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Sample records for ant the expression

  1. The expression and impact of antifungal grooming in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reber, A; Purcell, J; Buechel, S D; Buri, P; Chapuisat, M

    2011-05-01

    Parasites can cause extensive damage to animal societies in which many related individuals frequently interact. In response, social animals have evolved diverse individual and collective defences. Here, we measured the expression and efficiency of self-grooming and allo-grooming when workers of the ant Formica selysi were contaminated with spores of the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. The amount of self-grooming increased in the presence of fungal spores, which shows that the ants are able to detect the risk of infection. In contrast, the amount of allo-grooming did not depend on fungal contamination. Workers groomed all nestmate workers that were re-introduced into their groups. The amount of allo-grooming towards noncontaminated individuals was higher when the group had been previously exposed to the pathogen. Allo-grooming decreased the number of fungal spores on the surface of contaminated workers, but did not prevent infection in the conditions tested (high dose of spores and late allo-grooming). The rate of disease transmission to groomers and other nestmates was extremely low. The systematic allo-grooming of all individuals returning to the colony, be they contaminated or not, is probably a simple but robust prophylactic defence preventing the spread of fungal diseases in insect societies. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  2. The Life of a Dead Ant : The Expression of an Adaptive Extended Phenotype

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Andersen, Sandra B.; Gerritsma, Sylvia; Yusah, Kalsum M.; Mayntz, David; Hywel-Jones, Nigel L.; Billen, Johan; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Hughes, David P.

    Specialized parasites are expected to express complex adaptations to their hosts. Manipulation of host behavior is such an adaptation. We studied the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a locally specialized parasite of arboreal Camponotus leonardi ants. Ant-infecting Ophiocordyceps are known to

  3. The life of a dead ant -the expression of an adaptive extended phenotype

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Sandra Breum; Gerritsma, Sylvia; Yusah, Kalsum M.

    2009-01-01

    to make hosts bite onto vegetation prior to killing them. We show that this represents a fine-tuned fungal adaptation: an extended phenotype. Dead ants were found under leaves, attached by their mandibles, on the northern side of saplings ca. 25 cm above the soil, where temperature and humidity conditions......Specialized parasites are expected to express complex adaptations to their hosts. Manipulation of host behavior is such an adaptation. We studied the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a locally specialized parasite of arboreal Camponotus leonardi ants. Ant-infecting Ophiocordyceps are known...

  4. The life of a dead ant: the expression of an adaptive extended phenotype.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, Sandra B; Gerritsma, Sylvia; Yusah, Kalsum M; Mayntz, David; Hywel-Jones, Nigel L; Billen, Johan; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Hughes, David P

    2009-09-01

    Specialized parasites are expected to express complex adaptations to their hosts. Manipulation of host behavior is such an adaptation. We studied the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a locally specialized parasite of arboreal Camponotus leonardi ants. Ant-infecting Ophiocordyceps are known to make hosts bite onto vegetation before killing them. We show that this represents a fine-tuned fungal adaptation: an extended phenotype. Dead ants were found under leaves, attached by their mandibles, on the northern side of saplings approximately 25 cm above the soil, where temperature and humidity conditions were optimal for fungal growth. Experimental relocation confirmed that parasite fitness was lower outside this manipulative zone. Host resources were rapidly colonized and further secured by extensive internal structuring. Nutritional composition analysis indicated that such structuring allows the parasite to produce a large fruiting body for spore production. Our findings suggest that the osmotrophic lifestyle of fungi may have facilitated novel exploitation strategies.

  5. Expression analysis of vitellogenins in the workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chloe Hawkings

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Vitellogenin has been proposed to regulate division of labor and social organization in social insects. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta harbors four distinct, adjacent vitellogenin genes (Vg1, Vg2, Vg3, and Vg4. Contrary to honey bees that have a single Vg ortholog as well as potentially fertile nurses, and to other ant species that lay trophic eggs, S. invicta workers completely lack ovaries or the ability to lay eggs. This provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in S. invicta was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire non-reproductive functions and whether Vg was co-opted to regulate behavior within the worker caste. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of S. invicta Vg genes among workers from different morphological subcastes or performing different tasks. RT-qPCRs revealed higher relative expression of Vg1 in major workers compared to both medium and minor workers, and of Vg2 in major workers when compared to minor workers. Relative expression of Vg1 was also higher in carbohydrate foragers when compared to nurses and protein foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Vg2, Vg3, and Vg4 were not significantly different among the workers performing the specific tasks. Additionally, we analyzed the relationship between the expression of the Vg genes and S-hydroprene, a juvenile hormone analog. No changes in Vg expression were recorded in workers 12 h after application of the analog. Our results suggest that in S. invicta the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to new functions based on the expression bias observed in these data. This may suggest an alternative and still unknown function for Vg in the workers that needs to be investigated further.

  6. Nutrition mediates the expression of cultivar-farmer conflict in a fungus-growing ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shik, Jonathan Z; Gomez, Ernesto B; Kooij, Pepijn W; Santos, Juan C; Wcislo, William T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2016-09-06

    Attine ants evolved farming 55-60 My before humans. Although evolutionarily derived leafcutter ants achieved industrial-scale farming, extant species from basal attine genera continue to farm loosely domesticated fungal cultivars capable of pursuing independent reproductive interests. We used feeding experiments with the basal attine Mycocepurus smithii to test whether reproductive allocation conflicts between farmers and cultivars constrain crop yield, possibly explaining why their mutualism has remained limited in scale and productivity. Stoichiometric and geometric framework approaches showed that carbohydrate-rich substrates maximize growth of both edible hyphae and inedible mushrooms, but that modest protein provisioning can suppress mushroom formation. Worker foraging was consistent with maximizing long-term cultivar performance: ant farmers could neither increase carbohydrate provisioning without cultivars allocating the excess toward mushroom production, nor increase protein provisioning without compromising somatic cultivar growth. Our results confirm that phylogenetically basal attine farming has been very successful over evolutionary time, but that unresolved host-symbiont conflict may have precluded these wild-type symbioses from rising to ecological dominance. That status was achieved by the evolutionarily derived leafcutter ants following full domestication of a coevolving cultivar 30-35 Mya after the first attine ants committed to farming.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-06-17

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

  8. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

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

  9. Colony-level behavioural variation correlates with differences in expression of the foraging gene in red imported fire ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bockoven, Alison A; Coates, Craig J; Eubanks, Micky D

    2017-11-01

    Among social insects, colony-level variation is likely to be widespread and has significant ecological consequences. Very few studies, however, have documented how genetic factors relate to behaviour at the colony level. Differences in expression of the foraging gene have been associated with differences in foraging and activity of a wide variety of organisms. We quantified expression of the red imported fire ant foraging gene (sifor) in workers from 21 colonies collected across the natural range of Texas fire ant populations, but maintained under standardized, environmentally controlled conditions. Colonies varied significantly in their behaviour. The most active colonies had up to 10 times more active foragers than the least active colony and more than 16 times as many workers outside the nest. Expression differences among colonies correlated with this colony-level behavioural variation. Colonies with higher sifor expression in foragers had, on average, significantly higher foraging activity, exploratory activity and recruitment to nectar than colonies with lower expression. Expression of sifor was also strongly correlated with worker task (foraging vs. working in the interior of the nest). These results provide insight into the genetic and physiological processes underlying collective differences in social behaviour. Quantifying variation in expression of the foraging gene may provide an important tool for understanding and predicting the ecological consequences of colony-level behavioural variation. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henrique-Silva Flávio

    2011-06-01

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

  11. ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

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    Jack eHowe

    2016-05-01

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

  13. The metapleural gland of ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sudholt, Dirk

    2011-01-01

    The runtime analysis of randomized search heuristics is a growing field where, in the last two decades, many rigorous results have been obtained. First runtime analyses of ant colony optimization (ACO) have been conducted only recently. In these studies simple ACO algorithms such as the 1-ANT...... that give us a more detailed impression of the 1-ANT’s performance. Furthermore, the experiments also deal with the question whether using many ant solutions in one iteration can decrease the total runtime....

  15. Gene expression during zombie ant biting behavior reflects the complexity underlying fungal parasitic behavioral manipulation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Bekker, Charissa; Ohm, Robin A; Loreto, Raquel G; Sebastian, Aswathy; Albert, Istvan; Merrow, Martha; Brachmann, Andreas; Hughes, David P

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Adaptive manipulation of animal behavior by parasites functions to increase parasite transmission through changes in host behavior. These changes can range from slight alterations in existing behaviors of the host to the establishment of wholly novel behaviors. The biting behavior

  16. Increased Risk Proneness or Social Withdrawal? The Effects of Shortened Life Expectancy on the Expression of Rescue Behavior in Workers of the ant Formica cinerea (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

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    Miler, Krzysztof; Symonowicz, Beata; Godzińska, Ewa J

    2017-01-01

    In social insects behavioral consequences of shortened life expectancy include, among others, increased risk proneness and social withdrawal. We investigated the impact of experimental shortening of life expectancy of foragers of the ant Formica cinerea achieved by their exposure to carbon dioxide on the expression of rescue behavior, risky pro-social behavior, tested by means of two bioassays during which a single worker (rescuer) was confronted with a nestmate (victim) attacked by a predator (antlion larva capture bioassay) or immobilized by an artificial snare (entrapment bioassay). Efficacy of carbon dioxide poisoning in shortening life expectancy was confirmed by the analysis of ant mortality. Rescue behavior observed during behavioral tests involved digging around the victim, transport of the sand covering the victim, pulling the limbs/antennae/mandibles of the victim, direct attack on the antlion (in antlion larva capture tests), and snare biting (in entrapment tests). The rate of occurrence of rescue behavior was lower in ants with shortened life expectancy, but that effect was significant only in the case of the entrapment bioassay. Similarly, only in the case of the entrapment bioassay ants with shortened life expectancy displayed rescue behavior after a longer latency and devoted less time to that behavior than ants from the control groups. Our results demonstrated that in ant workers shortened life expectancy may lead to reduced propensity for rescue behavior, most probably as an element of the social withdrawal syndrome that had already been described in several studies on behavior of moribund ants and honeybees.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

    The tachykinins are a family of neuropeptides that influence a range of behavioral phenotypes in both vertebrates and invertebrates; they appear to have a conserved role in the processing of stimuli, and in the control of aggression in a wide range of animals. Expression of tachykinin in a cluster......, a species with multiple worker castes. After correction for differences in brain size among castes, we found that the most aggressive large worker caste had the highest Tachykinin expression levels, but that no such effect was apparent for breeding and virgin queens. To further evaluate these deviating...... results for the reproductive caste, we manipulated the aggression threshold of virgin-queens by removing their wings, which is known to make them express a soldier-like behavioral phenotype. Despite heightened aggression, expression levels of Tachykinin remained unaffected, suggesting that aggression...

  18. Expression of the Foraging Gene Is Associated with Age Polyethism, Not Task Preference, in the Ant Cardiocondyla obscurior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Oettler

    Full Text Available One of the fundamental principles of social organization, age polyethism, describes behavioral maturation of workers leading to switches in task preference. Here we present a system that allows for studying division of labor (DOL by taking advantage of the relative short life of Cardiocondyla obscurior workers and thereby the pace of behavioral transitions. By challenging same-age young and older age cohorts to de novo establish DOL into nurse and foraging tasks and by forcing nurses to precociously become foragers and vice versa we studied expression patterns of one of the best known candidates for social insect worker behavior, the foraging gene. Contrary to our expectations we found that foraging gene expression correlates with age, but not with the task foraging per se. This suggests that this nutrition-related gene, and the pathways it is embedded in, correlates with physiological changes over time and potentially primes, but not determines task preference of individual workers.

  19. Venezuela ups the ante

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Collitt, Raymond.

    1997-01-01

    Strong performances by small and medium sized oil companies in Venezuela have contributed to the success of its oil industry. This paper considers the historical progress of the industry since its nationalisation twenty-one years ago, charting its attractiveness to investors and plans for expansion. Its very success has brought the Venezuelan oil industry into conflict with OPEC's quota system, which it argues, needs to be charged. (UK)

  20. The distribution and diversity of insular ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Ant-plant symbioses: Stalking the chuyachaqui.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davidson, D W; McKey, D

    1993-09-01

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

  2. The evolution of genome size in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Spagna Joseph C

    2008-02-01

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

  3. Pollination and facultative ant-association in the African leopard ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The role of extra-floral nectar appears to be recruitment of foraging ants to tend the flowers resulting in a facultative ant-association between the orchid and gregarious ants. Four different ant species were found to forage on A. africana's inflorescences. Ant-tended inflorescences suffered significantly less damage by insects.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    are substantially larger than those of any workers, for their body size. The gland size of large workers varies significantly between patrilines in both Acromyrmex echinatior and Acromyrmex octospinosus. We also examined small workers and gynes in A. echinatior, again finding genetic variation in gland size...... in these castes. There were significant positive relationships between the gland sizes of patrilines in the different castes, indicating that the genetic mechanism underpinning the patriline variation has remained similar across phenotypes. The level of expressed genetic variation decreased from small workers......Social insect castes represent some of the most spectacular examples of phenotypic plasticity, with each caste being associated with different environmental conditions during their life. Here we examine the level of genetic variation in different castes of two polyandrous species of Acromyrmex leaf...

  5. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

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    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.

  6. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    Ants (Formicidae) represent a taxonomically diverse group of hymenopterans with over 13,000 extant species, the majority of which inject or spray secretions from a venom gland. The evolutionary success of ants is mostly due to their unique eusociality that has permitted them to develop complex collaborative strategies, partly involving their venom secretions, to defend their nest against predators, microbial pathogens, ant competitors, and to hunt prey. Activities of ant venom include paralytic, cytolytic, haemolytic, allergenic, pro-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, and pain-producing pharmacologic activities, while non-toxic functions include roles in chemical communication involving trail and sex pheromones, deterrents, and aggregators. While these diverse activities in ant venoms have until now been largely understudied due to the small venom yield from ants, modern analytical and venomic techniques are beginning to reveal the diversity of toxin structure and function. As such, ant venoms are distinct from other venomous animals, not only rich in linear, dimeric and disulfide-bonded peptides and bioactive proteins, but also other volatile and non-volatile compounds such as alkaloids and hydrocarbons. The present review details the unique structures and pharmacologies of known ant venom proteinaceous and alkaloidal toxins and their potential as a source of novel bioinsecticides and therapeutic agents. PMID:26805882

  7. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sylvia Cremer

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

  8. The Evolution of Invasiveness in Garden Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

    It is unclear why some species become successful invaders whilst others fail, and whether invasive success depends on pre-adaptations already present in the native range or on characters evolving de-novo after introduction. Ants are among the worst invasive pests, with Lasius neglectus and its rapid spread through Europe and Asia as the most recent example of a pest ant that may become a global problem. Here, we present the first integrated study on behavior, morphology, population genetics, chemical recognition and parasite load of L. neglectus and its non-invasive sister species L. turcicus. We find that L. neglectus expresses the same supercolonial syndrome as other invasive ants, a social system that is characterized by mating without dispersal and large networks of cooperating nests rather than smaller mutually hostile colonies. We conclude that the invasive success of L. neglectus relies on a combination of parasite-release following introduction and pre-adaptations in mating system, body-size, queen number and recognition efficiency that evolved long before introduction. Our results challenge the notion that supercolonial organization is an inevitable consequence of low genetic variation for chemical recognition cues in small invasive founder populations. We infer that low variation and limited volatility in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles already existed in the native range in combination with low dispersal and a highly viscous population structure. Human transport to relatively disturbed urban areas thus became the decisive factor to induce parasite release, a well established general promoter of invasiveness in non-social animals and plants, but understudied in invasive social insects. PMID:19050762

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; Wang, Shikun

    2015-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    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. Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    the more basal attine genera use substrates such as flowers, plant debris, small twigs, insect feces and insect carcasses. This diverse array of fungal substrates across the attine lineage implies that the symbiotic fungus needs different enzymes to break down the plant material that the ants provide...... or different efficiencies of enzyme function. Fungal enzymes that degrade plant cell walls may have functionally co-evolved with the ants in this scenario. We explore this hypothesis with direct measurements of enzyme activity in fungus gardens in 12 species across 8 genera spanning the entire phylogeny...... and diversity of life-styles within the attine clade. We find significant differences in enzyme activity between different genera and life-styles of the ants. How these findings relate to attine ant coevolution and crop optimization are discussed....

  12. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    Aim The aim of this study was to determine the number of successful establishments of the invasive Argentine ant outside native range and to see whether introduced supercolonies have resulted from single or multiple introductions. We also compared the genetic diversity of native versus introduced...... supercolonies to assess the size of the propagules (i.e. the number of founding individuals) at the origin of the introduced supercolonies. Location Global. Methods We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers and microsatellite loci to study 39 supercolonies of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile covering both......) 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...

  13. The AINTEGUMENTA genes, MdANT1 and MdANT2, are associated with the regulation of cell production during fruit growth in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dash, Madhumita; Malladi, Anish

    2012-06-25

    Fruit growth in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) is mediated by cell production and expansion. Genes involved in regulating these processes and thereby fruit growth, are not well characterized. We hypothesized that the apple homolog(s) of AINTEGUMENTA (ANT), an APETALA2-repeat containing transcription factor, regulates cell production during fruit growth in apple. Two ANT genes, MdANT1 and MdANT2, were isolated from apple and their expression was studied during multiple stages of fruit development. MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression was high during early fruit growth coincident with the period of cell production, rapidly declined during exit from cell production, and remained low during the rest of fruit development. The effects of increase in carbohydrate availability during fruit growth were characterized. Increase in carbohydrate availability enhanced fruit growth largely through an increase in cell production. Expression of MdANT1 and MdANT2 increased sharply by up to around 5-fold in response to an increase in carbohydrate availability. Expression of the ANT genes was compared across two apple genotypes, 'Gala' and 'Golden Delicious Smoothee' (GS), which differ in the extent of fruit growth, largely due to differences in cell production. In comparison to 'Gala', the larger fruit-size genotype, GS, displayed higher levels and a longer duration of MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression. Expression of the ANTs and cell cycle genes in the fruit core and cortex tissues isolated using laser capture microdissection was studied. During early fruit growth, expression of the MdANTs was higher within the cortex, the tissue that constitutes the majority of the fruit. Additionally, MdANT1 and MdANT2 expression was positively correlated with that of A- and B-type CYCLINS, B-type CYCLIN-DEPENDENT-KINASES (CDKBs) and MdDEL1. Multiple lines of evidence from this study suggest that MdANT1 and MdANT2 regulate cell production during fruit growth in apple. ANTs may coordinate the expression of

  14. The distribution of weaver ant pheromones on host trees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2007-01-01

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

  15. Ants of the Peloponnese, Greece (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Borowiec Lech

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available This paper relates to material obtained during two field trips to the Peloponnese in 2013 and 2016. With the inclusion of some hitherto unpublished ant material, it gives new records from a total of 92 sampling localities. 129 species (including morphospecies not attributed to any known taxon of ants have been recorded from the Peloponnese (southern Greece, 27 of which have been recorded from this region for the first time. Lasius reginae and 5 other morphospecies attributed only to species complexes are new to Greece.

  16. Evolutionary constraints shape caste-specific gene expression across 15 ant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morandin, Claire; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Helanterä, Heikki

    2017-05-01

    Development of polymorphic phenotypes from similar genomes requires gene expression differences. However, little is known about how morph-specific gene expression patterns vary on a broad phylogenetic scale. We hypothesize that evolution of morph-specific gene expression, and consequently morph-specific phenotypic evolution, may be constrained by gene essentiality and the amount of pleiotropic constraints. Here, we use comparative transcriptomics of queen and worker morphs, that is, castes, from 15 ant species to understand the constraints of morph-biased gene expression. In particular, we investigate how measures of evolutionary constraints at the sequence level (expression level, connectivity, and number of gene ontology [GO] terms) correlate with morph-biased expression. Our results show that genes indeed vary in their potential to become morph-biased. The existence of genes that are constrained in becoming caste-biased potentially limits the evolutionary decoupling of the caste phenotypes, that is, it might result in "caste load" occasioning from antagonistic fitness variation, similarly to sexually antagonistic fitness variation between males and females. On the other hand, we suggest that genes under low constraints are released from antagonistic variation and thus more likely to be co-opted for morph specific use. Overall, our results suggest that the factors that affect sequence evolutionary rates and evolution of plastic expression may largely overlap. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  17. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Operant conditioning in the ant Myrmica sabuleti.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cammaerts, M C

    2004-11-30

    Operant conditioning could be obtained in the ant Myrmica sabuleti by presenting to the workers, during a six-day period, an apparatus containing either sugared water or meat as a reward. The conditioning obtained using sugared water as a reward was short lasting. A reconditioning was more persistent and lasted four hours. The ants' response was very precise, since they exhibited it only in front of an apparatus identical to that used during the training phase. Operant conditioning obtained using meat as a reward was more pronounced than that obtained by using sugared water, probably because meat is more valuable as a reward than sugar for the species studied, which is essentially a carnivorous one. Such a conditioning was rather persistent. Indeed, a first operant conditioning obtained by using meat as a reward could still be detected after seven hours, and a reconditioning was still significant after eight hours. One day after this eight-hour period without rewarding the ants, the response was higher again and a further day later, it was still significant. Since the operant conditioning is easy to perform and quantify and since the ants' response is very precise, such a conditioning can be used for further studying M. sabuleti workers' visual perception.

  19. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  20. Expression patterns of a circadian clock gene are associated with age-related polyethism in harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ingram Krista K

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Recent advances in sociogenomics allow for comparative analyses of molecular mechanisms regulating the development of social behavior. In eusocial insects, one key aspect of their sociality, the division of labor, has received the most attention. Age-related polyethism, a derived form of division of labor in ants and bees where colony tasks are allocated among distinct behavioral phenotypes, has traditionally been assumed to be a product of convergent evolution. Previous work has shown that the circadian clock is associated with the development of behavior and division of labor in honeybee societies. We cloned the ortholog of the clock gene, period, from a harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex occidentalis and examined circadian rhythms and daily activity patterns in a species that represents an evolutionary origin of eusociality independent of the honeybee. Results Using real time qPCR analyses, we determined that harvester ants have a daily cyclic expression of period and this rhythm is endogenous (free-running under dark-dark conditions. Cyclic expression of period is task-specific; foragers have strong daily fluctuations but nest workers inside the nest do not. These patterns correspond to differences in behavior as activity levels of foragers show a diurnal pattern while nest workers tend to exhibit continuous locomotor activity at lower levels. In addition, we found that foragers collected in the early fall (relative warm, long days exhibit a delay in the nightly peak of period expression relative to foragers collected in the early spring (relative cold, short days. Conclusion The association of period mRNA expression levels with harvester ant task behaviors suggests that the development of circadian rhythms is associated with the behavioral development of ants. Thus, the circadian clock pathway may represent a conserved 'genetic toolkit' that has facilitated the parallel evolution of age-related polyethism and task allocation in

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    by the consumed pest insects, can be harvested and utilised for nutrition as they are tasty and high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Thus, plantations may function as ant farms and in addition to plant production also hosts the production of edible animal protein. In this setup harmful pest insects are turned...... farming as a way forward to solve an increasing future demand for protein. Weaver ant farming may build on natural food collected by the ants or alternatively be boosted by feeding the ant colonies actively with protein and sugar. In both cases, when ant biocontrol is combined with ant farming......, the environmental cost of protein production may fall even lower than for other insects as the ants feed on pests that would otherwise reduce the plant yield and since the farming area is simultaneously in use for plant production. In this presentation I provide data showing (i) how the harvest of ants can...

  2. Studies on the environmental implications of ants (Hymenoptera ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A study of ants associated wh two synanthropcenvironments in Awka was carried out in 2008 using pitfall and bait traps. The study yelded a total of 561 ants wth 409 obtaned from the hemisynanthrophic environment while 192 ants were collected from the endophilic environment. The percentage occurrence, total dstribution ...

  3. Pyrokinin β-neuropeptide affects necrophoretic behavior in fire ants (S. invicta), and expression of β-NP in a mycoinsecticide increases its virulence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, Yanhua; Pereira, Roberto M; Kilic, Engin; Casella, George; Keyhani, Nemat O

    2012-01-01

    Fire ants are one of the world's most damaging invasive pests, with few means for their effective control. Although ecologically friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides such as the insecticidal fungus Beauveria bassiana have been suggested for the control of fire ant populations, their use has been limited due to the low virulence of the fungus and the length of time it takes to kill its target. We present a means of increasing the virulence of the fungal agent by expressing a fire ant neuropeptide. Expression of the fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) pyrokinin β-neuropeptide (β-NP) by B. bassiana increased fungal virulence six-fold towards fire ants, decreased the LT(50), but did not affect virulence towards the lepidopteran, Galleria mellonella. Intriguingly, ants killed by the β-NP expressing fungus were disrupted in the removal of dead colony members, i.e. necrophoretic behavior. Furthermore, synthetic C-terminal amidated β-NP but not the non-amidated peptide had a dramatic effect on necrophoretic behavior. These data link chemical sensing of a specific peptide to a complex social behavior. Our results also confirm a new approach to insect control in which expression of host molecules in an insect pathogen can by exploited for target specific augmentation of virulence. The minimization of the development of potential insect resistance by our approach is discussed.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Di Giulio

    Full Text Available Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants' activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can "speak" three different "languages", each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen. Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Renner, Susanne S

    2017-03-15

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fürst, Matthias A; Nash, David Richard

    2010-01-01

    to host-ant nests and non-host-ant nests, and the number and position of eggs attached were assessed. Our results show no evidence for host-ant-based oviposition in M. alcon, but support an oviposition strategy based on plant characteristics. This suggests that careful management of host-ant distribution......Parasitic Maculinea alcon butterflies can only develop in nests of a subset of available Myrmica ant species, so female butterflies have been hypothesized to preferentially lay eggs on plants close to colonies of the correct host ants. Previous correlational investigations of host......-ant-dependent oviposition in this and other Maculinea species have, however, shown equivocal results, leading to a long-term controversy over support for this hypothesis. We therefore conducted a controlled field experiment to study the egg-laying behaviour of M. alcon. Matched potted Gentiana plants were set out close...

  8. An ant-plant mutualism through the lens of cGMP-dependent kinase genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malé, Pierre-Jean G; Turner, Kyle M; Doha, Manjima; Anreiter, Ina; Allen, Aaron M; Sokolowski, Marla B; Frederickson, Megan E

    2017-09-13

    In plant-animal mutualisms, how an animal forages often determines how much benefit its plant partner receives. In many animals, foraging behaviour changes in response to foraging gene expression or activation of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) that foraging encodes. Here, we show that this highly conserved molecular mechanism affects the outcome of a plant-animal mutualism. We studied the two PKG genes of Allomerus octoarticulatus, an Amazonian ant that defends the ant-plant Cordia nodosa against herbivores. Some ant colonies are better 'bodyguards' than others. Working in the field in Peru, we found that colonies fed with a PKG activator recruited more workers to attack herbivores than control colonies. This resulted in less herbivore damage. PKG gene expression in ant workers correlated with whether an ant colony discovered an herbivore and how much damage herbivores inflicted on leaves in a complex way; natural variation in expression levels of the two genes had significant interaction effects on ant behaviour and herbivory. Our results suggest a molecular basis for ant protection of plants in this mutualism. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. The invasive ant, Solenopsis invicta, reduces herpetofauna richness and abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.; Slater, J.; Wiggers, E.

    2017-01-01

    Amphibians and reptiles are declining globally. One potential cause of this decline includes impacts resulting from co-occurrence with non-native red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Although a growing body of anecdotal and observational evidence from laboratory experiments supports this hypothesis, there remains a lack of field scale manipulations testing the effect of fire ants on reptile and amphibian communities. We addressed this gap by measuring reptile and amphibian (“herpetofauna”) community response to successful fire ant reductions over the course of 2 years following hydramethylnon application to five 100–200 ha plots in southeastern coastal South Carolina. By assessing changes in relative abundance and species richness of herpetofauna in response to fire ant reductions, we were able to assess whether some species were particularly vulnerable to fire ant presence, and whether this sensitivity manifested at the community level. We found that herpetofauna abundance and species richness responded positively to fire ant reductions. Our results document that even moderate populations of red imported fire ants decrease both the abundance and diversity of herpetofauna. Given global herpetofauna population declines and continued spread of fire ants, there is urgency to understand the impacts of fire ants beyond anecdotal and singles species studies. Our results provides the first community level investigation addressing these dynamics, by manipulating fire ant abundance to reveal a response in herpetofauna species abundance and richness.

  10. When invasive ants meet: effects of outbreeding on queen performance in the tramp ant Cardiocondyla itsukii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinze, Jürgen; Frohschammer, Sabine; Bernadou, Abel

    2017-08-18

    Most disturbed habitats in the tropics and subtropics harbor numerous species of invasive ants, and occasionally the same species has been introduced repeatedly from multiple geographical sources. We examined how experimental crossbreeding between sexuals from different populations affects the fitness of queens of the tramp ant Cardiocondyla itsukii, which is widely distributed in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Eggs laid by queens that mated with nestmate males had a higher hatching rate than eggs laid by queens mated to males from neighboring (Hawaii × Kauai) or distant introduced populations (Hawaii/Kauai × Okinawa). Furthermore, inbreeding queens had a longer lifespan and produced a less female-biased offspring sex ratio than queens from allopatric mating. This suggests that the genetic divergence between different source populations may already be so large that in case of multiple invasions eventual crossbreeding might negatively affect the fitness of tramp ants. © 2017 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jim Underwood

    2002-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  14. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A preliminary species checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of. Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya, is presented. The species list is based on specimens sampled from 1999 until 2009, which are deposited in the ant collection of the Zoological Research Museum Koenig, Bonn, Germany, and the Natural History ...

  15. Ant species richness of fynbos and forest ecosystems in the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The ant fauna in fynbos and forest habitats in the southern Cape are compared. There is no significant difference in ant species richness between the two undisturbed habitat types, and the only two species common to both are Acantholepis capensis and Camponotus maculatus. The degree of Hakea sericea infestation in ...

  16. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    Worldwide, ants are a powerful ecological force, and they appear to be dominant components of animal communities of many tropical and temperate ecosystems in terms of biomass and numbers of individuals (Bluthgen et al. 2000). For example, ants comprise up to 94% of arthropod individuals in fogging samples taken from diverse lowland tropical rainforest canopies, and 86% of the biomass (Davidson et al. 2003). The majority of these ant species and individuals obtain carbohydrates either from extrafloral nectaries or from sap-feeding Hemiptera that pass carbohydrate-rich “honeydew” to attending ants while concentrating nitrogen (N) from N-poor plant sap (Davidson et al. 2003). Honeydew and nectar represent key resources for arboreal ant species, although most ant species are at least partly carnivorous or scavengers (Bluthgen et al. 2004). In contrast to most of the terrestrial world, the biotas of many Pacific islands evolved without ants. Whereas endemic ant species are found in New Zealand (ca. 10 spp.), Tonga (ca. 10 spp.), and Samoa (ca. 12 spp.), other islands of Polynesia and parts of Micronesia likely lack native ants (Wilson and Taylor 1967, Wetterer 2002, Wetterer and Vargo 2003). About 20 Indo-Australian and western Pacific ant species range to the east and north of Samoa, but it is unclear how many of these were transported there by humans at some time (Wilson and Taylor 1967). Most of the remainder of the ant species currently found on Pacific islands are widespread species that fall in the category of “tramp species,” dispersed by recent human commerce and generally closely tied to human activity and urban areas (Wilson and Taylor 1967, McGlynn 1999). In Pacific island situations, some of these tramp ant species are able to thrive beyond areas of human activity. Relatively few ant species have been successful invaders of native communities on continents, and these include most of the species that pose the greatest problems for Pacific islands

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  20. Discrimination Behavior in the Supercolonial Pharaoh Ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi

    The majority of eusocial insect species live in small, kin structured colonies that are mutually aggressive and rarely interact. By contrast, a restricted group of ant species show a peculiar social organization called unicoloniality, where colonies can grow to vast networks of geographically...... and genetic distance between colony pairs, further confirming the important role of endogenous cues in the nestmate recognition of this species. The third chapter presents a methodological study on the best procedures for identifying chemical compounds used for nestmate recognition in social insects. We first...... 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. Development of a Bait System for the Pharaoh's Ant, Monomorium ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The infestation of the Pharaoh's ant, Monomorium pharaonis L. is widespread and, sometimes, very serious in homes, hospitals, restaurants, factories, etc. People are helpless because effective baited traps are not available locally, and little has been done locally to develop effective control strategies for these ants.

  2. Volatile chemicals in glands of the carpenter ant, Camponotus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Volatile chemicals in glands of the carpenter ant, Camponotus arminius. J.M. Brand, L.V. Mabinya, E.D. Morgan. Abstract. Camponotus arminius is a large black carpenter ant that occurs in tropical and sub-tropical Africa and has extensive foraging trails both in trees and on the ground. Analysis of excised mandibular glands ...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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...

  4. Ultrastructure of antennal sensillae of the samsum ant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Black ant (Samsum), Pachycodyla sennarrensis, stings and injects venom and inflicts allergy (a rare clinical problem) due to its local and systemic reaction, which is considered as a health hazard amongst Saudi society. Thus, black ant is a source of serious concern for the government and experts as well.

  5. The regulation of ant colony foraging activity without spatial information.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Balaji Prabhakar

    Full Text Available Many dynamical networks, such as the ones that produce the collective behavior of social insects, operate without any central control, instead arising from local interactions among individuals. A well-studied example is the formation of recruitment trails in ant colonies, but many ant species do not use pheromone trails. We present a model of the regulation of foraging by harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus colonies. This species forages for scattered seeds that one ant can retrieve on its own, so there is no need for spatial information such as pheromone trails that lead ants to specific locations. Previous work shows that colony foraging activity, the rate at which ants go out to search individually for seeds, is regulated in response to current food availability throughout the colony's foraging area. Ants use the rate of brief antennal contacts inside the nest between foragers returning with food and outgoing foragers available to leave the nest on the next foraging trip. Here we present a feedback-based algorithm that captures the main features of data from field experiments in which the rate of returning foragers was manipulated. The algorithm draws on our finding that the distribution of intervals between successive ants returning to the nest is a Poisson process. We fitted the parameter that estimates the effect of each returning forager on the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest. We found that correlations between observed rates of returning foragers and simulated rates of outgoing foragers, using our model, were similar to those in the data. Our simple stochastic model shows how the regulation of ant colony foraging can operate without spatial information, describing a process at the level of individual ants that predicts the overall foraging activity of the colony.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine C Horn

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert B. Pape

    2016-09-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  9. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2002-05-01

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

  10. Disease in the Society: Infectious Cadavers Result in Collapse of Ant Sub-Colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loreto, Raquel G.; Hughes, David P.

    2016-01-01

    Despite the growing number of experimental studies on mechanisms of social immunity in ant societies, little is known about how social behavior relates to disease progression within the nests of ants. In fact, when empirically studying disease in ant societies, it is common to remove dead ants from experiments to confirm infection by the studied parasite. This unfortunately does not allow disease to progress within the nest as it may be assumed would happen under natural conditions. Therefore, the approach taken so far has resulted in a limited knowledge of diseases dynamics within the nest environment. Here we introduced a single infectious cadaver killed by the fungus Beauveria bassiana into small nests of the ant Camponotus castaneus. We then observed the natural progression of the disease by not removing the corpses of the ants that died following the first entry of the disease. Because some behaviors such as social isolation of sick individuals or the removal of cadavers by nestmates are considered social immune functions and thus adaptations at the colony level that reduce disease spread, we also experimentally confined some sub-colonies to one or two chamber nests to prevent the expression of such behaviors. Based on 51 small nests and survival studies in 1,003 ants we found that a single introduced infectious cadaver was able to transmit within the nest, and social immunity did not prevent the collapse of the small sub-colonies here tested. This was true whether ants did or did not have the option to remove the infectious cadaver. Therefore, we found no evidence that the typically studied social immunity behaviors can reduce disease spread in the conditions here tested. PMID:27529548

  11. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    The attine ant symbiosis is characterized by ancient but varying degrees of diffuse co-evolution between the ants and their fungal cultivars. Domesticated fungi became dependent on vertical transmission by queens and the ant colonies came to rely on their symbiotic fungus for food and thus...... as garden substrate, whereas the more basal genera use leaf litter, insect feces and insect carcasses. We hypothesized that enzyme activity of fungal symbionts has co-evolved with substrate use and we measured enzyme activities of fungus gardens in the field to test this, focusing particularly on plant...... essential for the symbiosis in general, but have contributed specifically to the evolution of the symbiosis....

  12. The invasion biology and sociogenetics of pharaoh ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard

    Social insect colonies perform a number of tasks affecting the environments they live in. Some unintentionally introduced species have attracted the attention of scientists and general public alike when causing a number of changes to the composition and functioning of ecosystems. Such ?invaders...... laboratory lineages, thus building the foundation for future research on the species. In addition, I have started a selection experiment (still ongoing in collaboration with Dr. T. Linksvayer) using pharaoh ants, which is the first time artificial selection is attempted in an ant species. Pharaoh ants have...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

    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.

  14. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  15. Behavior of ergatoid males in the ant, Cardiocondyla nuda

    OpenAIRE

    Heinze, Jürgen; Künholz, S.; Schilder, K.; Hölldobler, B.

    1993-01-01

    Ergatoid males of the ant, Cardiocondyla nuda, attack and frequently kill young males during or shortly after eclosion. Smaller colonies therefore contain typically only one adult male, which may inseminate all alate queens which are reared in the colony over a few weeks. In larger colonies, several males may be present, however, fighting among adult males was not observed. We discuss the significance of male fighting behavior in ants.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ugelvig, Line; Drijfhout, Falko; Kronauer, Daniel

    2008-01-01

    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 po...

  17. Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heinze, J.; Cremer, Sylvia; Eckl, N.

    2006-01-01

    Many invasive ant species, such as the Argentine ant or the red imported fire ant, have huge colonies with thousands of mass-foraging workers, which quickly monopolise resources and therefore represent a considerable threat to the native ant fauna. Cardiocondyla obscurior and several other specie...

  18. Symbiotic mutualism with a community of opportunistic ants: protection, competition, and ant occupancy of the myrmecophyte Barteria nigritana (Passifloraceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Dejean, Alain; Gibernau, Marc; Hossaert-McKey, Martine; McKey, Doyle

    2004-10-01

    Barteria nigritana is a myrmecophyte tree of Lower Guinea coastal vegetation. Unlike the more specialised B. fistulosa, which harbours a single host-specific mutualistic ant, B. nigritana is associated with several opportunistic ants. Such symbiotic, yet opportunistic, ant-plant associations have been little studied. On 113 clumps of B. nigritana, we censused ant associates and herbivores and compared herbivory on plants occupied by different ants. In addition to these correlative data, protection conferred by different ant species was compared by herbivore-placement experiments. Identity of ant associate changed predictably over plant ontogeny. Pheidole megacephala was restricted to very small plants; saplings were occupied by either Oecophylla longinoda or Crematogaster sp., and the latter species was the sole occupant of larger trees. Damage by caterpillars of the nymphalid butterfly Acraea zetes accounted for much of the herbivory to leaves. Ant species differed in the protection provided to hosts. While P. megacephala provided no significant protection, plants occupied by O. longinoda and Crematogaster sp. suffered less damage than did unoccupied plants or those occupied by P. megacephala. Furthermore, O. longinoda provided more effective protection than did Crematogaster sp. Herbivore-placement experiments confirmed these results. Workers of O. longinoda killed or removed all larval instars of A. zetes. Crematogaster preyed on only the two first larval instars, and P. megacephala preyed mainly on eggs, only rarely attacking the two first larval instars. Opportunistic ants provided significant protection to this relatively unspecialised myrmecophyte. The usual associate of mature trees was not the species that provided most protection.

  19. Fire Ant Bites

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  20. The search rate of the African weaver ant in cashew

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Henriksen, Signe; Axelsen, Jørgen Aagaard; Lemming, Katrine Hansen

    2015-01-01

    Oecophylla longinoda is a species of eusocial colony living ants that prey upon other insects to feed their larva. Many of these insects are considered pests. An ecosystem model of the interactions between an O. longinoda colony and its potential prey is under construction by the team behind...... this article, and it is unknown which functional response equations are useful for eusocial insect colonies. We investigated the search rate of O. longinoda using artificial feeding experiments in a Tanzanian cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) orchard to determine the search efficiency of the ants...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  2. Genetic transformation of midgut bacteria from the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medina, Freder; Li, Haiwen; Vinson, S Bradleigh; Coates, Craig J

    2009-05-01

    In our previous study we isolated 10 bacterial species from fourth-instar larval midguts of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Here we report the genetic transformation and reintroduction of three species (Kluyvera cryocrescens, Serratia marcescens, and isolate 38) into the fire ant host. All three species were transformed with the plasmid vector, pZeoDsRed. High expression levels of DsRed were observed and the plasmid is maintained in these bacteria at 37 degrees C in the absence of antibiotic selection for at least 9 days of subculturing. The transformed bacteria were successfully reintroduced into fire ant larvae and survived in the fire ant gut for at least 7 days. Upon pupal emergence, 7 days after reintroduction, transformed bacteria can still be isolated, however, most were passed out in the meconium. We further demonstrated that the engineered bacteria could be spread within the colony by feeding this meconium to naive larvae with the aid of worker fire ants.

  3. Polarized light use in the nocturnal bull ant, Myrmecia midas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freas, Cody A; Narendra, Ajay; Lemesle, Corentin; Cheng, Ken

    2017-08-01

    Solitary foraging ants have a navigational toolkit, which includes the use of both terrestrial and celestial visual cues, allowing individuals to successfully pilot between food sources and their nest. One such celestial cue is the polarization pattern in the overhead sky. Here, we explore the use of polarized light during outbound and inbound journeys and with different home vectors in the nocturnal bull ant, Myrmecia midas . We tested foragers on both portions of the foraging trip by rotating the overhead polarization pattern by ±45°. Both outbound and inbound foragers responded to the polarized light change, but the extent to which they responded to the rotation varied. Outbound ants, both close to and further from the nest, compensated for the change in the overhead e-vector by about half of the manipulation, suggesting that outbound ants choose a compromise heading between the celestial and terrestrial compass cues. However, ants returning home compensated for the change in the e-vector by about half of the manipulation when the remaining home vector was short (1-2 m) and by more than half of the manipulation when the remaining vector was long (more than 4 m). We report these findings and discuss why weighting on polarization cues change in different contexts.

  4. The cavity-nest ant Temnothorax crassispinus prefers larger nests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitrus, S

    Colonies of the ant Temnothorax crassispinus inhabit mostly cavities in wood and hollow acorns. Typically in the field, nest sites that can be used by the ant are a limited resource. In a field experiment, it was investigated whether the ants prefer a specific size of nest, when different ones are available. In July 2011, a total of 160 artificial nests were placed in a beech-pine forest. Four artificial nests (pieces of wood with volume cavities, ca 415, 605, 730, and 980 mm 3 , respectively) were located on each square meter of the experimental plot. One year later, shortly before the emergence of new sexuals, the nests were collected. In July 2012, colonies inhabited more frequently bigger nests. Among queenright colonies, the ones which inhabited bigger nests had more workers. However, there was no relationship between volume of nest and number of workers for queenless colonies. Queenright colonies from bigger nests produced more sexual individuals, but there was no correlation between number of workers and sex allocation ratio, or between volume of nest and sex allocation ratio. In a laboratory experiment where ant colonies were kept in 470 and 860 mm 3 nests, larger colonies allocated more energy to produce sexual individuals. The results of this study show the selectivity of T. crassispinus ants regarding the size of nest cavity, and that the nest volume has an impact on life history parameters.

  5. Population Development of Several Species of Ants on the Cocoa Trees in South Sulawesi

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fatahuddin Fatahuddin

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Several species of ants with different behavior have been found in cocoa plantations and their behavior is important to be considered because it might be correlated with the degree of protection of cocoa plant from cocoa pests. The aim of this research is to manipulate and to develop ants population in environment, so they are able to establish permanently in cocoa trees. This research was conducted in Papakaju Regions Luwu Regency in Juli to November 2009. In this study, 10 cocoa trees with ants were sampled (each species of ant in 10 cocoa trees. A control of 10 tree samples without ant was also taken. In order to assess the abundance of ant population, it was grouped based on scoring, which score 1 for less than 20 ants, score 2 for 21–50 ants, score 3 for 51–200 ants, score 4 for 201–1000 ants, and score 5 for more than 1000 per tree. The results indicated that average of population score of the three ants species reached the highest population for the Oecophylla. smaragdina with average score 4.85 (>1000 ants, Dolichoderus thoracicus, with average score 3.90 (> 200 ants and Crematogaster. difformis with average score 3.10 (>200 ants. This research indicated that three species of ants, Oecophylla smaragdina (weaver ant, Dolichoderus thoracicus (cocoa black ant and Crematogaster difformis (cracking ant. in farmer cocoa plantations in South Sulawesi giving better performance against major pests of cocoa in particular cocoa pod borer (CPB. Key words: Ant Population, Oecophylla smaragdina, Dolichoderus thoracicus, Crematogaster difformis, artificial nest, cocoa.

  6. Natural selection drives the evolution of ant life cycles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Edward O; Nowak, Martin A

    2014-09-02

    The genetic origin of advanced social organization has long been one of the outstanding problems of evolutionary biology. Here we present an analysis of the major steps in ant evolution, based for the first time, to our knowledge, on combined recent advances in paleontology, phylogeny, and the study of contemporary life histories. We provide evidence of the causal forces of natural selection shaping several key phenomena: (i) the relative lateness and rarity in geological time of the emergence of eusociality in ants and other animal phylads; (ii) the prevalence of monogamy at the time of evolutionary origin; and (iii) the female-biased sex allocation observed in many ant species. We argue that a clear understanding of the evolution of social insects can emerge if, in addition to relatedness-based arguments, we take into account key factors of natural history and study how natural selection acts on alleles that modify social behavior.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  9. Native supercolonies of unrelated individuals in the invasive Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Jes Søe; Krieger, Michael J. B.; Vogel, Valérie

    2006-01-01

    organization is not only a key attribute responsible for the ecological dominance of these ants, but also an evolutionary paradox because relatedness between nestmates is effectively zero. Recently, it has been proposed that, in the Argentine ant, unicoloniality is a derived trait that evolved after its......Kinship among group members has long been recognized as a main factor promoting the evolution of sociality and reproductive altruism, yet some ants have an extraordinary social organization, called unicoloniality, whereby individuals mix freely among physically separated nests. This type of social...... with related individuals who are aggressive toward members of other colonies, we found that native populations also form supercolonies, and are effectively unicolonial. Moreover, just as in introduced populations, the relatedness between nestmates is not distinguishable from zero in these native range...

  10. The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wurm, Yannick; Wang, John; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana

    2011-01-01

    Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some ants, such as the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, are also major pests. Here, we present a draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from Roche 454 and Illumina sequencing reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothe...

  11. Intrapopulation differences in ant eating in the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganas, Jessica; Robbins, Martha M

    2004-10-01

    Variability in ant eating has been observed in several populations of eastern and western gorillas. We investigated the occurrence of ant (Dorylus sp.) eating in two groups of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) with overlapping home ranges within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda from September 2001 to August 2002. We calculated the frequency of ant eating by an indirect method of analyzing fecal samples from silverbacks, adult females, and juveniles. One group consumed ants significantly more often than the other (3.3 vs 17.6% of days sampled). Furthermore, the group that consumed ants more often also consumed them on a seasonal basis (September-February monthly range: 0-8%; March-August monthly range: 30-42.9%). Finally, females and juveniles of this group consumed ants significantly more often than did the silverback (total samples containing ants: silverback, 2.1%; adult female, 13.2%; juvenile, 11.2%). Differences in ant eating between groups are likely due to variability in use of habitats where ants occur (particularly secondary forests). Surveys of ant densities in differing habitats, nutritional analysis of ants, and quantification of the amount of ants in their diets are necessary to understand if ant consumption is due to availability, nutritional value, group traditions, or taste preference.

  12. Ant Colony Optimization and the Minimum Cut Problem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  13. INTRODUCTION The tailor or weaver ants of genus Oecophylla ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    smaragdina which is a sister species and ecological equivalent of ... Stability in population of Oecophylla in BSP and PG over 13 years suggests that weaver ant .... between the two years were significant at 95% confidence ..... over time is dependent on the nature of the perturbation. ... longinoda in relation to territorility and.

  14. Ultrastructure of antennal sensillae of the samsum ant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Jane

    2010-10-11

    Oct 11, 2010 ... subsequently may form the basis in producing its effective control measure in future. ... persons that may deteriorate into serious health condi- tions. ... with the behavioral ecology of ants (Faucheux et al.,. 2006) ... Basiconic type acts as food and CO2 receptor, trichoids ..... Sex pheromone perception in male.

  15. Does the afrotropical army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus go ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Swarm-raiding army ants are extremely polyphagous nomadic predators inhabiting tropical forests. They are considered keystone species because their raids can regulate the population dynamics of their prey and because a plethora of both invertebrate and vertebrate species are obligatorily or facultatively associated with ...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

  17. Exploring agency beyond humans: the compatibility of Actor-Network Theory (ANT and resilience thinking

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angga Dwiartama

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available At first glance, the compatibility of social theory and resilience thinking is not entirely evident, in part because the ontology of the former is rooted in social interactions among human beings rather than ecological process. Despite this difference, resilience thinking engages with particular aspects of social organization that have generated intense debates within social science, namely the role of humans as integral elements of social-ecological systems and the processes through which given social structures (including material relations are either maintained or transformed. Among social theoretical approaches, Actor-Network Theory (ANT is noted for its distinctive approach to these aspects. ANT proposes that human and nonhuman components (both referred to as actants have the same capacity to influence the development of social-ecological systems (represented as actor-networks by enacting relations and enrolling other actors. We explore the notion of agency that is employed in resilience thinking and ANT in order to extend our understandings of human-environment relationships through complementary insights from each approach. The discussion is illustrated by reference to ongoing assessment of resilience as it is experienced and expressed in two distinctive agricultural production systems: Indonesian rice and New Zealand kiwifruit. We conclude by establishing the potential for ANT to provide more profound theoretical conceptualizations of agency, both human and nonhuman, in analyses of social ecological systems.

  18. Dispersal for survival: some observations on the trunk ant (Formica truncorum Fabricius)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mabelis, A.A.; Korczynska, J.

    2001-01-01

    The survival chance of the trunk ant (Formica truncorum) is compared with the survival chance of two other species of red wood ants: F.rufa and F.polyctena. Nest populations of F.truncorum are much smaller than nest populations of the other red wood ant species, which makes the species a weaker

  19. Towards a better understanding of the evolution of specialized parasites of fungus-growing ant crops

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan; Poulsen, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants have interacted and partly coevolved with specialised microfungal parasites of the genus Escovopsis since the origin of ant fungiculture about 50 million years ago. Here, we review the recent progress in understanding the patterns of specificity of this ant-parasite associatio...

  20. Advances in Research on the Venom Chemistry of Imported Fire Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Workers of the imported fire ants, including red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, black imported fire ants, S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid (S. invicta × S. richteri), are vicious stingers. Since the venomous sting is a significant medical problem to humans, the chemistry of import...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. The interplay between scent trails and group-mass recruitment systems in ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Planque, R.; van den Berg, G.J.B.; Franks, N.R.

    2013-01-01

    Large ant colonies invariably use effective scent trails to guide copious ant numbers to food sources. The success of mass recruitment hinges on the involvement of many colony members to lay powerful trails. However, many ant colonies start off as single queens. How do these same colonies forage

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Differential regulation of the foraging gene associated with task behaviors in harvester ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kleeman Lindsay

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The division of labor in social insect colonies involves transitions by workers from one task to another and is critical to the organization and ecological success of colonies. The differential regulation of genetic pathways is likely to be a key mechanism involved in plasticity of social insect task behavior. One of the few pathways implicated in social organization involves the cGMP-activated protein kinase gene, foraging, a gene associated with foraging behavior in social insect species. The association of the foraging gene with behavior is conserved across diverse species, but the observed expression patterns and proposed functions of this gene vary across taxa. We compared the protein sequence of foraging across social insects and explored whether the differential regulation of this gene is associated with task behaviors in the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis. Results Phylogenetic analysis of the coding region of the foraging gene reveals considerable conservation in protein sequence across insects, particularly among hymenopteran species. The absence of amino acid variation in key active and binding sites suggests that differences in behaviors associated with this gene among species may be the result of changes in gene expression rather than gene divergence. Using real time qPCR analyses with a harvester ant ortholog to foraging (Pofor, we found that the brains of harvester ant foragers have a daily fluctuation in expression of foraging with mRNA levels peaking at midday. In contrast, young workers inside the nest have low levels of Pofor mRNA with no evidence of daily fluctuations in expression. As a result, the association of foraging expression with task behavior within a species changes depending on the time of day the individuals are sampled. Conclusions The amino acid protein sequence of foraging is highly conserved across social insects. Differences in foraging behaviors associated with this gene among

  5. The Müller-Lyer illusion in ant foraging.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomoko Sakiyama

    Full Text Available The Müller-Lyer illusion is a classical geometric illusion in which the apparent (perceived length of a line depends on whether the line terminates in an arrow tail or arrowhead. This effect may be caused by economic compensation for the gap between the physical stimulus and visual fields. Here, we show that the Müller-Lyer illusion can also be produced by the foraging patterns of garden ants (Lasius niger and that the pattern obtained can be explained by a simple, asynchronously updated foraging ant model. Our results suggest that the geometric illusion may be a byproduct of the foraging process, in which local interactions underlying efficient exploitation can also give rise to global exploration, and that visual information processing in human could implement similar modulation between local efficient processing and widespread computation.

  6. Estimating the Ex Ante Expected Returns to College

    OpenAIRE

    Andrew J. Hussey; Omari H. Swinton

    2011-01-01

    Rather than estimating the returns to obtaining a college degree, this paper treats the college education decision as an uncertain investment involving varying likelihoods of successful graduation. We predict earnings conditional on both graduating and not graduating from both selective and non-selective institutions, and incorporate estimated individual-specific graduation rates in calculating the ex ante expected returns from college attendance for individuals across the ability distributio...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-15

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

  8. ANTS/PAM: Future Exploration of the Asteroid Belt

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Rilee, M. L.; Cheung, C. Y.

    2004-05-01

    The Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm (ANTS) is applied to the Prospecting Asteroid Mission (PAM) concept, as part of a NASA RASC study. The ANTS architecture is inspired by success of social insect colonies, based on the division of labor within the colonies: 1) within their specialties, individual specialists generally outperform general-ists, and 2) with sufficiently efficient social interaction and coordination, the group of specialists generally outper-forms the group of generalists. ANTS as applied to PAM involves a thousand individual specialist `sciencecraft', one subswarm per target, in an environment where detection and tracking of irregular, infrequent targets is a major chal-lenge. Workers, carry and operate eight to nine different scientific instruments, including spectrometers, ranging and radio science devices, imagers. The remaining specialists, Messenger/Rulers, provide communication and coordina-tion. The non-expendable propulsion system is based on autonomously deployable and configurable solar sails, a system suitable to a low gravity environment. The design of the neural basis function requires a minimum of 4 or 5 specialists for collective decision making. Allowing for ten instrument specialist teams and compensating for antici-pated high attrition, we calculate an initial minimum of 100 per subswarm should allow characterization of hundreds of asteroids. The difficulty in observing irregular, rapidly moving, poorly illuminated objects is largely overcome by the ANT sciencecraft capability to optimize conditions for each instrument. Components are composed of carbon nanotubules reversibly deployable from NEMS nodes, allowing 100 times decrease in packaging volume. 1000 smart 10 centimeter, 1 kg cubic boxes create a 1000 kg 1 meter cube.

  9. Bioturbation by the Fungus-Gardening Ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter R Tschinkel

    Full Text Available Soil invertebrates such as ants are thought to be important manipulators of soils in temperate and tropical ecosystems. The fungus gardening ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, is an important agent of biomantling, that is, of depositing soil excavated from below onto the surface, and has been suggested as an agent of bioturbation (moving soil below ground as well. The amount of bioturbation by this ant was quantified by planting queenright colonies in sand columns consisting of 5 layers of different colored sand. The amount of each color of sand deposited on the surface was determined from April to November 2015. In November, colonies were excavated and the color and amount of sand deposited below ground (mostly as backfill in chambers was determined. Extrapolated to one ha, T. septentrionalis deposited 800 kg of sand per annum on the surface, and an additional 200 kg (17% of the total excavated below ground. On average, this mixes 1.3% of the sand from other layers within the top meter of soil per millennium, but this mixing is unlikely to be homogeneous, and probably occurs as "hotspots" in both horizontal and vertical space. Such mixing is discussed as a challenge to sediment dating by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1998-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Foraging strategies of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luan D. Lima

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Foraging strategies of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Foraging activity may be limited by temperature, humidity, radiation, wind, and other abiotic factors, all of which can affect energy costs during foraging. Ectatomma vizottoi's biology has only recently been studied, and no detailed information is available on its foraging patterns or diet in the field. For this reason, and because foraging activity is an important part of the ecological success of social insects, the present study aimed to investigate E. vizottoi's foraging strategies and dietary habits. First, we determined how abiotic factors constrained E. vizottoi's foraging patterns in the field by monitoring the foraging activity of 16 colonies on eight different days across two seasons. Second, we characterized E. vizottoi's diet by monitoring another set of 26 colonies during peak foraging activity. Our results show that E. vizottoi has foraging strategies that are similar to those of congeneric species. In spite of having a low efficiency index, colonies adopted strategies that allowed them to successfully obtain food resources while avoiding adverse conditions. These strategies included preying on other ant species, a foraging tactic that could arise if a wide variety of food items are not available in the environment or if E. vizottoi simply prefers, regardless of resource availability, to prey on other invertebrates and especially on other ant species.

  13. Ants sow the seeds of global diversification in flowering plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lengyel, Szabolcs; Gove, Aaron D; Latimer, Andrew M; Majer, Jonathan D; Dunn, Robert R

    2009-01-01

    The extraordinary diversification of angiosperm plants in the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods has produced an estimated 250,000-300,000 living angiosperm species and has fundamentally altered terrestrial ecosystems. Interactions with animals as pollinators or seed dispersers have long been suspected as drivers of angiosperm diversification, yet empirical examples remain sparse or inconclusive. Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) may drive diversification as it can reduce extinction by providing selective advantages to plants and can increase speciation by enhancing geographical isolation by extremely limited dispersal distances. Using the most comprehensive sister-group comparison to date, we tested the hypothesis that myrmecochory leads to higher diversification rates in angiosperm plants. As predicted, diversification rates were substantially higher in ant-dispersed plants than in their non-myrmecochorous relatives. Data from 101 angiosperm lineages in 241 genera from all continents except Antarctica revealed that ant-dispersed lineages contained on average more than twice as many species as did their non-myrmecochorous sister groups. Contrasts in species diversity between sister groups demonstrated that diversification rates did not depend on seed dispersal mode in the sister group and were higher in myrmecochorous lineages in most biogeographic regions. Myrmecochory, which has evolved independently at least 100 times in angiosperms and is estimated to be present in at least 77 families and 11 000 species, is a key evolutionary innovation and a globally important driver of plant diversity. Myrmecochory provides the best example to date for a consistent effect of any mutualism on large-scale diversification.

  14. Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari T Ryder Wilkie

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Ants are among the most diverse, abundant and ecologically significant organisms on earth. Although their species richness appears to be greatest in the New World tropics, global patterns of ant diversity and distribution are not well understood. We comprehensively surveyed ant diversity in a lowland primary rainforest in Western Amazonia, Ecuador using canopy fogging, pitfall traps, baits, hand collecting, mini-Winkler devices and subterranean probes to sample ants. A total of 489 ant species comprising 64 genera in nine subfamilies were identified from samples collected in only 0.16 square kilometers. The most species-rich genera were Camponotus, Pheidole, Pseudomyrmex, Pachycondyla, Brachymyrmex, and Crematogaster. Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex were most diverse in the canopy, while Pheidole was most diverse on the ground. The three most abundant ground-dwelling ant genera were Pheidole, Solenopsis and Pyramica. Crematogaster carinata was the most abundant ant species in the canopy; Wasmannia auropunctata was most abundant on the ground, and the army ant Labidus coecus was the most abundant subterranean species. Ant species composition among strata was significantly different: 80% of species were found in only one stratum, 17% in two strata, and 3% in all three strata. Elevation and the number of logs and twigs available as nest sites were significant predictors of ground-dwelling ant species richness. Canopy species richness was not correlated with any ecological variable measured. Subterranean species richness was negatively correlated with depth in the soil. When ant species were categorized using a functional group matrix based on diet, nest-site preference and foraging ecology, the greatest diversity was found in Omnivorous Canopy Nesters. Our study indicates ant species richness is exceptionally high at Tiputini. We project 647-736 ant species in this global hotspot of biodiversity. Considering the relatively small area surveyed, this

  15. Temporal Variation in the Abundance and Richness of Foliage-Dwelling Ants Mediated by Extrafloral Nectar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belchior, Ceres; Sendoya, Sebastián F; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2016-01-01

    Plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) are common in the Brazilian cerrado savanna, where climatic conditions having marked seasonality influence arboreal ant fauna organization. These ant-plant interactions have rarely been studied at community level. Here, we tested whether: 1) EFN-bearing plants are more visited by ants than EFN-lacking plants; 2) ant visitation is higher in the rainy season than in dry season; 3) plants producing young leaves are more visited than those lacking young leaves in the rainy season; 4) during the dry season, plants with old leaves and flowers are more visited than plants with young leaves and bare of leaves or flowers; 5) the composition of visiting ant fauna differs between plants with and without EFNs. Field work was done in a cerrado reserve near Uberlândia, MG State, Brazil, along ten transects (total area 3,000 m2), in the rainy (October-January) and dry seasons (April-July) of 2010-2011. Plants (72 species; 762 individuals) were checked three times per season for ant presence. Results showed that 21 species (29%) and 266 individuals (35%) possessed EFNs. These plants attracted 38 ant species (36 in rainy, 26 in dry season). In the rainy season, plants with EFNs had higher ant abundance/richness than plants without EFNs, but in the dry season, EFN presence did not influence ant visitation. Plant phenology affected ant richness and abundance in different ways: plants with young leaves possessed higher ant richness in the rainy season, but in the dry season ant abundance was higher on plants possessing old leaves or flowers. The species composition of plant-associated ant communities, however, did not differ between plants with and without EFNs in either season. These findings suggest that the effect of EFN presence on a community of plant-visiting ants is context dependent, being conditioned to seasonal variation.

  16. Temporal Variation in the Abundance and Richness of Foliage-Dwelling Ants Mediated by Extrafloral Nectar.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ceres Belchior

    Full Text Available Plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs are common in the Brazilian cerrado savanna, where climatic conditions having marked seasonality influence arboreal ant fauna organization. These ant-plant interactions have rarely been studied at community level. Here, we tested whether: 1 EFN-bearing plants are more visited by ants than EFN-lacking plants; 2 ant visitation is higher in the rainy season than in dry season; 3 plants producing young leaves are more visited than those lacking young leaves in the rainy season; 4 during the dry season, plants with old leaves and flowers are more visited than plants with young leaves and bare of leaves or flowers; 5 the composition of visiting ant fauna differs between plants with and without EFNs. Field work was done in a cerrado reserve near Uberlândia, MG State, Brazil, along ten transects (total area 3,000 m2, in the rainy (October-January and dry seasons (April-July of 2010-2011. Plants (72 species; 762 individuals were checked three times per season for ant presence. Results showed that 21 species (29% and 266 individuals (35% possessed EFNs. These plants attracted 38 ant species (36 in rainy, 26 in dry season. In the rainy season, plants with EFNs had higher ant abundance/richness than plants without EFNs, but in the dry season, EFN presence did not influence ant visitation. Plant phenology affected ant richness and abundance in different ways: plants with young leaves possessed higher ant richness in the rainy season, but in the dry season ant abundance was higher on plants possessing old leaves or flowers. The species composition of plant-associated ant communities, however, did not differ between plants with and without EFNs in either season. These findings suggest that the effect of EFN presence on a community of plant-visiting ants is context dependent, being conditioned to seasonal variation.

  17. Beyond ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jansen, Till

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Prospecting for viral natural enemies of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valles, Steven M; Porter, Sanford D; Calcaterra, Luis A

    2018-01-01

    Metagenomics and next generation sequencing were employed to discover new virus natural enemies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren in its native range (i.e., Formosa, Argentina) with the ultimate goal of testing and releasing new viral pathogens into U.S. S. invicta populations to provide natural, sustainable control of this ant. RNA was purified from worker ants from 182 S. invicta colonies, which was pooled into 4 groups according to location. A library was created from each group and sequenced using Illumina Miseq technology. After a series of winnowing methods to remove S. invicta genes, known S. invicta virus genes, and all other non-virus gene sequences, 61,944 unique singletons were identified with virus identity. These were assembled de novo yielding 171 contiguous sequences with significant identity to non-plant virus genes. Fifteen contiguous sequences exhibited very high expression rates and were detected in all four gene libraries. One contig (Contig_29) exhibited the highest expression level overall and across all four gene libraries. Random amplification of cDNA ends analyses expanded this contiguous sequence yielding a complete virus genome, which we have provisionally named Solenopsis invicta virus 5 (SINV-5). SINV-5 is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus with genome characteristics consistent with insect-infecting viruses from the family Dicistroviridae. Moreover, the replicative genome strand of SINV-5 was detected in worker ants indicating that S. invicta serves as host for the virus. Many additional sequences were identified that are likely of viral origin. These sequences await further investigation to determine their origins and relationship with S. invicta. This study expands knowledge of the RNA virome diversity found within S. invicta populations.

  19. Prospecting for viral natural enemies of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in Argentina.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven M Valles

    Full Text Available Metagenomics and next generation sequencing were employed to discover new virus natural enemies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren in its native range (i.e., Formosa, Argentina with the ultimate goal of testing and releasing new viral pathogens into U.S. S. invicta populations to provide natural, sustainable control of this ant. RNA was purified from worker ants from 182 S. invicta colonies, which was pooled into 4 groups according to location. A library was created from each group and sequenced using Illumina Miseq technology. After a series of winnowing methods to remove S. invicta genes, known S. invicta virus genes, and all other non-virus gene sequences, 61,944 unique singletons were identified with virus identity. These were assembled de novo yielding 171 contiguous sequences with significant identity to non-plant virus genes. Fifteen contiguous sequences exhibited very high expression rates and were detected in all four gene libraries. One contig (Contig_29 exhibited the highest expression level overall and across all four gene libraries. Random amplification of cDNA ends analyses expanded this contiguous sequence yielding a complete virus genome, which we have provisionally named Solenopsis invicta virus 5 (SINV-5. SINV-5 is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus with genome characteristics consistent with insect-infecting viruses from the family Dicistroviridae. Moreover, the replicative genome strand of SINV-5 was detected in worker ants indicating that S. invicta serves as host for the virus. Many additional sequences were identified that are likely of viral origin. These sequences await further investigation to determine their origins and relationship with S. invicta. This study expands knowledge of the RNA virome diversity found within S. invicta populations.

  20. Growing Industries, Growing Invasions? The Case of the Argentine Ant in Vineyards of Northern Argentina

    OpenAIRE

    Maria Schulze-Sylvester; José A. Corronca; Carolina I. Paris

    2018-01-01

    The invasive Argentine ant causes ecological and economic damage worldwide. In 2011, this species was reported in vineyards of Cafayate, a wine-producing town in the Andes, Argentina. While the local xeric climate is unsuitable for Argentine ants, populations could establish in association with vineyards where human activity and irrigation facilitate propagule introduction and survival. In 2013–2014, we combined extensive sampling of the area using ant-baits with monitoring of the change in l...

  1. The Use of Weaver Ants in the Management of Fruit Flies in Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vayssières, Jean-François; Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Generalist predators such as the weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille), play an important role as biological control agents in West African orchards and, by extension, also in forest and savanna ecosystems within sub-Saharan Africa. These weaver ants are one of the most effective and effi...... an interest in the use of weaver ants. Protection of tropical forests and savannas is ecologically and environmentally crucial and also essential for the protection of O. longinoda....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Werenkraut, Victoria

    2017-07-01

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

  3. Current issues in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Veronika E; Frederickson, Megan E; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2014-05-01

    Ant-plant symbioses involve plants that provide hollow structures specialized for housing ants and often food to ants. In return, the inhabiting ants protect plants against herbivores and sometimes provide them with nutrients. Here, we review recent advances in ant-plant symbioses, focusing on three areas. First, the nutritional ecology of plant-ants, which is based not only on plant-derived food rewards, but also on inputs from other symbiotic partners, in particular fungi and possibly bacteria. Food and protection are the most important 'currencies' exchanged between partners and they drive the nature and evolution of the relationships. Secondly, studies of conflict and cooperation in ant-plant symbioses have contributed key insights into the evolution and maintenance of mutualism, particularly how partner-mediated feedbacks affect the specificity and stability of mutualisms. There is little evidence that mutualistic ants or plants are under selection to cheat, but the costs and benefits of ant-plant interactions do vary with environmental factors, making them vulnerable to natural or anthropogenic environmental change. Thus, thirdly, ant-plant symbioses should be considered good models for investigating the effects of global change on the outcome of mutualistic interactions. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  4. Arboreal ant colonies as 'hot-points' of cryptic diversity for myrmecophiles: the weaver ant Camponotus sp. aff. textor and its interaction network with its associates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriela Pérez-Lachaud

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: Systematic surveys of macrofaunal diversity within ant colonies are lacking, particularly for ants nesting in microhabitats that are difficult to sample. Species associated with ants are generally small and rarely collected organisms, which makes them more likely to be unnoticed. We assumed that this tendency is greater for arthropod communities in microhabitats with low accessibility, such as those found in the nests of arboreal ants that may constitute a source of cryptic biodiversity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated the invertebrate diversity associated with an undescribed, but already threatened, Neotropical Camponotus weaver ant. As most of the common sampling methods used in studies of ant diversity are not suited for evaluating myrmecophile diversity within ant nests, we evaluated the macrofauna within ant nests through exhaustive colony sampling of three nests and examination of more than 80,000 individuals. RESULTS: We identified invertebrates from three classes belonging to 18 taxa, some of which were new to science, and recorded the first instance of the co-occurrence of two brood parasitoid wasp families attacking the same ant host colony. This diversity of ant associates corresponded to a highly complex interaction network. Agonistic interactions prevailed, but the prevalence of myrmecophiles was remarkably low. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the hypothesis of the evolution of low virulence in a variety of symbionts associated with large insect societies. Because most myrmecophiles found in this work are rare, strictly specific, and exhibit highly specialized biology, the risk of extinction for these hitherto unknown invertebrates and their natural enemies is high. The cryptic, far unappreciated diversity within arboreal ant nests in areas at high risk of habitat loss qualifies these nests as 'hot-points' of biodiversity that urgently require special attention as a component of conservation and management

  5. Arboreal ant colonies as 'hot-points' of cryptic diversity for myrmecophiles: the weaver ant Camponotus sp. aff. textor and its interaction network with its associates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

    Systematic surveys of macrofaunal diversity within ant colonies are lacking, particularly for ants nesting in microhabitats that are difficult to sample. Species associated with ants are generally small and rarely collected organisms, which makes them more likely to be unnoticed. We assumed that this tendency is greater for arthropod communities in microhabitats with low accessibility, such as those found in the nests of arboreal ants that may constitute a source of cryptic biodiversity. We investigated the invertebrate diversity associated with an undescribed, but already threatened, Neotropical Camponotus weaver ant. As most of the common sampling methods used in studies of ant diversity are not suited for evaluating myrmecophile diversity within ant nests, we evaluated the macrofauna within ant nests through exhaustive colony sampling of three nests and examination of more than 80,000 individuals. We identified invertebrates from three classes belonging to 18 taxa, some of which were new to science, and recorded the first instance of the co-occurrence of two brood parasitoid wasp families attacking the same ant host colony. This diversity of ant associates corresponded to a highly complex interaction network. Agonistic interactions prevailed, but the prevalence of myrmecophiles was remarkably low. Our data support the hypothesis of the evolution of low virulence in a variety of symbionts associated with large insect societies. Because most myrmecophiles found in this work are rare, strictly specific, and exhibit highly specialized biology, the risk of extinction for these hitherto unknown invertebrates and their natural enemies is high. The cryptic, far unappreciated diversity within arboreal ant nests in areas at high risk of habitat loss qualifies these nests as 'hot-points' of biodiversity that urgently require special attention as a component of conservation and management programs.

  6. Arboreal Ant Colonies as ‘Hot-Points’ of Cryptic Diversity for Myrmecophiles: The Weaver Ant Camponotus sp. aff. textor and Its Interaction Network with Its Associates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

    Introduction Systematic surveys of macrofaunal diversity within ant colonies are lacking, particularly for ants nesting in microhabitats that are difficult to sample. Species associated with ants are generally small and rarely collected organisms, which makes them more likely to be unnoticed. We assumed that this tendency is greater for arthropod communities in microhabitats with low accessibility, such as those found in the nests of arboreal ants that may constitute a source of cryptic biodiversity. Materials and Methods We investigated the invertebrate diversity associated with an undescribed, but already threatened, Neotropical Camponotus weaver ant. As most of the common sampling methods used in studies of ant diversity are not suited for evaluating myrmecophile diversity within ant nests, we evaluated the macrofauna within ant nests through exhaustive colony sampling of three nests and examination of more than 80,000 individuals. Results We identified invertebrates from three classes belonging to 18 taxa, some of which were new to science, and recorded the first instance of the co-occurrence of two brood parasitoid wasp families attacking the same ant host colony. This diversity of ant associates corresponded to a highly complex interaction network. Agonistic interactions prevailed, but the prevalence of myrmecophiles was remarkably low. Conclusions Our data support the hypothesis of the evolution of low virulence in a variety of symbionts associated with large insect societies. Because most myrmecophiles found in this work are rare, strictly specific, and exhibit highly specialized biology, the risk of extinction for these hitherto unknown invertebrates and their natural enemies is high. The cryptic, far unappreciated diversity within arboreal ant nests in areas at high risk of habitat loss qualifies these nests as ‘hot-points’ of biodiversity that urgently require special attention as a component of conservation and management programs. PMID:24941047

  7. LS1 Report: ALICE ups the ante

    CERN Multimedia

    Katarina Anthony

    2014-01-01

    SPS up and running... LHC almost cold... CCC Operators back at their desks... all telltale signs of the start of Run 2! For the experiments, that means there are just a few short months left for them to prepare for beams. The CERN Bulletin will be checking in with each of the Big Four to see how they are getting on during these closing months...   It has been a long road for the ALICE LS1 team. From major improvements to the 19 sub-detectors to a full re-cabling and replacement of LEP-era electrical infrastructure, no part of the ALICE cavern has gone untouched.* With the experiment set to close in early December, the teams are making finishing touches before turning their focus towards re-commissioning and calibration. "Earlier this week, we installed the last two modules of the di-jet calorimeter," explains Werner Riegler, ALICE technical coordinator. "These are the final parts of a 60 degree calorimeter extension that is installed opposite the present calorimeter, c...

  8. Précis of The Ant Trap

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Epstein Brian

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available This article summarizes The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences. The book develops a new model for social ontology, applies it to groups and collective intentionality, and criticizes various forms of individualism. Part One of the book presents two traditional approaches to social ontology and unifies them into the “grounding–anchoring model” for the building of the social world. Part Two shows that individualism is mistaken even for basic facts about groups of people, challenges prevailing views of group intention and action, and illustrates how to approach facts about groups in general.

  9. 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.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aiming Zhou

    Full Text Available 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.

  10. Effect of irradiation on queen survivorship and reproduction in the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta,(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a generic phytosanitary irradiation treatment for ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants are common hitchhiker pests on traded agricultural commodities that could be controlled by postharvest irradiation treatment. We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren to determine the dose sufficient for its control. Virgin or fertile queens...

  11. The role of ant-tended extrafloral nectaries in the protection and benefit of a Neotropical rainforest tree.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de la Fuente, Marie Ann S; Marquis, Robert J

    1999-02-01

    One possible function of extrafloral nectaries is to attract insects, particularly ants, which defend plants from herbivores. We determined whether ants visiting saplings of the tree Stryphnodendronmicrostachyum (Leguminosae) provide protection (decreased plant damage due to ant molestation or killing of herbivores) and benefit (increased plant growth and reproduction associated with ant presence) to the plant. We compared ant and herbivore abundance, herbivore damage and growth of ant-visited plants and ant-excluded plants grown in sun and shade microhabitats of a 6-ha plantation in Costa Rica over a 7-month period. Results show that ants provided protection to plants not by reducing herbivore numbers but by molesting herbivores. Ants also reduced the incidence of pathogen attack on leaves. Protection was greater in the shade than in the sun, probably due to lower herbivore attack in the sun. Protection was also variable within sun and shade habitats, and this variability appeared to be related to variable ant visitation. Results also indicate that ant presence benefits the plant: ant-visited plants grew significantly more in height than ant-excluded plants. The cultivation of ants may serve as an important natural biological control in tropical forestry and agroforestry systems, where increased plant density can otherwise lead to increased herbivore attack.

  12. Ants sow the seeds of global diversification in flowering plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szabolcs Lengyel

    Full Text Available The extraordinary diversification of angiosperm plants in the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods has produced an estimated 250,000-300,000 living angiosperm species and has fundamentally altered terrestrial ecosystems. Interactions with animals as pollinators or seed dispersers have long been suspected as drivers of angiosperm diversification, yet empirical examples remain sparse or inconclusive. Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory may drive diversification as it can reduce extinction by providing selective advantages to plants and can increase speciation by enhancing geographical isolation by extremely limited dispersal distances.Using the most comprehensive sister-group comparison to date, we tested the hypothesis that myrmecochory leads to higher diversification rates in angiosperm plants. As predicted, diversification rates were substantially higher in ant-dispersed plants than in their non-myrmecochorous relatives. Data from 101 angiosperm lineages in 241 genera from all continents except Antarctica revealed that ant-dispersed lineages contained on average more than twice as many species as did their non-myrmecochorous sister groups. Contrasts in species diversity between sister groups demonstrated that diversification rates did not depend on seed dispersal mode in the sister group and were higher in myrmecochorous lineages in most biogeographic regions.Myrmecochory, which has evolved independently at least 100 times in angiosperms and is estimated to be present in at least 77 families and 11 000 species, is a key evolutionary innovation and a globally important driver of plant diversity. Myrmecochory provides the best example to date for a consistent effect of any mutualism on large-scale diversification.

  13. The Antsy Social Network: Determinants of Nest Structure and Arrangement in Asian Weaver Ants

    OpenAIRE

    Devarajan, Kadambari

    2016-01-01

    Asian weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) are arboreal ants that are known to form mutualistic complexes with their host trees. They are eusocial ants that build elaborate nests in the canopy in tropical areas. A colony comprises of multiple nests, usually on multiple trees, and the boundaries of the colony may be difficult to identify. However, they provide the ideal model for studying group living in invertebrates since there are a definite number of nests for a given substrate, the tree. H...

  14. Visual cues for the retrieval of landmark memories by navigating wood ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Robert A; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2007-01-23

    Even on short routes, ants can be guided by multiple visual memories. We investigate here the cues controlling memory retrieval as wood ants approach a one- or two-edged landmark to collect sucrose at a point along its base. In such tasks, ants store the desired retinal position of landmark edges at several points along their route. They guide subsequent trips by retrieving the appropriate memory and moving to bring the edges in the scene toward the stored positions. The apparent width of the landmark turns out to be a powerful cue for retrieving the desired retinal position of a landmark edge. Two other potential cues, the landmark's apparent height and the distance that the ant walks, have little effect on memory retrieval. A simple model encapsulates these conclusions and reproduces the ants' routes in several conditions. According to this model, the ant stores a look-up table. Each entry contains the apparent width of the landmark and the desired retinal position of vertical edges. The currently perceived width provides an index for retrieving the associated stored edge positions. The model accounts for the population behavior of ants and the idiosyncratic training routes of individual ants. Our results imply binding between the edge of a shape and its width and, further, imply that assessing the width of a shape does not depend on the presence of any particular local feature, such as a landmark edge. This property makes the ant's retrieval and guidance system relatively robust to edge occlusions.

  15. Can anthropic fires affect epigaeic and hypogaeic Cerrado ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities in the same way?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Canedo-Júnior, Ernesto de Oliveira; Cuissi, Rafael Gonçalves; Nelson Henrique de Almeida, Curi; Demetrio, Guilherme Ramos; Lasmar, Chaim José; Malves, Kira

    2016-03-01

    Fire occurrences are a common perturbation in Cerrado ecosystems, and may differently impact the local biodiversity. Arthropods are one of the taxa affected by fires, and among them, ants are known as good bioindicators. We aimed to evaluate the effect of anthropic fires on epigaeic and hypogaeic ant communities (species richness and composition) in Cerrado areas with different post-fire event recovery periods. We conducted the study in four Cerrado areas during two weeks of 2012 dry season: one unburned and three at different post-fire times (one month, one and two years). We sampled ants with pitfall traps in epigaeic and hypogaeic microhabitats. We collected 71 ant morpho-species from 25 genera. In the epigaeic microhabitat we sampled 56 morpho-species and 42 in the hypogaeic microhabitat. The area with the shortest recovery time presented lower epigaeic ant species richness (4.3 ± 2.00) in comparison to the other areas (8.1 ± 2.68 species on one year area; 10.3 ± 2.66 species on two years area; 10.4 ± 2.31 species on control area), but recovery time did not affect hypogaeic ant species richness. Regarding ant species composition, fire did not directly affect hypogaeic ant species, which remained the same even one month after fire event. However, two years were not enough to reestablish ant species composition in both microhabitats in relation to our control group samples. Our study is the first to assess anthropic fire effects upon epigaeic and hypogaeic ants communities; highlighting the importance of evaluating different microhabitats, to more accurately detect the effects of anthropic disturbances in biological communities. We concluded that ant communities are just partially affected by fire occurrences, and epigaeic assemblages are the most affected ones in comparison to hypogaeic ants. Furthermore the study provides knowledge to aid in the creation of vegetation management programs that allow Cerrado conservation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1997-10-01

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

  17. A diverse ant fauna from the mid-cretaceous of Myanmar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phillip Barden

    Full Text Available A new collection of 24 wingless ant specimens from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (Albian-Cenomanian, 99 Ma comprises nine new species belonging to the genus Sphecomyrmodes Engel and Grimaldi. Described taxa vary considerably with regard to total size, head and body proportion, cuticular sculpturing, and petiole structure while all species are unified by a distinct shared character. The assemblage represents the largest known diversification of closely related Cretaceous ants with respect to species number. These stem-group ants exhibit some characteristics previously known only from their extant counterparts along with presumed plesiomorphic morphology. Consequently, their morphology may inform hypotheses relating to basal relationships and general patterns of ant evolution. These and other uncovered Cretaceous species indicate that stem-group ants are not simply wasp-like, transitional formicids, but rather a group of considerable adaptive diversity, exhibiting innovations analogous to what crown-group ants would echo 100 million years later.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Huszár, Dóra Borbála

    on other ant species to better understand the social syndromes and how supercolonies function. Foremost, this would help to manage invasive supercolonies that harm humans and biodiversity, but could also provide contribution to our general understanding on how ecology, especially demography impacts upon......). Multi-queen breeding requires both social and life-history adaptations from individuals to decrease intra-colony conflicts and to ensure that sterile workers receive inclusive fitness benefits despite lowered relatedness. However, it remains unclear exactly what ecological and life-history covariates...

  19. Pupae transplantation to boost early colony growth in the weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ouagoussounon, Issa; Sinzogan, Antonio; Offenberg, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    Oecophylla ants are currently used for biological control in fruit plantations in Australia, Asia and Africa and for protein production in Asia. To further improve the technology and implement it on a large scale, effective and fast production of live colonies is desirable. Early colony development...... capita brood production by the resident queen, triggered by the adopted pupae. Thus pupae transplantation may be used to shorten the time it takes to produce weaver ant colonies in ant nurseries, and may in this way facilitate the implementation of weaver ant biocontrol in West Africa....

  20. The direct and ecological costs of an ant-plant symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E; Ravenscraft, Alison; Miller, Gabriel A; Arcila Hernández, Lina M; Booth, Gregory; Pierce, Naomi E

    2012-06-01

    How strong is selection for cheating in mutualisms? The answer depends on the type and magnitude of the costs of the mutualism. Here we investigated the direct and ecological costs of plant defense by ants in the association between Cordia nodosa, a myrmecophytic plant, and Allomerus octoarticulatus, a phytoecious ant. Cordia nodosa trees produce food and housing to reward ants that protect them against herbivores. For nearly 1 year, we manipulated the presence of A. octoarticulatus ants and most insect herbivores on C. nodosa in a full-factorial experiment. Ants increased plant growth when herbivores were present but decreased plant growth when herbivores were absent, indicating that hosting ants can be costly to plants. However, we did not detect a cost to ant colonies of defending host plants against herbivores. Although this asymmetry in costs suggests that the plants may be under stronger selection than the ants to cheat by withholding investment in their partner, the costs to C. nodosa are probably at least partly ecological, arising because ants tend scale insects on their host plants. We argue that ecological costs should favor resistance or traits other than cheating and thus that neither partner may face much temptation to cheat.

  1. Observations of the "egg white injury" in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laure-Anne Poissonnier

    Full Text Available A key determinant of the relationship between diet and longevity is the balance of protein to carbohydrate in the diet. Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary and social insects. Here we explored how lifespan and behavior in ants was affected by the quality of protein ingested and the presence of associated antinutrients (i.e. compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients. We tested diets prepared with either egg white protein only or a protein mixture. Egg white contains an anti-nutrient called avidin. Avidin binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. First, we demonstrate that an egg-white diet was twice as deleterious as a protein-mixture diet. Second, we show that ingestion of egg-white diet drastically affected social behavior, triggering elevated levels of aggression within the colony. Lastly, we reveal that by adding biotin to the egg white diet we were able to lessen its detrimental effects. This latest result suggests that ants suffered biotin deficiency when fed the egg white diet. In conclusion, anti-nutrients were known to affect health and performance of animals, but this is the first study showing that anti-nutrients also lead to severe changes in behavior.

  2. Sex ratio and Wolbachia infection in the ant Formica exsecta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, L; Liautard, C; Reuter, M; Brown, W D; Sundström, L; Chapuisat, M

    2001-08-01

    Sex allocation data in social Hymenoptera provide some of the best tests of kin selection, parent-offspring conflict and sex ratio theories. However, these studies critically depend on controlling for confounding ecological factors and on identifying all parties that potentially manipulate colony sex ratio. It has been suggested that maternally inherited parasites may influence sex allocation in social Hymenoptera. If the parasites can influence sex allocation, infected colonies are predicted to invest more resources in females than non-infected colonies, because the parasites are transmitted through females but not males. Prime candidates for such sex ratio manipulation are Wolbachia, because these cytoplasmically transmitted bacteria have been shown to affect the sex ratio of host arthropods by cytoplasmic incompatibility, parthenogenesis, male-killing and feminization. In this study, we tested whether Wolbachia infection is associated with colony sex ratio in two populations of the ant Formica exsecta that have been the subject of extensive sex ratio studies. In these populations colonies specialize in the production of one sex or the other. We found that almost all F. exsecta colonies in both populations are infected with Wolbachia. However, in neither population did we find a significant association in the predicted direction between the prevalence of Wolbachia and colony sex ratio. In particular, colonies with a higher proportion of infected workers did not produce more females. Hence, we conclude that Wolbachia does not seem to alter the sex ratio of its hosts as a means to increase transmission rate in these two populations of ants.

  3. Energy gradients and the geographic distribution of local ant diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaspari, Michael; Ward, Philip S; Yuan, May

    2004-08-01

    Geographical diversity gradients, even among local communities, can ultimately arise from geographical differences in speciation and extinction rates. We evaluated three models--energy-speciation, energy-abundance, and area--that predict how geographic trends in net diversification rates generate trends in diversity. We sampled 96 litter ant communities from four provinces: Australia, Madagascar, North America, and South America. The energy-speciation hypothesis best predicted ant species richness by accurately predicting the slope of the temperature diversity curve, and accounting for most of the variation in diversity. The communities showed a strong latitudinal gradient in species richness as well as inter-province differences in diversity. The former vanished in the temperature-diversity residuals, suggesting that the latitudinal gradient arises primarily from higher diversification rates in the tropics. However, inter-province differences in diversity persisted in those residuals--South American communities remained more diverse than those in North America and Australia even after the effects of temperature were removed.

  4. Plant-ants use symbiotic fungi as a food source: new insight into the nutritional ecology of ant-plant interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Mondolot, Laurence; La Fisca, Philippe; Voglmayr, Hermann; McKey, Doyle

    2012-10-07

    Usually studied as pairwise interactions, mutualisms often involve networks of interacting species. Numerous tropical arboreal ants are specialist inhabitants of myrmecophytes (plants bearing domatia, i.e. hollow structures specialized to host ants) and are thought to rely almost exclusively on resources derived from the host plant. Recent studies, following up on century-old reports, have shown that fungi of the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales live in symbiosis with plant-ants within domatia. We tested the hypothesis that ants use domatia-inhabiting fungi as food in three ant-plant symbioses: Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana, Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa and Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. Labelling domatia fungal patches in the field with either a fluorescent dye or (15)N showed that larvae ingested domatia fungi. Furthermore, when the natural fungal patch was replaced with a piece of a (15)N-labelled pure culture of either of two Chaetothyriales strains isolated from T. aethiops colonies, these fungi were also consumed. These two fungi often co-occur in the same ant colony. Interestingly, T. aethiops workers and larvae ingested preferentially one of the two strains. Our results add a new piece in the puzzle of the nutritional ecology of plant-ants.

  5. Information and the Cost of Capital: An Ex Ante Perspective

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christensen, Peter Ove; de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique; Feltham, Gerald A.

    2010-01-01

    Recent articles have demonstrated that increased public disclosure can decrease firms' cost of capital. The focus has been on the impact of information on the cost of capital subsequent to the release of the information (the ex post cost of capital). We show that the reduction in the ex post cost...... investors may actually benefit from a higher ex post cost of capital....... of capital is offset by an equal increase in the cost of capital for the period leading up to the release of the information (the preposterior cost of capital). Thus, within the class of models framing the recent discussion, there is no impact on the ex ante cost of capital covering the full time span...

  6. The Haleakala Argentine ant project: a synthesis of past research and prospects for the future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krushelnycky, Paul; Haines, William; Loope, Lloyd; Van Gelder, Ellen

    2011-01-01

    1. The Haleakala Argentine Ant Project is an ongoing effort to study the ecology of the invasive Argentine ant in the park, and if possible to develop a strategy to control this destructive species. 2. Past research has demonstrated that the Argentine ant causes very significant impacts on native arthropods where it invades, threatening a large portion of the park’s biodiversity in subalpine shrubland and alpine aeolian ecosystems. 3. Patterns of spread over the past 30+ years indicate that the invasion process is influenced to a substantial degree by abiotic factors such as elevation, rainfall and temperature, and that the ant has not reached its potential range. Predictions of total range in the park suggest that it has only invaded a small fraction of available suitable habitat, confirming that this species is one of most serious threats to the park’s natural resources. 4. Numerous experiments have been conducted since 1994 in an attempt to develop a method for eradicating the Argentine ant at Haleakala using pesticidal ant baits. Thirty baits have been screened for attractiveness to ants in the park, and ten of these were tested for effectiveness of control in field plots. While some of these baits have been very effective in reducing numbers of ants, none has been able to eliminate all nests in experimental plots. 5. Research into a secondary management goal of ant population containment was initiated in 1996. By treating only expanding margins of the park’s two ant populations with an ant pesticide, rates of outward spread were substantially reduced in some areas. While this strategy was implemented from 1997 to 2004, it was ultimately discontinued after 2004 because of the difficulty and insufficient effectiveness of the technique. 6. In order to achieve the types of results necessary for eradication, the project would probably need to explore the possibility of developing a specialized bait, rather than relying on a commercially produced bait. An

  7. Ant-caterpillar antagonism at the community level: interhabitat variation of tritrophic interactions in a neotropical savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

    Ant foraging on foliage can substantially affect how phytophagous insects use host plants and represents a high predation risk for caterpillars, which are important folivores. Ant-plant-herbivore interactions are especially pervasive in cerrado savanna due to continuous ant visitation to liquid food sources on foliage (extrafloral nectaries, insect honeydew). While searching for liquid rewards on plants, aggressive ants frequently attack or kill insect herbivores, decreasing their numbers. Because ants vary in diet and aggressiveness, their effect on herbivores also varies. Additionally, the differential occurrence of ant attractants (plant and insect exudates) on foliage produces variable levels of ant foraging within local floras and among localities. Here, we investigate how variation of ant communities and of traits among host plant species (presence or absence of ant attractants) can change the effect of carnivores (predatory ants) on herbivore communities (caterpillars) in a cerrado savanna landscape. We sampled caterpillars and foliage-foraging ants in four cerrado localities (70-460 km apart). We found that: (i) caterpillar infestation was negatively related with ant visitation to plants; (ii) this relationship depended on local ant abundance and species composition, and on local preference by ants for plants with liquid attractants; (iii) this was not related to local plant richness or plant size; (iv) the relationship between the presence of ant attractants and caterpillar abundance varied among sites from negative to neutral; and (v) caterpillars feeding on plants with ant attractants are more resistant to ant predation than those feeding on plants lacking attractants. Liquid food on foliage mediates host plant quality for lepidopterans by promoting generalized ant-caterpillar antagonism. Our study in cerrado shows that the negative effects of generalist predatory ants on herbivores are detectable at a community level, affecting patterns of abundance and

  8. Isolation of a pyrazine alarm pheromone component from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vander Meer, Robert K; Preston, Catherine A; Choi, Man-Yeon

    2010-02-01

    Alarm pheromones in social insects are an essential part of a complex of pheromone interactions that contribute to the maintenance of colony integrity and sociality. The alarm pheromones of ants were among the first examples of animal pheromones identified, primarily because of the large amount of chemical produced and the distinctive responses of ants to the pheromone. However, the alarm pheromone of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, eluded identification for over four decades. We identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine as an alarm pheromone component of S. invicta. Worker fire ants detect the pyrazine alarm pheromone at 30 pg/ml, which is comparable to alarm pheromone sensitivities reported for other ant species. The source of this alarm pheromone are the mandibular glands, which, in fire ants, are not well developed and contain only about 300 pg of the compound, much less than the microgram quantities of alarm pheromones reported for several other ant species. Female and male sexuals and workers produce the pyrazine, which suggests that it may be involved in fire ant mating flight initiation, as well as the typical worker alarm response. This is the first report of 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine from a Solenopsis species and the first example of this alkaloid functioning as an alarm pheromone.

  9. The impact of ants on mineral soil properties and processes at different spatial scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cammeraat, E.L.H.; Risch, A.C.

    2008-01-01

    Soil dwelling ants are important soil engineers that have a large impact on the soil ecosystem. This is reflected in the alteration of soil properties by ants due to burrowing activities, the accumulation of organic matter and other nutrients in the soil, which, in turn, alters soil physical,

  10. Low levels of nestmate discrimination despite high genetic differentiation in the invasive pharaoh ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, Anna M; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Pedersen, Jes Søe

    2010-01-01

    Background Ants typically distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates based on the perception of colony-specific chemicals, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons present on the surface of the ants' exoskeleton. These recognition cues are believed to play an important role in the formation of vast so...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isabel E Moller

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

  13. Weaver ants convert pest insects into food — prospects for the rural poor

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Wiwatwitaya, Decha

    2009-01-01

    harvested and eaten. In this way harmful pests are turned into valuable protein food and crops are protected without chemicals. As the weaver ant distribution envelops most of the worlds hunger hot spots this double utilization of ants for increased food production may benefit the people most in ...

  14. The demographic consequences of mutualism: ants increase host-plant fruit production but not population growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, Kevin R; Ness, Joshua H; Bronstein, Judith L; Morris, William F

    2015-10-01

    The impact of mutualists on a partner's demography depends on how they affect the partner's multiple vital rates and how those vital rates, in turn, affect population growth. However, mutualism studies rarely measure effects on multiple vital rates or integrate them to assess the ultimate impact on population growth. We used vital rate data, population models and simulations of long-term population dynamics to quantify the demographic impact of a guild of ant species on the plant Ferocactus wislizeni. The ants feed at the plant's extrafloral nectaries and attack herbivores attempting to consume reproductive organs. Ant-guarded plants produced significantly more fruit, but ants had no significant effect on individual growth or survival. After integrating ant effects across these vital rates, we found that projected population growth was not significantly different between unguarded and ant-guarded plants because population growth was only weakly influenced by differences in fruit production (though strongly influenced by differences in individual growth and survival). However, simulations showed that ants could positively affect long-term plant population dynamics through services provided during rare but important events (herbivore outbreaks that reduce survival or years of high seedling recruitment associated with abundant precipitation). Thus, in this seemingly clear example of mutualism, the interaction may actually yield no clear benefit to plant population growth, or if it does, may only do so through the actions of the ants during rare events. These insights demonstrate the value of taking a demographic approach to studying the consequences of mutualism.

  15. Not only the butterflies: managing ants on road verges to benefit Phengaris (Maculinea) butterflies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wynhoff, I.; Gestel, van R.; Swaay, van C.; Langevelde, van F.

    2011-01-01

    Obligate myrmecophilic butterfly species, such as Phengaris (Maculinea) teleius and P. nausithous, have narrow habitat requirements. Living as a caterpillar in the nests of the ant species Myrmica scabrinodis and M. rubra, respectively, they can only survive on sites with both host ants and the host

  16. Alarm pheromone processing in the ant brain: an evolutionary perspective

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Makoto Mizunami

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Social insects exhibit sophisticated communication by means of pheromones, one example of which is the use of alarm pheromones to alert nestmates for colony defense. We review recent advances in the understanding of the processing of alarm pheromone information in the ant brain. We found that information about formic acid and n-undecane, alarm pheromone components, is processed in a set of specific glomeruli in the antennal lobe of the ant Camponotus obscuripes. Alarm pheromone information is then transmitted, via projection neurons, to the lateral horn and the calyces of the mushroom body of the protocerebrum. In the lateral horn, we found a specific area where terminal boutons of alarm pheromone-sensitive projection neurons are more densely distributed than in the rest of the lateral horn. Some neurons in the protocerebrum responded specifically to formic acid or n-undecane and they may participate in the control of behavioral responses to each pheromone component. Other neurons, especially those originating from the mushroom body lobe, responded also to non-pheromonal odors and may play roles in integration of pheromonal and non-pheromonal signals. We found that a class of neurons receive inputs in the lateral horn and the mushroom body lobe and terminate in a variety of premotor areas. These neurons may participate in the control of aggressive behavior, which is sensitized by alarm pheromones and is triggered by non-pheromonal sensory stimuli associated with a potential enemy. We propose that the alarm pheromone processing system has evolved by differentiation of a part of general odor processing system.

  17. Improved phylogenetic analyses corroborate a plausible position of Martialis heureka in the ant tree of life.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick Kück

    Full Text Available Martialinae are pale, eyeless and probably hypogaeic predatory ants. Morphological character sets suggest a close relationship to the ant subfamily Leptanillinae. Recent analyses based on molecular sequence data suggest that Martialinae are the sister group to all extant ants. However, by comparing molecular studies and different reconstruction methods, the position of Martialinae remains ambiguous. While this sister group relationship was well supported by Bayesian partitioned analyses, Maximum Likelihood approaches could not unequivocally resolve the position of Martialinae. By re-analysing a previous published molecular data set, we show that the Maximum Likelihood approach is highly appropriate to resolve deep ant relationships, especially between Leptanillinae, Martialinae and the remaining ant subfamilies. Based on improved alignments, alignment masking, and tree reconstructions with a sufficient number of bootstrap replicates, our results strongly reject a placement of Martialinae at the first split within the ant tree of life. Instead, we suggest that Leptanillinae are a sister group to all other extant ant subfamilies, whereas Martialinae branch off as a second lineage. This assumption is backed by approximately unbiased (AU tests, additional Bayesian analyses and split networks. Our results demonstrate clear effects of improved alignment approaches, alignment masking and data partitioning. We hope that our study illustrates the importance of thorough, comprehensible phylogenetic analyses using the example of ant relationships.

  18. Cuckoos, ants, bees and the evolution of instincts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    César Ades

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, I examine Chapter VII of "The Origin of Species" (Instinct, in which Charles Darwin applies evolutionary theory by natural selection to the instinct domain and lays the foundations of a biological analysis of behavior. Darwin intended to show the possibility of gradual evolution in the case of complex behaviors such as brood parasitism in cuckoos, slave-making habits in ants and geometrical cell building in honey bees. Darwin attributed functional value to behavioral characters, used the comparision of related species' behavior as a way to infer evolutionary stages, gave cost-and-benefit and optimization processes a role as selection criteria, took into account aspects of behavioral competition and manipulation and gave a group selection approach to the question of sterile castes of eusocial insects. More than results and solutions, Darwin offered, in his chapter about Instinct, a paradigm for the analysis of species typical behaviors, a true starting point for modern approaches such as ethology and behavioral ecology.In this paper, I examine Chapter VII of "The Origin of Species" (Instinct, in which Charles Darwin applies evolutionary theory by natural selection to the instinct domain and lays the foundations of a biological analysis of behavior. Darwin intended to show the possibility of gradual evolution in the case of complex behaviors such as brood parasitism in cuckoos, slave-making habits in ants and geometrical cell building in honey bees. Darwin attributed functional value to behavioral characters, used the comparision of related species' behavior as a way to infer evolutionary stages, gave cost-and-benefit and optimization processes a role as selection criteria, took into account aspects of behavioral competition and manipulation and gave a group selection approach to the question of sterile castes of eusocial insects. More than results and solutions, Darwin offered, in his chapter about Instinct, a paradigm for the

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    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 a...

  20. The use of artificial nests by weaver ants: a preliminary field observation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    of the plantation. This suggests that exposure to harsh weather triggered the use of artificial nests. It was also found that ants preferred to nest in bottles covered with aluminum foil compared to transparent bottles. These findings document an opportunistic nesting behavior of weaver ants and suggest...

  1. THE MYRMICINE ANT GENUS ALLOMERUS MAYR (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    FERNÁNDEZ FERNANDO

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available The Neotropical myrmicine ant genus Allomerus Mayr is revised. The genus isapparently monophyletic based on the antennal club confi guration. I recognize 8 species(4 described as new: Allomerus brevipilosus n. sp. (Brazil, A. decemarticulatusMayr (Brazil, French Guiana, A. dentatus n. sp. (Venezuela, A. maietae n. sp.(Brazil, A. octoarticulatus Mayr (=A. tuberculatus Forel n. syn. = A. octoarticulatusvar. demerarae W. M. Wheeler n. syn. = A. novemarticulatus Wheeler & Mann n.syn. [Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Peru], A. septemarticulatus Mayrstatus rev. (Brazil, A. undecemarticulatus n. sp. (Venezuela and A. vogeli Kempf(Venezuela, Brazil. Better knowledge of the taxonomy of Allomerus is needed tounderstand the apparently sporadic differences in antennal fl agellomere number andspeciation processes that are probably linked to plant cavity colonization.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    Introduction: Fungus-growing ants cultivate specialized fungi in the tribe Leucocoprineae (Lepiotaceae: Basidiomycota) inside their nests. The conspicuous leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex ...... garden. This system can be viewed as ant induced crop optimization similar to human agricultural practices....... have small nests with a fungus garden the size of a table-tennis ball. Only the leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas the more basal attine genera use substrates such as dry plant material (leaf litter and small twigs) and also insect...... feces and insect carcasses. This diverse array of fungal substrates across the attine lineage implies that the symbiotic fungus needs different enzymes to break down the plant material that the ants provide or different efficiencies of enzyme function. Methods: (1.) We made a literature survey...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  4. The nest architecture of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter R. Tschinkel

    2004-07-01

    Full Text Available The architecture of the subterranean nests of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, was studied through excavation and casting. Nests are composed of two basic units: descending shafts and horizontal chambers. Shafts form helices with diameters of 4 to 6 cm, and descend at an angle of about 15-20° near the surface, increasing to about 70° below about 50 cm in depth. Superficial chambers (< 15 cm deep appear to be modified shafts with low angles of descent, and are distinct from deeper chambers. In larger nests, they have a looping, connected morphology. Chambers begin on the outside of the helix as horizontal-floored, circular indentations, becoming multi-lobed as they are enlarged. Chamber height is about 1 cm, and does not change with area. Chamber area is greatest in the upper reaches of the nest, and decreases with depth. Vertical spacing between chambers is least in the upper reaches and increases to a maximum at about 70 to 80% of the maximum depth of the nest. The distribution of chamber area is top-heavy, with about half the total area occurring in the top quarter of the nest. Each 10% depth increment of the nest contains 25 to 40% less area than the decile above it, no matter what the size of the nest.

  5. Identifying the Transition between Single and Multiple Mating of Queens in Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

    Obligate mating of females (queens) with multiple males has evolved only rarely in social Hymenoptera (ants, social bees, social wasps) and for reasons that are fundamentally different from those underlying multiple mating in other animals. The monophyletic tribe of ('attine') fungus-growing ants...

  6. The congenital "ant-egg" cataract phenotype is caused by a missense mutation in connexin46

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Lars; Yao, Wenliang; Eiberg, Hans

    2006-01-01

    "Ant-egg" cataract is a rare, distinct variety of congenital/infantile cataract that was reported in a large Danish family in 1967. This cataract phenotype is characterized by ant-egg-like bodies embedded in the lens in a laminar configuration and is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. We r...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

    Obligate mating of females (queens) with multiple males has evolved only rarely in social Hymenoptera (ants, social bees, social wasps) and for reasons that are fundamentally different from those underlying multiple mating in other animals. The monophyletic tribe of ('attine') fungus-growing ants...

  8. The nest architecture of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2004-01-01

    The architecture of the subterranean nests of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, was studied through excavation and casting. Nests are composed of two basic units: descending shafts and horizontal chambers. Shafts form helices with diameters of 4 to 6 cm, and descend at an angle of about 15-20 degrees near the surface, increasing to about 70 degrees below about 50 cm in depth. Superficial chambers (engaging in digging, rather than an increase in their rate of work. All ages of workers produced similar top-heavy nests. When different ages of workers from different levels of a mature colony were allowed to re-assort themselves in a vertical test apparatus buried in the soil, older workers moved upward to assume positions in the upper parts of the nest, much as in the colonies from which they were taken. The vertical organization of workers based on age is therefore the product of active movement and choice. A possible template imparting information on depth is a carbon dioxide gradient. Carbon dioxide concentrations increased 5-fold between the surface and the depths of the nest. A preference of young workers for high carbon dioxide concentrations, and a tendency for workers to dig more under low carbon dioxide concentrations could explain both the vertical age-distribution of workers, and the top-heaviness of the nest's architecture.

  9. Nine novel microsatellite markers for the army ant Simopelta pergandei (subfamily Ponerinae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, D.J.C.; Boomsma, J.J.; Pierce, N.E.

    2011-01-01

    Simopelta (subfamily Ponerinae) army ants are specialized predators of other ants in New World tropical forests. Although they show a striking convergence in overall life-history with the well known army ants of the subfamilies Aenictinae, Dorylinae, and Ecitoninae, the genus has been little...... studied. We developed and characterized nine novel microsatellite loci for S. pergandei with 2-8 observed alleles (mean: 5.2) and expected heterozygosities between 0.16 and 0.87 (mean: 0.68). Three of these loci reliably cross-amplified in a second species, S. pentadentata, with 4-8 alleles (mean: 8.......0) and expected heterozygosities between 0.32 and 0.85 (mean: 0.65). These genetic markers will be useful in studying the sociobiology and molecular ecology of Simopelta army ants and in elucidating convergent evolutionary trajectories that have culminated in the army ant lifestyle...

  10. Automatic optimization of a nuclear reactor reload using the algorithm Ant-Q; A otimizacao automatica da recarga nuclear utilizando o algoritmo Ant-Q

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Machado, Liana; Schirru, Roberto [Universidade Federal, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). Coordenacao dos Programas de Pos-graduacao de Engenharia. Programa de Engenharia Nuclear

    2002-07-01

    The nuclear fuel reload optimization is a NP-Complete combinatorial optimization problem. For decades this problem was solved using an expert's knowledge. From the eighties, however there have been efforts to automatic fuel reload and the more recent ones show the Genetic Algorithm's (GA) efficiency on this problem. Following this trend, our aim is to optimization nuclear fuel reload using Ant-Q, artificial theory based algorithms. Ant-Q's results on the Traveling salesman Problem, which is conceptuality similar to fuel reload, are better than GA's. Ant-Q was tested in real application on the cycle 7 reload of Angra I. Comparing Ant-Q result with the GA's, it can be verified that, even without a local heuristics, the former algorithm, as it superiority comparing the GA in Angra I show. Is a valid technique to solve the nuclear fuel reload problem. (author)

  11. Ant-egg cataract. A study of a family with dominantly inherited congenital (ant-egg) cataract, including a histological examination of the formed elements

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nissen, Steffen; Schrøder, H D

    1979-01-01

    A family with "ant-egg" cataract in three generations is described. The cataract is congenital, probably of autosomal dominant inheritance. Light microscopy of the ant-eggs showed that they are made up of a peripheral zone of lens material and a large almost homogenous centre. Element analysis by......-ray spectrophotometry showed a high content of calcium and phosphorus in the centre. The cataract has been easy to operate on and the postoperative visual results have been good....

  12. Behavioural and chemical evidence for multiple colonisation of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, in the Western Cape, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wossler Theresa C

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is a widespread invasive ant species that has successfully established in nearly all continents across the globe. Argentine ants are characterised by a social structure known as unicoloniality, where territorial boundaries between nests are absent and intraspecific aggression is rare. This is particularly pronounced in introduced populations and results in the formation of large and spatially expansive supercolonies. Although it is amongst the most well studied of invasive ants, very little work has been done on this ant in South Africa. In this first study, we investigate the population structure of Argentine ants in South Africa. We use behavioural (aggression tests and chemical (CHC approaches to investigate the population structure of Argentine ants within the Western Cape, identify the number of supercolonies and infer number of introductions. Results Both the aggression assays and chemical data revealed that the Western Cape Argentine ant population can be divided into two behaviourally and chemically distinct supercolonies. Intraspecific aggression was evident between the two supercolonies of Argentine ants with ants able to discriminate among conspecific non-nestmates. This discrimination is linked to the divergence in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of ants originating from the two supercolonies. Conclusions The presence of these two distinct supercolonies is suggestive of at least two independent introductions of this ant within the Western Cape. Moreover, the pattern of colonisation observed in this study, with the two colonies interspersed, is in agreement with global patterns of Argentine ant invasions. Our findings are of interest because recent studies show that Argentine ants from South Africa are different from those identified in other introduced ranges and therefore provide an opportunity to further understand factors that determine the distributional and spread

  13. The effect of water on the ground nesting habits of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata

    OpenAIRE

    Elahi, Robin

    2005-01-01

    The large predatory ant, Paraponera clavata, exerts measurable top-down effects in wet and moist Neotropical forests, and therefore its distribution has potential ecological implications. To determine how water affects the presence of this important predator, the ground nesting ecology of P. clavata was examined with respect to various habitat characteristics. Four hectares of disturbed Costa Rican lowland rain forest were surveyed for ant colonies to determine nest distribution patterns in w...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  15. Adaptive Radiation in Socially Advanced Stem-Group Ants from the Cretaceous.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

    Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants, and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial, increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Hölldobler's concept of "dynastic succession." Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. The relationship between canopy cover and colony size of the wood ant Formica lugubris--implications for the thermal effects on a keystone ant species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yi-Huei Chen

    Full Text Available Climate change may affect ecosystems and biodiversity through the impacts of rising temperature on species' body size. In terms of physiology and genetics, the colony is the unit of selection for ants so colony size can be considered the body size of a colony. For polydomous ant species, a colony is spread across several nests. This study aims to clarify how climate change may influence an ecologically significant ant species group by investigating thermal effects on wood ant colony size. The strong link between canopy cover and the local temperatures of wood ant's nesting location provides a feasible approach for our study. Our results showed that nests were larger in shadier areas where the thermal environment was colder and more stable compared to open areas. Colonies (sum of nests in a polydomous colony also tended to be larger in shadier areas than in open areas. In addition to temperature, our results supported that food resource availability may be an additional factor mediating the relationship between canopy cover and nest size. The effects of canopy cover on total colony size may act at the nest level because of the positive relationship between total colony size and mean nest size, rather than at the colony level due to lack of link between canopy cover and number of nests per colony. Causal relationships between the environment and the life-history characteristics may suggest possible future impacts of climate change on these species.

  17. Identification, expression, and immuno-reactivity of Sol i 2 & Sol i 4 venom proteins of queen red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockwood, Stephanie A; Haghipour-Peasley, Jilla; Hoffman, Donald R; Deslippe, Richard J

    2012-10-01

    We report on two low-molecular weight proteins that are stored in the venom of queen red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). Translated amino acid sequences identified one protein to have 74.8% identity with the Sol i 2w worker allergen, and the other protein was found to have 96/97% identity with Sol i 4.01w/4.02w worker allergens. Both Sol i 2 and Sol i 4 queen and worker proteins were expressed using pEXP1-DEST vector in SHuffle™ T7 Express lysY Escherichia coli. Proteins were expressed at significant concentrations, as opposed to the μg/ml amounts by our previous expression methods, enabling further study of these proteins. Sol i 2q protein bound weakly to human IgE, sera pooled from allergic patients, whereas Sol i 2w, Sol i 4.01w, and Sol i 4q proteins bound strongly. Despite Sol i 2w and Sol i 2q proteins having 74.8% identity, the queen protein is less immuno-reactive than the worker allergen. This finding is consistent with allergic individuals being less sensitive to queen than worker venom. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Poneromorph Ants Associated with Parasitoid Wasps of the Genus Kapala Cameron (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae in French Guiana

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    Jean-Paul Lachaud

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Eucharitid wasps are specific, specialized parasitoids of ants. The genus Kapala Cameron is the most common in the Neotropics but few species are described, and information dealing with their biology, behavior and host associations is scarce. Numerous poneromorph ant colonies were inspected over 4 collection surveys in French Guiana. A diverse fauna of parasites and parasitoids was found, including mermithid nematodes, flies, eucharitids, and another gregarious endoparasitoid wasp. Five new host associations for Kapala are reported, all of them involving medium- to large-size poneromorph ant species from 4 genera: Ectatomma brunneum Fr. Smith, Gnamptogenys tortuolosa (Fr. Smith, Odontomachus haematodus (L., O. mayi Mann, and Pachycondyla verenae (Forel. Three other associations involving O. hastatus (Fabr., P. apicalis (Latreille, and P. stigma (Fabr., already reported for other countries but new for French Guiana, are confirmed. The data extend the number of hosts for Kapala to 24 ant species from 7 genera. The high diversity of the ant host genera associated with Kapala, combined with the fact that these ant genera are the most widely distributed among Neotropical poneromorph ants, could account for the dominant status of the genus Kapala among the eucharitine wasps of Central and South America.

  19. Convergent coevolution in the domestication of coral mushrooms by fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Munkacsi, A.B.; Pan, J.J.; Villesen, P.

    2004-01-01

    family Pterulaceae using phylogenetic reconstructions based on broad taxon sampling, including the first mushroom collected from the garden of an ant species in the A. pilosum group. The domestication of the pterulaceous cultivar is independent from the domestication of the gilled mushrooms cultivated...... of parallel coevolution, where the symbionts of each functional group are members of monophyletic groups. However, there is one outstanding exception in the fungus-growing ant system, the unidentified cultivar grown only by ants in the Apterostigma pilosum group. We classify this cultivar in the coral-mushroom...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

    -cutting ant workers being more variable in age or more genetically diverse within colonies. When exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium, workers expressed a substantially reduced immune response 96 h after infection, suggesting that the immune system was either depleted by having to respond...

  1. Distribution, spread, and ecological associations of the introduced ant Pheidole obscurithorax in the southeastern United States

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    Shonna R. Storz

    2004-04-01

    Full Text Available A field survey of the southeastern United States showed that Pheidole obscurithorax Naves, an ant introduced from South America, inhabits a 80-km-wide band along the coast between Mobile, Alabama, and Tallahassee, Florida, and is continuing to increase its range. In Tallahassee P. obscurithorax is rapidly spreading, and its nest density increased by a factor of 6.4 over a two-year period. Evidence suggests that P. obscurithorax has spread gradually by natural means. It coexists with the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren, appears to be part of a largely exotic community of ants that are tolerant of highly disturbed habitats, and seems to have little negative effect on the ant communities that it invades.

  2. The status of the fungi-grower ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Puerto Rico and adjacent islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    J.A. Torres

    1989-01-01

    Ants of the tribe Attini (fungus grower) collect different organic materials that are used to grow a fungus. It was thought that the fungus mycelium was the only source of nutrition for these ants, but Quinlan and Cherrett found that Atta cephalotes (L.) squeezes oils from fresh leaves and uses them as food.  These oils supplement the fungus material eaten by this...

  3. The complex nest architecture of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Márlon César; Batista, Nathan Rodrigues; Rodrigues, Candida Anitta Pereira; Antonialli, William Fernando

    2018-01-01

    In social insects, nests are very important structures built to provide a protected microhabitat for immature development and food storage and are the places where most interactions between all members of a colony occur. Considering that nest architecture is an important behavioural trait that can clarify essential points of the social level of the species, here we describe the architectural model of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer. Five subterranean nests were excavated; one of them filled with liquid cement for extraction of casts of chambers, shafts and tunnels. All nests were found in a woodland area, with Dystrophic Red Latosol soil, associated with roots of large trees and, differently from the pattern currently described for this subfamily, presented a complex structure with multiple entrances and more than one vertical shaft connected by tunnels to relatively horizontal chambers. The number of chambers varied from 24 to 77, with mean volume ranging from 200.09 cm3 to 363.79 cm3, and maximum depth of 134 cm. Worker population varied between 304 and 864 individuals with on average 8.28 cm2 of area per worker. All nests had at least one Hall, which is a relatively larger chamber serving as a distribution centre of the nest, and to our knowledge, there is no record of Ponerinae species building similar structure. All nests had chambers "paved" with pieces of decaying plant material and on the floor of some of them, we found a fungus whose identification and function are being investigated. Thus, our findings provide evidence to suggest that nests of O. chelifer can be considered complex, due to the great number and organization of chambers, shafts and connections, compared to those currently described for Ponerinae species. PMID:29298335

  4. The complex nest architecture of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ingrid de Carvalho Guimarães

    Full Text Available In social insects, nests are very important structures built to provide a protected microhabitat for immature development and food storage and are the places where most interactions between all members of a colony occur. Considering that nest architecture is an important behavioural trait that can clarify essential points of the social level of the species, here we describe the architectural model of the Ponerinae ant Odontomachus chelifer. Five subterranean nests were excavated; one of them filled with liquid cement for extraction of casts of chambers, shafts and tunnels. All nests were found in a woodland area, with Dystrophic Red Latosol soil, associated with roots of large trees and, differently from the pattern currently described for this subfamily, presented a complex structure with multiple entrances and more than one vertical shaft connected by tunnels to relatively horizontal chambers. The number of chambers varied from 24 to 77, with mean volume ranging from 200.09 cm3 to 363.79 cm3, and maximum depth of 134 cm. Worker population varied between 304 and 864 individuals with on average 8.28 cm2 of area per worker. All nests had at least one Hall, which is a relatively larger chamber serving as a distribution centre of the nest, and to our knowledge, there is no record of Ponerinae species building similar structure. All nests had chambers "paved" with pieces of decaying plant material and on the floor of some of them, we found a fungus whose identification and function are being investigated. Thus, our findings provide evidence to suggest that nests of O. chelifer can be considered complex, due to the great number and organization of chambers, shafts and connections, compared to those currently described for Ponerinae species.

  5. Nutritional upgrading for omnivorous carpenter ants by the endosymbiont Blochmannia

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    Mueller Martin J

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Carpenter ants (genus Camponotus are considered to be omnivores. Nonetheless, the genome sequence of Blochmannia floridanus, the obligate intracellular endosymbiont of Camponotus floridanus, suggests a function in nutritional upgrading of host resources by the bacterium. Thus, the strongly reduced genome of the endosymbiont retains genes for all subunits of a functional urease, as well as those for biosynthetic pathways for all but one (arginine of the amino acids essential to the host. Results Nutritional upgrading by Blochmannia was tested in 90-day feeding experiments with brood-raising in worker-groups on chemically defined diets with and without essential amino acids and treated or not with antibiotics. Control groups were fed with cockroaches, honey water and Bhatkar agar. Worker-groups were provided with brood collected from the queenright mother-colonies (45 eggs and 45 first instar larvae each. Brood production did not differ significantly between groups of symbiotic workers on diets with and without essential amino acids. However, aposymbiotic worker groups raised significantly less brood on a diet lacking essential amino acids. Reduced brood production by aposymbiotic workers was compensated when those groups were provided with essential amino acids in their diet. Decrease of endosymbionts due to treatment with antibiotic was monitored by qRT-PCR and FISH after the 90-day experimental period. Urease function was confirmed by feeding experiments using 15N-labelled urea. GC-MS analysis of 15N-enrichment of free amino acids in workers revealed significant labelling of the non-essential amino acids alanine, glycine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, as well as of the essential amino acids methionine and phenylalanine. Conclusion Our results show that endosymbiotic Blochmannia nutritionally upgrade the diet of C. floridanus hosts to provide essential amino acids, and that it may also play a role in nitrogen recycling

  6. Bacterial Infections across the Ants: Frequency and Prevalence of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Asaia

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    Stefanie Kautz

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Bacterial endosymbionts are common across insects, but we often lack a deeper knowledge of their prevalence across most organisms. Next-generation sequencing approaches can characterize bacterial diversity associated with a host and at the same time facilitate the fast and simultaneous screening of infectious bacteria. In this study, we used 16S rRNA tag encoded amplicon pyrosequencing to survey bacterial communities of 310 samples representing 221 individuals, 176 colonies and 95 species of ants. We found three distinct endosymbiont groups—Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria: Rickettsiales, Spiroplasma (Firmicutes: Entomoplasmatales, and relatives of Asaia (Alphaproteobacteria: Rhodospirillales—at different infection frequencies (at the ant species level: 22.1%, 28.4%, and 14.7%, resp. and relative abundances within bacterial communities (1.0%–99.9%. Spiroplasma was particularly enriched in the ant genus Polyrhachis, while Asaia relatives were most prevalent in arboreal ants of the genus Pseudomyrmex. While Wolbachia and Spiroplasma have been surveyed in ants before, Asaia, an acetic acid bacterium capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, has received much less attention. Due to sporadic prevalence across all ant taxa investigated, we hypothesize facultative associations for all three bacterial genera. Infection patterns are discussed in relation to potential adaptation of specific bacteria in certain ant groups.

  7. Improving the Interpretability of Classification Rules Discovered by an Ant Colony Algorithm: Extended Results

    OpenAIRE

    Otero, Fernando E.B.; Freitas, Alex A.

    2016-01-01

    The vast majority of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithms for inducing classification rules use an ACO-based procedure to create a rule in an one-at-a-time fashion. An improved search strategy has been proposed in the cAnt-MinerPB algorithm, where an ACO-based procedure is used to create a complete list of rules (ordered rules)-i.e., the ACO search is guided by the quality of a list of rules, instead of an individual rule. In this paper we propose an extension of the cAnt-MinerPB algorith...

  8. Mating with stressed males increases the fitness of ant queens.

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    Alexandra Schrempf

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: According to sexual conflict theory, males can increase their own fitness by transferring substances during copulation that increase the short-term fecundity of their mating partners at the cost of the future life expectancy and re-mating capability of the latter. In contrast, sexual cooperation is expected in social insects. Mating indeed positively affects life span and fecundity of young queens of the male-polymorphic ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, even though males neither provide nuptial gifts nor any other care but leave their mates immediately after copulation and die shortly thereafter. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we show that mating with winged disperser males has a significantly stronger impact on life span and reproductive success of young queens of C. obscurior than mating with wingless fighter males. CONCLUSIONS: Winged males are reared mostly under stressful environmental conditions, which force young queens to disperse and found their own societies independently. In contrast, queens that mate with wingless males under favourable conditions usually start reproducing in the safety of the established maternal nest. Our study suggests that males of C. obscurior have evolved mechanisms to posthumously assist young queens during colony founding under adverse ecological conditions.

  9. Climate mediates the effects of disturbance on ant assemblage structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, Heloise; Sanders, Nathan J.; Dunn, Robert R.; Watson, Simon; Photakis, Manoli; Abril, Silvia; Andersen, Alan N.; Angulo, Elena; Armbrecht, Inge; Arnan, Xavier; Baccaro, Fabricio B.; Bishop, Tom R.; Boulay, Raphael; Castracani, Cristina; Del Toro, Israel; Delsinne, Thibaut; Diaz, Mireia; Donoso, David A.; Enríquez, Martha L.; Fayle, Tom M.; Feener, Donald H.; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C.; Gómez, Crisanto; Grasso, Donato A.; Groc, Sarah; Heterick, Brian; Hoffmann, Benjamin D.; Lach, Lori; Lattke, John; Leponce, Maurice; Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Longino, John; Lucky, Andrea; Majer, Jonathan; Menke, Sean B.; Mezger, Dirk; Mori, Alessandra; Munyai, Thinandavha C.; Paknia, Omid; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Pfeiffer, Martin; Philpott, Stacy M.; de Souza, Jorge L. P.; Tista, Melanie; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Vonshak, Merav; Parr, Catherine L.

    2015-01-01

    Many studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on biological assemblages, yet little is known about how climate interacts with other major anthropogenic influences on biodiversity, such as habitat disturbance. Using a unique global database of 1128 local ant assemblages, we examined whether climate mediates the effects of habitat disturbance on assemblage structure at a global scale. Species richness and evenness were associated positively with temperature, and negatively with disturbance. However, the interaction among temperature, precipitation and disturbance shaped species richness and evenness. The effect was manifested through a failure of species richness to increase substantially with temperature in transformed habitats at low precipitation. At low precipitation levels, evenness increased with temperature in undisturbed sites, peaked at medium temperatures in disturbed sites and remained low in transformed sites. In warmer climates with lower rainfall, the effects of increasing disturbance on species richness and evenness were akin to decreases in temperature of up to 9°C. Anthropogenic disturbance and ongoing climate change may interact in complicated ways to shape the structure of assemblages, with hot, arid environments likely to be at greatest risk. PMID:25994675

  10. Plant-derived differences in the composition of aphid honeydew and their effects on colonies of aphid-tending ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Novo, Alexandria; Ableson, Ian; Barbehenn, Raymond V; Vannette, Rachel L

    2014-01-01

    In plant–ant–hemipteran interactions, ants visit plants to consume the honeydew produced by phloem-feeding hemipterans. If genetically based differences in plant phloem chemistry change the chemical composition of hemipteran honeydew, then the plant's genetic constitution could have indirect effects on ants via the hemipterans. If such effects change ant behavior, they could feed back to affect the plant itself. We compared the chemical composition of honeydews produced by Aphis nerii aphid clones on two milkweed congeners, Asclepias curassavica and Asclepias incarnata, and we measured the responses of experimental Linepithema humile ant colonies to these honeydews. The compositions of secondary metabolites, sugars, and amino acids differed significantly in the honeydews from the two plant species. Ant colonies feeding on honeydew derived from A. incarnata recruited in higher numbers to artificial diet, maintained higher queen and worker dry weight, and sustained marginally more workers than ants feeding on honeydew derived from A. curassavica. Ants feeding on honeydew from A. incarnata were also more exploratory in behavioral assays than ants feeding from A. curassavica. Despite performing better when feeding on the A. incarnata honeydew, ant workers marginally preferred honeydew from A. curassavica to honeydew from A. incarnata when given a choice. Our results demonstrate that plant congeners can exert strong indirect effects on ant colonies by means of plant-species-specific differences in aphid honeydew chemistry. Moreover, these effects changed ant behavior and thus could feed back to affect plant performance in the field. PMID:25505534

  11. Biodiversity on Broadway--enigmatic diversity of the societies of ants (Formicidae on the streets of New York City.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marko Pećarević

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Each year, a larger proportion of the Earth's surface is urbanized, and a larger proportion of the people on Earth lives in those urban areas. The everyday nature, however, that humans encounter in cities remains poorly understood. Here, we consider perhaps the most urban green habitat, street medians. We sampled ants from forty-four medians along three boulevards in New York City and examined how median properties affect the abundance and species richness of native and introduced ants found on them. Ant species richness varied among streets and increased with area but was independent of the other median attributes measured. Ant assemblages were highly nested, with three numerically dominant species present at all medians and additional species present at a subset of medians. The most common ant species were the introduced Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum and the native Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta and Cornfield ant (Lasius neoniger. The common introduced species on the medians responded differently to natural and disturbed elements of medians. Tetramorium caespitum was most abundant in small medians, with the greatest edge/area ratio, particularly if those medians had few trees, whereas Nylanderia flavipes was most abundant in the largest medians, particularly if they had more trees. Many of the species encountered in Manhattan were similar to those found in other large North American cities, such that a relatively small subset of ant species probably represent most of the encounters humans have with ants in North America.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-08-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    communities of microbial and invertebrate symbionts have evolved associations with the dump material from leaf-cutting ant nests, to exploit decomposition niches that the ant garden-fungus does not utilize. Our approach thus provides detailed insight into the nutritional benefits and shortcomings associated......The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus......, to map the occurrence of cell wall polymers in consecutive sections of the fungus garden of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We show that pectin, xyloglucan and some xylan epitopes are degraded, whereas more highly substituted xylan and cellulose epitopes remain as residuals in the waste...

  14. Recolonization patterns of ants in a rehabilitated lignite mine in central Italy: Potential for the use of Mediterranean ants as indicators of restoration processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ottonetti, L.; Tucci, L.; Santini, G. [University of Florence, Florence (Italy)

    2006-03-15

    Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages were sampled with pitfall traps in three different habitats associated with a rehabilitated mine district and in undisturbed forests in Tuscany, Italy. The four habitats were (1) open fields (3-4 years old); (2) a middle-age mixed plantation (10 years); (3) an old-age mixed plantation (20 years); and (4) an oak woodland (40 years) not directly affected by mining activities. The aim of the study was to analyze ant recolonization patterns in order to provide insights on the use of Mediterranean ant fauna as indicators of restoration processes. Species richness and diversity were not significantly different among the four habitats. However, multivariate analyses showed that the assemblages in the different habitats were clearly differentiated, with similarity relationships reflecting a successional gradient among rehabilitated sites. The observed patterns of functional group changes along the gradient broadly accord with those of previous studies in other biogeographic regions. These were (1) a decrease of dominant Dolichoderinae and opportunists; (2) an increase in the proportion of cold-climate specialists; and (3) the appearance of the Cryptic species in the oldest plantations, with a maximum of abundance in the woodland. In conclusion, the results of our study supported the use of Mediterranean ants as a suitable tool for biomonitoring of restoration processes, and in particular, the functional group approach proved a valuable framework to better interpret local trends in terms of global ecological patterns. Further research is, however, needed in order to obtain a reliable classification of Mediterranean ant functional groups.

  15. Variation in the effectiveness of biotic defence: the case of an opportunistic ant-plant protection mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giusto, Bruno; Anstett, Marie-Charlotte; Dounias, Edmond; McKey, Doyle B

    2001-11-01

    Benefits to plants in facultative ant protection mutualisms are highly variable. This allows examination of the sources of this variation and the mechanisms by which ants protect plants. We studied opportunistic interactions between ants and an extrafloral nectary-bearing vine, Dioscorea praehensilis, during 3 different years. Variation in plant protection among years was striking. Several factors affected the effectiveness of the biotic defence. Stems recently emerged from the underground tuber were self-supporting, contacting no other plants and encountering few foraging ants. Stems then became lianescent, and contact with supporting plants greatly increased ant recruitment. Both species and number of ant workers influenced the effect of ants on the major herbivore, the chrysomelid beetle Lilioceris latipennis. Protective actions included limitation of oviposition (reduction in the number of eggs laid on the plant) and predation, leading to increased larval mortality. The probability of successful predation was strongly dependent on larval size. If temporarily low ant-patrolling activity allows larvae to grow beyond a critical size, their mechanical (thick integument) or chemical (plant-derived compounds in a fecal shield) defences become more effective against ants. Secondary metabolites derived from the host plant thus appear to be important for the anti-predator mechanisms of this beetle, being necessary for its survival and reproduction on a host plant that actively recruits ants as a biotic defence against herbivores.

  16. Automatic optimization of a nuclear reactor reload using the algorithm Ant-Q

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Machado, Liana; Schirru, Roberto

    2002-01-01

    The nuclear fuel reload optimization is a NP-Complete combinatorial optimization problem. For decades this problem was solved using an expert's knowledge. From the eighties, however there have been efforts to automatic fuel reload and the more recent ones show the Genetic Algorithm's (GA) efficiency on this problem. Following this trend, our aim is to optimization nuclear fuel reload using Ant-Q, artificial theory based algorithms. Ant-Q's results on the Traveling salesman Problem, which is conceptuality similar to fuel reload, are better than GA's. Ant-Q was tested in real application on the cycle 7 reload of Angra I. Comparing Ant-Q result with the GA's, it can be verified that, even without a local heuristics, the former algorithm, as it superiority comparing the GA in Angra I show. Is a valid technique to solve the nuclear fuel reload problem. (author)

  17. Bi-stability in cooperative transport by ants in the presence of obstacles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan E Ron

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available To cooperatively carry large food items to the nest, individual ants conform their efforts and coordinate their motion. Throughout this expedition, collective motion is driven both by internal interactions between the carrying ants and a response to newly arrived informed ants that orient the cargo towards the nest. During the transport process, the carrying group must overcome obstacles that block their path to the nest. Here, we investigate the dynamics of cooperative transport, when the motion of the ants is frustrated by a linear obstacle that obstructs the motion of the cargo. The obstacle contains a narrow opening that serves as the only available passage to the nest, and through which single ants can pass but not with the cargo. We provide an analytical model for the ant-cargo system in the constrained environment that predicts a bi-stable dynamic behavior between an oscillatory mode of motion along the obstacle and a convergent mode of motion near the opening. Using both experiments and simulations, we show how for small cargo sizes, the system exhibits spontaneous transitions between these two modes of motion due to fluctuations in the applied force on the cargo. The bi-stability provides two possible problem solving strategies for overcoming the obstacle, either by attempting to pass through the opening, or take large excursions to circumvent the obstacle.

  18. Seasonal dynamics of ant community structure in the Moroccan Argan Forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El Keroumi, Abderrahim; Naamani, Khalid; Soummane, Hassna; Dahbi, Abdallah

    2012-01-01

    In this study we describe the structure and composition of ant communities in the endemic Moroccan Argan forest, using pitfall traps sampling technique throughout the four seasons between May 2006 and February 2007. The study focused on two distinct climatic habitats within the Essaouira Argan forest, a semi-continental site at Lahssinate, and a coastal site at Boutazarte. Thirteen different ant species were identified, belonging to seven genera. Monomorium subopacum Smith and Tapinoma simrothi Krausse-Heldrungen (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were the most abundant and behaviorally dominant ant species in the arganeraie. In addition, more specimens were captured in the semi-continental site than in the coastal area. However, no significant difference was observed in species richness, evenness, or diversity between both sites. Composition and community structure showed clear seasonal dynamics. The number of species, their abundance, their diversity, and their evenness per Argan tree were significantly dissimilar among seasons. The richness (except between summer and autumn), and the abundance and the evenness of ant species among communities, showed a significant difference between the dry period (summer and spring) and the rainy period (winter and autumn). Higher abundance and richness values occurred in the dry period of the year. Ant species dominance and seasonal climatic variations in the arganeraie might be among the main factors affecting the composition, structure, and foraging activity of ant communities. This study, together with recent findings on ant predation behavior below Argan trees, highlights the promising use of dominant ant species as potential agents of Mediterranean fruit fly bio-control in the Argan forest and surrounding ecosystems.

  19. Phylogenomics and Divergence Dating of Fungus-Farming Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae of the Genera Sericomyrmex and Apterostigma.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Ješovnik

    Full Text Available Fungus-farming ("attine" ants are model systems for studies of symbiosis, coevolution, and advanced eusociality. A New World clade of nearly 300 species in 15 genera, all attine ants cultivate fungal symbionts for food. In order to better understand the evolution of ant agriculture, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed transcriptomes of four different attine ant species in two genera: three species in the higher-attine genus Sericomyrmex and a single lower-attine ant species, Apterostigma megacephala, representing the first genomic data for either genus. These data were combined with published genomes of nine other ant species and the honey bee Apis mellifera for phylogenomic and divergence-dating analyses. The resulting phylogeny confirms relationships inferred in previous studies of fungus-farming ants. Divergence-dating analyses recovered slightly older dates than most prior analyses, estimating that attine ants originated 53.6-66.7 million of years ago, and recovered a very long branch subtending a very recent, rapid radiation of the genus Sericomyrmex. This result is further confirmed by a separate analysis of the three Sericomyrmex species, which reveals that 92.71% of orthologs have 99% - 100% pairwise-identical nucleotide sequences. We searched the transcriptomes for genes of interest, most importantly argininosuccinate synthase and argininosuccinate lyase, which are functional in other ants but which are known to have been lost in seven previously studied attine ant species. Loss of the ability to produce the amino acid arginine has been hypothesized to contribute to the obligate dependence of attine ants upon their cultivated fungi, but the point in fungus-farming ant evolution at which these losses occurred has remained unknown. We did not find these genes in any of the sequenced transcriptomes. Although expected for Sericomyrmex species, the absence of arginine anabolic genes in the lower-attine ant Apterostigma megacephala strongly

  20. Molecular variation at a candidate gene implicated in the regulation of fire ant social behavior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dietrich Gotzek

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available The fire ant Solenopsis invicta and its close relatives display an important social polymorphism involving differences in colony queen number. Colonies are headed by either a single reproductive queen (monogyne form or multiple queens (polygyne form. This variation in social organization is associated with variation at the gene Gp-9, with monogyne colonies harboring only B-like allelic variants and polygyne colonies always containing b-like variants as well. We describe naturally occurring variation at Gp-9 in fire ants based on 185 full-length sequences, 136 of which were obtained from S. invicta collected over much of its native range. While there is little overall differentiation between most of the numerous alleles observed, a surprising amount is found in the coding regions of the gene, with such substitutions usually causing amino acid replacements. This elevated coding-region variation may result from a lack of negative selection acting to constrain amino acid replacements over much of the protein, different mutation rates or biases in coding and non-coding sequences, negative selection acting with greater strength on non-coding than coding regions, and/or positive selection acting on the protein. Formal selection analyses provide evidence that the latter force played an important role in the basal b-like lineages coincident with the emergence of polygyny. While our data set reveals considerable paraphyly and polyphyly of S. invicta sequences with respect to those of other fire ant species, the b-like alleles of the socially polymorphic species are monophyletic. An expanded analysis of colonies containing alleles of this clade confirmed the invariant link between their presence and expression of polygyny. Finally, our discovery of several unique alleles bearing various combinations of b-like and B-like codons allows us to conclude that no single b-like residue is completely predictive of polygyne behavior and, thus, potentially causally

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  2. Ant Colony Optimization ACO For The Traveling Salesman Problem TSP Using Partitioning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alok Bajpai

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract An ant colony optimization is a technique which was introduced in 1990s and which can be applied to a variety of discrete combinatorial optimization problem and to continuous optimization. The ACO algorithm is simulated with the foraging behavior of the real ants to find the incremental solution constructions and to realize a pheromone laying-and-following mechanism. This pheromone is the indirect communication among the ants. In this paper we introduces the partitioning technique based on the divide and conquer strategy for the traveling salesman problem which is one of the most important combinatorial problem in which the original problem is partitioned into the group of sub problems. And then we apply the ant colony algorithm using candidate list strategy for each smaller sub problems. After that by applying the local optimization and combining the sub problems to find the good solution for the original problem by improving the exploration efficiency of the ants. At the end of this paper we have also be presented the comparison of result with the normal ant colony system for finding the optimal solution to the traveling salesman problem.

  3. Population responses to environmental change in a tropical ant: the interaction of spatial and temporal dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Doug; Vandermeer, John; Perfecto, Ivette; Philpott, Stacy M

    2014-01-01

    Spatial structure can have a profound, but often underappreciated, effect on the temporal dynamics of ecosystems. Here we report on a counterintuitive increase in the population of a tree-nesting ant, Azteca sericeasur, in response to a drastic reduction in the number of potential nesting sites. This surprising result is comprehensible when viewed in the context of the self-organized spatial dynamics of the ants and their effect on the ants' dispersal-limited natural enemies. Approximately 30% of the trees in the study site, a coffee agroecosystem in southern Mexico, were pruned or felled over a two-year period, and yet the abundance of the ant nests more than doubled over the seven-year study. Throughout the transition, the spatial distribution of the ants maintained a power-law distribution - a signal of spatial self organization - but the local clustering of the nests was reduced post-pruning. A cellular automata model incorporating the changed spatial structure of the ants and the resulting partial escape from antagonists reproduced the observed increase in abundance, highlighting how self-organized spatial dynamics can profoundly influence the responses of ecosystems to perturbations.

  4. Population responses to environmental change in a tropical ant: the interaction of spatial and temporal dynamics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Doug Jackson

    Full Text Available Spatial structure can have a profound, but often underappreciated, effect on the temporal dynamics of ecosystems. Here we report on a counterintuitive increase in the population of a tree-nesting ant, Azteca sericeasur, in response to a drastic reduction in the number of potential nesting sites. This surprising result is comprehensible when viewed in the context of the self-organized spatial dynamics of the ants and their effect on the ants' dispersal-limited natural enemies. Approximately 30% of the trees in the study site, a coffee agroecosystem in southern Mexico, were pruned or felled over a two-year period, and yet the abundance of the ant nests more than doubled over the seven-year study. Throughout the transition, the spatial distribution of the ants maintained a power-law distribution - a signal of spatial self organization - but the local clustering of the nests was reduced post-pruning. A cellular automata model incorporating the changed spatial structure of the ants and the resulting partial escape from antagonists reproduced the observed increase in abundance, highlighting how self-organized spatial dynamics can profoundly influence the responses of ecosystems to perturbations.

  5. Volatile chemicals in gJands of the carpenter ant, Cllmp()nofus arm ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1999-03-19

    Mar 19, 1999 ... Materials and methods. Worker ants were collected from ... observed in every chromatogram obtained, both of whole. Table 2 Identified .... alkenes. often corresponding in chain length to the alkanes present, this species only ...

  6. 78 FR 70530 - Notice of Determination; New and Revised Treatments for the Imported Fire Ant Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-26

    ... imported fire ant feeds on crops and builds large, hard mounds that damage farm and field machinery... and 301.81-5 of the regulations provide, among other things, that regulated articles requiring...

  7. The interplay between scent trails and group-mass recruitment systems in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Planqué, Robert; van den Berg, Jan Bouwe; Franks, Nigel R

    2013-10-01

    Large ant colonies invariably use effective scent trails to guide copious ant numbers to food sources. The success of mass recruitment hinges on the involvement of many colony members to lay powerful trails. However, many ant colonies start off as single queens. How do these same colonies forage efficiently when small, thereby overcoming the hurdles to grow large? In this paper, we study the case of combined group and mass recruitment displayed by some ant species. Using mathematical models, we explore to what extent early group recruitment may aid deployment of scent trails, making such trails available at much smaller colony sizes. We show that a competition between group and mass recruitment may cause oscillatory behaviour mediated by scent trails. This results in a further reduction of colony size to establish trails successfully.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

    2010-06-01

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

  9. Trail pheromone of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dong-Hwan Choe

    Full Text Available The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile is recognized as one of the world's most damaging invasive species. One reason for the ecological dominance of introduced Argentine ant populations is their ability to dominate food and habitat resources through the rapid mobilization and recruitment of thousands of workers. More than 30 years ago, studies showed that (Z-9-hexadecenal strongly attracted Argentine ant workers in a multi-choice olfactometer, suggesting that (Z-9-hexadecenal might be the trail pheromone, or a component of a trail pheromone mixture. Since then, numerous studies have considered (Z-9-hexadecenal as the key component of the Argentine ant trails. Here, we report the first chemical analyses of the trails laid by living Argentine ants and find that (Z-9-hexadecenal is not present in a detectible quantity. Instead, two iridoids, dolichodial and iridomyrmecin, appear to be the primary chemical constituents of the trails. Laboratory choice tests confirmed that Argentine ants were attracted to artificial trails comprised of these two chemicals significantly more often than control trails. Although (Z-9-hexadecenal was not detected in natural trails, supplementation of artificial dolichodial+iridomyrmecin trails with an extremely low concentraion of (Z-9-hexadecenal did increase the efficacy of the trail-following behavior. In stark contrast with previous dogma, our study suggests that dolichodial and iridomyrmecin are major components of the Argentine ant trail pheromone. (Z-9-hexadecenal may act in an additive manner with these iridoids, but it does not occur in detectable quantities in Argentine ant recruitment trails.

  10. The Relationship Between Ants and Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) at Concord Pine Barrens, NH, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pascale, Elizabeth G; Thiet, Rachel K

    2016-04-22

    The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is a federally listed, endangered species that has experienced dramatic decline over its historic range. In surviving populations, Karner blue butterflies have a facultative mutualism with ants that could be critically important to their survival where their populations are threatened by habitat loss or disturbance. In this study, we investigated the effects of ants, wild blue lupine population status (native or restored), and fire on adult Karner blue butterfly abundance at the Concord Pine Barrens, NH, USA. Ant frequency (the number of times we collected each ant species in our pitfall traps) was higher in restored than native lupine treatments regardless of burn status during both Karner blue butterfly broods, and the trend was statistically significant during the second brood. We observed a positive relationship between adult Karner blue butterfly abundance and ant frequency during the first brood, particularly on native lupine, regardless of burn treatment. During the second brood, adult Karner blue butterfly abundance and ant frequency were not significantly correlated in any treatments or their combinations. Our findings suggest that a combination of native and restored lupine is important for supporting both Karner blue butterflies and ants at the Concord Pine Barrens, and that burning does not affect the mutualism. Thus, scientists and managers at the site may wish to target their habitat management activities to best support both Karner blue butterflies and the particular ant species that provide the greatest benefit to their survival. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Compound eye adaptations for diurnal and nocturnal lifestyle in the intertidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ajay Narendra

    Full Text Available The Australian intertidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova lives in mudflat habitats and nests at the base of mangroves. They are solitary foraging ants that rely on visual cues. The ants are active during low tides at both day and night and thus experience a wide range of light intensities. We here ask the extent to which the compound eyes of P. sokolova reflect the fact that they operate during both day and night. The ants have typical apposition compound eyes with 596 ommatidia per eye and an interommatidial angle of 6.0°. We find the ants have developed large lenses (33 µm in diameter and wide rhabdoms (5 µm in diameter to make their eyes highly sensitive to low light conditions. To be active at bright light conditions, the ants have developed an extreme pupillary mechanism during which the primary pigment cells constrict the crystalline cone to form a narrow tract of 0.5 µm wide and 16 µm long. This pupillary mechanism protects the photoreceptors from bright light, making the eyes less sensitive during the day. The dorsal rim area of their compound eye has specialised photoreceptors that could aid in detecting the orientation of the pattern of polarised skylight, which would assist the animals to determine compass directions required while navigating between nest and food sources.

  12. Evaluation of Liquid and Bait Insecticides against the Dark Rover Ant (Brachymyrmex patagonicus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javier G. Miguelena

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Dark rover ants (Brachymyrmex patagonicus, Mayr are an exotic ant species native to South America that has recently spread through the southern US. We evaluated the residual activity of three liquid insecticides (indoxacarb, fipronil and lambda-cyhalothrin as potential barrier treatments against these ants. The factors we considered include the use of a porous or non-porous surface, a short or long exposure time and the changes in insecticide activity after treatment during a 90 day period. We also tested the effect of baits containing three different active ingredients (imidacloprid, sodium tetraborate and indoxacarb on colony fragments of this species for a 15 day period. Both lambda-cyhalothrin® and indoxacarb® resulted in high levels of ant mortality up to 90 days after application. The results of exposure to fipronil® resembled those from the control treatment. Application of insecticides on a porous surface and the shorter exposure time generally resulted in greater ant survival. Of the baits tested, only the imidacloprid based one decreased ant survival significantly during the evaluation period. Within three days, the imidacloprid bait produced over 50% mortality which increased to over 95% by the end of the experiment. Results from the other two bait treatments were not significantly different from the control.

  13. Dataset on the abundance of ants and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields with intercropped plants

    OpenAIRE

    Anicet Gbèblonoudo Dassou; Dominique Carval; Sylvain Dépigny; Gabriel Fansi; Philippe Tixier

    2016-01-01

    The data presented in this article are related to the research article entitled ?Ant abundance and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields as affected by intercropping? (A.G. Dassou, D. Carval, S. D?pigny, G.H Fansi, P. Tixier, 2015) [1]. This article describes how associated crops maize (Zea mays), cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) and bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) intercropped in the plantain fields in Cameroun modify ant community structure and damages of banana weevil Cosmop...

  14. Disentangling the diversity of arboreal ant communities in tropical forest trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klimes, Petr; Fibich, Pavel; Idigel, Cliffson; Rimandai, Maling

    2015-01-01

    Tropical canopies are known for their high abundance and diversity of ants. However, the factors which enable coexistence of so many species in trees, and in particular, the role of foragers in determining local diversity, are not well understood. We censused nesting and foraging arboreal ant communities in two 0.32 ha plots of primary and secondary lowland rainforest in New Guinea and explored their species diversity and composition. Null models were used to test if the records of species foraging (but not nesting) in a tree were dependent on the spatial distribution of nests in surrounding trees. In total, 102 ant species from 389 trees occurred in the primary plot compared with only 50 species from 295 trees in the secondary forest plot. However, there was only a small difference in mean ant richness per tree between primary and secondary forest (3.8 and 3.3 sp. respectively) and considerably lower richness per tree was found only when nests were considered (1.5 sp. in both forests). About half of foraging individuals collected in a tree belonged to species which were not nesting in that tree. Null models showed that the ants foraging but not nesting in a tree are more likely to nest in nearby trees than would be expected at random. The effects of both forest stage and tree size traits were similar regardless of whether only foragers, only nests, or both datasets combined were considered. However, relative abundance distributions of species differed between foraging and nesting communities. The primary forest plot was dominated by native ant species, whereas invasive species were common in secondary forest. This study demonstrates the high contribution of foragers to arboreal ant diversity, indicating an important role of connectivity between trees, and also highlights the importance of primary vegetation for the conservation of native ant communities.

  15. Unraveling Trichoderma species in the attine ant environment: description of three new taxa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montoya, Quimi Vidaurre; Meirelles, Lucas Andrade; Chaverri, Priscila; Rodrigues, Andre

    2016-05-01

    Fungus-growing "attine" ants forage diverse substrates to grow fungi for food. In addition to the mutualistic fungal partner, the colonies of these insects harbor a rich microbiome composed of bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts. Previous work reported some Trichoderma species in the fungus gardens of leafcutter ants. However, no studies systematically addressed the putative association of Trichoderma with attine ants, especially in non-leafcutter ants. Here, a total of 62 strains of Trichoderma were analyzed using three molecular markers (ITS, tef1 and rpb2). In addition, 30 out of 62 strains were also morphologically examined. The strains studied correspond to the largest sampling carried out so far for Trichoderma in the attine ant environment. Our results revealed the richness of Trichoderma in this environment, since we found 20 Trichoderma species, including three new taxa described in the present work (Trichoderma attinorum, Trichoderma texanum and Trichoderma longifialidicum spp. nov.) as well as a new phylogenetic taxon (LESF 545). Moreover, we show that all 62 strains grouped within different clades across the Trichoderma phylogeny, which are identical or closely related to strains derived from several other environments. This evidence supports the transient nature of the genus Trichoderma in the attine ant colonies. The discovery of three new species suggests that the dynamic foraging behavior of these insects might be responsible for accumulation of transient fungi into their colonies, which might hold additional fungal taxa still unknown to science.

  16. Functional expression of human adenine nucleotide translocase 4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takashi Hamazaki

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available The adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT mediates the exchange of ADP and ATP across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The human genome encodes multiple ANT isoforms that are expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Recently a novel germ cell-specific member of the ANT family, ANT4 (SLC25A31 was identified. Although it is known that targeted depletion of ANT4 in mice resulted in male infertility, the functional biochemical differences between ANT4 and other somatic ANT isoforms remain undetermined. To gain insight into ANT4, we expressed human ANT4 (hANT4 in yeast mitochondria. Unlike the somatic ANT proteins, expression of hANT4 failed to complement an AAC-deficient yeast strain for growth on media requiring mitochondrial respiration. Moreover, overexpression of hANT4 from a multi-copy plasmid interfered with optimal yeast growth. However, mutation of specific amino acids of hANT4 improved yeast mitochondrial expression and supported growth of the AAC-deficient yeast on non-fermentable carbon sources. The mutations affected amino acids predicted to interact with phospholipids, suggesting the importance of lipid interactions for function of this protein. Each mutant hANT4 and the somatic hANTs exhibited similar ADP/ATP exchange kinetics. These data define common and distinct biochemical characteristics of ANT4 in comparison to ANT1, 2 and 3 providing a basis for study of its unique adaptation to germ cells.

  17. Spider diversity in coffee agroecosystems: the influence of agricultural intensification and aggressive ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marín, Linda; Perfecto, Ivette

    2013-04-01

    Spiders are a very diverse group of invertebrate predators found in agroecosystems and natural systems. However, spider distribution, abundance, and eventually their ecological function in ecosystems can be influenced by abiotic and biotic factors such as agricultural intensification and dominant ants. Here we explore the influence of both agricultural intensification and the dominant arboreal ant Azteca instabilis on the spider community in coffee agroecosystems in southern Mexico. To measure the influence of the arboreal ant Azteca instabilis (F. Smith) on the spider community inhabiting the coffee layer of coffee agroecosystems, spiders were collected from coffee plants that were and were not patrolled by the ant in sites differing in agricultural intensification. For 2008, generalized linear mixed models showed that spider diversity was affected positively by agricultural intensification but not by the ant. However, results suggested that some spider species were associated with A. instabilis. Therefore, in 2009 we concentrated our research on the effect of A. instabilis on spider diversity and composition. For 2009, generalized linear mixed models show that spider richness and abundance per plant were significantly higher in the presence of A. instabilis. In addition, analyses of visual counts of insects and sticky traps data show that more resources were present in plants patrolled by the ant. The positive effect of A. instabilis on spiders seems to be caused by at least two mechanisms: high abundance of insects and protection against predators.

  18. Combined Venom Gland Transcriptomic and Venom Peptidomic Analysis of the Predatory Ant Odontomachus monticola

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kohei Kazuma

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Ants (hymenoptera: Formicidae have adapted to many different environments and have become some of the most prolific and successful insects. To date, 13,258 ant species have been reported. They have been classified into 333 genera and 17 subfamilies. Except for a few Formicinae, Dolichoderinae, and members of other subfamilies, most ant species have a sting with venom. The venoms are composed of formic acid, alkaloids, hydrocarbons, amines, peptides, and proteins. Unlike the venoms of other animals such as snakes and spiders, ant venoms have seldom been analyzed comprehensively, and their compositions are not yet completely known. In this study, we used both transcriptomic and peptidomic analyses to study the composition of the venom produced by the predatory ant species Odontomachus monticola. The transcriptome analysis yielded 49,639 contigs, of which 92 encoded toxin-like peptides and proteins with 18,106,338 mapped reads. We identified six pilosulin-like peptides by transcriptomic analysis in the venom gland. Further, we found intact pilosulin-like peptide 1 and truncated pilosulin-like peptides 2 and 3 by peptidomic analysis in the venom. Our findings related to ant venom peptides and proteins may lead the way towards development and application of novel pharmaceutical and biopesticidal resources.

  19. Riverine Landscape Patch Heterogeneity Drives Riparian Ant Assemblages in the Scioto River Basin, USA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paradzayi Tagwireyi

    Full Text Available Although the principles of landscape ecology are increasingly extended to include riverine landscapes, explicit applications are few. We investigated associations between patch heterogeneity and riparian ant assemblages at 12 riverine landscapes of the Scioto River, Ohio, USA, that represent urban/developed, agricultural, and mixed (primarily forested, but also wetland, grassland/fallow, and exurban land-use settings. Using remotely-sensed and ground-collected data, we delineated riverine landscape patch types (crop, grass/herbaceous, gravel, lawn, mudflat, open water, shrub, swamp, and woody vegetation, computed patch metrics (area, density, edge, richness, and shape, and conducted coordinated sampling of surface-active Formicidae assemblages. Ant density and species richness was lower in agricultural riverine landscapes than at mixed or developed reaches (measured using S [total number of species], but not using Menhinick's Index [DM], whereas ant diversity (using the Berger-Park Index [DBP] was highest in agricultural reaches. We found no differences in ant density, richness, or diversity among internal riverine landscape patches. However, certain characteristics of patches influenced ant communities. Patch shape and density were significant predictors of richness (S: R2 = 0.72; DM: R2=0.57. Patch area, edge, and shape emerged as important predictors of DBP (R2 = 0.62 whereas patch area, edge, and density were strongly related to ant density (R2 = 0.65. Non-metric multidimensional scaling and analysis of similarities distinguished ant assemblage composition in grass and swamp patches from crop, gravel, lawn, and shrub as well as ant assemblages in woody vegetation patches from crop, lawn, and gravel (stress = 0.18, R2 = 0.64. These findings lend insight into the utility of landscape ecology to river science by providing evidence that spatial habitat patterns within riverine landscapes can influence assemblage characteristics of riparian

  20. An Improved Ant Colony Algorithm for Solving the Path Planning Problem of the Omnidirectional Mobile Vehicle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiang Zhao

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents an improved ant colony algorithm for the path planning of the omnidirectional mobile vehicle. The purpose of the improved ant colony algorithm is to design an appropriate route to connect the starting point and ending point of the environment with obstacles. Ant colony algorithm, which is used to solve the path planning problem, is improved according to the characteristics of the omnidirectional mobile vehicle. And in the improved algorithm, the nonuniform distribution of the initial pheromone and the selection strategy with direction play a very positive role in the path search. The coverage and updating strategy of pheromone is introduced to avoid repeated search reducing the effect of the number of ants on the performance of the algorithm. In addition, the pheromone evaporation coefficient is segmented and adjusted, which can effectively balance the convergence speed and search ability. Finally, this paper provides a theoretical basis for the improved ant colony algorithm by strict mathematical derivation, and some numerical simulations are also given to illustrate the effectiveness of the theoretical results.

  1. Discovery of the Dinoponera lucida male (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), a threatened giant ant from the Atlantic rain forest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escárraga, Mayron E; Lattke, John E; Azevedo, Celso O

    2017-11-10

    The male of the endangered ant Dinoponera lucida Emery is described, providing morphometric measurements, high-resolution images, and a distribution map of the species. This ant inhabits the Brazilian Atlantic forest, an ecosystem strongly impacted by fragmentation. The males show clear morphological differences from the known males of other species of Dinoponera. We briefly discuss the relevance of the male description for the conservation strategies of this ant.

  2. Hidden diversity behind the zombie-ant fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis: four new species described from carpenter ants in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Harry C Evans

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (Clavicipitaceae: Hypocreales is a fungal pathogen specific to ants of the tribe Camponotini (Formicinae: Formicidae with a pantropical distribution. This so-called zombie or brain-manipulating fungus alters the behaviour of the ant host, causing it to die in an exposed position, typically clinging onto and biting into the adaxial surface of shrub leaves. We (HCE and DPH are currently undertaking a worldwide survey to assess the taxonomy and ecology of this highly variable species. METHODS: We formally describe and name four new species belonging to the O. unilateralis species complex collected from remnant Atlantic rainforest in the south-eastern region (Zona da Mata of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Fully illustrated descriptions of both the asexual (anamorph and sexual (teleomorph stages are provided for each species. The new names are registered in Index Fungorum (registration.indexfungorum.org and have received IF numbers. This paper is also a test case for the electronic publication of new names in mycology. CONCLUSIONS: We are only just beginning to understand the taxonomy and ecology of the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis species complex associated with carpenter ants; macroscopically characterised by a single stalk arising from the dorsal neck region of the ant host on which the anamorph occupies the terminal region and the teleomorph occurs as lateral cushions or plates. Each of the four ant species collected--Camponotus rufipes, C. balzani, C. melanoticus and C. novogranadensis--is attacked by a distinct species of Ophiocordyceps readily separated using traditional micromorphology. The new taxa are named according to their ant host.

  3. The dynamics of foraging trails in the tropical arboreal ant Cephalotes goniodontus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deborah M Gordon

    Full Text Available The foraging behavior of the arboreal turtle ant, Cephalotes goniodontus, was studied in the tropical dry forest of western Mexico. The ants collected mostly plant-derived food, including nectar and fluids collected from the edges of wounds on leaves, as well as caterpillar frass and lichen. Foraging trails are on small pieces of ephemeral vegetation, and persist in exactly the same place for 4-8 days, indicating that food sources may be used until they are depleted. The species is polydomous, occupying many nests which are abandoned cavities or ends of broken branches in dead wood. Foraging trails extend from trees with nests to trees with food sources. Observations of marked individuals show that each trail is travelled by a distinct group of foragers. This makes the entire foraging circuit more resilient if a path becomes impassable, since foraging in one trail can continue while a different group of ants forms a new trail. The colony's trails move around the forest from month to month; from one year to the next, only one colony out of five was found in the same location. There is continual searching in the vicinity of trails: ants recruited to bait within 3 bifurcations of a main foraging trail within 4 hours. When bait was offered on one trail, to which ants recruited, foraging activity increased on a different trail, with no bait, connected to the same nest. This suggests that the allocation of foragers to different trails is regulated by interactions at the nest.

  4. The dynamics of foraging trails in the tropical arboreal ant Cephalotes goniodontus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-01-01

    The foraging behavior of the arboreal turtle ant, Cephalotes goniodontus, was studied in the tropical dry forest of western Mexico. The ants collected mostly plant-derived food, including nectar and fluids collected from the edges of wounds on leaves, as well as caterpillar frass and lichen. Foraging trails are on small pieces of ephemeral vegetation, and persist in exactly the same place for 4-8 days, indicating that food sources may be used until they are depleted. The species is polydomous, occupying many nests which are abandoned cavities or ends of broken branches in dead wood. Foraging trails extend from trees with nests to trees with food sources. Observations of marked individuals show that each trail is travelled by a distinct group of foragers. This makes the entire foraging circuit more resilient if a path becomes impassable, since foraging in one trail can continue while a different group of ants forms a new trail. The colony's trails move around the forest from month to month; from one year to the next, only one colony out of five was found in the same location. There is continual searching in the vicinity of trails: ants recruited to bait within 3 bifurcations of a main foraging trail within 4 hours. When bait was offered on one trail, to which ants recruited, foraging activity increased on a different trail, with no bait, connected to the same nest. This suggests that the allocation of foragers to different trails is regulated by interactions at the nest.

  5. Beneficial Effects of Ants and Spiders on the Reproductive Value of Eriotheca gracilipes (Malvaceae) in a Tropical Savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefani, Vanessa; Pires, Tayna Lopes; Torezan-Silingardi, Helena Maura; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2015-01-01

    Predators affect plant fitness when they forage on them and reduce the action of herbivores. Our study evaluates the complementary effects of spiders and ants that visit the extrafloral nectaries of Eriotheca gracilipes (Malvaceae) on the production of fruits and viable seeds of these savanna trees. Four experimental groups were established: control group - with free access of spiders and ants; exclusion group - spiders and ants excluded; ant group - absence of spiders; and spider group - absence of ants. The presence of ants reduced the spider richness; however, the presence of spiders did not affect the ant richness. A significantly higher number of fruits per buds were found in the presence of spiders alone or spiders and ants together (control group) compared with the absence of both predators (exclusion group). The number of seeds per fruits and seed viability were higher in the control group. This is the first study showing that spiders and ants may exert a positive and complementary effect on the reproductive value of an extrafloral nectaried plant. Mostly the impact of ants and/or spiders on herbivores is considered, whereas our study reinforces the importance of evaluating the effect of multiple predators simultaneously, exploring how the interactions among predators with distinct skills may affect the herbivores and the plants on which they forage.

  6. Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Erik Thomas; Schmitt, Thomas; Hovestadt, Thomas; Mitesser, Oliver; Stiegler, Jonas; Linsenmair, Karl Eduard

    2017-04-01

    Predators of highly defensive prey likely develop cost-reducing adaptations. The ant Megaponera analis is a specialized termite predator, solely raiding termites of the subfamily Macrotermitinae (in this study, mostly colonies of Pseudocanthotermes sp.) at their foraging sites. The evolutionary arms race between termites and ants led to various defensive mechanisms in termites (for example, a caste specialized in fighting predators). Because M. analis incurs high injury/mortality risks when preying on termites, some risk-mitigating adaptations seem likely to have evolved. We show that a unique rescue behavior in M. analis , consisting of injured nestmates being carried back to the nest, reduces combat mortality. After a fight, injured ants are carried back by their nestmates; these ants have usually lost an extremity or have termites clinging to them and are able to recover within the nest. Injured ants that are forced experimentally to return without help, die in 32% of the cases. Behavioral experiments show that two compounds, dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide, present in the mandibular gland reservoirs, trigger the rescue behavior. A model accounting for this rescue behavior identifies the drivers favoring its evolution and estimates that rescuing enables maintenance of a 28.7% larger colony size. Our results are the first to explore experimentally the adaptive value of this form of rescue behavior focused on injured nestmates in social insects and help us to identify evolutionary drivers responsible for this type of behavior to evolve in animals.

  7. Giant ants and their shape: revealing relationships in the genus Titanomyrma with geometric morphometrics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julian Katzke

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Shape is a natural phenomenon inherent to many different lifeforms. A modern technique to analyse shape is geometric morphometrics (GM, which offers a whole range of methods concerning the pure shape of an object. The results from these methods have provided new insights into biological problems and have become especially useful in the fields of entomology and palaeontology. Despite the conspicuous successes in other hymenopteran groups, GM analysis of wings and fossil wings of Formicidae has been neglected. Here we tested if landmarks defining the wing shape of fossil ants that belong to the genus Titanomyrma are reliable and if this technique is able to expose relationships among different groups of the largest Hymenoptera that ever lived. This study comprises 402 wings from 362 ants that were analysed and assigned with the GM methods linear discriminant function analysis, principal component analysis, canonical variate analysis, and regression. The giant ant genus Titanomyrma and the parataxon Formicium have different representatives that are all very similar but these modern methods were able to distinguish giant ant types even to the level of the sex. Thirty-five giant ant specimens from the Eckfeld Maar were significantly differentiable from a collection of Messel specimens that consisted of 187 Titanomyrma gigantea females and 42 T. gigantea males, and from 74 Titanomyrma simillima females and 21 T. simillima males. Out of the 324 Messel ants, 127 are newly assigned to a species and 223 giant ants are newly assigned to sex with GM analysis. All specimens from Messel fit to the two species. Moreover, shape affinities of these groups and the species Formicium brodiei, Formicium mirabile, and Formicium berryi, which are known only from wings, were investigated. T. gigantea stands out with a possible female relative in one of the Eckfeld specimens whereas the other groups show similar shape patterns that are possibly plesiomorphic. Formicidae

  8. Giant ants and their shape: revealing relationships in the genus Titanomyrma with geometric morphometrics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katzke, Julian; Barden, Phillip; Dehon, Manuel; Michez, Denis; Wappler, Torsten

    2018-01-01

    Shape is a natural phenomenon inherent to many different lifeforms. A modern technique to analyse shape is geometric morphometrics (GM), which offers a whole range of methods concerning the pure shape of an object. The results from these methods have provided new insights into biological problems and have become especially useful in the fields of entomology and palaeontology. Despite the conspicuous successes in other hymenopteran groups, GM analysis of wings and fossil wings of Formicidae has been neglected. Here we tested if landmarks defining the wing shape of fossil ants that belong to the genus Titanomyrma are reliable and if this technique is able to expose relationships among different groups of the largest Hymenoptera that ever lived. This study comprises 402 wings from 362 ants that were analysed and assigned with the GM methods linear discriminant function analysis, principal component analysis, canonical variate analysis, and regression. The giant ant genus Titanomyrma and the parataxon Formicium have different representatives that are all very similar but these modern methods were able to distinguish giant ant types even to the level of the sex. Thirty-five giant ant specimens from the Eckfeld Maar were significantly differentiable from a collection of Messel specimens that consisted of 187 Titanomyrma gigantea females and 42 T. gigantea males, and from 74 Titanomyrma simillima females and 21 T. simillima males. Out of the 324 Messel ants, 127 are newly assigned to a species and 223 giant ants are newly assigned to sex with GM analysis. All specimens from Messel fit to the two species. Moreover, shape affinities of these groups and the species Formicium brodiei , Formicium mirabile , and Formicium berryi , which are known only from wings, were investigated. T. gigantea stands out with a possible female relative in one of the Eckfeld specimens whereas the other groups show similar shape patterns that are possibly plesiomorphic. Formicidae are one of the

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    BC. Barbosa

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

  10. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

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

  11. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

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

  12. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  13. Associations of Two Ecologically Significant Social Insect Taxa in the Litter of an Amazonian Rainforest: Is There a Relationship between Ant and Termite Species Richness?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amy L. Mertl

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In spite of the ecological dominance of Neotropical ants and termites, little is understood about how their interactions influence their species richness and distribution. We surveyed ground-dwelling termite and ant species in a primary rainforest in Ecuador and analyzed ecological correlates of diversity. Termite richness was positively correlated with ant richness and abundance of twig-nesting ants. We found no evidence of competition for twigs between termites and ants. No ecological factors were correlated with termite diversity although elevation and twig and log abundance influenced ant diversity. When ant richness was compared to the richness of termites employing different predator defenses, a positive correlation was found with soldierless termites, but not genera employing chemical or mechanical defense. Our results suggest that multiple ecological factors influence ant and termite diversity, and that ant predation on termites may have a greater effect than competition between ant and termites for nest sites and food sources.

  14. Cytogenetic data on the threatened leafcutter ant Atta robusta Borgmeier, 1939 (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barros, Luísa Antônia Campos; Aguiar, Hilton Jeferson Alves Cardoso de; Teixeira, Gisele Amaro; Mariano, Cléa Dos Santos Ferreira; Teixeira, Marcos da Cunha; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Pompolo, Silvia das Graças

    2015-10-01

    The karyotype of the threatened ant species Atta robusta is described so as to establish the evolutionary relationships of this taxon with other leafcutter ants. Standard Giemsa staining, C-banding, NOR banding, fluorochromes CMA3/DAPI, Hsc-FA technique and Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH) using 18S rDNA probe were conducted on a population from Aracruz, state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, allowing for comparisons with data available on Atta and other fungus-growing ant species. The diploid chromosome number observed for A. robusta was 2n=22, and the karyotypic formula was 18m+2sm+2st. Heterochromatic blocks were observed in the centromeric region of most chromosomes, where one pair of metacentric chromosomes is characterized by a GC-rich heterochromatic band in the interstitial region of its long arm. The detection of 18S rDNA using FISH confirmed the presence of single NOR for A. robusta. This is the first report of rDNA 18S detection using FISH for leafcutter ants. The cytogenetic results of this study confirm the information available for Atta and allow us to confirm the conserved chromosome number, morphology and banding pattern within the genus for the taxa studied to date, which included species from three out of the four groups of Atta indicated by molecular data. The accumulation of cytogenetic data on fungus-growing ants enhances the understanding of the genomic evolutionary patterns of Atta, since it belongs to a group of recent origin between the most well studied ants. Cytogenetic data does not indicate restrictions in relocation or reintroduction in areas where populations were extinct due to the conserved karyotype. This study allows for cytogenetic comparison of A. robusta with other ants of Atta, emphasizing the importance of chromosomal information for species conservation. Copyright © 2015 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

  15. The effect of urbanization on ant abundance and diversity: a temporal examination of factors affecting biodiversity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Grzegorz Buczkowski

    Full Text Available Numerous studies have examined the effect of urbanization on species richness and most studies implicate urbanization as the major cause of biodiversity loss. However, no study has identified an explicit connection between urbanization and biodiversity loss as the impact of urbanization is typically inferred indirectly by comparing species diversity along urban-rural gradients at a single time point. A different approach is to focus on the temporal rather than the spatial aspect and perform "before and after" studies where species diversity is cataloged over time in the same sites. The current study examined changes in ant abundance and diversity associated with the conversion of natural habitats into urban habitats. Ant abundance and diversity were tracked in forested sites that became urbanized through construction and were examined at 3 time points - before, during, and after construction. On average, 4.3 ± 1.2 unique species were detected in undisturbed plots prior to construction. Ant diversity decreased to 0.7 ± 0.8 species in plots undergoing construction and 1.5 ± 1.1 species in plots 1 year after construction was completed. With regard to species richness, urbanization resulted in the permanent loss of 17 of the 20 species initially present in the study plots. Recovery was slow and only 3 species were present right after construction was completed and 4 species were present 1 year after construction was completed. The second objective examined ant fauna recovery in developed residential lots based on time since construction, neighboring habitat quality, pesticide inputs, and the presence of invasive ants. Ant diversity was positively correlated with factors that promoted ecological recovery and negatively correlated with factors that promoted ecological degradation. Taken together, these results address a critical gap in our knowledge by characterizing the short- and long-term the effects of urbanization on the loss of ant

  16. The effect of urbanization on ant abundance and diversity: a temporal examination of factors affecting biodiversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Richmond, Douglas S

    2012-01-01

    Numerous studies have examined the effect of urbanization on species richness and most studies implicate urbanization as the major cause of biodiversity loss. However, no study has identified an explicit connection between urbanization and biodiversity loss as the impact of urbanization is typically inferred indirectly by comparing species diversity along urban-rural gradients at a single time point. A different approach is to focus on the temporal rather than the spatial aspect and perform "before and after" studies where species diversity is cataloged over time in the same sites. The current study examined changes in ant abundance and diversity associated with the conversion of natural habitats into urban habitats. Ant abundance and diversity were tracked in forested sites that became urbanized through construction and were examined at 3 time points - before, during, and after construction. On average, 4.3 ± 1.2 unique species were detected in undisturbed plots prior to construction. Ant diversity decreased to 0.7 ± 0.8 species in plots undergoing construction and 1.5 ± 1.1 species in plots 1 year after construction was completed. With regard to species richness, urbanization resulted in the permanent loss of 17 of the 20 species initially present in the study plots. Recovery was slow and only 3 species were present right after construction was completed and 4 species were present 1 year after construction was completed. The second objective examined ant fauna recovery in developed residential lots based on time since construction, neighboring habitat quality, pesticide inputs, and the presence of invasive ants. Ant diversity was positively correlated with factors that promoted ecological recovery and negatively correlated with factors that promoted ecological degradation. Taken together, these results address a critical gap in our knowledge by characterizing the short- and long-term the effects of urbanization on the loss of ant biodiversity.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barke Jörg

    2010-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-07-01

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

  19. A reassessment of the mating system characteristics of the army ant Eciton burchellii

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel Jan Christoph; Berghoff, Stefanie M.; Powell, Scott

    2006-01-01

    In a recent study, Denny et al. (2004a) showed that queens of the army ant, Eciton burchellii, mate with multiple males and presented estimates suggesting that they mate with more males than queens of any other ant species so far investigated. They also inferred that data were consistent...... colonies of the same species. Mating frequencies in E. burchellii are indeed very high (mean observed and effective queen-mating frequencies of 12.9 each) but considerably lower than the previous estimates. We show that the number of patrilines represented in the first worker offspring of a young queen...

  20. Out on a limb: Thermal microenvironments in the tropical forest canopy and their relevance to ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stark, Alyssa Y; Adams, Benjamin J; Fredley, Jennifer L; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2017-10-01

    Small, cursorial ectotherms like ants often are immersed in the superheated air layers that develop millimeters above exposed, insolated surfaces (i.e., the thermal boundary layer). We quantified the thermal microenvironments around tree branches in the tropical rainforest canopy, and explored the effects of substrate color on the internal body temperature and species composition of arboreal ants. Branch temperatures during the day (09:00-16:00) were hottest (often > 50°C) and most variable on the upper surface, while the lowest and least variable temperatures occurred on the underside. Temperatures on black substrates declined with increasing distance above the surface in both the field and the laboratory. By contrast, a micro-scale temperature inversion occurred above white substrates. Wind events (ca. 2ms -1 ) eliminated these patterns. Internal temperatures of bodies of Cephalotes atratus workers experimentally heated in the laboratory were 6°C warmer on white vs. black substrates, and 6°C cooler than ambient in windy conditions. The composition of ant species foraging at baits differed between black-painted and unpainted tree branches, with a tendency for smaller ants to avoid the significantly hotter black surfaces. Collectively, these outcomes show that ants traversing canopy branches experience very heterogeneous thermal microenvironments that are partly influenced in predictable ways by branch surface coloration and breezy conditions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. The ant assemblage visiting extrafloral nectaries of Hibiscus pernambucensis (Malvaceae) in a mangrove forest in Southeast Brazil (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)

    OpenAIRE

    Cogni, R; Freitas, AVL

    2002-01-01

    Ant species visiting extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of Hibiscus pernambucensis were studied in a daily flooded mangrove forest in Picinguaba, Southeast Brazil. Nineteen ant species in five subfamilies were observed visiting the EFNs. The most common species (in order of abundance) were Camponotus sp.2, Brachymyrmex sp. and Pseudomyrmex gracilis during the warm season and Brachymyrmex sp., Camponotus crassus and Camponotus sp.2 during the cold season. A twenty-four hour census showed that ant ac...

  2. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae of Andorra

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abel Bernadou

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Within the last decade, checklists of the ant fauna of several European countries have been published or updated. Nevertheless, no ant checklists have hitherto been published for the principality of Andorra, a small landlocked country located in the eastern part of the Pyrenees. This work presents a critical list of the ant species of Andorra based on a review of the literature and on the biological material we collected during several field campaigns conducted in Andorra since the year 2005. Seventy-five species belonging to 21 genera of Formicidae were recorded. Nine species were recorded for the first time in Andorra: Aphaenogaster gibbosa (Latreille, 1798, Camponotus lateralis (Olivier, 1792, Camponotus piceus (Leach, 1825, Formica exsecta Nylander, 1846, Lasius piliferus Seifert, 1992, Tapinoma madeirense Forel, 1895, Temnothorax lichtensteini (Bondroit, 1918, Temnothorax niger (Forel, 1894, Temnothorax nigriceps (Mayr, 1855. The most speciose genera were Formica Linnaeus, 1758 and Temnothorax Forel, 1890 with 14 and 12 species, respectively. The ant fauna of Andorra is mostly dominated by Central European species (some are typical cold climate specialists; however species belonging to the Mediterranean ant fauna were also found. This can be explained by the particular geographic situation of Andorra which is characterized by a high mountain Mediterranean climate.

  3. Impact of Interference Competition on Exploration and Food Exploitation in the Ant Lasius niger

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vincent Fourcassié

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Competition acts as a major force in shaping spatially and/or temporally the foraging activity of ant colonies. Interference competition between colonies in particular is widespread in ants where it can prevent the physical access of competitors to a resource, either directly by fighting or indirectly, by segregating the colony foraging areas. Although the consequences of interference competition on ant distribution have been well studied in the literature, the behavioral mechanisms underlying interference competition have been less explored. Little is known on how ants modify their exploration patterns or the choice of a feeding place after experiencing aggressive encounters. In this paper, we show that, at the individual level, the aphid-tending ant Lasius niger reacts to the presence of an alien conspecific through direct aggressive behavior and local recruitment in the vicinity of fights. At the colony level, however, no defensive recruitment is triggered and the “risky” area where aggressive encounters occur is not specifically avoided during further exploration or food exploitation. We discuss how between-species differences in sensitivity to interference competition could be related to the spatial and temporal predictability of food resources at stake.

  4. Patterns of host ant use by sympatric populations of Maculinea alcon and M. 'rebeli' in the Carpathian Basin

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tartally, A.; Nash, David Richard; Lengyel, S.

    2008-01-01

    Maculinea butterflies show social parasitism via obligatory myrmecophily as their larvae are adopted and raised to pupation by Myrmica ants. Suitable hosts differ for different Maculinea species, and host ant specificity can further differ at the population-level. Although early studies suggested...... single ant species as main hosts for each Maculinea species, it has recently become clear that their host ant specificity is more complex. Maculinea alcon and Maculinea ‘rebeli’ have variously been separated according to adult and larval morphology, phenology, and their use of different ecosystems......, including host plant and host ant species. However, recent genetic evidence has questioned their separation as good species. Here we compare the use of host ants by M. alcon and M. ‘rebeli’ at the regional scale in NE-Hungary and Transylvania (Romania), where molecular studies have found no species...

  5. Ant-diaspore interactions during secondary succession in the Atlantic forest of Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victor P Zwiener

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Animal-plant interactions are important for the recovery of diversity and processes in secondary forests, which increasingly dominate the tropical landscape. We used a combination of observational and experimental approaches to study the interactions of ants with diaspores across a successional gradient of forests in Southern Brazil, from August 2007 to April 2008. In addition to diaspore removal rates, we assessed the species richness, diversity and behaviour of ants interacting with diaspores, in three replicated sites of four successional stages of forests. We recorded 22 ant species interacting with diaspores (an estimated 15% of the total species pool in the region. Species richness and diversity did not differ among successional stages but the behaviour of ants towards diaspores changed with the age of secondary forests. In old successional stages the removal of entire diaspores was more common than in young successional stages of forests. Concordantly, diaspore removal rates were lowest in the youngest successional stage of secondary forests and increased with the age of forests. These results indicate that ant-diaspore interactions in secondary forests are disturbed and lower removal rates in secondary forests are likely to constrain the recruitment of plant populations during secondary succession. Rev. Biol. Trop. 60 (2: 933-942. Epub 2012 June 01.

  6. Myrmica Ants and Their Butterfly Parasites with Special Focus on the Acoustic Communication

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Barbero

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available About 10,000 arthropod species live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Myrmica colonies, in particular, are exploited by numerous social parasites, and the presence of their overwintering brood, as well as of their polygyny, contributes to make them more vulnerable to infestation. Butterflies of the genus Maculinea are among the most investigated Myrmica inquilines. These lycaenids are known for their very complex biological cycles. Maculinea species are obligated parasites that depend on a particular food plant and on a specific Myrmica species for their survival. Maculinea larvae are adopted by Myrmica ants, which are induced to take them into their nests by chemical mimicry. Then the parasite spends the following 11–23 months inside the ants' nest. Mimicking the acoustic emission of the queen ants, Maculinea parasites not only manage to become integrated, but attain highest rank within the colony. Here we review the biology of Maculinea/Myrmica system with a special focus on some recent breakthrough concerning their acoustical patterns.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-08-01

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

  8. The Use of Ideas of Information Theory for Studying “Language” and Intelligence in Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhanna Reznikova

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available In this review we integrate results of long term experimental study on ant “language” and intelligence which were fully based on fundamental ideas of Information Theory, such as the Shannon entropy, the Kolmogorov complexity, and the Shannon’s equation connecting the length of a message (l and its frequency (p, i.e., l = –log p for rational communication systems. This approach enabled us to obtain the following important results on ants’ communication and intelligence: (i to reveal “distant homing” in ants, that is, their ability to transfer information about remote events; (ii to estimate the rate of information transmission; (iii to reveal that ants are able to grasp regularities and to use them for “compression” of information; (iv to reveal that ants are able to transfer to each other the information about the number of objects; (v to discover that ants can add and subtract small numbers. The obtained results show that information theory is not only excellent mathematical theory, but many of its results may be considered as Nature laws.

  9. [Effects of environmental factors on the ant fauna of restinga community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas, André B; Mayhé-Nunes, Antônio J; Queiroz, Jarbas M; Souza, Guilherme O; Ramos, Elaine F

    2007-01-01

    The effects of environmental factors on the richness, diversity and abundance of ants were studied in the Restinga da Marambaia, south coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. The samples were taken using pitfall traps in August/2004 (winter) and March/2005 (summer) in three different vegetation types: (1) herbaceous ridge palmoid (homogeneous habitat); (2) shrub dune thicket and (3) ridge forest (heterogeneous habitats). At each habitat a range of environmental attributes was recorded: soil temperature and humidity, percentage of soil covering by litter and litter depth. Ninety-two ant species belonging to 36 genera and eight subfamilies were recorded. Density of ant species and abundance varied significantly between habitats and seasons; ant diversity varied only between habitats. Homogeneous habitat had lower ant species density, abundance and diversity than heterogeneous habitats. The two first variables were positively correlated with litter depth and both were higher in summer than in winter samples. There were more species of Ponerinae and Ectatomminae in heterogeneous than in the homogeneous habitat, whereas the Formicinae species were more abundant in the later.

  10. Seasonal contrasts in the response of coffee ants to agroforestry shade-tree management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teodoro, A V; Sousa-Souto, L; Klein, A-M; Tscharntke, T

    2010-12-01

    In many tropical landscapes, agroforestry systems are the last forested ecosystems, providing shade, having higher humidity, mitigating potential droughts, and possessing more species than any other crop system. Here, we tested the hypothesis that higher levels of shade and associated humidity in agroforestry enhance coffee ant richness more during the dry than rainy season, comparing ant richness in 22 plots of three coffee agroforestry types in coastal Ecuador: simple-shade agroforests (intensively managed with low tree species diversity), complex-shade agroforests (extensively managed with intermediate tree species diversity) and abandoned coffee agroforests (abandoned for 10-15 yr and resembling secondary forests). Seasonality affected responses of ant richness but not composition to agroforestry management, in that most species were observed in abandoned coffee agroforests in the dry season. In the rainy season, however, most species were found in simple-shade agroforests, and complex agroforestry being intermediate. Foraging coffee ants species composition did not change differently according to agroforestry type and season. Results show that shade appears to be most important in the dry seasons, while a mosaic of different land-use types may provide adequate environmental conditions to ant species, maximizing landscape-wide richness throughout the year. © 2010 Entomological Society of America

  11. Sampling efficacy for the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stringer, Lloyd D; Suckling, David Maxwell; Baird, David; Vander Meer, Robert K; Christian, Sheree J; Lester, Philip J

    2011-10-01

    Cost-effective detection of invasive ant colonies before establishment in new ranges is imperative for the protection of national borders and reducing their global impact. We examined the sampling efficiency of food-baits and pitfall traps (baited and nonbaited) in detecting isolated red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) nests in multiple environments in Gainesville, FL. Fire ants demonstrated a significantly higher preference for a mixed protein food type (hotdog or ground meat combined with sweet peanut butter) than for the sugar or water baits offered. Foraging distance success was a function of colony size, detection trap used, and surveillance duration. Colony gyne number did not influence detection success. Workers from small nests (0- to 15-cm mound diameter) traveled no >3 m to a food source, whereas large colonies (>30-cm mound diameter) traveled up to 17 m. Baited pitfall traps performed best at detecting incipient ant colonies followed by nonbaited pitfall traps then food baits, whereas food baits performed well when trying to detect large colonies. These results were used to create an interactive model in Microsoft Excel, whereby surveillance managers can alter trap type, density, and duration parameters to estimate the probability of detecting specified or unknown S. invicta colony sizes. This model will support decision makers who need to balance the sampling cost and risk of failure to detect fire ant colonies.

  12. Determining the most effective concentration of cypermethrin and the appropriate carrier particle size for fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) bait.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kafle, Lekhnath; Shih, Cheng-Jen

    2012-03-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the most effective particle size of DDGS (distiller's dried grains with solubles) as fire ant bait carrier, as well as the most effective concentration of cypermethrin as a toxicant against the red imported fire ant (RIFA) Solenopsis invicta Buren under laboratory conditions. The DDGS particle size did not affect the fire ant's preference for the bait, but it did affect the mass of DDGS being carried back to the nest. The size of the DDGS particles and the mass of DDGS being carried back to the nest were positively correlated. The most efficient particle size of DDGS was 0.8-2 mm. The concentration of cypermethrin has a specific range for killing fire ants in an efficient manner. Neither a very low nor a very high concentration of cypermethrin was able to kill fire ants efficiently. The most effective concentration of cypermethrin was 0.13% in DDGS when mixed with 15% shrimp shell powders and 11% soybean oil. Based on its ability to kill fire ants when mixed with cypermethrin, as well as the advantage of having a larger area coverage when sprayed in the field, DDGS as the carrier and cypermethrin as the toxicant can be considered to be an efficient way to prepare fire ant bait for controlling fire ants in infested areas. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard

    behaviour. Here we report the first large-scale comparative study on fungus garden enzyme profiles and show that various interesting changes can be documented. A more detailed analysis of laccase expression, an enzyme that is believed to oxidize phenols in defensive secondary plant compounds such as tannins...

  14. Cuticular Hydrocarbon Pheromones for Social Behavior and Their Coding in the Ant Antenna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kavita R. Sharma

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The sophisticated organization of eusocial insect societies is largely based on the regulation of complex behaviors by hydrocarbon pheromones present on the cuticle. We used electrophysiology to investigate the detection of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs by female-specific olfactory sensilla basiconica on the antenna of Camponotus floridanus ants through the utilization of one of the largest family of odorant receptors characterized so far in insects. These sensilla, each of which contains multiple olfactory receptor neurons, are differentially sensitive to CHCs and allow them to be classified into three broad groups that collectively detect every hydrocarbon tested, including queen and worker-enriched CHCs. This broad-spectrum sensitivity is conserved in a related species, Camponotus laevigatus, allowing these ants to detect CHCs from both nestmates and non-nestmates. Behavioral assays demonstrate that these ants are excellent at discriminating CHCs detected by the antenna, including enantiomers of a candidate queen pheromone that regulates the reproductive division of labor.

  15. The cricket and the ant : Organizational trade-offs in changing environments

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Peli, Gabor; Bruggeman, Jeroen

    2007-01-01

    Organizations face trade-offs when they adopt strategies in changing resource environments. The type of trade-off depends on the type of resource change. This paper offers an organizational trade-off model for quantitative resource changes. We call it the "Cricket and Ant" (CA) model, because the

  16. Time optimized path-choice in the termite hunting ant Megaponera analis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Erik T; Hönle, Philipp O; Linsenmair, K Eduard

    2018-05-10

    Trail network systems among ants have received a lot of scientific attention due to their various applications in problem solving of networks. Recent studies have shown that ants select the fastest available path when facing different velocities on different substrates, rather than the shortest distance. The progress of decision-making by these ants is determined by pheromone-based maintenance of paths, which is a collective decision. However, path optimization through individual decision-making remains mostly unexplored. Here we present the first study of time-optimized path selection via individual decision-making by scout ants. Megaponera analis scouts search for termite foraging sites and lead highly organized raid columns to them. The path of the scout determines the path of the column. Through installation of artificial roads around M. analis nests we were able to influence the pathway choice of the raids. After road installation 59% of all recorded raids took place completely or partly on the road, instead of the direct, i.e. distance-optimized, path through grass from the nest to the termites. The raid velocity on the road was more than double the grass velocity, the detour thus saved 34.77±23.01% of the travel time compared to a hypothetical direct path. The pathway choice of the ants was similar to a mathematical model of least time allowing us to hypothesize the underlying mechanisms regulating the behavior. Our results highlight the importance of individual decision-making in the foraging behavior of ants and show a new procedure of pathway optimization. © 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  17. No effect of Zn-pollution on the energy content in the black garden ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz

    2016-05-01

    Social insects may display a response to environmental pollution at the colony level. The key trait of an ant colony is to share energy between castes in order to maintain the existing adult population and to feed the brood. In the present study we calorimetrically measured the energy content per body mass (J/mg) of adults and pupae of workers, males and females of the black garden ant Lasius niger. The ants were sampled from 37 wild colonies originating from 19 sites located along the metal pollution gradient established in a post-mining area in Poland. The cost of metal detoxification seen as a possible reduction in energy content with increasing pollution was found neither for pupae nor adults. However, a considerable part of variance in energy content is explained by belonging to the same colony. These findings stress the importance of colony-specific factors and/or the interaction of these factors with specific site in shaping the response of ants to metal-pollution stress. Colony-related factors may constrain possible selfish decisions of workers over energy allocation in workers and sexual castes.

  18. The mandible opening response: quantifying aggression elicited by chemical cues in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guerrieri, Fernando J; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2008-01-01

    Social insects have evolved efficient recognition systems guaranteeing social cohesion and protection from enemies. To defend their territories and threaten non-nestmate intruders, ants open their mandibles as a first aggressive display. Albeit chemical cues play a major role in discrimination...... genus have more similar profiles. The antennae of harnessed ants were touched with a glass rod coated with the cuticular extract of (a) nestmates, (b) non-nestmates of the same species, (c) another species of the same genus and (d) a species of a different genus. The mandible opening response (MOR......) was recorded as the aggressive response. In all assayed species, MOR significantly differed among stimuli, being weakest towards nestmate odour and strongest towards odours originating from ants of a different genus. We thus introduce here a new procedure suitable for studying the chemical basis of aggression...

  19. Multiple depots vehicle routing based on the ant colony with the genetic algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ChunYing Liu

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Purpose: the distribution routing plans of multi-depots vehicle scheduling problem will increase exponentially along with the adding of customers. So, it becomes an important studying trend to solve the vehicle scheduling problem with heuristic algorithm. On the basis of building the model of multi-depots vehicle scheduling problem, in order to improve the efficiency of the multiple depots vehicle routing, the paper puts forward a fusion algorithm on multiple depots vehicle routing based on the ant colony algorithm with genetic algorithm. Design/methodology/approach: to achieve this objective, the genetic algorithm optimizes the parameters of the ant colony algorithm. The fusion algorithm on multiple depots vehicle based on the ant colony algorithm with genetic algorithm is proposed. Findings: simulation experiment indicates that the result of the fusion algorithm is more excellent than the other algorithm, and the improved algorithm has better convergence effective and global ability. Research limitations/implications: in this research, there are some assumption that might affect the accuracy of the model such as the pheromone volatile factor, heuristic factor in each period, and the selected multiple depots. These assumptions can be relaxed in future work. Originality/value: In this research, a new method for the multiple depots vehicle routing is proposed. The fusion algorithm eliminate the influence of the selected parameter by optimizing the heuristic factor, evaporation factor, initial pheromone distribute, and have the strong global searching ability. The Ant Colony algorithm imports cross operator and mutation operator for operating the first best solution and the second best solution in every iteration, and reserves the best solution. The cross and mutation operator extend the solution space and improve the convergence effective and the global ability. This research shows that considering both the ant colony and genetic algorithm

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin

    2008-01-01

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

  1. Does the afrotropical army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus go extinct in fragmented forests?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schöning, Caspar; Kinuthia, Wanja; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    or facultatively associated with them. Field observations and mathematical modelling suggest that deforestation and accompanying forest fragmentation cause local extinctions of the neotropical swarm-raiding army ant Eciton burchellii which in turn have negative effects on its associated fauna. The aim......Swarm-raiding army ants are extremely polyphagous nomadic predators inhabiting tropical forests. They are considered keystone species because their raids can regulate the population dynamics of their prey and because a plethora of both invertebrate and vertebrate species are obligatorily...... of this study was to examine whether afrotropical army ants are affected by forest fragmentation in the same way. Surveys of Dorylus (Anomma) molestus colonies were carried out in forest fragments of different sizes and in the matrix habitat at two sites in Eastern Kenya, along the Lower Tana River...

  2. Positive-Strand RNA Viruses Infecting the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven M. Valles

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri were introduced into the USA between 1918 and 1945. Since that time, they have expanded their USA range to include some 138 million hectares. Their introduction has had significant economic consequences with costs associated with damage and control efforts estimated at 6 billion dollars annually in the USA. The general consensus of entomologists and myrmecologists is that permanent, sustainable control of these ants in the USA will likely depend on self-sustaining biological control agents. A metagenomics approach successfully resulted in discovery of three viruses infecting S. invicta. Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (SINV-1, SINV-2, and SINV-3 are all positive, single-stranded RNA viruses and represent the first viral discoveries in any ant species. Molecular characterization, host relationships, and potential development and use of SINV-1, SINV-2, and SINV-3 as biopesticides are discussed.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  4. Convergent coevolution in the domestication of coral mushrooms by fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Munkacsi, A B; Pan, J J; Villesen, Palle

    2004-01-01

    -mushroom family Pterulaceae using phylogenetic reconstructions based on broad taxon sampling, including the first mushroom collected from the garden of an ant species in the A. pilosum group. The domestication of the pterulaceous cultivar is independent from the domestication of the gilled mushrooms cultivated......Comparisons of phylogenetic patterns between coevolving symbionts can reveal rich details about the evolutionary history of symbioses. The ancient symbiosis between fungus-growing ants, their fungal cultivars, antibiotic-producing bacteria and cultivar-infecting parasites is dominated by a pattern...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  6. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

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

  7. Queen-worker caste ratio depends on colony size in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard; Linksvayer, Timothy Arnold; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2011-01-01

    The success of an ant colony depends on the simultaneous presence of reproducing queens and nonreproducing workers in a ratio that will maximize colony growth and reproduction. Despite its presumably crucial role, queen–worker caste ratios (the ratio of adult queens to workers) and the factors...... affecting this variable remain scarcely studied. Maintaining polygynous pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) colonies in the laboratory has provided us with the opportunity to experimentally manipulate colony size, one of the key factors that can be expected to affect colony level queen–worker caste ratios...... species with budding colonies may adaptively adjust caste ratios to ensure rapid growth....

  8. Mating Behavior of the African Weaver Ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nene, Wilson; Rwegasira, Gration; Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Mating in most species of ants occurs during nuptial flights. In the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille, mating has previously been hypothesized to take place within the nest before the nuptial flight. However, several researchers disagree with this supposition particularly...... with reference to the closely related species Oecopylla smaragdina (Fabricius) whose mating occur during nuptial flights. Understanding the mating strategy of O. longinoda is of importance for its successful application in biological control programs. We conducted field and screen house experiments during two...

  9. Assessing the impact of deforestation of the Atlantic rainforest on ant-fruit interactions: a field experiment using synthetic fruits.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Gabriela D Bieber

    Full Text Available Ants frequently interact with fleshy fruits on the ground of tropical forests. This interaction is regarded as mutualistic because seeds benefit from enhanced germination and dispersal to nutrient-rich microsites, whereas ants benefit from consuming the nutritious pulp/aril. Considering that the process of deforestation affects many attributes of the ecosystem such as species abundance and composition, and interspecific interactions, we asked whether the interaction between ants and fallen fleshy fruits in the Brazilian Atlantic forest differs between human-created fragments and undisturbed forests. We controlled diaspore type and quantity by using synthetic fruits (a plastic 'seed' covered by a lipid-rich 'pulp', which were comparable to lipid-rich fruits. Eight independent areas (four undisturbed forests, and four disturbed forest fragments were used in the field experiment, in which we recorded the attracted ant species, ant behaviour, and fruit removal distance. Fruits in undisturbed forest sites attracted a higher number of species than those in disturbed forests. Moreover, the occurrence of large, fruit-carrying ponerine ants (Pachycondyla, Odontomachus; 1.1 to 1.4 cm was higher in undisturbed forests. Large species (≥3 mm of Pheidole (Myrmicinae, also able to remove fruits, did not differ between forest types. Following these changes in species occurrence, fruit displacement was more frequent in undisturbed than in disturbed forests. Moreover, displacement distances were also greater in the undisturbed forests. Our data suggest that fallen fleshy fruits interacting with ants face different fates depending on the conservation status of the forest. Together with the severe loss of their primary dispersers in human-disturbed tropical forest sites, vertebrate-dispersed fruits may also be deprived of potential ant-derived benefits in these habitats due to shifts in the composition of interacting ant species. Our data illustrate the use of

  10. Assessing the impact of deforestation of the Atlantic rainforest on ant-fruit interactions: a field experiment using synthetic fruits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bieber, Ana Gabriela D; Silva, Paulo S D; Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2014-01-01

    Ants frequently interact with fleshy fruits on the ground of tropical forests. This interaction is regarded as mutualistic because seeds benefit from enhanced germination and dispersal to nutrient-rich microsites, whereas ants benefit from consuming the nutritious pulp/aril. Considering that the process of deforestation affects many attributes of the ecosystem such as species abundance and composition, and interspecific interactions, we asked whether the interaction between ants and fallen fleshy fruits in the Brazilian Atlantic forest differs between human-created fragments and undisturbed forests. We controlled diaspore type and quantity by using synthetic fruits (a plastic 'seed' covered by a lipid-rich 'pulp'), which were comparable to lipid-rich fruits. Eight independent areas (four undisturbed forests, and four disturbed forest fragments) were used in the field experiment, in which we recorded the attracted ant species, ant behaviour, and fruit removal distance. Fruits in undisturbed forest sites attracted a higher number of species than those in disturbed forests. Moreover, the occurrence of large, fruit-carrying ponerine ants (Pachycondyla, Odontomachus; 1.1 to 1.4 cm) was higher in undisturbed forests. Large species (≥3 mm) of Pheidole (Myrmicinae), also able to remove fruits, did not differ between forest types. Following these changes in species occurrence, fruit displacement was more frequent in undisturbed than in disturbed forests. Moreover, displacement distances were also greater in the undisturbed forests. Our data suggest that fallen fleshy fruits interacting with ants face different fates depending on the conservation status of the forest. Together with the severe loss of their primary dispersers in human-disturbed tropical forest sites, vertebrate-dispersed fruits may also be deprived of potential ant-derived benefits in these habitats due to shifts in the composition of interacting ant species. Our data illustrate the use of synthetic fruits

  11. Nest Relocation and Colony Founding in the Australian Desert Ant, Melophorus bagoti Lubbock (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick Schultheiss

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Even after years of research on navigation in the Red Honey Ant, Melophorus bagoti, much of its life history remains elusive. Here, we present observations on nest relocation and the reproductive and founding stages of colonies. Nest relocation is possibly aided by trail laying behaviour, which is highly unusual for solitary foraging desert ants. Reproduction occurs in synchronised mating flights, which are probably triggered by rain. Queens may engage in multiple matings, and there is circumstantial evidence that males are chemically attracted to queens. After the mating flight, the queens found new colonies independently and singly. Excavation of these founding colonies reveals first insights into their structure.

  12. Dataset on the abundance of ants and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields with intercropped plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dassou, Anicet Gbèblonoudo; Carval, Dominique; Dépigny, Sylvain; Fansi, Gabriel; Tixier, Philippe

    2016-12-01

    The data presented in this article are related to the research article entitled "Ant abundance and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields as affected by intercropping" (A.G. Dassou, D. Carval, S. Dépigny, G.H Fansi, P. Tixier, 2015) [1]. This article describes how associated crops maize (Zea mays), cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) and bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) intercropped in the plantain fields in Cameroun modify ant community structure and damages of banana weevil Cosmopolites sordidus. The field data set is made publicly available to enable critical or extended analyzes.

  13. An evaluation of the possible adaptive function of fungal brood covering by attine ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Armitage, Sophie Alice Octavia; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Wcislo, William T.

    2012-01-01

    species, but to varying degrees, and appears to have evolved shortly after the origin of fungus farming, but was partly or entirely abandoned in some genera. To understand the evolution of the trait we used quantitative phylogenetic analyses to test whether brood-covering behavior covaries among attine...... ant clades and with two hygienic traits that reduce risk of disease: mycelial brood cover did not correlate with mutualistic bacteria that the ants culture on their cuticles for their antibiotics, but there was a negative relationship between metapleural gland grooming and mycelial cover. A broader...

  14. Dataset on the abundance of ants and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields with intercropped plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anicet Gbèblonoudo Dassou

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The data presented in this article are related to the research article entitled “Ant abundance and Cosmopolites sordidus damage in plantain fields as affected by intercropping” (A.G. Dassou, D. Carval, S. Dépigny, G.H Fansi, P. Tixier, 2015 [1]. This article describes how associated crops maize (Zea mays, cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium and bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria intercropped in the plantain fields in Cameroun modify ant community structure and damages of banana weevil Cosmopolites sordidus. The field data set is made publicly available to enable critical or extended analyzes.

  15. Sick ants become unsociable

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  16. Phengaris (Maculinea) alcon butterflies deposit their eggs on tall plants with many large buds in the vicinity of Myrmica ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wynhoff, I.; Bakker, R.B.; Oteman, B.; Arnaldo, P.S.; Langevelde, van F.

    2015-01-01

    The survival of eggs and larvae is dependent on the oviposition site selection of their mothers. In obligate myrmecophilic butterflies, both host plant phenology and host ant presence are expected to affect the decision where to deposit eggs. The importance of ant nest presence in the oviposition

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

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

  18. Diet of the ant-eating chat Myrmecocichla lormicivora in relation to ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1987-11-15

    Nov 15, 1987 ... year Hymenoptera (ants) were the most abundant arthropods in the pitfall traps wit~ Isoptera common in winter. Although a wide variety of ... occasional Acacia karroo tree. (For more detail of the physical .... Isoptera and Formicidae occurred in the diet during most months of the year, they 'rere only common ...

  19. Ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in an urban ecosystem near the Atlantic Rainforest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    CM. Kamura

    Full Text Available The relationships between an urban ecosystem located near the Atlantic Rainforest in southeastern Brazil and ant communities were studied with the objective of quantifying the ant richness and abundance in the household environment and its surroundings. Eighty residences were sampled, where 58 species and 28 genera pertaining to 7 sub-families were found to be present. Inside the residences, the species richness was found to be lower (26, although the abundance was greater (10,670, with the wash area and kitchen being the locales that contributed with the greatest number of hits. The opposite was true in the areas outside the residences, where 54 species and 3,747 ants were observed. Inside houses, the species known as Tramp ants were found, in the following order of importance: Solenopsis -saevissima, Tapinoma melanocephalum, Linepithema humile, Paratrechina fulva, Wasmannia -auropunctata, P. -longicornis, Pheidole megacephala, Monomorium pharaonis and M. floricola. Externally, mainly in the yards and gardens, species such as Octostruma rugifera, Heteroponera dolo, Hypoponera sp.1 and sp.6, Gnamptogenys sp. 4, G. striatula, Odontomachus meinerti, Pachycondyla constricta and P. striata were found. In general, a greater number of species and lower abundance of individuals were observed in the neighborhoods nearer the mountains than in those closer to the urban center.

  20. Improving the Interpretability of Classification Rules Discovered by an Ant Colony Algorithm: Extended Results.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otero, Fernando E B; Freitas, Alex A

    2016-01-01

    Most ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms for inducing classification rules use a ACO-based procedure to create a rule in a one-at-a-time fashion. An improved search strategy has been proposed in the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] algorithm, where an ACO-based procedure is used to create a complete list of rules (ordered rules), i.e., the ACO search is guided by the quality of a list of rules instead of an individual rule. In this paper we propose an extension of the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] algorithm to discover a set of rules (unordered rules). The main motivations for this work are to improve the interpretation of individual rules by discovering a set of rules and to evaluate the impact on the predictive accuracy of the algorithm. We also propose a new measure to evaluate the interpretability of the discovered rules to mitigate the fact that the commonly used model size measure ignores how the rules are used to make a class prediction. Comparisons with state-of-the-art rule induction algorithms, support vector machines, and the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] producing ordered rules are also presented.

  1. Ex-ante Study of a Possible Modernisation of the EU-Chile Association Agreement

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Henry de Frahan, Bruno; Hartwell, Christopher; Kuik, O.J.; Lirette, Paul; Mirecka, Katarzyna; Nolan Garcia, Kimberly; Pellandra, Andrea; Polanco, Rodrigo; Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus; Shuvaieva, Iryna; Sidlo, Kataryna; Teresinski, Jan; Torrent, Ramon; Valdes, Albert

    This study provides an ex-ante impact assessment of the possible modernisation of the EU-Chile Association Agreement. Since the current agreement entered into force in 2003, Chilean exports of agricultural/food products and services to the EU have nearly tripled while EU exports to Chile have

  2. Relative attractiveness of seeds of myrmecochorous Australian and South African plants to ants, and the chemical basis of this attraction

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Midgley, JJ

    1995-08-01

    Full Text Available The responses of an indigenous acid an exotic (South American) ant was compared to seeds from exotic (Australian) and indigenous Caps myrmecochorous plants. Non-South African ants were more attracted to seeds of myrmecochorous species, than to non...

  3. Effects of temporally persistent ant nests of soil protozoan communities and the abundance of morphological types of amoeba

    Science.gov (United States)

    We compared soil protozoan communities near ant nests with soil protozoans in reference soils 5m from the edge of any mounds. We sampled three species of Chihuahuan Desert ants that construct nests that persist for more than a decade: a seed harvester, Pogonomymex rugosus, a liquid feeding honey-po...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan F Seipke

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aiming Zhou

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

  7. First record of the vulnerable social parasite ant Plagiolepis grassei in Italy (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Enrico Schifani

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The first Italian records of the rare parasitic ant species Plagiolepis grassei Le Masne, 1956 are here reported. This species is considered as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN’s Red List, and was previously recorded from France and Spain only.

  8. A fortuitous ant-fern association in the Amazon lowlands of Peru

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Blanca León

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Myrmecophyly is best documented among tropical epiphytes, and myrmecotrophy occurs especially among domatia-forming plants. We report the case of Polytaenium cajenense with "external" domatia and its use by the same symbiont ant as its host Cordia nodosa. This case is interpreted as the result of stochastic events and their relations to pre-existing adaptations of all species involved.

  9. Invasive acacias experience higher ant seed removal rates at the invasion edges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Montesinos

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Seed dispersal is a key process for the invasion of new areas by exotic species. Introduced plants often take advantage of native generalist dispersers. Australian acacias are primarily dispersed by ants in their native range and produce seeds bearing a protein and lipid rich reward for ant mutualists (elaiosome. Nevertheless, the role of myrmecochory in the expansion of Australian acacias in European invaded areas is still not clear. We selected one European population of Acacia dealbata and another of A. longifolia and offered elaiosome-bearing and elaiosome-removed seeds to local ant communities. For each species, seeds were offered both in high-density acacia stands and in low-density invasion edges. For both acacia species, seed removal was significantly higher at the low-density edges. For A. longifolia, manual elimination of elaiosomes reduced the chance of seed removal by 80% in the low-density edges, whereas it made no difference on the high-density stands. For A. dealbata, the absence of elaiosome reduced seed removal rate by 52%, independently of the acacia density. Our data suggests that invasive acacias have found effective ant seed dispersers in Europe and that the importance of such dispersers is higher at the invasion edges.

  10. The effect of water on the ground nesting habits of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elahi, Robin

    2005-11-18

    The large predatory ant, Paraponera clavata, exerts measurable top-down effects in wet and moist Neotropical forests, and therefore its distribution has potential ecological implications. To determine how water affects the presence of this important predator, the ground nesting ecology of P. clavata was examined with respect to various habitat characteristics. Four hectares of disturbed Costa Rican lowland rain forest were surveyed for ant colonies to determine nest distribution patterns in wet and dry habitat; significantly more colonies were found in dry habitat. Seventeen of 19 nests built on slopes of > 5 degrees inclination were positioned on the downward side of the tree, possibly using the trunk as a shield against runoff during rain showers. Moisture and pH inside nests were significantly different from adjacent soil. These results suggest that water influences the ground nesting habits of P. clavata, thus ecological differences between comparatively wet and dry portions of tropical forests may arise from the relative abundance of this ant species.

  11. Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, Todd M; Stanton, Maureen L; Young, Truman P; Goheen, Jacob R; Pringle, Robert M; Karban, Richard

    2008-01-11

    Mutualisms are key components of biodiversity and ecosystem function, yet the forces maintaining them are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of removing large mammals on an ant-Acacia mutualism in an African savanna. Ten years of large-herbivore exclusion reduced the nectar and housing provided by plants to ants, increasing antagonistic behavior by a mutualistic ant associate and shifting competitive dominance within the plant-ant community from this nectar-dependent mutualist to an antagonistic species that does not depend on plant rewards. Trees occupied by this antagonist suffered increased attack by stem-boring beetles, grew more slowly, and experienced doubled mortality relative to trees occupied by the mutualistic ant. These results show that large mammals maintain cooperation within a widespread symbiosis and suggest complex cascading effects of megafaunal extinction.

  12. Are Invasive Species Stressful? The Glucocorticoid Profile of Native Lizards Exposed to Invasive Fire Ants Depends on the Context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Sean P; Freidenfelds, Nicole A; Thawley, Christopher J; Robbins, Travis R; Langkilde, Tracy

    Invasive species represent a substantial threat to native species worldwide. Research on the impacts of invasive species on wild living vertebrates has focused primarily on population-level effects. The sublethal, individual-level effects of invaders may be equally important but are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of invasive fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) on the physiological stress response of a native lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) within two experimental contexts: directly exposing lizards to a fire ant attack and housing lizards with fire ants in seminatural field enclosures. Lizards directly exposed to brief attack by fire ants had elevated concentrations of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT), suggesting that these encounters can be physiologically stressful. However, lizards exposed for longer periods to fire ants in field enclosures had lower concentrations of CORT. This may indicate that the combined effects of confinement and fire ant exposure have pushed lizards into allostatic overload. However, lizards from fire ant enclosures appeared to have intact negative feedback controls of the stress response, evidenced by functioning adrenocorticotropic hormone responsiveness and lack of suppression of innate immunity (plasma bactericidal capacity). We review previous studies examining the stress response of wild vertebrates to various anthropogenic stressors and discuss how these-in combination with our results-underscore the importance of considering context (the length, frequency, magnitude, and types of threat) when assessing these impacts.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina

    2013-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants combine large-scale herbivory with fungus farming to sustain advanced societies. Their stratified colonies are major evolutionary achievements and serious agricultural pests, but the crucial adaptations that allowed this mutualism to become the prime herbivorous component of neo...

  14. Prospecting for viral natural enemies of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Metagenomics and next generation sequencing were employed to discover new virus natural enemies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren in its native range (i.e., Formosa, Argentina) with the ultimate goal of testing and releasing new viral pathogens into U.S. S. invicta populations to provide nat...

  15. Convergent coevolution in the domestication of coral mushrooms by fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Munkacsi, A B; Nees, Jan Pan; Villesen, Palle

    2004-01-01

    Comparisons of phylogenetic patterns between coevolving symbionts can reveal rich details about the evolutionary history of symbioses. The ancient symbiosis between fungus-growing ants, their fungal cultivars, antibiotic-producing bacteria and cultivar-infecting parasites is dominated by a patter...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Poulsen

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

  17. Ant and Mite Diversity Drives Toxin Variation in the Little Devil Poison Frog.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGugan, Jenna R; Byrd, Gary D; Roland, Alexandre B; Caty, Stephanie N; Kabir, Nisha; Tapia, Elicio E; Trauger, Sunia A; Coloma, Luis A; O'Connell, Lauren A

    2016-06-01

    Poison frogs sequester chemical defenses from arthropod prey, although the details of how arthropod diversity contributes to variation in poison frog toxins remains unclear. We characterized skin alkaloid profiles in the Little Devil poison frog, Oophaga sylvatica (Dendrobatidae), across three populations in northwestern Ecuador. Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, we identified histrionicotoxins, 3,5- and 5,8-disubstituted indolizidines, decahydroquinolines, and lehmizidines as the primary alkaloid toxins in these O. sylvatica populations. Frog skin alkaloid composition varied along a geographical gradient following population distribution in a principal component analysis. We also characterized diversity in arthropods isolated from frog stomach contents and confirmed that O. sylvatica specialize on ants and mites. To test the hypothesis that poison frog toxin variability reflects species and chemical diversity in arthropod prey, we (1) used sequencing of cytochrome oxidase 1 to identify individual prey specimens, and (2) used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to chemically profile consumed ants and mites. We identified 45 ants and 9 mites in frog stomachs, including several undescribed species. We also showed that chemical profiles of consumed ants and mites cluster by frog population, suggesting different frog populations have access to chemically distinct prey. Finally, by comparing chemical profiles of frog skin and isolated prey items, we traced the arthropod source of four poison frog alkaloids, including 3,5- and 5,8-disubstituted indolizidines and a lehmizidine alkaloid. Together, the data show that toxin variability in O. sylvatica reflects chemical diversity in arthropod prey.

  18. Looking for the ants: selection of oviposition sites by two myrmecophilous butterfly species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wynhoff, I.; Grutters, M.; Langevelde, van F.

    2008-01-01

    Obligate myrmecophilous butterfly species, such as Maculinea teleius and M. nausithous that hibernate as caterpillar in nests of the ant species Myrmica scabrinodis and M. rubra respectively, have narrowly defined habitat requirements. One would expect that these butterflies are able to select for

  19. Seminal fluid enhances sperm viability in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Den Boer, Susanne Petronella A; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan; Baer, Boris

    2008-01-01

    The seminal fluid that accompanies sperm in ejaculates has been shown or suggested to affect sperm competition and paternity success of insects by preventing female remating, inducing oviposition, and forming mating plugs. In Atta leafcutter ants, queens have multiple mates but never remate later...

  20. Phoretic Arthropods of the Red Imported Fire Ant in Central Louisiana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    John Moser; Stacy Blomquist

    2011-01-01

    More than 4,665 phoretic arthropods comprising29species were collected from alates of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis inoicta Buren, preparing to fly from nests in Pineville, LA. A wide variety of taxonomic groups were represented, including two insect and 17 mite families. Most arthropods fell into two classes: 1) those that may be truly phoretic with more than...

  1. Invasive ants compete with and modify the trophic ecology of hermit crabs on tropical islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNatty, Alice; Abbott, Kirsti L; Lester, Philip J

    2009-05-01

    Invasive species can dramatically alter trophic interactions. Predation is the predominant trophic interaction generally considered to be responsible for ecological change after invasion. In contrast, how frequently competition from invasive species contributes to the decline of native species remains controversial. Here, we demonstrate how the trophic ecology of the remote atoll nation of Tokelau is changing due to competition between invasive ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) and native terrestrial hermit crabs (Coenobita spp.) for carrion. A significant negative correlation was observed between A. gracilipes and hermit crab abundance. On islands with A. gracilipes, crabs were generally restricted to the periphery of invaded islands. Very few hermit crabs were found in central areas of these islands where A. gracilipes abundances were highest. Ant exclusion experiments demonstrated that changes in the abundance and distribution of hermit crabs on Tokelau are a result of competition. The ants did not kill the hermit crabs. Rather, when highly abundant, A. gracilipes attacked crabs by spraying acid and drove crabs away from carrion resources. Analysis of naturally occurring N and C isotopes suggests that the ants are effectively lowering the trophic level of crabs. According to delta(15) N values, hermit crabs have a relatively high trophic level on islands where A. gracilipes have not invaded. In contrast, where these ants have invaded we observed a significant decrease in delta(15) N for all crab species. This result concurs with our experiment in suggesting long-term exclusion from carrion resources, driving co-occurring crabs towards a more herbivorous diet. Changes in hermit crab abundance or distribution may have major ramifications for the stability of plant communities. Because A. gracilipes have invaded many tropical islands where the predominant scavengers are hermit crabs, we consider that their competitive effects are likely to be more prominent in

  2. The Ant Cardiocondyla elegans as Host of the Enigmatic Endoparasitic Fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Giehr

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Data on host species and the distribution of the endoparasitic fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum increased continuously in recent decades. Here, we add the ant Cardiocondyla elegans as new host species. Colonies of the monogynous species were found infested in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon (South France. Samples from the nest indicate high infection rates. All castes and sexes were infected by the spores. Variations of infection rates between sampling methods and species are discussed.

  3. Innate colour preference, individual learning and memory retention in the ant Camponotus blandus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yilmaz, Ayse; Dyer, Adrian G; Rössler, Wolfgang; Spaethe, Johannes

    2017-09-15

    Ants are a well-characterized insect model for the study of visual learning and orientation, but the extent to which colour vision is involved in these tasks remains unknown. We investigated the colour preference, learning and memory retention of Camponotus blandus foragers under controlled laboratory conditions. Our results show that C. blandus foragers exhibit a strong innate preference for ultraviolet (UV, 365 nm) over blue (450 nm) and green (528 nm) wavelengths. The ants can learn to discriminate 365 nm from either 528 nm or 450 nm, independent of intensity changes. However, they fail to discriminate between 450 nm and 528 nm. Modelling of putative colour spaces involving different numbers of photoreceptor types revealed that colour discrimination performance of individual ants is best explained by dichromacy, comprising a short-wavelength (UV) receptor with peak sensitivity at about 360 nm, and a long-wavelength receptor with peak sensitivity between 470 nm and 560 nm. Foragers trained to discriminate blue or green from UV light are able to retain the learned colour information in an early mid-term (e-MTM), late mid-term (l-MTM), early long-term (e-LTM) and late long-term (l-LTM) memory from where it can be retrieved after 1 h, 12 h, 24 h, 3 days and 7 days after training, indicating that colour learning may induce different memory phases in ants. Overall, our results show that ants can use chromatic information in a way that should promote efficient foraging in complex natural environments. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. Morphology and ultrastructure of the mandibular gland in the ant Brachyponera sennaarensis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billen, Johan; Al-Khalifa, Mohammed

    2018-01-01

    The 'samsum ant' Brachyponera sennaarensis is an invasive species in Saudi Arabia, where it forms a serious threat because of its painful sting. As part of a morphological survey of the exocrine system of this species, we studied the mandibular gland of males, queens and workers of this species. The gland of males is similar to the common anatomical appearance the mandibular gland has in ants in general, but is considerably different in queens and workers. In both female castes, the secretory cells are grouped in one single cluster, that is surrounded by a thick sheath of connective tissue. The duct cells, that transport the secretion towards the wrinkled reservoir, appear considerably folded. Both the sheath of connective tissue and the folded ducts are considered as a mechanical reinforcement of the gland, although the reason for such reinforcement remains unclear as we are not aware of any peculiar movements of the mandibles in queens and workers. At the ultrastructural level, the secretory cells in all castes are characterized by a well-developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum, which is indicative for the elaboration of a non-proteinaceous and hence possibly pheromonal secretion. The clear structural differences between males and the two female castes, which so far had not been found in other ant species, show that the mandibular gland in B. sennaarensis most likely has a different caste-dependent function. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Complex foraging ecology of the red harvester ant and its effect on the soil seed bank

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luna, Pedro; García-Chávez, Juan Héctor; Dáttilo, Wesley

    2018-01-01

    Granivory is an important interaction in the arid and semi-arid zones of the world, since seeds form an abundant and nutritious resource in these areas. While species of the genus Pogonomyrmex have been studied in detail as seed predators, their impact on seed abundance in the soil has not yet been explored in sufficient depth. We studied the impact of the harvesting activities of the ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus on seed abundance in the soil of the Zapotitlán valley, Mexico. We found that P. barbatus activity significantly impacts the abundance of seeds in the soil, which is lower in the sites where P. barbatus forages than it is in sites with no recorded foraging. We also found that P. barbatus distributes intact seeds of three tree species, two of which are nurse plants, and could consequently be promoting the establishment of these species. Using tools derived from graph theory, we observed that the ant-seed interactions exhibit a nested pattern; where more depredated seed species seem to be the more spatially abundant in the environment. This study illustrates the complex foraging ecology of the harvester ant P. barbatus and elucidates its effect on the soil seed bank in a semi-arid environment.

  6. The dynamics of ant mosaics in tropical rainforests characterized using the Self-Organizing Map algorithm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Céréghino, Régis; Leponce, Maurice; Corbara, Bruno; Orivel, Jérôme; Compin, Arthur

    2016-08-01

    Ants, the most abundant taxa among canopy-dwelling animals in tropical rainforests, are mostly represented by territorially dominant arboreal ants (TDAs) whose territories are distributed in a mosaic pattern (arboreal ant mosaics). Large TDA colonies regulate insect herbivores, with implications for forestry and agronomy. What generates these mosaics in vegetal formations, which are dynamic, still needs to be better understood. So, from empirical research based on 3 Cameroonian tree species (Lophira alata, Ochnaceae; Anthocleista vogelii, Gentianaceae; and Barteria fistulosa, Passifloraceae), we used the Self-Organizing Map (SOM, neural network) to illustrate the succession of TDAs as their host trees grow and age. The SOM separated the trees by species and by size for L. alata, which can reach 60 m in height and live several centuries. An ontogenic succession of TDAs from sapling to mature trees is shown, and some ecological traits are highlighted for certain TDAs. Also, because the SOM permits the analysis of data with many zeroes with no effect of outliers on the overall scatterplot distributions, we obtained ecological information on rare species. Finally, the SOM permitted us to show that functional groups cannot be selected at the genus level as congeneric species can have very different ecological niches, something particularly true for Crematogaster spp., which include a species specifically associated with B. fistulosa, nondominant species and TDAs. Therefore, the SOM permitted the complex relationships between TDAs and their growing host trees to be analyzed, while also providing new information on the ecological traits of the ant species involved. © 2015 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    1998-01-01

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

  8. Identification of the functional domains of ANT-1, a novel coactivator of the androgen receptor

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fan Shuli; Goto, Kiminobu; Chen Guangchun; Morinaga, Hidetaka; Nomura, Masatoshi; Okabe, Taijiro; Nawata, Hajime; Yanase, Toshihiko

    2006-01-01

    Previously, we identified a transcriptional coactivator for the activation function-1 (AF-1) domain of the human androgen receptor (AR) and designated it androgen receptor N-terminal domain transactivating protein-1 (ANT-1). This coactivator, which contains multiple tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) motifs from amino acid (aa) 294, is identical to a component of U5 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles and binds specifically to the AR or glucocorticoid receptor. Here, we identified four distinct functional domains. The AR-AF-1-binding domain, which bound to either aa 180-360 or 360-532 in AR-AF-1, clearly overlapped with TAU-1 and TAU-5. This domain and the subnuclear speckle formation domain in ANT-1 were assigned within the TPR motifs, while the transactivating and nuclear localization signal domains resided within the N-terminal sequence. The existence of these functional domains may further support the idea that ANT-1 can function as an AR-AF-1-specific coactivator while mediating a transcription-splicing coupling

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

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

  10. Impacts of the Invasive European Red Ant (Myrmica rubra (L.): Hymenoptera; Formicidae) on a Myrmecochorous System in the Northeastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gammans, Nicola; Drummond, Frank; Groden, Eleanor

    2018-05-16

    We investigated the impact of an invasive ant species from Europe, Myrmica rubra (L.), on a myrmecochorous system (seeds dispersed by ants) in its invaded range in North America. We assessed: 1) how M. rubra process the myrmecochorous diapsores (seeds and elaiosome as a single dispersal unit transported by ants) in comparison with native ants; 2) its preference for common native and invasive diaspore species relative to native ants; 3) how far they disperse diaspores in the field; and 4) the diaspore removal rate by invertebrates and vertebrates in infested areas compared to noninvaded sites. Field experiments demonstrated higher diaspore removal rates over a 10-min and 24-h period by M. rubra compared to native ants. M. rubra's diaspore dispersal distance was 40% greater compared to native ants. In two of three laboratory studies and one field study, there was no significant difference between the seed species which M. rubra and native ants selected. Our data suggest no long-term deleterious effects of M. rubra's invasion on diaspore dispersal in the Maine plant community that is comprised of both native and invasive species. This implies that M. rubra benefits from the myrmechorous plant species' diaspores by increasing their dispersal range away from the parent plant and potentially reducing seed predation. However, it is not known whether the fact that the native ant fauna and M. rubra are attracted to the same plant species' diaspores creates a high level of competition between the ants with deleterious effects on the native ant community.

  11. Plant Killing by Mutualistic Ants Increases the Density of Host Species Seedlings in the Dry Forest of Costa Rica

    OpenAIRE

    Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2012-01-01

    Some species of plant-mutualistic ants kill the vegetation growing in the vicinities of their host plant, creating an area of bare ground (clearing). The reduced competition in the clearing may facilitate the establishment of host species sprouts (clones and seedlings), which in turn benefits the ants with additional food and shelter (“sprout-establishment hypothesis”). To test this hypothesis, the density and origin of Acacia collinsii sprouts growing inside clearings and in the vicinities o...

  12. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-06-01

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

  14. Effect of perceived stress on depression of Chinese "Ant Tribe" and the moderating role of dispositional optimism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Bo; Pu, Jun; Hou, Hanpo

    2015-05-08

    This study examines the moderating role of dispositional optimism on the relationship between perceived stress and depression of the Chinese "Ant Tribe." A total of 427 participants from an Ant Tribe community completed the measures of perceived stress, optimism, and depression. The structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis showed that dispositional optimism moderated the association between perceived stress and depression. The Ant Tribe with high perceived stress reported higher scores in depression than those with low perceived stress at low dispositional optimism level. However, the impact of perceived stress on depression was insignificant in the high dispositional optimism group. © The Author(s) 2015.

  15. Estimating the net electricity energy generation and demand using the ant colony optimization approach. Case of Turkey

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Toksari, M. Duran

    2009-01-01

    This paper presents Turkey's net electricity energy generation and demand based on economic indicators. Forecasting model for electricity energy generation and demand is first proposed by the ant colony optimization (ACO) approach. It is multi-agent system in which the behavior of each ant is inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants to solve optimization problem. Ant colony optimization electricity energy estimation (ACOEEE) model is developed using population, gross domestic product (GDP), import and export. All equations proposed here are linear electricity energy generation and demand (linear A COEEGE and linear ACOEEDE) and quadratic energy generation and demand (quadratic A COEEGE and quadratic ACOEEDE). Quadratic models for both generation and demand provided better fit solution due to the fluctuations of the economic indicators. The ACOEEGE and ACOEEDE models indicate Turkey's net electricity energy generation and demand until 2025 according to three scenarios. (author)

  16. Hypoxic conditions and oxygen supply in nests of the mangrove ant, Camponotus anderseni, during and after inundation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Mogens Gissel; Christian, K.; Malte, H.

    2009-01-01

    The small ant Camponotus anderseni lives exclusively in twigs of the mangrove tree Sonneratia alba, and during inundation, the entrance hole is blocked with a soldier's head which effectively prevents flooding. The nests can be very crowded, with the ants and coccids filling up to 50% of the volume...... is to avoid drowning without suffering anoxia or hypercapnia, and they show a remarkable ability to adapt to the extreme conditions in the mangrove and exploit a niche where the density of other ants is insignificant....

  17. The Effect of Trail Pheromone and Path Confinement on Learning of Complex Routes in the Ant Lasius niger.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Weichselgartner, Tobias; Bernadou, Abel; Heinze, Jürgen

    2016-01-01

    Route learning is key to the survival of many central place foragers, such as bees and many ants. For ants which lay pheromone trails, the presence of a trail may act as an important source of information about whether an error has been made. The presence of trail pheromone has been demonstrated to support route learning, and the effect of pheromones on route choice have been reported to persist even after the pheromones have been removed. This could be explained in two ways: the pheromone may constrain the ants onto the correct route, thus preventing errors and aiding learning. Alternatively, the pheromones may act as a 'reassurance', signalling that the learner is on the right path and that learning the path is worthwhile. Here, we disentangle pheromone presence from route confinement in order to test these hypotheses, using the ant Lasius niger as a model. Unexpectedly, we did not find any evidence that pheromones support route learning. Indeed, there was no evidence that ants confined to the correct route learned at all. Thus, while we cannot support the 'reassurance' hypothesis, we can rule out the 'confinement' hypothesis. Other findings, such as a reduction in pheromone deposition in the presence of trail pheromones, are remarkably consistent with previous experiments. As previously reported, ants which make errors on their outward journey upregulate pheromone deposition on their return. Surprisingly, ants which would go on to make an error down-regulate pheromone deposition on their outward journey, hinting at a capacity for ants to gauge the quality of their own memories.

  18. The Effect of Trail Pheromone and Path Confinement on Learning of Complex Routes in the Ant Lasius niger.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomer J Czaczkes

    Full Text Available Route learning is key to the survival of many central place foragers, such as bees and many ants. For ants which lay pheromone trails, the presence of a trail may act as an important source of information about whether an error has been made. The presence of trail pheromone has been demonstrated to support route learning, and the effect of pheromones on route choice have been reported to persist even after the pheromones have been removed. This could be explained in two ways: the pheromone may constrain the ants onto the correct route, thus preventing errors and aiding learning. Alternatively, the pheromones may act as a 'reassurance', signalling that the learner is on the right path and that learning the path is worthwhile. Here, we disentangle pheromone presence from route confinement in order to test these hypotheses, using the ant Lasius niger as a model. Unexpectedly, we did not find any evidence that pheromones support route learning. Indeed, there was no evidence that ants confined to the correct route learned at all. Thus, while we cannot support the 'reassurance' hypothesis, we can rule out the 'confinement' hypothesis. Other findings, such as a reduction in pheromone deposition in the presence of trail pheromones, are remarkably consistent with previous experiments. As previously reported, ants which make errors on their outward journey upregulate pheromone deposition on their return. Surprisingly, ants which would go on to make an error down-regulate pheromone deposition on their outward journey, hinting at a capacity for ants to gauge the quality of their own memories.

  19. Rediscovery of the enigmatic fungus-farming ant "Mycetosoritis" asper Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Implications for taxonomy, phylogeny, and the evolution of agriculture in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo

    Full Text Available We report the rediscovery of the exceedingly rarely collected and enigmatic fungus-farming ant species Mycetosoritis asper. Since the description of the type specimen in 1887, only four additional specimens are known to have been added to the world's insect collections. Its biology is entirely unknown and its phylogenetic position within the fungus-farming ants has remained puzzling due to its aberrant morphology. In 2014 we excavated and collected twenty-one colonies of M. asper in the Floresta Nacional de Chapecó in Santa Catarina, Brazil. We describe here for the first time the male and larva of the species and complement the previous descriptions of both the queen and the worker. We describe, also for the first time, M. asper biology, nest architecture, and colony demographics, and identify its fungal cultivar. Molecular phylogenetic analyses indicate that both M. asper and M. clorindae are members of the genus Cyphomyrmex, which we show to be paraphyletic as currently defined. More precisely, M. asper is a member of the Cyphomyrmex strigatus group, which we also show to be paraphyletic with respect to the genus Mycetophylax. Based on these results, and in the interest of taxonomic stability, we transfer the species M. asper, M. clorindae, and all members of the C. strigatus group to the genus Mycetophylax, the oldest available name for this clade. Based on ITS sequence data, Mycetophylax asper practices lower agriculture, cultivating a fungal species that belongs to lower-attine fungal Clade 2, subclade F.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. J. Souza

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Sousa-Souto

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

  2. Decreasing water availability across the globe improves the effectiveness of protective ant-plant mutualisms: a meta-analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leal, Laura C; Peixoto, Paulo E C

    2017-08-01

    Abiotic conditions can increase the costs of services and/or the benefits of rewards provided by mutualistic partners. Consequently, in some situations, the outcome of mutualisms can move from beneficial to detrimental for at least one partner. In the case of protective mutualisms between ant bodyguards and plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs), plants from arid environments face a trade-off between EFN production and maintenance and water and carbon economy. This trade-off may increase EFN costs and decrease their value as a defensive strategy to plants in such environments. Despite this, the presence of EFNs is an ubiquitous trait in plants from arid environments, suggesting that they provide greater benefits to plants in these environments to compensate for their higher costs. We used a meta-analysis to investigate if such benefits do increase with decreasing water availability and the possible underlying causes (such as ant behaviour or ant diversity). As predicted, ant effect on EFN plants performance increased as mean annual precipitation decreased. We also found that the frequency of dominant ants on EFN plants increased in drier areas. Due to the more aggressive behaviour of dominant ants, we suggest that they represent an important factor shaping the adaptive value of EFNs to plants in arid environments. © 2016 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  3. Study on Cloud Computing Resource Scheduling Strategy Based on the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    OpenAIRE

    Lingna He; Qingshui Li; Linan Zhu

    2012-01-01

    In order to replace the traditional Internet software usage patterns and enterprise management mode, this paper proposes a new business calculation mode- cloud computing, resources scheduling strategy is the key technology in cloud computing, Based on the study of cloud computing system structure and the mode of operation, The key research for cloud computing the process of the work scheduling and resource allocation problems based on ant colony algorithm , Detailed analysis and design of the...

  4. Stare down the barrel and center the crosshairs: Targeting the ex ante equity premium

    OpenAIRE

    Glen Donaldson; Mark Kamstra; Lisa Kramer

    2003-01-01

    The equity premium of interest in theoretical models is the extra return investors anticipate when purchasing risky stock instead of risk-free debt. Unfortunately, we do not observe this ex ante premium in the data; we only observe the returns that investors actually receive ex post, after they purchase the stock and hold it over some period of time during which random economic shocks affect prices. Over the past century U.S. stocks have returned roughly 6 percent more than risk-free debt, wh...

  5. Measurement of metabolism of worker ants by using the elimination of caesium-134

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nielsen, M.G.; Jensen, T.F.

    1977-01-01

    In order to find a method for measuring field metabolism of worker ants the elimination of 134 Cs by two ant species has been investigated. Equations relating temperature to radiocaesium elimination and metabolism have been found. From these equations the relationship between elimination and metabolism is calculated. Consequently, the elimination of the isotope can be used for measuring metabolism. A pilot field experiment with Lasius alienus (Foerst.) reveals that the traditional methods of estimating field metabolism give values which are considerably lower than the value based on caesium elimination rate. This difference is supposed to be mainly due to greater motor activity of the animals in the field. Consequently, the value of the caesium elimination method is closer to the 'true' value of field metabolism. (orig.) [de

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Urban corners and refuges in the literature of João Antônio

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Pajaro Peres

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Through writer João Antônio's unsettled characters one can understand the history of urban transformation of São Paulo beginning in the 1950s. They are migrants, mixed people, rascals, informal workers, workers, children who appear and disappear into the corners of his literature and the city, drawing a route of affectivity and shared experiences that can be followed by the historian who seeks to study the culture under a non canonical view

  8. The evolution of intermediate castration virulence and ant coexistence in a spatially structured environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szilágyi, András; Scheuring, István; Edwards, David P; Orivel, Jerome; Yu, Douglas W

    2009-12-01

    Theory suggests that spatial structuring should select for intermediate levels of virulence in parasites, but empirical tests are rare and have never been conducted with castration (sterilizing) parasites. To test this theory in a natural landscape, we construct a spatially explicit model of the symbiosis between the ant-plant Cordia nodosa and its two, protecting ant symbionts, Allomerus and Azteca. Allomerus is also a castration parasite, preventing fruiting to increase colony fecundity. Limiting the dispersal of Allomerus and host plant selects for intermediate castration virulence. Increasing the frequency of the mutualist, Azteca, selects for higher castration virulence in Allomerus, because seeds from Azteca-inhabited plants are a public good that Allomerus exploits. These results are consistent with field observations and, to our knowledge, provide the first empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that spatial structure can reduce castration virulence and the first such evidence in a natural landscape for either mortality or castration virulence.

  9. The max–min ant system and tabu search for pressurized water reactor loading pattern design

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin, Chaung; Chen, Ying-Hsiu

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • An automatic loading pattern design tool for a pressurized water reactor is developed. • The design method consists of max–min ant system and tabu search. • The heuristic rules are developed to generate the candidates for tabu search. • The initial solution of tabu search is provided by max–min ant system. • The new algorithm shows very satisfactory results compared to the old one. - Abstract: An automatic loading pattern (LP) design tool for a pressurized water reactor is developed. The design procedure consists of two steps: first, a LP is generated using max–min ant system (MMAS) and then tabu search (TS) is adopted to search the satisfactory LP. The MMAS is previously developed and the TS process is newly-developed. The heuristic rules are implemented to generate the candidate LP in TS process. The heuristic rules are comprised of two kinds of action, i.e., a single swap in the location of two fuel assemblies and rotation of fuel assembly. Since developed TS process is a local search algorithm, it is efficient for the minor change of LP. It means that a proper initial LP should be provided by the first step, i.e., by MMAS. The design requirements such as hot channel factor, the hot zero power moderator temperature coefficient, and cycle length are formulated in the objective function. The results show that the developed tool can obtain the satisfactory LP and dramatically reduce the computation time compared with previous tool using ant system alone

  10. Smaller Brains and Optic Lobes in Reproductive Workers of the Ant Harpegnathos

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gronenberg, Wulfila; Liebig, Jürgen

    Most animals show long-term modifications of their behavior which often reflect an adaptation to seasonal variations (e.g., hibernation) or result from changes in the animal's internal state (e.g., estrous cycle or sexual maturity). Such modifications may substantially affect the nervous system [1, 2]. A particularly striking behavioral change can occur in workers of the ant Harpegnathos. A few young workers in the colony may become reproductives and are thus confined to their dark nest chambers, whereas most workers spend their lives as foragers, employing acute vision when hunting prey. This behavioral difference coincides with a marked decrease in brain volume and with an even stronger reduction in the large visual brain centers. Instead of maintaining superfluous brain functions, these ants reduce brain matter which is expensive to support.

  11. Fertility signaling - the proximate mechanism of worker policing in a clonal ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hartmann, Anne; D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Jones, Graeme R.

    2005-01-01

    In eusocial insects, the ability to regulate reproduction relies on cues that signal the presence of fertile individuals. We investigated the variation of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) with reproductive status in Platythyrea punctata, an ant, in which all workers are capable of producing daughters...... to old reproductives, but not when it was similar to that of nonreproductives. CHCs appear to signal the fertility of individuals and induce policing behavior towards surplus reproductive workers....

  12. Neuropeptides in the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis: Mass spectrometric analysis, localization, and age-related changes.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

    Cataglyphis desert ants exhibit an age-related polyethism, with ants performing tasks in the dark nest for the first ∼4 weeks of their adult life before they switch to visually based long-distance navigation to forage. Although behavioral and sensory aspects of this transition have been studied, the internal factors triggering the behavioral changes are largely unknown. We suggest the neuropeptide families allatostatin A (AstA), allatotropin (AT), short neuropeptide F (sNPF), and tachykinin (TK) as potential candidates. Based on a neuropeptidomic analysis in Camponotus floridanus, nano-LC-ESI MS/MS was used to identify these neuropeptides biochemically in Cataglyphis fortis. Furthermore, we show that all identified peptide families are present in the central brain and ventral ganglia of C. fortis whereas in the retrocerebral complex only sNPF could be detected. Immunofluorescence staining against AstA, AT, and TK in the brain revealed arborizations of AstA- and TK-positive neurons in primary sensory processing centers and higher order integration centers, whereas AT immunoreactivity was restricted to the central complex, the antennal mechanosensory and motor center, and the protocerebrum. For artificially dark-kept ants, we found that TK distribution changed markedly in the central complex from days 1 and 7 to day 14 after eclosion. Based on functional studies in Drosophila, this age-related variation of TK is suggestive of a modulatory role in locomotion behavior in C. fortis. We conclude that the general distribution and age-related changes in neuropeptides indicate a modulatory role in sensory input regions and higher order processing centers in the desert ant brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:901-918, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. The role of ants, birds and bats for ecosystem functions and yield in oil palm plantations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denmead, Lisa H; Darras, Kevin; Clough, Yann; Diaz, Patrick; Grass, Ingo; Hoffmann, Munir P; Nurdiansyah, Fuad; Fardiansah, Rico; Tscharntke, Teja

    2017-07-01

    One of the world's most important and rapidly expanding crops, oil palm, is associated with low levels of biodiversity. Changes in predator communities might alter ecosystem services and subsequently sustainable management but these links have received little attention to date. Here, for the first time, we manipulated ant and flying vertebrate (birds and bats) access to oil palms in six smallholder plantations in Sumatra (Indonesia) and measured effects on arthropod communities, related ecosystem functions (herbivory, predation, decomposition and pollination) and crop yield. Arthropod predators increased in response to reductions in ant and bird access, but the overall effect of experimental manipulations on ecosystem functions was minimal. Similarly, effects on yield were not significant. We conclude that ecosystem functions and productivity in oil palm are, under current levels of low pest pressure and large pollinator populations, robust to large reductions of major predators. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  14. Urea in Weaver Ant Feces: Quantification and Investigation of the Uptake and Translocation of Urea in Coffea Arabica

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vidkjær, Nanna Hjort; Wollenweber, Bernd; Jensen, Karl-Martin Vagn

    2016-01-01

    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...... 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....... The results clearly demonstrated that fecal urea was not only assimilated but also translocated within the plant. This evidence strongly supports the hypothesis that the fecal urea of weaver ants is a source of nitrogen for the host trees. Thus, weaver ant feces likely contribute to an improved nutritional...

  15. Landmark memories are more robust when acquired at the nest site than en route: experiments in desert ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bisch-Knaden, Sonja; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2003-03-01

    Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, encounter different sequences of visual landmarks while navigating by path integration. This paper explores the question whether the storage of landmark information depends on the context in which the landmarks are learned during an ant's foraging journey. Two experimental set-ups were designed in which the ants experienced an artificial landmark panorama that was placed either around the nest entrance (nest marks) or along the vector route leading straight towards the feeder (route marks). The two training paradigms resulted in pronounced differences in the storage characteristics of the acquired landmark information: memory traces of nest marks were much more robust against extinction and/or suppression than those of route marks. In functional terms, this result is in accord with the observation that desert ants encounter new route marks during every foraging run but always pass the same landmarks when approaching the nest entrance.

  16. Ant and termite mound coinhabitants in the wetlands of Santo Antonio da Patrulha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Diehl

    Full Text Available This paper reports on ant and termite species inhabiting the mounds (murundus found in three wetland sites in Santo Antonio da Patrulha. Ants and termites were found in 100% of the mounds of two sites and in 20% of those in the third site. Colonies of Camponotus fastigatus were found inhabiting all the mounds, while colonies of Brachymyrmex sp., Linepithema sp., Pheidole sp., and/or Solenopsis sp. were collected in less than 30% of the mounds. In the mounds of the three sites, colonies of Anoplotermes sp. and/or Aparatermes sp. termites were found together with the ant colonies. Another cohabiting termite species, Cortaritermes sp., was found only in the mounds of one site. The results suggest that C. fastigatus is the species building the mounds, with the other species, whether ants or termites, being the inquilines.

  17. Ant and termite mound coinhabitants in the wetlands of Santo Antonio da Patrulha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diehl, E; Junqueira, L K; Berti-Filho, E

    2005-08-01

    This paper reports on ant and termite species inhabiting the mounds (murundus) found in three wetland sites in Santo Antonio da Patrulha. Ants and termites were found in 100% of the mounds of two sites and in 20% of those in the third site. Colonies of Camponotus fastigatus were found inhabiting all the mounds, while colonies of Brachymyrmex sp., Linepithema sp., Pheidole sp., and/or Solenopsis sp. were collected in less than 30% of the mounds. In the mounds of the three sites, colonies of Anoplotermes sp. and/or Aparatermes sp. termites were found together with the ant colonies. Another cohabiting termite species, Cortaritermes sp., was found only in the mounds of one site. The results suggest that C. fastigatus is the species building the mounds, with the other species, whether ants or termites, being the inquilines.

  18. RI: Rheology as a Tool for Understanding the Mechanics of Live Ant Aggregations, Part 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-11-04

    earwax of pigs, dogs , cows, and humans. We find that earwax is shear-thinning for all these animals. This ability enables it to cling to the ear in low...self-cleaning.” Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology annual meeting, 2017.  P. Yang, D. Dao, R. Lehner, D. Hu, “ The hydrodynamics of...RI: Rheology as a Tool for Understanding the Mechanics of Live Ant Aggregations, Part 2 An Anton Paarr MCR 501 rheometer was purchased in order to

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  20. Effect of ant attendance by Monomorium minimum (Buckley) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on predation and parasitism of the soybean aphid Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herbert, John J; Horn, David J

    2008-10-01

    Ant attendance is known to affect the population dynamics of aphids and may increase or decrease aphid populations through stimulation, predation, or protection. In this study, we performed a series of laboratory experiments to examine the effects of ant attendance on populations of the soybean aphid Aphis glycines. Aphid colonies were exposed to the predators Harmonia axyridis (Coccinellidae) and Orius insidiosus (Anthocoridae) and a parasitoid Aphidius colemani (Aphidiidae) in the presence and absence of attending Monomorium minimum (Formicidae). We also tested for direct effects of ant attendance in the absence of natural enemies. Ants attending soybean aphid populations were observed harassing or killing O. insidiosus and H. axyridis. Attendance interfered with both predator species, resulting in reduced predation and an increase in aphid numbers up to 10-fold in the presence of ants. Ants were not observed directly interfering with the parasitoid A. colemani, but the number of parasitized aphids was higher in aphid colonies that were left unattended by ants.

  1. Male fighting and ``territoriality'' within colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla venustula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frohschammer, Sabine; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-01-01

    The ant genus Cardiocondyla is characterized by a bizarre male polymorphism with wingless fighter males and winged disperser males. Winged males have been lost convergently in several clades, and in at least one of them, wingless males have evolved mutual tolerance. To better understand the evolutionary pathways of reproductive tactics, we investigated Cardiocondyla venustula, a species, which in a phylogenetic analysis clusters with species with fighting and species with mutually tolerant, wingless males. Wingless males of C. venustula use their strong mandibles to kill freshly eclosed rival males and also engage in short fights with other adult males, but in addition show a novel behavior hitherto not reported from social insect males: they spread out in the natal nest and defend “territories” against other males. Ant males therefore show a much larger variety of reproductive tactics than previously assumed.

  2. Male fighting and "territoriality" within colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla venustula.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frohschammer, Sabine; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-01-01

    The ant genus Cardiocondyla is characterized by a bizarre male polymorphism with wingless fighter males and winged disperser males. Winged males have been lost convergently in several clades, and in at least one of them, wingless males have evolved mutual tolerance. To better understand the evolutionary pathways of reproductive tactics, we investigated Cardiocondyla venustula, a species, which in a phylogenetic analysis clusters with species with fighting and species with mutually tolerant, wingless males. Wingless males of C. venustula use their strong mandibles to kill freshly eclosed rival males and also engage in short fights with other adult males, but in addition show a novel behavior hitherto not reported from social insect males: they spread out in the natal nest and defend "territories" against other males. Ant males therefore show a much larger variety of reproductive tactics than previously assumed.

  3. Imunoexpressão da citoqueratina 16 e do antígeno nuclear Ki-67 no colesteatoma adquirido da orelha média Expression patterns of cytokeratin 16 and the nuclear antigen Ki-67 in acquired middle ear cholesteatoma

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celina S. B. Pereira

    2002-08-01

    Full Text Available Introdução: Ocolesteatoma da orelha média é caracterizado pela presença de epitélio escamoso estratificado queratinizado nesta cavidade, causando destruição óssea e podendo levar a complicações. Algumas substâncias como a citoqueratina 16 e o Ki-67, marcadores de proliferação celular, vêm sendo utilizadas para estudar essa doença. A CK 16 é um filamento protéico, situado no citoplasma das células epiteliais, característico de epitélios hiperproliferativos. O Ki-67 é um antígeno nuclear que aparece nas células em estágio de proliferação. Objetivo: O objetivo deste trabalho foi estudar a imunoexpressão da CK 16 e do Ki-67 no colesteatoma adquirido. Forma de estudo: Clínico prospectivo. Material e Método: Foram colhidas amostras de colesteatoma de 31 pacientes submetidos à cirurgia otológica, sendo 20 adultos e 11 crianças, no período de 1998 e 2000. Essas amostras foram submetidas à análise histológica e imuno-histoquímica para estudo da expressão da CK 16 e do Ki-67 na matriz do colesteatoma. Resultado: A análise dos resultados mostrou a presença da CK 16 nas camadas suprabasais da matriz do colesteatoma e, do Ki-67, na camada basal, estendendo-se para as camadas suprabasais e, inclusive, para a camada apical da matriz. A reação aos anticorpos anti-CK 16 e Ki-67 foi heterogênea. A correlação entre a CK 16 e o Ki-67 suprabasal com variáveis morfológicas, como acantose do epitélio e hiperplasia da camada basal formando cones epiteliais em direção à perimatriz, foi positiva e significativa. Também houve relação positiva e significativa entre a CK 16 e o Ki-67 suprabasal e apical. Conclusão: Esses resultados permitem concluir que o colesteatoma tem características hiperproliferativas, expressando a CK 16 e o Ki-67 na sua matriz.Introduction: Cholesteatomas of the middle ear are characterized by the presence of stratified squamous epithelium in this cavity presenting with highly invasive

  4. Intercontinental dispersal of giant thermophilic ants across the Arctic during early Eocene hyperthermals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archibald, S Bruce; Johnson, Kirk R; Mathewes, Rolf W; Greenwood, David R

    2011-12-22

    Early Eocene land bridges allowed numerous plant and animal species to cross between Europe and North America via the Arctic. While many species suited to prevailing cool Arctic climates would have been able to cross throughout much of this period, others would have found dispersal opportunities only during limited intervals when their requirements for higher temperatures were met. Here, we present Titanomyrma lubei gen. et sp. nov. from Wyoming, USA, a new giant (greater than 5 cm long) formiciine ant from the early Eocene (approx. 49.5 Ma) Green River Formation. We show that the extinct ant subfamily Formiciinae is only known from localities with an estimated mean annual temperature of about 20°C or greater, consistent with the tropical ranges of almost all of the largest living ant species. This is, to our knowledge, the first known formiciine of gigantic size in the Western Hemisphere and the first reported cross-Arctic dispersal by a thermophilic insect group. This implies intercontinental migration during one or more brief high-temperature episodes (hyperthermals) sometime between the latest Palaeocene establishment of intercontinental land connections and the presence of giant formiciines in Europe and North America by the early middle Eocene.

  5. Intercontinental dispersal of giant thermophilic ants across the Arctic during early Eocene hyperthermals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archibald, S. Bruce; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mathewes, Rolf W.; Greenwood, David R.

    2011-01-01

    Early Eocene land bridges allowed numerous plant and animal species to cross between Europe and North America via the Arctic. While many species suited to prevailing cool Arctic climates would have been able to cross throughout much of this period, others would have found dispersal opportunities only during limited intervals when their requirements for higher temperatures were met. Here, we present Titanomyrma lubei gen. et sp. nov. from Wyoming, USA, a new giant (greater than 5 cm long) formiciine ant from the early Eocene (approx. 49.5 Ma) Green River Formation. We show that the extinct ant subfamily Formiciinae is only known from localities with an estimated mean annual temperature of about 20°C or greater, consistent with the tropical ranges of almost all of the largest living ant species. This is, to our knowledge, the first known formiciine of gigantic size in the Western Hemisphere and the first reported cross-Arctic dispersal by a thermophilic insect group. This implies intercontinental migration during one or more brief high-temperature episodes (hyperthermals) sometime between the latest Palaeocene establishment of intercontinental land connections and the presence of giant formiciines in Europe and North America by the early middle Eocene. PMID:21543354

  6. Tricks of the trade: Mechanism of brood theft in an ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, Bishwarup; Annagiri, Sumana

    2018-01-01

    Thievery is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom, social insects not being an exception. Brood is invaluable for the survival of social insect colonies and brood theft is well documented in ants. In many species the stolen brood act as slaves in the thief colony as they take up tasks related to foraging, defence and colony maintenance. Slave-making (dulotic) ants are at an advantage as they gain workforce without investing in rearing immature young, and several slave-making species have been recorded in temperate regions. In the current study we investigate brood theft in a primitively eusocial ponerine ant Diacamma indicum that inhabits the tropics. In the context of colony relocation we asked how thieves steal brood and what victim colonies do to prevent theft. While exposed nests increased colonies' vulnerability, the relocation process itself did not enhance the chances of theft. Various aggressive interactions, in particular immobilization of intruders helped in preventing theft. Thieves that acted quickly, stayed furtive and stole unguarded brood were found to be successful. This comprehensive study of behavioural mechanism of theft reveals that these are the 'tricks' adopted by thieves.

  7. Dietary and prey-capture adaptations by which Zodarion germanicum, an ant-eating spider (Araneae: Zodariidae), specialises on the Formicinae

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pekár, S.; Toft, Søren; Hrusková, M.

    2008-01-01

    There has been considerable recent interest in the biology of spiders that specialise on ants as prey, but previous studies have tended to envisage the level of adaptation as being to ants as a group. In this paper, we provide evidence that Zodarion germanicum is a spider that has dietary and venom...... adaptations by which it targets a particular subset of ants, the subfamily Formicinae. We reared spiders from first instar in the laboratory on three different diets: formicine ants only, myrmicine ants only and mixed (both formicine and myrmicine ants). Fitness-related life-history parameters were determined......, and we found that the spiders on the formicine-only diet lived longer and grew at a faster rate. Lipid, carbon and nitrogen compositions of ants were analysed, but we found no evidence of formicines differing from myrmicines in macro-nutrient content. This suggests that effects on longevity and growth...

  8. El lugar ante el paisaje = The site through the landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Angel Aníbarro

    2013-10-01

    simbolización que permiten configurar un lugar artificial por medios arquitectónicos. Río de Janeiro brinda una ocasión excepcional para hacer la lectura de una ciudad inserta en el paisaje que la acoge. Finalmente, en el mismo ámbito, la bahía de Guanabara y el Pao d’Açúcar permiten examinar el paso de la estructura del paisaje a la experiencia del lugar.Palabras clavelugar, paisaje, percepción, experiencia, estructuraAbstractLandscape and notions of place are so intertwined that tend to be confused. The landscape refers to the perceptual consideration of a expanded field to the horizon through aesthetic mediation, originally linked to vision and painting. The place is referred to experimenting with a beam of meanings attached to a particular site. While the landscape involves perception, extension and artistic mediation, the position presumes experience, concentration, and condensation of meaning: for this reason, it tends to connect with architecture.The landscape is viewed from outside, but its extent and depth invite to path walk. On the way appreciating aspects that change of panorama and integrating visual sensations olfactory, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic, scenery is enjoyed. To the place is reached, in the site is being and the presence is an essential component of the experience.The density of meanings attached to place is often the result of a symbiosis between the site and the architectural work in which reveals or reinforces, and develops its character. In natural spaces, it can also be found this characteristic thickness of meanings. Landscapes are configured through prolonged morphogenetic processes, which involve both natural forces and anthropogenic phenomena. Passing through successive periods of intensification or abandonment, they accumulate overlapping stratum that give them their particular form.The following it deals with this intersection of place and landscape through a few examples that pose some issues, scales and situations

  9. Genetic evidence for landscape effects on dispersal in the army ant Eciton burchellii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soare, Thomas W; Kumar, Anjali; Naish, Kerry A; O'Donnell, Sean

    2014-01-01

    Inhibited dispersal, leading to reduced gene flow, threatens populations with inbreeding depression and local extinction. Fragmentation may be especially detrimental to social insects because inhibited gene flow has important consequences for cooperation and competition within and among colonies. Army ants have winged males and permanently wingless queens; these traits imply male-biased dispersal. However, army ant colonies are obligately nomadic and have the potential to traverse landscapes. Eciton burchellii, the most regularly nomadic army ant, is a forest interior species: colony raiding activities are limited in the absence of forest cover. To examine whether nomadism and landscape (forest clearing and elevation) affect population genetic structure in a montane E. burchellii population, we reconstructed queen and male genotypes from 25 colonies at seven polymorphic microsatellite loci. Pairwise genetic distances among individuals were compared to pairwise geographical and resistance distances using regressions with permutations, partial Mantel tests and random forests analyses. Although there was no significant spatial genetic structure in queens or males in montane forest, dispersal may be male-biased. We found significant isolation by landscape resistance for queens based on land cover (forest clearing), but not on elevation. Summed colony emigrations over the lifetime of the queen may contribute to gene flow in this species and forest clearing impedes these movements and subsequent gene dispersal. Further forest cover removal may increasingly inhibit Eciton burchellii colony dispersal. We recommend maintaining habitat connectivity in tropical forests to promote population persistence for this keystone species. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Fire ant venom alkaloids act as key attractants for the parasitic phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis (Diptera: Phoridae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Li; Sharma, Kavita R.; Fadamiro, Henry Y.

    2009-12-01

    The phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, is an introduced parasitoid of imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp., in the USA. Although the assumption that phorid flies use fire ant alarm pheromones for host location is probably true, we demonstrated in a previous study the possible involvement of other ant semiochemicals in the response of P. tricuspis to fire ants. This study was conducted to determine the glandular sources and identity of the semiochemicals mediating this interaction. First, we tested the electroantennogram response of P. tricuspis to extracts of key body parts and glands of workers of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta Buren. The results confirm that the poison (venom) gland/sac is the key source of compounds which elicited strong antennal activity in P. tricuspis. Follow-up studies were conducted by using a combination of bioassay-guided fractionation and behavioral bioassays to test the hypothesis that attraction of this parasitoid to fire ants is mediated by venom alkaloids. The results confirm the response of P. tricuspis to physiologically relevant amounts of the two venom alkaloid fractions ( cis and trans alkaloid fractions) of S. invicta. Further analysis by coupled gas chromatography-electroantennogram detection revealed nine venom alkaloid components including two novel 2,6-dialkylpiperideines that elicited significant antennal activity in P. tricuspis. This is the first demonstration of the role of venom alkaloids of ants as attractants for their natural enemies. We propose a semiochemical-mediated host location mechanism for P. tricuspis involving both alarm pheromones and venom alkaloids. The ecological significance of these findings, including the attraction of male P. tricuspis to fire ant venom alkaloids, possibly for mate location, is discussed.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  12. Improving the Power Quality in Tehran Metro Line-Two Using the Ant Colony Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Ehteshami

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available This research aims to survey the improvement of power quality in Tehran metro line 2 using the ant colony algorithm and to investigate all the factors affecting the achievement of this goal. In order to put Tehran on the road of sustainable development, finding a solution for dealing with air pollution is essential. The use of public transportation, especially metro, is one of the ways to achieve this goal. Since the highest share of pollutants in Tehran belongs to cars and mobile sources, relative statistical indicators are estimated through assuming the effect of metro lines development and subsequently reduction of traffic on power quality index.

  13. A Keystone Ant Species Provides Robust Biological Control of the Coffee Berry Borer Under Varying Pest Densities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Jonathan R; Vandermeer, John; Perfecto, Ivette

    2015-01-01

    Species' functional traits are an important part of the ecological complexity that determines the provisioning of ecosystem services. In biological pest control, predator response to pest density variation is a dynamic trait that impacts the provision of this service in agroecosystems. When pest populations fluctuate, farmers relying on biocontrol services need to know how natural enemies respond to these changes. Here we test the effect of variation in coffee berry borer (CBB) density on the biocontrol efficiency of a keystone ant species (Azteca sericeasur) in a coffee agroecosystem. We performed exclosure experiments to measure the infestation rate of CBB released on coffee branches in the presence and absence of ants at four different CBB density levels. We measured infestation rate as the number of CBB bored into fruits after 24 hours, quantified biocontrol efficiency (BCE) as the proportion of infesting CBB removed by ants, and estimated functional response from ant attack rates, measured as the difference in CBB infestation between branches. Infestation rates of CBB on branches with ants were significantly lower (71%-82%) than on those without ants across all density levels. Additionally, biocontrol efficiency was generally high and did not significantly vary across pest density treatments. Furthermore, ant attack rates increased linearly with increasing CBB density, suggesting a Type I functional response. These results demonstrate that ants can provide robust biological control of CBB, despite variation in pest density, and that the response of predators to pest density variation is an important factor in the provision of biocontrol services. Considering how natural enemies respond to changes in pest densities will allow for more accurate biocontrol predictions and better-informed management of this ecosystem service in agroecosystems.

  14. Inflorescences of the Bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis as Nest Sites and Food Resources for Ants and Other Arthropods in Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Schmid, Volker S.; Langner, Simone; Steiner, Josefina; Zillikens, Anne

    2014-01-01

    For the first time, the usage of bromeliad inflorescences as nesting sites for ants and other arthropods was studied. Frequencies of occurrence of nests were recorded from hollow stems of dried infructescences of the bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis on Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil. Three habitat types were studied: miconietum and two types of restinga, one with low (restinga-low) and one with high vegetation cover (restinga-high). Additionally, flower visitation by ants was examined i...

  15. Field suppression of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a tropical fruit orchard in Hawaii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Souza, Evann; Follett, Peter A; Price, Don K; Stacy, Elizabeth A

    2008-08-01

    The little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is an invasive ant that forms supercolonies when it successfully invades new areas. W. auropunctata was first reported in Hawaii in 1999, and it has since invaded a variety of agricultural sites, including nurseries, orchards, and pastures. Amdro (hydramethylnon; in bait stations), Esteem (pyriproxyfen; broadcast bait), and Conserve (spinosad; ground spray) were tested for their efficacy against W. auropunctata in a rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum L. and mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana L., orchard by making treatments every 2 wk for 16 wk. Relative estimates of ant numbers in plots was determined by transect sampling using peanut butter-baited sticks. Significant treatment effects were observed on weeks 13-17, with reductions in ant counts occurring in the Amdro and Esteem treatments. During this period, the reduction in ant numbers from pretreatment counts averaged 47.1 and 92.5% in the Amdro and Esteem plots, respectively, whereas ant numbers in the untreated control plots increased by 185.9% compared with pretreatment counts. Conserve did not cause a reduction in ant counts as applied in our experiment. No plots for any of the treatments achieved 100% reduction. Pseudococcidae were counted on branch terminals at 4-wk intervals. The two predominant species, Nipaecoccus nipae (Maskell) and Nipaecoccus viridis (Newstead) were significantly lower in the Amdro and Esteem treatments on week 16 compared with controls. Many W. auropunctata were found nesting in protected sites in the orchard trees, which may have compromised the ground-based control methods. Absolute density estimates from shallow core samples taken from the orchard floor indicated the W. auropunctata supercolony exceeded 244 million ants and 22.7 kg wet weight per ha.

  16. Social influences on ant-dipping acquisition in the wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) of Bossou, Guinea, West Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humle, Tatyana; Snowdon, Charles T; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2009-10-01

    We currently have little understanding of the influence of learning opportunity, whether social or environmental, and maternal role on tool-use acquisition in young wild chimpanzees. This study aims to fill this gap by focusing on the acquisition of ant-dipping among chimpanzees of Bossou, Guinea. Ant-dipping is a hazardous tool-use behaviour aimed at army ants (Dorylus spp.). Bossou chimpanzees target these ants both at nests (high risk) and trails (low risk) and employ two techniques to consume them: direct mouthing and pull-through. We present data for 13 mother-offspring pairs (1-10 years old). Mothers with young chimpanzee material culture is a product of a complex interaction between social processes and ecological factors.

  17. Genome evolution in an ancient bacteria-ant symbiosis: parallel gene loss among Blochmannia spanning the origin of the ant tribe Camponotini

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura E. Williams

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Stable associations between bacterial endosymbionts and insect hosts provide opportunities to explore genome evolution in the context of established mutualisms and assess the roles of selection and genetic drift across host lineages and habitats. Blochmannia, obligate endosymbionts of ants of the tribe Camponotini, have coevolved with their ant hosts for ∼40 MY. To investigate early events in Blochmannia genome evolution across this ant host tribe, we sequenced Blochmannia from two divergent host lineages, Colobopsis obliquus and Polyrhachis turneri, and compared them with four published genomes from Blochmannia of Camponotus sensu stricto. Reconstructed gene content of the last common ancestor (LCA of these six Blochmannia genomes is reduced (690 protein coding genes, consistent with rapid gene loss soon after establishment of the symbiosis. Differential gene loss among Blochmannia lineages has affected cellular functions and metabolic pathways, including DNA replication and repair, vitamin biosynthesis and membrane proteins. Blochmannia of P. turneri (i.e., B. turneri encodes an intact DnaA chromosomal replication initiation protein, demonstrating that loss of dnaA was not essential for establishment of the symbiosis. Based on gene content, B. obliquus and B. turneri are unable to provision hosts with riboflavin. Of the six sequenced Blochmannia, B. obliquus is the earliest diverging lineage (i.e., the sister group of other Blochmannia sampled and encodes the fewest protein-coding genes and the most pseudogenes. We identified 55 genes involved in parallel gene loss, including glutamine synthetase, which may participate in nitrogen recycling. Pathways for biosynthesis of coenzyme A, terpenoids and riboflavin were lost in multiple lineages, suggesting relaxed selection on the pathway after inactivation of one component. Analysis of Illumina read datasets did not detect evidence of plasmids encoding missing functions, nor the presence of

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Garret Suen

    2011-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  20. Ants in Tropical Urban Habitats: The Myrmecofauna in a Densely Populated Area of Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    AKHMAD RIZALI

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Ants are the most abundant animals in tropical habitats and have been widely studied in natural and semi-natural tropical systems. However, species in urban tropical habitats remain poorly studied, despite their abundance and potentially important roles in urban ecosystems and pest dynamics. We investigated the ant fauna of Bogor and its surroundings to contribute to the characterization of the myrmecofauna of one of Southeast Asia’s most densely populated regions. Ants were collected both by hand collection and from honey baits in the most common habitats: garbage dumps, households, and home gardens. In total, 94 species were recorded, over two thirds of which occurred in home gardens, which underlines the importance of vegetated habitats for urban planning to support complex ant assemblages. Twelve sampled species are well-known as tramp species that occur primarily in human-dominated landscapes. The two tramp species Anoplolepis gracilipes and Paratrechina longicornis dominated ant assemblages in all locations and most habitat types. The assemblages of tramp species were affected by habitat type, whereas that of non tramp species were not. Forty-five species were also recorded in the Bogor Botanical Garden and five species are also known to be common in cacao agroforests. Hence, research in urban tropical habitats can increase our knowledge of the occurrence of ant species, allowing us to better assess the biodiversity and conservation potential of semi-natural habitats.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

    Oecophylla ants may protect tropical plantation crops against pests. Cost-benefit studies comparing ant-based protection with conventional methods are needed to assess whether it is economically viable. Here we contrast profits in ant and chemically protected plots in a Thai and a Vietnamese citrus...

  2. Drowning out the protection racket: partner manipulation or drought can strengthen ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denison, R Ford

    2014-07-01

    Two recent reports discuss interactions between plants and ants that defend them from herbivores. Acacia trees provide their ant bodyguards with a diet that reduces their ability to benefit from alternate hosts. Provisioning of ants by Cordia trees during drought may buy insurance against extreme defoliation events, not just average-year benefits. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2013-06-12

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

  4. Nuptial flights behavior of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and weather factors triggering flights

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nene, Wilson; Rwegasira, Gration; Nielsen, Mogens Gissel

    2016-01-01

    years, we found that sexuals aggregate on nest surfaces prior to flights. We also found that flights took place during the raining season, and all flights took place in evenings just before sunset. Further to these, days with flights were associated with higher relative humidity and less sun shine...... collection of mated queens to stock ant nurseries that supply ant colonies for IPM-programs....

  5. Empirical test of the influence of global warming and forest disturbance on ant fauna at the Gwangneung Forest Long Term Ecological Research site, South Korea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tae-Sung Kwon

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available This study examined the effects of forest disturbance and climate change on the ant fauna at the Long Term Ecological Research site in Gwangneung Forest, Korea in 2003 and 2012. After forest disturbance, the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the functional groups of forest ground forager and soil and litter dweller are predicted to decrease, while the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the open land forager and forest vegetation forager functional groups are predicted to increase. In terms of the effects of climate change, if the optimum temperature of the ants is lower than the annual average temperature in the survey area, the occurrence and abundance of the ants are predicted to decrease and vice versa. Ant surveys were carried out using pitfall traps. Changes in the dominant species, occurrence, and abundance mostly corresponded to the predictions for forest disturbance, but did not match the prediction for an increase in temperature.

  6. The View from the Trees: Nocturnal Bull Ants, Myrmecia midas, Use the Surrounding Panorama While Descending from Trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freas, Cody A; Wystrach, Antione; Narendra, Ajay; Cheng, Ken

    2018-01-01

    Solitary foraging ants commonly use visual cues from their environment for navigation. Foragers are known to store visual scenes from the surrounding panorama for later guidance to known resources and to return successfully back to the nest. Several ant species travel not only on the ground, but also climb trees to locate resources. The navigational information that guides animals back home during their descent, while their body is perpendicular to the ground, is largely unknown. Here, we investigate in a nocturnal ant, Myrmecia midas , whether foragers travelling down a tree use visual information to return home. These ants establish nests at the base of a tree on which they forage and in addition, they also forage on nearby trees. We collected foragers and placed them on the trunk of the nest tree or a foraging tree in multiple compass directions. Regardless of the displacement location, upon release ants immediately moved to the side of the trunk facing the nest during their descent. When ants were released on non-foraging trees near the nest, displaced foragers again travelled around the tree to the side facing the nest. All the displaced foragers reached the correct side of the tree well before reaching the ground. However, when the terrestrial cues around the tree were blocked, foragers were unable to orient correctly, suggesting that the surrounding panorama is critical to successful orientation on the tree. Through analysis of panoramic pictures, we show that views acquired at the base of the foraging tree nest can provide reliable nest-ward orientation up to 1.75 m above the ground. We discuss, how animals descending from trees compare their current scene to a memorised scene and report on the similarities in visually guided behaviour while navigating on the ground and descending from trees.

  7. The View from the Trees: Nocturnal Bull Ants, Myrmecia midas, Use the Surrounding Panorama While Descending from Trees

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cody A. Freas

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Solitary foraging ants commonly use visual cues from their environment for navigation. Foragers are known to store visual scenes from the surrounding panorama for later guidance to known resources and to return successfully back to the nest. Several ant species travel not only on the ground, but also climb trees to locate resources. The navigational information that guides animals back home during their descent, while their body is perpendicular to the ground, is largely unknown. Here, we investigate in a nocturnal ant, Myrmecia midas, whether foragers travelling down a tree use visual information to return home. These ants establish nests at the base of a tree on which they forage and in addition, they also forage on nearby trees. We collected foragers and placed them on the trunk of the nest tree or a foraging tree in multiple compass directions. Regardless of the displacement location, upon release ants immediately moved to the side of the trunk facing the nest during their descent. When ants were released on non-foraging trees near the nest, displaced foragers again travelled around the tree to the side facing the nest. All the displaced foragers reached the correct side of the tree well before reaching the ground. However, when the terrestrial cues around the tree were blocked, foragers were unable to orient correctly, suggesting that the surrounding panorama is critical to successful orientation on the tree. Through analysis of panoramic pictures, we show that views acquired at the base of the foraging tree nest can provide reliable nest-ward orientation up to 1.75 m above the ground. We discuss, how animals descending from trees compare their current scene to a memorised scene and report on the similarities in visually guided behaviour while navigating on the ground and descending from trees.

  8. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    In this study, the unidirectional ant traffic flow with U-turn in an ant trail was investigated using one-dimensional cellular automata model. It is known that ants communicate with each other by dropping a chemical, called pheromone, on the substrate. Apart from the studies in the literature, it was considered in the model that ...

  9. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) feed off a fungus they cultivate in a mutualistic symbiosis in underground chambers by providing it substrate they collect outside the colony. The tribe of Attine ants ranges from small colonies of the paleo- and basal Attine species with a few hundred workers that fo...... that the fungus evolved some incredible adaptations to a mutualistic life with the ants....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  11. Socioeconomic impact assessment in ex ante evaluations: a case study on the rural development programs of the European Union.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidueira, Pablo; Díaz-Puente, José M; Rivera, María

    2014-08-01

    Ex ante impact assessment has become a fundamental tool for effective program management, and thus, a compulsory task when establishing a new program in the European Union (EU). This article aims to analyze benefits from ex ante impact assessment, methodologies followed, and difficulties encountered. This is done through the case study on the rural development programs (RDPs) in the EU. Results regarding methodologies are then contrasted with the international context in order to provide solid insights to evaluators and program managing authorities facing ex ante impact assessment. All European RDPs from the period 2007 through 2013 (a total of 88) and their corresponding available ex ante evaluations (a total of 70) were analyzed focusing on the socioeconomic impact assessment. Only 46.6% of the regions provide quantified impact estimations on socioeconomic impacts in spite of it being a compulsory task demanded by the European Commission (EC). Recommended methods by the EC are mostly used, but there is a lack of mixed method approaches since qualitative methods are used in substitution of quantitative ones. Two main difficulties argued were the complexity of program impacts and the lack of needed program information. Qualitative approaches on their own have been found as not suitable for ex ante impact assessment, while quantitative approaches-such as microsimulation models-provide a good approximation to actual impacts. However, time and budgetary constraints make that quantitative and mixed methods should be mainly applied on the most relevant impacts for the program success. © The Author(s) 2014.

  12. Fire Ant Allergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... venom in a fire ant sting will kill bacteria and some of your skin cells. This results in the formation of a blister that fills with a cloudy white material in about 24 hours. While this looks like a pus-filled lesion that should be drained, ...

  13. Tradeoffs in the evolution of caste and body size in the hyperdiverse ant genus Pheidole.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terrence P McGlynn

    Full Text Available The efficient investment of resources is often the route to ecological success, and the adaptability of resource investment may play a critical role in promoting biodiversity. The ants of the "hyperdiverse" genus Pheidole produce two discrete sterile castes, soldiers and minor workers. Within Pheidole, there is tremendous interspecific variation in proportion of soldiers. The causes and correlates of caste ratio variation among species of Pheidole remain enigmatic. Here we test whether a body size threshold model accounts for interspecific variation in caste ratio in Pheidole, such that species with larger body sizes produce relatively fewer soldiers within their colonies. We evaluated the caste ratio of 26 species of Pheidole and found that the body size of workers accounts for interspecific variation in the production of soldiers as we predicted. Twelve species sampled from one forest in Costa Rica yielded the same relationship as found in previously published data from many localities. We conclude that production of soldiers in the most species-rich group of ants is regulated by a body size threshold mechanism, and that the great variation in body size and caste ratio in Pheidole plays a role in niche divergence in this rapidly evolving taxon.

  14. Adaptive Advantage of Myrmecochory in the Ant-Dispersed Herb Lamium amplexicaule (Lamiaceae: Predation Avoidance through the Deterrence of Post-Dispersal Seed Predators.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koki Tanaka

    Full Text Available Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory is found worldwide, but the benefits that plants obtain from this mutualism remain uncertain. In the present study, we conducted laboratory experiments to demonstrate seed predator avoidance as a benefit of myrmecochory using the annual ant-dispersed herb Lamium amplexicaule, the disperser ant Tetramorium tsushimae, and the seed predatory burrower bug Adomerus rotundus. We compared the predation intensity of Lamium amplexicaule seeds by Adomerus rotundus under the presence or absence of Tetramorium tsushimae. Both the number of seeds sucked by Adomerus rotundus adults and the feeding duration of sucked seeds by nymphs were significantly reduced in the presence of ants. This effect was most likely due to the behavioral alteration of Adomerus rotundus in response to the ant presence, because ants seldom predated Adomerus rotundus during the experiment. Our results demonstrated that the presence of ants decreases post-dispersal seed predation, even when the ants do not bury the seeds. The present study thus suggests that the non-consumptive effects of ants on seed predators benefit myrmecochorous plants.

  15. Mode of action of sodium arsenate on laboratory colonies of the pharaoh's ant Monomorium pharaonis L

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Berndt, K P

    1974-01-01

    Arsenate compounds for pest control have been displayed on large scale by modern insecticides. In the control of the pharaoh's ant the arsenates however still remain an important means for eradication. The present study points out, that the mortality of workers and queens, respectively, are not the decisive factors of action as assumed until now. The causes for the extinction of the ant colonies after application of sodium arsenate are based on a combination of larval mortality and the induction of sterility in the queens, the sterility being the most important factor. A number of other factors moreover are working advantageously. First, the poison bait is not repellent and is well accepted by the workers, and is either stored in the nest or distributed trophalactically. Whereas with the workers there occurs a strongly delayed mortality, the larvae are being inhibited in their development after a few hours, shortly before pupation, or they are being paralyzed, whereby the further pupation would by cut off. The younger larvae normally do not come to pupation, but are being stunted and would be eliminated from the nest. The reproducing females, being the last members in the social chain, are protected in the polygynous society from the lethal action of the poison, although otherwise susceptible in the same way as workers. After a certain time sub-lethal doses of sodium arsenate lead to a decrease in fecundity. Egg production is suppressed dependent on the duration of the poison application up to permanent sterility. On the basis of these investigations some suggestions for practical control of the pharaoh's ant have been derived.

  16. Colony foundation in the ponerine ant, Mesoponera caffraria (F ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1989-05-19

    May 19, 1989 ... The quantity of each brood stage in each nest was recorded daily for. 90 days after the first egg was laid. Queens soon occupied the Lubbock nests. Initially they dug a single chamber adjacent to the entrance and laid their first eggs there. Four queens dug secondary tunnels deeper into the Lubbock nests.

  17. Antagonistic Interactions between the African Weaver Ant Oecophylla longinoda and the Parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Potentially Limits Suppression of the Invasive Mealybug Rastrococcus iceryoides

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chrysantus M. Tanga

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille forms a trophobiotic relationship with the invasive mealybug Rastrococus iceryoides Green and promotes the latter’s infestations to unacceptable levels in the presence of their natural enemies. In this regard, the antagonistic interactions between the ant and the parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Girault were assessed under laboratory conditions. The percentage of parasitism of R. iceryoides by A. pseudococci was significantly higher on “ant-excluded” treatments (86.6% ± 1.27% compared to “ant-tended” treatments (51.4% ± 4.13%. The low female-biased sex-ratio observed in theant-tended” treatment can be attributed to ants’ interference during the oviposition phase, which disrupted parasitoids’ ability to fertilize eggs. The mean foraging time, host handling time and number of successful oviposition in “ant-excluded” treatment were significantly higher compared to “ant-tended” treatments. When ant workers were allowed access to sterilized sand grains, mummified and unmummified R. iceryoides, they selectively removed the mummified mealybugs, indicating that they recognized the mummies as potential foods (1.2 ± 0.46 to 7.8 ± 1.17 mummies at 10 min intervals for 2 h. Percentage emergence from mummified R. iceryoides removed by the ants was significantly lower compared to emergence from mummies not exposed to ants. Although, host seeking parasitoids frequently evaded attacks, some were killed by the foraging ant workers (2.0 ± 0.38 to 6.0 ± 0.88 at 10 min intervals for 2 h. These results suggest for the first time that the presence of O. longinoda has a detrimental effect on the abundance, reproductive success and possibly oviposition strategy of female parasitoids, which might be a delimiting factor in field conditions if both natural enemies are to be recommended for use within the same agro-ecosystem.

  18. Karyotype instability in the ponerine ant genus Diacamma

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2010-08-06

    Aug 6, 2010 ... fore, one of the ways of accounting for the observed inter- individual chromosomal ... ment of India, for financial support through grants to RG. We thank. Milind Kolatkar for ... for the minimum interaction theory. I. Chromosome ...

  19. The Hanbury Brown ant Twiss effect for cold atoms

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schellekens, M.

    2007-05-01

    This thesis deals with the measurement of the quantum intensity correlations in gases of metastable Helium. The measurement has been performed on thermal gases of bosonic He 4 and fermionic He 3 , as well as on Bose-Einstein condensates. In 1956, Robert Hanbury Brown et Richard Twiss measured the correlation between photons emitted from a single thermal source. The consequently demonstrated that the photons emitted by such a source tend to arrive grouped on a detector (Hanbury Brown and Twiss effect). This bunching characterizes bosons from a non-coherent source. Fermions show an anti-bunching behaviour in the same conditions. By using metastable Helium atoms, that can be detected individually through the use of micro-channel plates, we have been able to show a similar bunching of bosons He 4 from thermal sources around the micro-kelvin. As expected, the coherence of the Bose-Einstein condensates did not produce a particular correlation. The measurement on thermal gases of fermionic He 3 has demonstrated the anti-bunching. Particular effort has been employed in describing the micro-channel plate based delay-line detector, the key to the experiment. (author)

  20. Alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending the ante ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    2014-04-02

    Apr 2, 2014 ... Ordinioha and Brisibe: Alcohol consumption by pregnant women in South‑South Nigeria. 14. Nigerian Journal ... that they may have, and social and family supports for .... through the mass media, 21 (18.42%) read it in the internet, while 13 .... while all the Muslim respondents and Christians of the. 7th Day ...

  1. Clinical study on the treatment of vertigo by ant vertigo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Xiaobin; Li, Chongxian; Hao, Shaojun; Lian, Linlin; Chen, Weiliang; Wang, Hongyu; Guan, Zhijiang; Zhang, Zhengchen

    2018-04-01

    To observe the clinical curative effect of antiglare granule in the treatment of hypertension, cerebral arteriosclerosis, vertebrobasilar artery insufficiency, Meniere's disease, autonomic dysfunction caused by vertigo etc, the patients with vertigo were randomly divided into 300 cases of cerebral arteriosclerosis, vertebral basilar artery insufficiency, Meniere's disease into three groups, treatment group: control group 1, 2 groups of. 3 times a day, 30 days for a course of treatment, once a two treatment, observation and treatment effect. Control group: conventional doses of Yangxue Qingnao Granule, enteric coated aspirin treatment ibid. After 2 courses of treatment were observed and recorded the key concept of vertigo degree change number. Compare the outcome of TCM symptom medication after February, the total effective rate of treatment group was 96%, 1 in the control group the total efficiency of 69.7%, 2 in the control group the total efficiency of 71.7%, the treatment group curative effect on the treatment of hypertension, cerebral arteriosclerosis, vertebral basilar artery insufficiency vertigo, Meniere's disease, head weight light, walking foot stable curative effect is better than that of Yangxue Qingnao Granule, enteric coated aspirin effect. Aanti glare granule in the treatment of hypertension, cerebral arteriosclerosis and vertebral basilar artery insufficiency, Meniere's disease, autonomic dysfunction caused by vertigo has good clinical curative effect.

  2. Age-related differences in the attention network test (ANT).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gamboz, Nadia; Zamarian, Stefania; Cavallero, Corrado

    2010-07-01

    This study investigates the effect of aging on alerting, orienting, and conflict resolution by assessing younger (mean age = 25.8) and older (mean age = 67.9) adults' performance in the Attention Network Test that combines, in a single experimental paradigm, a flanker task with alerting and orienting cues. The analyses of response times indicated equivalent orienting and conflict resolution effects in younger and older adults. By contrast, alerting was found to be significantly reduced in the elderly. This result is only marginally in accordance with recent studies addressing the issues of age-related differences in alerting, which provide mixed results. The possible role of methodological differences across studies in accounting for the controversial results concerning the aging affect on alerting is discussed.

  3. Higher Education Expansion in China and the "Ant Tribe" Problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Yu; Mai, Yinhua

    2015-01-01

    College Enrolment Expansion policies have been implemented in China since 1999. Unfortunately, numbers of qualified teachers and the amount of educational funds input have not caught up with the pace of student intake. Even the curricula taught in colleges are outdated and work practice programmes are inefficient. As a result, new college…

  4. Alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending the ante ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Background: As efforts to reduce maternal and childhood mortality rates continue to yield results in Nigeria, it is time to put more emphases on the health of children. Alcohol consumption is one of the few modifiable risk factors for poor pregnancy outcome. This study assessed the consumption of alcohol among pregnant ...

  5. Optimization of travel salesman problem using the ant colony system and Greedy search

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Esquivel E, J.; Ordonez A, A.; Ortiz S, J. J.

    2008-01-01

    In this paper we present some results obtained during the development of optimization systems that can be used to design refueling and patterns of control rods in a BWR. These systems use ant colonies and Greedy search. The first phase of this project is to be familiar with these optimization techniques applied to the problem of travel salesman problem (TSP). The utility of TSP study is that, like the refueling design and pattern design of control rods are problems of combinative optimization. Even, the similarity with the problem of the refueling design is remarkable. It is presented some results for the TSP with the 32 state capitals of Mexico country. (Author)

  6. Reproductive sharing among queens in the ant Formica fusca

    OpenAIRE

    Minttumaaria Hannonen; Liselotte Sundstro¨m

    2003-01-01

    Reproductive sharing among cobreeders, in which reproductive shares may vary from equal contribution (low reproductive skew) to reproductive dominance by one individual (high reproductive skew), is a fundamental feature of animal societies. Recent theoretical work, the reproductive skew models, has focused on factors affecting the degree to which reproduction is skewed within a society. We used the parameters provided by skew models as a guideline to study determinants of reproductive sharing...

  7. The foraging ecology of two Namib Desert harvester ant species

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1986-08-04

    Aug 4, 1986 ... resulted in the germination of annual plants, growth of perennicil plants ... variance/mean ratio (Pielou 1969) was used to determine the dispersion ... one to non-seed plant matter and one to arthropod matter. Dietary niche ...

  8. The ant genomes have been invaded by several types of mariner transposable elements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorite, Pedro; Maside, Xulio; Sanllorente, Olivia; Torres, María I.; Periquet, Georges; Palomeque, Teresa

    2012-12-01

    To date, only three types of full-length mariner elements have been described in ants, each one in a different genus of the Myrmicinae subfamily: Sinvmar was isolated from various Solenopsis species, Myrmar from Myrmica ruginodis, and Mboumar from Messor bouvieri. In this study, we report the coexistence of three mariner elements ( Tnigmar- Si, Tnigmar- Mr, and Tnigmar- Mb) in the genome of a single species, Tapinoma nigerrimum (subfamily Dolichoderinae). Molecular evolutionary analyses of the nucleotide sequence data revealed a general agreement between the evolutionary history of most the elements and the ant species that harbour them, and suggest that they are at the vertical inactivation stage of the so-called Mariner Life Cycle. In contrast, significantly reduced levels of synonymous divergence between Mboumar and Tnigmar- Mb and between Myrmar and Botmar (a mariner element isolated from Bombus terrestris), relative to those observed between their hosts, suggest that these elements arrived to the species that host them by horizontal transfer, long after the species' split. The horizontal transfer events for the two pairs of elements could be roughly dated within the last 2 million years and about 14 million years, respectively. As would be expected under this scenario, the coding sequences of the youngest elements, Tnigmar- Mb and Mboumar, are intact and, thus, potentially functional. Each mariner element has a different chromosomal distribution pattern according to their stage within the Mariner Life Cycle. Finally, a new defective transposable element ( Azteca) has also been found inserted into the Tnigmar- Mr sequences showing that the ant genomes have been invaded by at least four different types of mariner elements.

  9. At Lunch with a Killer: The Effect of Weaver Ants on Host-Parasitoid Interactions on Mango.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valentina Migani

    Full Text Available Predator-prey interactions can affect the behaviour of the species involved, with consequences for population distribution and competitive interactions. Under predation pressure, potential prey may adopt evasive strategies. These responses can be costly and could impact population growth. As some prey species may be more affected than others, predation pressure could also alter the dynamics among species within communities. In field cages and small observation cages, we studied the interactions between a generalist predator, the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda, two species of fruit flies that are primary pests of mango fruits, Ceratitis cosyra and Bactrocera dorsalis, and their two exotic parasitoids, Fopius arisanus and Diachasmimorpha longicaudata. In all experiments, either a single individual (observation cage experiments or groups of individuals (field cage experiments of a single species were exposed to foraging in the presence or absence of weaver ants. Weaver ant presence reduced the number of eggs laid by 75 and 50 percent in B. dorsalis and C. cosyra respectively. Similarly, parasitoid reproductive success was negatively affected by ant presence, with success of parasitism reduced by around 50 percent for both F. arisanus and D. longicaudata. The negative effect of weaver ants on both flies and parasitoids was mainly due to indirect predation effects. Encounters with weaver ant workers increased the leaving tendency in flies and parasitoids, thus reduced the time spent foraging on mango fruits. Parasitoids were impacted more strongly than fruit flies. We discuss how weaver ant predation pressure may affect the population dynamics of the fruit flies, and, in turn, how the alteration of host dynamics could impact parasitoid foraging behaviour and success.

  10. Ant colony optimization techniques for the hamiltonian p-median problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Zohrehbandian

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Location-Routing problems involve locating a number of facilitiesamong candidate sites and establishing delivery routes to a set of users in such a way that the total system cost is minimized. A special case of these problems is Hamiltonian p-Median problem (HpMP. This research applies the metaheuristic method of ant colony optimization (ACO to solve the HpMP. Modifications are made to the ACO algorithm used to solve the traditional vehicle routing problem (VRP in order to allow the search of the optimal solution of the HpMP. Regarding this metaheuristic algorithm a computational experiment is reported as well.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-31

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  13. An ant colony optimization algorithm for phylogenetic estimation under the minimum evolution principle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Milinkovitch Michel C

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Distance matrix methods constitute a major family of phylogenetic estimation methods, and the minimum evolution (ME principle (aiming at recovering the phylogeny with shortest length is one of the most commonly used optimality criteria for estimating phylogenetic trees. The major difficulty for its application is that the number of possible phylogenies grows exponentially with the number of taxa analyzed and the minimum evolution principle is known to belong to the NP MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfKttLearuWrP9MDH5MBPbIqV92AaeXatLxBI9gBaebbnrfifHhDYfgasaacPC6xNi=xH8viVGI8Gi=hEeeu0xXdbba9frFj0xb9qqpG0dXdb9aspeI8k8fiI+fsY=rqGqVepae9pg0db9vqaiVgFr0xfr=xfr=xc9adbaqaaeGacaGaaiaabeqaaeqabiWaaaGcbaWenfgDOvwBHrxAJfwnHbqeg0uy0HwzTfgDPnwy1aaceaGae8xdX7Kaeeiuaafaaa@3888@-hard class of problems. Results In this paper, we introduce an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO algorithm to estimate phylogenies under the minimum evolution principle. ACO is an optimization technique inspired from the foraging behavior of real ant colonies. This behavior is exploited in artificial ant colonies for the search of approximate solutions to discrete optimization problems. Conclusion We show that the ACO algorithm is potentially competitive in comparison with state-of-the-art algorithms for the minimum evolution principle. This is the first application of an ACO algorithm to the phylogenetic estimation problem.

  14. Uncoupling the effects of seed predation and seed dispersal by granivorous ants on plant population dynamics.

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    Xavier Arnan

    Full Text Available Secondary seed dispersal is an important plant-animal interaction, which is central to understanding plant population and community dynamics. Very little information is still available on the effects of dispersal on plant demography and, particularly, for ant-seed dispersal interactions. As many other interactions, seed dispersal by animals involves costs (seed predation and benefits (seed dispersal, the balance of which determines the outcome of the interaction. Separate quantification of each of them is essential in order to understand the effects of this interaction. To address this issue, we have successfully separated and analyzed the costs and benefits of seed dispersal by seed-harvesting ants on the plant population dynamics of three shrub species with different traits. To that aim a stochastic, spatially-explicit individually-based simulation model has been implemented based on actual data sets. The results from our simulation model agree with theoretical models of plant response dependent on seed dispersal, for one plant species, and ant-mediated seed predation, for another one. In these cases, model predictions were close to the observed values at field. Nonetheless, these ecological processes did not affect in anyway a third species, for which the model predictions were far from the observed values. This indicates that the balance between costs and benefits associated to secondary seed dispersal is clearly related to specific traits. This study is one of the first works that analyze tradeoffs of secondary seed dispersal on plant population dynamics, by disentangling the effects of related costs and benefits. We suggest analyzing the effects of interactions on population dynamics as opposed to merely analyzing the partners and their interaction strength.

  15. Mites (Acari Associated with the Desert Seed Harvester Ant, Messor pergandei (Mayr

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    Kaitlin A. Uppstrom

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Mites (Acari associated with the seed harvester ant Messor pergandei were investigated in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. At least seven representatives of the mite genera Armacarus, Lemanniella, Petalomium, Forcellinia, Histiostoma, Unguidispus, and Cosmoglyphus are phoretically associated with M. pergandei. Most of these morphospecies show preference for specific phoretic attachment sites and primarily use female alates rather than male alates for dispersal. Five mite morphospecies were found in low numbers inhabiting the chaff piles: Tydeidae sp., Procaeculus sp., Anystidae sp., Bakerdania sp., and Tetranychidae sp. The phoretic Petalomium sp. was observed consuming fungus growing on a dead queen, but the roles of the other mite species remain mostly unresolved.

  16. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

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

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    James M. Cook

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates. However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies. Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies (two separate colonies were used and previous diet (sugar only or sugar and protein. We found that the presence of larvae in the ant colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates. Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest. Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes.

  18. Thelytokous parthenogenesis by queens in the dacetine ant Pyramica membranifera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Fuminori; Touyama, Yoshifumi; Gotoh, Ayako; Kitahiro, Shungo; Billen, Johan

    2010-08-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis in which diploid females are produced from unfertilized eggs, was recently reported for some ant species. Here, we document thelytokous reproduction by queens in the polygynous species Pyramica membranifera. Queens that emerged in the laboratory were kept with or without workers under laboratory conditions. Independent colony founding was successful for a few queens if prey was provided. All artificial colonies, which started with a newly emerged queen and workers produced new workers and some of the colonies also produced female sexuals. Some of the female sexuals shed their wings in the laboratory and started formation of new polygynous colonies. Workers had no ovaries and thus, were obligatorily sterile.

  19. Number of queens in founding associations of the ponerine ant Pachycondyla villosa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Kellner, K.; Delabie, J. H. C.

    2005-01-01

    In the ant Pachycondyla villosa, new colonies are usually started cooperatively by two or more young queens who establish a dominance order with a division of labour. Co-founding can lead to primary polygyny, where queens stay together after workers have emerged. Here we show that two queens...... these were attacked and sometimes killed in queen associations. The removal of dominant alpha queens from three-queen associations resulted in beta queens obtaining the dominant role and sometimes the destruction of the existing eggs. It appears that two queens suffice for a successful association...

  20. The effects of biogeography on ant diversity and activity on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Adam T; Rykken, Jessica J; Farrell, Brian D

    2011-01-01

    Many studies have examined how island biogeography affects diversity on the scale of island systems. In this study, we address how diversity varies over very short periods of time on individual islands. To do this, we compile an inventory of the ants living in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston, Massachusetts, USA using data from a five-year All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of the region's arthropods. Consistent with the classical theory of island biogeography, species richness increased with island size, decreased with island isolation, and remained relatively constant over time. Additionally, our inventory finds that almost half of the known Massachusetts ant fauna can be collected in the BHI, and identifies four new species records for Massachusetts, including one new to the United States, Myrmica scabrinodis. We find that the number of species actually active on islands depended greatly on the timescale under consideration. The species that could be detected during any given week of sampling could by no means account for total island species richness, even when correcting for sampling effort. Though we consistently collected the same number of species over any given week of sampling, the identities of those species varied greatly between weeks. This variation does not result from local immigration and extinction of species, nor from seasonally-driven changes in the abundance of individual species, but rather from weekly changes in the distribution and activity of foraging ants. This variation can be upwards of 50% of ant species per week. This suggests that numerous ant species on the BHI share the same physical space at different times. This temporal partitioning could well explain such unexpectedly high ant diversity in an isolated, urban site.

  1. The effects of biogeography on ant diversity and activity on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam T Clark

    Full Text Available Many studies have examined how island biogeography affects diversity on the scale of island systems. In this study, we address how diversity varies over very short periods of time on individual islands. To do this, we compile an inventory of the ants living in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston, Massachusetts, USA using data from a five-year All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of the region's arthropods. Consistent with the classical theory of island biogeography, species richness increased with island size, decreased with island isolation, and remained relatively constant over time. Additionally, our inventory finds that almost half of the known Massachusetts ant fauna can be collected in the BHI, and identifies four new species records for Massachusetts, including one new to the United States, Myrmica scabrinodis. We find that the number of species actually active on islands depended greatly on the timescale under consideration. The species that could be detected during any given week of sampling could by no means account for total island species richness, even when correcting for sampling effort. Though we consistently collected the same number of species over any given week of sampling, the identities of those species varied greatly between weeks. This variation does not result from local immigration and extinction of species, nor from seasonally-driven changes in the abundance of individual species, but rather from weekly changes in the distribution and activity of foraging ants. This variation can be upwards of 50% of ant species per week. This suggests that numerous ant species on the BHI share the same physical space at different times. This temporal partitioning could well explain such unexpectedly high ant diversity in an isolated, urban site.

  2. Transcriptome characterisation of the ant Formica exsecta with new insights into the evolution of desaturase genes in social hymenoptera.

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    Hélène Badouin

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Despite the recent sequencing of seven ant genomes, no genomic data are available for the genus Formica, an important group for the study of eusocial traits. We sequenced the transcriptome of the ant Formica exsecta with the 454 FLX Titanium technology from a pooled sample of workers from 70 Finnish colonies. RESULTS: About 1,000,000 reads were obtained from a normalised cDNA library. We compared the assemblers MIRA3.0 and Newbler2.6 and showed that the latter performed better on this dataset due to a new option which is dedicated to improve contig formation in low depth portions of the assemblies. The 29,579 contigs represent 27 Mb. 50% showed similarity with known proteins and 25% could be assigned a category of gene ontology. We found more than 13,000 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms. The Δ9 desaturase gene family is an important multigene family involved in chemical communication in insects. We found six Δ9 desaturases in this Formica exsecta transcriptome dataset that were used to reconstruct a maximum-likelihood phylogeny of insect desaturases and to test for signatures of positive selection in this multigene family in ant lineages. We found differences with previous phylogenies of this gene family in ants, and found two clades potentially under positive selection. CONCLUSION: This first transcriptome reference sequence of Formica exsecta provided sequence and polymorphism data that will allow researchers working on Formica ants to develop studies to tackle the genetic basis of eusocial phenotypes. In addition, this study provided some general guidelines for de novo transcriptome assembly that should be useful for future transcriptome sequencing projects. Finally, we found potential signatures of positive selection in some clades of the Δ9 desaturase gene family in ants, which suggest the potential role of sequence divergence and adaptive evolution in shaping the large diversity of chemical cues in social insects.

  3. Ants avoid superinfections by performing risk-adjusted sanitary care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konrad, Matthias; Pull, Christopher D; Metzler, Sina; Seif, Katharina; Naderlinger, Elisabeth; Grasse, Anna V; Cremer, Sylvia

    2018-03-13

    Being cared for when sick is a benefit of sociality that can reduce disease and improve survival of group members. However, individuals providing care risk contracting infectious diseases themselves. If they contract a low pathogen dose, they may develop low-level infections that do not cause disease but still affect host immunity by either decreasing or increasing the host's vulnerability to subsequent infections. Caring for contagious individuals can thus significantly alter the future disease susceptibility of caregivers. Using ants and their fungal pathogens as a model system, we tested if the altered disease susceptibility of experienced caregivers, in turn, affects their expression of sanitary care behavior. We found that low-level infections contracted during sanitary care had protective or neutral effects on secondary exposure to the same (homologous) pathogen but consistently caused high mortality on superinfection with a different (heterologous) pathogen. In response to this risk, the ants selectively adjusted the expression of their sanitary care. Specifically, the ants performed less grooming and more antimicrobial disinfection when caring for nestmates contaminated with heterologous pathogens compared with homologous ones. By modulating the components of sanitary care in this way the ants acquired less infectious particles of the heterologous pathogens, resulting in reduced superinfection. The performance of risk-adjusted sanitary care reveals the remarkable capacity of ants to react to changes in their disease susceptibility, according to their own infection history and to flexibly adjust collective care to individual risk.

  4. Passing the Remote: Community and Television Viewing in Woobinda and La guerra degli Antò

    OpenAIRE

    Seger, Monica

    2011-01-01

    This paper explores television-modeled narratives in Silvia Ballestra’s La guerra degli Antò, of 1992, and Aldo Nove’s Woobinda, of 1996. In so doing, it considers both the role of a text's author and the majority/minority reception practices that lead to its social imprint. For a definition of reception practices it turns to the work of media and reception scholars such as Henry Jenkins and Ien Ang. Employing a soap-operatic narrative and respecting the viewing practices of a mi...

  5. Morphological and Chemical Characterization of the Invasive Ants in Hives of Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simoes, M R; Giannotti, E; Tofolo, V C; Pizano, M A; Firmino, E L B; Antonialli-Junior, W F; Andrade, L H C; Lima, S M

    2016-02-01

    Apiculture in Brazil is quite profitable and has great potential for expansion because of the favorable climate and abundancy of plant diversity. However, the occurrence of pests, diseases, and parasites hinders the growth and profitability of beekeeping. In the interior of the state of São Paulo, apiaries are attacked by ants, especially the species Camponotus atriceps (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which use the substances produced by Apis mellifera scutellata (Lepeletier) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), like honey, wax, pollen, and offspring as a source of nourishment for the adult and immature ants, and kill or expel the adult bees during the invasion. This study aimed to understand the invasion of C. atriceps in hives of A. m. scutellata. The individuals were classified into castes and subcastes according to morphometric analyses, and their cuticular chemical compounds were identified using Photoacoustic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The morphometric analyses were able to classify the individuals into reproductive castes (queen and gynes), workers (minor and small ants), and the soldier subcaste (medium and major ants). Identification of cuticular hydrocarbons of these individuals revealed that the eight beehives were invaded by only three colonies of C. atriceps; one of the colonies invaded only one beehive, and the other two colonies underwent a process called sociotomy and were responsible for the invasion of the other seven beehives. The lack of preventive measures and the nocturnal behavior of the ants favored the invasion and attack on the bees.

  6. Cuticular chemistry of males and females in the ant Formica fusca

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Chernenko, Anton; Holman, Luke; Helanterä, Heikki

    2012-01-01

    in mediating recognition of society members and, thereby, allowing kin selection to operate. Here, we examined whether cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are sex-specific and whether males and young queens of the ant Formica fusca have colony-specific profiles. We also investigated whether there is a relationship...... between genetic relatedness and chemical diversity within colonies. We demonstrated that female and male sexuals do not have unique sex-specific compounds, but that there are quantitative chemical differences between the sexes. Out of the 51 cuticular hydrocarbon compounds identified, 10 showed...

  7. Structural and molecular basis for resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics by the adenylyltransferase ANT(2″)-Ia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, Georgina; Stogios, Peter J; Savchenko, Alexei; Wright, Gerard D

    2015-01-06

    The aminoglycosides are highly effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. However, their efficacy is diminished due to enzyme-mediated covalent modification, which reduces affinity of the drug for the target ribosome. One of the most prevalent aminoglycoside resistance enzymes in Gram-negative pathogens is the adenylyltransferase ANT(2″)-Ia, which confers resistance to gentamicin, tobramycin, and kanamycin. Despite the importance of this enzyme in drug resistance, its structure and molecular mechanism have been elusive. This study describes the structural and mechanistic basis for adenylylation of aminoglycosides by the ANT(2″)-Ia enzyme. ANT(2″)-Ia confers resistance by magnesium-dependent transfer of a nucleoside monophosphate (AMP) to the 2″-hydroxyl of aminoglycoside substrates containing a 2-deoxystreptamine core. The catalyzed reaction follows a direct AMP transfer mechanism from ATP to the substrate antibiotic. Central to catalysis is the coordination of two Mg(2+) ions, positioning of the modifiable substrate ring, and the presence of a catalytic base (Asp86). Comparative structural analysis revealed that ANT(2″)-Ia has a two-domain structure with an N-terminal active-site architecture that is conserved among other antibiotic nucleotidyltransferases, including Lnu(A), LinB, ANT(4')-Ia, ANT(4″)-Ib, and ANT(6)-Ia. There is also similarity between the nucleotidyltransferase fold of ANT(2″)-Ia and DNA polymerase β. This similarity is consistent with evolution from a common ancestor, with the nucleotidyltransferase fold having adapted for activity against chemically distinct molecules. IMPORTANCE  : To successfully manage the threat associated with multidrug-resistant infectious diseases, innovative therapeutic strategies need to be developed. One such approach involves the enhancement or potentiation of existing antibiotics against resistant strains of bacteria. The reduction in clinical usefulness of the aminoglycosides is a particular

  8. Simulation optimization based ant colony algorithm for the uncertain quay crane scheduling problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naoufal Rouky

    2019-01-01

    Full Text Available This work is devoted to the study of the Uncertain Quay Crane Scheduling Problem (QCSP, where the loading /unloading times of containers and travel time of quay cranes are considered uncertain. The problem is solved with a Simulation Optimization approach which takes advantage of the great possibilities offered by the simulation to model the real details of the problem and the capacity of the optimization to find solutions with good quality. An Ant Colony Optimization (ACO meta-heuristic hybridized with a Variable Neighborhood Descent (VND local search is proposed to determine the assignments of tasks to quay cranes and the sequences of executions of tasks on each crane. Simulation is used inside the optimization algorithm to generate scenarios in agreement with the probabilities of the distributions of the uncertain parameters, thus, we carry out stochastic evaluations of the solutions found by each ant. The proposed optimization algorithm is tested first for the deterministic case on several well-known benchmark instances. Then, in the stochastic case, since no other work studied exactly the same problem with the same assumptions, the Simulation Optimization approach is compared with the deterministic version. The experimental results show that the optimization algorithm is competitive as compared to the existing methods and that the solutions found by the Simulation Optimization approach are more robust than those found by the optimization algorithm.

  9. Project Management in the Universidad de Oriente: Improvement of the Ex-Antes Evaluation

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    Yilian Rodríguez-Clavijo

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to demonstrate the importance of ex-ante evaluation as a tool for the management of science and innovation projects at the Universidad de Oriente. For the theoretical analysis we used the methods analysis - synthesis and historical - logic. In the empirical analysis, participant observation, work with a team of experts and brainstorming were used as techniques and tools. The methodological design of the evaluation was defined according to four aspects established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: field, purpose, criteria and organization. The results of the application of the methodology are presented to the projects to selected projects; which allowed diagnosing the quality of the projects, the areas with the most deficiencies, as well as the aspects that limit the design of the proposals.

  10. Ant Fauna Diversity in an Area Degraded by Diamond Mining in the State of Mato Grosso,Brazil

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    Jorge João Aparecido Nahra

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available This study aimed at sampling the diversity of ants in environments influenced by diamond mining activities in the Brazilian savannah, providing information on the ant fauna in this region of Mato Grosso.The study was carried out in the city of Poxoréu-MT, Brazil, in a property with diamond mining,where pitfall traps were installed in four different transects per environment: A1 – degraded area by diamond mining A2 – adjacent area to A1 with savannah vegetation with anthropogenic influence, A3 – adjacent area to A2 with anthropized savannah vegetation, bordering with A4 – area with savannah vegetation preserved without anthropogenic changes. Samples were collected bimonthly for a period of one year, and the samples were quantified and identified taking into account their species level in order to allow the application of the diversity indices for each environment. 15 species of ants were sampled among the four environments, being nine species in A1, 13 in A2, 15 in A3 and 12 species in A4, presenting Brachymyrmex patagonicus as the most abundant, foraging in all environments. Diversity indices allow to conclude that A3 has the greatest diversity of species, and conversely the lower dominance, in all environments. However, A1 was the most dominant species of ants due to the lowest diversity. Thus, environmental degradation by diamond mining can affect the composition of ants and their dominance in the savannah vegetation.

  11. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  12. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  13. Host recognition by the specialist hoverfly Microdon mutabilis, a social parasite of the ant Formica lemani.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schönrogge, Karsten; Napper, Emma K V; Birkett, Michael A; Woodcock, Christine M; Pickett, John A; Wadhams, Lester J; Thomas, Jeremy A

    2008-02-01

    The larva of the hoverfly Microdon mutabilis is a specialist social parasite of the ant Formica lemani that is adapted to local groups of F. lemani colonies but mal-adapted to colonies of the same species situated only a few hundred meters away. At a study site in Ireland, F. lemani shares its habitat with four other ant species. All nest under stones, making the oviposition choice by M. mutabilis females crucial to offspring survival. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that, as an extreme specialist, M. mutabilis should respond to cues derived from its host rather than from its microenvironment, a phenomenon that has hitherto only been addressed in the context of herbivorous insects and their parasitoids. In behavioral assays, M. mutabilis females reacted to volatiles from F. lemani colonies by extending their ovipositors, presumably probing for an oviposition substrate. This behavior was not observed toward negative controls or volatiles from colonies of Myrmica scabrinodis, the host ant of the closely related Microdon myrmicae. Coupled gas chromatography-electroantennography (GC-EAG) that used antennal preparations of M. mutabilis located a single physiologically active compound within an extract of heads of F. lemani workers. Coupled GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) tentatively identified the compound as a methylated methylsalicylate. GC co-injection of the extract with authentic samples showed that of the four possible isomers (methyl 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-methylsalicylate), only methyl 6-methylsalicylate co-eluted with the EAG-active peak. Furthermore, the response to methyl 6-methylsalicylate was four times higher than to those of the other isomers. Coupled GC-EAG and GC-MS also revealed physiological responses to two constituents, 3-octanone and 3-octanol, of the M. scabrinodis alarm pheromone. However, the behavioral trials did not reveal any behavior that could be attributed to these compounds. Results are discussed in the context of four phases of host

  14. Application of ground penetrating radar in detecting the hazards and risks of termites and ants in soil levees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Xiuhao; Henderson, Gregg; Mao, Lixin; Evans, Ahmad

    2009-08-01

    A ground penetrating radar (GPR) technique was used to detect Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) and red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) hazards and risks (targets) in a soil levee at the London Avenue Canal in New Orleans, LA. To make this assessment, GPR signal scans were examined for features produced by termite or ant activities and potential sources of food and shelter such as nests, tree roots, and voids (tunnels). The total scanned length of the soil levee was 4,125 m. The average velocity and effective depth of the radar penetration was 0.080 m/ns and 0.61 m, respectively. Four hundred twenty-seven targets were identified. Tree roots (38), voids (31), fire ant nests (209), and metal objects (149) were detected, but no Formosan termite carton nests were identified. The lack of identified termite nests may be related to drowning events at the time to the flood. Based on the target density (TD), the two new floodwall and levee sections that were rebuilt or reinforced after they were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were determined to be at low potential risk from termites and ants. A merging target density (MTD) method indicated a high potential risk near one of the breached sections still remains. Foraging and nesting activity of Formosan subterranean termites and red imported fire ants may be a contributory factor to the levee failure at the London Avenue Canal.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  16. North American Invasion of the Tawny Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva) Is Enabled by Pheromonal Synergism from Two Separate Glands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Qing-He; McDonald, Danny L; Hoover, Doreen R; Aldrich, Jeffrey R; Schneidmiller, Rodney G

    2015-09-01

    A new invader, the "tawny crazy ant", Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae; Formicinae), is displacing the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Formicidae: Myrmicinae), in the southern U.S., likely through its superior chemical arsenal and communication. Alone, formic acid is unattractive, but this venom (= poison) acid powerfully synergizes attraction of tawny crazy ants to volatiles from the Dufour's gland secretion of N. fulva workers, including the two major components, undecane and 2-tridecanone. The unexpected pheromonal synergism between the Dufour's gland and the venom gland appears to be another key factor, in addition to previously known defensive and detoxification semiochemical features, for the successful invasion and domination of N. fulva in the southern U.S. This synergism is an efficient mechanism enabling N. fulva workers to outcompete Solenopsis and other ant species for food and territory. From a practical standpoint, judicious point-source release formulation of tawny crazy ant volatiles may be pivotal for enhanced attract-and-kill management of this pest.

  17. The Lobe Fissure Tracking by the Modified Ant Colony Optimization Framework in CT Images

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chii-Jen Chen

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Chest computed tomography (CT is the most commonly used technique for the inspection of lung lesions. However, the lobe fissures in lung CT is still difficult to observe owing to its imaging structure. Therefore, in this paper, we aimed to develop an efficient tracking framework to extract the lobe fissures by the proposed modified ant colony optimization (ACO algorithm. We used the method of increasing the consistency of pheromone on lobe fissure to improve the accuracy of path tracking. In order to validate the proposed system, we had tested our method in a database from 15 lung patients. In the experiment, the quantitative assessment shows that the proposed ACO method achieved the average F-measures of 80.9% and 82.84% in left and right lungs, respectively. The experiments indicate our method results more satisfied performance, and can help investigators detect lung lesion for further examination.

  18. Advanced Harmony Search with Ant Colony Optimization for Solving the Traveling Salesman Problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ho-Yoeng Yun

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We propose a novel heuristic algorithm based on the methods of advanced Harmony Search and Ant Colony Optimization (AHS-ACO to effectively solve the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP. The TSP, in general, is well known as an NP-complete problem, whose computational complexity increases exponentially by increasing the number of cities. In our algorithm, Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is used to search the local optimum in the solution space, followed by the use of the Harmony Search to escape the local optimum determined by the ACO and to move towards a global optimum. Experiments were performed to validate the efficiency of our algorithm through a comparison with other algorithms and the optimum solutions presented in the TSPLIB. The results indicate that our algorithm is capable of generating the optimum solution for most instances in the TSPLIB; moreover, our algorithm found better solutions in two cases (kroB100 and pr144 when compared with the optimum solution presented in the TSPLIB.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamazaki, Kazuo

    2010-01-01

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

  20. Yersinia pestis strains of ancient phylogenetic branch 0.ANT are widely spread in the high-mountain plague foci of Kyrgyzstan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eroshenko, Galina A; Nosov, Nikita Yu; Krasnov, Yaroslav M; Oglodin, Yevgeny G; Kukleva, Lyubov M; Guseva, Natalia P; Kuznetsov, Alexander A; Abdikarimov, Sabyrzhan T; Dzhaparova, Aigul K; Kutyrev, Vladimir V

    2017-01-01

    Fifty six Yersinia pestis strains, isolated over the period of more than 50 years in three high-mountain foci of Kyrgyzstan (Tien Shan, Alai, and Talas), have been characterized by means of PCR and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing methods. Seven of these strains were also characterized by means of whole genome sequencing and genome-wide SNP phylogenetic analysis. It was found that forty two strains belong to 0.ANT2, 0.ANT3 and 0.ANT5 phylogenetic branches. From these, strains of 0.ANT2 and 0.ANT3 branches were earlier detected in China only, whereas 0.ANT5 phylogenetic branch was identified for Y. pestis phylogeny for the first time. According to the results of genome-wide SNP analysis, 0.ANT5 strains are ones of the most closely related to Y. pestis strain responsible for the Justinianic Plague. We have also found out that four of the studied strains belong to the phylogenetic branch 2.MED1, and ten strains from Talas high-mountain focus belong to the phylogenetic branch 0.PE4 (sub-branch 0.PE4t). Established diversity of Y. pestis strains and extensive dissemination of the strains pertaining to the 0.ANT branch confirm the antiquity of the mentioned above plague foci and suggest that strains of the 0.ANT branch, which serve as precursors for all highly virulent Y. pestis strains, had their origin in the Tien Shan mountains.

  1. Imperfect chemical female mimicry in males of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cremer, Sylvia; D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Drijfhout, Falko P.; Sledge, Matthew F.; Turillazzi, Stefano; Heinze, Jürgen

    2008-11-01

    Winged and wingless males coexist in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. Wingless (“ergatoid”) males never leave their maternal colony and fight remorselessly among each other for the access to emerging females. The peaceful winged males disperse after about 10 days, but beforehand also mate in the nest. In the first 5 days of their life, winged males perform a chemical female mimicry that protects them against attack and even makes them sexually attractive to ergatoid males. When older, the chemical profile of winged males no longer matches that of virgin females; nevertheless, they are still tolerated, which so far has been puzzling. Contrasting this general pattern, we have identified a single aberrant colony in which all winged males were attacked and killed by the ergatoid males. A comparative analysis of the morphology and chemical profile of these untypical attacked winged males and the tolerated males from several normal colonies revealed that normal old males are still performing some chemical mimicry to the virgin queens, though less perfect than in their young ages. The anomalous attacked winged males, on the other hand, had a very different odour to the females. Our study thus exemplifies that the analysis of rare malfunctioning can add valuable insight on functioning under normal conditions and allows the conclusion that older winged males from normal colonies of the ant C. obscurior are guarded through an imperfect chemical female mimicry, still close enough to protect against attacks by the wingless fighters yet dissimilar enough not to elicit their sexual interest.

  2. Rapid modification in the olfactory signal of ants following a change in reproductive status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuvillier-Hot, Virginie; Renault, Valérie; Peeters, Christian

    2005-02-01

    In insect societies, the presence and condition of egg-layers can be assessed with pheromones. Exocrine secretions are expected to vary in time in order to give up-to-date information on an individual’s reproductive physiology. In the queenless monogynous ant Streblognathus peetersi, we allowed a previously infertile high-ranking worker to accede to the alpha rank, thus triggering the onset of her oogenesis (15 replicates). We then studied her interactions with an established egg-layer from the same colony after different durations, ranging from 20 h to several days. Even though her eggs are only ready to be laid after 30 days, the new alpha was recognised within 1 2 days. Detection occurred at a distance of a few millimetres, suggesting the involvement of a pheromone with low volatility, such as cuticular hydrocarbons. When the new alpha had differentiated for >48 h, she was attacked by the established egg-layer. In all cases, low-ranking workers eventually immobilised one of the two alphas: the new alpha was the target if she had differentiated only recently, suggesting that police workers select the dominant worker with the “less fertile” odour. Using the behaviour of ants as our measure, we demonstrate that a dominant’s olfactory signal changes rapidly with a modification in her social status, and it occurs well before the onset of egg-laying.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Endang Sulistyowai

    2006-05-01

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

  4. Metagenomic Analysis from the Interior of a Speleothem in Tjuv-Ante's Cave, Northern Sweden.

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    Marie Lisandra Zepeda Mendoza

    Full Text Available Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits normally formed by water supersaturated with calcium carbonate percolating into underground caves, and are often associated with low-nutrient and mostly non-phototrophic conditions. Tjuv-Ante's cave is a shallow-depth cave formed by the action of waves, with granite and dolerite as major components, and opal-A and calcite as part of the speleothems, making it a rare kind of cave. We generated two DNA shotgun sequencing metagenomic datasets from the interior of a speleothem from Tjuv-Ante's cave representing areas of old and relatively recent speleothem formation. We used these datasets to perform i an evaluation of the use of these speleothems as past biodiversity archives, ii functional and taxonomic profiling of the speleothem's different formation periods, and iii taxonomic comparison of the metagenomic results to previous microscopic analyses from a nearby speleothem of the same cave. Our analyses confirm the abundance of Actinobacteria and fungi as previously reported by microscopic analyses on this cave, however we also discovered a larger biodiversity. Interestingly, we identified photosynthetic genes, as well as genes related to iron and sulphur metabolism, suggesting the presence of chemoautotrophs. Furthermore, we identified taxa and functions related to biomineralization. However, we could not confidently establish the use of this type of speleothems as biological paleoarchives due to the potential leaching from the outside of the cave and the DNA damage that we propose has been caused by the fungal chemical etching.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-03-01

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

  6. Of ants and men the unexpected side effects of complexity in society

    CERN Document Server

    Green, David G

    2014-01-01

    Why do things go wrong? Why, despite all the planning and care in the world, do things go from bad to worse? This book argues that it is because we are like the ants. Just as ants create an anthill without being aware of it, unintended side effects of human activity create all manner of social trends and crises. The book traces the way these trends emerge and the role they play in some of the major issues of our time. One of the greatest challenges today is the complexity of our social and economic systems. Every action has side effects that people often ignore or fail to see. The book examines the ways in which limitations in our thinking and behaviour lead to unintended side effects. It looks at the role played by complex networks of interactions. Finally, it looks at the way side effects of new technologies, especially computers and communication, have created an Information Revolution, the full repercussions of which are yet to be seen. In our race to create new technologies and sustain indefinite economi...

  7. An overlooked mandibular-rubbing behavior used during recruitment by the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olivier Roux

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1 use anal spots to mark their territories, (2 drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3 drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then--in a surprising posture--tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

  8. Degeneration of sperm reservoir and the loss of mating ability in worker ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobin, Bruno; Ito, Fuminori; Billen, Johan; Peeters, Christian

    2008-11-01

    Workers never mate in the large majority of ants, and they have usually lost the spermatheca, an organ specialized for long-term storage of sperm. Such ‘non-sexual’ workers are restricted to laying unfertilized eggs that give rise to males, and they cannot compete with the queens for the production of female offspring. In sharp contrast, workers in 200 300 species from phylogenetically basal subfamilies can reproduce sexually (‘gamergates’) because they retain a functional spermatheca like the queens. Importantly, ‘non-sexual’ workers in closely related species have a vestigial spermatheca. In this study, we compared the reservoir epithelium of ‘sexual’ workers to that of congeneric queens and ‘non-sexual’ workers using 21 species of Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae and Ectatomminae. We show that a pronounced thickening of the epithelium near the opening of the sperm duct is strictly associated with sexual reproduction in both castes. This is unlike ‘non-sexual’ workers in which this epithelium is always very thin, with few organelles; but all other structures remain intact. We discuss this evolutionary degeneration of the spermatheca and how it relates to behavioural or physiological modifications linked to mating. Our results help understand the loss of sexual reproduction by ant workers, a critical step in the extreme specialization of their phenotype.

  9. Strict monandry in the ponerine army ant genus Simopelta suggests that colony size and complexity drive mating system evolution in social insects

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; O'Donnell, Sean; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-01-01

    -ratios have convergently shaped these mating systems. Here we show that ponerine army ants of the genus Simopelta, which are distantly related but similar in general biology to other army ants, have strictly monandrous queens. Preliminary data suggest that workers reproduce in queenright colonies, which...... is in sharp contrast to other army ants. We hypothesize that differences in mature colony size and social complexity may explain these striking discrepancies....

  10. Multiple Convergent Origins of Workerlessness and Inbreeding in the Socially Parasitic Ant Genus Myrmoxenus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinze, Jürgen; Buschinger, Alfred; Poettinger, Theo; Suefuji, Masaki

    2015-01-01

    The socially parasitic ant genus Myrmoxenus varies strongly in fundamental life history traits, such as queen-worker ratio, the timing of sexual production, and mating behavior. Myrmoxenus queens generally take over nests of Temnothorax ants, kill the resident queen by throttling, and force the workers to take care of the social parasite's brood. Young queens of M. ravouxi and other species produce large numbers of workers, which during "slave-raids" pillage host pupae from neighboring Temnothorax colonies to increase the workforce in their own nests. Other species, such as M. corsicus, have lost caste polyphenism and rear only male and female sexual offspring. Using sequences of the genes CO I/CO II and wingless we reconstruct the phylogeny of Myrmoxenus and document that the worker caste was lost convergently at least three times. Furthermore, mating in the nest and inbreeding obviously also evolved in parallel from ancestors whose sexuals presumably mated during nuptial flights. Myrmoxenus might thus provide a suitable model to investigate caste differentiation and the plasticity of mating behavior in Hymenoptera.

  11. Multiple Convergent Origins of Workerlessness and Inbreeding in the Socially Parasitic Ant Genus Myrmoxenus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jürgen Heinze

    Full Text Available The socially parasitic ant genus Myrmoxenus varies strongly in fundamental life history traits, such as queen-worker ratio, the timing of sexual production, and mating behavior. Myrmoxenus queens generally take over nests of Temnothorax ants, kill the resident queen by throttling, and force the workers to take care of the social parasite's brood. Young queens of M. ravouxi and other species produce large numbers of workers, which during "slave-raids" pillage host pupae from neighboring Temnothorax colonies to increase the workforce in their own nests. Other species, such as M. corsicus, have lost caste polyphenism and rear only male and female sexual offspring. Using sequences of the genes CO I/CO II and wingless we reconstruct the phylogeny of Myrmoxenus and document that the worker caste was lost convergently at least three times. Furthermore, mating in the nest and inbreeding obviously also evolved in parallel from ancestors whose sexuals presumably mated during nuptial flights. Myrmoxenus might thus provide a suitable model to investigate caste differentiation and the plasticity of mating behavior in Hymenoptera.

  12. An improved self-adaptive ant colony algorithm based on genetic strategy for the traveling salesman problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Pan; Zhang, Yi; Yan, Dong

    2018-05-01

    Ant Colony Algorithm (ACA) is a powerful and effective algorithm for solving the combination optimization problem. Moreover, it was successfully used in traveling salesman problem (TSP). But it is easy to prematurely converge to the non-global optimal solution and the calculation time is too long. To overcome those shortcomings, a new method is presented-An improved self-adaptive Ant Colony Algorithm based on genetic strategy. The proposed method adopts adaptive strategy to adjust the parameters dynamically. And new crossover operation and inversion operation in genetic strategy was used in this method. We also make an experiment using the well-known data in TSPLIB. The experiment results show that the performance of the proposed method is better than the basic Ant Colony Algorithm and some improved ACA in both the result and the convergence time. The numerical results obtained also show that the proposed optimization method can achieve results close to the theoretical best known solutions at present.

  13. Information processing speed and attention in multiple sclerosis: Reconsidering the Attention Network Test (ANT).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, Alexandra K; Denney, Douglas R; Lynch, Sharon G

    2015-01-01

    The Attention Network Test (ANT) assesses attention in terms of discrepancies between response times to items that differ in the burden they place on some facet of attention. However, simple arithmetic difference scores commonly used to capture these discrepancies fail to provide adequate control for information processing speed, leading to distorted findings when patient and control groups differ markedly in the speed with which they process and respond to stimulus information. This study examined attention networks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using simple difference scores, proportional scores, and residualized scores that control for processing speed through statistical regression. Patients with relapsing-remitting (N = 20) or secondary progressive (N = 20) MS and healthy controls (N = 40) of similar age, education, and gender completed the ANT. Substantial differences between patients and controls were found on all measures of processing speed. Patients exhibited difficulties in the executive control network, but only when difference scores were considered. When deficits in information processing speed were adequately controlled using proportional or residualized score, deficits in the alerting network emerged. The effect sizes for these deficits were notably smaller than those for overall information processing speed and were also limited to patients with secondary progressive MS. Deficits in processing speed are more prominent in MS than those involving attention, and when the former are properly accounted for, differences in the latter are confined to the alerting network.

  14. Spatial grain and the causes of regional diversity gradients in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaspari, Michael; Yuan, May; Alonso, Leeanne

    2003-03-01

    Gradients of species richness (S; the number of species of a given taxon in a given area and time) are ubiquitous. A key goal in ecology is to understand whether and how the many processes that generate these gradients act at different spatial scales. Here we evaluate six hypotheses for diversity gradients with 49 New World ant communities, from tundra to rain forest. We contrast their performance at three spatial grains from S(plot), the average number of ant species nesting in a m2 plot, through Fisher's alpha, an index that treats our 30 1-m2 plots as subsamples of a locality's diversity. At the smallest grain, S(plot), was tightly correlated (r2 = 0.99) with colony abundance in a fashion indistinguishable from the packing of randomly selected individuals into a fixed space. As spatial grain increased, the coaction of two factors linked to high net rates of diversification--warm temperatures and large areas of uniform climate--accounted for 75% of the variation in Fisher's alpha. However, the mechanisms underlying these correlations (i.e., precisely how temperature and area shape the balance of speciation to extinction) remain elusive.

  15. The Megadiverse Australian Ant Genus Melophorus: Using CO1 Barcoding to Assess Species Richness

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan N. Andersen

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Melophorus is an exceptionally diverse ant genus from arid Australia that has received little taxonomic attention, such that just a fraction of its remarkable number of species is described. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre (TERC in Darwin holds by far the most extensive collection of Melophorus, and as of September 2016 this comprised >850 sorted morphospecies. However, the reliability of such morphospecies is open to question because species delimitation is extremely challenging due to highly generalized morphology and worker polymorphism. Here we use CO1 barcoding of 401 Melophorus specimens from 188 morphospecies in the TERC collection to determine the reliability of morphologically-based species delimitations as a basis for assessing true diversity within the genus. Our CO1 data confirm the extremely challenging nature of morphologically-based species delimitation within Melophorus, and suggest substantially higher diversity than that indicated by morphospecies. We found many cases where combinations of high (>10% CO1 divergence, polyphyly, sympatric association, and morphological differentiation indicated that single morphospecies represented multiple lineages. Overall, our analysis indicates that the 188 morphospecies barcoded represent at least 225 independent CO1 lineages. We discuss these results in terms of both their limitations and implications for estimating the total number of species in this exceptionally diverse, arid-adapted ant genus.

  16. An empirical test of Lanchester's square law: mortality during battles of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plowes, Nicola J.R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-01-01

    Lanchester's models of attrition describe casualty rates during battles between groups as functions of the numbers of individuals and their fighting abilities. Originally developed to describe human warfare, Lanchester's square law has been hypothesized to apply broadly to social animals as well, with important consequences for their aggressive behaviour and social structure. According to the square law, the fighting ability of a group is proportional to the square of the number of individuals, but rises only linearly with fighting ability of individuals within the group. By analyzing mortality rates of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) fighting in different numerical ratios, we provide the first quantitative test of Lanchester's model for a non-human animal. Casualty rates of fire ants were not consistent with the square law; instead, group fighting ability was an approximately linear function of group size. This implies that the relative numbers of casualties incurred by two fighting groups are not strongly affected by relative group sizes and that battles do not disproportionately favour group size over individual prowess. PMID:16096093

  17. Contact toxicities of anuran skin alkaloids against the fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weldon, Paul J.; Cardoza, Yasmin J.; Vander Meer, Robert K.; Hoffmann, W. Clint; Daly, John W.; Spande, Thomas F.

    2013-02-01

    Nearly 500 alkaloids, representing over 20 structural classes, have been identified from the skin of neotropical poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). These cutaneous compounds, which are derived from arthropod prey of the frogs, generally are believed to deter predators. We tested the red imported fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta) for toxicosis following contact with 20 alkaloids (12 structural classes) identified from dendrobatids or other anurans. Individual ants forced to contact the dried residues of 13 compounds exhibited convulsions and/or reduced ambulation. We estimated the cutaneous concentrations of several compounds based on their reported recoveries from skin extracts of free-ranging frogs and our measurements of the skin surface areas of museum specimens. Pumiliotoxin 251D exhibited contact toxicity below its estimated cutaneous concentration in the Ecuadorian frog, Epipedobates anthonyi, an observation consistent with the hypothesized role of this compound in anuran chemical defense. Our results and those of a previous study of mosquitoes indicate that some anuran skin compounds function defensively as contact toxins against arthropods, permeating their exoskeleton.

  18. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    viable descriptions of the collective condition of humans and more-than-humans in the Anthropocene. Also and moving past a merely descriptive approach, it discusses it as a useful tool to engage with the situated globalities which come into being through the socio-spatial coupling of tourism......In recent years Actor-network theory (ANT) has increasingly been felt in the field of tourism studies (Van der Duim, Ren, & Jóhannesson, 2012). An important implication of the meeting between ANT and tourism studies is the notion of tourism being described as a heterogeneous assemblage of what we...... are used to define as the separate spheres of nature and culture. This paper explores and relates the central tenets of ANT in tourism with regard to the concept of the Anthropocene. It presents the ANT approach as a flat and object-oriented ontology and methodology and explores its potentials to carve out...

  19. What do myrmecophagous geckos eat when ants are not available ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Like other Pristurus species, P. samhaensis on Samha and P. sokotranus on Socotra were highly myrmecophagous (76.7% and 38.6% ants, respectively). However, ants were absent from the diet of P. samhaensis on Darsa. In contrast to the rich native ant fauna of the other islands, only one ant species was reported for ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  1. An approach using quantum ant colony optimization applied to the problem of identification of nuclear power plant transients

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Silva, Marcio H.; Schirru, Roberto; Medeiros, Jose A.C.C.

    2009-01-01

    Using concepts and principles of the quantum computation, as the quantum bit and superposition of states, coupled with the biological metaphor of a colony of ants, used in the Ant Colony Optimization algorithm (ACO), Wang et al developed the Quantum Ant Colony Optimization (QACO). In this paper we present a modification of the algorithm proposed by Wang et al. While the original QACO was used just for simple benchmarks functions with, at the most, two dimensions, QACO A lfa was developed for application where the original QACO, due to its tendency to converge prematurely, does not obtain good results, as in complex multidimensional functions. Furthermore, to evaluate its behavior, both algorithms are applied to the real problem of identification of accidents in PWR nuclear power plants. (author)

  2. Temporal polyethism, life expectancy, and entropy of workers of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi Almeida, 1987 (Formicidae: Ectatomminae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santana Vieira, Alexsandro; Desidério Fernandes, Wedson; Fernando Antonialli-Junior, William

    2010-05-01

    We investigated the changes in the behavioral repertoire over the course of life and determined the life expectancy and entropy of workers of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi. Newly emerged ants were individually marked with model airplane paint for observation of behaviors and determination of the age and life expectancy. Ants were divided into two groups: young and old workers. The 36 behaviors observed were divided into eight categories. Workers exhibit a clear division of tasks throughout their lives, with young workers performing more tasks inside the colony and old workers, outside, unlike species that have small colonies. This species also exhibits an intermediate life expectancy compared to workers of other species that are also intermediary in size. This supports the hypothesis of a relationship between size and maximum life expectancy, but it also suggests that other factors may also be acting in concert. Entropy value shows a high mortality rate during the first life intervals.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vega, Clara; Herrera, Carlos M

    2013-04-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Afonso da Silva-Junior

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

  5. Long-term impact of agriculture on the survival of wood ants of the Formica rufa group (Formicidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mabelis, Bram; Korczyńska, Julita

    2016-01-01

    The impact of agriculture on wood ants of the Formica rufa group was investigated in a small-scale agricultural landscape with many woodland fragments in the east of the Netherlands. An inventory of nests was carried out in 1986, and repeated in 2014. The number of nests of F. rufa and F.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karine S. Carvalho

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  8. Checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae of the Solomon Islands and a new survey of Makira Island

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eli Sarnat

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The intent of this paper is to facilitate future research of the Solomon Islands ant fauna by providing the first comprehensively researched species inventory in over 75 years. The species list presented here includes the names of all ant species recorded from the islands that are available in the literature together with specimen records from several museum collections and new records from our 2008 Makira field expedition. All the names of described species presented are valid in accordance with the most recent Formicidae classification. In total, the checklist is composed of 237 species and subspecies (including 30 morphospecies in 59 genera representing nine subfamilies. We report that the recent field expedition added 67 new species records to Makira and 28 new species records to the Solomon Islands. Our research recovered species occurrence records for 32 individual islands and five island groups. The five islands with the highest number of recorded species are: Makira (142 spp., Guadalcanal (107 spp., Malaita (70 spp., Santa Isabel (68 spp., and Rennell (66 spp.. Based on our results, we discuss the taxonomic composition of the archipelago’s ant fauna, which islands are most in need of additional sampling, and the importance of establishing biodiversity baselines before environmental threats such as the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata cause irrevocable harm to the native biodiversity.

  9. Grower perception of the significance of weaver ants as a fruit fly deterrent in Tanzanian smallholder mango production

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kirkegaard, Nina; Msogoya, Theodosy; Offenberg, Joachim

    2017-01-01

    Managed populations of weaver ants in mango trees have been used successfully in Australia, SE Asia and parts of Western Africa to deter fruit flies from ovipositing in ripening fruits. The presence of indigenous weaver ants in mango trees of smallholder growers in Tanzania offers the possibility...... of exploiting them as an affordable, environmentally -friendly method to improve marketable fruit yield and quality. In a preliminary interview study in a mango-growing region of rural Tanzania, the farmers were not convinced of any beneficial, deterrent effect attributable to the indigenous weaver ants...... the development of a significant proportion of any deposited eggs. Subsequent field studies supported the grower perceptions as they recorded only an erratic and limited deterrent effect....

  10. The effect of two ant species Lasius niger and Lasius flavus on soil properties in two contrasting habitats

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Holec, M.; Frouz, J. [Academy of Science Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic). Inst. of Soil Biology

    2006-11-15

    Ants significantly change the soil environment within the nest. The aim of this study is to contribute to ecology and thus the importance of two ant species Lasius niger and Lasius flavus in a post-mining landscape near the town of Sokolov in northwest Bohemia where both species are common. Chemical (total C, N, and available P) and microbiological parameters (respiration, cellulose decomposition and direct counts of bacteria) were investigated in both ant species in two different habitats: a tertiary clay heap after brown coal mining with a weakly developed organic layer and semi natural meadows with well developed organic horizons. Total C and N in the L. flavus mound was lower than in the surrounding soil in both stands, the same was true for total N in L. niger on the heaps. L. niger nests in both sites were significantly enriched by available P. A litter bag test with cellulose indicated lower decomposition in the ant nest in comparison with the surrounding soil. Respiration seems to be limited by lower soil moisture in the nest. However, microbial respiration, even in suitable moisture conditions, did not differ between the nest and soil (on heaps) or nest respiration was significantly lower (in L. flavus nests in the meadow). In meadow soil both species had a lower bacteria count than the surrounding soil, but the L. niger nest on the heap had higher bacterial numbers. Both species significantly alter soil conditions, although the effect on selected parameters is variable. Moreover, the result with lower nest moisture and lower decomposition rate in ant mounds indicates that soil moisture should be the next important factor limiting soil processes inside ant mounds.

  11. An ant genus-group (Prenolepis) illuminates the biogeography and drivers of insect diversification in the Indo-Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matos-Maraví, Pável; Clouse, Ronald M; Sarnat, Eli M; Economo, Evan P; LaPolla, John S; Borovanska, Michaela; Rabeling, Christian; Czekanski-Moir, Jesse; Latumahina, Fransina; Wilson, Edward O; Janda, Milan

    2018-06-01

    The Malay Archipelago and the tropical South Pacific (hereafter the Indo-Pacific region) are considered biodiversity hotspots, yet a general understanding of the origins and diversification of species-rich groups in the region remains elusive. We aimed to test hypotheses for the evolutionary processes driving insect species diversity in the Indo-Pacific using a higher-level and comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis for an ant clade consisting of seven genera. We estimated divergence times and reconstructed the biogeographical history of ant species in the Prenolepis genus-group (Formicidae: Formicinae: Lasiini). We used a fossil-calibrated phylogeny to infer ancestral geographical ranges utilizing a biogeographic model that includes founder-event speciation. Ancestral state reconstructions of the ants' ecological preferences, and diversification rates were estimated for selected Indo-Pacific clades. Overall, we report that faunal interchange between Asia and Australia has occurred since at least 20-25 Ma, and early dispersal to the Fijian Basin happened during the early and mid-Miocene (ca. 10-20 Ma). Differences in diversification rates across Indo-Pacific clades may be related to ecological preference breadth, which in turn may have facilitated geographical range expansions. Ancient dispersal routes suggested by our results agree with the palaeogeography of the region. For this particular group of ants, the rapid orogenesis in New Guinea and possibly subsequent ecological shifts may have promoted their rapid diversification and widespread distribution across the Indo-Pacific. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karla N Oliveira

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten

    2011-01-01

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

  14. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  15. The role of ants in minesite restoration in the Kakadu region of Australia's Northern Territory, with particular reference to their use as bioindicators. Supervising Scientist report 130

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Andersen, A.N.

    1998-01-01

    The goal of land rehabilitation following mining in environmentally sensitive areas is often ecosystem restoration, rather than simply revegetation. This is the case at Ranger uranium mine (RUM) in the Alligator Rivers Region of Australia's Northern Territory. Effective methods of monitoring ecological restoration are therefore required. Ants have frequently been used as indicators of restoration success following mining in northern Australia, but the extent to which ants actually provide a reliable indication of ecological change has been poorly documented. This study aimed, primarily, to investigate the degree to which ants provide an indication of the general status of ecosystems and, secondarily, to examine the direct role of ants in ecosystem restoration. The final outcome was the development of procedures for using ants as bioindicators of restoration success following mining in the Ranger uranium mine region

  16. New light on the systematics of fungi associated with attine ant gardens and the description of Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucas A Meirelles

    Full Text Available Since the formal description of fungi in the genus Escovopsis in 1990, only a few studies have focused on the systematics of this group. For more than two decades, only two Escovopsis species were described; however, in 2013, three additional Escovopsis species were formally described along with the genus Escovopsioides, both found exclusively in attine ant gardens. During a survey for Escovopsis species in gardens of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi in Brazil, we found four strains belonging to the pink-colored Escovopsis clade. Careful examination of these strains revealed significant morphological differences when compared to previously described species of Escovopsis and Escovopsioides. Based on the type of conidiogenesis (sympodial, as well as morphology of conidiogenous cells (percurrent, non-vesiculated conidiophores, and DNA sequences, we describe the four new strains as a new species, Escovopsis kreiselii sp. nov. Phylogenetic analyses using three nuclear markers (Large subunit RNA; translation elongation factor 1-alpha; and internal transcribed spacer from the new strains as well as available sequences in public databases confirmed that all known fungi infecting attine ant gardens comprise a monophyletic group within the Hypocreaceae family, with very diverse morphological characteristics. Specifically, Escovopsis kreiselii is likely associated with gardens of lower-attine ants and its pathogenicity remains uncertain.

  17. Workers select mates for queens: a possible mechanism of gene flow restriction between supercolonies of the invasive Argentine ant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sunamura, Eiriki; Hoshizaki, Sugihiko; Sakamoto, Hironori; Fujii, Takeshi; Nishisue, Koji; Suzuki, Shun; Terayama, Mamoru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Tatsuki, Sadahiro

    2011-05-01

    Some invasive ants form large networks of mutually non-aggressive nests, i.e., supercolonies. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile forms much larger supercolonies in introduced ranges than in its native range. In both cases, it has been shown that little gene flow occurs between supercolonies of this species, though the mechanism of gene flow restriction is unknown. In this species, queens do not undertake nuptial flight, and males have to travel to foreign nests and cope with workers before gaining access to alien queens. In this study, we hypothesized that male Argentine ants receive interference from workers of alien supercolonies. To test this hypothesis, we conducted behavioral and chemical experiments using ants from two supercolonies in Japan. Workers attacked males from alien supercolonies but not those from their own supercolonies. The level of aggression against alien males was similar to that against alien workers. The frequency of severe aggression against alien males increased as the number of recipient workers increased. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, which serve as cues for nestmate recognition, of workers and males from the same supercolony were very similar. Workers are likely to distinguish alien males from males of their own supercolony using the profiles. It is predicted that males are subject to considerable aggression from workers when they intrude into the nests of alien supercolonies. This may be a mechanism underlying the restricted gene flow between supercolonies of Argentine ants.