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Sample records for acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

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

    Mariane Aparecida Nickele

    2012-09-01

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

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

    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.

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

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

    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...

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

    Henrique Moreira Link

    2009-09-01

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

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

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

    2005-01-01

    Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants maintain two highly specialized, vertically transmitted mutualistic ectosymbionts: basidiomycete fungi that are cultivated for food in underground gardens and actinomycete Pseudonocardia bacteria that are reared on the cuticle to produce antibiotics that suppress...... the growth of Escovopsis parasites of the fungus garden. Mutualism stability has been hypothesized to benefit from genetic uniformity of symbionts, as multiple coexisting strains are expected to compete and, thus, reduce the benefit of the symbiosis. However, the Pseudonocardia symbionts are likely...

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

    Liriana Belizário Cantagalli

    2013-11-01

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

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

    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...

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

    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 actinomycete bacterial mutualist (genus Pseudonocardia). Despite the potential of being infected by phylogenetically diverse strains of parasites, each ant colony maintains only a single Pseudonocardia symbiont strain, which is primarily vertically transmitted between colonies by the founding queens....... In this study, we show that Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants are able to differentiate between their native actinomycete strain and a variety of foreign strains isolated from sympatric and allopatric Acromyrmex species, in addition to strains originating from other fungus-growing ant genera. The recognition...

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

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

    2006-01-01

    Paired exocrine metapleural glands are present in almost all ants and produce compounds with antibiotic properties towards a variety of pathogenic fungi and bacteria. In Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, small workers have relatively large metapleural glands compared to large workers, and thus harbour...

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

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

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    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...

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

    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....

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

    Jack eHowe

    2016-05-01

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

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

    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.

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

    Pedro Boff

    2012-10-01

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

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

    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...

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

    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...

  19. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants

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

    2011-01-01

    -fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced...... social defense, a Pseudonocardia bacteria that helps to control pathogens in the ants' fungus garden, showed a significant colony of origin by rearing environment interaction, whereby ants that acquired the bacteria of a foster colony obtained a less abundant cover of bacteria: one explanation...

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

    ANA I MEDINA

    2012-06-01

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

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

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

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants display symbiont preference in behavioral assays, both towards the fungus they cultivate for food and Actinobacteria they maintain on their cuticle for antibiotic production against parasites. These Actinobacteria, genus Pseudonocardia Henssen (Pseudonocardiacea: Actinomycetales...... with two non-native strains, elucidating the role of genetic distance on preference between strains and Pseudonocardia origin. Our findings suggest that ants tend to prefer bacteria more closely related to their native bacterium and that genetic similarity is probably more important than whether symbionts...

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

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

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

    2011-01-01

    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...

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

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

    2007-01-01

    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...

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

    Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten

    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...

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

    Douglas Daniel Grutzmacher

    2007-08-01

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

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

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2010-12-01

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

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

    Isabel E Moller

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2009-01-01

    Evolutionary theory predicts that hosts are selected to prevent mixing of genetically different symbionts when competition among lineages reduces the productivity of a mutualism. The symbionts themselves may also defend their interests: recent studies of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants showed...... that 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...

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

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

    2015-01-01

    Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend 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...

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

    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.

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

    Pepijn W Kooij

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2009-01-01

    1. The leaf-cutting ants practise an advanced system of mycophagy where they grow a fungus as a food source. As a consequence of parasite threats to their crops, they have evolved a system of morphological, behavioural, and chemical defences, particularly against fungal pathogens (mycopathogens). 2....... Specific fungal diseases of the leaf-cutting ants themselves have not been described, possibly because broad spectrum anti-fungal defences against mycopathogens have reduced their susceptibility to entomopathogens. 3. Using morphological and molecular tools, the present study documents three rare infection...... 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....

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

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

    2003-01-01

    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...

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

    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...

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

    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.

  19. Diploid male production in a leaf-cutting ant

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

    2010-01-01

    1. In haplodiploid social insects where males are haploid and females are diploid, inbreeding depression is expressed as the production of diploid males when homozygosity at the sex-determining locus results in the production of diploid individuals with a male phenotype. Diploid males are often...... 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...... that many diploid male larvae may not survive to adulthood. 4. We measured two traits potentially linked to male reproductive success: sperm length and sperm number, and showed that diploid males produced fewer but longer sperm. These results provide indirect evidence that diploid male reproductive success...

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

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

    2011-09-01

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

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Daniela Römer

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

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

    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

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

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

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

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2014-01-01

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen 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....

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

    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

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    Thomsen Lene

    2004-11-01

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

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

    Van Bael Sunshine A

    2012-11-01

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

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

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

    2014-01-01

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen...

  19. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2002-05-01

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

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Daniela Isabel Brayer Pereira

    2015-07-01

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

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

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

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

    2005-11-15

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

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

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

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

    2015-05-22

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

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

    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...

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

    Edypo Jacob Silva

    2014-12-01

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2015-01-01

    Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens...

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

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

    2015-01-01

    Background: The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend garde...

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

    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...

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

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

    2014-01-01

    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....

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2013-01-01

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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

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

    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.

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

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    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...

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

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    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.

  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

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

    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...

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

    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

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    Barke Jörg

    2010-08-01

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

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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....

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

    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.

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

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

    2016-01-01

    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...... 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....

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

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

    2005-01-01

    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 o...... to the Metarhizium infection or was depressed by the parasite. The results suggest that the immune response is a costly and limited process, but further experiments are needed to distinguish between the alternative explanations for the effects observed.......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...

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

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

    2007-01-01

    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...

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

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

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

    L. M. N. Pinto

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

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

    Tiago Pikart

    2010-11-01

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

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

    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...

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

    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, ...

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

    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...

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

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

    2010-01-01

    Nonreproductive workers of many eusocial Hymenoptera 'police' the colony, that is, they attack reproductive sister workers or destroy their eggs (unfertilized; developing into haploid males). Several ultimate causes of policing have been proposed, including (1) an increase in colony productivity......, applicable if reproductive workers work less, or (2) an increase in worker-to-male relatedness, applicable if within-colony relatedness is low. To explain the distribution of policing across taxa, the explanatory power of these and other potential ultimate causes should be assessed separately. One of the few...... peculiar to leafcutter ants, we introduced reproductive versus nonreproductive workers and batches of queen-laid versus worker-laid eggs into experimental colony fragments and observed their fate. Our main finding was that workers policed by selectively destroying worker-laid eggs, but without attacking...

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    Lange, L; Grell, M N

    2014-06-01

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

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

    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.

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

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

    2017-02-11

    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

  15. Genetic royal cheats in leaf-cutting ant societies

    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......Social groups are vulnerable to cheating because the reproductive interests of group members are rarely identical. All cooperative systems are therefore predicted to involve a mix of cooperative and cheating genotypes, with the frequency of the latter being constrained by the suppressive abilities...

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

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

    2014-08-01

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

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

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

    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...... 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...

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

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

    2007-10-01

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

  19. 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

    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

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

    Luiz Carlos Forti

    2005-03-01

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

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

    Baer, Boris; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2006-01-01

    Copulation behavior has often been shaped by sexually selected sperm competition or cryptic female choice. However, manipulation of previously deposited ejaculates is unknown in the social Hymenoptera and the degree to which sperm competes after insemination or is actively selected by females has...... 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...

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

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

    2010-01-01

    Both developmental and environmental factors shape investment in costly immune defences. Social insect workers have different selection pressures on their innate immune system compared to non-social insects because workers do not reproduce and their longevity affects the fitness of relatives. Fur...

  3. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    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...

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

    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...

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

    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

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

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

    2015-01-01

    differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts.We hypothesize that these changes are associatedwith unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized...

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

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

    2010-07-01

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

  8. EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITIONS IN ENZYME ACTIVITY OF ANT FUNGUS GARDENS

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

    2010-01-01

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

  9. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    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....

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

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

    2010-01-01

    2. The attine fungus-growing ants are a tribe of more than 230 described species (12 genera) that use a variety of different substrates to manure the symbiotic fungus they cultivate inside the nest. Common 'wisdom' is that the conspicuous leaf-cutting ants primarily use freshly cut plant material......, whereas most of the other attine species use dry and partly degraded plant material such as leaf litter and caterpillar frass, but systematic comparative studies of actual resource acquisition across the attine ants have not been done. 3. Here we review 179 literature records of diet composition across...... the extant genera of fungus-growing ants. The records confirm the dependence of leaf-cutting ants on fresh vegetation but find that flowers, dry plant debris, seeds (husks), and insect frass are used by all genera, whereas other substrates such as nectar and insect carcasses are only used by some. 4. Diet...

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

    Francisco Rodrigo Tizón

    2010-09-01

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

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    : 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...

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

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

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

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

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants rear clonal fungi for food and transmit the fungi from mother to daughter colonies so that symbiont mixing and conflict, which result from competition between genetically different clones, are avoided. Here we show that despite millions of years of predominantly vertical...... transmission, the domesticated fungi actively reject mycelial fragments from neighboring colonies, and that the strength of these reactions are in proportion to the overall genetic difference between these symbionts. Fungal incompatibility compounds remain intact during ant digestion, so that fecal droplets...

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

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

    2012-01-01

    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...

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

    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.

  20. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

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

    2011-01-01

    Although social groups are characterized by cooperation, they are also often the scene of conflict. In non-clonal systems, the reproductive interests of group members will differ and individuals may benefit by exploiting the cooperative efforts of other group members. However, such selfish...... 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...

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

    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...

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

    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...

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

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

    2016-07-01

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

  6. Honey Ants.

    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)

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

    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.

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

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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.

  13. Struggling Ants

    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

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

    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.

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

    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...

  16. Beyond ANT

    Jansen, Till

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Ant Farm

    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...

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

    Pedro Leite Ribeiro

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

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

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

    Obligate mutualistic relationships are often inferred to be the result of higher levels of selection. However, because such mutualists consist of separate gene pools, innovative group-selected traits can only become established when they first provide a decisive fitness advantage to one...... 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...... 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...

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

    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.

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

    Fábio Moreira Link

    2000-11-01

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

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

    Edison Rogério Perrando

    2005-08-01

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

  3. The Ants Have It!

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

  4. Fire Ant Bites

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

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

    Edison Bisognin Cantarelli

    2010-08-01

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

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

    Aline Dornelas

    2016-04-01

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

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

    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.

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

    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

  9. Riding with the ants

    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

  10. Riding with the ants

    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

  11. The first mesozoic ants.

    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.

  12. Sick ants become unsociable

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

    2012-01-01

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

  13. Sick ants become unsociable.

    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.

  14. Record dynamics in ants.

    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.

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

    Bruce, Andrew I

    2016-01-01

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

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

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    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.

  18. ANT i arbejdslivsforskningen

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

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

  20. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Urea in Weaver Ant Feces

    Vidkjaer, Nanna H.; Wollenweber, Bernd; Jensen, Karl-Martin V.;

    2016-01-01

    investigate the interactions of weaver ants with the host plants with respect to plant nutrition. Here, we report the identification and quantification of urea, a highly effective foliar nutrient present in the fecal depositions of O. smaragdina. Feces samples obtained from six O. smaragdina colonies were......Weaver ants are tropical insects that nest in tree canopies, and for centuries these ants have been used for pest control in tropical orchards. Trees hosting weaver ants might benefit not only from the pest protective properties of these insects but also an additional supply of nutrients from ant...

  2. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    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....

  3. Ante la ley

    Kafka Franz

    1999-12-01

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

  4. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    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.

  5. The metapleural gland of ants

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-01-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions......-compressible invagination of the integument and the secretion is thought to ooze out passively through the non-closable opening of the MG or is groomed off by the legs and applied to target surfaces. MG loss has occurred repeatedly among the ants, particularly in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae, and the MG...... is more commonly absent in males than in workers. MG chemistry has been characterized mostly in derived ant lineages with unique biologies (e.g. leafcutter ants, fire ants), currently precluding any inferences about MG chemistry at the origin of the ants. A synthetic approach integrating functional...

  6. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

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

  7. The metapleural gland of ants.

    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.

  8. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    Ants control pests via predation and physical deterrence; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may serve as warning signals to potential prey and other intruders. The presence of ant pheromones may, thus, be sufficient to repel pests from ant territories. This mini...

  9. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    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...

  10. Ants Orase kultuurisõnum

    2007-01-01

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

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

    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.

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

    Carmen Lidia Martínez

    2015-02-01

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

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

    NEIL COLLIER

    2007-01-01

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

  14. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Ulrich G Mueller

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

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

    Leandro Sousa-Sou

    2007-02-01

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

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

    John T Longino

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

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

    Fabio Villani

    2008-10-01

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

  18. Ants medicate to fight disease.

    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.

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

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

    2011-01-01

    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...

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

    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.

  1. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Sibel Gokce; Ozhan Kayacan

    2013-05-01

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

  2. Optimal cue integration in ants.

    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.

  3. Ant colony optimization in continuous problem

    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.

  4. Using Ants to Investigate the Environment

    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…

  5. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    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...

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

    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...

  7. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    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....

  8. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    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....

  9. Evolutional Ant Colony Method Using PSO

    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.

  10. Team swimming in ant spermatozoa.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    Dijkstra, Michiel Bendert; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    . However, all males were tiny (3.5-9 mm long) compared to normal queen sons (16 mm long), and would almost certainly be unable to mate. We also found reproductive eggs, but most of these had no yolk and were thus inviable. We conclude that Atta workers are not completely infertile, but that worker...... fertility is low compared to the sister genus Acromyrmex, where workers routinely produce normally-size males after queen loss in the laboratory. We hypothesize that worker reproduction in orphaned Atta field colonies is almost never successful because the last workers die before their sons can be raised...

  13. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    Offenberg, Joachim

    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......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...... they convert pest insects into accessible and edible protein. In short, this review show that weaver ants in agriculture can increase crop yields, improve fruit quality, chemically deter pests, fertilize crops, reduce diseases, and produce protein for human and livestock consumption....

  14. Bio-inspired Ant Algorithms: A review

    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.

  15. GRID SCHEDULING USING ENHANCED ANT COLONY ALGORITHM

    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.

  16. From Ant Trails to Pedestrian Dynamics

    Andreas Schadschneider

    2003-01-01

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

  17. Enhanced ants system and its application

    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.

  18. Ilmub suurmeister Evald Okase monograafia / Ants Juske

    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

  19. Individual Recognition in Ant Queens

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-01-01

    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...... 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...

  20. Male parentage in army ants

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

    2006-01-01

    In most social insects workers do not mate, but have retained the ability to produce haploid eggs that can develop into viable male offspring. Under what circumstances this reproductive potential is realized and how the ensuing worker-queen conflict over male production is resolved, is an area...... 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...

  1. The distribution of weaver ant pheromones on host trees

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2007-01-01

    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...

  2. 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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  5. The evolution of genome size in ants

    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

  6. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    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.

  7. Dynamical Equilibrium of Interacting Ant Societies

    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.

  8. Open Problem: Analyzing Ant Robot Coverage

    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

  9. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    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.

  10. Neuropeptidomics of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    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.

  11. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  14. Microclimatic conditions of Lasius flavus ant mounds

    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.

  15. Modified chaotic ant swarm to function optimization

    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.

  16. Optimal Load Dispatch Using Ant Lion Optimization

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  19. Collective search by ants in microgravity

    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.

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

    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.

  1. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    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.

  2. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    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.

  3. Ant colonies for the travelling salesman problem.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  6. 9 CFR 354.121 - Ante-mortem inspection.

    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...

  7. Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants

    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...

  8. Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    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....

  9. Rose Atoll - Eradication of Invasive Ants

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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.

  12. An Improved Heuristic Ant-Clustering Algorithm

    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.

  13. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    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.

  14. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    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.

  15. Entangled active matter: From cells to ants

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

    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.

  2. Ant-egg cataract. An electron microscopic study

    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......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...

  3. Hopfield neural network based on ant system

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  6. Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture

    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...... of agricultural systems, this review emphasizes the potential of managing ants to achieve sustainable pest management solutions. The synthesis suggests future directions and may catalyse a research agenda on the utilization of ants, not only against arthropod pests, but also against weeds and plant diseases...

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

    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.

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

    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.

  9. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging

    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

  10. Research on the Perceptual Law of Artificial Ants

    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.

  11. Extended phenotype: nematodes turn ants into bird-dispersed fruits

    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....

  12. Histrionicotoxin alkaloids finally detected in an ant

    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...

  13. A global database of ant species abundances

    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.

  14. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    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...

  15. Ant System Algorithm Research and Its Applications

    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.

  16. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

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

    2004-01-01

    A parasitic ant has abandoned the multiple mating habit of the queens of its related host. Multiple mating (polyandry) is widespread among animal groups, particularly insects 1 . But the factors that maintain it and underlie its evolution are hard to verify because benefits and costs are not easi...

  17. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    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. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    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.

  19. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    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...

  20. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    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. Enhanced Pest Ant Control with Hydrophobic Bait

    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...

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

    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

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

    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

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

    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

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

    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

  6. Ants Orasest ja Anne Lange monograafiast / Jüri Talvet

    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

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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...

  11. Parameters of ante-mortem delirium

    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.

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

    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.

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

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle's Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours.

    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.

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

    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.

  16. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    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. Fast and flexible: argentine ants recruit from nearby trails.

    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.

  18. Ant Colony Optimization and Hypergraph Covering Problems

    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 ...

  19. Recognition of social identity in ants

    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...

  20. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    Pontieri, Luigi

    ones and that low genetically diverse colonies discriminated high diverse non-nestmates better than vice versa. In the second chapter I investigated whether the high genetic differentiation characterizing natural colonies of pharaoh ants is sufficient to prevent unrelated colonies to fuse and how...... compiled datasets of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) and aggression between colonies of three species of ants (Formica exsecta, Camponotus aethiops and Monomorium pharaonis) and a simulated dataset. Then, using the available information about the exact cues used for nestmate recognition in F. exsecta, we...... evaluated the power of different combinations of data transformation and chemical distance calculation in differentiating between true nestmate recognition (NMR) cues and other compounds. We found that particular combinations of statistical procedures are more effective in differentiating NMR cues from...

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

    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.

  2. Ant colony optimization and constraint programming

    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

  3. Polyethism in a colony of artificial ants

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  6. El periodista, ante la espiral de silencio

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

    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.

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

    Heraldo L. Vasconcelos

    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

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

    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.

  12. Parallelizing Ant Colony Optimization via Area of Expertise Learning

    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

  13. Rhabdomyolysis and Acute Renal Failure After Fire Ant Bites

    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. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    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.

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

    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, &#...

  16. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops

    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 ...

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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

  20. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    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.

  1. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    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.

  2. Variation of ant community structure on Ficus benguetensis

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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).

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  10. Salud mental ante las crisis y desastres

    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...

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

    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.

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

    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

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

    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

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

    Robert B. Pape

    2016-09-01

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

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

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

    2011-01-01

    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...... 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...

  16. Ant Foraging Behavior for Job Shop Problem

    Mahad Diyana Abdul

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is a new algorithm approach, inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants. It has frequently been applied to many optimization problems and one such problem is in solving the job shop problem (JSP. The JSP is a finite set of jobs processed on a finite set of machine where once a job initiates processing on a given machine, it must complete processing and uninterrupted. In solving the Job Shop Scheduling problem, the process is measure by the amount of time required in completing a job known as a makespan and minimizing the makespan is the main objective of this study. In this paper, we developed an ACO algorithm to minimize the makespan. A real set of problems from a metal company in Johor bahru, producing 20 parts with jobs involving the process of clinching, tapping and power press respectively. The result from this study shows that the proposed ACO heuristics managed to produce a god result in a short time.

  17. Enhancing pollination by attracting & retaining leaf cutting bees (Megachile rotundata) in alfalfa seed production fields

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), has become an important managed pollinator of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. One problem when using alfalfa leafcutting bees as managed pollinator, is the dispersal of many females upon release, even when adequate nesting sites are present. While d...

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

    Custers, J.B.M.

    1986-01-01

    Adventitious shoot formation implies the regeneration or development of shoots from fully differentiated tissue. Its application has, after the rise of in vitro culture, assumed large proportions. Then the question arose whether in vivo adventitious shoot formation could not be applied more widely i

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

    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.

  20. Eggs of Mallada desjardinsi (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) are protected by ants: the role of egg stalks in ant-tended aphid colonies.

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nomura, Masashi

    2014-08-01

    In ant-aphid mutualisms, ants usually attack and exclude enemies of aphids. However, larvae of the green lacewing Mallada desjardinsi (Navas) prey on ant-tended aphids without being excluded by ants; these larvae protect themselves from ants by carrying aphid carcasses on their backs. Eggs of M. desjardinsi laid at the tips of stalks have also been observed in ant-tended aphid colonies in the field. Here, we examined whether the egg stalks of M. desjardinsi protect the eggs from ants and predators. When exposed to ants, almost all eggs with intact stalks were untouched, whereas 50-80% of eggs in which stalks had been severed at their bases were destroyed by ants. In contrast, most eggs were preyed upon by larvae of the lacewing Chrysoperla nipponensis (Okamoto), an intraguild predator of M. desjardinsi, regardless of whether their stalks had been severed. These findings suggest that egg stalks provide protection from ants but not from C. nipponensis larvae. To test whether M. desjardinsi eggs are protected from predators by aphid-tending ants, we introduced C. nipponensis larvae onto plants colonized by ant-tended aphids. A significantly greater number of eggs survived in the presence of ants because aphid-tending ants excluded larvae of C. nipponensis. This finding indicates that M. desjardinsi eggs are indirectly protected from predators by ants in ant-tended aphid colonies.

  1. The hyper-cube framework for ant colony optimization.

    Blum, Christian; Dorigo, Marco

    2004-04-01

    Ant colony optimization is a metaheuristic approach belonging to the class of model-based search algorithms. In this paper, we propose a new framework for implementing ant colony optimization algorithms called the hyper-cube framework for ant colony optimization. In contrast to the usual way of implementing ant colony optimization algorithms, this framework limits the pheromone values to the interval [0,1]. This is obtained by introducing changes in the pheromone value update rule. These changes can in general be applied to any pheromone value update rule used in ant colony optimization. We discuss the benefits coming with this new framework. The benefits are twofold. On the theoretical side, the new framework allows us to prove that in Ant System, the ancestor of all ant colony optimization algorithms, the average quality of the solutions produced increases in expectation over time when applied to unconstrained problems. On the practical side, the new framework automatically handles the scaling of the objective function values. We experimentally show that this leads on average to a more robust behavior of ant colony optimization algorithms.

  2. Disease dynamics in a specialized parasite of ant societies

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

    2012-01-01

    -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...

  3. Patterns of male parentage in the fungus-growing ants

    Villesen, Palle; Boomsma, JJ

    2003-01-01

    Ant queens from eight species, covering three genera of lower and two genera of higher attine ants, have exclusively or predominantly single mating. The ensuing full-sib colonies thus have a strong potential reproductive conflict between the queen and the workers over male production...

  4. Chaos-order transition in foraging behavior of ants.

    Li, Lixiang; Peng, Haipeng; Kurths, Jürgen; Yang, Yixian; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim

    2014-06-10

    The study of the foraging behavior of group animals (especially ants) is of practical ecological importance, but it also contributes to the development of widely applicable optimization problem-solving techniques. Biologists have discovered that single ants exhibit low-dimensional deterministic-chaotic activities. However, the influences of the nest, ants' physical abilities, and ants' knowledge (or experience) on foraging behavior have received relatively little attention in studies of the collective behavior of ants. This paper provides new insights into basic mechanisms of effective foraging for social insects or group animals that have a home. We propose that the whole foraging process of ants is controlled by three successive strategies: hunting, homing, and path building. A mathematical model is developed to study this complex scheme. We show that the transition from chaotic to periodic regimes observed in our model results from an optimization scheme for group animals with a home. According to our investigation, the behavior of such insects is not represented by random but rather deterministic walks (as generated by deterministic dynamical systems, e.g., by maps) in a random environment: the animals use their intelligence and experience to guide them. The more knowledge an ant has, the higher its foraging efficiency is. When young insects join the collective to forage with old and middle-aged ants, it benefits the whole colony in the long run. The resulting strategy can even be optimal.

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

    Lucky, Andrea; Trautwein, Michelle D; Guénard, Benoit S; Weiser, Michael D; Dunn, Robert R

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Andrea Lucky

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

  7. Reciprocal genomic evolution in the ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis

    Nygaard, Sanne; Hu, Haofu; Li, Cai;

    2016-01-01

    The attine ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis evolved over tens of millions of years, producing complex societies with industrial-scale farming analogous to that of humans. Here we document reciprocal shifts in the genomes and transcriptomes of seven fungus-farming ant species and their fungal...

  8. Sucking pump activity in feeding behaviour regulation in carpenter ants.

    Falibene, Agustina; Gontijo, Alberto de Figueiredo; Josens, Roxana

    2009-06-01

    Modulation of liquid feeding-rate would allow insects to ingest more food in the same time when this was required. Ants can vary nectar intake rate by increasing sucking pump frequency according to colony requirements. We analysed electrical signals generated by sucking pump activity of ants during drinking solutions of different sucrose concentrations and under different carbohydrate-deprivation levels. Our aim was to define parameters that characterize the recordings and analyse their relationship with feeding behaviour. Signals showed that the initial and final frequencies of sucking pump activity, as well as the difference between them were higher in sugar-deprived ants. However, these parameters were not influenced by sucrose solution concentration, which affected the number of pump contractions and the volume per contraction. Unexpectedly, we found two different responses in feeding behaviour of starved and non-starved ants depending on concentration. Starved ants drank dilute solutions for the same length of time as non-starved ants but ingested higher volumes. While drinking the concentrated solutions, starved ants drank the same volume, but did so in a shorter time than the non-starved ones. Despite these differences, for each analysed concentration the total number of pump contractions remained constant independently of sugar-deprivation level. These results are discussed in the frame of feeding regulation and decision making in ant foraging behaviour.

  9. Host ant independent oviposition in the parasitic butterfly Maculinea alcon

    Fürst, Matthias A; Nash, David Richard

    2010-01-01

    Parasitic Maculinea alcon butterflies can only develop in nests of a subset of available Myrmica ant species, so female butterflies have been hypothesized to preferentially lay eggs on plants close to colonies of the correct host ants. Previous correlational investigations of host...... is necessary for conservation of this endangered butterfly....

  10. Reciprocal genomic evolution in the ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis

    Nygaard, Sanne; Hu, Haofu; Li, Cai;

    2016-01-01

    The attine ant-fungus agricultural symbiosis evolved over tens of millions of years, producing complex societies with industrial-scale farming analogous to that of humans. Here we document reciprocal shifts in the genomes and transcriptomes of seven fungus-farming ant species and their fungal cul...

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

    Salyer, Adam; Bennett, Gary W; Buczkowski, Grzegorz A

    2014-01-01

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

  12. Behind every great ant, there is a great gut

    Poulsen, Michael; Sapountzis, Panagiotis

    2012-01-01

    Ants are quite possibly the most successful insects on Earth, with an estimated 10 000 species worldwide, making up at least a third of the global insect biomass, and comprising several times the biomass of all land vertebrates combined. Ant species have diverse trophic habits, including herbivory...... on the potential contribution of the ants’ gut symbionts. This issue of Molecular Ecology contains a study by Anderson et al. (2012), who take a comparative approach to explore the link between trophic levels and ant microbiomes, specifically, to address three main questions: (i) Do closely related herbivorous...... conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host. These findings suggest an ecological role of gut symbionts in ants, for example, in metabolism and/or protection, and the comparative approach taken supports a model of co-evolution between...

  13. An ant colony algorithm on continuous searching space

    Xie, Jing; Cai, Chao

    2015-12-01

    Ant colony algorithm is heuristic, bionic and parallel. Because of it is property of positive feedback, parallelism and simplicity to cooperate with other method, it is widely adopted in planning on discrete space. But it is still not good at planning on continuous space. After a basic introduction to the basic ant colony algorithm, we will propose an ant colony algorithm on continuous space. Our method makes use of the following three tricks. We search for the next nodes of the route according to fixed-step to guarantee the continuity of solution. When storing pheromone, it discretizes field of pheromone, clusters states and sums up the values of pheromone of these states. When updating pheromone, it makes good resolutions measured in relative score functions leave more pheromone, so that ant colony algorithm can find a sub-optimal solution in shorter time. The simulated experiment shows that our ant colony algorithm can find sub-optimal solution in relatively shorter time.

  14. A stochastic model of ant trail following with two pheromones

    Malíčková, Miriam; Boďová, Katarína

    2015-01-01

    Colonies of ants are systems of interacting living organisms in which interactions between individuals and their environment can produce a reliable performance of a complex tasks without the need for centralised control. Particularly remarkable is the process of formation of refined paths between the nest and food sources that is essential for successful foraging. We have designed a simple stochastic off-lattice model of ant foraging in the absence of direct communication. The motion of ants is governed by two components - a random change in direction of motion that improves ability to explore the environment (facilitating food discovery), and a non-random global indirect interaction component based on pheromone signalling. Using numerical simulations we have studied the model behaviour in different parameter regimes and tested the ability of our model ants to adapt to changes in the external environment. The simulated behaviour of ants in the model recapitulated the experimentally observed behaviours of real...

  15. A Novel Parser Design Algorithm Based on Artificial Ants

    Maiti, Deepyaman; Konar, Amit; Ramadoss, Janarthanan

    2008-01-01

    This article presents a unique design for a parser using the Ant Colony Optimization algorithm. The paper implements the intuitive thought process of human mind through the activities of artificial ants. The scheme presented here uses a bottom-up approach and the parsing program can directly use ambiguous or redundant grammars. We allocate a node corresponding to each production rule present in the given grammar. Each node is connected to all other nodes (representing other production rules), thereby establishing a completely connected graph susceptible to the movement of artificial ants. Each ant tries to modify this sentential form by the production rule present in the node and upgrades its position until the sentential form reduces to the start symbol S. Successful ants deposit pheromone on the links that they have traversed through. Eventually, the optimum path is discovered by the links carrying maximum amount of pheromone concentration. The design is simple, versatile, robust and effective and obviates ...

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

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

    2016-10-01

    Signalling is necessary for the maintenance of interspecific mutualisms but is vulnerable to exploitation by eavesdropping. While eavesdropping of intraspecific signals has been studied extensively, such exploitation of interspecific signals has not been widely documented. The juvenile stages 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 for oviposition and mate searching, respectively. Our experiments reveal that two natural enemies of J. evagoras, araneid spiders and braconid parasitoid wasps, exploit ant signals as cues for increasing their foraging and oviposition success, respectively. Intriguingly, selection through eavesdropping is unlikely to modify the ant signal.

  17. AntNet: Distributed Stigmergetic Control for Communications Networks

    Di Caro, G

    2011-01-01

    This paper introduces AntNet, a novel approach to the adaptive learning of routing tables in communications networks. AntNet is a distributed, mobile agents based Monte Carlo system that was inspired by recent work on the ant colony metaphor for solving optimization problems. AntNet's agents concurrently explore the network and exchange collected information. The communication among the agents is indirect and asynchronous, mediated by the network itself. This form of communication is typical of social insects and is called stigmergy. We compare our algorithm with six state-of-the-art routing algorithms coming from the telecommunications and machine learning fields. The algorithms' performance is evaluated over a set of realistic testbeds. We run many experiments over real and artificial IP datagram networks with increasing number of nodes and under several paradigmatic spatial and temporal traffic distributions. Results are very encouraging. AntNet showed superior performance under all the experimental condit...

  18. SECURING MOBILE ANT AGENT USING CHINESE REMAINDER THEOREM

    Srinath Doss

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Recent days, research in wireless network becomes major area for the past few decades. In wireless routing many routing methods such as table driven, source driven; many characteristics such as reactive routing, proactive routing; many routing algorithms such as dijikstra’s shortest path, distributed bell-man ford algorithm are proposed in the literature. For effective wireless routing, the recent ant colony optimization proves better result than the existing methodologies. The ant colony optimization is a swarm intelligence technique which widely used for combinatorial optimization problems such as travelling salesman, network routing, clustering. The ant colony optimization is a real time routing protocol which offers highly reliable and optimal routing for both single path and multi path routing. As the ant is a small tiny mobile agent, providing security is critical issue. In this study, a secured ant colony optimization using Chinese remainder theorem is proposed.

  19. Remote Sensing Image Feature Extracting Based Multiple Ant Colonies Cooperation

    Zhang Zhi-long

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a novel feature extraction method for remote sensing imagery based on the cooperation of multiple ant colonies. First, multiresolution expression of the input remote sensing imagery is created, and two different ant colonies are spread on different resolution images. The ant colony in the low-resolution image uses phase congruency as the inspiration information, whereas that in the high-resolution image uses gradient magnitude. The two ant colonies cooperate to detect features in the image by sharing the same pheromone matrix. Finally, the image features are extracted on the basis of the pheromone matrix threshold. Because a substantial amount of information in the input image is used as inspiration information of the ant colonies, the proposed method shows higher intelligence and acquires more complete and meaningful image features than those of other simple edge detectors.

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

    Danon C. Cardoso

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available 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, and use plants as foraging substrate in search of prey. Likewise, on the assumption that ants feed preferentially in plants free of trichomes, we tested the hypothesis that trichomes plants clouded locomotion of ants. Approach: Experiments were carried out in the field using cotton to mimic the plants surface. Thirty traps for the treatment were assembled with cotton as well as other 30 experiments for the control (treatment without cotton. Each trap consisted of Petri dishes of 14,5 cm diameter with bait (sardine and honey in a disc (3 cm diameter in the center of the plate. Around the bait, 10 grams of cotton prepared uniformly were placed. Furthermore, morphometric analysis on the length of body and legs of ants was performed. Results: The number of ants which accessed baits in the center of Petri dishes in treatment with cotton was not statistically different of the number of accesses in the control treatment without cotton. The trichomes do not cloud locomotion of ants and that leg length is equal to or greater than body length. Conclusions/Recommendations: Data revealed that the trichomes do not cloud locomotion of ants; this allows the free walking of ants on the plants surface. However, glandular trichomes that combine physics and chemistry defense with release toxic and adhesives compounds when mechanically stressed may be more efficient in the defense against these insects.

  1. El periodista, ante la espiral de silencio

    Dr. Fermín Galindo Arranz

    1998-01-01

    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 inevitable...

  2. Desert ants achieve reliable recruitment across noisy interactions.

    Razin, Nitzan; Eckmann, Jean-Pierre; Feinerman, Ofer

    2013-05-06

    We study how desert ants, Cataglyphis niger, a species that lacks pheromone-based recruitment mechanisms, inform each other about the presence of food. Our results are based on automated tracking that allows us to collect a large database of ant trajectories and interactions. We find that interactions affect an ant's speed within the nest. Fast ants tend to slow down, whereas slow ones increase their speed when encountering a faster ant. Faster ants tend to exit the nest more frequently than slower ones. So, if an ant gains enough speed through encounters with others, then she tends to leave the nest and look for food. On the other hand, we find that the probability for her to leave the nest depends only on her speed, but not on whether she had recently interacted with a recruiter that has found the food. This suggests a recruitment system in which ants communicate their state by very simple interactions. Based on this assumption, we estimate the information-theoretical channel capacity of the ants' pairwise interactions. We find that the response to the speed of an interacting nest-mate is very noisy. The question is then how random interactions with ants within the nest can be distinguished from those interactions with a recruiter who has found food. Our measurements and model suggest that this distinction does not depend on reliable communication but on behavioural differences between ants that have found the food and those that have not. Recruiters retain high speeds throughout the experiment, regardless of the ants they interact with; non-recruiters communicate with a limited number of nest-mates and adjust their speed following these interactions. These simple rules lead to the formation of a bistable switch on the level of the group that allows the distinction between recruitment and random noise in the nest. A consequence of the mechanism we propose is a negative effect of ant density on exit rates and recruitment success. This is, indeed, confirmed by our

  3. Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data.

    Hanna, Cause; Naughton, Ida; Boser, Christina; Holway, David

    2015-10-01

    Invasions give rise to a wide range of ecological effects. Many invasions proceed without noticeable impacts on the resident biota, whereas others shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects, but controversy surrounds the extent of these impacts, especially with regard to how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainty in part results from the widespread use of low-resolution taxonomic data, which can mask the presence of other introduced species and make it difficult to isolate the effects of ant invasions on native species. Here, we use high-resolution taxonomic data to examine the effects of Argentine ant invasions on arthropods on Santa Cruz Island, California. We sampled arthropods in eight pairs of invaded and uninvaded plots and then collaborated with taxonomic experts to identify taxa in four focal groups: spiders, bark lice, beetles, and ants. Spiders, bark lice, and beetles made up ~40% of the 9868 non-ant arthropod individuals sampled; the majority of focal group arthropods were putatively native taxa. Although our results indicate strong negative effects of the Argentine ant on native ants, as is well documented, invaded and uninvaded plots did not differ with respect to the richness, abundance, or species composition of spiders, bark lice, and beetles. One common, introduced species of bark louse was more common in uninvaded plots than in invaded plots, and including this species into our analyses changed the relationship between bark louse richness vs. L. humile abundance from no relationship to a significant negative relationship. This case illustrates how failure to differentiate native and introduced taxa can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effects of ant invasions. Our results caution against unqualified assertions about the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods, and more generally demonstrate that accurate assessments of invasion impacts depend on

  4. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    Maïa Berman

    Full Text Available Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites, rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13, maquis shrubland (15, Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11 and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2. We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  5. Overview of the Distribution, Habitat Association and Impact of Exotic Ants on Native Ant Communities in New Caledonia.

    Berman, Maïa; Andersen, Alan N; Hély, Christelle; Gaucherel, Cédric

    2013-01-01

    Ants are among the most ubiquitous and harmful invaders worldwide, but there are few regional studies of their relationships with habitat and native ant communities. New Caledonia has a unique and diverse ant fauna that is threatened by exotic ants, but broad-scale patterns of exotic and native ant community composition in relation to habitat remain poorly documented. We conducted a systematic baiting survey of 56 sites representing the main New Caledonian habitat types: rainforest on ultramafic soils (15 sites), rainforest on volcano-sedimentary soils (13), maquis shrubland (15), Melaleuca-dominated savannas (11) and Acacia spirorbis thickets (2). We collected a total of 49 species, 13 of which were exotic. Only five sites were free of exotic species, and these were all rainforest. The five most abundant exotic species differed in their habitat association, with Pheidole megacephala associated with rainforests, Brachymyrmex cf. obscurior with savanna, and Wasmannia auropunctata and Nylanderia vaga present in most habitats. Anoplolepis gracilipes occurred primarily in maquis-shrubland, which contrasts with its rainforest affinity elsewhere. Multivariate analysis of overall ant species composition showed strong differentiation of sites according to the distribution of exotic species, and these patterns were maintained at the genus and functional group levels. Native ant composition differed at invaded versus uninvaded rainforest sites, in the absence of differences in habitat variables. Generalised Myrmicinae and Forest Opportunists were particularly affected by invasion. There was a strong negative relationship between the abundance of W. auropunctata and native ant abundance and richness. This emphasizes that, in addition to dominating many ant communities numerically, some exotic species, and in particular W. auropunctata, have a marked impact on native ant communities.

  6. Trait-Mediated Indirect Effects of Phorid Flies on Ants

    Hsun-Yi Hsieh

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides a synthesis of the ecological impact of phorid fly parasitoids on ants. We find the most important impact of phorids on ants to be trait-mediated effects. Phorids diminish the foraging activity of ants, frequently reducing the number and average size of foragers and reducing the amount of food retrieved by a colony. However, ants' coping mechanisms include changing foraging site and time. Phorids can also affect competition, especially through changes in the ability of the host to win in exploitative competition. Factors such as microclimate, resource size, and habitat complexity interact with phorids to change their effect on competition. By being highly specific and attacking ants high in the competitive hierarchy, phorids can alter the linear nature of the competitive transitivity, and by reducing the number of foragers, they can change the discovery-dominance tradeoff that is observed in some ant communities. Trait-mediated effects of phorids also cascade to other trophic levels. As an example, we discuss the trait-mediated cascade of phorids on the Azteca instabilis system in coffee. In this system, by reducing the foraging activity of A. instabilis, phorids reduce the direct and indirect biological control impact of the ant in the coffee agroecosystem.

  7. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world

    Patterson, Courtney M.; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A.; Ribbons, Relena R.; Dunn, Robert R.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed. PMID:24688863

  8. Interactions Increase Forager Availability and Activity in Harvester Ants.

    Evlyn Pless

    Full Text Available Social insect colonies use interactions among workers to regulate collective behavior. Harvester ant foragers interact in a chamber just inside the nest entrance, here called the 'entrance chamber'. Previous studies of the activation of foragers in red harvester ants show that an outgoing forager inside the nest experiences an increase in brief antennal contacts before it leaves the nest to forage. Here we compare the interaction rate experienced by foragers that left the nest and ants that did not. We found that ants in the entrance chamber that leave the nest to forage experienced more interactions than ants that descend to the deeper nest without foraging. Additionally, we found that the availability of foragers in the entrance chamber is associated with the rate of forager return. An increase in the rate of forager return leads to an increase in the rate at which ants descend to the deeper nest, which then stimulates more ants to ascend into the entrance chamber. Thus a higher rate of forager return leads to more available foragers in the entrance chamber. The highest density of interactions occurs near the nest entrance and the entrances of the tunnels from the entrance chamber to the deeper nest. Local interactions with returning foragers regulate both the activation of waiting foragers and the number of foragers available to be activated.

  9. Artificial ants deposit pheromone to search for regulatory DNA elements

    Liu Yunlong

    2006-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Identification of transcription-factor binding motifs (DNA sequences can be formulated as a combinatorial problem, where an efficient algorithm is indispensable to predict the role of multiple binding motifs. An ant algorithm is a biology-inspired computational technique, through which a combinatorial problem is solved by mimicking the behavior of social insects such as ants. We developed a unique version of ant algorithms to select a set of binding motifs by considering a potential contribution of each of all random DNA sequences of 4- to 7-bp in length. Results Human chondrogenesis was used as a model system. The results revealed that the ant algorithm was able to identify biologically known binding motifs in chondrogenesis such as AP-1, NFκB, and sox9. Some of the predicted motifs were identical to those previously derived with the genetic algorithm. Unlike the genetic algorithm, however, the ant algorithm was able to evaluate a contribution of individual binding motifs as a spectrum of distributed information and predict core consensus motifs from a wider DNA pool. Conclusion The ant algorithm offers an efficient, reproducible procedure to predict a role of individual transcription-factor binding motifs using a unique definition of artificial ants.

  10. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world.

    Stuble, Katharine L; Patterson, Courtney M; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; Ribbons, Relena R; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2014-01-01

    Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina) to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds) as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed.

  11. Species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in disturbed landscapes

    Graham, J.H.; Krzysik, A.J.; Kovacic, D.A.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D.C.; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Long, W.R.; Wallace, M.P.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Nutter, J.P.; Balbach, H.E.

    2009-01-01

    Ants are used as indicators of environmental change in disturbed landscapes, often without adequate understanding of their response to disturbance. Ant communities in the southeastern United States displayed a hump-backed species richness curve against an index of landscape disturbance. Forty sites at Fort Benning, in west-central Georgia, covered a spectrum of habitat disturbance (military training and fire) in upland forest. Sites disturbed by military training had fewer trees, less canopy cover, more bare ground, and warmer, more compact soils with shallower A-horizons. We sampled ground-dwelling ants with pitfall traps, and measured 15 habitat variables related to vegetation and soil. Ant species richness was greatest with a relative disturbance of 43%, but equitability was greatest with no disturbance. Ant abundance was greatest with a relative disturbance of 85%. High species richness at intermediate disturbance was associated with greater within-site spatial heterogeneity. Species richness was also associated with intermediate values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a correlate of net primary productivity (NPP). Available NPP (the product of NDVI and the fraction of days that soil temperature exceeded 25 ??C), however, was positively correlated with species richness, though not with ant abundance. Species richness was unrelated to soil texture, total ground cover, and fire frequency. Ant species richness and equitability are potential state indicators of the soil arthropod community. Moreover, equitability can be used to monitor ecosystem change. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  12. Interactions Increase Forager Availability and Activity in Harvester Ants.

    Pless, Evlyn; Queirolo, Jovel; Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Crow, Sam; Allen, Kelsey; Mathur, Maya B; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-01-01

    Social insect colonies use interactions among workers to regulate collective behavior. Harvester ant foragers interact in a chamber just inside the nest entrance, here called the 'entrance chamber'. Previous studies of the activation of foragers in red harvester ants show that an outgoing forager inside the nest experiences an increase in brief antennal contacts before it leaves the nest to forage. Here we compare the interaction rate experienced by foragers that left the nest and ants that did not. We found that ants in the entrance chamber that leave the nest to forage experienced more interactions than ants that descend to the deeper nest without foraging. Additionally, we found that the availability of foragers in the entrance chamber is associated with the rate of forager return. An increase in the rate of forager return leads to an increase in the rate at which ants descend to the deeper nest, which then stimulates more ants to ascend into the entrance chamber. Thus a higher rate of forager return leads to more available foragers in the entrance chamber. The highest density of interactions occurs near the nest entrance and the entrances of the tunnels from the entrance chamber to the deeper nest. Local interactions with returning foragers regulate both the activation of waiting foragers and the number of foragers available to be activated.

  13. Effect of interactions between harvester ants on forager decisions

    Jacob D Davidson

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Harvester ant colonies adjust their foraging activity to day-to-day changes in food availability and hour-to-hour changes in environmental conditions. This collective behavior is regulated through interactions, in the form of brief antennal contacts, between outgoing foragers and returning foragers with food. Here we consider how an ant, waiting in the entrance chamber just inside the nest entrance, uses its accumulated experience of interactions to decide whether to leave the nest to forage. Using videos of field observations, we tracked the interactions and foraging decisions of ants in the entrance chamber. Outgoing foragers tended to interact with returning foragers at higher rates than ants that returned to the deeper nest and did not forage. To provide a mechanistic framework for interpreting these results, we develop a decision model in which ants make decisions based upon a noisy accumulation of individual contacts with returning foragers. The model can reproduce core trends and realistic distributions for individual ant interaction statistics, and suggests possible mechanisms by which foraging activity may be regulated at an individual ant level.

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

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

    2007-01-12

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

  15. Ant Foraging As an Indicator of Tropical Dry Forest Restoration.

    Hernández-Flores, J; Osorio-Beristain, M; Martínez-Garza, C

    2016-08-01

    Variation in foraging behavior may indicate differences in food availability and allow assessment of restoration actions. Ants are prominent bioindicators used in assessing ecological responses to disturbance. However, behavioral data have been poorly incorporated as an index. The foraging performance of red harvester ants was quantified in order to evaluate the success of a restoration ecology experiment in the tropical dry forest of Sierra de Huautla, Morelos, in central Mexico. Foraging performance by granivorous, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, ants was diminished after 6 and 8 years of cattle grazing and wood harvest were excluded as part of a restoration experiment in a highly degraded biome. Despite investing more time in foraging, ant colonies in exclusion plots showed lower foraging success and acquired less seed biomass than colonies in control plots. In line with the predictions of optimal foraging theory, in restored plots where ant foraging performance was poor, ants harvested a higher diversity of seeds. Reduced foraging success and increased harvest of non-preferred foods in exclusion plots were likely due to the growth of herbaceous vegetation, which impedes travel by foragers. Moreover, by 8 years of exclusion, 37% of nests in exclusion plots had disappeared compared to 0% of nests in control plots. Ants' foraging success and behavior were sensitive to changes in habitat quality due to the plant successional process triggered by a restoration intervention. This study spotlights on the utility of animal foraging behavior in the evaluation of habitat restoration programs.

  16. Learning and perceptual similarity among cuticular hydrocarbons in ants.

    Bos, Nick; Dreier, Stephanie; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; Guerrieri, Fernando J; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Nestmate recognition in ants is based on perceived differences in a multi-component blend of hydrocarbons that are present on the insect cuticle. Although supplementation experiments have shown that some classes of hydrocarbons, such as methyl branched alkanes and alkenes, have a salient role in nestmate recognition, there was basically no information available on how ants detect and perceive these molecules. We used a new conditioning procedure to investigate whether individual carpenter ants could associate a given hydrocarbon (linear or methyl-branched alkane) to sugar reward. We then studied perceptual similarity between a hydrocarbon previously associated with sugar and a novel hydrocarbon. Ants learnt all hydrocarbon-reward associations rapidly and with the same efficiency, regardless of the structure of the molecules. Ants could discriminate among a large number of pairs of hydrocarbons, but also generalised. Generalisation depended both on the structure of the molecule and the animal's experience. For linear alkanes, generalisation was observed when the novel molecule was smaller than the conditioned one. Generalisation between pairs of methyl-alkanes was high, while generalisation between hydrocarbons that differed in the presence or absence of a methyl group was low, suggesting that chain length and functional group might be coded independently by the ant olfactory system. Understanding variations in perception of recognition cues in ants is necessary for the general understanding of the mechanisms involved in social recognition processes based on chemical cues.

  17. Entomopathogens Isolated from Invasive Ants and Tests of Their Pathogenicity

    Maria Fernanda Miori de Zarzuela

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Some ant species cause severe ecological and health impact in urban areas. Many attempts have been tested to control such species, although they do not always succeed. Biological control is an alternative to chemical control and has gained great prominence in research, and fungi and nematodes are among the successful organisms controlling insects. This study aimed to clarify some questions regarding the biological control of ants. Invasive ant species in Brazil had their nests evaluated for the presence of entomopathogens. Isolated entomopathogens were later applied in colonies of Monomorium floricola under laboratory conditions to evaluate their effectiveness and the behavior of the ant colonies after treatment. The entomopathogenic nematodes Heterorhabditis sp. and Steinernema sp. and the fungi Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, and Paecilomyces sp. were isolated from the invasive ant nests. M. floricola colonies treated with Steinernema sp. and Heterorhabditis sp. showed a higher mortality of workers than control. The fungus Beauveria bassiana caused higher mortality of M. floricola workers. However, no colony reduction or elimination was observed in any treatment. The defensive behaviors of ants, such as grooming behavior and colony budding, must be considered when using fungi and nematodes for biological control of ants.

  18. Plant defense, herbivory, and the growth of Cordia alliodora trees and their symbiotic Azteca ant colonies.

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-11-01

    The effects of herbivory on plant fitness are integrated over a plant's lifetime, mediated by ontogenetic changes in plant defense, tolerance, and herbivore pressure. In symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms, plants provide nesting space and food for ants, and ants defend plants against herbivores. The benefit to the plant of sustaining the growth of symbiotic ant colonies depends on whether defense by the growing ant colony outpaces the plant's growth in defendable area and associated herbivore pressure. These relationships were investigated in the symbiotic mutualism between Cordia alliodora trees and Azteca pittieri ants in a Mexican tropical dry forest. As ant colonies grew, worker production remained constant relative to ant-colony size. As trees grew, leaf production increased relative to tree size. Moreover, larger trees hosted lower densities of ants, suggesting that ant-colony growth did not keep pace with tree growth. On leaves with ants experimentally excluded, herbivory per unit leaf area increased exponentially with tree size, indicating that larger trees experienced higher herbivore pressure per leaf area than smaller trees. Even with ant defense, herbivory increased with tree size. Therefore, although larger trees had larger ant colonies, ant density was lower in larger trees, and the ant colonies did not provide sufficient defense to compensate for the higher herbivore pressure in larger trees. These results suggest that in this system the tree can decrease herbivory by promoting ant-colony growth, i.e., sustaining space and food investment in ants, as long as the tree continues to grow.

  19. How Random Is Spatiotemporal Chaos of Langton's Ant?1

    Luptáková I. I. Dirgová

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available In recent years there have been numerous attempts to control chaotic behavior by evolutionary optimization. Most of these attempts were aimed at a study of chaotic systems defined by differential equations, but a few attempts were made also at evolutionary design of initial conditions or rules of cellular automata aimed at performing a specified task. We shall use a simple cellular automaton called Langton's ant after its designer, Christopher Langton. Generally, the ant acts on a 2D grid, where each it’s square can be either black or white. The ant is facing in one of four directions, and its behavior is described by 3 rules: (1 If ant is on a black square, it makes a left turn. (2 If ant is on a white square, it makes a right turn. (3 When ant moves to the next square, the one it was on reverses color. Despite simplicity of these rules, the ant produces extremely complex behavior, but after around 10000 steps the ant begins to construct a diagonal „highway“. This stable attractor has been always achieved regardless of the initial setting of black and white squares, but there is no proof, that it is always so. This behavior can be related to the undecidability of the halting problem. Our goal in this paper is to optimize initial conditions for the ant on a grid, so that it will be maximally “slowed down” in the sense that it should arrive at the preset boundary of the grid as late as possible. By a comparison of greedy stochastic optimization with an optimization by blind search are able to estimate, that is this chaotic system is not reasonably controllable and appears to have no regularity in the “optimal” initial conditions.

  20. Competitive assembly of South Pacific invasive ant communities

    Sarty Megan

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The relative importance of chance and determinism in structuring ecological communities has been debated for nearly a century. Evidence for determinism or assembly rules is often evaluated with null models that randomize the occurrence of species in particular locales. However, analyses of the presence or absence of species ignores the potential influence of species abundances, which have long been considered of major importance on community structure. Here, we test for community assembly rules in ant communities on small islands of the Tokelau archipelago using both presence-absence and abundance data. We conducted three sets of analyses on two spatial scales using three years of sampling data from 39 plots on 11 islands. Results First, traditional null model tests showed support for negative species co-occurrence patterns among plots within islands, but not among islands. A plausible explanation for this result is that analyses at larger spatial scales merge heterogeneous habitats that have considerable effects on species occurrences. Second, analyses of ant abundances showed that samples with high ant abundances had fewer species than expected by chance, both within and among islands. One ant species, the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes, appeared to have a particularly strong effect on community structure correlated with its abundance. Third, abundances of most ant species were inversely correlated with the abundances of all other ants at both spatial scales. This result is consistent with competition theory, which predicts species distributions are affected by diffuse competition with suites of co-occurring species. Conclusion Our results support a pluralistic explanation for ant species abundances and assembly. Both stochastic and deterministic processes interact to determine ant community assembly, though abundance patterns clearly drive the deterministic patterns in this community. These deterministic

  1. Ants of the national park of American Samoa

    Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

    American Samoa makes up the eastern end of the Samoan Archipelago. On the islands of Tutuila, Taʽū and Ofu, the National Park of American Samoa (NPSA) protects about 4,000 ha of coastal, mid-slope and ridge-top forest. While the ant fauna of the Samoan Archipelago is considered relatively well documented, much of NPSA has never been surveyed for ants, leaving the fauna and its distribution poorly known. To address this shortfall, we systematically surveyed ants within the Tutuila and Taʽū units of NPSA using standard methods (hand collecting, litter sifting, and baits) at 39 sites within six vegetation types ranging from 8 to 945 m elevation. Forty-four ant species were identified, 19 of which are exotic to the Samoan Archipelago. Two notoriously aggressive species, Anoplolepis gracilipes and Pheidole megacephala were detected at two and seven sites, respectively. Both of these species largely excluded all other ants from bait, although their impact on ant community composition is unclear. A suite of habitat variables measured at each site was assessed to explain park-wide ant distributions. Of eight variables evaluated, only elevation was associated with ant community structure, as the ratio of native to exotic ant species increased significantly with elevation on Tutuila. Our survey documented two species not previously reported from American Samoa. Strumigenys eggersi, detected at 12 sites, appears to be a new immigrant to the Pacific Basin. A species of Pheidole was collected that likely represents an undescribed species. Solenopsis geminata, an aggressive species first reported on Tutuila in 2002, was not detected during our survey.

  2. Weaver ant role in cashew orchards in Vietnam.

    Peng, Renkang; Lan, La Pham; Christian, Keith

    2014-08-01

    Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is a very important source of income for more than 200,000 farmer households in Vietnam. The present cashew productivity in Vietnam is low and unstable, and pest damage is partly responsible for this. Cashew farmers rely on pesticides to minimize the damage, resulting in adverse impacts on farm environment and farmers' health. Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp) are effective biocontrol agents of a range of cashew insect pests in several cashew-growing countries, and these ants are widely distributed in Vietnam. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential of weaver ants in cashew orchards in Vietnam. Field surveys and field experiment were conducted in five cashew orchards from July 2006 to January 2008 in Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces, Vietnam. Based on the field surveys, the most important pests that damage flushing foliar and floral shoots and young cashew fruits and nuts were mosquito bugs, brown shoot borers, blue shoot borers, and fruit-nut borers. The damage caused by each of these pests was significantly lower on trees with weaver ants compared with trees without the ants, showing that the ants were able to keep these pest damages under the control threshold. Regular monitoring of the field experiment showed that weaver ants were similar to insecticides for controlling mosquito bugs, blue shoot borers, fruit-nut borers, leaf rollers, and leaf miners. Aphids did not become major pests in plot with weaver ants. To manage insect pest assemblage in cashew orchards, an integrated pest management using weaver ants as a major component is discussed.

  3. Optimal Power Flow Solution Using Ant Manners for Electrical Network

    ALLAOUA, B.

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents ant manners and the collective intelligence for electrical network. Solutions for Optimal Power Flow (OPF problem of a power system deliberate via an ant colony optimization metaheuristic method. The objective is to minimize the total fuel cost of thermal generating units and also conserve an acceptable system performance in terms of limits on generator real and reactive power outputs, bus voltages, shunt capacitors/reactors, transformers tap-setting and power flow of transmission lines. Simulation results on the IEEE 30-bus electrical network show that the ant colony optimization method converges quickly to the global optimum.

  4. Ant Colony Algorithm for Solving QoS Routing Problem

    SUN Li-juan; WANG Liang-jun; WANG Ru-chuan

    2004-01-01

    Based on the state transition rule, the local updating rule and the global updating rule of ant colony algorithm, we propose an improved ant colony algorithm of the least-cost quality of service (QoS) unicast routing. The algorithm is used for solving the routing problem with delay, delay jitter, bandwidth, and packet loss-constrained. In the simulation, about 52.33% ants find the successful QoS routing , and converge to the best. It is proved that the algorithm is efficient and effective.

  5. Solving the Mixed Vrp with Backhauling Using Ants

    Wassan, N. A.; Salhi, S.; Nagy, G.

    2009-08-01

    The mixed vehicle routing problem with backhauls is investigated using an ant system heuristic. This distribution problem seems to suffer from a lack of published work even though it has immense practical applicability especially within logistic systems. Some enhancements to the basic ant system algorithm are embedded into the search. In particular a focus is on the choice in the placement of ants, the use of a site-dependent candidate list, the introduction of a look ahead-based visibility, and appropriate strategies for updating local and global trails. Encouraging computational results are reported when tested on benchmark data sets.

  6. The Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae of Jaragua National Park, Dominican Republic

    David Lubertazzi

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available This study examined ant species richness in Jaragua National Park (Pedernales Province, Dominican Republic. Ants were sampled at 15 sites during late March and early April, 2012. Habitats sampled included dry forest, beach scrub, lakeside acacia scrub, and thorn woodland. Sixty-four species from 23 genera were collected. Species richness was higher than expected, considering only 125 species had previously been reported for all of Hispaniola. Jaragua National Park is part of the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve. The ant species richness observed in this study suggests that the park, along with larger reserve, is successful in preserving important habitat for insects.

  7. Automating ActionScript Projects with Eclipse and Ant

    Koning, Sidney

    2011-01-01

    Automating repetitive programming tasks is easier than many Flash/AS3 developers think. With the Ant build tool, the Eclipse IDE, and this concise guide, you can set up your own "ultimate development machine" to code, compile, debug, and deploy projects faster. You'll also get started with versioning systems, such as Subversion and Git. Create a consistent workflow for multiple machines, or even complete departments, with the help of extensive Ant code samples. If you want to work smarter and take your skills to a new level, this book will get you on the road to automation-with Ant. Set up y

  8. Fatty Amines from Little Black Ants, Monomorium minimum, and Their Biological Activities Against Red Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    Wang, Lei; Chen, Jian

    2015-08-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, are significant invasive pests. Certain native ant species can compete with S. invicta, such as the little black ant, Monomorium minimum. Defensive secretions may contribute to the competition capacity of native ants. The chemistry of ant defensive secretions in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to extensive research. The insecticidal alkaloids, 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolines have been reported to dominate the venom of M. minimum. In this study, analysis of defensive secretions of workers and queens of M. minimum revealed two primary amines, decylamine and dodecylamine. Neither amine has been reported previously from natural sources. Toxicity and digging suppression by these two amines against S. invicta were examined. Decylamine had higher toxicity to S. invicta workers than dodecylamine, a quicker knockdown effect, and suppressed the digging behavior of S. invicta workers at lower concentration. However, the amount of fatty amines in an individual ant was not enough to knockdown a fire ant or suppress its digging behavior. These amines most likely work in concert with other components in the chemical defense of M. minimum.

  9. Disruption of a protective ant-plant mutualism by an invasive ant increases elephant damage to savanna trees.

    Riginos, Corinna; Karande, Megan A; Rubenstein, Daniel I; Palmer, Todd M

    2015-03-01

    Invasive species can indirectly affect ecosystem processes via the disruption of mutualisms. The mutualism between the whistling thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium) and four species of symbiotic ants is an ecologically important one; ants strongly defend trees against elephants, which can otherwise have dramatic impacts on tree cover. In Laikipia, Kenya, the invasive big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) has established itself at numerous locations within the last 10-15 years. In invaded areas on five properties, we found that three species of symbiotic Crematogaster ants were virtually extirpated, whereas Tetraponera penzigi co-occurred with P. megacephala. T. penzigi appears to persist because of its nonaggressive behavior; in a whole-tree translocation experiment, Crematogaster defended host trees against P. megacephala, but were extirpated from trees within hours. In contrast, T. penzigi retreated into domatia and withstood invading ants for >30 days. In the field, the loss of defensive Crematogaster ants in invaded areas led to a five- to sevenfold increase in the number of trees catastrophically damaged by elephants compared to uninvaded areas. In savannas, tree cover drives many ecosystem processes and provides essential forage for many large mammal species; thus, the invasion of big-headed ants may strongly alter the dynamics and diversity of East Africa's whistling thorn savannas by disrupting this system's keystone acaciaant mutualism.

  10. Selenium exposure results in reduced reproduction in an invasive ant species and altered competitive behavior for a native ant species.

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL(-1)) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL(-1)) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species.

  11. Variable interaction specificity and symbiont performance in Panamanian Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex fungus-growing ants

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2014-01-01

    spectra were significantly affected by both cultivar species and farming ant species, and more so for certain ant-cultivar combinations than others. However, relative changes in activity of single enzymes only depended on cultivar genotype and not on the ant species farming a cultivar. Conclusions Ant...

  12. 9 CFR 381.70 - Ante mortem inspection; when required; extent.

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante mortem inspection; when required... AND VOLUNTARY INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS Ante Mortem Inspection § 381.70 Ante mortem inspection; when required; extent. (a) An ante mortem inspection of...

  13. 9 CFR 309.1 - Ante-mortem inspection in pens of official establishments.

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Ante-mortem inspection in pens of... AND VOLUNTARY INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION ANTE-MORTEM INSPECTION § 309.1 Ante-mortem inspection in...) Such ante-mortem inspection shall be made in pens on the premises of the establishment at which...

  14. 9 CFR 354.122 - Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection.

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection... Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.122 Condemnation on ante-mortem inspection. Rabbits found in a... showing, on ante-mortem inspection, any disease or condition, that under §§ 354.129 to 354.131,...

  15. 9 CFR 354.123 - Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection.

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. All rabbits which, on ante-mortem inspection, do not plainly show, but are suspected of being...

  16. Draft Genome Sequence of the Ant-associated Fungus Phialophora attae (CBS 131958)

    de Hoog, S.

    2015-01-01

    The black yeast Phialophora attae was isolated from the cuticle of tropical ant gynes. The ant-fungus association is sustained due to symbiotic evolutionary adaptations that allow fungal assimilation and tolerance of toxic compounds produced by the ant. The genome sequence of the first ant-associate

  17. Using insect traps to increase weaver ant (Oecophylla longinoda) prey capture

    Lynegaard, Gina; Offenberg, Joachim; Fast, Thora;

    2014-01-01

    production of ants. Malaise like traps placed in trees may catch flying insects without catching ants, as ants may use pheromone trails to navigate in and out of the traps. Thus, ants may increase their prey intake if they are able to extract insects caught in traps. In a mango plantation in Tanzania, we...

  18. Tuning PID Controller Using Multiobjective Ant Colony Optimization

    Ibtissem Chiha

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper treats a tuning of PID controllers method using multiobjective ant colony optimization. The design objective was to apply the ant colony algorithm in the aim of tuning the optimum solution of the PID controllers (Kp, Ki, and Kd by minimizing the multiobjective function. The potential of using multiobjective ant algorithms is to identify the Pareto optimal solution. The other methods are applied to make comparisons between a classic approach based on the “Ziegler-Nichols” method and a metaheuristic approach based on the genetic algorithms. Simulation results demonstrate that the new tuning method using multiobjective ant colony optimization has a better control system performance compared with the classic approach and the genetic algorithms.

  19. Hybrid Ant Algorithm and Applications for Vehicle Routing Problem

    Xiao, Zhang; Jiang-qing, Wang

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) is a metaheuristic method that inspired by the behavior of real ant colonies. ACO has been successfully applied to several combinatorial optimization problems, but it has some short-comings like its slow computing speed and local-convergence. For solving Vehicle Routing Problem, we proposed Hybrid Ant Algorithm (HAA) in order to improve both the performance of the algorithm and the quality of solutions. The proposed algorithm took the advantages of Nearest Neighbor (NN) heuristic and ACO for solving VRP, it also expanded the scope of solution space and improves the global ability of the algorithm through importing mutation operation, combining 2-opt heuristics and adjusting the configuration of parameters dynamically. Computational results indicate that the hybrid ant algorithm can get optimal resolution of VRP effectively.

  20. Ant groups optimally amplify the effect of transiently informed individuals.

    Gelblum, Aviram; Pinkoviezky, Itai; Fonio, Ehud; Ghosh, Abhijit; Gov, Nir; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-07-28

    To cooperatively transport a large load, it is important that carriers conform in their efforts and align their forces. A downside of behavioural conformism is that it may decrease the group's responsiveness to external information. Combining experiment and theory, we show how ants optimize collective transport. On the single-ant scale, optimization stems from decision rules that balance individuality and compliance. Macroscopically, these rules poise the system at the transition between random walk and ballistic motion where the collective response to the steering of a single informed ant is maximized. We relate this peak in response to the divergence of susceptibility at a phase transition. Our theoretical models predict that the ant-load system can be transitioned through the critical point of this mesoscopic system by varying its size; we present experiments supporting these predictions. Our findings show that efficient group-level processes can arise from transient amplification of individual-based knowledge.

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

    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...... nest types. High inbreeding also resulted in high genetic relatedness, which could imply substantial indirect fitness benefits since obviously negative fitness effects were not produced such as suboptimal body size, significant fluctuating asymmetry in reproductively relevant traits, or diploid male...

  2. All-Optical Implementation of the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    Hu, Wenchao; Wu, Kan; Shum, Perry Ping; Zheludev, Nikolay I.; Soci, Cesare

    2016-05-01

    We report all-optical implementation of the optimization algorithm for the famous “ant colony” problem. Ant colonies progressively optimize pathway to food discovered by one of the ants through identifying the discovered route with volatile chemicals (pheromones) secreted on the way back from the food deposit. Mathematically this is an important example of graph optimization problem with dynamically changing parameters. Using an optical network with nonlinear waveguides to represent the graph and a feedback loop, we experimentally show that photons traveling through the network behave like ants that dynamically modify the environment to find the shortest pathway to any chosen point in the graph. This proof-of-principle demonstration illustrates how transient nonlinearity in the optical system can be exploited to tackle complex optimization problems directly, on the hardware level, which may be used for self-routing of optical signals in transparent communication networks and energy flow in photonic systems.

  3. Communal peeing: a new mode of flood control in ants

    Maschwitz, Ulrich; Moog, J.

    The behavioral response of the obligate bamboo-nesting ant Cataulacus muticus to nest flooding was studied in a perhumid tropical rainforest in Malaysia and in the laboratory. The hollow internodes of giant bamboo, in which C. muticus exclusively nests, are prone to flooding by heavy rains. The ants showed a two-graded response to flooding. During heavy rain workers block the nest entrances with their heads to reduce water influx. However, rainwater may still intrude into the nest chamber. The ants respond by drinking the water, leaving the nest and excreting water droplets on the outer stem surface. This cooperative 'peeing' behavior is a new survival mechanism adaptive to the ants' nesting ecology. Laboratory experiments conducted with two other Cataulacus species, C. catuvolcus colonizing small dead twigs and C. horridus inhabiting rotten wood, did not reveal any form of water-bailing behavior.

  4. Significance of chemical recognition cues is context dependent in ants

    Bos, N.; Guerrieri, F.J.; d'Ettorre, P.

    2010-01-01

    Recognition of group members is of fundamental importance in social animals, allowing individuals to protect resources against intruders and parasites, as well as ensuring social cohesion within the group. In ants and other social insects, social recognition relies on multicomponent chemical...... been suggested that associative learning might play a role in nestmate recognition. We investigated whether Camponotus aethiops ants can associate a complete cuticular hydrocarbon profile, consisting of about 40 compounds, with a food reward and whether the new association, developed in an appetitive...... context, affects aggression against non-nestmates carrying the hydrocarbon profile associated with food. Individual ant workers were able to associate the non-nestmate chemical profile with food. However, conditioned ants were still aggressive when encountering a non-nestmate carrying the odour profile...

  5. Melissotarsus ants are likely able to digest plant polysaccharides.

    Mony, Ruth; Dejean, Alain; Bilong, Charles Félix Bilong; Kenne, Martin; Rouland-Lefèvre, Corinne

    2013-10-01

    Melissotarsus ants have an extremely specialized set of behaviours. Both workers and gynes tunnel galleries in their host tree bark. Workers walk with their mesothoracic legs pointing upwards and tend Diaspididae hemiptera for their flesh. The ants use their forelegs to plug the galleries with silk that they secrete themselves. We hypothesised that the ants' energetic needs for nearly constant gallery digging could be satisfied through the absorption of host tree tissues; so, using basic techniques, we examined the digestive capacities of workers from two species. We show that workers are able to degrade oligosaccharides and heterosides as well as, to a lesser degree, polysaccharides. This is one of the rare reports on ants able to digest plant polysaccharides other than starch.

  6. 安科特纳Acterna ANT-10G

    2004-01-01

    ANT-10G-SDH版是ANT-20SE家族的成员,它可以在实验室也可以在现场使用。由于其优异的测试灵活性,ANT-10G使测试者能够利用多种方法对所有主要质量参数进行测试,从简单的误码率测试(BERTs),性能和指针分析,到复杂的同步问题。ANT-10G也可按照用户需要定制。

  7. Ant Genetics: Reproductive Physiology, Worker Morphology, and Behavior.

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

    Many exciting studies have begun to elucidate the genetics of the morphological and physiological diversity of ants, but as yet few studies have investigated the genetics of ant behavior directly. Ant genomes are marked by extreme rates of gene turnover, especially in gene families related to olfactory communication, such as the synthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons and the perception of environmental semiochemicals. Transcriptomic and epigenetic differences are apparent between reproductive and sterile females, males and females, and workers that differ in body size. Quantitative genetic approaches suggest heritability of task performance, and population genetic studies indicate a genetic association with reproductive status in some species. Gene expression is associated with behavior including foraging, response to queens attempting to join a colony, circadian patterns of task performance, and age-related changes of task. Ant behavioral genetics needs further investigation of the feedback between individual-level physiological changes and socially mediated responses to environmental conditions.

  8. Ant colonies prefer infected over uninfected nest sites

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley

    2014-01-01

    and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown...

  9. Incremental Web Usage Mining Based on Active Ant Colony Clustering

    SHEN Jie; LIN Ying; CHEN Zhimin

    2006-01-01

    To alleviate the scalability problem caused by the increasing Web using and changing users' interests, this paper presents a novel Web Usage Mining algorithm-Incremental Web Usage Mining algorithm based on Active Ant Colony Clustering. Firstly, an active movement strategy about direction selection and speed, different with the positive strategy employed by other Ant Colony Clustering algorithms, is proposed to construct an Active Ant Colony Clustering algorithm, which avoid the idle and "flying over the plane" moving phenomenon, effectively improve the quality and speed of clustering on large dataset. Then a mechanism of decomposing clusters based on above methods is introduced to form new clusters when users' interests change. Empirical studies on a real Web dataset show the active ant colony clustering algorithm has better performance than the previous algorithms, and the incremental approach based on the proposed mechanism can efficiently implement incremental Web usage mining.

  10. Kunstipiiride valvaja Ants Juske ja "12 tooli" / Peeter Linnap

    Linnap, Peeter, 1960-

    1999-01-01

    Vastuseks A. Juske kirjutisele 23. nov. Eesti Päevalehes "Backdoor Media" kunstiväljaandest. Kui pahempoolne tohib olla vasakpoolsus kultuuris Ants Juske arvates. Ilmunud ka raamatus: Linnap, P. Silmakirjad. Tartu, 2007, lk. 228

  11. Ant Colony Search Algorithm for Solving Unit Commitment Problem

    M.Surya Kalavathi

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available In this paper Ant Colony Search Algorithm is proposed to solve thermal unit commitment problem. Ant colony search (ACS studies are inspired from the behavior of real ant colonies that are used to solve function or combinatorial optimization problems. In the ACSA a set of cooperating agents called ants cooperates to find good solution of unit commitment problem of thermal units. The UC problem is to determine a minimal cost turn-on and turn-off schedule of a set of electrical power generating units to meet a load demand while satisfying a set of operational constraints. This proposed approach is a tested on 10 unit power system and compared to conventional methods.

  12. Efficient Egress of Escaping Ants Stressed with Temperature

    Boari, Santiago; Josens, Roxana; Parisi, Daniel R.

    2013-01-01

    In the present work we investigate the egress times of a group of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) stressed with different heating speeds. We found that the higher the temperature ramp is, the faster ants evacuate showing, in this sense, a group-efficient evacuation strategy. It is important to note that even when the life of ants was in danger, jamming and clogging was not observed near the exit, in accordance with other experiments reported in the literature using citronella as aversive stimuli. Because of this clear difference between ants and humans, we recommend the use of some other animal models for studying competitive egress dynamics as a more accurate approach to understanding competitive egress in human systems. PMID:24312264

  13. Myrmeciza and related antbirds (Aves, Formicariidae as army ant followers

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Full Text Available Antbirds of the genera Myrmeciza (including Sipia and Myrmoborus, Gymnocichla, and Sclateria hop near or on the ground in fairly dense vegetation, "pounding" their tails downward. Where dense understory vegetation is widespread and ants move in it for long distances, certain of these antbirds become regular ant followers: M. immaculata and M. fortis in cluttered moist foothill forest from Costa Rica to upper Amazonia; Gymnocichla nudiceps in moist cluttered second growth of Central America to Colombia. Where the forest understory is more open, Myrmeciza species follow ants mainly in cluttered patches: M. exsul in lowland forest west of the Andes, M. myotherina east of the Andes. Myrmeciza or relatives that specialize on water-edge or very dense zones rarely follow ants.

  14. FMR measurements in fire ants: evidence of magnetic material

    Esquivel, Darci M.S.; Acosta-Avalos, Daniel; El-Jaick, Lea J.; Cunha, Alexandra D.M.; Malheiros, Maria G.; Wajnberg, Eliane [Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas (CBPF), Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Linhares, Marilia P. [Centro de Ciencias do Estado, do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil)

    1998-01-01

    Based on the behavioral and the localization of iron-containing tissue fire ants were examined by EPR for magnetic material. Results suggest the presence of magnetite particles. (author) 12 refs., 1 fig.

  15. Simple cellular automata to mimic foraging ants submitted to abduction

    Tejera, F

    2015-01-01

    Many species of ants forage by building up two files: an outbound one moving from the nest to the foraging area, and a nestbound one, returning from it to the nest. Those files are eventually submitted to different threats. If the danger is concentrated at one point of the file, one might expect that ants returning to the nest will pass danger information to their nestmates moving in the opposite direction towards the danger area. In this paper, we construct simple cellular automata models for foraging ants submitted to localized abduction, were danger information is transmitted using different protocols, including the possibility of no transmission. The parameters we have used in the simulations have been estimated from actual experiments under natural conditions. So, it would be easy to test our information-transmission hypothese in real experiments. Preliminary experimental results published elsewhere suggest that the behavior of foraging ants of the species Atta insularis is best described using the hypot...

  16. Nasa's Ant-Inspired Swarmie Robots

    Leucht, Kurt W.

    2016-01-01

    As humans push further beyond the grasp of earth, robotic missions in advance of human missions will play an increasingly important role. These robotic systems will find and retrieve valuable resources as part of an in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) strategy. They will need to be highly autonomous while maintaining high task performance levels. NASA Kennedy Space Center has teamed up with the Biological Computation Lab at the University of New Mexico to create a swarm of small, low-cost, autonomous robots to be used as a ground-based research platform for ISRU missions. The behavior of the robot swarm mimics the central-place foraging strategy of ants to find and collect resources in a previously unmapped environment and return those resources to a central site. This talk will guide the audience through the Swarmie robot project from its conception by students in a New Mexico research lab to its robot trials in an outdoor parking lot at NASA. The software technologies and techniques used on the project will be discussed, as well as various challenges and solutions that were encountered by the development team along the way.

  17. Juan Manuel de Prada ante el papel

    Antonio Preciado

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available En la primavera de 1997, interesado en el joven autor de 26 años que había demostrado una madurez desconcertante, conseguí hacerle una entrevista para la Radio Universitaria de Salamanca, que, por una reforma radical en la emisora, nunca fue emitida. En octubre, de Prada obtuvo, a tan temprana edad, el Premio Planeta, convirtiéndose en lo que es ahora, un autor de primera fila en la literatura española, y un técnico de la emisora con sentido ético me llamó para entregarme la grabación. Me dirigí a la prensa para publicar la entrevista, juzgando que sería bien recibida, pero no obtuve respuesta. Por fin, después de tanto tiempo, he decidido dar a conocer aquella entrevista, que fue hecha en toda profundidad y que desvela ante nuestros ojos cómo son los comienzos de un autor joven y desconocido, que se ha convertido, por cierto, en el más controvertido ideológica y literariamente de la actualidad.

  18. Public goods dilemma in asexual ant societies.

    Dobata, Shigeto; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2013-10-01

    Cooperation in biological, social, and economic groups is underpinned by public goods that are generated by group members at some personal cost. Theory predicts that public goods will be exploited by cheaters who benefit from the goods by not paying for them, thereby leading to the collapse of cooperation. This situation, described as the "public goods dilemma" in game theory, makes the ubiquity of cooperation a major evolutionary puzzle. Despite this generalization, the demonstration of genetic background and fitness effects of the public goods dilemma has been limited to interactions between viruses and between cells, and thus its relevance at higher levels of organismal complexity is still largely unexplored. Here we provide experimental evidence for the public goods dilemma in a social insect, the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus. In this species, all workers are involved in both asexual reproduction and cooperative tasks. Genetic cheaters infiltrate field colonies, reproducing more than the workers but shunning cooperative tasks. In laboratory experiments, cheaters outcompeted coexisting workers in both survival and reproduction, although a group composed only of cheaters failed to produce offspring. The operations of the public goods dilemma in P. punctatus showed a remarkable convergence with those in microbial societies, not only in fitness consequences but also in behavioral mechanisms. Our study reinforces the evolutionary impact of cheaters on diverse cooperative systems in the laboratory and in the field.

  19. Antes del Diseño

    Javier González Solas

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available La práctica profesional del diseño está sometida a una dispersión que dificulta la reflexión sobre ella misma. Y la enseñanza universitaria se ha convertido en gran parte en una práctica más. De este modo la ausencia de una reflexión radical, anterior en el tiempo (revisión de la historia y anterior en el método (pensar antes de hacer, puede convertirse en un colaboracionismo amoral con todo tipo de catástrofe intelectual y sociopolítica. La perspectiva aquí adoptada proviene de una toma de posición, también previa, a lo que a veces se toma como científico. Frente a un estado de cosas difícil de cambiar, cabe asumirlo tal cual y reducirse a un papel instrumental (antipolítico, o reflexionar. Y ese sería el papel político de la Universidad.

  20. Ant Colony Optimisation for Backward Production Scheduling

    Leandro Pereira dos Santos

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The main objective of a production scheduling system is to assign tasks (orders or jobs to resources and sequence them as efficiently and economically (optimised as possible. Achieving this goal is a difficult task in complex environment where capacity is usually limited. In these scenarios, finding an optimal solution—if possible—demands a large amount of computer time. For this reason, in many cases, a good solution that is quickly found is preferred. In such situations, the use of metaheuristics is an appropriate strategy. In these last two decades, some out-of-the-shelf systems have been developed using such techniques. This paper presents and analyses the development of a shop-floor scheduling system that uses ant colony optimisation (ACO in a backward scheduling problem in a manufacturing scenario with single-stage processing, parallel resources, and flexible routings. This scenario was found in a large food industry where the corresponding author worked as consultant for more than a year. This work demonstrates the applicability of this artificial intelligence technique. In fact, ACO proved to be as efficient as branch-and-bound, however, executing much faster.

  1. Introduction to Ant Colony Algorithm and Its Application in CIMS

    2002-01-01

    Ant colony algorithm is a novel simulated ecosystem e volutionary algorithm, which is proposed firstly by Italian scholars M.Dorigo, A . Colormi and V. Maniezzo. Enlightened by the process of ants searching for food , scholars bring forward this new evolutionary algorithm. This algorithm has sev eral characteristics such as positive feedback, distributed computing and stro nger robustness. Positive feedback and distributed computing make it easier to find better solutions. Based on these characteristics...

  2. Ant Colony Optimization for Train Scheduling: An Analysis

    Sudip Kumar Sahana; Aruna Jain; Prabhat Kumar Mahanti

    2014-01-01

    This paper deals on cargo train scheduling between source station and destination station in Indian railways scenario. It uses Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) technique which is based on ant’s food finding behavior. Iteration wise convergence process and the convergence time for the algorithm are studied and analyzed. Finally, the run time analysis of Ant Colony Optimization Train Scheduling (ACOTS) and Standard Train Scheduling (STS) algorithm has been performed.

  3. Ant Colony Optimization for Train Scheduling: An Analysis

    Sudip Kumar Sahana

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper deals on cargo train scheduling between source station and destination station in Indian railways scenario. It uses Ant Colony Optimization (ACO technique which is based on ant’s food finding behavior. Iteration wise convergence process and the convergence time for the algorithm are studied and analyzed. Finally, the run time analysis of Ant Colony Optimization Train Scheduling (ACOTS and Standard Train Scheduling (STS algorithm has been performed.

  4. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    Kronauer, Daniel Jc; Peters, Marcell K; Schöning, Caspar;

    2011-01-01

    Hybridization can have complex effects on evolutionary dynamics in ants because of the combination of haplodiploid sex-determination and eusociality. While hybrid non-reproductive workers have been found in a range of species, examples of gene-flow via hybrid queens and males are rare. We studied...... hybridization in East African army ants (Dorylus subgenus Anomma) using morphology, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and nuclear microsatellites....

  5. Chemical signals associated with life inhibit necrophoresis in Argentine ants

    Choe, Dong-Hwan; Millar, Jocelyn G.; Rust, Michael K.

    2009-01-01

    One of the most conspicuous and stereotyped activities of social insects such as ants and honey bees is necrophoresis, the removal of dead colony members from the nest. Previous researchers suggested that decomposition products such as fatty acids trigger necrophoric behavior by ant workers. However, fatty acids elicit both foraging and necrophoric responses, depending on the current nest activities (e.g., feeding or nest maintenance). Furthermore, workers often carry even freshly killed work...

  6. The Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Jaragua National Park, Dominican Republic

    David Lubertazzi; Gary D. Alpert

    2014-01-01

    This study examined ant species richness in Jaragua National Park (Pedernales Province, Dominican Republic). Ants were sampled at 15 sites during late March and early April, 2012. Habitats sampled included dry forest, beach scrub, lakeside acacia scrub, and thorn woodland. Sixty-four species from 23 genera were collected. Species richness was higher than expected, considering only 125 species had previously been reported for all of Hispaniola. Jaragua National Park is part of the Jaragua-Baho...

  7. Water stress strengthens mutualism among ants, trees, and scale insects.

    Elizabeth G Pringle

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Abiotic environmental variables strongly affect the outcomes of species interactions. For example, mutualistic interactions between species are often stronger when resources are limited. The effect might be indirect: water stress on plants can lead to carbon stress, which could alter carbon-mediated plant mutualisms. In mutualistic ant-plant symbioses, plants host ant colonies that defend them against herbivores. Here we show that the partners' investments in a widespread ant-plant symbiosis increase with water stress across 26 sites along a Mesoamerican precipitation gradient. At lower precipitation levels, Cordia alliodora trees invest more carbon in Azteca ants via phloem-feeding scale insects that provide the ants with sugars, and the ants provide better defense of the carbon-producing leaves. Under water stress, the trees have smaller carbon pools. A model of the carbon trade-offs for the mutualistic partners shows that the observed strategies can arise from the carbon costs of rare but extreme events of herbivory in the rainy season. Thus, water limitation, together with the risk of herbivory, increases the strength of a carbon-based mutualism.

  8. Action of Ants on Vertebrate Carcasses and Blow Flies (Calliphoridae).

    Paula, Michele C; Morishita, Gustavo M; Cavarson, Carolina H; Gonçalves, Cristiano R; Tavares, Paulo R A; Mendonça, Angélica; Súarez, Yzel R; Antonialli-Junior, William F

    2016-11-01

    Forensic entomology is a science that uses insect fauna as a tool to assist in criminal investigations and civil proceedings. Although the most researched insects are the Diptera and Coleoptera, ants may be present in all stages of decomposition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of ants and their action on blow flies during the decomposition process. Experiments were performed in which four pig carcasses were exposed in the cold and dry season (November/2012 and March/2013) and four in the hot and wet season (May/2013 and August/2013). Flies were the first insects to detect and interact with the carcasses, and six species of the Calliphoridae family were identified. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the second group, with six subfamilies identified. Myrmycinae represented 42% of the species, followed by Formicinae (28%), Ectatominae and Ponerinae (both 10%), and Ecitoninae and Dolichoderinae (both 5%). The ants acted on the carcasses as predators of visiting species, omnivores, and necrophagous, in all cases significantly affecting the decomposition time, slowing it down when the ants preyed on adult and immature insects consuming the carcass, or accelerating it by consuming the carcass and creating holes that could serve as gateways for the action of other organisms. The ants also generated artifacts that could lead to forensic misinterpretation.

  9. Trail Pheromone Disruption of Argentine Ant Trail Formation and Foraging

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Stringer, L.D.; Snook, K.; Banko, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromone-based pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a micro-encapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2-3 m s-1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments. ?? Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.

  10. An invasive slug exploits an ant-seed dispersal mutualism.

    Meadley Dunphy, Shannon A; Prior, Kirsten M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2016-05-01

    Plant-animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest-including native and invasive seed-dispersing ants (Aphaenogaster rudis and Myrmica rubra, respectively), an invasive slug (Arion subfuscus), and native rodents-on a native myrmecochorous plant, Asarum canadense. We experimentally manipulated ant, slug, and rodent access to seed depots and measured seed removal. We also video-recorded depots to determine which other taxa interact with seeds. We found that A. rudis was the main disperser of seeds and that A. subfuscus consumed elaiosomes without dispersing seeds. Rodent visitation was rare, and rodent exclusion had no significant effect on seed or elaiosome removal. We then used data obtained from laboratory and field mesocosm experiments to determine how elaiosome robbing by A. subfuscus affects seed dispersal by A. rudis and M. rubra. We found that elaiosome robbing by slugs reduced seed dispersal by ants, especially in mesocosms with A. rudis, which picks up seeds more slowly than M. rubra. Taken together, our results show that elaiosome robbing by an invasive slug reduces seed dispersal by ants, suggesting that invasive slugs can have profound negative effects on seed dispersal mutualisms.

  11. No sex in fungus-farming ants or their crops.

    Himler, Anna G; Caldera, Eric J; Baer, Boris C; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2009-07-22

    Asexual reproduction imposes evolutionary handicaps on asexual species, rendering them prone to extinction, because asexual reproduction generates novel genotypes and purges deleterious mutations at lower rates than sexual reproduction. Here, we report the first case of complete asexuality in ants, the fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus smithii, where queens reproduce asexually but workers are sterile, which is doubly enigmatic because the clonal colonies of M. smithii also depend on clonal fungi for food. Degenerate female mating anatomy, extensive field and laboratory surveys, and DNA fingerprinting implicate complete asexuality in this widespread ant species. Maternally inherited bacteria (e.g. Wolbachia, Cardinium) and the fungal cultivars can be ruled out as agents inducing asexuality. M. smithii societies of clonal females provide a unique system to test theories of parent-offspring conflict and reproductive policing in social insects. Asexuality of both ant farmer and fungal crop challenges traditional views proposing that sexual farmer ants outpace coevolving sexual crop pathogens, and thus compensate for vulnerabilities of their asexual crops. Either the double asexuality of both farmer and crop may permit the host to fully exploit advantages of asexuality for unknown reasons or frequent switching between crops (symbiont reassociation) generates novel ant-fungus combinations, which may compensate for any evolutionary handicaps of asexuality in M. smithii.

  12. The natural history of the arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi

    Walter R. Tschinkel

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm2 in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations.

  13. Species-Specific Effects of Ant Inhabitants on Bromeliad Nutrition.

    Ana Z Gonçalves

    Full Text Available Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth. On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments.

  14. Weeding and grooming of pathogens in agriculture by ants.

    Currie, C R; Stuart, A E

    2001-05-22

    The ancient mutualism between fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food is a textbook example of symbiosis. Fungus-growing ants' ability to cultivate fungi depends on protection of the garden from the aggressive microbes associated with the substrate added to the garden as well as from the specialized virulent garden parasite Escovopsis. We examined ants' ability to remove alien microbes physically by infecting Atta colombica gardens with the generalist pathogen Trichoderma viride and the specialist pathogen Escovopsis. The ants sanitized the garden using two main behaviours: grooming of alien spores from the garden (fungus grooming) and removal of infected garden substrate (weeding). Unlike previously described hygienic behaviours (e.g. licking and self-grooming), fungus-grooming and garden-removal behaviours are specific responses to the presence of fungal pathogens. In the presence of pathogens, they are the primary activities performed by workers, but they are uncommon in uninfected gardens. In fact, workers rapidly eliminate Trichoderma from their gardens by fungus grooming and weeding, suggesting that these behaviours are the primary method of garden defence against generalist pathogens. The same sanitary behaviours were performed in response to the presence of the specialist pathogen Escovopsis. However, the intensity and duration of these behaviours were much greater in this treatment. Despite the increased effort, the ants were unable to eliminate Escovopsis from their gardens, suggesting that this specialized pathogen has evolved counter-adaptations in order to overcome the sanitary defences of the ants.

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

    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...... time it takes for newly established colonies to grow to a suitable size. In this study we followed the growth of newly founded O. smaragdina colonies with 2, 3 or 4 founding queens during 12 days of development, following the transplantation of 0, 30 or 60 pupae from a mature donor colony. Colony...... growth (number of individuals) increased with increasing numbers of queens (pleometrosis) as well as with the transplantation of pupae. Transplanted pupae were accepted and developed into mature workers and not only added extra individuals to the receiver colonies but also increased the egg production...

  16. Distribution and Management of the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, in Virginia

    Allen, Hamilton Ross

    2010-01-01

    Red imported fire ant specimens were first collected in Virginia in 1989 from colonies located in Hampton, Va. Now colonies are established throughout the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Because the fire ant is a new pest information regarding the distribution, biology, and management of the ant in Virgnia are absent. Therefore studies were conducted to compare the efficacies of four broadcast fire ant control products and an individual mound treatment to control fire ants and to determine...

  17. Ants as Indicators in Brazil: A Review with Suggestions to Improve the Use of Ants in Environmental Monitoring Programs

    Carla R. Ribas

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We describe the use of ants as indicators in Brazil, based on a critical review of published articles. The analysis of fifty-eight papers, encompassing a range of almost 25 years, indicates an increased number of studies using ants as indicators in the last decade. Among the parameters analyzed in the papers, species composition is the most suitable to evaluate the effect of the disturbance on ant communities. The use of other metrics that consider the specificity and fidelity (e.g., IndVal index of ant species to a level or state of disturbance is also highly desirable. We discuss several alternative ways of overcoming many of the drawbacks related to the robustness of the results and to reduce the financial, logistic, and time costs involved with the use of ants as indicators in monitoring programs. By doing so, we expect to encourage new research on ants as bioindicators as well as to summarize current knowledge, facilitating further research.

  18. Foraging ants trade off further for faster: use of natural bridges and trunk trail permanency in carpenter ants.

    Loreto, Raquel G; Hart, Adam G; Pereira, Thairine M; Freitas, Mayara L R; Hughes, David P; Elliot, Simon L

    2013-10-01

    Trail-making ants lay pheromones on the substrate to define paths between foraging areas and the nest. Combined with the chemistry of these pheromone trails and the physics of evaporation, trail-laying and trail-following behaviours provide ant colonies with the quickest routes to food. In relatively uniform environments, such as that provided in many laboratory studies of trail-making ants, the quickest route is also often the shortest route. Here, we show that carpenter ants (Camponotus rufipes), in natural conditions, are able to make use of apparent obstacles in their environment to assist in finding the fastest routes to food. These ants make extensive use of fallen branches, twigs and lianas as bridges to build their trails. These bridges make trails significantly longer than their straight line equivalents across the forest floor, but we estimate that ants spend less than half the time to reach the same point, due to increased carriage speed across the bridges. We also found that these trails, mainly composed of bridges, are maintained for months, so they can be characterized as trunk trails. We suggest that pheromone-based foraging trail networks in field conditions are likely to be structured by a range of potentially complex factors but that even then, speed remains the most important consideration.

  19. Foraging ants trade off further for faster: use of natural bridges and trunk trail permanency in carpenter ants

    Loreto, Raquel G.; Hart, Adam G.; Pereira, Thairine M.; Freitas, Mayara L. R.; Hughes, David P.; Elliot, Simon L.

    2013-10-01

    Trail-making ants lay pheromones on the substrate to define paths between foraging areas and the nest. Combined with the chemistry of these pheromone trails and the physics of evaporation, trail-laying and trail-following behaviours provide ant colonies with the quickest routes to food. In relatively uniform environments, such as that provided in many laboratory studies of trail-making ants, the quickest route is also often the shortest route. Here, we show that carpenter ants ( Camponotus rufipes), in natural conditions, are able to make use of apparent obstacles in their environment to assist in finding the fastest routes to food. These ants make extensive use of fallen branches, twigs and lianas as bridges to build their trails. These bridges make trails significantly longer than their straight line equivalents across the forest floor, but we estimate that ants spend less than half the time to reach the same point, due to increased carriage speed across the bridges. We also found that these trails, mainly composed of bridges, are maintained for months, so they can be characterized as trunk trails. We suggest that pheromone-based foraging trail networks in field conditions are likely to be structured by a range of potentially complex factors but that even then, speed remains the most important consideration.

  20. Alkaloid venom weaponry of three Megalomyrmex thief ants and the behavioral response of Cyphomyrmex costatus host ants.

    Adams, Rachelle M M; Jones, Tappey H; Longino, John T; Weatherford, Robert G; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2015-04-01

    Social parasites exploit other societies by invading and stealing resources. Some enter protected nests using offensive chemical weaponry made from alkaloid-based venom. We characterized the venoms of three Megalomyrmex thief ant species (M. mondabora, M. mondaboroides, and M. silvestrii) that parasitize the fungus-growing ants, and developed an ethogram to describe host ant reactions to raiding M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii parasites. We compared piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrolizidine venom alkaloid structures with synthetic samples from previous studies, and describe the novel stereochemistry of trans 2-hexyl-5-[8-oxononyl]-pyrrolidine (3) from M. mondabora. We showed that workers of Cyphomyrmex costatus, the host of M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii, react to a sting by Megalomyrmex parasites mainly with submissive behavior, playing dead or retreating. Host submission also followed brief antennal contact. The behavior of C. costatus ants observed in this study was similar to that of Cyphomyrmex cornutus, host of M. mondabora, suggesting that the alkaloidal venoms with pyrrolidines from M. mondabora, piperidines from M. mondaboroides, and pyrolizidines from M. silvestrii may function similarly as appeasement and repellent allomones against host ants, despite their different chemical structure. With the use of these chemical weapons, the Megalomyrmex thief ants are met with little host resistance and easily exploit host colony resources.

  1. Ant-mediated seed dispersal in a warmed world

    Katharine L. Stuble

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Climate change affects communities both directly and indirectly via changes in interspecific interactions. One such interaction that may be altered under climate change is the ant-plant seed dispersal mutualism common in deciduous forests of eastern North America. As climatic warming alters the abundance and activity levels of ants, the potential exists for shifts in rates of ant-mediated seed dispersal. We used an experimental temperature manipulation at two sites in the eastern US (Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and Duke Forest in North Carolina to examine the potential impacts of climatic warming on overall rates of seed dispersal (using Asarum canadense seeds as well as species-specific rates of seed dispersal at the Duke Forest site. We also examined the relationship between ant critical thermal maxima (CTmax and the mean seed removal temperature for each ant species. We found that seed removal rates did not change as a result of experimental warming at either study site, nor were there any changes in species-specific rates of seed dispersal. There was, however, a positive relationship between CTmax and mean seed removal temperature, whereby species with higher CTmax removed more seeds at hotter temperatures. The temperature at which seeds were removed was influenced by experimental warming as well as diurnal and day-to-day fluctuations in temperature. Taken together, our results suggest that while temperature may play a role in regulating seed removal by ants, ant plant seed-dispersal mutualisms may be more robust to climate change than currently assumed.

  2. Widespread Chemical Detoxification of Alkaloid Venom by Formicine Ants.

    LeBrun, Edward G; Diebold, Peter J; Orr, Matthew R; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-10-01

    The ability to detoxify defensive compounds of competitors provides key ecological advantages that can influence community-level processes. Although common in plants and bacteria, this type of detoxification interaction is extremely rare in animals. Here, using laboratory behavioral assays and analyses of videotaped interactions in South America, we report widespread venom detoxification among ants in the subfamily Formicinae. Across both data sets, nine formicine species, representing all major clades, used a stereotyped grooming behavior to self-apply formic acid (acidopore grooming) in response to fire ant (Solenopsis invicta and S. saevissima) venom exposure. In laboratory assays, this behavior increased the survivorship of species following exposure to S. invicta venom. Species expressed the behavior when exposed to additional alkaloid venoms, including both compositionally similar piperidine venom of an additional fire ant species and the pyrrolidine/pyrroline alkaloid venom of a Monomorium species. In addition, species expressed the behavior following exposure to the uncharacterized venom of a Crematogaster species. However, species did not express acidopore grooming when confronted with protein-based ant venoms or when exposed to monoterpenoid-based venom. This pattern, combined with the specific chemistry of the reaction of formic acid with venom alkaloids, indicates that alkaloid venoms are targets of detoxification grooming. Solenopsis thief ants, and Monomorium species stand out as brood-predators of formicine ants that produce piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrroline venom, providing an important ecological context for the use of detoxification behavior. Detoxification behavior also represents a mechanism that can influence the order of assemblage dominance hierarchies surrounding food competition. Thus, this behavior likely influences ant-assemblages through a variety of ecological pathways.

  3. Why do house-hunting ants recruit in both directions?

    Planqué, R.; Dechaume-Moncharmont, F.-X.; Franks, N. R.; Kovacs, T.; Marshall, J. A. R.

    2007-11-01

    To perform tasks, organisms often use multiple procedures. Explaining the breadth of such behavioural repertoires is not always straightforward. During house hunting, colonies of Temnothorax albipennis ants use a range of behaviours to organise their emigrations. In particular, the ants use tandem running to recruit naïve ants to potential nest sites. Initially, they use forward tandem runs (FTRs) in which one leader takes a single follower along the route from the old nest to the new one. Later, they use reverse tandem runs (RTRs) in the opposite direction. Tandem runs are used to teach active ants the route between the nests, so that they can be involved quickly in nest evaluation and subsequent recruitment. When a quorum of decision-makers at the new nest is reached, they switch to carrying nestmates. This is three times faster than tandem running. As a rule, having more FTRs early should thus mean faster emigrations, thereby reducing the colony’s vulnerability. So why do ants use RTRs, which are both slow and late? It would seem quicker and simpler for the ants to use more FTRs (and higher quorums) to have enough knowledgeable ants to do all the carrying. In this study, we present the first testable theoretical explanation for the role of RTRs. We set out to find the theoretically fastest emigration strategy for a set of emigration conditions. We conclude that RTRs can have a positive effect on emigration speed if FTRs are limited. In these cases, low quorums together with lots of reverse tandem running give the fastest emigration.

  4. A Novel Polymorphic Ant Colony -Based Clustering Mechanism for Wireless Sensor Networks

    Min Xiang

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available In wireless sensor networks, sensor nodes are extremely power constrained, so energy efficient clustering mechanism is mainly considered in the network topology management. A new clustering mechanism based on the polymorphic ant colony (PAC is designed for dynamically controlling the networks clustering structure. According to different functions, the nodes of the networks are respectively defined as the queen ant, the scout ant and worker ant. Based on the calculated cost function and real-time pheromone, the queen ant restructures an optimum clustering structure. Furthermore, the worker ants and the scout ants can send or receive sensing data with optional communication path based on their pheromones. With the mechanism, the energy consumption in inter-cluster and intra-cluster communication for the worker ants and scout ants can be reduced. The simulation results demonstrate that the proposed mechanism can effectively remodel the clustering structure and improve the energy efficiency of the networks.

  5. Various chemical strategies to deceive ants in three Arhopala species (lepidoptera: Lycaenidae exploiting Macaranga myrmecophytes.

    Yoko Inui

    Full Text Available Macaranga myrmecophytes (ant-plants are generally well protected from herbivore attacks by their symbiotic ants (plant-ants. However, larvae of Arhopala (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae species survive and develop on specific Macaranga ant-plant species without being attacked by the plant-ants of their host species. We hypothesized that Arhopala larvae chemically mimic or camouflage themselves with the ants on their host plant so that the larvae are accepted by the plant-ant species of their host. Chemical analyses of cuticular hydrocarbons showed that chemical congruency varied among Arhopala species; A. dajagaka matched well the host plant-ants, A. amphimuta did not match, and unexpectedly, A. zylda lacked hydrocarbons. Behaviorally, the larvae and dummies coated with cuticular chemicals of A. dajagaka were well attended by the plant-ants, especially by those of the host. A. amphimuta was often attacked by all plant-ants except for the host plant-ants toward the larvae, and those of A. zylda were ignored by all plant-ants. Our results suggested that conspicuous variations exist in the chemical strategies used by the myrmecophilous butterflies that allow them to avoid ant attack and be accepted by the plant-ant colonies.

  6. Various chemical strategies to deceive ants in three Arhopala species (lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) exploiting Macaranga myrmecophytes.

    Inui, Yoko; Shimizu-Kaya, Usun; Okubo, Tadahiro; Yamsaki, Eri; Itioka, Takao

    2015-01-01

    Macaranga myrmecophytes (ant-plants) are generally well protected from herbivore attacks by their symbiotic ants (plant-ants). However, larvae of Arhopala (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) species survive and develop on specific Macaranga ant-plant species without being attacked by the plant-ants of their host species. We hypothesized that Arhopala larvae chemically mimic or camouflage themselves with the ants on their host plant so that the larvae are accepted by the plant-ant species of their host. Chemical analyses of cuticular hydrocarbons showed that chemical congruency varied among Arhopala species; A. dajagaka matched well the host plant-ants, A. amphimuta did not match, and unexpectedly, A. zylda lacked hydrocarbons. Behaviorally, the larvae and dummies coated with cuticular chemicals of A. dajagaka were well attended by the plant-ants, especially by those of the host. A. amphimuta was often attacked by all plant-ants except for the host plant-ants toward the larvae, and those of A. zylda were ignored by all plant-ants. Our results suggested that conspicuous variations exist in the chemical strategies used by the myrmecophilous butterflies that allow them to avoid ant attack and be accepted by the plant-ant colonies.

  7. Mutualism as reciprocal exploitation: African plant-ants defend foliar but not reproductive structures.

    Palmer, Todd M; Brody, Alison K

    2007-12-01

    The foundation of many plant-ant mutualisms is ant protection of plants from herbivores in exchange for food and/or shelter. While the role of symbiotic ants in protecting plants from stem- and leaf-feeding herbivores has been intensively studied, the relationship between ant defense and measures of plant fitness has seldom been quantified. We studied ant aggression, damage by herbivores and seed predators, and fruit production among Acacia drepanolobium trees occupied by four different acacia-ant species in an East African savanna. Levels of ant aggression in response to experimental disturbance differed strongly among the four species. All four ant species recruited more strongly to new leaf growth on host plants following disturbance, while recruitment to developing fruits was on average an order of magnitude lower. Host plants occupied by more aggressive ant species suffered significantly less vegetative damage from leaf-feeding insects, stem-boring beetles, and vertebrate browsers than host plants occupied by less aggressive ant species. However, there were no differences among fruiting host plants occupied by different ant species in levels of seed predation by bruchid seed predators. Fruit production on host trees was significantly correlated with tree stem diameter but not with the identity of resident ants. Our results demonstrate that defense of host plants may differ substantially among ant species and between vegetative and reproductive structures and that fruit production is not necessarily correlated with high levels of aggression by resident ants.

  8. A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants.

    Zhang, Shichang; Koh, Teck Hui; Seah, Wee Khee; Lai, Yee Hing; Elgar, Mark A; Li, Daiqin

    2012-05-07

    Spider webs are made of silk, the properties of which ensure remarkable efficiency at capturing prey. However, remaining on, or near, the web exposes the resident spiders to many potential predators, such as ants. Surprisingly, ants are rarely reported foraging on the webs of orb-weaving spiders, despite the formidable capacity of ants to subdue prey and repel enemies, the diversity and abundance of orb-web spiders, and the nutritional value of the web and resident spider. We explain this paradox by reporting a novel property of the silk produced by the orb-web spider Nephila antipodiana (Walckenaer). These spiders deposit on the silk a pyrrolidine alkaloid (2-pyrrolidinone) that provides protection from ant invasion. Furthermore, the ontogenetic change in the production of 2-pyrrolidinone suggests that this compound represents an adaptive response to the threat of natural enemies, rather than a simple by-product of silk synthesis: while 2-pyrrolidinone occurs on the silk threads produced by adult and large juvenile spiders, it is absent on threads produced by small juvenile spiders, whose threads are sufficiently thin to be inaccessible to ants.

  9. Improved Ant Algorithms for Software Testing Cases Generation

    Shunkun Yang

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Existing ant colony optimization (ACO for software testing cases generation is a very popular domain in software testing engineering. However, the traditional ACO has flaws, as early search pheromone is relatively scarce, search efficiency is low, search model is too simple, positive feedback mechanism is easy to porduce the phenomenon of stagnation and precocity. This paper introduces improved ACO for software testing cases generation: improved local pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization, improved pheromone volatilization coefficient for ant colony optimization (IPVACO, and improved the global path pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization (IGPACO. At last, we put forward a comprehensive improved ant colony optimization (ACIACO, which is based on all the above three methods. The proposed technique will be compared with random algorithm (RND and genetic algorithm (GA in terms of both efficiency and coverage. The results indicate that the improved method can effectively improve the search efficiency, restrain precocity, promote case coverage, and reduce the number of iterations.

  10. DATA MINING UNTUK KLASIFIKASI PELANGGAN DENGAN ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION

    Maulani Kapiudin

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available In this research the system for potentially customer classification is designed by extracting rule based classification from raw data with certain criteria. The searching process uses customer database from a bank with data mining technic by using ant colony optimization. A test based on min_case_per_rule variety and phenomene updating were done on a certain period of time. The result are group of customer class which base on rules built by ant and by modifying the pheromone updating, the area of the case is getting bigger. Prototype of the software is coded with C++ 6 version. The customer database master is created by using Microsoft Access. This paper gives information about potential customer of bank that can be classified by prototype of the software. Abstract in Bahasa Indonesia : Pada penelitian untuk sistem klasifikasi potensial customer ini didesain dengan melakukan ekstrak rule berdasarkan klasifikasi dari data mentah dengan kriteria tertentu. Proses pencarian menggunakan database pelanggan dari suatu bank dengan teknik data mining dengan ant colony optimization. Dilakukan percobaan dengan min_case_per_rule variety dan phenomene updating pada periode waktu tertentu. Hasilnya adalah sekelompok class pelanggan yang didasarkan dari rules yang dibangun dengan ant dan dengan dimodifikasi dengan pheromone updating, area permasalahan menjadi lebih melebar. Prototype dari software ini menggunakan C++ versi 6. Database pelanggan dibangun dengan Microsoft Access. Paper ini memberikan informasi mengenai potensi pelanggan dari bank, sehingga dapat diklasifikasikan dengan prototype dari software. Kata kunci: ant colony optimization, classification, min_case_per_rule, term, pheromone updating

  11. Global path planning approach based on ant colony optimization algorithm

    WEN Zhi-qiang; CAI Zi-xing

    2006-01-01

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm was modified to optimize the global path. In order to simulate the real ant colonies, according to the foraging behavior of ant colonies and the characteristic of food, conceptions of neighboring area and smell area were presented. The former can ensure the diversity of paths and the latter ensures that each ant can reach the goal. Then the whole path was divided into three parts and ACO was used to search the second part path. When the three parts pathes were adjusted,the final path was found. The valid path and invalid path were defined to ensure the path valid. Finally, the strategies of the pheromone search were applied to search the optimum path. However, when only the pheromone was used to search the optimum path, ACO converges easily. In order to avoid this premature convergence, combining pheromone search and random search, a hybrid ant colony algorithm(HACO) was used to find the optimum path. The comparison between ACO and HACO shows that HACO can be used to find the shortest path.

  12. Competition can lead to unexpected patterns in tropical ant communities

    Ellwood, M. D. Farnon; Blüthgen, Nico; Fayle, Tom M.; Foster, William A.; Menzel, Florian

    2016-08-01

    Ecological communities are structured by competitive, predatory, mutualistic and parasitic interactions combined with chance events. Separating deterministic from stochastic processes is possible, but finding statistical evidence for specific biological interactions is challenging. We attempt to solve this problem for ant communities nesting in epiphytic bird's nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) in Borneo's lowland rainforest. By recording the frequencies with which each and every single ant species occurred together, we were able to test statistically for patterns associated with interspecific competition. We found evidence for competition, but the resulting co-occurrence pattern was the opposite of what we expected. Rather than detecting species segregation-the classical hallmark of competition-we found species aggregation. Moreover, our approach of testing individual pairwise interactions mostly revealed spatially positive rather than negative associations. Significant negative interactions were only detected among large ants, and among species of the subfamily Ponerinae. Remarkably, the results from this study, and from a corroborating analysis of ant communities known to be structured by competition, suggest that competition within the ants leads to species aggregation rather than segregation. We believe this unexpected result is linked with the displacement of species following asymmetric competition. We conclude that analysing co-occurrence frequencies across complete species assemblages, separately for each species, and for each unique pairwise combination of species, represents a subtle yet powerful way of detecting structure and compartmentalisation in ecological communities.

  13. Specialized myrmecophily at the ecological dawn of modern ants.

    Parker, Joseph; Grimaldi, David A

    2014-10-20

    Myrmecophiles--species that depend on ant societies--include some of the most morphologically and behaviorally specialized animals known. Remarkable adaptive characters enable these creatures to bypass fortress-like security, integrate into colony life, and exploit abundant resources and protection inside ant nests. Such innovations must result from intimate coevolution with hosts, but a scarcity of definitive fossil myrmecophiles obscures when and how this lifestyle arose. Here, we report the earliest known morphologically specialized and apparently obligate myrmecophile, in Early Eocene (∼ 52 million years old) Cambay amber from India. Protoclaviger trichodens gen. et sp. nov. is a stem-group member of Clavigeritae, a speciose supertribe of pselaphine rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) heavily modified for myrmecophily via reduced mouthparts for trophallaxis with worker ants, brush-like trichomes that exude appeasement compounds, and fusions of many body and antennal segments. Protoclaviger captures a transitional stage in the evolutionary development of this novel body plan, most evident in its still-distinct abdominal tergites. The Cambay paleobiota marks one of the first occurrences in the fossil record of a significant presence of modern ants. Protoclaviger reveals that sophisticated social parasites were nest intruders throughout, and probably before, the ascent of ants to ecological dominance, with ancient groups such as Clavigeritae primed to radiate as their hosts became increasingly ubiquitous.

  14. PARAMETER ESTIMATION OF VALVE STICTION USING ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION

    S. Kalaivani

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, a procedure for quantifying valve stiction in control loops based on ant colony optimization has been proposed. Pneumatic control valves are widely used in the process industry. The control valve contains non-linearities such as stiction, backlash, and deadband that in turn cause oscillations in the process output. Stiction is one of the long-standing problems and it is the most severe problem in the control valves. Thus the measurement data from an oscillating control loop can be used as a possible diagnostic signal to provide an estimate of the stiction magnitude. Quantification of control valve stiction is still a challenging issue. Prior to doing stiction detection and quantification, it is necessary to choose a suitable model structure to describe control-valve stiction. To understand the stiction phenomenon, the Stenman model is used. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO, an intelligent swarm algorithm, proves effective in various fields. The ACO algorithm is inspired from the natural trail following behaviour of ants. The parameters of the Stenman model are estimated using ant colony optimization, from the input-output data by minimizing the error between the actual stiction model output and the simulated stiction model output. Using ant colony optimization, Stenman model with known nonlinear structure and unknown parameters can be estimated.

  15. Ant-like task allocation and recruitment in cooperative robots.

    Krieger, M J; Billeter, J B; Keller, L

    2000-08-31

    One of the greatest challenges in robotics is to create machines that are able to interact with unpredictable environments in real time. A possible solution may be to use swarms of robots behaving in a self-organized manner, similar to workers in an ant colony. Efficient mechanisms of division of labour, in particular series-parallel operation and transfer of information among group members, are key components of the tremendous ecological success of ants. Here we show that the general principles regulating division of labour in ant colonies indeed allow the design of flexible, robust and effective robotic systems. Groups of robots using ant-inspired algorithms of decentralized control techniques foraged more efficiently and maintained higher levels of group energy than single robots. But the benefits of group living decreased in larger groups, most probably because of interference during foraging. Intriguingly, a similar relationship between group size and efficiency has been documented in social insects. Moreover, when food items were clustered, groups where robots could recruit other robots in an ant-like manner were more efficient than groups without information transfer, suggesting that group dynamics of swarms of robots may follow rules similar to those governing social insects.

  16. Specificity and transmission mosaic of ant nest-wall fungi.

    Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Steiner, Florian M; Konrad, Heino; Seifert, Bernhard; Christian, Erhard; Moder, Karl; Stauffer, Christian; Crozier, Ross H

    2008-01-22

    Mutualism, whereby species interact to their mutual benefit, is extraordinary in a competitive world. To recognize general patterns of origin and maintenance from the plethora of mutualistic associations proves a persisting challenge. The simplest situation is believed to be that of a single mutualist specific to a single host, vertically transmitted from one host generation to the next. We characterized ascomycete fungal associates cultured for nest architecture by the ant subgenera Dendrolasius and Chthonolasius. The ants probably manage their fungal mutualists by protecting them against fungal competitors. The ant subgenera display different ant-to-fungus specificity patterns, one-to-two and many-to-one, and we infer vertical transmission, in the latter case overlaid by horizontal transmission. Possible evolutionary trajectories include a reversal from fungiculture by other Lasius subgenera and inheritance of fungi through life cycle interactions of the ant subgenera. The mosaic indicates how specificity patterns can be shaped by an interplay between host life-cycles and transmission adaptations.

  17. Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture.

    Khuong, Anaïs; Gautrais, Jacques; Perna, Andrea; Sbaï, Chaker; Combe, Maud; Kuntz, Pascale; Jost, Christian; Theraulaz, Guy

    2016-02-01

    The nests of social insects are not only impressive because of their sheer complexity but also because they are built from individuals whose work is not centrally coordinated. A key question is how groups of insects coordinate their building actions. Here, we use a combination of experimental and modeling approaches to investigate nest construction in the ant Lasius niger. We quantify the construction dynamics and the 3D structures built by ants. Then, we characterize individual behaviors and the interactions of ants with the structures they build. We show that two main interactions are involved in the coordination of building actions: (i) a stigmergic-based interaction that controls the amplification of depositions at some locations and is attributable to a pheromone added by ants to the building material; and (ii) a template-based interaction in which ants use their body size as a cue to control the height at which they start to build a roof from existing pillars. We then develop a 3D stochastic model based on these individual behaviors to analyze the effect of pheromone presence and strength on construction dynamics. We show that the model can quantitatively reproduce key features of construction dynamics, including a large-scale pattern of regularly spaced pillars, the formation and merging of caps over the pillars, and the remodeling of built structures. Finally, our model suggests that the lifetime of the pheromone is a highly influential parameter that controls the growth and form of nest architecture.

  18. Density-mediated, context-dependent consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar plants.

    Chamberlain, Scott A; Holland, J Nathaniel

    2008-05-01

    Interspecific interactions are often mediated by the interplay between resource supply and consumer density. The supply of a resource and a consumer's density response to it may in turn yield context-dependent use of other resources. Such consumer-resource interactions occur not only for predator-prey and competitive interactions, but for mutualistic ones as well. For example, consumer-resource interactions between ants and extrafloral nectar (EFN) plants are often mutualistic, as EFN resources attract and reward ants which protect plants from herbivory. Yet, ants also commonly exploit floral resources, leading to antagonistic consumer-resource interactions by disrupting pollination and plant reproduction. EFN resources associated with mutualistic ant-plant interactions may also mediate antagonistic ant-flower interactions through the aggregative density response of ants on plants, which could either exacerbate ant-flower interactions or alternatively satiate and distract ants from floral resources. In this study, we examined how EFN resources mediate the density response of ants on senita cacti in the Sonoran Desert and their context-dependent use of floral resources. Removal of EFN resources reduced the aggregative density of ants on plants, both on hourly and daily time scales. Yet, the increased aggregative ant density on plants with EFN resources decreased rather than increased ant use of floral resources, including contacts with and time spent in flowers. Behavioral assays showed no confounding effect of floral deterrents on ant-flower interactions. Thus, ant use of floral resources depends on the supply of EFN resources, which mediates the potential for both mutualistic and antagonistic interactions by increasing the aggregative density of ants protecting plants, while concurrently distracting ants from floral resources. Nevertheless, only certain years and populations of study showed an increase in plant reproduction through herbivore protection or ant

  19. The effectiveness of weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) biocontrol in Southeast Asian citrus and mango

    Offenberg, Joachim; Cuc, Nguyen Thi Thu; Wiwatwitaya, Decha

    2013-01-01

    % increase in the Vietnamese plantation was statistically significant. In contrast, ant protection was ineffectual in Thai mango. Here, the profit in ant plots was negative, and 125 % higher than in chemical plots, due to failed fruit set on ant-trees. This was mainly due to the leafhopper Idioscopus...... plantation and in a Thai mango plantation. In Thai pomelo and Vietnamese mixed pomelo/orange, ants and chemical pesticides lead to equal fruit yields. Lower costs in ant treatments, though, generated profit increases of 15 and 47 %, respectively, in ant plots compared with pesticide plots, though only the 47...

  20. A Dynamic Job Shop Scheduling Method Based on Ant Colony Coordination System

    ZHU Qiong; WU Li-hui; ZHANG Jie

    2009-01-01

    Due to the stubborn nature of dynamic job shop scheduling problem, a novel ant colony coordination mechanism is proposed in this paper to search for an optimal schedule in dynamic environment. In ant colony coordination mechanism, the dynamic .job shop is composed of several autonomous ants. These ants coordinate with each other by simulating the ant foraging behavior of spreading pheromone on the trails, by which they can make information available globally, and further more guide ants make optimal decisions. The proposed mechanism is tested by several instances and the results confirm the validity of it.

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

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

    2009-01-01

    of dead ants correlated with temperature, humidity and vegetation cover. Remarkably, having found 2243 dead ants inside graveyards we only found 2 live ants of the principal host, ant Camponotus leonardi, suggesting that foraging host ants actively avoid graveyards. We discovered that the principal host...... ant builds nests in high canopy and its trails only occasionally descend to the forest floor where infection occurs. We advance the hypothesis that rare descents may be a function of limited canopy access to tree crowns and that resource profitability of such trees is potentially traded off against...

  2. Density-dependent benefits in ant-hemipteran mutualism? The case of the ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).

    Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen

    2015-01-01

    Although density-dependent benefits to hemipterans from ant tending have been measured many times, few studies have focused on integrated effects such as interactions between ant tending, natural enemy density, and hemipteran density. In this study, we tested whether the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis is affected by tending by ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), the presence of parasitoids, mealybug density, parasitoid density and interactions among these factors. Our results showed that mealybug colony growth rate and percentage parasitism were significantly affected by ant tending, parasitoid presence, and initial mealybug density separately. However, there were no interactions among the independent factors. There were also no significant interactions between ant tending and parasitoid density on either mealybug colony growth rate or percentage parasitism. Mealybug colony growth rate showed a negative linear relationship with initial mealybug density but a positive linear relationship with the level of ant tending. These results suggest that benefits to mealybugs are density-independent and are affected by ant tending level.

  3. Unamuno y Francisco Antón Casaseca. Epistolario

    Tellechea Idígoras, José Ignacio

    2001-01-01

    [ES] La edición de este epistolario tiene dos partes tras una introducción general. En la primera se recogen las cartas de Unamuno dirigiera a Antón Casaseca editadas por éste en 1962 con interesantes glosas personales. En la segunda cincuenta cartas de bella prosa del zamorano Francisco Antón muestran la admiración entusiasta de un joven por el maestro, al que conoció en Salamanca y acompañaba en sus visitas a Zamora. La mayoría son de los años 1905-1911, en que Antón contaba 25-30 años. ...

  4. Information Certainty Determines Social and Private Information Use in Ants

    Stroeymeyt, Nathalie; Giurfa, Martin; Franks, Nigel R.

    2017-01-01

    Decision-making in uncertain environments requires animals to evaluate, contrast and integrate various information sources to choose appropriate actions. In consensus-making groups, quorum responses are commonly used to combine private and social information, leading to both robust and flexible decisions. Here we show that in house-hunting ant colonies, individuals fine-tune the parameters of their quorum responses depending on their private knowledge: informed ants evaluating a familiar new nest rely relatively more on social than private information when the certainty of their private information is low, and vice versa. This indicates that the ants follow a highly sophisticated ‘copy-when-uncertain’ social learning strategy similar to that observed in a few vertebrate species. Using simulations, we further show that this strategy improves colony performance during emigrations and confers well-informed individuals more weight in the decision process, thus representing a novel mechanism for the emergence of leadership in collective decision-making.

  5. Optimization of PID Controllers Using Ant Colony and Genetic Algorithms

    Ünal, Muhammet; Topuz, Vedat; Erdal, Hasan

    2013-01-01

    Artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms and the ant colony optimization algorithm have become a highly effective tool for solving hard optimization problems. As their popularity has increased, applications of these algorithms have grown in more than equal measure. While many of the books available on these subjects only provide a cursory discussion of theory, the present book gives special emphasis to the theoretical background that is behind these algorithms and their applications. Moreover, this book introduces a novel real time control algorithm, that uses genetic algorithm and ant colony optimization algorithms for optimizing PID controller parameters. In general, the present book represents a solid survey on artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms and the ant colony optimization algorithm and introduces novel practical elements related to the application of these methods to  process system control.

  6. Sexual Cooperation: Mating Increases Longevity in Ant Queens

    Schrempf, Alexandra; Heinze, Jürgen; Cremer, Sylvia

    2005-01-01

    history of ants, however, is expected to reduce sexual conflict; whereas most insect females show repeated phases of mating and reproduction, ant queens mate only during a short period early in life and undergo a lifelong commitment to their mates by storing sperm [5] . Furthermore, sexual offspring can......Divergent reproductive interests of males and females often cause sexual conflict [1] and [2] . Males of many species manipulate females by transferring seminal fluids that boost female short-term fecundity while decreasing their life expectancy and future reproductivity [3] and [4] . The life...... only be reared after a sterile worker force has been built up [5] . Therefore, the males should also profit from a long female lifespan. In the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, mating indeed has a positive effect on the lifetime reproductive success of queens. Queens that mated to either one fertile or one...

  7. Pheromone-Based Ant Routing System for IP Networks

    张林; 任勇; 山秀明

    2004-01-01

    The pheromone-based ant routing algorithm is a distributed routing algorithm with good scalability and robustness. A 2-D cellular automata (CA) model of the computer network was presented to analyze the algorithm. The results show that the procedure of establishing a stable route is self-organized towards the attractive peculiar state, and the duration of time for the routing establishment is power-law distributed. A practical ant routing protocol over an IP network was also presented, and two simulations were done to compare the performance dynamic and the load balancing performance between this protocol and the open shortest path first (OSPF) protocol. The results show that the ant routing protocol out-performs OSPF in these aspects.

  8. Mating, hybridisation and introgression in Lasius ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Van der Have, Tom; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2011-01-01

    Recent reviews have shown that hybridisation among ant species is likely to be more common than previously appreci-ated, but that documented cases of introgression remain rare. After molecular phylogenetic work had shown that Euro-pean Lasius niger (LINNAEUS, 1758) and L. psammophilus SEIFERT, 1992...... (formerly L. alienus (FOERSTER, 1850)) are unlikely to be very closely related, we decided to analyse an old data set confirming the conclusion by PEARSON (1983) that these two ants can indeed form viable hybrids. We show that signatures of introgression can be detected in a Danish site...... sympatrically. This would imply that multiple accessible field sites are available to study the molecular details of hybridisation and in-trogression between two ant species that have variable degrees of sympatry throughout their distributional ranges...

  9. Effective ANT based Routing Algorithm for Data Replication in MANETs

    N.J. Nithya Nandhini

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available In mobile ad hoc network, the nodes often move and keep on change its topology. Data packets can be forwarded from one node to another on demand. To increase the data accessibility data are replicated at nodes and made as sharable to other nodes. Assuming that all mobile host cooperative to share their memory and allow forwarding the data packets. But in reality, all nodes do not share the resources for the benefits of others. These nodes may act selfishly to share memory and to forward the data packets. This paper focuses on selfishness of mobile nodes in replica allocation and routing protocol based on Ant colony algorithm to improve the efficiency. The Ant colony algorithm is used to reduce the overhead in the mobile network, so that it is more efficient to access the data than with other routing protocols. This result shows the efficiency of ant based routing algorithm in the replication allocation.

  10. Comparative Immature Morphology of Brazilian Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis

    Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson Fox

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Although common in Brazil, the biology of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith is still poorly studied. Larval descriptions are useful to genus-level ant systematics and sometimes to species-level taxonomy. This study presents a detailed description of juveniles of S. saevissima from Brazil, which were compared with Brazilian specimens of Solenopsis invicta Buren, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, and Solenopsis altipunctata Pitts. Different larval instars were separated by diagnostic morphological traits which were confirmed by observing moults. Reproductive larvae could be easily sorted by their distinctive body dimensions and shape. Contrary to previous reports on this species, the larvae of S. saevissima proved to be generally identical to those of S. invicta, while a few specimens resembled those of other close species, such as Solenopsis megergates Trager. Mature larvae thus presented considerable intraspecific variation in some characters recently proposed to aid fire ant species separation (morphology of head hairs.

  11. Antígonas. Una visión intertextual

    Elena Cano Turrión

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available In this article and from an intertextual point of view, we will try to examine how theSophoclean hypotext has generated three very different hypertexts. The first one is the short story“Antígona o la elección” by M. Yourcenar, which goes further the religious motivation in the originaltext; then, there is an essay written as a dialogue by Maria Zambrano, entitled La tumba de Antígonawhich main topics are confrontation against power, lack of freedom and destiny and faith in humanconscience. Finally, Luis Riaza’s Antígona…¡Cerda! Appears closer to its hypotext but at the same timesemantic deviation becomes more relevant.

  12. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

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

    The attine ant symbiosis is characterized by ancient but varying degrees of diffuse co-evolution between the ants and their fungal cultivars. Domesticated fungi became dependent on vertical transmission by queens and the ant colonies came to rely on their symbiotic fungus for food and thus...... as garden substrate, whereas the more basal genera use leaf litter, insect feces and insect carcasses. We hypothesized that enzyme activity of fungal symbionts has co-evolved with substrate use and we measured enzyme activities of fungus gardens in the field to test this, focusing particularly on plant...... decomposing enzymes. We further obtained gene sequences coding for specific enzymes and used them to reconstruct the fungal symbiont phylogeny and to compare the trees obtained with those known from sequence information of genes that have no specific link to enzyme function. Differences in fungus garden...

  13. Garden sharing and garden stealing in fungus-growing ants

    Adams, Rachelle M. M.; Mueller, U. G.; Holloway, Alisha K.; Green, Abigail M.; Narozniak, Joanie

    Fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae) are passed on between generations by transfer from maternal to offspring nest (vertical transmission within ant species). However, recent phylogenetic analyses revealed that cultivars are occasionally also transferred between attine species. The reasons for such lateral cultivar transfers are unknown. To investigate whether garden loss may induce ants to obtain a replacement cultivar from a neighboring colony (lateral cultivar transfer), pairs of queenright colonies of two Cyphomyrmex species were set up in two conjoined chambers; the garden of one colony was then removed to simulate the total crop loss that occurs naturally when pathogens devastate gardens. Garden-deprived colonies regained cultivars through one of three mechanisms: joining of a neighboring colony and cooperation in a common garden; stealing of a neighbor's garden; or aggressive usurpation of a neighbor's garden. Because pathogens frequently devastate attine gardens under natural conditions, garden joining, stealing and usurpation emerge as critical behavioral adaptations to survive garden catastrophes.

  14. Social isolation and brain development in the ant Camponotus floridanus

    Seid, Marc A.; Junge, Erich

    2016-06-01

    Social interactions play a key role in the healthy development of social animals and are most pronounced in species with complex social networks. When developing offspring do not receive proper social interaction, they show developmental impairments. This effect is well documented in mammalian species but controversial in social insects. It has been hypothesized that the enlargement of the mushroom bodies, responsible for learning and memory, observed in social insects is needed for maintaining the large social networks and/or task allocation. This study examines the impact of social isolation on the development of mushroom bodies of the ant Camponotus floridanus. Ants raised in isolation were shown to exhibit impairment in the growth of the mushroom bodies as well as behavioral differences when compared to ants raised in social groups. These results indicate that social interaction is necessary for the proper development of C. floridanus mushroom bodies.

  15. The scent of mixtures: rules of odour processing in ants.

    Perez, Margot; Giurfa, Martin; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2015-03-02

    Natural odours are complex blends of numerous components. Understanding how animals perceive odour mixtures is central to multiple disciplines. Here we focused on carpenter ants, which rely on odours in various behavioural contexts. We studied overshadowing, a phenomenon that occurs when animals having learnt a binary mixture respond less to one component than to the other, and less than when this component was learnt alone. Ants were trained individually with alcohols and aldehydes varying in carbon-chain length, either as single odours or binary mixtures. They were then tested with the mixture and the components. Overshadowing resulted from the interaction between chain length and functional group: alcohols overshadowed aldehydes, and longer chain lengths overshadowed shorter ones; yet, combinations of these factors could cancel each other and suppress overshadowing. Our results show how ants treat binary olfactory mixtures and set the basis for predictive analyses of odour perception in insects.

  16. Climbing, falling and jamming during ant locomotion in confined environments

    Gravish, Nick; Goodisman, Michael A D; Goldman, Daniel I

    2013-01-01

    Locomotion emerges from effective interactions of an individual with its environment. Principles of biological terrestrial locomotion have been discovered on unconfined vertical and horizontal substrates. However a diversity of organisms construct, inhabit, and move within confined spaces. Such animals are faced with locomotor challenges including limited limb range of motion, crowding, and visual sensory deprivation. Little is known about how these organisms accomplish their locomotor tasks, and such environments challenge human-made devices. To gain greater insight into how animals move within confined spaces we study the confined locomotion of the fire ant {\\em Solenopsis invicta}, which constructs subterranean tunnel networks (nests). Laboratory experiments reveal that ants construct tunnels with diameter, D, comparable to bodylength, L=3.5 $\\pm$ 0.5 mm. Ants can move rapidly (> 9 bodylengths/sec) within these environments; their tunnels allow for effective limb, body, and antennae interaction with walls ...

  17. Evolutionarily advanced ant farmers rear polyploid fungal crops

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

    2015-01-01

    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 with 7-17 nuclei per cell, whereas nonspecialized crops of lower attines are dikaryotic similar to most free......-living basidiomycete fungi. We then investigated how putative higher genetic diversity is distributed across polykaryotic mycelia, using microsatellite loci and evaluating models assuming that all nuclei are either heterogeneously haploid or homogeneously polyploid. Genetic variation in the polykaryotic symbionts...

  18. Sex-specific kleptoparasitic foraging in ant-eating spiders

    Martisová, Martina; Bilde, T.; Pekar, Stano

    2009-01-01

    Foraging by intraspecific kleptoparasitism is widespread among animal taxa. Most kleptoparasitic interactions are considered facultative, and can be influenced by life history stage and trade-offs with other activities such as mate searching. Trade-offs with mating strategies are often sex specific....... To investigate this hypothesis, we studied the effect of sex and life history stage on the frequency of kleptoparasitism in ant-eating spiders of the genus Zodarion in the field. These spiders use a special capture technique involving a quick attack on an ant that is left unguarded by spiders for several minutes...

  19. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

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

    2009-01-01

    In many species, females store sperm between copulation and egg fertilization, but the consequences of sperm storage and patterns of sperm use for female life history and reproductive success have not been investigated in great detail. In hymenopteran insect societies (ants, bees, wasps......), reproduction is usually monopolized by one or relatively few queens, who mate only during a brief period early in life and store sperm for later use. The queens of some ants are particularly long-lived and have the potential to produce millions of offspring during their life. To do so, queens store many sperm...

  20. Long-term memory of individual identity in ant queens

    Dreier, Stéphanie Agnès Jeanine; Van Zweden, Jelle Stijn; D'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2007-01-01

    Remembering individual identities is part of our own everyday social life. Surprisingly, this ability has recently been shown in two social insects. While paper wasps recognize each other individually through their facial markings, the ant, Pachycondyla villosa, uses chemical cues. In both species......, individual recognition is adaptive since it facilitates the maintenance of stable dominance hierarchies among individuals, and thus reduces the cost of conflict within these small societies. Here, we investigated individual recognition in Pachycondyla ants by quantifying the level of aggression between pairs...

  1. Core Business Selection Based on Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm

    Yu Lan

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Core business is the most important business to the enterprise in diversified business. In this paper, we first introduce the definition and characteristics of the core business and then descript the ant colony clustering algorithm. In order to test the effectiveness of the proposed method, Tianjin Port Logistics Development Co., Ltd. is selected as the research object. Based on the current situation of the development of the company, the core business of the company can be acquired by ant colony clustering algorithm. Thus, the results indicate that the proposed method is an effective way to determine the core business for company.

  2. AN IMPROVED ANT COLONY ALGORITHM IN CONTINUOUS OPTIMIZATION

    Ling CHEN; Jie SHEN; Ling QIN; Hongjian CHEN

    2003-01-01

    A modified ant colony algorithm for solving optimization problem with continuous parameters is presented. In the method, groups of candidate values of the components are constructed, and each value in the group has its trail information. In each iteration of the ant colony algorithm, the method first chooses initial values of the components using the trail information. Then GA operations of crossover and mutation can determine the values of the components in the solution. Our experimental results on the problem of nonlinear programming show that our method has a much higher convergence speed and stability than those of simulated annealing (SA) and GA.

  3. An ant colony algorithm for solving Max-cut problem

    Lin Gao; Yan Zeng; Anguo Dong

    2008-01-01

    Max-cut problem is an NP-complete and classical combinatorial optimization problem that has a wide range of appfications in dif-ferent domains,such as bioinformatics,network optimization,statistical physics,and very large scale integration design.In this paper we investigate the capabilities of the ant colony optimization(ACO)heuristic for solving the Max-cut problem and present an AntCut algo-rithm.A large number of simulation experiments show that the algorithm can solve the Max-cut problem more efficiently and effectively.

  4. Fire ants actively control spacing and orientation within self-assemblages.

    Foster, Paul C; Mlot, Nathan J; Lin, Angela; Hu, David L

    2014-06-15

    To overcome obstacles and survive harsh environments, fire ants link their bodies together to form self-assemblages such as rafts, bridges and bivouacs. Such structures are examples of self-assembling and self-healing materials, as ants can quickly create and break links with one another in response to changes in their environment. Because ants are opaque, the arrangement of the ants within these three-dimensional networks was previously unknown. In this experimental study, we applied micro-scale computed tomography, or micro-CT, to visualize the connectivity, arrangement and orientation of ants within an assemblage. We identified active and geometric mechanisms that ants use to obtain favorable packing properties with respect to well-studied packing of inert objects such as cylinders. Ants use their legs to push against their neighbors, doubling their spacing relative to random packing of cylinders. These legs also permit active control of their orientation, an ability ants use to arrange themselves perpendicularly rather than in parallel. Lastly, we found an important role of ant polymorphism in promoting self-aggregation: a large distribution of ant sizes permits small ants to fit between the legs of larger ants, a phenomenon that increases the number of average connections per ant. These combined mechanisms lead to low packing fraction and high connectivity, which increase raft buoyancy and strength during flash floods.

  5. adPEO mutations in ANT1 impair ADP-ATP translocation in muscle mitochondria.

    Kawamata, Hibiki; Tiranti, Valeria; Magrané, Jordi; Chinopoulos, Christos; Manfredi, Giovanni

    2011-08-01

    Mutations in the heart and muscle isoform of adenine nucleotide translocator 1 (ANT1) are associated with autosomal-dominant progressive external opthalmoplegia (adPEO) clinically characterized by exercise intolerance, ptosis and muscle weakness. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial myopathy caused by ANT1 mutations remain largely unknown. In yeast, expression of ANT1 carrying mutations corresponding to the human adPEO ones causes a wide range of mitochondrial abnormalities. However, functional studies of ANT1 mutations in mammalian cells are lacking, because they have been hindered by the fact that ANT1 expression leads to apoptotic cell death in commonly utilized replicating cell lines. Here, we successfully express functional ANT1 in differentiated mouse myotubes, which naturally contain high levels of ANT1, without causing cell death. We demonstrate, for the first time in these disease-relevant mammalian cells, that mutant human ANT1 causes dominant mitochondrial defects characterized by decreased ADP-ATP exchange function and abnormal translocator reversal potential. These abnormalities are not due to ANT1 loss of function, because knocking down Ant1 in myotubes causes functional changes different from ANT1 mutants. Under certain physiological conditions, mitochondria consume ATP to maintain membrane potential by reversing the ADP-ATP transport. The modified properties of mutant ANT1 can be responsible for disease pathogenesis in adPEO, because exchange reversal occurring at higher than normal membrane potential can cause excessive energy depletion and nucleotide imbalance in ANT1 mutant muscle cells.

  6. adPEO mutations in ANT1 impair ADP–ATP translocation in muscle mitochondria

    Kawamata, Hibiki; Tiranti, Valeria; Magrané, Jordi; Chinopoulos, Christos; Manfredi, Giovanni

    2011-01-01

    Mutations in the heart and muscle isoform of adenine nucleotide translocator 1 (ANT1) are associated with autosomal-dominant progressive external opthalmoplegia (adPEO) clinically characterized by exercise intolerance, ptosis and muscle weakness. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial myopathy caused by ANT1 mutations remain largely unknown. In yeast, expression of ANT1 carrying mutations corresponding to the human adPEO ones causes a wide range of mitochondrial abnormalities. However, functional studies of ANT1 mutations in mammalian cells are lacking, because they have been hindered by the fact that ANT1 expression leads to apoptotic cell death in commonly utilized replicating cell lines. Here, we successfully express functional ANT1 in differentiated mouse myotubes, which naturally contain high levels of ANT1, without causing cell death. We demonstrate, for the first time in these disease-relevant mammalian cells, that mutant human ANT1 causes dominant mitochondrial defects characterized by decreased ADP–ATP exchange function and abnormal translocator reversal potential. These abnormalities are not due to ANT1 loss of function, because knocking down Ant1 in myotubes causes functional changes different from ANT1 mutants. Under certain physiological conditions, mitochondria consume ATP to maintain membrane potential by reversing the ADP–ATP transport. The modified properties of mutant ANT1 can be responsible for disease pathogenesis in adPEO, because exchange reversal occurring at higher than normal membrane potential can cause excessive energy depletion and nucleotide imbalance in ANT1 mutant muscle cells. PMID:21586654

  7. Plant genotype shapes ant-aphid interactions: implications for community structure and indirect plant defense.

    Mooney, Kailen A; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2008-06-01

    Little is known about the mechanisms by which plant genotype shapes arthropod community structure. In a field experiment, we measured the effects of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) genotype and ants on milkweed arthropods. Populations of the ant-tended aphid Aphis asclepiadis and the untended aphid Myzocallis asclepiadis varied eight- to 18-fold among milkweed genotypes, depending on aphid species and whether ants were present. There was no milkweed effect on predatory arthropods. Ants increased Aphis abundance 59%, decreased Myzocallis abundance 52%, and decreased predator abundance 56%. Milkweed genotype indirectly influenced ants via direct effects on Aphis and Myzocallis abundance. Milkweed genotype also modified ant-aphid interactions, influencing the number of ants attracted per Aphis and Myzocallis. While ant effects on Myzocallis were consistently negative, effects on Aphis ranged from antagonistic to mutualistic among milkweed genotypes. As a consequence of milkweed effects on ant-aphid interactions, ant abundance varied 13-fold among milkweed genotypes, and monarch caterpillar survival was negatively correlated with genetic variation in ant abundance. We speculate that heritable variation in milkweed phloem sap drives these effects on aphids, ants, and caterpillars. In summary, milkweed exerts genetic control over the interactions between aphids and an ant that provides defense against foliage-feeding caterpillars.

  8. Impact of imidacloprid on new queens of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used in managing pest ants, including the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. There is increasing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal concentrations have profound effects on social insects. However, the sublethal effect of neonicot...

  9. Reduced biological control and enhanced chemical pest management in the evolution of fungus farming in ants

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Zimmerman, Jess K; Nash, David R

    2009-01-01

    To combat disease, most fungus-growing ants (Attini) use antibiotics from mutualistic bacteria (Pseudonocardia) that are cultured on the ants' exoskeletons and chemical cocktails from exocrine glands, especially the metapleural glands (MG). Previous work has hypothesized that (i) Pseudonocardia...

  10. Coevolved crypts and exocrine glands support mutualistic bacteria in fungus-growing ants

    Currie, Cameron R; Poulsen, Michael; Mendenhall, John;

    2006-01-01

    Attine ants engage in a quadripartite symbiosis with fungi they cultivate for food, specialized garden parasites, and parasite-inhibiting bacteria. Molecular phylogenetic evidence supports an ancient host-pathogen association between the ant-cultivar mutualism and the garden parasite. Here we sho...... in other ant genera that do not grow fungus, indicate that the bacteria have an ancient and coevolved association with the ants, their fungal cultivar, and the garden parasite.......Attine ants engage in a quadripartite symbiosis with fungi they cultivate for food, specialized garden parasites, and parasite-inhibiting bacteria. Molecular phylogenetic evidence supports an ancient host-pathogen association between the ant-cultivar mutualism and the garden parasite. Here we show...... that ants rear the antibiotic-producing bacteria in elaborate cuticular crypts, supported by unique exocrine glands, and that these structures have been highly modified across the ants' evolutionary history. This specialized structural evolution, together with the absence of these bacteria and modifications...

  11. The genomic impact of 100 million years of social evolution in seven ant species

    Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne;

    2012-01-01

    Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) represent one of the most successful eusocial taxa in terms of both their geographic distribution and species number. The publication of seven ant genomes within the past year was a quantum leap for socio- and ant genomics. The diversity of social organization in ants...... makes them excellent model organisms to study the evolution of social systems. Comparing the ant genomes with those of the honeybee, a lineage that evolved eusociality independently from ants, and solitary insects suggests that there are significant differences in key aspects of genome organization...... between social and solitary insects, as well as among ant species. Altogether, these seven ant genomes open exciting new research avenues and opportunities for understanding the genetic basis and regulation of social species, and adaptive complex systems in general....

  12. Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers as a tool for ant phylogeography

    Patrícia R. Ströher

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers as a tool for ant phylogeography. Due to their local abundance, diversity of adaptations and worldwide distribution, ants are a classic example of adaptive radiation. Despite this evolutionary and ecological importance, phylogeographical studies on ants have relied largely on mitochondrial markers. In this study we design and test exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC markers, which can be widely used to uncover ant intraspecific variation. Candidate markers were obtained through screening the available ant genomes for unlinked conserved exonic regions interspersed with introns. A subset of 15 markers was tested in vitro and showed successful amplification in several phylogenetically distant ant species. These markers represent an important step forward in ant phylogeography and population genetics, allowing for more extensive characterization of variation in ant nuclear DNA without the need to develop species-specific markers.

  13. Ecology of microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a year-long survey of three species of attine ants in Central Texas.

    Rodrigues, Andre; Mueller, Ulrich G; Ishak, Heather D; Bacci, Maurício; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2011-11-01

    We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in Central Texas. Microfungal prevalence was higher in gardens of C. wheeleri (57%) than in the gardens of T. septentrionalis (46%) and A. texana (35%). Culture-dependent methods coupled with a polyphasic approach of species identification revealed diverse and changing microfungal communities in all the sampling periods. Diversity analyses showed no obvious correlations between the number of observed microfungal species, ant species, or the ants' changing foraging behavior across the seasons. However, both correspondence analysis and 5.8S-rRNA gene unifrac analyses suggested structuring of microfungal communities by ant host. These host-specific differences may reflect in part the three different environments where ants were collected. Most interestingly, the specialized fungal parasite Escovopsis was not isolated from any attine garden in this study near the northernmost limit of the range of attine ants, contrasting with previous studies that indicated a significant incidence of this parasite in ant gardens from Central and South America. The observed differences of microfungal communities in attine gardens suggest that the ants are continuously in contact with a diverse microfungal species assemblage.

  14. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida's longleaf pine flatwoods

    David Lubertazzi; Walter Tschinkel

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is impor...

  15. The introduction history of invasive garden ants in Europe: Integrating genetic, chemical and behavioural approaches

    Boomsma Jacobus J; Kronauer Daniel JC; Drijfhout Falko P; Ugelvig Line V; Pedersen Jes S; Cremer Sylvia

    2008-01-01

    Abstract Background The invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, is the most recently detected pest ant and the first known invasive ant able to become established and thrive in the temperate regions of Eurasia. In this study, we aim to reconstruct the invasion history of this ant in Europe analysing 14 populations with three complementary approaches: genetic microsatellite analysis, chemical analysis of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles and behavioural observations of aggression behaviour. We eva...

  16. Ant Colony Optimization for Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem

    H. V. Seow

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Problem statement: The Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP is a well-known combinatorial optimization problem which is concerned with the distribution of goods between the depot and customers. It is of economic importance to businesses as approximately 10-20% of the final cost of the goods is contributed by the transportation process. Approach: This problem was tackled using an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO combined with heuristic approaches that act as the route improvement strategies. The proposed ACO utilized a pheromone evaporation procedure of standard ant algorithm in order to introduce an evaporation rate that depends on the solutions found by the artificial ants. Results: Computational experiments were conducted on benchmark data set and the results obtained from the proposed algorithms shown that the application of combination of two different heuristics in the ACO had the capability to improve the ants’ solutions better than ACO embedded with only one heuristic. Conclusion: ACO with swap and 3-opt heuristic has the capability to tackle the CVRP with satisfactory solution quality and run time. It is a viable alternative for solving the CVRP.

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

    Michael J Angilletta

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

  18. Kaval-Ants ja Vanapagan : [luuletused] / Eno Raud

    Raud, Eno, 1928-1996

    2001-01-01

    Sisu : Kaval-Ants ja Vanapagan ; Aida ust valvamas ; Vanapaar ; Pada ja katel ; Voki laul karule ; Laisk laiskloom ; Soovitus ; Käbi käbinäbi ; Mitmesugused lapsed ; Päevavaras ; Vaba rabakana ; Vetesell ; Padakonna konnavada ; Mis saiast sai? ; Siili nohu; Lõunatuul õunapuul ; Käo kukkumine ; Vankrisõit

  19. Testing attention: comparing the ANT with TVA-based assessment.

    Habekost, Thomas; Petersen, Anders; Vangkilde, Signe

    2014-03-01

    Posner's attention network model and Bundesen's theory of visual attention (TVA) are two influential accounts of attention. Each model has led to the development of a test method: the attention network test (ANT) and TVA-based assessment, respectively. Both tests have been widely used to investigate attentional function in normal and clinical populations. Here we report on the first direct comparison of the ANT to TVA-based assessment. A group of 68 young healthy participants were tested in three consecutive sessions that each contained standard versions of the two tests. The parameters derived from TVA-based assessment had better internal reliability and retest reliability than did those of the standard version of the ANT, where only the executive network score reached comparable levels. However, when corrected for differences in test length, the retest reliability of the orienting network score equaled the least reliable TVA parameters. Both tests were susceptible to practice effects, which improved performance for some parameters while leaving others constant. All pairwise correlations between the eight attention parameters measured by the two tests were small and nonsignificant, with one exception: A strong correlation (r = 0.72) was found between two parameters of TVA-based assessment, visual processing speed and the capacity of visual short-term memory. We conclude that TVA-based assessment and the ANT measure complementary aspects of attention, but the scores derived from TVA-based assessment are more reliable.

  20. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Tofilski, Adam; Heinze, Jürgen;

    2006-01-01

    , selfish individuals may evade policing. What factors prevent individuals from being able to evade policing? In the ant Pachycondyla inversa, workers kill (police) worker-laid eggs. Because the colony keeps eggs in piles and worker-laid and queen-laid eggs are chemically distinct, worker-laid eggs might...