  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. 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

  5. Eavesdropping on cooperative communication within an ant-butterfly mutualism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Elgar, Mark A.; Nash, David Richard; Pierce, Naomi E.

    2016-01-01

    of the Australian lycaenid butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras, form an obligate association with several species of attendant ants, including Iridomyrmex mayri. Ants protect the caterpillars and pupae, and in return are rewarded with nutritious secretions. Female and male adult butterflies use ants as signals...

  6. Ant-egg cataract. An electron microscopic study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schrøder, H D; Nissen, S H

    1979-01-01

    The ultrastructure of the ant-egg cataractous lens has been studied. Comparison of tissue demineralized by means of EDTA with untreated tissue showed the calcium salts in the ant-eggs to be mostly crystalline. A laminar appearance of the ant-egg seen in EDTA treated material suggested an intermit...

  7. 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.

  8. Mutualistic ants as an indirect defence against leaf pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Teuber, Marcia; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Boland, Wilhelm

    2014-04-01

    Mutualistic ants are commonly considered as an efficient indirect defence against herbivores. Nevertheless, their indirect protective role against plant pathogens has been scarcely investigated. We compared the protective role against pathogens of two different ant partners, a mutualistic and a parasitic ant, on the host plant Acacia hindsii (Fabaceae). The epiphytic bacterial community on leaves was evaluated in the presence and absence of both ant partners by cultivation and by 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Pathogen-inflicted leaf damage, epiphytic bacterial abundance (colony-forming units) and number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly higher in plants inhabited by parasitic ants than in plants inhabited by mutualistic ants. Unifrac unweighted and weighted principal component analyses showed that the bacterial community composition on leaves changed significantly when mutualistic ants were removed from plants or when plants were inhabited by parasitic ants. Direct mechanisms provided by ant-associated bacteria would contribute to the protective role against pathogens. The results suggest that the indirect defence of mutualistic ants also covers the protection from bacterial plant pathogens. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bacterial partners in ant-plant defensive mutualisms, which can contribute significantly to ant-mediated protection from plant pathogens. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

  11. Vestlus päevapoliitikast Ants Vahtrasega / Ants Vahtras ; interv. Hillar Padu

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Vahtras, Ants, 1953-

    2001-01-01

    Keskerakonna Hiiumaa osakonna esimees Ants Vahtras keskendub vestluses Keskerakonna kandidaatidele presidendi valimistele, arutleb presidendile vajalike isikuomaduste, haldusreformi, Hiiumaa Suurkogu, erastamiselt laekuva raha kasutamise üle ning annab hinnangu kultuuripoliitikale. Autor: Keskerakond

  12. Nõunik Ants Laansalu - rohkem talupoeg kui sulane / Ants Laansalu ; interv. Heiki Raudla

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Laansalu, Ants, 1938-2011

    2008-01-01

    Intervjuu põllumajandusministeeriumi nõunikuga, kes vastab küsimustele, mis puudutavad Eesti põllumajandusministreid, põllumehe mainet, põllumajanduse tulevikku Eestis ja maailmas. Vt. samas: Ants Laansalu: CV

  13. Ants ja Jaak / Ants Juske, Jaak Juske ; intervjueerinud Margit Tõnson, Maris Sander

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Juske, Ants, 1956-

    2011-01-01

    Kunstiteadlane Ants Juske ja tema poliitikust poeg Jaak Juske räägivad põlvkondade erinevustest ja konfliktidest, oma poliitilisest identiteedist, haridusest, eeskujudest, huvidest, eluviisidest. Nende eluloolisi andmeid

  14. Ants Veetõusme ja tema valikud / Ants Veetõusme ; interv. Imbi E. Kaljuste

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Veetõusme, Ants, 1949-

    2002-01-01

    Eesti Maksumaksjate Liidu juhatuse esimehe Ants Veetõusme varasemast elust ning praegusest tegevusest EML-i juhi, spordijuhi ja FIE-na. Kommenteerivad Tõnu Anton ja Tiit Nuudi. Tartu linnapea 1991-1993

  15. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vogel, Valerie; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Giraud, Tatiana;

    2010-01-01

    ) and secondary introductions (from sites with established invasive supercolonies) were important in the global expansion of the Argentine ant. In combination with the similar social organization of colonies in the native and introduced range, this indicates that invasiveness did not evolve recently as a unique...

  16. A global database of ant species abundances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, Heloise; Dunn, Rob R.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Grossman, Blair F.; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Agosti, Donat; Andersen, Alan N.; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Ingre; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B.; Bishop, Tom R.; Boulay, Raphael; Bruhl, Carsten; Castracani, Cristina; Cerda, Xim; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A.; Ellison, Aaron M.; Enriquez, Martha L.; Fayle, Tom M.; Feener Jr., Donald H.; Fisher, Brian L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Fitpatrick, Matthew C.; Gomez, Cristanto; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Gove, Aaron; Grasso, Donato A.; Groc, Sarah; Guenard, Benoit; Gunawardene, Nihara; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin; Janda, Milan; Jenkins, Clinton; Kaspari, Michael; Klimes, Petr; Lach, Lori; Laeger, Thomas; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Luke, Sarah H.; Majer, Jonathan; McGlynn, Terrence P.; Menke, Sean; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Moses, Jimmy; Munyai, Thinandavha Caswell; Pacheco, Renata; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M.; Resasco, Julian; Retana, Javier; Silva, Rogerio R.; Sorger, Magdalena D.; Souza, Jorge; Suarez, Andrew V.; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Vonshak, Merav; Weiser, Michael D.; Yates, Michelle; Parr, Catherine L.

    2017-01-01

    What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2693 species and 7953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this dataset was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardised methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing dataset.

  17. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line Vej; Drijfhout, Falko P

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its ra...

  18. Recognition of social identity in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend...

  19. Histrionicotoxin alkaloids finally detected in an ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jones, Tappey H.; Adams, Rachelle Martha Marie; Spande, Thomas F.

    2012-01-01

    Workers of the ant Carebarella bicolor collected in Panama were found to have two major poison-frog alkaloids, cis- and trans-fused decahydroquinolines (DHQs) of the 269AB type, four minor 269AB isomers, two minor 269B isomers, and three isomers of DHQ 271D. For the first time in an ant, however......, the DHQs were accompanied by six histrionicotoxins (HTXs), viz., 283A, 285A, 285B, 285C, 287A, and 287D. This co-occurrence of the HTX and DHQ alkaloids is the usual pattern seen in dendrobatid frogs. This finding contrasts with our earlier study, where workers of a Brazilian ant, Solenopsis (Diplorhoptrum......) sp., were found to have a very similar DHQ complex but failed to show HTXs. Several new DHQ alkaloids of MW 271 (named in the frog as 271G) are reported from the above ants that have both m/z 202 and 204 as major fragment ions, unlike the spectrum seen for the poison-frog alkaloid 271D, which has...

  20. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-03-01

    brood. The brood stages include the egg, the larval, and the pupa.27 The brood is dependent on the colony for nourishment and warmth until fully...night for rest and to relocate the colony. The bivouac is what is created when army ants huddle together in a ball instead of building a physical nest

  1. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    den Boer, Susanne; Stürup, Marlene; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2015-01-01

    understanding of the fundamental biology of ejaculate production, transfer and physiological function remains extremely limited. We studied the ejaculation process in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found that it starts with the appearance of a clear pre-ejaculatory fluid (PEF) at the tip...

  2. La nueva novela hispanoamericana ante Europa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuel Zapata Olivella

    1964-01-01

    Full Text Available Hace exactamente medio siglo -1905- Unamuno se burlaba de los escritores hispanoamericanos a quienes consumía el antojo de descubrir a Europa a los europeos en vez de describir lo que tenían ante sus ojos.

  3. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guerrieri, Fernando J; Nehring, Volker; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Galizia, C Giovanni; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-07-01

    Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies. Ants are good models for studying recognition mechanisms, because they are typically very efficient in discriminating 'friends' (nest-mates) from 'foes' (non-nest-mates). Recognition in ants involves multicomponent cues encoded in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Here, we tested whether workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus herculeanus use the presence and/or absence of cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate between nest-mates and non-nest-mates. We supplemented the cuticular profile with synthetic hydrocarbons mixed to liquid food and then assessed behavioural responses using two different bioassays. Our results show that (i) the presence, but not the absence, of an additional hydrocarbon elicited aggression and that (ii) among the three classes of hydrocarbons tested (unbranched, mono-methylated and dimethylated alkanes; for mono-methylated alkanes, we present a new synthetic pathway), only the dimethylated alkane was effective in eliciting aggression. Our results suggest that carpenter ants use a fundamentally different mechanism for nest-mate recognition than previously thought. They do not specifically recognize nest-mates, but rather recognize and reject non-nest-mates bearing odour cues that are novel to their own colony cuticular hydrocarbon profile. This begs for a reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying recognition systems in social insects.

  4. Caste-specific tyramides from Myrmicine ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    T.H. Jones; H.M. Garrafo; T.F. Spande; N.R. Andriamaharavo; J.S.T. Gorman; A.J. Snyder; A.W. Jeter; J.A. Torres; John W. Daly

    2010-01-01

    Analysis of the extracts of male ants of Monomorium minimum and Monomorium ebeninum by GC-MS and GC-FTIR revealed the presence of tyramides 2 and 4c, for which the structures were established by comparison with synthetic samples. These compounds and their analogues 1 and 3 were also found in males of other Monomorium species, males of Myrmicaria opaciventris, and males...

  5. Ant System Algorithm Research and Its Applications

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    In this paper, systematic review on Ant System (AS) algorithm research and application is made, and the authors works of introducing As algorithm into continuous space application are summarized. Then the applicability characters of AS in continuous space optimization problems are also discussed.

  6. Enhanced Pest Ant Control with Hydrophobic Bait

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants occupy every ecological niche in the world where they contribute to the ecosystem, e.g., as scavengers and aerators of the soil. However, when they are transported, usually through human activities, to new locations they have powerful negative impacts on their adopted homeland. Five of the 17 l...

  7. Ants mediate the structure of phytotelm communities in an ant-garden bromeliad

    OpenAIRE

    Céréghino, Régis; Leroy, Céline; Dejean,Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2010-01-01

    International audience; The main theories explaining the biological diversity of rain forests often confer a limited understanding of the contribution of interspecific interactions to the observed patterns. We show how two-species mutualisms can affect much larger segments of the invertebrate community in tropical rain forests. Aechmea mertensii (Bromeliaceae) is both a phytotelm (plant-held water) and an ant-garden epiphyte. We studied the influence of its associated ant species (Pachycondyl...

  8. Can the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) replace native ants in myrmecochory?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi

    2003-04-01

    We analyse the influence of the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) on the seed dispersal process of the myrmecochorous plants Euphorbia characias, E. biumbellata, Genista linifolia, G. triflora, G. monspessulana and Sarothamnus arboreus. The observations were made in two study plots of Mediterranean cork-oak secondary forest (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile). The presence of L. humile implies the displacement of all native ant species that disperse seeds. Seed transports in the non-invaded zone were carried out by eight ant species. In the invaded zone, L. humile workers removed and transported seeds to the nest. In vertebrate exclusion trials, we observed the same level of seed removal in the invaded and non-invaded zones. Two findings could explain this result. Although mean time to seed localization was higher for native ants (431.7 s) than that for L. humile (150.5 s), the mean proportion of seeds transported after being detected was higher (50.1%) in non-invaded than in invaded (16.8%) zones. The proportion of seeds removed and transported into an ant nest after an ant-seed interaction had dramatically reduced from non-invaded (41.9%) to invaded (7.4%) zones. The levels of seed dispersal by ants found prior to invasion are unlikely to be maintained in invaded zones. However, total replacement of seed dispersal function is possible if contact iteration finally offers similar levels or quantities of seeds reaching the nests. The results obtained confirm that the Argentine ant invasion may affect myrmecochory dramatically in the Mediterranean biome.

  9. Parameters of ante-mortem delirium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deksnyte, Aušra

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Objectives. The aim of this study was to investigate the parameters of ante-mortem delirium of the patients in a closed psychiatric institution and to compare them with the ante-mortem psychopathology of the medical patients. Methods. There were 139 medical records of the patients analyzed, who died during the period of 1997-2003 at the in-patient psychiatric institution. The diagnoses were recorded according to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10 criteria. Patients’ data included age, gender, previous psychiatric disorders, current somatic and psychiatric morbidity, and comorbidity. Results. The incidence of delirium was 83,7%. The delirium group included more elder, male persons who were more likely to have dementia and less inclined to depression. Surprisingly the incidence of delirium among non-dementia men was quite high – 76,9%, as compared to non-dementia women – 23,1% (P=0,008. The duration of delirium differed from 1 to 1335 days. Longer delirium was observed among elder than 75 years (87,7, SD 183,9 vs52,6, SD 121,4 days; P=0,019 and dementia (83,6, SD 173,6 vs 13,5, SD 11,6 days; P<0,001 patients, but did not differ in gender groups. Conclusions. Ante-mortem delirium occurred more commonly in more elder and demented patients The duration of ante-mortem delirium was shorter in younger and non-dementia patients. Patients of the psychiatric institution tend to have longer deliriums than medical patients. The patients with depression and the history of alcohol abuse were not likely to get ante-mortem delirium. Before death in many persons hyperactive and mixed delirium transformed into hypoactive.

  10. 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

  11. Dead ant walking: a myrmecophilous beetle predator uses parasitoid host location cues to selectively prey on parasitized ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2016-08-17

    Myrmecophiles (i.e. organisms that associate with ants) use a variety of ecological niches and employ different strategies to survive encounters with ants. Because ants are typically excellent defenders, myrmecophiles may choose moments of weakness to take advantage of their ant associates. This hypothesis was studied in the rove beetle, Myrmedonota xipe, which associates with Azteca sericeasur ants in the presence of parasitoid flies. A combination of laboratory and field experiments show that M. xipe beetles selectively locate and prey upon parasitized ants. These parasitized ants are less aggressive towards beetles than healthy ants, allowing beetles to eat the parasitized ants alive without interruption. Moreover, behavioural assays and chemical analysis reveal that M. xipe are attracted to the ant's alarm pheromone, the same secretion used by the phorid fly parasitoids in host location. This strategy allows beetles access to an abundant but otherwise inaccessible resource, as A. sericeasur ants are typically highly aggressive. These results are the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate a predator sharing cues with a parasitoid to gain access to an otherwise unavailable prey item. Furthermore, this work highlights the importance of studying ant-myrmecophile interactions beyond just their pairwise context.

  12. Experimental Study of the Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, J. I.; Fetzner, R. P.; Baxter, G. W.

    2006-03-01

    We study the search paths of foraging ants in order to describe their behavior mathematically. Ants have become popular as simple agents in models of artificial life. Here, the ant is presented the problem of finding food when no food cues are present. In this experiment, individual ants (Formicinae lasius flavus) are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional textured surface in the absence of a food source. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined with a high resolution digital camera. The scaling properties of the resulting foraging paths compare favorably with those of certain types of random walk.

  13. 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.

  14. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renner, Susanne S.

    2017-01-01

    This special 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 special 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. PMID:28298352

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Insect navigation: do ants live in the now?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Paul; Mangan, Michael

    2015-03-01

    Visual navigation is a critical behaviour for many animals, and it has been particularly well studied in ants. Decades of ant navigation research have uncovered many ways in which efficient navigation can be implemented in small brains. For example, ants show us how visual information can drive navigation via procedural rather than map-like instructions. Two recent behavioural observations highlight interesting adaptive ways in which ants implement visual guidance. Firstly, it has been shown that the systematic nest searches of ants can be biased by recent experience of familiar scenes. Secondly, ants have been observed to show temporary periods of confusion when asked to repeat a route segment, even if that route segment is very familiar. Taken together, these results indicate that the navigational decisions of ants take into account their recent experiences as well as the currently perceived environment. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  18. Extrafloral nectar content alters foraging preferences of a predatory ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

    We tested whether the carbohydrate and amino acid content of extrafloral nectar affected prey choice by a predatory ant. Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, were provided with artificial nectar that varied in the presence of carbohydrates and amino acids and were then provided with two prey items that differed in nutritional content, female and male crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with carbohydrate supplements consumed less of the female crickets and frequently did not consume the high-lipid ovaries of female crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with amino acid supplements consumed less of the male crickets. While a number of studies have shown that the presence of extrafloral nectar or honeydew can affect ant foraging activity, these results suggest that the nutritional composition of extrafloral nectar is also important and can affect subsequent prey choice by predatory ants. Our results suggest that, by altering the composition of extrafloral nectar, plants could manipulate the prey preferences of ants foraging on them.

  19. 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. PMID:23967129

  20. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  2. Bioturbation by Fire Ants in the Coastal Prairie of Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

    Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) were introduced to the US in the early part of the last century. They have spread throughout the southeastern US in the absence of native competitors and predators with a range limited by abiotic factors. Each fire ant mound contains thousands of individuals, can be large, and can be numerous enough to comprise a dominant feature of the landscape. Studies of this species have focused upon its spread, formation of single- and multiple-queen colonies, genetic structure, and impact on native fauna and human health. Some studies have analyzed native fire ant-soil interactions, but few studies have examined the process of bioturbation by introduced fire ants in native ecosystems. Fire ants on the coastal prairie of Texas primarily are of the multiple-queen type that exhibit a much higher density of mounds than the single-queen type. Consequently, mound-building activities by fire ants can have a marked effect upon soil structure and nutrient content and may affect soil organisms and plants. Fire ant activity, mound density, mound dispersion, soil texture, soil permeability, soil moisture content, and soil nutrients were measured. Fire ants mounds are visible aboveground from April-November. Density of mounds was 117-738/ha, and average mound lifespan was 3.6 months with only 9% of the mounds remaining active throughout the entire season. Mounds were dispersed randomly. Foraging activity by fire ants was from June through October with a peak in July. Annual soil turnover was estimated by collecting and weighing mounds. There was no effect of ant mounds on soil texture, but water infiltration was higher in areas with ant mounds. Early-season samples showed no nutrient differences, but late-season samples showed that ant mounds contained higher amounts of micronutrients than random samples of soil. These data are compared to similar data on effects of mounds from native ants and from native and introduced ants in different habitats.

  3. Honey Bees Avoiding Ant Harassment at Flowers Using Scent Cues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sidhu, Sheena C; Wilson Rankin, Erin E

    2016-02-01

    Pollinators require resources throughout the year to maintain healthy populations. Along the urban-natural interface, floral resource availability may be limited especially when the system experiences extreme drought and fire threats. In such areas, succulents, such as Aloe spp., are commonly planted to serve as functional drought-tolerant, fire-protective landscaping, which can also support pollinator populations. However, access to this resource may be restricted by competition from other floral foragers, including invasive pests. We measured free-foraging honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) visitation rate and visitation duration to aloe flowers with and without Argentine ants (Linepithema humile (Mayr)) in a drought-stressed environment and found that bees actively avoided foraging on the ant-occupied flowers. To determine the mechanisms of avoidance, our subsequent experiments assessed visitation in the absence of ants and compared aloe flowers treated with ant pheromone to unmanipulated flowers lacking ant pheromone. Bees approached all flowers equally, but accepted flowers without ants at a higher rate than flowers with ants. Visitation duration also increased twofold on ant-excluded flowers, which suggests that Argentine ants may limit resource acquisition by bees. Honey bees similarly avoided flowers with Argentine ant pheromone and preferentially visited unmanipulated flowers at threefold higher rate. This study demonstrates that honey bees avoid foraging on floral resources with invasive Argentine ants and that bees use ant odors to avoid ant-occupied flowers. Resource limitation by this invasive pest ant may have serious implication for sustaining healthy pollinator populations at the urban-natural interface. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Interaction between Mutualisms: Ant-tended butterflies exploit enemy-free space provided by ant-treehopper associations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaminski, Lucas A; Freitas, André V L; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2010-09-01

    Although mutualisms have been intensively investigated, demonstration of indirect effects between co-occurring mutualistic systems is rare. For instance, the ecological consequences of co-occurrence of ant-tended insects on a plant have never been examined for survival effects on either trophobiont species. Here, we assess the selective pressures mediating co-occurrence of a facultative ant-tended butterfly (Parrhasius polibetes) with ant-tended treehoppers (Guayaquila xiphias) on Schefflera vinosa shrubs. We evaluated host plant selection and caterpillar survival in P. polibetes in the presence and absence of ant-treehopper associations. Paired trials revealed that butterflies preferably oviposit on branches hosting ant-tended treehoppers when they had a choice between those and branches without this interaction. Presence of ant-tended treehoppers on a branch reduced the abundance of P. polibetes' natural enemies and improved caterpillar survival in both premyrmecophylic and ant-tended phases. Thus ant-tended treehoppers create an enemy-free space on foliage that butterflies exploit to protect larval offspring. These findings connect two widely documented ant-trophobiont mutualisms and highlight the importance of considering multiple interactions for a proper understanding of ant-plant-herbivore systems. Detection of other ant-based mutualisms on oviposition to improve offspring survival may have represented an important evolutionary step in the process of host plant selection in facultative myrmecophilous butterflies.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuble, Katharine L; Kirkman, L Katherine; Carroll, C Ronald; Sanders, Nathan J

    2011-06-01

    The degree to which changes in community composition mediate the probability of colonization and spread of non-native species is not well understood, especially in animal communities. High species richness may hinder the establishment of non-native species. Distinguishing between this scenario 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 and fire ants in four experimental plots. We then observed the reassembly and reestablishment of the ants in these plots for 1 year after treatment. The abundance of fire ants in treated plots did not differ from abundance in control plots 1 year after treatment. Likewise, 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 and fire ants to disturbance can be comparable.

  6. Ant foraging on extrafloral nectaries of Qualea grandiflora (Vochysiaceae) in cerrado vegetation: ants as potential antiherbivore agents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliveira, P S; da Silva, A F; Martins, A B

    1987-12-01

    Qualea grandiflora is a typical tree of Brazilian cerrados (savanna-like vegetation) that bears paired extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) along its stems. Results show that possession of EFNs increases ant density on Q. grandiflora shrubs over that of neighbouring non-nectariferous plants. Frequency of ant occupancy and mean number of ants per plant were much higher on Qualea than on plants lacking EFNs. These differences resulted in many more live termitebaits being attacked by foraging ants on Qualea than on neighbours without EFNs. Termites were attacked in equal numbers and with equal speeds on different-aged leaves of Qualea. The greatest potential for herbivore deterrence was presented by Camponotus ants (C. crassus, C. rufipes and C. aff. blandus), which together attacked significantly more termites than nine other ant species grouped. EFNs are regarded as important promoters of ant activity on cerado plants.

  7. A plant needs ants like a dog needs fleas: Myrmelachista schumanni ants gall many tree species to create housing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, David P; Frederickson, Megan E; Shepard, Glenn H; Yu, Douglas W

    2009-11-01

    Hundreds of tropical plant species house ant colonies in specialized chambers called domatia. When, in 1873, Richard Spruce likened plant-ants to fleas and asserted that domatia are ant-created galls, he incited a debate that lasted almost a century. Although we now know that domatia are not galls and that most ant-plant interactions are mutualisms and not parasitisms, we revisit Spruce's suggestion that ants can gall in light of our observations of the plant-ant Myrmelachista schumanni, which creates clearings in the Amazonian rain forest called "supay-chakras," or "devil's gardens." We observed swollen scars on the trunks of nonmyrmecophytic canopy trees surrounding supay-chakras, and within these swellings, we found networks of cavities inhabited by M. schumanni. Here, we summarize the evidence supporting the hypothesis that M. schumanni ants make these galls, and we hypothesize that the adaptive benefit of galling is to increase the amount of nesting space available to M. schumanni colonies.

  8. Recognition of social identity in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend o...... is formed, where in the nervous system it is localized, and the possible role of learning. We combine seemingly contradictory evidence in to a novel, parsimonious theory for the information processing of nestmate recognition cues.......Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend...

  9. Ant Colony Optimization and Hypergraph Covering Problems

    CERN Document Server

    Pat, Ankit

    2011-01-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a very popular metaheuristic for solving computationally hard combinatorial optimization problems. Runtime analysis of ACO with respect to various pseudo-boolean functions and different graph based combinatorial optimization problems has been taken up in recent years. In this paper, we investigate the runtime behavior of an MMAS*(Max-Min Ant System) ACO algorithm on some well known hypergraph covering problems that are NP-Hard. In particular, we have addressed the Minimum Edge Cover problem, the Minimum Vertex Cover problem and the Maximum Weak- Independent Set problem. The influence of pheromone values and heuristic information on the running time is analysed. The results indicate that the heuristic information has greater impact towards improving the expected optimization time as compared to pheromone values. For certain instances of hypergraphs, we show that the MMAS* algorithm gives a constant order expected optimization time when the dominance of heuristic information is ...

  10. Optic disc detection using ant colony optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dias, Marcy A.; Monteiro, Fernando C.

    2012-09-01

    The retinal fundus images are used in the treatment and diagnosis of several eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. This paper proposes a new method to detect the optic disc (OD) automatically, due to the fact that the knowledge of the OD location is essential to the automatic analysis of retinal images. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is an optimization algorithm inspired by the foraging behaviour of some ant species that has been applied in image processing for edge detection. Recently, the ACO was used in fundus images to detect edges, and therefore, to segment the OD and other anatomical retinal structures. We present an algorithm for the detection of OD in the retina which takes advantage of the Gabor wavelet transform, entropy and ACO algorithm. Forty images of the retina from DRIVE database were used to evaluate the performance of our method.

  11. Comparative analysis of the macronutrient content of Central European ants (Formicidae): implications for ant-eating predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pekár, S; Mayntz, D

    2014-03-01

    Prey nutrient quality determines predator performance. Polyphagous predators can address nutritional challenges by targeting prey with specific nutrient composition, but prey-specialised predators (e.g., ant-eaters), must obtain all nutrients from limited array of prey. Analysis of published data on prey specificity of European ant-eating spiders showed that some feed only on one ant genus, while others feed on several genera. Spiders feeding on several ant genera can possibly balance nutrient intake by selecting different ant prey. But monophagous species must extract all prey from a single prey species and can only vary nutrient intake by feeding on specific body parts. Most ant-eating spider species are catching Formica, Lasius and Messor ants, suggesting that these are most profitable ant species. We evaluated the nutritional content of a variety of 16 Central European ant species belonging to 11 genera and four subfamilies. We found that the nutritional composition, namely the amount of carbon, nitrogen and lipids, of European ants is heterogeneous. The largest variation in the amount of carbon and lipids was among ant subfamilies and species, while the largest variation in nitrogen was among ant genera. The largest amount of carbon and nitrogen was typical for Myrmicinae and the largest amount of lipids were typical for Formicinae. Within ants, the relative amounts of lipids were significantly higher in the gaster while the contents of carbon and nitrogen were highest in foreparts. Ant species did not cluster in the ordination space according to their taxonomic relationship or trophic strategy. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. How load-carrying ants avoid falling over: mechanical stability during foraging in Atta vollenweideri grass-cutting ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karin Moll

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants' running speed and thereby the colony's food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. CONCLUSIONS: In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate.

  13. Polyethism in a colony of artificial ants

    CERN Document Server

    Marriott, Chris

    2011-01-01

    We explore self-organizing strategies for role assignment in a foraging task carried out by a colony of artificial agents. Our strategies are inspired by various mechanisms of division of labor (polyethism) observed in eusocial insects like ants, termites, or bees. Specifically we instantiate models of caste polyethism and age or temporal polyethism to evaluated the benefits to foraging in a dynamic environment. Our experiment is directly related to the exploration/exploitation trade of in machine learning.

  14. Ant colony optimization and constraint programming

    CERN Document Server

    Solnon, Christine

    2013-01-01

    Ant colony optimization is a metaheuristic which has been successfully applied to a wide range of combinatorial optimization problems. The author describes this metaheuristic and studies its efficiency for solving some hard combinatorial problems, with a specific focus on constraint programming. The text is organized into three parts. The first part introduces constraint programming, which provides high level features to declaratively model problems by means of constraints. It describes the main existing approaches for solving constraint satisfaction problems, including complete tree search

  15. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Zoe; Franks, Daniel W; Robinson, Elva J H

    2013-04-21

    In socially foraging species resource information can be shared between individuals, increasing foraging success. In ant colonies, nestmate recruitment allows high exploitation rates at known resources however, to maximise foraging efficiency this must be balanced with searching for new resources. Many ant species form colonies inhabiting two or more spatially separated but socially connected nests: this type of organisation is known as polydomy. Polydomous colonies may benefit from increased foraging efficiency by carrying out dispersed-central place foraging. However, decentralisation of the colony may affect recruitment success by limiting interaction between ants based in separate nests. We use an agent-based model which compares the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in different food environments, incorporating recruitment through pheromone trails and group foraging. In contrast to previous results we show that polydomy is beneficial in some but not all cases. Polydomous colonies discover resources at a higher rate, making them more successful when food is highly dispersed, but their relative success can be lowered by limitations on recruitment success. Monodomous colonies can have higher foraging efficiency than polydomous colonies by exploiting food more rapidly. The results show the importance of interactions between recruitment strategy, colony size, and colony organisation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. El periodista, ante la espiral de silencio

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dr. Fermín Galindo Arranz

    1998-01-01

    Full Text Available La percepción de la profesión periodística y de su influencia cambia mucho a lo largo del tiempo, de las coyunturas históricas y de los diferentes países y sociedades en los que desempeñan su labor. En un contexto mundial, la gravedad de las situaciones de riesgo periodístico se encuadran en situaciones políticas, económicas o sociales también conflictivas; es entonces cuando se suele reproducir con facilidad en la opinión pública el fenómeno de la espiral del silencio, ante el que inevitablemente se sitúa el periodista. Por definición, el trabajo del periodista consiste en ser portavoz de las novedades que se producen, en dar informaciones y emitir opiniones en la esfera pública, se tiene que situar, por tanto, de forma individual y notoriamente pública ante los fenómenos de espiral de silencio que puedan producirse en la opinión pública. Antonio Tabucchi nos presenta en su novela "Sostiene Pereira" un ejemplo magnífico del dilema del periodista ante este tipo de situaciones.

  17. Indirect defense in a highly specific ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grangier, Julien; Dejean, Alain; Malé, Pierre-Jean G; Orivel, Jérôme

    2008-10-01

    Although associations between myrmecophytes and their plant ants are recognized as a particularly effective form of protective mutualism, their functioning remains incompletely understood. This field study examined the ant-plant Hirtella physophora and its obligate ant associate Allomerus decemarticulatus. We formulated two hypotheses on the highly specific nature of this association: (1) Ant presence should be correlated with a marked reduction in the amount of herbivory on the plant foliage; (2) ant activity should be consistent with the "optimal defense" theory predicting that the most vulnerable and valuable parts of the plant are the best defended. We validated the first hypothesis by demonstrating that for ant-excluded plants, expanding leaves, but also newly matured ones in the long term, suffered significantly more herbivore damage than ant-inhabited plants. We showed that A. decemarticulatus workers represent both constitutive and inducible defenses for their host, by patrolling its foliage and rapidly recruiting nestmates to foliar wounds. On examining how these activities change according to the leaves' developmental stage, we found that the number of patrolling ants dramatically decreased as the leaves matured, while leaf wounds induced ant recruitment regardless of the leaf's age. The resulting level of these indirect defenses was roughly proportional to leaf vulnerability and value during its development, thus validating our second hypothesis predicting optimal protection. This led us to discuss the factors influencing ant activity on the plant's surface. Our study emphasizes the importance of studying both the constitutive and inducible components of indirect defense when evaluating its efficacy and optimality.

  18. The use of weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) in tropical agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    Canopy dwelling weaver ants are widely distributed throughout the Old World Tropics where they build up high densities on their host trees. If managed properly the high number of ants will control a range of pest insects and benefit crop production. Simultaneously the ant larvae production, fuell...... be sustainable combined with their use in biocontrol, (ii) estimates of ant harvest yields from a mango plantation and (iii) how active feeding of ants may generate economic returns between 1.52 and 4.56 in a Thai market....... into a valuable and needed source of protein. Protein from conventional livestock production leave a high pressure on the environment as the food and farm area needed to produce each protein unit is high. For insect production these requirements are much lower and FAO has recently proposed research in insect...... 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...

  19. 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.

  20. Ants at Plant Wounds: A Little-Known Trophic Interaction with Evolutionary Implications for Ant-Plant Interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Staab, Michael; Fornoff, Felix; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Blüthgen, Nico

    2017-09-01

    Extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) allow plants to engage in mutualisms with ants, preventing herbivory in exchange for food. EFNs occur scattered throughout the plant phylogeny and likely evolved independent from herbivore-created wounds subsequently visited by ants collecting leaked sap. Records of wound-feeding ants are, however, anecdotal. By surveying 38,000 trees from 40 species, we conducted the first quantitative ecological study of this overlooked behavior. Ant-wound interactions were widespread (0.5% of tree individuals) and occurred on 23 tree species. Interaction networks were opportunistic, closely resembling ant-EFN networks. Fagaceae, a family lacking EFNs, was strongly overrepresented. For Fagaceae, ant occurrence at wounds correlated with species-level leaf damage, potentially indicating that wounds may attract mutualistic ants, which supports the hypothesis of ant-tended wounds as precursors of ant-EFN mutualisms. Given that herbivore wounds are common, wound sap as a steadily available food source might further help to explain the overwhelming abundance of ants in (sub)tropical forest canopies.

  1. How Load-Carrying Ants Avoid Falling Over: Mechanical Stability during Foraging in Atta vollenweideri Grass-Cutting Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Karin; Roces, Flavio; Federle, Walter

    2013-01-01

    Background Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants’ running speed and thereby the colony’s food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. Principal Findings Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment) was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod) was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. Conclusions In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate. PMID:23300994

  2. Behavior of Ants Escaping from a Single-Exit Room

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shujie; Lv, Wei; Song, Weiguo

    2015-01-01

    To study the rules of ant behavior and group-formation phenomena, we examined the behaviors of Camponotus japonicus, a species of large ant, in a range of situations. For these experiments, ants were placed inside a rectangular chamber with a single exit that also contained a filter paper soaked in citronella oil, a powerful repellent. The ants formed several groups as they moved toward the exit to escape. We measured the time intervals between individual escapes in six versions of the experiment, each containing an exit of a different width, to quantify the movement of the groups. As the ants exited the chamber, the time intervals between individual escapes changed and the frequency distribution of the time intervals exhibited exponential decay. We also investigated the relationship between the number of ants in a group and the group flow rate. PMID:26125191

  3. Where and how Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) spreads in Corsica?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blight, Olivier; Orgeas, Jérôme; Renucci, Marielle; Tirard, Alain; Provost, Erick

    2009-08-01

    The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Dolichoderinae), is one of the most widespread invasive ant species in the world. When established in optimal habitat, this species usually excludes most other local ants and can heavily impact other arthropods as well. Although Argentine ants have been present in southern Europe for more than 100 years, they were first noted in Corsica, a French Mediterranean island, in 1957 in only one urban station. In this study, we aimed to map precisely their geographical distribution in Corsica and to quantify their presence by using an infestation index. We recorded changes in the distribution of Argentine ants in Corsica over the past decade. Argentine ants appeared to be well established within their introduced range and spreading along the Corsican coasts principally through Human-mediated jump-dispersal but not homogenously.

  4. 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

  5. A Theoretic Basis for IS? The Contribution of ANT

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jim Underwood

    2002-11-01

    Full Text Available Representation is a key issue of IS design and operation that is often ignored. Actor-network theory (ANT, a semiotic theory of stakeholders, provides a way of dealing with representation. Combining aspects of ANT and Foucault's discourse theory allows us to include concepts as actors and promises a flexible and durable foundation for IS practice, but ANT itself indicates that the search for a purely theoretical foundation for IS is misguided.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  7. Cercomacra and related antbirds (Aves, Formicariidae as army ant followers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Full Text Available Cercomacra and Schistocichla antbirds (Formicariidae favor dense foliage and seldom follow army ants for flushed prey, since the ants move through open forest understory as well as through dense zones. Two other lineages, the Drymophila-Hypocnemis lineage (of dense woodland understory and the Formicivora lineage (of dense bushes in dry or semiopen zones, also cannot follow ants regularly through open forest understory.

  8. 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.

  9. Ant behaviour and seed morphology: a missing link of myrmecochory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Espadaler, Xavier; Bas, Josep M

    2005-12-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is mediated by the presence of a lipid-rich appendage (elaiosome) on the seed that induces a variety of ants to collect the diaspores. When seeds mature or fall onto the ground, these ant species transport them to their nest. After eating the elaiosome, the seed is discarded in nest galleries or outside, in the midden or farther away, where seeds can potentially germinate. The final location of seeds with their elaiosomes removed was evaluated to assess the importance of possible handles (structures that ants can grasp to carry) in transporting ants during re-dispersal experiments of seeds from nests of six species of ants. The results indicate that seeds remained within the nest because the ants were not able to transport them out of the nest. As a consequence of the elaiosome being removed, small ant species could not take Euphorbia characias seeds out of their nests. Only large ant species could remove E. characias seeds from their nests. Attaching an artificial handle to E. characias seeds allowed small ant species to redistribute the seeds from their nests. On the other hand, Rhamnus alaternus seeds that have a natural handle after the elaiosome removal were removed from the nests by both groups of ant species. If a seed has an element that acts as a handle, it will eventually get taken out of the nest. The ants' size and their mandible gap can determine the outcome of the interaction (i.e. the pattern of the final seed shadow) and as a consequence, could influence the events that take place after the dispersal process.

  10. Parallelizing Ant Colony Optimization via Area of Expertise Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-09-13

    lutions for all but the most trivial instances. Ant colony optimization (ACO) is a simple metaheuristic that can effectively solve problems in these...expertise” technique is applied to two problem domains: gridworld and the traveling salesman problem. 1.1 Motivation ACO is a metaheuristic that generates...independent ant agents, an obvious extension of the ant colony framework is to implement the algorithm in a parallel environment. One of the main

  11. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops

    OpenAIRE

    Pepijn W Kooij; Aanen, D. K.; Schiøtt, M.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Innovative evolutionary developments are often related to gene or genome duplications. The crop fungi of attine fungus‐growing ants are suspected to have enhanced genetic variation reminiscent of polyploidy, but this has never been quantified with cytological data and genetic markers. We estimated 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 ...

  12. Does Trichomes on the Plant Epidermic Surface Disturb Ants Locomotion?

    OpenAIRE

    Danon C. Cardoso; Maykon P Cristiano; Lenise C. M. Vilela; Tiago D. A. Martins

    2009-01-01

    Problem Statement: Many morphological characteristics, both physical and chemical, are used in the defense against herbivores on plants. Trichomes are structures used by plants as physics defense and when associated with glands combine physics and chemistry defense. Many species of ants are herbivores and use leaves and seeds, others ants use Extra Floral Nectars as a food resource, and the majority of the species are predators of other ants and other insects, &#...

  13. Rhabdomyolysis and Acute Renal Failure After Fire Ant Bites

    OpenAIRE

    Koya, Supriya; Crenshaw, Daryl; Agarwal, Anupam

    2007-01-01

    We describe a 59-year-old patient who developed acute renal failure because of rhabdomyolysis after extensive red fire ant bites. This case illustrates a serious systemic reaction that may occur from fire ant bites. Consistent with the clinical presentation in rhabdomyolysis associated with non-traumatic causes, hyperkalemia, hypophosphatemia, hypocalcemia, and high anion gap acidosis were not observed in this patient. While local allergic reactions to fire ant bites are described in the lite...

  14. [Syagrus romanzoffiana (Arecaceae) seed utilization by ants in a secondary forest in South Brazil].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, Fernanda R; Begnini, Romualdo M; Klier, Vinícius A; Scherer, Karla Z; Lopes, Benedito C; Castellani, Tânia T

    2009-01-01

    Ants can nest in a wide variety of substracts. This paper shows Syagrus romanzoffiana seed utilization by ants in an Atlantic secondary forest. We report 29 seeds occupied by small-bodied ants, with 27 of them showing at least two ant development stages. Although a large number of seeds were sampled, a low level of ant occupation was observed.

  15. Laboratory host specificicty testing of the fire ant microsporidian pathogen Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    The host specificity of Vairimorpha invictae, a microsporidian pathogen of fire ants in South America, was assessed in the laboratory with the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, the southern fire ant, Solenopsis xyloni, and the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile. The two fire ant species are fo...

  16. Long-term persistence of a neotropical ant-plant population in the absence of obligate plant-ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moraes, Sinara C; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L

    2009-09-01

    Interactions between ants and ant-plants are considered classic examples of obligate mutualisms. Previous studies have indicated that for many ant-plants the loss of ant colonies results in severe defoliation or mortality. Although individual plants can persist for some period of time without their mutualistic partners, to date populations of ant-free plants have only been recorded at high altitudes or on remote islands where herbivores are also scarce. We studied the interaction between ants, herbivores, and the ant-plant Tococa guianensis in the Cerrado region of central Brazil. Using a survey conducted across a large geographic region, we show that there is interpopulation variation in ant occupancy across sites and habitats. At most sites surveyed, plants were inhabited by Allomerus octoarticulatus, an obligate plant-ant. Plants with obligate ants had significantly lower standing levels of herbivore damage than plants with opportunistic ants and plants with no ant occupants. Furthermore, experimental removal of A. octoarticulatus resulted in increased levels of damage in both young and mature leaves. Despite the protection provided by obligate ants, populations of T. guianensis were found to persist without these ants in some areas. Plants without A. octoarticulatus had significantly greater leaf toughness and trichome density than those with A. octoarticulatus. Furthermore, trichome density in plants with A. octoarticulatus increased after ants were removed, probably as a response induced by increased levels of herbivore damage. To our knowledge, this is the first record of the occurrence of native myrmecophyte populations without their mutualistic ants in mainland low-elevation sites. Several factors may help to explain the long-term persistence of T. guianensis populations without plant-ants in some areas of the Brazilian Cerrado, including its potential for induced morphological defenses against insect herbivores and selection for increased levels of

  17. Ant-Crypto, a Cryptographer for Data Encryption Standard

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Salabat Khan

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Swarm Intelligence and Evolutionary Techniques are attracting the cryptanalysts in the field of cryptography. This paper presents a novel swarm based attack called Ant-Crypto (Ant-Cryptographer for the cryptanalysis of Data Encryption Standard (DES. Ant-Crypto is based on Binary Ant Colony Optimization (BACO i.e. a binary search space based directed graph is modeled for efficiently searching the optimum result (an original encryption key, in our case. The reason that why evolutionary techniques are becoming attractive is because of the inapplicability of traditional techniques and brute force attacks against feistel ciphers due to their inherent structure based on high nonlinearity and low autocorrelation. Ant-Crypto uses a known-plaintext attack to recover the secret key of DES which is required to break/ decipher the secret messages. Ant-Crypto iteratively searches for the secret key while generating several candidate optimum keys that are guessed across different runs on the basis of routes completed by ants. These optimum keys are then used to find each individual bit of the 56 bit secret key used during encryption by DES. Ant-Crypto is compared with some other state of the art evolutionary based attacks i.e. Genetic Algorithm and Comprehensive Binary Particle Swarm Optimization. The experimental results show that Ant-Crypto is an effective evolutionary attack against DES and can deduce large number of valuable bits as compared to other evolutionary algorithms; both in terms of time and space complexity.

  18. Disease dynamics in a specialized parasite of ant societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Sandra Breum; Ferrari, Matthew; Evans, Harry C.

    2012-01-01

    Coevolution between ant colonies and their rare specialized parasites are intriguing, because lethal infections of workers may correspond to tolerable chronic diseases of colonies, but the parasite adaptations that allow stable coexistence with ants are virtually unknown. We explore the trade......-offs experienced by Ophiocordyceps parasites manipulating ants into dying in nearby graveyards. We used field data from Brazil and Thailand to parameterize and fit a model for the growth rate of graveyards. We show that parasite pressure is much lower than the abundance of ant cadavers suggests...

  19. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliveira, Paulo S.; Freitas, André V. L.

    2004-12-01

    The Brazilian cerrado savanna covers nearly 2 million km2 and has a high incidence on foliage of various liquid food sources such as extrafloral nectar and insect exudates. These liquid rewards generate intense ant activity on cerrado foliage, making ant plant herbivore interactions especially prevalent in this biome. We present data on the distribution and abundance of extrafloral nectaries in the woody flora of cerrado communities and in the flora of other habitats worldwide, and stress the relevance of liquid food sources (including hemipteran honeydew) for the ant fauna. Consumption by ants of plant and insect exudates significantly affects the activity of the associated herbivores of cerrado plant species, with varying impacts on the reproductive output of the plants. Experiments with an ant plant butterfly system unequivocally demonstrate that the behavior of both immature and adult lepidopterans is closely related to the use of a risky host plant, where intensive visitation by ants can have a severe impact on caterpillar survival. We discuss recent evidence suggesting that the occurrence of liquid rewards on leaves plays a key role in mediating the foraging ecology of foliage-dwelling ants, and that facultative ant plant mutualisms are important in structuring the community of canopy arthropods. Ant-mediated effects on cerrado herbivore communities can be revealed by experiments performed on wide spatial scales, including many environmental factors such as soil fertility and vegetation structure. We also present some research questions that could be rewarding to investigate in this major neotropical savanna.

  20. Improvement and Implementation of Best-worst Ant Colony Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xianmin Wei

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available In this study, we introduced the ant colony algorithm of best-worst ant system based on the pheromone update. By update improvements of local pheromone and global pheromone, as well as the optimal solution enhancement to a greater extent and the weakening of the worst solution, the algorithm further increased the difference of pheromone amount between the edge of the optimal path and the edge of the worst path and allowed the ant colony search behavior more focused near the optimal solution. Finally, through simulation experiments to prove that the algorithm can get the optimal solution and the convergence rate is faster than the average ant colony algorithm.

  1. What is the effect of soil use on ant communities?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Fernando A; Diehl, Elena

    2008-01-01

    Studies on ant communities in agroecosystems have contributed to the knowledge of the effect of agricultural activities on biological communities. The aim of this study is to explain the effect of soil use on ant communities. We tested the hypothesis that there was a decrease in ant species richness and a change in the species composition at habitats with more intense soil use. We collected ants using sardine baits, subterranean traps and direct sampling at four habitats with different soil use (secundary forest, Acacia forestry, initial stage of succession and mixed crops). The ant species richness did not decrease with intensity of soil use. In successional habitat the species numbers collected using sardine baits and subterranean traps were significantly different. Species composition of communities had a pronounced variation, with the epigaeic and hypogaeic ant faunas of the habitat with high intense soil use (mixed crops) had low similarity with ant communities of the three other habitats. The predator species were restricted to habitats with low intensity of soil use. Then, species composition could better reflect the functional changes on ant communities than species richness. Our data can help to choose the component of ant community that better reflect the response of biodiversity to agricultural impacts.

  2. Looking and homing: how displaced ants decide where to go.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeil, Jochen; Narendra, Ajay; Stürzl, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    We caught solitary foragers of the Australian Jack Jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi, and released them in three compass directions at distances of 10 and 15 m from the nest at locations they have never been before. We recorded the head orientation and the movements of ants within a radius of 20 cm from the release point and, in some cases, tracked their subsequent paths with a differential GPS. We find that upon surfacing from their transport vials onto a release platform, most ants move into the home direction after looking around briefly. The ants use a systematic scanning procedure, consisting of saccadic head and body rotations that sweep gaze across the scene with an average angular velocity of 90° s(-1) and intermittent changes in turning direction. By mapping the ants' gaze directions onto the local panorama, we find that neither the ants' gaze nor their decisions to change turning direction are clearly associated with salient or significant features in the scene. Instead, the ants look most frequently in the home direction and start walking fast when doing so. Displaced ants can thus identify home direction with little translation, but exclusively through rotational scanning. We discuss the navigational information content of the ants' habitat and how the insects' behaviour informs us about how they may acquire and retrieve that information.

  3. Five new records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for Nebraska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nemec, Kristine T.; Trager, James C.; Manley, Elizabeth; Allen, Craig R.

    2012-01-01

    Ants are ubiquitous and influential organisms in terrestrial ecosystems. About 1,000 ant species occur in North America, where they are found in nearly every habitat (Fisher and Cover 2007). Ants are critical to ecological processes and structure. Ants affect soils via tunneling activity (Baxter and Hole 1967), disperse plant seeds (Lengyel et al. 2009), prey upon a variety of insects and other invertebrates (Way and Khoo 1992, Folgarait 1998), are often effective primary consumers through their prodigious consumption of floral and especially extrafloral nectar, and honeydew (Tobin 1994), and serve as prey for invertebrates (Gotelli 1996, Gastreich 1999) and vertebrates (Reiss 2001).

  4. Variation of ant community structure on Ficus benguetensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shang-Yang Lin

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Although ants are commonly found on Ficus trees, information remains lacking on the pattern and diversity of the ant community visiting these trees. We hypothesize that dynamic changes in the availability and types of food can affect the composition as well as abundance of ant communities occurring on fig trees. To investigate the impact of resource availability, diversity, and variability on the ant community structure, we surveyed and recorded the fig phenology and ant abundance on 17 trees (11 male and six female trees of Ficus benguetensis in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan from 2011 to 2013. A total of 13 ant species were found on these fig trees, with 6 species more abundant than the others. The composition and relative abundance of the ant species occurring on F. benguetensis trees showed significant variations associated with tree sex, fig abundance, fig developmental phase, as well as temperature. A degree of dietary niche partitioning was also observed. We suggest that sexual differentiation in fig phenology plays a major role in controlling the availability and variance in food resources for ants, thereby shaping the complex ant communities foraging on F. benguetensis.

  5. 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.

  6. The Evolutionary Ecology of Multi-Queen Breeding in Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Huszár, Dóra Borbála

    Ants, like other social insects, have evolved cooperative societies based on kinship. Colonies headed by a single breeding queen (monogyny) was the ancestral state but today ca. half of the ant species live in multi-queen societies (polygyny), which can sometimes reach extreme sizes (supercolony...... that only ants, not the other obligatorily social insects were able to decrease social and sexual conflicts sufficiently to make polygyny reach obligate form in some species. This can be explained by general ant biology, such as perennial lifehistories, foraging on foot instead of wings and having one...

  7. Evolution and ecology of directed aerial descent in arboreal ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yanoviak, Stephen P; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert

    2011-12-01

    Directed aerial descent (DAD) is used by a variety of arboreal animals to escape predators, to remain in the canopy, and to access resources. Here, we build upon the discovery of DAD in ants of tropical canopies by summarizing its known phylogenetic distribution among ant genera, and within both the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae and the genus Cephalotes. DAD has multiple evolutionary origins in ants, occurring independently in numerous genera in the subfamilies Myrmicinae, Formicinae, and Pseudomyrmecinae. Ablation experiments and video recordings of ants in a vertical wind tunnel showed that DAD in Cephalotes atratus is achieved via postural changes, specifically orientation of the legs and gaster. The occurrence of DAD in Formicinae indicates that the presence of a postpetiole is not essential for the behavior. Evidence to date indicates that gliding behavior is accomplished by visual targeting mediated by the compound eyes, and is restricted to diurnally active ants that nest in trees. Occlusion of ocelli in Pseudomyrmex gracilis workers had no effect on their success or performance in gliding. Experimental assessment of the fate of ants that fall to the understory showed that ants landing in water are 15 times more likely to suffer lethal attacks than are ants landing in leaf litter. Variation in both the aerodynamic mechanisms and selective advantages of DAD merits further study given the broad taxonomic diversity of arboreal ants that engage in this intriguing form of flight.

  8. Signals can trump rewards in attracting seed-dispersing ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Kyle M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2013-01-01

    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.

  9. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hooper-Bui, L. M.; Kwok, E. S. C.; Buchholz, B. A.; Rust, M. K.; Eastmond, D. A.; Vogel, J. S.

    2015-10-01

    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 14C-sucrose, 14C-hydramethylnon, and 14C-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.

  10. 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.

  11. [Ants: a chemical library of anticancer molecules].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vétillard, Angélique; Bouzid, Wafa

    2016-01-01

    Animal venoms are complex mixtures containing simple organic molecules, proteins, peptides, and other bioactive elements with extraordinary biological properties associated with their ability to act on a number of molecular receptors in the process of incapacitating their target organisms. In such a context, arthropod venoms are invaluable sources of bioactive substances, with therapeutic interest but the limited availability of some venom such as those from ants, has restricted the potential that these biomolecules could represent. We investigated for the first time transcriptomic expression from the ant species Tetramorium bicarinatum. Four hundred randomly selected clones from cDNA libraries were sequenced and a total of 374 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated. Based on the results of BLAST searches, these sequences were clustered and assembled into 269 contigs. About 72% (269) of these matched BLASTx hits with an interesting diversity and unusual abundance of cellular transcripts (48%) related to gene and protein expression reflecting the specialization of this tissue. In addition, transcripts encoding transposases were relatively highly expressed (14%). It may be that transposable elements are present and that their presence accounts for some of the variation in venom toxins. About twenty per cent of the ESTs were categorized as putative toxins, the major part represented by allergens (48% of the total venom toxins) such as pilosulin 5, sol i 3 and Myp p I and II. Several contigs encoding enzymes, including zinc-metalloproteases (17%) that are likely involved in the processing and activation of venom proteins/peptides, were also identified from the library. In addition, a number of sequences (8%) had no significant similarity to any known sequence which indicates a potential source of for the discovery of new toxins. In order to provide a global insight on the transcripts expressed in the venom gland of the Brazilian ant species Tetramorium

  12. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sylvia Cremer

    Full Text Available It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects.

  13. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line V; Drijfhout, Falko P; Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Seifert, Bernhard; Hughes, David P; Schulz, Andreas; Petersen, Klaus S; Konrad, Heino; Stauffer, Christian; Kiran, Kadri; Espadaler, Xavier; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Aktaç, Nihat; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Jones, Graeme R; Nash, David R; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects.

  14. The acacia ants revisited: convergent evolution and biogeographic context in an iconic ant/plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Philip S; Branstetter, Michael G

    2017-03-15

    Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses can enhance our understanding of multispecies interactions by placing the origin and evolution of such interactions in a temporal and geographical context. We use a phylogenomic approach-ultraconserved element sequence capture-to investigate the evolutionary history of an iconic multispecies mutualism: Neotropical acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus group) and their associated Vachellia hostplants. In this system, the ants receive shelter and food from the host plant, and they aggressively defend the plant against herbivores and competing plants. We confirm the existence of two separate lineages of obligate acacia ants that convergently occupied Vachellia and evolved plant-protecting behaviour, from timid ancestors inhabiting dead twigs in rainforest. The more diverse of the two clades is inferred to have arisen in the Late Miocene in northern Mesoamerica, and subsequently expanded its range throughout much of Central America. The other lineage is estimated to have originated in southern Mesoamerica about 3 Myr later, apparently piggy-backing on the pre-existing mutualism. Initiation of the Pseudomyrmex/Vachellia interaction involved a shift in the ants from closed to open habitats, into an environment with more intense plant herbivory. Comparative studies of the two lineages of mutualists should provide insight into the essential features binding this mutualism. © 2017 The Author(s).

  15. Ant Systems for a Dynamic TSP - Ants Caught in a Traffic Jam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eyckelhof, C.J.; Dorigo, M.; Caro Di, G.; Snoek, M.; Sampels, M.

    2002-01-01

    In this paper we present a new Ants System approach to a dynamic Travelling Salesman Problem. Here the travel times between the cities are subject to change. To handle this dynamism several ways of adapting the pheromone matrix both locally and globally are considered. We show that the strategy of

  16. Ants Laaneots : palgaarmeele üleminek pole praegu aktuaalne / Ants Laaneots ; interv. Peeter Kuimet

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Laaneots, Ants, 1948-

    2006-01-01

    Ilmunud ka: Postimees : na russkom jazõke 6. dets. lk. 2. Kaitseväe uus juhataja kindralmajor Ants Laaneots vastab küsimustele kaitseväe ja ajateenistuse probleemide kohta. Lisa: Eesti kaitseväe juhatajad 1993-2006. Vt. samas: Laaneotsalt oodatakse sisetülide lahendamist

  17. Ants Laaneots : Peame venelaste provokatsiooniks valmis olema / Ants Laaneots ; interv. Urmo Soonvald

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Laaneots, Ants, 1948-

    2002-01-01

    Ilmunud ka: Den za Dnjom 13. september lk. 9. Kindralmajor Ants Laaneots vastab küsimustele, kui reaalne on tulevikus Eesti pinnal sõja puhkemise oht, 11. septembri sündmuste kohta USA-s, Eesti NATO liikmeks kutsumise, provokatsioonide vastu valmisoleku, võõrriigi oletatava Eestisse sissetungi kohta

  18. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line Vej; Drijfhout, Falko P

    2008-01-01

    rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus...... relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic...

  19. Salud mental ante las crisis y desastres

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    La Salud Mental es un componente nuclear del bienestar personal y colectivo, es un concepto que aunque parcial de la salud general constituye el único camino probablemente para acercarse a la felicidad y la paz que todos los seres humanos (salvo excepciones) buscamos. Y las crisis y los desastres son eventos más allá de lo esperable que sobrepasa las defensas del ser humano y ante el que hay que enfrentarse con rapidez, eficacia, orden, multiprofesionalmente pero sobre todo con calma int...

  20. The effect of diet and opponent size on aggressive interactions involving caribbean crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants.