Reber, A; Purcell, J; Buechel, S D; Buri, P; Chapuisat, M
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.
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
Andersen, Sandra Breum; Gerritsma, Sylvia; Yusah, Kalsum M.
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 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...
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche, particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet...... of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which these ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that fungal laccases may have played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to become...... is differentially expressed in the modified hyphal tips (gongylidia) that the fungal symbiont produces. We can also show that this laccase enzyme passes through the ant gut to be expressed in the fecal droplets that the ants mix with their chewed-up fresh leaf forage, providing strong indications for an adaptive...
Full Text Available Recent genome analyses suggested the absence of a number of neuropeptide genes in ants. One of the apparently missing genes was the capa gene. Capa gene expression in insects is typically associated with the neuroendocrine system of abdominal ganglia; mature CAPA peptides are known to regulate diuresis and visceral muscle contraction. The apparent absence of the capa gene raised questions about possible compensation of these functions. In this study, we re-examined this controversial issue and searched for a potentially unrecognized capa gene in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. We employed a combination of data mining and a traditional PCR-based strategy using degenerate primers designed from conserved amino acid sequences of insect capa genes. Our findings demonstrate that ants possess and express a capa gene. As shown by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, processed products of the S. invicta capa gene include three CAPA periviscerokinins and low amounts of a pyrokinin which does not have the C-terminal WFGPRLa motif typical of CAPA pyrokinins in other insects. The capa gene was found with two alternative transcripts in the CNS. Within the ventral nerve cord, two capa neurons were immunostained in abdominal neuromeres 2-5, respectively, and projected into ventrally located abdominal perisympathetic organs (PSOs, which are the major hormone release sites of abdominal ganglia. The ventral location of these PSOs is a characteristic feature and was also found in another ant, Atta sexdens.
Ometto, Lino; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Ross, Kenneth G; Keller, Laurent
Ants provide remarkable examples of equivalent genotypes developing into divergent and discrete phenotypes. Diploid eggs can develop either into queens, which specialize in reproduction, or workers, which participate in cooperative tasks such as building the nest, collecting food, and rearing the young. In contrast, the differentiation between males and females generally depends upon whether eggs are fertilized, with fertilized (diploid) eggs giving rise to females and unfertilized (haploid) eggs giving rise to males. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the relative contributions of gender (sex), caste, developmental stage, and species divergence to gene expression evolution, we investigated gene expression patterns in pupal and adult queens, workers, and males of two species of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri. Microarray hybridizations revealed that variation in gene expression profiles is influenced more by developmental stage than by caste membership, sex, or species identity. The second major contributor to variation in gene expression was the combination of sex and caste. Although workers and queens share equivalent diploid nuclear genomes, they have highly distinctive patterns of gene expression in both the pupal and the adult stages, as might be expected given their extraordinary level of phenotypic differentiation. Overall, the difference in the proportion of differentially expressed genes was greater between workers and males than between workers and queens or queens and males, consistent with the fact that workers and males share neither gender nor reproductive capability. Moreover, between-species comparisons revealed that the greatest difference in gene expression patterns occurred in adult workers, a finding consistent with the fact that adult workers most directly experience the distinct external environments characterizing the different habitats occupied by the two species. Thus, much of the evolution of gene expression in ants may
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Nygaard, Sanne
Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche (De Fine Licht, Schiøtt, Mueller & Boomsma, 2010, Evolution), particul......Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche (De Fine Licht, Schiøtt, Mueller & Boomsma, 2010, Evolution...... played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to become generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed...... proportion of fresh leaves in their forage. We are currently investigating the molecular evolution and expression profiles of these multiple laccase genes....
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Nygaard, Sanne
), particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which leaf-cutting ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that laccases may have...... played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to become generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed...... in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf compounds are most likely to hinder decomposition. A combination of genomic and transcriptional analyses showed that there are at least eight copies of putative laccase coding genes in a draft genome of the fungal symbiont Leucocoprinus...
Bockoven, Alison A; Coates, Craig J; Eubanks, Micky D
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.
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
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
of mostly fresh but shed plant material to actively cutting leaves. However, the way in which these ants managed to overcome the chemical defences of leaves has remained poorly understood. Here we document that fungal laccases may have played an important role in allowing the leaf-cutting ants to become...... generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf compounds...... are most likely to hinder decomposition. A combination of genomic and transcriptional analyses showed that there are at least eight copies of putative laccase coding genes in a draft genome of the fungal symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus, but only a single copy of these multiple laccase genes...
van der Duim, René; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór
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....
Howe, Jack; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
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......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...
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.
Ingram, Krista K; Gordon, Deborah M; Friedman, Daniel A; Greene, Michael; Kahler, John; Peteru, Swetha
Task allocation among social insect workers is an ideal framework for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying behavioural plasticity because workers of similar genotype adopt different behavioural phenotypes. Elegant laboratory studies have pioneered this effort, but field studies involving the genetic regulation of task allocation are rare. Here, we investigate the expression of the foraging gene in harvester ant workers from five age- and task-related groups in a natural population, and we experimentally test how exposure to light affects foraging expression in brood workers and foragers. Results from our field study show that the regulation of the foraging gene in harvester ants occurs at two time scales: levels of foraging mRNA are associated with ontogenetic changes over weeks in worker age, location and task, and there are significant daily oscillations in foraging expression in foragers. The temporal dissection of foraging expression reveals that gene expression changes in foragers occur across a scale of hours and the level of expression is predicted by activity rhythms: foragers have high levels of foraging mRNA during daylight hours when they are most active outside the nests. In the experimental study, we find complex interactions in foraging expression between task behaviour and light exposure. Oscillations occur in foragers following experimental exposure to 13 L : 11 D (LD) conditions, but not in brood workers under similar conditions. No significant differences were seen in foraging expression over time in either task in 24 h dark (DD) conditions. Interestingly, the expression of foraging in both undisturbed field and experimentally treated foragers is also significantly correlated with the expression of the circadian clock gene, cycle Our results provide evidence that the regulation of this gene is context-dependent and associated with both ontogenetic and daily behavioural plasticity in field colonies of harvester ants. Our results underscore
Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G
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...
Hughes, W O H; Bot, A N M; Boomsma, J J
-cutting ant for the antibiotic-producing metapleural gland, which has a major role in defence against parasites. Gland size increases allometrically. The small workers that play the main role in disease defence have relatively large glands compared with larger workers, while the glands of gynes...
Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G
The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non-compressible invagination of the integument and the secretion is thought to ooze out passively through the non-closable opening of the MG or is groomed off by the legs and applied to target surfaces. MG loss has occurred repeatedly among the ants, particularly in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae, and the MG is more commonly absent in males than in workers. MG chemistry has been characterized mostly in derived ant lineages with unique biologies (e.g. leafcutter ants, fire ants), currently precluding any inferences about MG chemistry at the origin of the ants. A synthetic approach integrating functional morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants. © 2010 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2010 Cambridge Philosophical Society.
Forlani, Greta; Giarda, Elisa; Ala, Ugo; Di Cunto, Ferdinando; Salani, Monica; Tupler, Rossella; Kilstrup-Nielsen, Charlotte; Landsberger, Nicoletta
Rett syndrome is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder mainly caused by mutations in the transcriptional regulator MeCP2. Although there is no effective therapy for Rett syndrome, the recently discovered disease reversibility in mice suggests that there are therapeutic possibilities. Identification of MeCP2 targets or modifiers of the phenotype can facilitate the design of curative strategies. To identify possible novel MeCP2 interactors, we exploited a bioinformatic approach and selected Ying Yang 1 (YY1) as an interesting candidate. We demonstrate that MeCP2 interacts in vitro and in vivo with YY1, a ubiquitous zinc-finger epigenetic factor regulating the expression of several genes. We show that MeCP2 cooperates with YY1 in repressing the ANT1 gene encoding a mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocase. Importantly, ANT1 mRNA levels are increased in human and mouse cell lines devoid of MeCP2, in Rett patient fibroblasts and in the brain of Mecp2-null mice. We further demonstrate that ANT1 protein levels are upregulated in Mecp2-null mice. Finally, the identified MeCP2–YY1 interaction, together with the well-known involvement of YY1 in the regulation of D4Z4-associated genes at 4q35, led us to discover the anomalous depression of FRG2, a subtelomeric gene of unknown function, in Rett fibroblasts. Collectively, our data indicate that mutations in MeCP2 might cause the aberrant overexpression of genes located at a specific locus, thus providing new candidates for the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome. As both ANT1 mutations and overexpression have been associated with human diseases, we consider it highly relevant to address the consequences of ANT1 deregulation in Rett syndrome. PMID:20504995
de Bekker, Charissa; Ohm, Robin A; Loreto, Raquel G; Sebastian, Aswathy; Albert, Istvan; Merrow, Martha; Brachmann, Andreas; Hughes, David P
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
Fernandes, A Sofia D; Philippides, Andrew; Collett, Tom S; Niven, Jeremy E
Wood ants, like other central place foragers, rely on route memories to guide them to and from a reliable food source. They use visual memories of the surrounding scene and probably compass information to control their direction. Do they also remember the length of their route and do they link memories of direction and distance? To answer these questions, we trained wood ant (Formica rufa) foragers in a channel to perform either a single short foraging route or two foraging routes in opposite directions. By shifting the starting position of the route within the channel, but keeping the direction and distance fixed, we tried to ensure that the ants would rely upon vector memories rather than visual memories to decide when to stop. The homeward memories that the ants formed were revealed by placing fed or unfed ants directly into a channel and assessing the direction and distance that they walked without prior performance of the food-ward leg of the journey. This procedure prevented the distance and direction walked being affected by a home vector derived from path integration. Ants that were unfed walked in the feeder direction. Fed ants walked in the opposite direction for a distance related to the separation between start and feeder. Vector memories of a return route can thus be primed by the ants' feeding state and expressed even when the ants have not performed the food-ward route. Tests on ants that have acquired two routes indicate that memories of the direction and distance of the return routes are linked, suggesting that they may be encoded by a common neural population within the ant brain. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sudholt, Dirk
are investigated. The influence of the evaporation factor in the pheromone update mechanism and the robustness of this parameter w.r.t. the runtime behavior have been determined for the example function OneMax.This work puts forward the rigorous runtime analysis of the 1-ANT on the example functions Leading......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......Ones and BinVal. With respect to Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs), such analyses were essential to develop methods for the analysis on more complicated problems. The proof techniques required for the 1-ANT, unfortunately, differ significantly from those for EAs, which means that a new reservoir of methods has...
Miler, Krzysztof; Symonowicz, Beata; Godzińska, Ewa J
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.
Cremer, Sylvia; Ugelvig, Line Vej; Drijfhout, Falko P
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...
Liu, Qiu-Ning; Chai, Xin-Yue; Tu, Jie; Xin, Zhao-Zhe; Li, Chao-Feng; Jiang, Sen-Hao; Zhou, Chun-Lin; Tang, Bo-Ping
The adenine nucleotide translocases (ANTs) play a vital role in energy metabolism via ADP/ATP exchange in eukaryotic cells. Apostichopus japonicus (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) is an important economic species in China. Here, a cDNA representing an ANT gene of A. japonicus was isolated and characterized from respiratory tree and named AjANT. The full-length AjANT cDNA is 1924 bp, including a 5'-untranslated region (UTR) of 38 bp, 3'-UTR of 980 bp and an open reading frame (ORF) of 906 bp encoding a polypeptide of 301 amino acids. The protein contains three homologous repeat Mito_carr domains (Pfam00153). The deduced AjANT protein sequence has 49-81% in comparison to ANT proteins from other individuals. The predicted tertiary structure of AjANT protein is highly similar to animal ANT proteins. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the AjANT is closely related to Holothuroidea ANT genes. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qPCR) analysis showed that AjANT expression is higher in the respiratory tree than in other examined tissues. After thermal stress or LPS challenge, expression of AjANT was significantly fluctuant compared to the control. These results suggested that changes in the expression of ANT gene might be involved in immune defense and in protecting A. japonicus against thermal stress. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ingram, Krista K; Kutowoi, Alexander; Wurm, Yannick; Shoemaker, Dewayne; Meier, Rudolf; Bloch, Guy
The circadian clock is a core molecular mechanism that allows organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes and adapt the timing of behaviors to maximize efficiency. In social insects, the ability to maintain the appropriate temporal order is thought to improve colony efficiency and fitness. We used the newly sequenced fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) genome to characterize the first ant circadian clock. Our results reveal that the fire ant clock is similar to the clock of the honeybee, a social insect with an independent evolutionary origin of sociality. Gene trees for the eight core clock genes, period, cycle, clock, cryptochrome-m, timeout, vrille, par domain protein 1 & clockwork orange, show ant species grouping closely with honeybees and Nasonia wasps as an outgroup to the social Hymenoptera. Expression patterns for these genes suggest that the ant clock functions similar to the honeybee clock, with period and cry-m mRNA levels increasing during the night and cycle and clockwork orange mRNAs cycling approximately anti-phase to period. Gene models for five of these genes also parallel honeybee models. In particular, the single ant cryptochrome is an ortholog of the mammalian-type (cry-m), rather than Drosophila-like protein (cry-d). Additionally, we find a conserved VPIFAL C-tail region in clockwork orange shared by insects but absent in vertebrates. Overall, our characterization of the ant clock demonstrates that two social insect lineages, ants and bees, share a similar, mammalian-like circadian clock. This study represents the first characterization of clock genes in an ant and is a key step towards understanding socially-regulated plasticity in circadian rhythms by facilitating comparative studies on the organization of circadian clockwork.
Krista K Ingram
Full Text Available The circadian clock is a core molecular mechanism that allows organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes and adapt the timing of behaviors to maximize efficiency. In social insects, the ability to maintain the appropriate temporal order is thought to improve colony efficiency and fitness. We used the newly sequenced fire ant (Solenopsis invicta genome to characterize the first ant circadian clock. Our results reveal that the fire ant clock is similar to the clock of the honeybee, a social insect with an independent evolutionary origin of sociality. Gene trees for the eight core clock genes, period, cycle, clock, cryptochrome-m, timeout, vrille, par domain protein 1 & clockwork orange, show ant species grouping closely with honeybees and Nasonia wasps as an outgroup to the social Hymenoptera. Expression patterns for these genes suggest that the ant clock functions similar to the honeybee clock, with period and cry-m mRNA levels increasing during the night and cycle and clockwork orange mRNAs cycling approximately anti-phase to period. Gene models for five of these genes also parallel honeybee models. In particular, the single ant cryptochrome is an ortholog of the mammalian-type (cry-m, rather than Drosophila-like protein (cry-d. Additionally, we find a conserved VPIFAL C-tail region in clockwork orange shared by insects but absent in vertebrates. Overall, our characterization of the ant clock demonstrates that two social insect lineages, ants and bees, share a similar, mammalian-like circadian clock. This study represents the first characterization of clock genes in an ant and is a key step towards understanding socially-regulated plasticity in circadian rhythms by facilitating comparative studies on the organization of circadian clockwork.
Roura-Pascual, Núria; Sanders, Nate; Hui, Cang
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...
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.
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...
the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...... other compounds. We also developed a new method for centroid calculation that increased the power of the analysis and can therefore be used in future studies that aim to identify nestmate recognition cues in other species. In the fourth chapter I investigated the nest site preference of pharaoh ant...
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.
Touchard, Axel; Aili, Samira R.; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Escoubas, Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M.; Dejean, Alain
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
Ryan F. Seipke
Full Text Available Antimycins are an extended family of depsipeptides that are made by filamentous actinomycete bacteria and were first isolated more than 60 years ago. Recently, antimycins have attracted renewed interest because of their activities against the anti-apoptotic machineries inside human cells which could make them promising anti-cancer compounds. The biosynthetic pathway for antimycins was recently characterised but very little is known about the organisation and regulation of the antimycin (ant gene cluster. Here we report that the ant gene cluster in Streptomyces albus is organized into four transcriptional units; the antBA, antCDE, antGF and antHIJKLMNO operons. Unusually for secondary metabolite clusters, the antG and antH promoters are regulated by an extracytoplasmic function (ECF RNA polymerase sigma factor named σAntA which represents a new sub-family of ECF σ factors that is only found in antimycin producing strains. We show that σAntA controls production of the unusual precursor 3-aminosalicylate which is absolutely required for the production of antimycins. σAntA is highly conserved in antimycin producing strains and the −10 and −35 elements at the σAntA regulated antG and antH promoters are also highly conserved suggesting a common mechanism of regulation. We also demonstrate that altering the C-terminal Ala-Ala residues found in all σAntA proteins to Asp-Asp increases expression of the antFG and antGHIJKLMNO operons and we speculate that this Ala-Ala motif may be a signal for the protease ClpXP.
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.
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.
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
an increasing need to understand which factors promote the ecological dominance of these species, and particularly how the discrimination of both conspecifics and heterospecifics (including parasites) might influence structure and ecological success of invasive populations. In this PhD thesis I investigated...... the discrimination behavior of the invasive pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) as a model for other invasive and supercolonial ant species. The pharaoh ant is one of the few ant species that can be reared in the laboratory for many generations. Furthermore, the possibility to do controlled crosses of colonies...... provides the unique opportunity to establish colonies of different genetic composition. These traits make this species a suitable study subject to set up behavioral experiments that aim to investigate which factors, and to which extent, might influence the inter- and intraspecific discrimination abilities...
Heinze, J.; Cremer, Sylvia; Eckl, N.
Many invasive ant species, such as the Argentine ant or the red imported fire ant, have huge colonies with thousands of mass-foraging workers, which quickly monopolise resources and therefore represent a considerable threat to the native ant fauna. Cardiocondyla obscurior and several other species...
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard
behaviour. Here we report the first large-scale comparative study on fungus garden enzyme profiles and show that various interesting changes can be documented. A more detailed analysis of laccase expression, an enzyme that is believed to oxidize phenols in defensive secondary plant compounds such as tannins......, showed that this enzyme is exclusively found in the gardens of leaf-cutting ants, where it is significantly upregulated in the gongylidia. I’ll discuss the possible role of this enzyme and other fungal modifications in the evolution of the leafcutter ants and their non-leafcutting attine relatives....
Dash, Madhumita; Malladi, Anish
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
Full Text Available Abstract Background 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. Results 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. Conclusions Multiple lines of evidence from this study suggest that MdANT1 and MdANT2 regulate cell production
Perrichot, Vincent; Lacau, Sébastien; Néraudeau, Didier; Nel, André
Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.
Offenberg, Hans Joachim
Canopy dwelling weaver ants are widely distributed throughout the Old World Tropics where they build up high densities on their host trees. If managed properly the high number of ants will control a range of pest insects and benefit crop production. Simultaneously the ant larvae production, fuelled...... by the consumed pest insects, can be harvested and utilised for nutrition as they are tasty and high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Thus, plantations may function as ant farms and in addition to plant production also hosts the production of edible animal protein. In this setup harmful pest insects are turned...... farming as a way forward to solve an increasing future demand for protein. Weaver ant farming may build on natural food collected by the ants or alternatively be boosted by feeding the ant colonies actively with protein and sugar. In both cases, when ant biocontrol is combined with ant farming...
den Boer, Susanne; Stürup, Marlene; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
The eusocial ants are unique in that females (queens) acquire and store sperm on a single mating flight early in adult life. This event largely determines the size (possibly millions of workers), longevity (possibly decades) and genetic variation of the colonies that queens found, but our...... understanding of the fundamental biology of ejaculate production, transfer and physiological function remains extremely limited. We studied the ejaculation process in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica and found that it starts with the appearance of a clear pre-ejaculatory fluid (PEF) at the tip...
Morandin, Claire; Mikheyev, Alexander S; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Helanterä, Heikki
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.
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.
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex and Mycocepurus 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 substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas...... 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...
Ingram Krista K
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
Cammaerts, M C
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.
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex and Mycocepurus 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 substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas...
Chou, Cheng T.
As a result of accidental introduction, the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, has successfully invaded many parts of the world including the California coast. Argentine ants are extraordinarily effective in displacing native ants. This study aims to link animal behavior and growth to resource consumption. We examined how different diets affect Argentine ant behavior. We hypothesized that having a diet composed of both carbohydrate and protein may increase colony size and activity le...
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 ...
Le Breton, Julien; Orivel, J.; Chazeau, Jean; Dejean, A.
Among the factors driving the invasive success of non-indigenous species, the "escape opportunity" or "enemy release" hypothesis argues that an invader's success may result partly from less resistance from the new competitors found in its introduced range. In this study, we examined competitive interactions between the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) and ant species of the genus Pheidole in places where both are native (French Guiana) and in places where only species of Pheidol...
Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi
We analyse the influence of the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) on the seed dispersal process of the myrmecochorous plants Euphorbia characias, E. biumbellata, Genista linifolia, G. triflora, G. monspessulana and Sarothamnus arboreus. The observations were made in two study plots of Mediterranean cork-oak secondary forest (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile). The presence of L. humile implies the displacement of all native ant species that disperse seeds. Seed transports in the non-invaded zone were carried out by eight ant species. In the invaded zone, L. humile workers removed and transported seeds to the nest. In vertebrate exclusion trials, we observed the same level of seed removal in the invaded and non-invaded zones. Two findings could explain this result. Although mean time to seed localization was higher for native ants (431.7 s) than that for L. humile (150.5 s), the mean proportion of seeds transported after being detected was higher (50.1%) in non-invaded than in invaded (16.8%) zones. The proportion of seeds removed and transported into an ant nest after an ant-seed interaction had dramatically reduced from non-invaded (41.9%) to invaded (7.4%) zones. The levels of seed dispersal by ants found prior to invasion are unlikely to be maintained in invaded zones. However, total replacement of seed dispersal function is possible if contact iteration finally offers similar levels or quantities of seeds reaching the nests. The results obtained confirm that the Argentine ant invasion may affect myrmecochory dramatically in the Mediterranean biome.
Vogel, Valerie; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Giraud, Tatiana
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 historically contingent event (e.g. reduction of genetic diversity) in this species. Rather, native L. humile supercolonies have characteristics that make them pre-adapted to invade new – and in particular disturbed – habitats when given the opportunity. These results have important implications with regard...
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.
Di Giulio, Andrea; Maurizi, Emanuela; Barbero, Francesca; Sala, Marco; Fattorini, Simone; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona
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.
John C. Moser; R. C. Brownlee; R. Silverstein
Methyl-3-heptanone (0.59 μg/head) and 2-heptanone (0.14 μg/head) are the main volatile components of the mandibular glands of major workers. In the laboratory, worker ants detected and were attracted by 4-methyl-3-heptanone at a concentration of 5.7 x 10-13 g/cm3 (2.7 x 107 molecules...
De Fine Licht, Henrik; Schiøtt, Morten; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina
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...
Vidkjær, Nanna Hjort; Wollenweber, Bernd; Gislum, René
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...
Chomicki, Guillaume; Renner, Susanne S
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).
Full Text Available The objective of this work was to obtain transgenic tomato plants expressing the PfCP-2.9 protein (a chimera of the antigens MSP1 and AMA1 of Plasmodium falciparum. Cotyledons of seven-day-old tomatoes, cultivar Summers, were transformed via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Transgenic expression in the T0 plants was verified in the DNA extracted from fruits. PCR analysis was used to test the presence of the gene of interest in the T1 generation. Reverse transcriptase PCR provided evidence of gene expression at the RNA level, and Western blot analysis confirmed the presence of the protein of interest in the T1 plants. This is the first report of successful transformation with the expression of a malaria antigen (PfCP-2.9 in transgenic tomato plants from the T0 and T1 generations.O objetivo deste trabalho foi obter plantas transgênicas de tomate que expressem a proteína PfCP-2.9 (uma quimera dos antígenos MSP1 e AMA1 de Plasmodium falciparum. Cotilédones de tomate, cultivar Summers, com sete dias de idade, foram transformados via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. A expressão transgênica nas plantas T0 foi verificada no DNA extraído dos frutos. A análise por PCR foi utilizada para testar a presença do gene de interesse na geração T1. A evidência da expressão do gene no RNA foi constatada por meio da PCR de transcriptase reversa, e a análise "Western blot" confirmou a presença da proteína de interesse nas plantas T1. Este é o primeiro relato de transformação bem sucedida com a expressão de um antígeno da malária (PfCP-2,9 em plantas transgênicas de tomate da geração T0 e T1.
Graham, Paul; Mangan, Michael
Visual navigation is a critical behaviour for many animals, and it has been particularly well studied in ants. Decades of ant navigation research have uncovered many ways in which efficient navigation can be implemented in small brains. For example, ants show us how visual information can drive navigation via procedural rather than map-like instructions. Two recent behavioural observations highlight interesting adaptive ways in which ants implement visual guidance. Firstly, it has been shown that the systematic nest searches of ants can be biased by recent experience of familiar scenes. Secondly, ants have been observed to show temporary periods of confusion when asked to repeat a route segment, even if that route segment is very familiar. Taken together, these results indicate that the navigational decisions of ants take into account their recent experiences as well as the currently perceived environment. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Fürst, Matthias A; Nash, David Richard
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...... 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...
Wurm, Yannick; Wang, John; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana
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 brothers......, a functional DNA methylation system, and a single putative telomerase ortholog. EST data indicate that this S. invicta telomerase ortholog has at least four spliceforms that differ in their use of two sets of mutually exclusive exons. Some of these and other unique aspects of the fire ant genome are likely...... linked to the complex social behavior of this species....
Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.; Slater, J.; Wiggers, E.
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.
Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Hölldobler, Bert
Ant workers can mate and reproduce in a few hundreds of species belonging to the phylogenetically basal poneromorph subfamilies (sensu Bolton 2003). We report the first occurrence of gamergates (i.e. mated reproductive workers) in a myrmeciomorph subfamily. In a colony of Myrmecia pyriformis that was collected without a queen, workers continued to be produced over a period of 3 years in the laboratory. Behavioural observations and ovarian dissections indicated that three workers were mated and produced the diploid offspring. The Myrmeciinae are thus another taxon in which the selective benefits of sexual reproduction by workers can be investigated.
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
The attine ant symbiosis is characterized by ancient but varying degrees of diffuse co-evolution between the ants and their fungal cultivars. Domesticated fungi became dependent on vertical transmission by queens and the ant colonies came to rely on their symbiotic fungus for food and thus......, indirectly, on fungal enzymes to break down the plant material brought in by the ants as fungal substrate. The more than 210 extant fungus-growing ant species differ considerably in colony size, social complexity and substrate-use. Only the derived leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves...... as garden substrate, whereas the more basal genera use leaf litter, insect feces and insect carcasses. We hypothesized that enzyme activity of fungal symbionts has co-evolved with substrate use and we measured enzyme activities of fungus gardens in the field to test this, focusing particularly on plant...
Lange, L; Grell, M N
Molecular studies have added significantly to understanding of the role of fungi and fungal enzymes in the efficient biomass conversion, which takes place in the fungus garden of leaf-cutting ants. It is now clear that the fungal symbiont expresses the full spectrum of genes for degrading cellulose and other plant cell wall polysaccharides. Since the start of the genomics era, numerous interesting studies have especially focused on evolutionary, molecular, and organismal aspects of the biological and biochemical functions of the symbiosis between leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp.) and their fungal symbiont Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. Macroscopic observations of the fungus-farming ant colony inherently depict the ants as the leading part of the symbiosis (the myrmicocentric approach, overshadowing the mycocentric aspects). However, at the molecular level, it is fungal enzymes that enable the ants to access the nutrition embedded in recalcitrant plant biomass. Our hypothesis is that the evolutionary events that established fungus-farming practice were predisposed by a fascinating fungal evolution toward increasing attractiveness to ants. This resulted in the ants allowing the fungus to grow in the nests and began to supply plant materials for more fungal growth. Molecular studies also confirm that specialized fungal structures, the gongylidia, with high levels of proteins and rich blend of enzymes, are essential for symbiosis. Harvested and used as ant feed, the gongylidia are the key factor for sustaining the highly complex leaf-cutting ant colony. This microbial upgrade of fresh leaves to protein-enriched animal feed can serve as inspiration for modern biorefinery technology.
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.
Pekár, S; Mayntz, D
Prey nutrient quality determines predator performance. Polyphagous predators can address nutritional challenges by targeting prey with specific nutrient composition, but prey-specialised predators (e.g., ant-eaters), must obtain all nutrients from limited array of prey. Analysis of published data on prey specificity of European ant-eating spiders showed that some feed only on one ant genus, while others feed on several genera. Spiders feeding on several ant genera can possibly balance nutrient intake by selecting different ant prey. But monophagous species must extract all prey from a single prey species and can only vary nutrient intake by feeding on specific body parts. Most ant-eating spider species are catching Formica, Lasius and Messor ants, suggesting that these are most profitable ant species. We evaluated the nutritional content of a variety of 16 Central European ant species belonging to 11 genera and four subfamilies. We found that the nutritional composition, namely the amount of carbon, nitrogen and lipids, of European ants is heterogeneous. The largest variation in the amount of carbon and lipids was among ant subfamilies and species, while the largest variation in nitrogen was among ant genera. The largest amount of carbon and nitrogen was typical for Myrmicinae and the largest amount of lipids were typical for Formicinae. Within ants, the relative amounts of lipids were significantly higher in the gaster while the contents of carbon and nitrogen were highest in foreparts. Ant species did not cluster in the ordination space according to their taxonomic relationship or trophic strategy. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Mueller, U G; Schultz, T R; Currie, C R; Adams, R M; Malloch, D
Cultivation of fungus for food originated about 45-65 million years ago in the ancestor of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae, tribe Attini), representing an evolutionary transition from the life of a hunter-gatherer of arthropod prey, nectar, and other plant juices, to the life of a farmer subsisting on cultivated fungi. Seven hypotheses have been suggested for the origin of attine fungiculture, each differing with respect to the substrate used by the ancestral attine ants for fungal cultivation. Phylogenetic information on the cultivated fungi, in conjunction with information on the nesting biology of extant attine ants and their presumed closest relatives, reveal that the attine ancestors probably did not encounter their cultivars-to-be in seed stores (von Ihering 1894), in rotting wood (Forel 1902), as mycorrhizae (Garling 1979), on arthropod corpses (von Ihering 1894) or ant faeces in nest middens (Wheeler 1907). Rather, the attine ant-fungus mutualism probably arose from adventitious interactions with fungi that grew on walls of nests built in leaf litter (Emery 1899), or from a system of fungal myrmecochory in which specialized fungi relied on ants for dispersal (Bailey 1920) and in which the ants fortuitously vectored these fungi from parent to offspring nests prior to a true fungicultural stage. Reliance on fungi as a dominant food source has evolved only twice in ants: first in the attine ants, and second in some ant species in the solenopsidine genus Megalomyrmex that either coexist as trophic parasites in gardens of attine hosts or aggressively usurp gardens from them. All other known ant-fungus associations are either adventitious or have nonnutritional functions (e.g., strengthening of carton-walls in ant nests). There exist no unambiguous reports of facultative mycophagy in ants, but such trophic ant-fungus interactions would most likely occur underground or in leaf litter and thus escape easy observation. Indirect evidence of fungivory can be deduced
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.
Flores-Flores, Rocío Vianey; Aguirre, Armando; Anjos, Diego V.; Neves, Frederico S.; Campos, Ricardo I.; Dáttilo, Wesley
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.
Ward, Philip S; Branstetter, Michael G
Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses can enhance our understanding of multispecies interactions by placing the origin and evolution of such interactions in a temporal and geographical context. We use a phylogenomic approach-ultraconserved element sequence capture-to investigate the evolutionary history of an iconic multispecies mutualism: Neotropical acacia ants ( Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus group) and their associated Vachellia hostplants. In this system, the ants receive shelter and food from the host plant, and they aggressively defend the plant against herbivores and competing plants. We confirm the existence of two separate lineages of obligate acacia ants that convergently occupied Vachellia and evolved plant-protecting behaviour, from timid ancestors inhabiting dead twigs in rainforest. The more diverse of the two clades is inferred to have arisen in the Late Miocene in northern Mesoamerica, and subsequently expanded its range throughout much of Central America. The other lineage is estimated to have originated in southern Mesoamerica about 3 Myr later, apparently piggy-backing on the pre-existing mutualism. Initiation of the Pseudomyrmex / Vachellia interaction involved a shift in the ants from closed to open habitats, into an environment with more intense plant herbivory. Comparative studies of the two lineages of mutualists should provide insight into the essential features binding this mutualism. © 2017 The Author(s).
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 ...
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 ...
The harvester ants of species Messor cephalotes, Emmery were identified as the main insects that were foraging herbaceous vegetation cover thus creating bare lands in some of the locations in the study area. Areas with high intensity of human activities in terms of framing and grazing had more bare lands created by ants ...
Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa
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.
Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz
The black garden ant Lasius niger is a common component of habitats subjected to anthropological stress. The species can develop very abundant populations in metal-polluted areas. In this study, we raised the question of its tolerance to Cd pollution. Workers of L. niger were collected from 54 colonies, originating from 19 sites located along an increasing gradient of Cd pollution in Poland. Ants were exposed to a range of dietary Cd concentrations in a controlled 14-day laboratory experiment in order to test Cd-sensitivity in the investigated ants. The level of ant mortality was recorded as the endpoint of the experiment. We used much higher concentrations of dietary Cd than those the ants are most likely exposed to in field conditions. The investigated ants were highly Cd-tolerant; even a very high dietary Cd concentration of approx. 1300 mg/kg did not affect mortality of workers when compared to the control. Mortality was unrelated to Cd-pollution along the pollution gradient, meaning that high Cd-tolerance can be found even in ants from unpolluted areas. The results stress the importance of pre-adaptive mechanisms in the development of metal tolerance in ants. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.
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
Tegelaar, Karolina; Glinwood, Robert; Pettersson, Jan; Leimar, Olof
In mutualistic interactions, partners obtain a net benefit, but there may also be costs associated with the provision of benefits for a partner. The question of whether aphids suffer such costs when attended by ants has been raised in previous work. Transgenerational effects, where offspring phenotypes are adjusted based on maternal influences, could be important in the mutualistic interaction between aphids and ants, in particular because aphids have telescoping generations where two offspring generations can be present in a mature aphid. We investigated the immediate and transgenerational influence of ant tending on aphid life history and reproduction by observing the interaction between the facultative myrmecophile Aphis fabae and the ant Lasius niger over 13 aphid generations in the laboratory. We found that the effect of ant tending changes dynamically over successive aphid generations after the start of tending. Initially, total aphid colony weight, aphid adult weight and aphid embryo size decreased compared with untended aphids, consistent with a cost of ant association, but these differences disappeared within four generations of interaction. We conclude that transgenerational effects are important in the aphid-ant interactions and that the costs for aphids of being tended by ants can vary over generations.
Villesen, Palle; Boomsma, JJ
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...
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 ...
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.
Nygaard, Sanne; Hu, Haofu; Li, Cai
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...
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.
Huszár, Dóra Borbála
Ants, like other social insects, have evolved cooperative societies based on kinship. Colonies headed by a single breeding queen (monogyny) was the ancestral state but today ca. half of the ant species live in multi-queen societies (polygyny), which can sometimes reach extreme sizes (supercolony...... that only ants, not the other obligatorily social insects were able to decrease social and sexual conflicts sufficiently to make polygyny reach obligate form in some species. This can be explained by general ant biology, such as perennial lifehistories, foraging on foot instead of wings and having one...... mating event in life instead of ongoing events between pairs. Second, by empirical studies on the native ant species Myrmica rubra we were able to demonstrate that the three social syndromes can co-exist within populations, but with possible overlap in certain traits. Genetic and morphology results...
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.
Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan
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.
Trevor R Sorrells
Full Text Available The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufour's gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile.
Robert B. Pape
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.
Walter R. Tschinkel
Full Text Available The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm2 in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations.
Linde, Tore; Grell, Morten Nedergaard; Schiøtt, Morten
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...
Boomsma Jacobus J
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.
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....
Full Text Available Conflict within mutually beneficial associations is predicted to destabilize relationships, and theoretical and empirical work exploring this has provided significant insight into the dynamics of cooperative interactions. Within mutualistic associations, the expression and regulation of conflict is likely more complex than in intraspecific cooperative relationship, because of the potential presence of: i multiple genotypes of microbial species associated with individual hosts, ii multiple species of symbiotic lineages forming cooperative partner pairings, and iii additional symbiont lineages. Here we explore complexity of conflict expression within the ancient and coevolved mutualistic association between attine ants, their fungal cultivar, and actinomycetous bacteria (Pseudonocardia. Specifically, we examine conflict between the ants and their Pseudonocardia symbionts maintained to derive antibiotics against parasitic microfungi (Escovopsis infecting the ants' fungus garden. Symbiont assays pairing isolates of Pseudonocardia spp. associated with fungus-growing ants spanning the phylogenetic diversity of the mutualism revealed that antagonism between strains is common. In contrast, antagonism was substantially less common between more closely related bacteria associated with Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. In both experiments, the observed variation in antagonism across pairings was primarily due to the inhibitory capabilities and susceptibility of individual strains, but also the phylogenetic relationships between the ant host of the symbionts, as well as the pair-wise genetic distances between strains. The presence of antagonism throughout the phylogenetic diversity of Pseudonocardia symbionts indicates that these reactions likely have shaped the symbiosis from its origin. Antagonism is expected to prevent novel strains from invading colonies, enforcing single-strain rearing within individual ant colonies. While this may align ant
Walter R Tschinkel
Full Text Available Size-related changes of body shape were explored in 15 polymorphic species of Solenopsis fire ants by analyzing body weight along with linear measurements of 24 body parts. Log regression slopes were used to detect changes of shape with increasing size. Within species, the largest workers weighed from about 5 to 30-fold as much as the smallest. The range of within-species body lengths varied from 1.6 mm to 4 mm. As worker size increased, the gaster tended to make up a larger proportion of body length, usually at the cost of the petiole, and rarely at the cost of head length or mesosoma length. In most, the relative volume of the gaster increased and that of the head and mesosoma decreased. Most also showed an increasingly "humped" mesosoma. For all species, head shape changed from barrel-shaped to heart-shaped as worker size increased. Antennae became relatively shorter as the relative size of the club decreased. Shape changes of the legs were more variable. S. geminata was exceptional in the extreme nature of its head shape change, and was the only species in which relative head volume increased and gaster volume decreased with increasing body size. With the exception of S. geminata, the allometric rules governing shape are remarkably similar across species, suggesting a genus-level developmental scheme that is not easily modified by evolution. It also suggests that the evolution of shape is highly constrained by these conserved growth rules, and that it acts primarily (perhaps only through allometric growth. The results are discussed in light of the growth of imaginal discs in a resource-limited body (the pupa. The substantial variation of allometries within species and across localities is also discussed in relation to using allometric patterns to identify species or to construct phylogenies.
Garnier, Simon; Kronauer, Daniel J C
Army ants are top arthropod predators in tropical forests around the world. The colonies of many army ant species undergo stereotypical behavioral and reproductive cycles, alternating between brood care and reproductive phases. In the brood care phase, colonies contain a cohort of larvae that are synchronized in their development and have to be fed. In the reproductive phase larvae are absent and oviposition takes place. Despite these colony cycles being a striking feature of army ant biology, their adaptive significance is unclear. Here we use a modeling approach to show that cyclic reproduction is favored under conditions where per capita foraging costs decrease with the number of larvae in a colony ("High Cost of Entry" scenario), while continuous reproduction is favored under conditions where per capita foraging costs increase with the number of larvae ("Resource Exhaustion" scenario). We argue that the former scenario specifically applies to army ants, because large raiding parties are required to overpower prey colonies. However, once raiding is successful it provides abundant food for a large cohort of larvae. The latter scenario, on the other hand, will apply to non-army ants, because in those species local resource depletion will force workers to forage over larger distances to feed large larval cohorts. Our model provides a quantitative framework for understanding the adaptive value of phasic colony cycles in ants. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
David Lubertazzi; Gary D. Alpert
This study examined ant species richness in Jaragua National Park (Pedernales Province, Dominican Republic). Ants were sampled at 15 sites during late March and early April, 2012. Habitats sampled included dry forest, beach scrub, lakeside acacia scrub, and thorn woodland. Sixty-four species from 23 genera were collected. Species richness was higher than expected, considering only 125 species had previously been reported for all of Hispaniola. Jaragua National Park is part of the Jaragua-Baho...
Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Dejean, Alain; Gibernau, Marc; Hossaert-McKey, Martine; McKey, Doyle
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.
Offenberg, Joachim; Cuc, Nguyen Thi Thu; Wiwatwitaya, Decha
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...... measures to provide a viable alternative to chemical pest control....... clypealis, which destroyed the mango flowers in the weaver ant treatments, and a result of weaver ants protecting this leafhopper to obtain its honeydew. Thus, weaver ants alone may work effectively in some settings whereas in other cases ant control need to be supplemented with additional IPM control...
... 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 ...
Miyazaki, Satoshi; Okada, Yasukazu; Miyakawa, Hitoshi; Tokuda, Gaku; Cornette, Richard; Koshikawa, Shigeyuki; Maekawa, Kiyoto; Miura, Toru
Most hymenopteran species exhibit conspicuous sexual dimorphism due to ecological differences between the sexes. As hymenopteran genomes, under the haplodiploid genetic system, exhibit quantitative differences between sexes while remaining qualitatively identical, sexual phenotypes are assumed to be expressed through sex-specific gene usage. In the present study, the molecular basis for expression of sexual dimorphism in a queenless ant, Diacamma sp., which exhibits a distinct color dimorphism, was examined. Worker females of the species appear bluish-black, while winged males exhibit a yellowish-brown body color. Initially, observations of the pigmentation processes during pupal development revealed that black pigmentation was present in female pupae but not in males, suggesting that sex-specific melanin synthesis was responsible for the observed color dimorphism. Therefore, five orthologs of the genes involved in the insect melanin synthesis (yellow, ebony, tan, pale and dopa decarboxylase) were subcloned and their spatiotemporal expression patterns were examined using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Of the genes examined, yellow, which plays a role in black melanin synthesis in insects, was expressed at higher levels in females than in males throughout the entire body during the pupal stage. RNA interference of yellow was then carried out in order to determine the gene function, and produced females with a more yellowish, brighter body color similar to that of males. It was concluded that transcriptional regulation of yellow was responsible for the sexual color dimorphism observed in this species. PMID:24667821
Full Text Available Most hymenopteran species exhibit conspicuous sexual dimorphism due to ecological differences between the sexes. As hymenopteran genomes, under the haplodiploid genetic system, exhibit quantitative differences between sexes while remaining qualitatively identical, sexual phenotypes are assumed to be expressed through sex-specific gene usage. In the present study, the molecular basis for expression of sexual dimorphism in a queenless ant, Diacamma sp., which exhibits a distinct color dimorphism, was examined. Worker females of the species appear bluish-black, while winged males exhibit a yellowish-brown body color. Initially, observations of the pigmentation processes during pupal development revealed that black pigmentation was present in female pupae but not in males, suggesting that sex-specific melanin synthesis was responsible for the observed color dimorphism. Therefore, five orthologs of the genes involved in the insect melanin synthesis (yellow, ebony, tan, pale and dopa decarboxylase were subcloned and their spatiotemporal expression patterns were examined using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Of the genes examined, yellow, which plays a role in black melanin synthesis in insects, was expressed at higher levels in females than in males throughout the entire body during the pupal stage. RNA interference of yellow was then carried out in order to determine the gene function, and produced females with a more yellowish, brighter body color similar to that of males. It was concluded that transcriptional regulation of yellow was responsible for the sexual color dimorphism observed in this species.
Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) offers an ‘infra-language’ of the social that allows one to trace social relations very dynamically, while at the same time dissolving human agency, thus providing a flat and de-centred way into sociology. However, ANT struggles with its theoretical design that may lead......, it offers an ‘infra-language’ of reflexive relations while maintaining ANT’s de-centred approach. This would enable us to conceptualize actor-networks as non-homogeneous, dynamic and connecting different societal rationales while maintaining the main strengths of ANT.......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...
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.
Organizations face tradeoffs when they adopt strategies in changing resource environments. The type of tradeoff depends on the type of resource change. The paper gives an organizational tradeoff model for quantitative change. I call that the "Cricket and Ant" (CA), because the pertaining strategies
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.
Adams, Rachelle M M; Jones, Tappey H; Longino, John T; Weatherford, Robert G; Mueller, Ulrich G
Social parasites exploit other societies by invading and stealing resources. Some enter protected nests using offensive chemical weaponry made from alkaloid-based venom. We characterized the venoms of three Megalomyrmex thief ant species (M. mondabora, M. mondaboroides, and M. silvestrii) that parasitize the fungus-growing ants, and developed an ethogram to describe host ant reactions to raiding M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii parasites. We compared piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrolizidine venom alkaloid structures with synthetic samples from previous studies, and describe the novel stereochemistry of trans 2-hexyl-5-[8-oxononyl]-pyrrolidine (3) from M. mondabora. We showed that workers of Cyphomyrmex costatus, the host of M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii, react to a sting by Megalomyrmex parasites mainly with submissive behavior, playing dead or retreating. Host submission also followed brief antennal contact. The behavior of C. costatus ants observed in this study was similar to that of Cyphomyrmex cornutus, host of M. mondabora, suggesting that the alkaloidal venoms with pyrrolidines from M. mondabora, piperidines from M. mondaboroides, and pyrolizidines from M. silvestrii may function similarly as appeasement and repellent allomones against host ants, despite their different chemical structure. With the use of these chemical weapons, the Megalomyrmex thief ants are met with little host resistance and easily exploit host colony resources.
Abril, Sílvia; Roura-Pascual, Núria; Oliveras, Jordi; Gómez, Crisanto
To address the lack of physiological approaches in current models assessing the potential distribution of the Argentine ant, we used data on brood development from distinct sources to evaluate a series of degree-day models for Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula), and data on the brood survival and oviposition rates to develop a worker production model. The degree-day model generated using data from Newell and Barber (1913) and Benois (1973) indicated that the number of degree-days required for the complete development from egg to adult worker was 445.4 degree-days above a threshold of 15.9 °C, while the model calibrated using data from Abril et al. (2008, in press) suggested 599.5 degree-days above 18.4 °C. Comparisons between the degree-day model predictions and the currently known distribution of the Argentine ant suggested that the one generated using data from Newell and Barber (1913) and Benois (1973) overestimated the presence of the species, while the one calibrated using data from Abril et al. (2008; in press) underestimated it. On the other hand, the predicted daily net production of Argentine ant workers generated by the worker production model predicted more accurately the distribution of the Argentine ant than the degree-day models. Our results show the utility of incorporating physiological data in models to assess the distribution limits of the Argentine ant, which up to date have taken little account of the physiological needs of the species in terms of its establishment and dispersion in its introduced ranges.
Wilson, Edward O; Nowak, Martin A
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.
Seid, Marc A.; Junge, Erich
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.
Baer, B.; Dijkstra, M. B.; Mueller, U. G.
Eusocial insects offer special opportunities for the comparative study of sperm traits because sperm competition is absent (in species with obligatory monandry) or constrained (in lineages where queens mate multiply but never remate later in life). We measured sperm length in 19 species of fungus......-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...
Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul
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 biod...
Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard
been introduced multiple times from an as of yet unknown native range, but little is known about their local mode of spread and propagule pressure. To learn more, I investigated the population genetic structure and phylogeography of pharaoh ants on different geographical scales in Thailand and malaysia...... in the success of introduced species. To investigate the enemy release hypothesis in Pharaoh ants, I screened introduced populations from several localities around the world for the presence of the presumed detrimental intracellular bacterium Wolbachia. Wolbachia was frequently present in introduced colonies...
Oct 11, 2010 ... Shields, 1991). A detailed scanning electron microscopy. (SEM) survey of the sensillae on the antennae of many ant species was previously reported by Hashimoto. (1990). ... were carefully excised from the antennal sockets with a fine forceps ... The central shaft can freely move in the socket in all direction ...
The activity of the ant Camponotus detritus was studied in the dunes of the central Namib Desert. Activity was divided into two components: transit activity and honeydew collection. Temperature governed both forms, but light controlled the initiation and termination of transit activity, which was bimodal in warm conditions and ...
Zeisset, Inga; Ebsen, Jon R.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
We describe the isolation and characterization of five dinucleotide microsatellite loci in the ant Myrmica scabrinodis, which were obtained using a magnetic bead hybridization selection protocol. The PCR primers were tested on nine to 11 individuals. The number of alleles ranged from two to 13...
Ganas, Jessica; Robbins, Martha M
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.
Kötzing, Timo; Lehre, Per Kristian; Neumann, Frank
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 proved...
The queenless ponerine ant Diacamma ceylonense and a population of Diacamma from the Nilgiri hills which we refer to as 'nilgiri', exhibit interesting similarities as well as dissimilarities. Molecular phylogenetic study of these morphologically almost similar taxa has shown that D. ceylonense is closely related to 'nilgiri' and ...
General, David M.; Alpert, Gary D.
Abstract An overview of the history of myrmecology in the Philippine archipelago is presented. Keys are provided to the 11 ant subfamilies and the 92 ant genera known from the Philippines. Eleven ant genera (12%), including 3 undescribed genera, are recorded for the first time from the Philippines. The biology and ecology of the 92 genera, illustrated by full-face and profile photo-images, of Philippine ants are summarized in the form of brief generic accounts. A bibliography of significant taxonomic and behavioral papers on Philippine ants and a checklist of valid species and subspecies and their island distributions are provided. PMID:22767999
Giraldo, Ysabel Milton; Traniello, James F. A.
Senescence, the decline in physiological and behavioral function with increasing age, has been the focus of significant theoretical and empirical research in a broad array of animal taxa. Preeminent among invertebrate social models of aging are ants, a diverse and ecologically dominant clade of eusocial insects characterized by reproductive and sterile phenotypes. In this review, we critically examine selection for worker lifespan in ants and discuss the relationship between functional senescence, longevity, task performance, and colony fitness. We did not find strong or consistent support for the hypothesis that demographic senescence in ants is programmed, or its corollary prediction that workers that do not experience extrinsic mortality die at an age approximating their lifespan in nature. We present seven hypotheses concerning how selection could favor extended worker lifespan through its positive relationship to colony size and predict that large colony size, under some conditions, should confer multiple and significant fitness advantages. Fitness benefits derived from long worker lifespan could be mediated by increased resource acquisition, efficient division of labor, accuracy of collective decision-making, enhanced allomaternal care and colony defense, lower infection risk, and decreased energetic costs of workforce maintenance. We suggest future avenues of research to examine the evolution of worker lifespan and its relationship to colony fitness, and conclude that an innovative fusion of sociobiology, senescence theory, and mechanistic studies of aging can improve our understanding of the adaptive nature of worker lifespan in ants. PMID:25530660
... 222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. Poisonous Ingredient Fire ant venom contains a chemical called ... Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 140. Otten EJ. Venomous animal injuries. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill ...
Henriksen, Signe; Axelsen, Jørgen Aagaard; Lemming, Katrine Hansen
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......, and to assess which functional response equation can be used for eusocial insects. Artificial feeding experiments consisted of providing each of ten colonies 50 pieces of sardine (175 mg dry weight in average) in cashew trees at time 0 and counting the remaining food items at four intervals of 45 minutes during...
Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne
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......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....
Pedersen, Jes Søe; Krieger, Michael J. B.; Vogel, Valérie
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...
INTRODUCTION. The tailor or weaver ants of genus Oecophylla. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are eusocial insects. They are obligately arboreal and are known for their unique nest building behaviour where workers construct nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk. Colonies can be extremely large with a mature ...
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 ...
Pontoppidan, Maj-Britt; Himaman, Winanda; Hywel-Jones, Nigel L.
Parasites are likely to play an important role in structuring host populations. Many adaptively manipulate host behaviour, so that the extended phenotypes of these parasites and their distributions in space and time are potentially important ecological variables. The fungus Ophiocordyceps...... 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...
de Hoog, S.
The black yeast Phialophora attae was isolated from the cuticle of tropical ant gynes. The ant-fungus association is sustained due to symbiotic evolutionary adaptations that allow fungal assimilation and tolerance of toxic compounds produced by the ant. The genome sequence of the first
Kronauer, D.J.C.; Boomsma, J.J.; Pierce, N.E.
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 stud...
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...
Tschinkel, Walter R.
Although natural selection in ants acts most strongly at the colony, or superorganismal level, foraging patterns have rarely been studied at that level, focusing instead on the behavior of individual foragers or groups of foragers. The experiments and observations in this paper reveal in broad strokes how colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), allocate their available labor to foraging, how they disperse that force within their territory, and how this force changes with colony size, season and worker age. Territory area is positively related to colony size and the number of foragers, more so during the spring than fall. Changes of colony size and territory area are driven by seasonal variation of sexual and worker production, which in turn drive seasonal variation of worker age-distribution. During spring sexual production, colonies shrink because worker production falls below replacement. This loss is proportional to colony size, causing forager density in the spring to be negatively related to colony and territory size. In the fall, colonies emphasize worker production, bringing colony size back up. However, because smaller colonies curtailed spring worker production less than larger ones, their fall forager populations are proportionally greater, causing them to gain territory at the expense of large colonies. Much variation of territory area remains unexplained and can probably be attributed to pressure from neighboring colonies. Boundaries between territories are characterized by “no ants' zones” mostly devoid of fire ants. The forager population can be divided into a younger group of recruitable workers that wait for scouts to activate them to help retrieve large food finds. About one-third of the recruits wait near openings in the foraging tunnels that underlie the entire territory, while two-thirds wait in the nest. Recruitment to food is initially very rapid and local from the foraging tunnels, while sustained
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
Robert W. Campbell; Clinton E. Carlson; Leon J. Theroux; Thomas H. Egan
Effects of predaceous birds and ants on the western spruce budworm, Choristoneura occidentalis, were studied on seedlings of western larch and Douglas-fir in western Montana. On western larch, both birds and ants reduced survival of larval budworm (instars IV-VI). On Douglas-fir, larval survival on one site was reduced by ants but not by birds. On a second site,...
Full Text Available Transcriptome resources for social insects have the potential to provide new insight into polyphenism, i.e., how divergent phenotypes arise from the same genome. Here we present a transcriptome based on paired-end RNA sequencing data for the ant Formica exsecta (Formicidae, Hymenoptera. The RNA sequencing libraries were constructed from samples of several life stages of both sexes and female castes of queens and workers, in order to maximize representation of expressed genes. We first compare the performance of common assembly and scaffolding software (Trinity, Velvet-Oases, and SOAPdenovo-trans, in producing de novo assemblies. Second, we annotate the resulting expressed contigs to the currently published genomes of ants, and other insects, including the honeybee, to filter genes that have annotation evidence of being true genes. Our pipeline resulted in a final assembly of altogether 39,262 mRNA transcripts, with an average coverage of >300X, belonging to 17,496 unique genes with annotation in the related ant species. From these genes, 536 genes were unique to one caste or sex only, highlighting the importance of comprehensive sampling. Our final assembly also showed expression of several splice variants in 6,975 genes, and we show that accounting for splice variants affects the outcome of downstream analyses such as gene ontologies. Our transcriptome provides an outstanding resource for future genetic studies on F. exsecta and other ant species, and the presented transcriptome assembly can be adapted to any non-model species that has genomic resources available from a related taxon.
Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal
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.
Crowley, Thomas J.
Almost alone in the world of science, there is a substantial U.S. effort to discredit some basic conclusions in the global warming debate. There are always legitimate reasons to query scientific conclusions, but the tenor of the debate has taken on a flavor of its own. Since the epicenter of the dispute is in Washington, D.C., the suspicion arises that not all of the discussion is business-as-usual scientific disagreement.The most recent example of the heightening level of the dispute involves a 23 June 2005 letter from U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, to Michael Mann (University of Virginia) and his collaborators, Raymond Bradley (University of Massachusetts) and Malcolm Hughes (University of Arizona). The dispute centers on the much discussed “hockey stick” reconstruction of Mann et al. [1998,1999]. In those reconstructions, the twentieth century warming stands well above Northern Hemisphere temperature fluctuations of the last 1000 years. Other investigators, using some of the same data but with different approaches, have also reconstructed temperatures of the last millennium (see Mann et al.  for a summary discussion). In general, there is more agreement than disagreement among the various reconstructions. The differences stem mainly from the scaling of the oscillations, but in all cases the late twentieth century is anomalous in a millennial context.
Fink, Glenn A.; Haack, Jereme N.; McKinnon, Archibald D.; Fulp, Errin W.
Many common cyber defenses (like firewalls and IDS) are as static as trench warfare allowing the attacker freedom to probe them at will. The concept of Moving Target Defense (MTD) adds dynamism to the defender side, but puts the systems to be defended themselves in motion, potentially at great cost to the defender. An alternative approach is a mobile resilient defense that removes attackers’ ability to rely on prior experience without requiring motion in the protected infrastructure itself. The defensive technology absorbs most of the cost of motion, is resilient to attack, and is unpredictable to attackers. The Ant-Based Cyber Defense (ABCD) is a mobile resilient defense providing a set of roaming, bio-inspired, digital-ant agents working with stationary agents in a hierarchy headed by a human supervisor. The ABCD approach provides a resilient, extensible, and flexible defense that can scale to large, multi-enterprise infrastructures like the smart electric grid.
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.
Full Text Available The space occupied by evolutionarily advanced ant societies can be subdivided into functional sites, such as broodchambers; peripheral nest chambers; kitchen middens; and foraging routes. Many predators and social parasites are specially adapted to make their living inside specific niches created by ants. In particular, the foraging paths of certain ant species are frequented by predatory and kleptoparasitic arthropods, including one striking example, the nitidulid beetle, Amphotis marginata. Adults of this species obtain the majority of their nutrition by acting as a kind of "highwayman" on the foraging trails of the ant Lasius fuliginosus, where they solicit regurgitation from food laden ant-workers by mimicking the ant's food-begging signals. Employing food labeled with the radio isotope 32P, we assessed the quantities of food the beetles siphoned-off of food-laden ants, and we investigated the site preferences, behavioral mechanisms and possible morphological adaptations underlying the food kleptoparasitism of A. marginata.
Andrew J. Hussey; Omari H. Swinton
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...
Bezděčková, Klára; Bezděčka, Pavel; Machar, Ivo
The article presents a comprehensive list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru. Distribution data for 592 valid names of species-group taxa in 76 genera and 12 subfamilies were collected through a bibliographical review. The most diverse subfamilies in terms of species richness are Myrmicinae (273 species/subspecies), Formicinae (86 species/subspecies) and Ponerinae (71 species/subspecies). The most diverse genera are Pheidole (86 species/subspecies), Camponotus (73 species/subspecies), and Pseudomyrmex (47 species/subspecies). With respect to geographic divisions, richness is highest in Madre de Dios (245 species/subspecies), followed by Huanuco (109 species/subspecies) and Cusco (104 species/subspecies). Regions in greatest need of additional survey work are Aycucho, Huancavelica, Moquegua and Tacna, from which virtually no information on the ant fauna is available.
Vasse, Marie; Voglmayr, Hermann; Mayer, Veronika; Gueidan, Cécile; Nepel, Maximilian; Moreno, Leandro; de Hoog, Sybren; Selosse, Marc-André; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs
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).
Jordano, D; Rodríguez, J; Thomas, C D; Fernández Haeger, J
Larvae and pupae of lycaenid butteflies are often associated with ants: this is usually a mutualism in which ants guard the lycaenids from natural enemies, and the lycaenid larvae and pupae provide sugars and amino acids for the ants. A possible consequence of the interaction is spatially correlated ant and lycaenid distributions, but the phenomenon is poorly documented. We examined the lycaenid Plebejus argus, which is tended by Lasius ants. Within habitat patches, P. argus eggs, larvae and pupae were all spatially associated with Lasius. On a larger scale, the densities of butterflies in different habitat patches and populations, and whether the butterfly was present or not, were correlated with Lasius ant densities. The association of P. argus with Lasius ants is consistent among populations, and occurs at several spatial scales. Other aspects of the ecology of P. argus are more variable.
Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Rilee, M. L.; Cheung, C. Y.
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.
Leaf volatile compounds and the distribution of ant patrollingin an ant-plant protection mutualism: Preliminary results on Leonardoxa (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae) and Petalomyrmex(Formicidae: Formicinae)
Brouat, Carine; McKey, Doyle; Bessière, Jean-Marie; Pascal, Laurence; Hossaert-McKey, Martine
While observations suggest that plant chemicals could be important in maintaining the specificity and permitting the functioning of ant-plant symbioses, they have been little studied. We report here the strongest evidence yet for chemical signalling between ants and plants in a specific ant-plant protection symbiosis. In the mutualism between Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana and Petalomyrmex phylax, ants continuously patrol young leaves, which are vulnerable to attacks by phytophagous insects. We provide experimental evidence for chemical mediation of ant attraction to young leaves in this system. By a comparative analysis of the related non-myrmecophytic tree L. africana subsp. gracilicaulis, we identify likely candidates for attractant molecules, and suggest they may function not only as signals but also as resources. We also propose hypotheses on the evolutionary origin of these plant volatiles, and of the responses to them by mutualistic ants.
Decio, Pâmela; Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Dias, Nathalia Baptista; Palma, Mario Sergio; Bueno, Odair Correa
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.
Dias, Nivia da Silva; Zanetti, Ronald; Santos, Mônica Silva; Peñaflor, Maria Fernanda Gomes Villalba; Broglio, Sônia Maria Forti; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles
Ants are known to function as reliable biological indicators for habitat impact assessment. They play a wide range of ecological roles depending on their feeding and nesting habits. By clustering ants in guilds, it is possible both to assess how agriculture and forest fragmentation can disturb ant communities and to predict the ecological impacts due to losses of a specific guild. This study aimed at determining the impact of non-shaded coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous guilds of leaf-litter ants of Atlantic Forest fragments in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both coffee and pasture agriculture influenced leaf-litter ant community, although coffee was more disruptive than pasture. Coffee agriculture not only disturbed the diversity of predatory ants, but also negatively affected the number of predatory and omnivorous ants when compared to forest fragments. In contrast, pasture agriculture only disrupted the abundance of predatory ants. Fragment edges skirting crops were negatively affected in terms of leaf-litter ant abundance, but not diversity. Cluster analysis showed that forest fragments were similar irrespective of the cultivation, but the borders were similar to the crop. The study assessed agriculture impact by surveying ant guilds, and revealed that the predatory guild is more susceptible than omnivorous ants.
Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard
? or ?tramps?, though often considered negative influences, can also be seen as natural experiments, generating a number of questions in the fields of ecology and evolution. Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) are very successful invaders of human habitation in most parts of the world. Individual pharaoh ants...... of invasion biology and evolution in social insects. I have developed methods for establishing colonies of different genetic composition through controlled crossings of genetically different colonies, and established that measurable genetic as well as morphological variation exists between different......, a region where they are very common. Employing species?specific microsatellite markers, I found a structure of multiple introductions and isolation of colonies even on relatively small geographical scales. Enemy release is a central concept in invasion biology, frequently proposed to play an important part...
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.
Luan D. Lima
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.
Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C
Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks.
Kari T Ryder Wilkie
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
van Wee, B.; Rietveld, P.
This paper aims to discuss a number of questions that are highly important for the ex ante evaluation of the safety impacts of transport policy options, from the perspective of ethical theory: (1) Is it morally OK to express prevention on acceptance of fatalities or risks in monetary terms? (2) How
Van Wee, G.P.; Rietveld, P.
This paper aims to discuss a number of questions that are highly important for the ex ante evaluation of the safety impacts of transport policy options, from the perspective of ethical theory: (1) Is it morally OK to express prevention on acceptance of fatalities or risks in monetary terms? (2) How
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.
Vayssières, Jean-François; Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio
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....
Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Werenkraut, Victoria
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
Vander Meer, Robert K.; Preston, Catherine A.; Hefetz, Abraham
Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, worker ability to recognize conspecific nonnestmates decreases if the colony queen is removed, such that they do not recognize conspecific nonnestmates as different. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the presence of the colony queen influences the concentration of octopamine, a neuromodulator, in worker ants, which in turn has an effect on nestmate recognition acuity in workers. We demonstrate that queenless workers exhibit reduced brain octopamine levels and reduced discriminatory acuteness; however, feeding queenless workers octopamine restored both. Dopamine levels are influenced by honeybee queen pheromones; however, levels of this biogenic amine were unchanged in our experiments. This is the first demonstration of a link between the presence of the colony queen, a worker biogenic amine, and conspecific nestmate recognition, a powerful expression of colony cohesion and territoriality.
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
Conway, John R.
Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)
Hayashi, Masayuki; Nakamuta, Kiyoshi; Nomura, Masashi
In ant-aphid associations, many aphid species provide ants with honeydew and are tended by ants, whereas others are never tended and are frequently preyed upon by ants. In these relationships, ants must have the ability to discriminate among aphid species, with mutualistic aphids being accepted as partners rather than prey. Although ants reportedly use cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of aphids to differentiate between mutualistic and non-mutualistic species, it is unclear whether the ability to recognize mutualistic aphid species as partners is innate or involves learning. Therefore, we tested whether aphid recognition by ants depends on learning, and whether the learning behavior is species-specific. When workers of the ant Tetramorium tsushimae had previously tended the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, they were less aggressive toward this species. In addition, ants also reduced their aggressiveness toward another mutualistic aphid species, Aphis fabae, after tending A. craccivora, whereas ants remained aggressive toward the non-mutualistic aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, regardless of whether or not they had previous experience in tending A. craccivora. When ants were offered glass dummies treated with CHCs of these aphid species, ants that had tended A. craccivora displayed reduced aggression toward CHCs of A. craccivora and A. fabae. Chemical analyses showed the similarity of the CHC profiles between A. craccivora and A. fabae but not with A. pisum. These results suggest that aphid recognition of ants involves learning, and that the learning behavior may not be species-specific because of the similarity of CHCs between different aphid species with which they form mutualisms.
Susan R Whitehead
Full Text Available Many plants and ants engage in mutualisms where plants provide food and shelter to the ants in exchange for protection against herbivores and competitors. Although several species of herbivores thwart ant defenses and extract resources from the plants, the mechanisms that allow these herbivores to avoid attack are poorly understood. The specialist insect herbivore, Piezogaster reclusus (Hemiptera: Coreidae, feeds on Neotropical bull-horn acacias (Vachellia collinsii despite the presence of Pseudomyrmex spinicola ants that nest in and aggressively defend the trees. We tested three hypotheses for how P. reclusus feeds on V. collinsii while avoiding ant attack: (1 chemical camouflage via cuticular surface compounds, (2 chemical deterrence via metathoracic defense glands, and (3 behavioral traits that reduce ant detection or attack. Our results showed that compounds from both P. reclusus cuticles and metathoracic glands reduce the number of ant attacks, but only cuticular compounds appear to be essential in allowing P. reclusus to feed on bull-horn acacia trees undisturbed. In addition, we found that ant attack rates to P. reclusus increased significantly when individuals were transferred between P. spinicola ant colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that chemical mimicry of colony-specific ant or host plant odors plays a key role in allowing P. reclusus to circumvent ant defenses and gain access to important resources, including food and possibly enemy-free space. This interaction between ants, acacias, and their herbivores provides an excellent example of the ability of herbivores to adapt to ant defenses of plants and suggests that herbivores may play an important role in the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms.
Kronauer, Daniel Jan Christoph; Berghoff, Stefanie M.; Powell, Scott
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 with que......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...
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...
Cristiano, Maykon Passos; Cardoso, Danon Clemes; Fernandes-Salomão, Tânia Maria
The incorporation of fragments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the nuclear genome, known as numts (nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes), undermines general assumptions concerning the use of mtDNA in phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies. Accidental amplifications of these nuclear copies instead of the mitochondrial target can lead to crucial misinterpretations, thus the correct identification of numts and their differentiation from true mitochondrial sequences are important in preventing this kind of error. Our goal was to describe the existence of cytochrome b (cytb) numts in the leafcutter ant Acromyrmex striatus (Roger, 1863). PCR products were directly sequenced using a pair of universal primers designed to amplify the cytb gene of these insects. Other species of leafcutter ants were also sequenced. The sequences were analyzed and the numts were identified by the presence of double peaks, indels and premature stop codons. Only A. striatus clearly showed the presence of numts, while the other species displayed the expected amplification of the mtDNA cytb gene target using the same primer pair. We hope that our report will highlight the benefits and challenges of using mtDNA in the molecular phylogenetic reconstruction and phylogeographic studies of ants, while establishing the importance of numts reports for future studies. Copyright © 2013 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Beros, Sara; Foitzik, Susanne; Menzel, Florian
Social insects have developed sophisticated recognition skills to defend their nests against intruders. They do this by aggressively discriminating against non-nestmates with deviant cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) signatures. Studying nestmate recognition can be challenging as individual insects do not only vary in their discriminatory abilities, but also in their motivation to behave aggressively. To disentangle the influence of signaling and behavioral motivation on nestmate recognition, we investigated the ant Temnothorax nylanderi, where the presence of tapeworm-infected nestmates leads to reduced nestmate recognition among uninfected workers. The parasite-induced decline in nestmate recognition could be caused by higher intra-colonial cue diversity as tapeworm-infected workers are known to exhibit a modified hydrocarbon signature. This in turn may broaden the neuronal template of their nestmates, leading to a higher tolerance towards alien conspecifics. To test this hypothesis, we exchanged infected ants between colonies and analyzed their impact on CHC profiles of uninfected workers. We demonstrate that despite frequent grooming, which should promote the transfer of recognition cues, CHC profiles of uninfected workers neither changed in the presence of tapeworm-infected ants, nor did it increase cue diversity among uninfected nestmates within or between colonies. However, CHC profiles were systematically affected by the removal of nestmates and addition of non-nestmates, independently from the ants' infection status. For example, when non-nestmates were present workers expressed more dimethyl alkanes and higher overall CHC quantities, possibly to achieve a better distinction from non-nestmates. Workers showed clear task-specific profiles with tapeworm-infected workers resembling more closely young nurses than older foragers. Our results show that the parasite-induced decline in nestmate recognition is not due to increased recognition cue diversity or altered CHC
Density-Dependent Benefits in Ant-Hemipteran Mutualism? The Case of the Ghost Ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the Invasive Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)
Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen
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. PMID:25886510
de la Fuente, Marie Ann S; Marquis, Robert J
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.
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...
Nissen, Steffen; Schrøder, H D
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 X...
Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are managed in tropical plantations for their biocontrol of pests and to produce ant larvae as a food source. Main management objectives are to increase ant densities and colony longevity. As weaver ant nests are susceptible to harsh weather, rain storms may decimate...... populations or destroy colonies. The ants, however, show adaptive nesting behavior, which may mitigate storm impact. This study tested whether Oecophylla smaragdina was willing to use plastic bottles as safe artificial nesting sites, and whether adoption of artificial nests was seasonally related to harsh...... weather. Bottles were used for nesting throughout the stormy rainy season in a pomelo plantation with an open canopy, whereas in a mango plantation with a denser canopy the ants, after initial colonisation, left the bottles again at the end of the rainy season, especially in the calmer part...
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.
Carla Renata Graça
Full Text Available Objetivo: Analisar as frequências de expressão dos antígenos de complexo principal de histocompatibilidade classe I (MHC-I e células CD4 e CD8 no músculo esquelético na polimiosite (PM e dermatomiosite (DM. Métodos: Estudo retrospectivo de 34 casos de PM, oito casos de DM e 29 controles com miopatias não inflamatórias. Resultados: Os antígenos MHC-I expressaram-se no sarcolema e/ou sarcoplasma em 79,4% dos casos de PM, 62,5% dos casos de DM e 27,6% dos controles (a expressão de CD4 foi observada em 76,5%, 75% e 13,8%, respectivamente. Quando os antígenos de MHC-I foram coexpressados com CD4, houve elevada suspeita de PM/DM (principalmente PM. Em 14,3% dos casos de PM/DM, observou-se a expressão isolada dos antígenos MHC-I, sem células inflamatórias. Conclusão: A expressão dos antígenos MHC-I e a positividade do CD4 podem aumentar a suspeita diagnóstica de PM/DM. Não foi observado infiltrado celular em 14,3% dos casos.
Van Pelt, A.; Gentry, J.B.
This report lists each ant species collected on the SRP by habitat and, where determined, the nesting site within a particular habitat. Through the use of baited traps, relative frequencies of foraging ants were determined and listed. A key to the subfamilies and genera of ants occurring on the SRP is included along with illustrations of species representative of the major genera. 10 refs., 32 figs., 2 tabs.
Ugelvig, Line; Drijfhout, Falko; Kronauer, Daniel
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...... between populations could be predicted from their genetic and chemical distance, and two major clusters of non-aggressive groups of populations were found. However, populations of L. neglectus did not separate into clear supercolonial associations, as is typical for other invasive ants. CONCLUSIONS...... started through introductions from other invasive populations. This indicates that existing introduced populations have a very high invasive potential when the ants are inadvertently spread by human transport....
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...
Mariane Aparecida Nickele
Full Text Available Emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex heyeri Forel (Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Colony migration is a poorly studied phenomenon in leaf-cutting ants. Here we report on the emigration of a colony of the leaf-cutting ant A. heyeri in Brazil. The colony emigrated to a new location 47.4 m away from the original nest site, possibly because it had undergone considerable stress due to competitive interactions with a colony of Acromyrmex crassispinus.
Workers of the ant Temnothorax nylanderi form dominance orders in orphaned colonies in which only one or a few top-ranking workers begin to produce males from unfertilized eggs. Between one and 11 individuals initiated 80% of all aggression in 14 queenless colonies. As predicted from inclusive fitness models (Molet M, van Baalen M, Monnin T, Insectes Soc 52:247 256, 2005), hierarchy length was found to first increase with colony size and then to level off at larger worker numbers. The frequency and skew of aggression decreased with increasing size, indicating that rank orders are less pronounced in larger colonies.
Huszár, Dóra Borbála
production. Finally, we aimed to gain insights into how native supercolonies emerge and compare to other nests of the same population. We found that supercolony nests reached higher density, had very low relatedness and lower genetic differentiation compared to non-supercolony (monogynous, polygynous) nests...... 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...... social evolution....
Cerdá, Xim; van Oudenhove, Louise; Bernstein, Carlos; Boulay, Raphaël R
Ants use many different chemical compounds to communicate with their nestmates. Foraging success depends on how efficiently ants communicate the presence of food and thus recruit workers to exploit the food resource. Trail pheromones, produced by different exocrine glands, are a key part of ant foraging strategies. By combing through the literature, we compiled a list of the identity and glandular origin of the chemical compounds found in the trail pheromones of 75 different ant species. Of the 168 compounds identified, more than 40% are amines. In the subfamily Myrmicinae, trail pheromones are mostly produced in the venom gland, while in the subfamily Formicinae, they come from the rectal gland.
Canedo-Júnior, Ernesto de Oliveira; Cuissi, Rafael Gonçalves; Nelson Henrique de Almeida, Curi; Demetrio, Guilherme Ramos; Lasmar, Chaim José; Malves, Kira
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.
Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Zimmerman, Jess K; Rehner, Stephen A; Wcislo, William T
Insect societies face constant challenges from disease agents. Ants deploy diverse antimicrobial compounds against pathogens and the key sources are metapleural glands (MGs). Are MG products passively secreted and used indiscriminately or are they selectively used when ants are challenged by pathogens? In 26 species from five subfamilies, ants use foreleg movements to precisely groom the MG opening. In the absence of experimental infection, MG grooming rates are low and workers groom themselv...
Ortuño, Vicente M; Gilgado, José D; Tinaut, Alberto
Recently, a series of systematized studies of the Milieu Souterrain Superficiel (MSS) are being carried in several enclaves of the Iberian Peninsula, which have entailed the finding of the enigmatic ant Aphaenogaster cardenai Espadaler, 1981, hitherto considered as hypogean, in a mountain range far away from its known distribution area. Its ecological role and its possible area of distribution are discussed due to this finding, as well as its known morphology, distribution, habitat use, flight ability of the sexual forms, and moment of activity. This enabled reviewing and discussing the actual knowledge on the possible adaptations and exaptations of the Formicidae to the subterranean environments in wide sense and concretely to the MSS. According to all above, ants might adapt to the deepest hypogean environments by means of changes in their social structure, but without those changes, the MSS would be their last frontier in their process of colonization of hypogean environments. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.
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.
Poissonnier, Laure-Anne; Simpson, Stephen J; Dussutour, Audrey
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.
Ants may be the most thoroughly documented group of insects inhabiting the cedar glades of the Central Basin of Tennessee with two studies conducted in the late 1930s reporting ants found in cedar glades of the region. To compare the ant fauna of modern cedar glades with the lists produced in earlie...
Myrmecina nipponica Wheeler is a terrestrial ant nesting chiefly in the soil in forest. It is a specialized predator of oribatid mites, but also scavenges on a broad spectrum of other arthropods. In the studied population at Cape Manazuru in central Japan, M. nipponica colonies are typically monogynous, and previous dissections of queens suggested that these individuals were not inseminated, thus suggesting these ants can reproduce via thelytokous parthenogenesis. To test for thelytokous parthenogenesis in M. nipponica the spermathecae of queens (dealate gynes) from worker-containing colonies were histologically examined in detail. All specimens examined (n=5) had no spermatozoa in the spermatheca. In addition, a total of four colony-founding queens were reared in isolation in the laboratory to test whether non-inseminated females were capable of egg laying and to test whether female offspring emerged from this brood. In all of four culture replicates, only new workers were produced from the eggs those queens had laid and male offspring was absent. After the breeding experiment, the queens' spermathecae were histologically examined and no sperm were detected in their spermathecae. These results reveal that M. nipponica queens of the Manazuru population are capable of producing female offspring thelytokously. Sexual reproduction by typical gynes and also by intermorphs has been known from other local populations of M. nipponica; therefore, this species shows geographical polymorphism in sexuality.
Nguyen, Andrew D; DeNovellis, Kerri; Resendez, Skyler; Pustilnik, Jeremy D; Gotelli, Nicholas J; Parker, Joel D; Cahan, Sara Helms
Temperature increases associated with global climate change are likely to be accompanied by additional environmental stressors such as desiccation and food limitation, which may alter how temperature impacts organismal performance. To investigate how interactions between stressors influence thermal tolerance in the common forest ant, Aphaenogaster picea, we compared the thermal resistance of workers to heat shock with and without pre-exposure to desiccation or starvation stress. Knockdown (KD) time at 40.5 °C of desiccated ants was reduced 6% compared to controls, although longer exposure to desiccation did not further reduce thermal tolerance. Starvation, in contrast, had an increasingly severe effect on thermal tolerance: at 21 days, average KD time of starved ants was reduced by 65% compared to controls. To test whether reduction in thermal tolerance results from impairment of the heat-shock response, we measured basal gene expression and transcriptional induction of two heat-shock proteins (hsp70 and hsp40) in treated and control ants. We found no evidence that either stressor impaired the Hsp response: both desiccation and starvation slightly increased basal Hsp expression under severe stress conditions and did not affect the magnitude of induction under heat shock. These results suggest that the co-occurrence of multiple environmental stressors predicted by climate change models may make populations more vulnerable to future warming than is suggested by the results of single-factor heating experiments.
Christensen, Peter Ove; de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique; Feltham, Gerald A.
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...... 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...... of the firm. The extent to which information is made publicly or privately available affects the timing of the resolution of uncertainty and when the information is reflected in equilibrium prices, but there is no impact on initial equilibrium prices. Within a noisy rational expectations equilibrium, rational...
Krushelnycky, Paul; Haines, William; Loope, Lloyd; Van Gelder, Ellen
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
Cammeraat, E.L.H.; Risch, A.C.
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,
Ortega-Morales, Aldo I; Rodríguez, Quetzaly K Siller; Garza-Hernández, Javier A; Adeniran, Adebiyi A; Hernández-Triana, Luis M; Rodríguez-Pérez, Mario A
In September 2004, the New World ant cricket, Myrmecophilus americanus Saussure, 1877, was collected in association with longhorn crazy ants, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille. 1802), in the state of Coahuila, Mexico. We are reporting the DNA barcode using the mitochrondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I for this first record of M. americanus in Mexico.
Hughes, William O H; Pagliarini, Roberta; Madsen, Henning Bang
exception to this rule because they are a key first-line defense that are fixed in size in adults. Here we conduct a comparative analysis of the size of the gland reservoir across the fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini). Most attines have singly mated queens, but in two derived genera, the leaf-cutting ants...
Choe, Dong-Hwan; Villafuerte, David B; Tsutsui, Neil D
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.
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.
Choe, Dong-Hwan; Villafuerte, David B.; Tsutsui, Neil D.
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. PMID:23028739
Chomicki, Guillaume; Janda, Milan; Renner, Susanne S
Ant-gardens (AGs) are ant/plant mutualisms in which ants farm epiphytes in return for nest space and food rewards. They occur in the Neotropics and Australasia, but not in Africa, and their evolutionary assembly remains unclear. We here use phylogenetic frameworks for important AG lineages in Australasia, namely the ant genus Philidris and domatium-bearing ferns ( Lecanopteris ) and flowering plants in the Apocynaceae ( Hoya and Dischidia ) and Rubiaceae ( Myrmecodia , Hydnophytum , Anthorrhiza , Myrmephytum and Squamellaria ). Our analyses revealed that in these clades, diaspore dispersal by ants evolved at least 13 times, five times in the Late Miocene and Pliocene in Australasia and seven times during the Pliocene in Southeast Asia, after Philidris ants had arrived there, with subsequent dispersal between these two areas. A uniquely specialized AG system evolved in Fiji at the onset of the Quaternary. The farming in the same AG of epiphytes that do not offer nest spaces suggests that a broadening of the ants' plant host spectrum drove the evolution of additional domatium-bearing AG-epiphytes by selecting on pre-adapted morphological traits. Consistent with this, we found a statistical correlation between the evolution of diaspore dispersal by ants and domatia in all three lineages. Our study highlights how host broadening by a symbiont has led to new farming mutualisms. © 2017 The Author(s).
Wynhoff, I.; Gestel, van R.; Swaay, van C.; Langevelde, van F.
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
Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Wiwatwitaya, Decha
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...
Nene, Wilson; Rwegasira, Gration; Offenberg, Hans Joachim
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 r...
J.P. Barnett; D.A. Streett; S.R. Blomquist
John C. Moserâs career spans over 50 years, and his research has focused on understanding the biology of town ants (Atta texana) and phoretic mites and other associates of ants and pine bark beetles. His approach to developing methods for the control of these pests has been to understand more completely the biology of these organisms. This research...
Nene, Wilson; Rwegasira, Gration; Offenberg, Hans Joachim
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...
Ford, Kevin R; Ness, Joshua H; Bronstein, Judith L; Morris, William F
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.
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.
Nestel, D; Dickschen, F
Foraging efficiency was studied by measuring the rate of tuna fish bait discovery by ants in unshaded and two types of shaded coffee systems. We also investigated the effect of weed biomass upon ant foraging efficiency. We found that the rate of discovery was faster in the coffee system with no shade than in systems with shade trees. The rate of discovery in the two types of shade systems (monospecific and polyspecific shade) was similar. Differences in the foraging rate between systems seem to be related to the composition of the ground ant community in each of the systems, and to cumulative factors such as plant diversity, microclimate and interspecific competition. No correlation was found between weed biomass and ant foraging efficiency. The results of this study support the idea of manipulating agroecosystem plant and structural diversity in order to enhance pest regulation by ants.
Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Zimmerman, Jess K; Nash, David R
antibiotics are narrow-spectrum and control a fungus (Escovopsis) that parasitizes the ants' fungal symbiont, and (ii) MG secretions have broad-spectrum activity and protect ants and brood. We assessed the relative importance of these lines of defence, and their activity spectra, by scoring abundance...
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
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.
Walter R. Tschinkel
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.
Masiulionis, Virginia E; Weber, Roland Ws; Pagnocca, Fernando C
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.
Hansen, Lars; Yao, Wenliang; Eiberg, Hans
"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...
Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin
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-ea...
Villesen, Palle; Murakami, Takahiro; Schultz, Ted R.
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...
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
Introduction: Fungus-growing ants cultivate specialized fungi in the tribe Leucocoprineae (Lepiotaceae: Basidiomycota) inside their nests. The conspicuous leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta build huge nests displacing several cubic meters of soil, whereas lower attine genera such as Cyphomyrmex...... have small nests with a fungus garden the size of a table-tennis ball. Only the leaf-cutting ants are specialized on using fresh leaves as substrate for their fungus gardens, whereas the more basal attine genera use substrates such as dry plant material (leaf litter and small twigs) and also insect...... of substrate use in all extant fungus-growing ant genera to know the range of substrates used for any particular ant genus. (2.) Field assays of enzyme activity in fungus gardens of five candidate enzymes (Amylase, proteinase, pectinase, cellulose and xylanase) to indicate differences in enzyme activity...
Guénard, Benoit; Economo, Evan P
A recent species checklist of the ants of Peru recorded 592 nominal species and 79 genera on the basis of a literature review. Here we complement the previously published checklist with the addition of 83 nominal species and six genera, including three genera recorded only from morphospecies. This increases the list of ants reported from Peru to at least 679 species and subspecies and 85 genera. We also modify the list of species known as endemic from Peru, discuss the historical importance of the Peruvian ant fauna in myrmecology, and highlight potential research for future studies.
Machado, Liana; Schirru, Roberto [Universidade Federal, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). Coordenacao dos Programas de Pos-graduacao de Engenharia. Programa de Engenharia Nuclear
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)
Ramirez-Esquivel, Fiorella; Ribi, Willi A; Narendra, Ajay
This article outlines a suite of techniques in light microscopy (LM) and electron microscopy (EM) which can be used to study the internal and external eye anatomy of insects. These include traditional histological techniques optimized for work on ant eyes and adapted to work in concert with other techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These techniques, although vastly useful, can be difficult for the novice microscopist, so great emphasis has been placed in this article on troubleshooting and optimization for different specimens. We provide information on imaging techniques for the entire specimen (photo-microscopy and SEM) and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We highlight the technique used in determining lens diameters for the entire eye and discuss new techniques for improvement. Lastly, we discuss techniques involved in preparing samples for LM and TEM, sectioning, staining, and imaging these samples. We discuss the hurdles that one might come across when preparing samples and how best to navigate around them.
Wossler Theresa C
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
Lockwood, Stephanie A; Haghipour-Peasley, Jilla; Hoffman, Donald R; Deslippe, Richard J
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.
Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A
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.
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.
Chen, Yi-Huei; Robinson, Elva J H
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.
Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Bueno, Odair Correa; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel
The metapleural gland is an organ exclusive to ants. Its main role is to produce secretions that inhibit the proliferation of different types of pathogens. The aim of the present study was to examine the morphophysiological differences between the metapleural gland of 3 non-fungus-growing ants of the tribes Ectatommini, Myrmicini, and Blepharidattini and that of 5 fungus-growing ants from 2 basal and 3 derived attine genera. The metapleural gland of the non-fungus-growing ants and the basal attine ants has fewer secretory cells than that of the derived attine ants (leaf-cutting ants). In addition, the metapleural gland of the latter had more clusters of secretory cells and sieve plates, indicating a greater storage capacity and demand for secretion in these more advanced farming ants. The glands of the derived attine ants also produced higher levels of polysaccharides and acidic lipids than those of Myrmicini, Blepharidattini, and basal attines. Our results confirm morphophysiological differences between the metapleural glands of the derived attines and those of the basal attines and non-fungus-growing ants, suggesting that the metapleural glands of the derived attines (leaf-cutting ants) are more developed in morphology and physiology, with enhanced secretion production (acidic lipids and protein) to protect against the proliferation of unwanted fungi and bacteria in the fungal garden, it is possible that leaf-cutting ants may have evolved more developed metapleural glands in response to stronger pressure from parasites.
Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Bueno, Odair Correa; Camargo-Mathias, Maria Izabel
The metapleural gland is an organ exclusive to ants. Its main role is to produce secretions that inhibit the proliferation of different types of pathogens. The aim of the present study was to examine the morphophysiological differences between the metapleural gland of 3 non–fungus-growing ants of the tribes Ectatommini, Myrmicini, and Blepharidattini and that of 5 fungus-growing ants from 2 basal and 3 derived attine genera. The metapleural gland of the non–fungus-growing ants and the basal attine ants has fewer secretory cells than that of the derived attine ants (leaf-cutting ants). In addition, the metapleural gland of the latter had more clusters of secretory cells and sieve plates, indicating a greater storage capacity and demand for secretion in these more advanced farming ants. The glands of the derived attine ants also produced higher levels of polysaccharides and acidic lipids than those of Myrmicini, Blepharidattini, and basal attines. Our results confirm morphophysiological differences between the metapleural glands of the derived attines and those of the basal attines and non–fungus-growing ants, suggesting that the metapleural glands of the derived attines (leaf-cutting ants) are more developed in morphology and physiology, with enhanced secretion production (acidic lipids and protein) to protect against the proliferation of unwanted fungi and bacteria in the fungal garden, it is possible that leaf-cutting ants may have evolved more developed metapleural glands in response to stronger pressure from parasites. PMID:22927993
Eelen, Dieter; Børgesen, Lisbeth W.; Billen, Johan
The postpharyngeal gland (PPG) is unique to ants and is the largest exocrine gland in their head. In queens of the pharaoh's ant, Monomorium pharaonis, the gland contains approximately 15 finger-like epithelial extensions on each side and opens dorsolaterally in the posterior pharynx. In these ants...... nurses and foragers. We suggest the PPG serves different purposes in pharaoh's ants: it is likely that the PPG of workers and virgin queens is used to feed larvae. In mated queens the gland probably plays a role in providing the queen with nutritious oils for egg production. The PPG may also function...... their secretion into the gland lumen from an age of 7 days, whereas mated queens accumulate large amounts of secretion in their epithelium. The increasing epithelial thickness, together with the increasing lumen diameter, the presence of numerous inclusions in the epithelium and the release of secretion...
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the United States to minimize the spread of the ant. There remains an acute ...
Bonasio, Roberto; Li, Qiye; Lian, Jinmin
Ant societies comprise individuals belonging to different castes characterized by specialized morphologies and behaviors. Because ant embryos can follow different developmental trajectories, epigenetic mechanisms must play a role in caste determination. Ants have a full set of DNA...... methyltransferases and their genomes contain methylcytosine. To determine the relationship between DNA methylation and phenotypic plasticity in ants, we obtained and compared the genome-wide methylomes of different castes and developmental stages of Camponotus floridanus and Harpegnathos saltator....
von Wyschetzki, Katharina; Lowack, Helena; Heinze, Jürgen
The trade-off between reproduction and longevity is widespread among multicellular organisms. As an important exception, the reproductive females of perennial social insects (ants, honeybees, termites) are simultaneously highly fertile and very long-lived relative to their nonreproductive nestmates. The observation that increased fecundity is not coupled with decreased lifespan suggests that social insect queens do not have to reallocate resources between reproduction and self-maintenance. If queens have to compensate for the costs of reproduction on the level of the individual, the activation of other energy-demanding physiological processes might force them to reduce the production of eggs. To test this hypothesis in ant queens, we increased immunity costs by injury and measured the effect of this treatment on egg-laying rates and genomewide gene expression. Amputation of both middle legs led to a temporary decrease in egg-laying rates and affected the expression of 947 genes corresponding to 9% of the transcriptome. The changes comprised the upregulation of the immune and wound healing response on the one hand, and the downregulation of germ cell development, central nervous system development and learning ability on the other hand. Injury strongly influenced metabolism by inducing catabolism and repressing amino acid and nitrogen compound metabolism. By comparing our results to similar transcriptomic studies in insects, we found a highly consistent upregulation of immune genes due to sterile and septic wounding. The gene expression changes, complemented by the temporary decline of egg-laying rates, clearly reveal a trade-off between reproduction and the immune response in social insect queens. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Full Text Available Neural network models have recently made significant achievements in solving vehicle scheduling problems. Adaptive ant colony algorithm provides a new idea for neural networks to solve complex system problems of multiconstrained network intensive vehicle routing models. The pheromone in the path is changed by adjusting the volatile factors in the operation process adaptively. It effectively overcomes the tendency of the traditional ant colony algorithm to fall easily into the local optimal solution and slow convergence speed to search for the global optimal solution. The multiconstrained network intensive vehicle routing algorithm based on adaptive ant colony algorithm in this paper refers to the interaction between groups. Adaptive transfer and pheromone update strategies are introduced based on the traditional ant colony algorithm to optimize the selection, update, and coordination mechanisms of the algorithm further. Thus, the search task of the objective function for a feasible solution is completed by the search ants. Through the division and collaboration of different kinds of ants, pheromone adaptive strategy is combined with polymorphic ant colony algorithm. It can effectively overcome some disadvantages, such as premature stagnation, and has a theoretical significance to the study of large-scale multiconstrained vehicle routing problems in complex traffic network systems.
Feng, Dong-Dong; Michaud, J P; Li, Pan; Zhou, Zhong-Shi; Xu, Zai-Fu
Mutualistic ants can protect their partners from natural enemies in nature. Aenasius bambawalei is an important parasitoid of the the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. We hypothesized that mutualism between native ants and mealybugs would favor survival of mealybugs. To test this, we examined effects of tending by the native mutualistic ant Tapinoma melanocephalum on growth of P. solenopsis colonies on Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in a field setting. Ant workers with access to honeydew of mealybugs lived much longer than those provisioned only with water in the laboratory, and number of ant workers foraging increased significantly with growth of mealybug colonies in the field. In later observations, there were significant differences in densities of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded treatments. Survival rate of mealybugs experiencing parasitoid attack was significantly higher on ant-tended plants than on ant-excluded plants. When the parasitoid was excluded, there was no difference in survival rate of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded plants. In most cases, ants directly attacked the parasitoid, causing the parasitoid to take evasive action. We conclude that native ants such as T. melanocephalum have the potential to facilitate invasion and spread of P. solenopsis in China by providing them with protection from parasitoids.
Okita, Ichiro; Tsuchida, Koji
In haplodiploid insects such as ants, male sexuals develop from unfertilised haploid eggs, while female sexuals and workers develop from fertilized diploid eggs. However, some ant species do not exchange their gene pool between sexes; both male and female sexuals are clonally produced, while workers are sexually produced. To date, three ant species, Wasmannia auropunctata, Vollenhovia emeryi, and Paratrechina longicornis, have been reported to reproduce using such reproductive systems. In this study, we reveal that in one lineage of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, male and female sexuals are also clonally produced. In contrast to the abovementioned three species, the workers were not only sexually produced but had recombinant sequences in their nuclear internal transcribed spacer regions, although the recombinant sequences were not detected in male or female sexuals. These results suggest that the lineage likely possesses a mechanism to compensate for the reduction in genetic variation due to clonal reproduction with somatic recombination that occurs within the workers.
Andersen, Alan N; Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Oberprieler, Stefanie
Although ants are an ecologically dominant and extensively studied faunal group throughout the tropics, there is a poor understanding of tropical ant diversity and distribution at large spatial scales. Here we use a collection developed from 3 decades of ant surveys to present the first analysis of ant diversity and biogeography of a large tropical region. Our objective was to document the species richness, composition, and biogeographic distributions of the ant fauna of the 400 000 km 2 "Top End" of Australia's Northern Territory. The known Top End ant fauna comprises 901 native species from 59 genera. The richest genera are Pheidole (90 species), Melophorus (83), Monomorium (83), Camponotus (71), Meranoplus (63), Polyrhachis (57), Rhytidoponera (50), Tetramorium (43), Cerapachys (32), and Iridomyrmex (31). The fauna is the center of diverse radiations within species-groups of genera such as Meranoplus, Rhytidoponera, and Leptogenys. It also includes IndoMalayan species that have likely bypassed the normal dispersal route into Australia through Cape York Peninsula in North Queensland. Faunistic similarity with other regions of far northern Australia is associated more with rainfall than with geographic proximity. Most (60%) of Top End ant species have not been recorded elsewhere, and, despite uncertainties relating to species delimitation and sampling intensity, this appears to be a credible estimate of the level of endemism. Such exceptionally high endemism can be attributed to the Top End's geographic isolation from other regions of northern Australia with comparably high rainfall. © 2016 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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.
Full Text Available Abstract Background Ants form highly social and cooperative colonies that compete, and often fight, against other such colonies, both intra- and interspecifically. Some invasive ants take sociality to an extreme, forming geographically massive 'supercolonies' across thousands of kilometres. The success of social insects generally, as well as invasive ants in particular, stems from the sophisticated mechanisms used to accurately and precisely distinguish colonymates from non-colonymates. Surprisingly, however, the specific chemicals used for this recognition are virtually undescribed. Results Here, we report the discovery, chemical synthesis and behavioural testing of the colonymate recognition cues used by the widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile. By synthesizing pure versions of these chemicals in the laboratory and testing them in behavioural assays, we show that these compounds trigger aggression among normally amicable nestmates, but control hydrocarbons do not. Furthermore, behavioural testing across multiple different supercolonies reveals that the reaction to individual compounds varies from colony to colony -- the expected reaction to true colony recognition labels. Our results also show that both quantitative and qualitative changes to cuticular hydrocarbon profiles can trigger aggression among nestmates. These data point the way for the development of new environmentally-friendly control strategies based on the species-specific manipulation of aggressive behaviour. Conclusion Overall, our findings reveal the identity of specific chemicals used for colonymate recognition by the invasive Argentine ants. Although the particular chemicals used by other ants may differ, the patterns reported here are likely to be true for ants generally. As almost all invasive ants display widespread unicoloniality in their introduced ranges, our findings are particularly relevant for our understanding of the biology of these damaging
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.Â These oils supplement the fungus material eaten by this...
Munkacsi, A B; Pan, J J; Villesen, Palle
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...... 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...
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.
Pereira, Márlon César; Batista, Nathan Rodrigues; Rodrigues, Candida Anitta Pereira; Antonialli, William Fernando
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
Cheng, Ken; Narendra, Ajay; Sommer, Stefan; Wehner, Rüdiger
The Central Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti is the most thermophilic ant on the continent. It comes out to forage during the hottest part of the day in the summer months. The ant shares a cluttered, plant-filled habitat with other arthropods and uses a range of navigational strategies. We review recent studies on this species concerning its use of habitual routes, distant landmarks, landmarks around the nest, and path integration, which is keeping track of the distance and direction traveled from one's starting point. Functional predictions concerning the acquisition, retention, and integration of memories of distances and of landmarks are also reviewed, illuminating the behavioral ecology of spatial cognition.
Karhu, Kari J; Neuvonen, Seppo
Soil amelioration by a wood-ant species and its consequences for the larval performance of autumnal moths feeding on mountain birch were studied at various distances from the nest mound. Soil nitrate and ammonium nitrogen did not show any clear relationship with distance. However, trees growing in the mound had over 20% more foliar nitrogen than more distant trees. When moth larvae were experimentally protected from predation, their survival rate and final weight tended to decrease with increasing distance. In a laboratory experiment with detached leaves, the relative growth rate of larvae was roughly 30% higher on leaves from trees located on the mound. Differences in larval performance refute the Plant Stress Hypothesis proposed by T.C.R. White and support P.W. Price's Plant Vigor Hypothesis. Predation by ants was examined along the same gradient in trees with and without a glue band that excluded ants from the canopy. Reduction in the daily survival rate of larvae attributable to ant predation was about 35% in trees growing in the mound and around 5% at a distance of 20 m. Other things being equal, about 25 times more larvae entering the penultimate instar would achieve the pupal stage outside the wood-ant territory than in the vicinity of the mound. While both the fertilizing and predatory influence of wood ants is clear, the domain of predation is much larger than the area where trees and their herbivores can exploit enhanced nutrient levels in and around ant mounds. The existence of undamaged green islands around ant mounds in otherwise totally defoliated mountain-birch forests cannot be explained by soil amelioration by wood ants but rather by their predatory activity.
Cembrowski, Adam R; Tan, Marcus G; Thomson, James D; Frederickson, Megan E
Ants on flowers can disrupt pollination by consuming rewards or harassing pollinators, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of these exploitative and interference forms of competition on pollinator behavior. Using highly rewarding and quickly replenishing artificial flowers that simulate male or female function, we allowed bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) to forage (1) on flowers with or without ants (Myrmica rubra) and (2) on flowers with or without ant scent cues. Bumblebees transferred significantly more pollen analogue both to and from ant-free flowers, demonstrating that interference competition with ants is sufficient to modify pollinator foraging behavior. Bees also removed significantly less pollen analogue from ant-scented flowers than from controls, making this the first study to show that bees can use ant scent to avoid harassment at flowers. Ant effects on pollinator behavior, possibly in addition to their effects on pollen viability, may contribute to the evolution of floral traits minimizing ant visitation.
Katzav-Gozansky, Tamar; Boulay, Raphael; Vander Meer, Robert; Hefetz, Abraham
Multiple behavioral and chemical studies indicate that ant nestmate recognition cues are low-volatile substances, in particular hydrocarbons (HCs) located on the cuticular surface. We tested the hypothesis that in the ant Camponotus fellah, nest environment, in particular nest volatile odors, can modulate nestmate-recognition-mediated aggression. Workers were individually confined within their own nest in small cages having either a single mesh (SM = limited physical contact permitted) or a double mesh (DM = exposed to nest volatiles only) screen. Individual workers completely isolated outside their nest (CI) served as control. When reintroduced into a group of 50 nestmates, the CI workers were attacked as alien ants after only 2 weeks of separation, whereas the SM workers were treated as nestmates even after 2 months of separation. Aggression towards DM ants depended on the period of isolation. Only DM workers isolated for over 2 months were aggressed by their nestmates, which did not significantly differ from the CI nestmates. Cuticular HC analyses revealed that the profile of the non-isolated ants (NI) was clearly distinct from that of CI, SM and DM ants. Profile differences matched the aggressive response in the case of CI ants but were uncorrelated in the case of SM or DM ants. This suggests that keeping the ants within the nest environment affected nestmate recognition in additional ways than merely altering their HC profile. Nest environment thus appears to affect label-template mismatch by modulating aggressive behavior, as well as the direction at which cuticular HCs diverged during the separation period.
Barth, Matthias Benjamin; Moritz, Robin Frederik Alexander; Kraus, Frank Bernhard
The unique nomadic life-history pattern of army ants (army ant adaptive syndrome), including obligate colony fission and strongly male-biased sex-ratios, makes army ants prone to heavily reduced effective population sizes (Ne). Excessive multiple mating by queens (polyandry) has been suggested to compensate these negative effects by increasing genetic variance in colonies and populations. However, the combined effects and evolutionary consequences of polyandry and army ant life history on genetic colony and population structure have only been studied in a few selected species. Here we provide new genetic data on paternity frequencies, colony structure and paternity skew for the five Neotropical army ants Eciton mexicanum, E. vagans, Labidus coecus, L. praedator and Nomamyrmex esenbeckii; and compare those data among a total of nine army ant species (including literature data). The number of effective matings per queen ranged from about 6 up to 25 in our tested species, and we show that such extreme polyandry is in two ways highly adaptive. First, given the detected low intracolonial relatedness and population differentiation extreme polyandry may counteract inbreeding and low Ne. Second, as indicated by a negative correlation of paternity frequency and paternity skew, queens maximize intracolonial genotypic variance by increasingly equalizing paternity shares with higher numbers of sires. Thus, extreme polyandry is not only an integral part of the army ant syndrome, but generally adaptive in social insects by improving genetic variance, even at the high end spectrum of mating frequencies.
Herrera-Rangel, J; Jiménez-Carmona, E; Armbrecht, I
Hunting ants are predators of organisms belonging to different trophic levels. Their presence, abundance, and diversity may reflect the diversity of other ants and contribute to evaluate habitat conditions. Between 2003 and 2005 the restoration of seven corridors in an Andean rural landscape of Colombia was performed. The restoration took place in lands that were formerly either forestry plantations or pasturelands. To evaluate restoration progress, hunting ants were intensely sampled for 7 yr, using sifted leaf litter and mini-Winkler, and pitfall traps in 21 plots classified into five vegetation types: forests, riparian forests, two types of restored corridors, and pasturelands. The ant communities were faithful to their habitat over time, and the main differences in ant composition, abundance, and richness were due to differences among land use types. The forests and riparian forests support 45% of the species in the landscape while the restored corridors contain between 8.3-25%. The change from forest to pasturelands represents a loss of 80% of the species. Ant composition in restored corridors was significantly different than in forests but restored corridors of soil of forestry plantations retained 16.7% more species than restored corridors from pasturelands. Ubiquitous hunting ants, Hypoponera opacior (Forel) and Gnamptogenys ca andina were usually associated with pastures and dominate restored corridors. Other cryptic, small, and specialized hunting ants are not present in the restored corridors. Results suggest that the history of land use is important for the biodiversity of hunting ants but also that corridors have not yet effectively contributed toward conservation goals. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mueller Martin J
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
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.
Ortuño, Vicente M.; Gilgado, José D.; Tinaut, Alberto
Abstract Recently, a series of systematized studies of the Milieu Souterrain Superficiel (MSS) are being carried in several enclaves of the Iberian Peninsula, which have entailed the finding of the enigmatic ant Aphaenogaster cardenai Espadaler, 1981, hitherto considered as hypogean, in a mountain range far away from its known distribution area. Its ecological role and its possible area of distribution are discussed due to this finding, as well as its known morphology, distribution, habitat use, flight ability of the sexual forms, and moment of activity. This enabled reviewing and discussing the actual knowledge on the possible adaptations and exaptations of the Formicidae to the subterranean environments in wide sense and concretely to the MSS. According to all above, ants might adapt to the deepest hypogean environments by means of changes in their social structure, but without those changes, the MSS would be their last frontier in their process of colonization of hypogean environments. RESUMEN. En la actualidad, una serie de estudios sistematizados en el Medio Subterráneo Superficial (MSS), se están llevando a cabo en diversos enclaves de la península Ibérica, lo que ha propiciado el descubrimiento de la enigmática hormiga Aphaenogaster cardenai Espadaler, 1981 en un macizo montañoso muy alejado de su área de distribución conocida. Esta especie ha sido considerada, hasta el momento, como una especie hipogea. Se discute su rol ecológico y su posible área de distribución real de acuerdo con este nuevo hallazgo, así como la morfología de las castas conocidas, corología, capacidad de vuelo de las formas sexuadas y su período de actividad. Esto ha permitido revisar y discutir el estado actual del conocimiento sobre las posibles adaptaciones y exaptaciones de los Formicidae a los ambientes subterráneos (sensu lato), y concretamente al MSS. De acuerdo con todo lo anterior, las hormigas podrían adaptarse a los ambientes hipogeos más profundos mediante
A new Hubble Space Telescope image of a celestial object called the Ant Nebula may shed new light on the future demise of our Sun. The image is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/wfpc . The nebula, imaged on July 20, 1997, and June 30, 1998, by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, was observed by Drs. Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Bruce Balick of the University of Washington in Seattle; and Vincent Icke of Leiden University in the Netherlands. JPL designed and built the camera. The Ant Nebula, whose technical name is Mz3, resembles the head and thorax of an ant when observed with ground-based telescopes. The new Hubble image, with 10 times the resolution revealing 100 times more detail, shows the 'ant's' body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun- like star. The Ant Nebula is located between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norma. The image challenges old ideas about what happens to dying stars. This observation, along with other pictures of various remnants of dying stars called planetary nebulae, shows that our Sun's fate will probably be much more interesting, complex and dramatic than astronomers previously believed. Although the ejection of gas from the dying star in the Ant Nebula is violent, it does not show the chaos one might expect from an ordinary explosion, but instead shows symmetrical patterns. One possibility is that the central star has a closely orbiting companion whose gravitational tidal forces shape the outflowing gas. A second possibility is that as the dying star spins, its strong magnetic fields are wound up into complex shapes like spaghetti in an eggbeater. Electrically charged winds, much like those in our Sun's solar wind but millions of times denser and moving at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per second (more than 600 miles per second) from the star, follow the twisted field lines on their way out into space
Pamminger, Tobias; Hughes, William O H
The evolution of complex societies with obligate reproductive division of labor represents one of the major transitions in evolution. In such societies, functionally sterile individuals (workers) perform many of fitness-relevant behaviors including allomaternal ones, without getting any direct fitness benefits. The question of how such worker division of labor has evolved remains controversial. The reproductive groundplan hypothesis (RGPH) offers a powerful proximate explanation for this evolutionary leap. The RGPH argues that the conserved genetic and endocrinological networks regulating fitness-relevant behavior (e g. foraging and brood care) in their solitary ancestors have become decoupled from actual reproduction in the worker caste and now generate worker behavioral phenotypes. However, the empirical support for this hypothesis remains limited to a handful of species making its general validity uncertain. In this study, we combine data from the literature with targeted sampling of key species and apply phylogenetically controlled comparative analysis to investigate if the key prediction of the RGPH, namely an association between allomaternal behavior and an allomaternal physiological state holds in the largest and most species-rich clade of social insects, the ants. Our findings clearly support the RPGH as a general framework to understand the evolution of the worker caste and shed light on one of the major transition in evolutionary history. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Yek, Sze Huei; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan; Poulsen, Michael
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 association......, covering both the colony/population level and comparisons between phylogenetic clades. We use a modified version of Tinbergen’s four categories of evolutionary questions to structure our review in complementary approaches addressing both proximate questions of development and mechanism, and ultimate...
Full Text Available The author, on the basis of archive materials, press and literature reconstruct the life and political activity of politician Party Ante Paradžik. During the Croatian Spring Paradžik was elected president of the Union of Croatian students who gathered representatives of all Croatian university centers. As one of the leaders of the student movement of 1971, he was sentenced to three years in prison, which he fully served. With the establishment of the multiparty system in Croatia, Paradžik was a reformer and vice president of the Croatian Party of Right, and the main political goal of the party was an independent state of Croatia. The outbreak of the aggression against Croatia, Paradžik together with Dobroslav Paraga organized volunteer party militiamen called Croatian Defence Forces. He was also vice president of the Croatian Democratic Club of Central Europe and the Secretary General of the Croatian Association of Political Prisoners. He was killed in 1991 under unclear circumstances by members of the Croatian police.
Leal, Inara R.; Wirth, Rainer; Tabarelli, Marcelo
Background and Aims Myrmecochory is a conspicuous feature of several sclerophyll ecosystems around the world but it has received little attention in the semi-arid areas of South America. This study addresses the importance of seed dispersal by ants in a 2500-km2 area of the Caatinga ecosystem (north-east Brazil) and investigates ant-derived benefits to the plant through myrmecochory. Methods Seed manipulation and dispersal by ants was investigated during a 3-year period in the Xingó region. Both plant and ant assemblages involved in seed dispersal were described and ant behaviour was characterized. True myrmecochorous seeds of seven Euphorbiaceae species (i.e. elaiosome-bearing seeds) were used in experiments designed to: (1) quantify the rates of seed cleaning/removal and the influence of both seed size and elaiosome presence on seed removal; (2) identify the fate of seeds dispersed by ants; and (3) document the benefits of seed dispersal by ants in terms of seed germination and seedling growth. Key Results Seed dispersal by ants involved one-quarter of the woody flora inhabiting the Xingó region, but true myrmecochory was restricted to 12·8 % of the woody plant species. Myrmecochorous seeds manipulated by ants faced high levels of seed removal (38–84 %) and 83 % of removed seeds were discarded on ant nests. Moreover, seed removal positively correlated with the presence of elaiosome, and elaiosome removal increased germination success by at least 30 %. Finally, some Euphorbiaceae species presented both increased germination and seedling growth on ant-nest soils. Conclusions Myrmecochory is a relevant seed dispersal mode in the Caatinga ecosystem, and is particularly frequent among Euphorbiaceae trees and shrubs. The fact that seeds reach micro-sites suitable for establishment (ant nests) supports the directed dispersal hypothesis as a possible force favouring myrmecochory in this ecosystem. Ecosystems with a high frequency of myrmecochorous plants appear not
Jaffé, Rodolfo; Kronauer, Daniel J C; Kraus, F Bernhard; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Moritz, Robin F A
Elaborate division of labour has contributed significantly to the ecological success of social insects. Division of labour is achieved either by behavioural task specialization or by morphological specialization of colony members. In physical caste systems, the diet and rearing environment of developing larvae is known to determine the phenotype of adult individuals, but recent studies have shown that genetic components also contribute to the determination of worker caste. One of the most extreme cases of worker caste differentiation occurs in the army ant genus Eciton, where queens mate with many males and colonies are therefore composed of numerous full-sister subfamilies. This high intracolonial genetic diversity, in combination with the extreme caste polymorphism, provides an excellent test system for studying the extent to which caste determination is genetically controlled. Here we show that genetic effects contribute significantly to worker caste fate in Eciton burchellii. We conclude that the combination of polyandry and genetic variation for caste determination may have facilitated the evolution of worker caste diversity in some lineages of social insects.
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.
Bryn T.M. Dentinger; D.Jean Lodge; Andrew B. Munkacsi; Dennis E. Desjardin; David J. McLaughlin
The ~50 million-year-old fungus-farming ant mutualism is a classic example of coevolution, involving ants that subsist on asexual, fungal biomass, in turn propagating the fungus clonally through nest-to-nest transmission. Most mutualistic ants cultivate two closely related groups of gilled mushrooms, whereas one small group of ants in the genus ...
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.
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
Kohl, E.; Hölldobler, B.; Bestmann, H.-J.
The myrmicine ant Mayriella overbecki lays recruitment trails during foraging and nest emigrations. The trail pheromone originates from the poison gland. From ten identified components of the poison gland secretions only methyl 6-methylsalicylate 1 elicited trail following behavior.
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.
Pećarević, Marko; Danoff-Burg, James; Dunn, Robert R
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.
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.
Hamazaki, Takashi; Leung, Wai-Yee; Cain, Brian D; Ostrov, David A; Thorsness, Peter E; Terada, Naohiro
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.
Canner, Judith E.; Dunn, Robert R.; Giladi, Itamar; Gross, Kevin
Myrmecochory (dispersal of seeds by ants) is an evolutionarily and ecologically common mutualism. Most of the research on the costs and benefits of myrmecochory in North America assumes that ant-dispersed seeds are taken to, and left in, the ant nest. Here, we use a novel seed-tracking technique to quantify secondary dispersal of seeds from the nest into the surrounding leaf litter by the keystone seed-dispersing ant, Aphaenogaster rudis. We found that A. rudis redispersed >90% of the seeds it took into its nest an average distance of 51.5 cm. A mathematical model shows redispersal increases the rate of population spread of the myrmecochores Hexastylis arifolia and Asarum canadense by 22.5%, and increases the expected cumulative dispersal distance away from the parent plant by 24%. Our results suggest myrmecochory benefits plants in eastern North American forests by increasing the distance between the seed and parent plant and reducing competition among siblings.
Moller, Isabel Eva; de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Harholt, Jesper
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...... 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......, 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...
Van Zweden, Jelle Stijn; Fürst, Matthias Alois; Heinze, Jürgen
being expressed, but there can be asymmetries among workers in performing the actual behaviour. Here, we show that workers of the ant Pachycondyla inversa specialize in policing behaviour. In two types of behavioural assays, workers developed their ovaries and laid eggs. In the first experiment......Most animal societies are non-clonal and thus subject to conflicts. In social insects, conflict over male production can be resolved by worker policing, i.e. eating of worker-laid eggs (WLE) or aggression towards reproductive workers. All workers in a colony have an interest in policing behaviour......, reproductive workers were introduced into queenright colonies. In the second experiment, WLE were introduced. By observing which individuals policed, we found that aggressive policing was highly skewed among workers that had opportunity to police, and that a similar tendency occurred in egg policing. None...
Hartmann, Anne; D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Jones, Graeme R.; Heinze, Jürgen
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 from unfertilized eggs (thelytoky). Who reproduces is determined through dominance and worker policing. New reproductives, which developed their ovaries after separation from an old reproductive for a short period of time, were attacked by nonreproductives upon reintroduction into their colony. In contrast, aggression against new reproductives with fully developed ovaries, which had been separated over a longer period, was initiated by fights between old and new reproductives. CHC profiles varied with ovarian development. New reproductives were only attacked when they expressed a CHC profile similar 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.
Ottonetti, L.; Tucci, L.; Santini, G. [University of Florence, Florence (Italy)
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.
Graça, Carla Renata; Kouyoumdjian, João Aris
Objetivo: Analisar as frequências de expressão dos antígenos de complexo principal de histocompatibilidade classe I (MHC-I) e células CD4 e CD8 no músculo esquelético na polimiosite (PM) e dermatomiosite (DM). Métodos: Estudo retrospectivo de 34 casos de PM, oito casos de DM e 29 controles com miopatias não inflamatórias. Resultados: Os antígenos MHC-I expressaram-se no sarcolema e/ou sarcoplasma em 79,4% dos casos de PM, 62,5% dos casos de DM e 27,6% dos controles (a expressão de CD4 foi obs...
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
Full Text Available This paper presents the evolved soccer player strategies with ant-intelligence through genetic programming. To evolve the code for players we used the Evolutionary Computation tool (ECJ simulatorEvolutionary Compuation in Java. We tested the evolved player strategies with already existing teams in soccerbots of teambots. This paper presents brief information regarding learning methods and ant behaviors. Experimental results depicts the performance of the evolved player strategies.
Ješovnik, Ana; González, Vanessa L; Schultz, Ted R
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 suggests that the
Reyes-López, J.; Ruiz, N.; Fernández-Haeger, J.
A study was carried out to determine the effect of single tree ( Quercus ilex subsp, ballota) shaded microhabitats on the community structure of ground-nesting ants in a semi-natural Mediterranean ecosystem ("dehesa"). A total of 1156 ant nests belonging to 20 species were detected in the study area, with a mean density of 10-11 nests per 100 m 2. Ground ant nests were denser under tree cover than on exposed grassland. Species richness and diversity also tended to increase in areas under tree canopies. These effects were found to be proportional to the area of tree cover up to a certain limit, beyond which the trend became negative. Species composition differed between open ground and tree-shaded microhabitats. Shade-tolerant species such as Plagiolepis pygmaea were more common near trees, whereas the seed harvester ant Messor barbarus was more common in open areas.
Braschler, Brigitte; Chown, Steven L; Gaston, Kevin J
The Fynbos (FB) and Succulent Karoo biomes (SKB) have high regional plant diversity despite relatively low productivity. Local diversity in the region varies but is moderate. For insects, previous work suggests that strict phytophages, but not other taxa, may have high regional richness. However, what has yet to be investigated is whether the local insect species richness of FB and SKB is unusual for a region of this productivity level at this latitude, and whether regional richness is also high. Here we determine whether this is the case for ants. We use species richness data from pitfall traps in the FB and SKB in the Western Cape Province, South Africa and a global dataset of local ant richness extracted from the literature. We then relate the globally derived values of local richness to two energy-related predictors--productive energy (NDVI) and temperature, and to precipitation, and compare the data from the FB and SKB with these relationships. We further compare our local richness estimates with that of similar habitats worldwide, and regional ant richness with estimates derived from other regions. The local ant species richness of the FB and SKB falls within the general global pattern relating ant richness to energy, and is similar to that in comparable habitats elsewhere. At a regional scale, the richness of ants across all of our sites is not exceptional by comparison with other regional estimates from across the globe. Local richness of ants in the FB and SKB is not exceptional by global standards. Initial analyses suggest that regional diversity is also not exceptional for the group. It seems unlikely that the mechanisms which have contributed to the development of extraordinarily high regional plant diversity in these biomes have had a strong influence on the ants.
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.
Villesen, Palle; Murakami, Takahiro; Schultz, Ted R
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...
Armitage, Sophie Alice Octavia; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Wcislo, William T.
Fungus-growing ants (Myrmicinae: Attini) live in an obligate symbiotic relationship with a fungus that they rear for food, but they can also use the fungal mycelium to cover their brood. We surveyed colonies from 20 species of fungus-growing ants and show that brood-covering behavior occurs in most...... 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...
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.
Łukasik, Piotr; Newton, Justin A; Sanders, Jon G; Hu, Yi; Moreau, Corrie S; Kronauer, Daniel J C; O'Donnell, Sean; Koga, Ryuichi; Russell, Jacob A
Symbiotic bacteria play important roles in the biology of their arthropod hosts. Yet the microbiota of many diverse and influential groups remain understudied, resulting in a paucity of information on the fidelities and histories of these associations. Motivated by prior findings from a smaller scale, 16S rRNA-based study, we conducted a broad phylogenetic and geographic survey of microbial communities in the ecologically dominant New World army ants (Formicidae: Dorylinae). Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene across 28 species spanning the five New World genera showed that the microbial communities of army ants consist of very few common and abundant bacterial species. The two most abundant microbes, referred to as Unclassified Firmicutes and Unclassified Entomoplasmatales, appear to be specialized army ant associates that dominate microbial communities in the gut lumen of three host genera, Eciton, Labidus and Nomamyrmex. Both are present in other army ant genera, including those from the Old World, suggesting that army ant symbioses date back to the Cretaceous. Extensive sequencing of bacterial protein-coding genes revealed multiple strains of these symbionts coexisting within colonies, but seldom within the same individual ant. Bacterial strains formed multiple host species-specific lineages on phylogenies, which often grouped strains from distant geographic locations. These patterns deviate from those seen in other social insects and raise intriguing questions about the influence of army ant colony swarm-founding and within-colony genetic diversity on strain coexistence, and the effects of hosting a diverse suite of symbiont strains on colony ecology. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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.
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.
Pascale, Elizabeth G; Thiet, Rachel K
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: email@example.com.
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.
Feldhaar, Heike; Fiala, Brigitte; Gadau, Jürgen; Mohamed, Maryati; Maschwitz, Ulrich
To elucidate the evolution of one of the most species-rich ant-plant symbiotic systems, the association between Crematogaster (Myrmicinae) and Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) in South-East Asia, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the ant partners. For the phylogenetic analysis partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and II were sequenced and Maximum Parsimony analysis was performed. The analyzed Crematogaster of the subgenus Decacrema fell into three distinct clades which are also characterized by specific morphological and ecological traits (queen morphology, host-plants, and colony structure). Our results supported the validity of our currently used morphospecies concept for Peninsula Malaysia. However, on a wider geographic range (including North and North-East Borneo) some morphospecies turned out to be species complexes with genetically quite distinct taxa. Our phylogenetic analysis and host association studies do not indicate strict cocladogenesis between the subgenus Decacrema and their Macaranga host-plants because multiple ant taxa occur on quite distinct host-plants belonging to different clades within in the genus Macaranga. These results support the view that host-shifting or host-expansion is common in the ants colonizing Macaranga. Additionally, the considerable geographic substructuring found in the phylogenetic trees of the ants suggests that allopatric speciation has also played a role in the diversification and the current distribution of the Decacrema ants.
Javier G. Miguelena
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.
Capone, Vincenzo; Usman, Mian
The GÉANT infrastructure is the backbone that serves the scientific communities in Europe for their data movement needs and their access to international research and education networks. Using the extensive fibre footprint and infrastructure in Europe the GÉANT network delivers a portfolio of services aimed to best fit the specific needs of the users, including Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure, end-to-end performance monitoring, advanced network services (dynamic circuits, L2-L3VPN, MD-VPN). This talk will outline the factors that help the GÉANT network to respond to the needs of the High Energy Physics community, both in Europe and worldwide. The Pan-European network provides the connectivity between 40 European national research and education networks. In addition, GÉANT also connects the European NRENs to the R&E networks in other world region and has reach to over 110 NREN worldwide, making GÉANT the best connected Research and Education network, with its multiple intercontinental links to different continents e.g. North and South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific. The High Energy Physics computational needs have always had (and will keep having) a leading role among the scientific user groups of the GÉANT network: the LHCONE overlay network has been built, in collaboration with the other big world REN, specifically to address the peculiar needs of the LHC data movement. Recently, as a result of a series of coordinated efforts, the LHCONE network has been expanded to the Asia-Pacific area, and is going to include some of the main regional R&E network in the area. The LHC community is not the only one that is actively using a distributed computing model (hence the need for a high-performance network); new communities are arising, as BELLE II. GÉANT is deeply involved also with the BELLE II Experiment, to provide full support to their distributed computing model, along with a perfSONAR-based network monitoring system. GÉANT has also
Jaradat, Ghaith M.; Ayob, Masri
Ant System algorithms are nature-inspired population-based metaheuristics derived from the field of swarm intelligence. Seemingly, the ant system has a lack of search diversity control since it has only a global pheromone update that intensifies the search. Hence, one or more assistant mechanisms are required to strengthen the search of the ant system. Therefore, we propose, in this study, an elitist-ant system to strike a balance between search diversity and intensification while maintaining the quality of solutions. This process is achieved by employing two diversification and intensification mechanisms to assist both pheromone evaporation and elite pheromone updating, in order to gain a good control over the search exploration and exploitation. The diversification mechanism is employed to avoid early convergence, whilst the intensification mechanism is employed to exploore the neighbors of a solution more effectively. In this paper, we test our algorithm on post-enrolment course timetabling problem. Experimental results show that our algorithm produces good quality solutions and outperforms some results reported in the literature (with regards to Socha's instances) including other ant system algorithms. Therefore, we can conclude that our elitist-ant system has performed an efficient problem's specific knowledge exploitation, and an effective guided search exploration to obtain better quality solutions.
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.
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
Borowiec, Marek L.
Abstract The generic classification of the ant subfamily Dorylinae is revised, with the aim of facilitating identification of easily-diagnosable monophyletic genera. The new classification is based on recent molecular phylogenetic evidence and a critical reappraisal of doryline morphology. New keys and diagnoses based on workers and males are provided, along with reviews of natural history and phylogenetic relationships, distribution maps, and a list of valid species for each lineage. Twenty-eight genera (27 extant and 1 extinct) are recognized within the subfamily, an increase from 20 in the previous classification scheme. Species classified in the polyphyletic Cerapachys and Sphinctomyrmex prior to this publication are here distributed among 9 and 3 different genera, respectively. Amyrmex and Asphinctanilloides are synonymized under Leptanilloides and the currently recognized subgenera are synonymized for Dorylus. No tribal classification is proposed for the subfamily, but several apparently monophyletic genus-groups are discussed. Valid generic names recognized here include: Acanthostichus (= Ctenopyga), Aenictogiton, Aenictus (= Paraenictus, Typhlatta), Cerapachys (= Ceratopachys), Cheliomyrmex, Chrysapace gen. rev., Cylindromyrmex (= Holcoponera, Hypocylindromyrmex, Metacylindromyrmex), Dorylus (= Alaopone syn. n., Anomma syn. n., Cosmaecetes, Dichthadia syn. n., Rhogmus syn. n., Shuckardia, Sphecomyrmex, Sphegomyrmex, Typhlopone syn. n.), Eburopone gen. n., Eciton (= Camptognatha, Holopone, Mayromyrmex), Eusphinctus gen. rev., Labidus (= Nycteresia, Pseudodichthadia), Leptanilloides (= Amyrmex syn. n., Asphinctanilloides syn. n.), Lioponera gen. rev. (= Neophyracaces syn. n., Phyracaces syn. n.), Lividopone, Neivamyrmex (= Acamatus, Woitkowskia), Neocerapachys gen. n., Nomamyrmex, Ooceraea gen. rev. (= Cysias syn. n.), Parasyscia gen. rev., †Procerapachys, Simopone, Sphinctomyrmex, Syscia gen. rev., Tanipone, Vicinopone, Yunodorylus gen. rev., Zasphinctus
Als, Thomas Damm; Nash, David Richard; Boomsma, J. J.
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 diff......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....... The geographical mosaic of host specificity and demography of M. alcon in Denmark probably reflects the co-evolution of M. alcon with two alternative host species. This system therefore provides an interesting opportunity for studying details of the evolution of parasite specificity and the dynamics of host-race...
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Webb, Garry A; Hoffmann, Benjamin D
The efficacy of Distance Plus Ant Bait, containing the insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen, was tested in the field against two invasive ant species in northern Australia: African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala (F.)) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes (Fr. Smith)). Results were also gained for a third pest species, Singapore ant (Monomorium destructor (Jerdon)), from one trial focused primarily on P. megacephala. Five studies were conducted throughout northern Australia, each with different protocols, but common to all was the broad-scale dispersal of Distance Plus, coupled with long-term monitoring of ant population levels. Additionally, a laboratory trial was conducted to assess if there was a direct toxic effect by the bait on A. gracilipes workers, and ant community data were collected at some sites in the A. gracilipes trial to assess nontarget impacts and subsequent ecological recovery. All three species were greatly affected by the treatments. The abundance of P. megacephala declined dramatically in all trials, and by the final assessment for each study, very few ants remained, with those remaining being attributable to edge effects from neighboring untreated properties. At both sites that it occurred, M. destructor was initially at least codominant with P. megacephala, but by the final assessment, only three M. destructor individuals were present at one lure at one site, and only a single individual at the other site. Abundance of A. gracilipes fell, on average, to 31% of control levels by 91 d and then slowly recovered, with subsequent treatments only providing slightly greater control. No direct toxic effect on workers was found in the laboratory trial, indicating that population declines of A. gracilipes were typical bait-related declines resulting from reduced worker replacement. Nontarget impacts of the bait could not be distinguished from the negative competitive impacts ofA. gracilipes, but there was a noticeable absence of some key
Van Ast, J.M.
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
Full Text Available When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed.
When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed.
Amy L. Mertl
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.
Valles, Steven M; Oi, David H; Yu, Fahong; Tan, Xin-Xing; Buss, Eileen A
Nylanderia pubens (Forel) is an invasive ant species that in recent years has developed into a serious nuisance problem in the Caribbean and United States. A rapidly expanding range, explosive localized population growth, and control difficulties have elevated this ant to pest status. Professional entomologists and the pest control industry in the United States are urgently trying to understand its biology and develop effective control methods. Currently, no known biological-based control agents are available for use in controlling N. pubens. Metagenomics and pyrosequencing techniques were employed to examine the transcriptome of field-collected N. pubens colonies in an effort to identify virus infections with potential to serve as control agents against this pest ant. Pyrosequencing (454-platform) of a non-normalized N. pubens expression library generated 1,306,177 raw sequence reads comprising 450 Mbp. Assembly resulted in generation of 59,017 non-redundant sequences, including 27,348 contigs and 31,669 singlets. BLAST analysis of these non-redundant sequences identified 51 of potential viral origin. Additional analyses winnowed this list of potential viruses to three that appear to replicate in N. pubens. Pyrosequencing the transcriptome of field-collected samples of N. pubens has identified at least three sequences that are likely of viral origin and, in which, N. pubens serves as host. In addition, the N. pubens transcriptome provides a genetic resource for the scientific community which is especially important at this early stage of developing a knowledgebase for this new pest.
Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Richmond, Douglas S
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.
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
Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin; McGrew, W C
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.
Interactions among species in a tri-trophic system: the influence of ants on the distribution of the Sinai Baton Blue butterfly. Mike James. School of Biology, Nottingham University, Nottingham NG7 2RD. ABSTRACT. Metapopulation dynamics is now so widely used to describe the distribution and abundance of species living ...
Heterick, Brian E.; Castalanelli, Mark; Shattuck, Steve O.
Abstract The fauna of the purely Australian formicine ant genus Melophorus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is revised. This project involved integrated morphological and molecular taxonomy using one mitochondrial gene (COI) and four nuclear genes (AA, H3, LR and Wg). Seven major clades were identified and are here designated as the M. aeneovirens, M. anderseni, M. biroi, M. fulvihirtus, M. ludius, M. majeri and M. potteri species-groups. Within these clades, smaller complexes of similar species were also identified and designated species-complexes. The M. ludius species-group was identified purely on molecular grounds, as the morphology of its members is indistinguishable from typical members of the M. biroi species-complex within the M. biroi species-group. Most species-complexes sampled were also found to be monophyletic. Sequencing generally supported monophyly in taxa sampled but some species of the M. fieldi complex and M. biroi were not monophyletic and the implications arising from this are discussed in this monograph. Based on morphology, ninety-three species are recognized, 73 described as new. A further new species (here called 'Species K' [TERC Collection]) is noted in the taxonomic list, but is not described in this work. One species is removed from Melophorus: M. scipio Forel is here placed provisionally in Prolasius. Six species and five subspecies pass into synonymy. Of the full species, M. constans Santschi, M. iridescens (Emery) and M. insularis Wheeler are synonymized under M. aeneovirens (Lowne), M. pillipes Santschi is synonymized under M. turneri Forel, M. marius Forel is synonymized under M. biroi Forel, and M. omniparens Forel is synonymized under M. wheeleri Forel. Of the subspecies, M. iridescens fraudatrix and M. iridescens froggatti Forel are synonymized under M. aeneovirens (Lowne), M. turneri aesopus Forel and M. turneri candidus Santschi are synonymized under M. turneri Forel and M. fieldi propinqua Viehmeyer is synonymized under M. biroi
Sagata, Katayo; Gibb, Heloise
Global temperature increases are significantly altering species distributions and the structure of ecological communities. However, the impact of temperature increases on multi- species interactions is poorly understood. We used an ant-Hemiptera-plant interaction to examine the potential outcomes of predicted temperature increases for each partner and for the availability of honeydew, a keystone resource in many forest ecosystems. We re-created this interaction in growth cabinets using predicted mean summer temperatures for Melbourne, Australia, for the years 2011 (23°C), 2050 (25°C) and 2100 (29°C), respectively, under an unmitigated greenhouse gas emission scenario. Plant growth and ant foraging activities increased, while scale insect growth, abundance and size, honeydew standing crop per tree and harvesting by ants decreased at 29°C, relative to lower temperatures (23 and 25°C). This led to decreased scale insect infestations of plants and reduced honeydew standing crop per tree at the highest temperature. At all temperatures, honeydew standing crop was lower when ants harvested the honeydew from scale insects, but the impact of ant harvesting was particularly significant at 29°C, where combined effects of temperature and ants reduced honeydew standing crop to below detectable levels. Although temperature increases in the next 35 years will have limited effects on this system, by the end of this century, warmer temperatures may cause the availability of honeydew to decline. Decline of honeydew may have far-reaching trophic effects on honeydew and ant-mediated interactions. However, field-based studies that consider the full complexity of ecosystems may be required to elucidate these impacts.
Solis, Daniel Russ; Rossi, Mônica Lanzoni; Fox, Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson; Nogueira, Neusa de Lima; Tanaka, Francisco André Ossamu; Bueno, Odair Correa
The digestive system of adults and mature larvae of two ant species of Monomorium Mayr (Hymoneptera: Formicidae) were described with the aid of light and scanning electron microscopy, as there is a lack of studies in this area. These two ant species are recurrently found in urban habitats and are known as ‘tramp species,’ as they cause problems in households, businesses, and hospitals. The most interesting finds of the present study include the existence of spinules in the crop of adults, and the number of Malpighian tubules and rectal pads was constant among different castes, ages, and species. PMID:24224520
Chameron, S.; Schatz, B.; Pastergue-Ruiz, I.; Beugnon, G.; Collett, T. S.
We used a maze to explore the ability of Cataglyphis cursor to store multiple visual patterns presented in a fixed sequence. Ants were trained individually to negotiate a linear maze that consisted of four boxes connected by tunnels and through which an ant travelled from a sucrose feeder back to its nest. Each box had one entrance and two possible exits. One exit led to a blocked tunnel and the other to an open tunnel leading to the entrance of the next box. The open and closed exits in each...
Branstetter, Michael G; Ješovnik, Ana; Sosa-Calvo, Jeffrey; Lloyd, Michael W; Faircloth, Brant C; Brady, Seán G; Schultz, Ted R
The evolution of ant agriculture, as practised by the fungus-farming 'attine' ants, is thought to have arisen in the wet rainforests of South America about 55-65 Ma. Most subsequent attine agricultural evolution, including the domestication event that produced the ancestor of higher attine cultivars, is likewise hypothesized to have occurred in South American rainforests. The 'out-of-the-rainforest' hypothesis, while generally accepted, has never been tested in a phylogenetic context. It also presents a problem for explaining how fungal domestication might have occurred, given that isolation from free-living populations is required. Here, we use phylogenomic data from ultra-conserved element (UCE) loci to reconstruct the evolutionary history of fungus-farming ants, reduce topological uncertainty, and identify the closest non-fungus-growing ant relative. Using the phylogeny we infer the history of attine agricultural systems, habitat preference and biogeography. Our results show that the out-of-the-rainforest hypothesis is correct with regard to the origin of attine ant agriculture; however, contrary to expectation, we find that the transition from lower to higher agriculture is very likely to have occurred in a seasonally dry habitat, inhospitable to the growth of free-living populations of attine fungal cultivars. We suggest that dry habitats favoured the isolation of attine cultivars over the evolutionary time spans necessary for domestication to occur. © 2017 The Authors.
Delabie, Jacques H C; Paim, Valéria R L de M; Do Nascimento, Ivan C; Campiolo, Sofia; Mariano, Cléa dos S F
Mangroves are common in estuaries along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Although plant diversity is low, this ecosystem supports a range of animals, offering some resources for non-aquatic organisms. Many insects live in mangroves and, between them, many ant species that are exclusively arboreous. Mangroves throughout the world suffer from high levels of human impact, and this is particularly true for southeastern Bahia, where land-uses include traditional crab and fish exploitation, urban development, refuse pollution, recreation, and timber extraction. The ants of 13 mangrove sites, representing a range of levels of human use, have been studied along 250 km of the southern Bahia littoral, between Itacaré and Porto Seguro. Ants were sampled both inside and on the periphery of the tidal zone, using entomological rainbow, baiting, collect of hollow branches and pit-fall. A total of 108 species have been collected, with the richest genera being Camponotus and Pseudomyrmex, and the most frequent belonging to the genera Azteca and Crematogaster. The ant community living on the periphery of mangrove areas is rather homogeneous regardless of the degree of environmental perturbation, but varies markedly with the disturbance inside the mangroves themselves. The evolution of richness of the both communities, mangrove and periphery, is negatively related to the human effects, even limited to the periphery. Ant communities therefore have the potential to be useful as biological indicators of ecological impacts of land-use in these mangrove systems.
Sharma, Vijay Kumar; Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Goel, Anubhuthi; Chandrashekaran, M. K.
The locomotor activity rhythm of different castes of the ant species Camponotus compressus was monitored individually under laboratory light/dark (LD) cycles, and under continuous darkness (DD). The colony of this ant species comprises two sexual castes, the queens and the males, and three worker castes, namely the major, media, and minor workers. The virgin males and virgin queens display rhythmic activity patterns, but the mated queens were arrhythmic while laying eggs, with the rhythmicity resuming soon after egg-laying. Under the LD regime, major workers showed nocturnal patterns, while about 75% of the media workers displayed nocturnal patterns and about 25% showed diurnal patterns. Under the DD regime, most major workers exhibited circadian rhythm of activity with a single steady state, whereas media workers displayed two types of activity patterns, with activity patterns changing after 6-9 days in DD (turn-arounds). The pre-turn-around τ of the ants that showed nocturnal activity patterns during LD entrainment was 24 h, after 6-9 days. On the other hand, the pre-turn-around τ of those ants that exhibited diurnal patterns during LD entrainment was first >24 h after release into DD, and then became ant species C. compressus are flexible, and may perhaps depend upon the tasks assigned to them in the colony.
Perfecto, I; Vandermeer, J
Recent changes in the coffee agroecosystem of Costa Rica were used to study the mechanism of biodiversity loss in transforming agroecosystems, focusing on the ground-foraging ant community. Coffee farms are being transformed from vegetationally diverse shaded agroforestry systems to unshaded coffee monocultures. We tested the hypothesis that the high-light environment and lack of leaf litter cover in the unshaded system are the determinants of the differences in ground-foraging ant diversity. Four treatments were established within the light gaps of a shaded plantation: shade, leaf litter, shade plus leaf litter, and a control (no shade or leaf litter added). Ants were sampled using tuna fish baits and light and temperature were measured. Shade and leaf litter had a significant effect on the ant fauna but probably for indirect reasons having to do with species interactions. In both shade treatments, Solenopsis geminata, the tropical fire ant, decreased significantly while the other species increased. The possibility that the physical factor changes the nature of competitive interactions between the most abundant species is discussed.
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.
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.
Dângelo, Rômulo Augusto Cotta; de Souza, Danival José; Mendes, Thais Demarchi; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro Della
Actinomycetes bacteria associated with leafcutter ants produce secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties against Escovopsis, a fungus specialized in attacking the gardens of fungus-growing ants, which denies the ants their food source. Because previous studies have used fungi isolated from fungus gardens but not from ant integument, the aims of the present study were to isolate actinomycetes associated with the cuticle of the Acromyrmex spp. and to quantify their inhibition abilities against the filamentous fungal species carried by these ants. The results demonstrated that actinomycetes had varied strain-dependent effects on several filamentous fungal species in addition to antagonistic activity against Escovopsis. The strain isolated from Acromyrmex balzani was identified as a Streptomyces species, whereas the remaining isolates were identified as different strains belonging to the genus Pseudonocardia. These findings corroborate the hypothesis that actinomycetes do not act specifically against Escovopsis mycoparasites and may have the ability to inhibit other species of pathogenic fungi. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Victor P Zwiener
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.
Zwiener, Victor P; Bihn, Jochen H; Marques, Márcia C M
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.
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.
Evison, Sophie Elizabeth Frances; Hughes, William O. H.
Multiple mating by females with different males (polyandry) is difficult to explain in many taxa because it carries significant costs to females, yet benefits are often hard to identify. Polyandry is a derived trait in social insects, the evolutionary origins of which remain unclear. One of several leading hypotheses for its evolution is that it improves division of labour by increasing intra-colonial genetic diversity. Division of labour is a key player in the ecological success of social insects, and in many successful species of ants is based on morphologically distinct castes of workers, each with their own task specialisations. Atta leaf-cutting ants exhibit one of the most extreme and complicated forms of morphologically specialised worker castes and have been reported to be polyandrous but with relatively low mating frequencies (~2.5 on average). Here, we show for the first time that there is a significant genetic influence on worker size in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants. We also provide the first estimate of the mating frequency of Atta cephalotes (four matings) and, by analysing much higher within-colony sample sizes, find that Atta are more polyandrous than previously thought (approximately six to seven matings). The results show that high polyandry and a genetic influence on worker caste are present in both genera of leaf-cutting ants and add weight to the hypothesis that division of labour is a potential driver of the evolution of polyandry in this clade of ants.
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.
Full Text Available In the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the neuronal and molecular mechanisms related to worker division of labor are poorly understood. Workers from different subcastes (major, medium and minors perform different tasks, which are loosely associated with their size. We hypothesized that the short neuropeptide F (sNPF signaling system (NPY-like could be involved in mechanisms of worker division of labor and sensing or responding to colony nutritional requirements. Thus, we investigated the expression of the short neuropeptide F receptor (sNPFR in the brain and subesophageal ganglion (SEG of workers from colonies with and without brood. Across worker subcastes a total of 9 clusters of immunoreactive sNPFR cells were localized in the brain and the subesophageal ganglion (SEG; some of these cells were similar to those observed previously in the queen. Worker brain sNPFR cell clusters were found in the protocerebrum near mushroom bodies, in the central complex and in the lateral horn. Other sNPFR immunoreactive cells were found at the edge of the antennal lobes. Across subcastes, we observed both a constant and a differential pattern of sNPFR clusters, with a higher number of sNPFR cells found in minor than in major workers. Those sNPFR cells detected in all worker subcastes appear to be involved in olfaction or SEG functions. The differential expression of clusters in subcastes suggests that sNPFR signaling is involved in regulating behaviors associated with specific subcastes and thus, division of labor. Some sNPFR cells appear to be involved in nutrient sensing and/or brood care, feeding behavior and locomotion. In colonies without brood, workers showed a lower cluster number, and an overall reduced sNPFR signal. Our results suggest the sNPF signaling system is a candidate for the neurobiological control of worker division of labor and sensing brood presence, perhaps correlating with protein requirements and availability.
Porter, Sanford D; Valles, Steven M; Oi, David H
An understanding of host specificity is essential before pathogens can be used as biopesticides or self-sustaining biocontrol agents. In order to define the host range of the recently discovered Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), we exposed laboratory colonies of 19 species of ants in 14 genera and 4 subfamilies to this virus. Despite extreme exposure during these tests, active, replicating infections only occurred in Solenopsis invicta Buren and hybrid (S. invicta×S. richteri) fire ant colonies. The lack of infections in test Solenopsis geminata fire ants from the United States indicates that SINV-3 is restricted to the saevissima complex of South American fire ants, especially since replicating virus was also found in several field-collected samples of the black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri Forel. S. invicta colonies infected with SINV-3 declined dramatically with average brood reductions of 85% or more while colonies of other species exposed to virus remained uninfected and healthy. The combination of high virulence and high host specificity suggest that SINV-3 has the potential for use as either a biopesticide or a self-sustaining biocontrol agent. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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...
Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs are polyphagous, yet highly selective herbivores. The factors that govern their selection of food plants, however, remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the induction of anti-herbivore defences by attacked food plants, which are toxic to either ants or their mutualistic fungus, should significantly affect the ants' foraging behaviour. To test this "induced defence hypothesis," we used lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus, a plant that emits many volatile organic compounds (VOCs upon herbivore attack with known anti-fungal or ant-repellent effects. Our results provide three important insights into the foraging ecology of LCAs. First, leaf-cutting by Atta ants can induce plant defences: Lima bean plants that were repeatedly exposed to foraging workers of Atta colombica over a period of three days emitted significantly more VOCs than undamaged control plants. Second, the level to which a plant has induced its anti-herbivore defences can affect the LCAs' foraging behaviour: In dual choice bioassays, foragers discriminated control plants from plants that have been damaged mechanically or by LCAs 24 h ago. In contrast, strong induction levels of plants after treatment with the plant hormone jasmonic acid or three days of LCA feeding strongly repelled LCA foragers relative to undamaged control plants. Third, the LCA-specific mode of damaging leaves allows them to remove larger quantities of leaf material before being recognized by the plant: While leaf loss of approximately 15% due to a chewing herbivore (coccinelid beetle was sufficient to significantly increase VOC emission levels after 24 h, the removal of even 20% of a plant's leaf area within 20 min by LCAs did not affect its VOC emission rate after 24 h. Taken together, our results support the "induced defence hypothesis" and provide first empirical evidence that the foraging behaviour of LCAs is affected by the induction of plant defence responses.
Santos, Jean C.; Delabie, Jacques H. C.; Fernandes, G. Wilson
Fire represents an important disturbance to ant communities in areas of fire regime. Otherwise, little is known about the effects of fire on ant communities in areas of non-fire regimes, such as in the Amazonian region. We evaluated the long-term effect of fire on ant species richness in a rain forest (Bacaba Plateau) burned 15-years ago and compare our data with the data of primary unburned forest. A total of 85 ant species distributed in 21 genera and 14 tribes were collected; among them, 7...
O'Donnell, Sean; Logan, Corina J; Clayton, Nicola S
Tropical birds forage at army ant raids on several continents. Obligate foraging at army ant raids evolved several times in the Neotropical true antbird family (Thamnophilidae), and recent evidence suggests a diversity of bird species from other families specialize to varying degrees on army ant exploitation. Army ant raids offer access to high prey densities, but the ant colonies are mobile and widely spaced. Successful army ant exploitation requires solving a complex foraging problem because army ant raids are unpredictable in space and time. Birds can counteract the challenges posed by the ants by using strategies that raise their chances of detecting army ant raids, and birds can use additional strategies to track army ant colonies they have located. Some features of army ant biology, such as their conspicuous swarms and columns, above-ground activity, and regular cycles of behavior, provide opportunities for birds to increase their effectiveness at exploiting raids. Changes in sensory, cognitive and behavioral systems may all contribute to specialized army ant exploitation in a bird population. The combination of specializations that are employed may vary independently among bird species and populations. The degree of army ant exploitation by birds varies geographically with latitude and elevation, and with historical patterns such as centers of distribution of obligate thamnophilid antbirds. We predict the set of specializations a given bird population exhibits will depend on local ecology, as well as phylogenetic history. Comparative approaches that focus on these patterns may indicate ecological and evolutionary factors that have shaped the costs and benefits of this foraging strategy. The development of army ant exploitation in individual birds is poorly understood, and individual expression of these specializations may depend on a combination of genetic adaptation with cognitive plasticity, possibly including social and experiential learning. Future
Hayashi, Masayuki; Choh, Yasuyuki; Nakamuta, Kiyoshi; Nomura, Masashi
Ants attack and exclude natural enemies of aphids in ant-aphid mutualisms. However, larvae of the green lacewing, Mallada desjardinsi, prey on the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, without exclusion by aphid-tending ants. Lacewing larvae are protected from ants by carrying aphid carcasses on their backs. Here, we tested whether cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of aphid carcasses affected the aggressiveness of aphid-tending ants. Aphid carcasses were washed with n-hexane to remove lipids. Lacewing larvae with washed aphid carcasses were attacked by aphid-tending ants more frequently than those with untreated aphid carcasses. We measured the aggressiveness of aphid-tending ants to lacewing larvae that were either carrying a piece of cotton wool (a dummy aphid carcass) treated with CHCs from aphids or lacewing larvae, or carrying aphid carcasses. The rates of attack by ants on lacewing larvae carrying CHCs of aphids or aphid carcasses were lower than that of attack on lacewing larvae with conspecific CHCs. Chemical analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry showed similarity of CHCs between aphids and aphid carcasses. These results suggest that aphid carcasses on the backs of lacewing larvae function via chemical camouflage to limit attacks by aphid-tending ants.
Peli, Gabor; Bruggeman, Jeroen
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
Full Text Available 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 land use and vineyard cultivated area over the past 15 years. Our results revealed that the species has thus far remained confined to a relatively isolated small area, owing to an effective barrier of dry shrublands surrounding the infested vineyards; yet the recent expansion of vineyard acreage in this region will soon connect this encapsulated area with the rest of the valley. When this happens, vulnerable ecosystems and the main local industry will be put at risk. This case provides a rare opportunity to study early invasion dynamics and reports, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time, the Argentine ant in high altitude agroecosystems.
Fagundes, Roberth; Terra, Gilberto; Ribeiro, Sérvio P; Majer, Jonathan D
Although Merostachys fischeriana is very abundant in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, little attention has been paid to the biological interactions with other animals. The present study describes some of the interactions between ants and this bamboo species. The experiment was carried out in a fragment of a montane tropical forest in the Parque Estadual do Itacolomi, near Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil. Thirty culms of bamboo were randomly collected. The ants were obtained by direct collection from nodes and internodes. Morphometric variables of the bamboo were recorded for characterization of potential ant habitat. Merostachys fischeriana grows in rosettes as a thin bamboo (average = 1,0 cm; se = 0,27; n = 20) and is tall enough to reach the upper canopy of this low forest (average = 9,1 m; se = 2,72; n = 20). Fifteen ant species were sampled. Brachymyrmex heeri Forel was the most abundant in the nodes, while Camponotus crassus Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) was the most abundant in the internodes. The composition of the species that inhabit the internodes was different from the composition in the node (Q-test: Q = 3,76; P = 0,05). The level of occupation was defined by the number of holes (F = 10,33; P < 0,01), the number of internodes in the canopy (F = 6,84; P = 0,01) and the length of the culm (F = 7,52; P = 0,01). The plant's morphology allowed the occurrence of additional species of ants in the canopy and influenced the composition of the entire ant assemblage.
de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
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...... of substrate use in all extant fungus-growing ant genera to know the range of substrates used for any particular ant genus. (2.) Field assays of enzyme activity in fungus gardens of five candidate enzymes (Amylase, proteinase, pectinase, cellulose and xylanase) to indicate differences in enzyme activity...... the fresh leaf feeding species had a higher activity of amylase. The group of higher attines had a higher activity of proteinase and pectinase. In contrast the lower genera had a non-significant trend towards a higher activity of xylanase compared to the higher attine genera. Cellulase activity was uniform...
Diez, Lise; Lejeune, Philippe; Detrain, Claire
Sociality increases exposure to pathogens. Therefore, social insects have developed a wide range of behavioural defences, known as 'social immunity'. However, the benefits of these behaviours in terms of colony survival have been scarcely investigated. We tested the survival advantage of prophylaxis, i.e. corpse removal, in ants. Over 50 days, we compared the survival of ants in colonies that were free to remove corpses with those that were restricted in their corpse removal. From Day 8 onwards, the survival of adult workers was significantly higher in colonies that were allowed to remove corpses normally. Overall, larvae survived better than adults, but were slightly affected by the presence of corpses in the nest. When removal was restricted, ants removed as many corpses as they could and moved the remaining corpses away from brood, typically to the nest corners. These results show the importance of nest maintenance and prophylactic behaviour in social insects.
Kavita R. Sharma
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.
Ebie, Jessica D.; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen
Although workers in many ant species are capable of producing their own offspring, they generally rear the queen's offspring instead. There are various mechanisms that regulate worker reproduction including inhibitory effects of ant brood. Colonies of the ant Novomessor cockerelli are monogynous and polydomous resulting in a large portion of nest workers being physically isolated from the queen for extended periods of time. Some workers experimentally isolated from the queen in laboratory nests lay viable eggs, which develop into males. We investigate the mechanism that regulates worker fertility in subnests separated from the queen by giving queenless worker groups queen-produced larvae, queen-produced eggs, or no brood. Our findings show that larvae delay the time to worker egg-laying, but eggs have no effect. Larval inhibition is a likely mechanism that contributes to the regulation of worker reproduction in N. cockerellli because larvae are easily transported to subnests that do not contain a queen.
Alkaloids, including 2,5-dialkylpyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkylpyrrolines, have been reported to be components in the venom of little black ants, Monomorium minimum (Buckley). Two fatty amines were recently reported as minor compounds. By analyzing the discharge collected from the stinger apparatus (...
Tschinkel, Walter R; Kwapich, Christina L
The Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, is one of many ant species and genera that stores large numbers of seeds in damp, underground chambers for later consumption. A comparison of the sizes of seeds recovered from storage chambers with those of seed husks discarded following consumption revealed that the used seeds are far smaller than stored seeds. This difference in use-rate was confirmed in field and laboratory colonies by offering marked seeds of various sizes and monitoring the appearance of size-specific chaff. Because foragers collect a range of seed sizes but only open small seeds, large seeds accumulate, forming 70% or more of the weight of seed stores. Major workers increase the rates at which small and medium seeds are opened, but do not increase the size range of opened seeds. Experiments limiting ant access to portions of natural seed chambers showed that seeds germinate during storage, but that the ants rapidly remove them. When offered alongside non germinating seeds, germinating seeds were preferentially fed to larvae. The rate of germination during the annual cycle was determined by both burial in artificial chambers at various depths and under four laboratory temperatures. The germination rate depends upon the species of seed, the soil/laboratory temperature and/or the elapsed time. The seasonal soil temperature cycle generated germination patterns that vary with the mix of locally-available seeds. Taken together, exploitation of germination greatly increases the resources available to the ants in space and time. While the largest seeds may have the nutritional value of 15 small seeds, the inability of workers to open large seeds at will precludes them from rapid use during catastrophic events. The harvester ant's approach to seed harvesting is therefore two-pronged, with both immediate and delayed payoffs arising from the tendency to forage for a wide variety of seeds sizes.
Guerrieri, Fernando J; d'Ettorre, Patrizia
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...... chemical perception from other cues. We studied four ant species: Camponotus herculeanus, C. vagus, Formica rufibarbis and F. cunicularia. Chemical analyses of cuticular extracts of workers of these four species showed that they varied in the number and identity of compounds and that species of the same...... 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...
Pablo E. Schilman
Full Text Available Chemical trails have been shown to act as an orientation cue in some ant species. Here, I report that the trail-laying behaviour in the nectar-feeding ant, Camponotus rufipes, varies with the concentration of the sucrose solutions collected. Single workers collected solutions of different sucrose concentrations (5%, 20%, and 40% in weight during 4 consecutive visits to the resource, and their trail-marking behaviour was recorded on soot-coated slides during their first and last visits. Results suggest that these chemical trails provide both an orientation cue between the nest and the food source, as previously suggested for Camponotus ants, as well as information about food quality.
Manzaneda, Antonio J; Rey, P J; Alcántara, J M
Conflicts of selection on diaspore traits throughout the dispersal cycle can limit the evolutionary consequences of seed dispersal. However, these conflicts have never been investigated in directed dispersal systems. We explored conflicts of selection through life stages of dispersal in the myrmecochorous herb Helleborus foetidus. Seeds are subject to two contrasting partial selective scenarios. Undispersed seeds are subject to positive directional selection on seed size characters, whereas seeds dispersed are subject to stabilizing selection for size. In both scenarios, seedling establishment determined the magnitude and direction of selection. This does not reflect ant preferences for seed size. However, total selection still depends largely on ant activity, as ants control the relative importance of each selective scenario. We advocate the use of analytical approaches combining multiplicative fitness and microenvironment-specific selection to more realistically estimate the realized selection on traits functional during several life stages. This approach may be extended to any organism dispersing offspring to different environments.
Schöning, Caspar; Kinuthia, Wanja; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
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...
Steven M. Valles
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.
Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten
on aspects of the genome likely to be associated with known evolutionary changes. The first is the specialized fungal diet of A. echinatior, where we find gene loss in the ant's arginine synthesis pathway, loss of detoxification genes, and expansion of a group of peptidase proteins. One of these is a unique......We present a high-quality (>100× depth) Illumina genome sequence of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, a model species for symbiosis and reproductive conflict studies. We compare this genome with three previously sequenced genomes of ants from different subfamilies and focus our analyses...... 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...
Forys, Elizabeth A.; Kelly, William B.; Ward, David T.
Describes a laboratory activity on invasion biology to improve students' cognitive skills as well as manual skills. Requires students to develop hypotheses in which a common invasive species will succeed. Focuses on the red imported fire ant in the Southeastern United States, which is a non-native invasive species. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)
Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Bartolo-Reyes, Juan Carlos; Quiroa-Montalván, Claudia M; Cruz-López, Leopoldo; Lenoir, Alain; Lachaud, Jean-Paul
Communication in ants is based to a great extent on chemical compounds. Recognition of intruders is primarily based on cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profile matching but is prone to being cheated. Eucharitid wasps are specific parasitoids of the brood of ants; the immature stages are either well integrated within the colony or are protected within the host cocoons, whereas adult wasps at emergence must leave their host nest to reproduce and need to circumvent the ant recognition system to escape unscathed. The behavioral interactions between eucharitid wasps and workers of their host, the Neotropical ant Ectatomma tuberculatum, are characterized. In experimental bioassays, newly emerged parasitoids were not violently aggressed. They remained still and were grabbed by ants upon contact and transported outside the nest; host workers were even observed struggling to reject them. Parasitoids were removed from the nest within five minutes, and most were unharmed, although two wasps (out of 30) were killed during the interaction with the ants. We analyzed the CHCs of the ant and its two parasitoids, Dilocantha lachaudii and Isomerala coronata, and found that although wasps shared all of their compounds with the ants, each wasp species had typical blends and hydrocarbon abundance was also species specific. Furthermore, the wasps had relatively few CHCs compared to E. tuberculatum (22-44% of the host components), and these were present in low amounts. Wasps, only partially mimicking the host CHC profile, were immediately recognized as alien and actively removed from the nest by the ants. Hexane-washed wasps were also transported to the refuse piles, but only after being thoroughly inspected and after most of the workers had initially ignored them. Being recognized as intruder may be to the parasitoids' advantage, allowing them to quickly leave the natal nest, and therefore enhancing the fitness of these very short lived parasitoids. We suggest that eucharitids take advantage
Munkacsi, A.B.; Pan, J.J.; Villesen, P.
-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...
Schmidt, Anna M; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Pedersen, Jes Søe
-called supercolonies that have been described for some invasive ant species, but general conclusions about the role of these cues are hampered by only few species being studied. Here we use data on cuticular hydrocarbons, aggression and microsatellite genetic markers to investigate the interdependence of chemical...... recognition cues, genetic distance and nestmate discrimination in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), a widespread pest species, and ask whether introduced populations of this species are genetically differentiated and exhibit intraspecific aggression. Results Microsatellite analyses of a total of 35...... colonies. There was a positive correlation between geographical and genetic distance, but no other significant relationships were detected between aggression, chemical profile, genetic distance and geographical distance. Conclusions The pharaoh ant has a global invasion history of numerous independent...
Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard; Linksvayer, Timothy Arnold; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
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......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...
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
Bieber, Ana Gabriela D; Silva, Paulo S D; Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S
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
Graham, J.H.; Hughie, H.H.; Jones, S.; Wrinn, K.; Krzysik, A.J.; Duda, J.J.; Freeman, D. Carl; Emlen, J.M.; Zak, J.C.; Kovacic, D.A.; Chamberlin-Graham, C.; Balbach, H.
We examined habitat disturbance, species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in the Fall-Line Sandhills, at Fort Benning, Georgia. We collected ants with pitfall traps, sweep nets, and by searching tree trunks. Disturbed areas were used for military training; tracked and wheeled vehicles damaged vegetation and soils. Highly disturbed sites had fewer trees, diminished ground cover, warmer soils in the summer, and more compacted soils with a shallower A-horizon. We collected 48 species of ants, in 23 genera (141,468 individuals), over four years of sampling. Highly disturbed areas had fewer species, and greater numbers of ants than did moderately or lightly disturbed areas. The ant communities in disturbed areas were also less equitable, and were dominated by Dorymyrmex smithi.
Beltrà, Aleixandre; Navarro-Campos, Cristina; Calabuig, Altea; Estopà, Luis; Wäckers, Felix L; Pekas, Apostolos; Soto, Antonia
The vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is a key pest of grapevine in the Mediterranean Basin. Some honeydew collecting ant species are known to increase mealybug populations in other grape-growing regions. However, there is scarce information on either the ant species present in Mediterranean vineyards or their impact on mealybugs. We conducted a study in four commercial vineyards in Eastern Spain in order to i) identify the ant species foraging on the vine canopies, ii) study the association among ant activity, vine mealybug abundance and fruit damage, and iii) test a novel method for ant management, distracting ants from guarding vine mealybugs by providing sugar dispensers. We recorded three ant species native to the Mediterranean foraging on the vine canopies: Lasius grandis (Forel), Pheidole pallidula (Nylander) and Plagiolepis schmitzii (Forel). The mean percentage of damaged fruits per vine was positively correlated with the number of vine mealybugs captured in traps placed at the trunk. We detected a positive but weak relationship between ant activity, vine mealybug abundance and fruit damage. The provisioning of sugar dispensers reduced the number of ants foraging on the vines by 23.4% although this reduction was not statistically significant. Vine mealybug abundance was significantly reduced (72%) after sugar provisioning. Our results suggest that the ant species native to vineyards in eastern Spain induce population increases of the vine mealybug. Moreover, the provisioning of sugars can be a valuable tool for ant management and mealybug control. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
Anicet Gbèblonoudo Dassou
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 . 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.
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...
Bos, Nicky Peter Maria; Lefevre, T.; Jensen, A.B.
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...
Valles, Steven M; Strong, Charles A; Callcott, Anne-Marie A
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia, and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the USA to minimize further spread of the ant. To aid the quarantine efforts, there remains an acute need for a rapid, field portable method for the identification of these ants. In this report, we describe two novel monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind the S. invicta venom protein 2 produced by S. invicta. Using these monoclonal antibodies we developed a lateral flow immunoassay that provides a rapid and portable method for the identification of S. invicta ants. The lateral flow immunoassay was validated against purified S. invicta venom protein 2 and 33 unique ant species (representing 15 % of the total species and 42 % of the Myrmicinae genera found in Florida), and only S. invicta and the S. invicta/richteri hybrid produced a positive result. These monoclonal antibodies were selective to S. invicta venom protein 2 and did not bind to proteins from congeners (i.e., S. geminata or S. richteri) known to produce a S. invicta venom protein 2 ortholog. This S. invicta lateral flow immunoassay provides a new tool for regulatory agencies in the USA to enforce quarantine protocols and limit the spread of this invasive ant. Graphical Abstract Field method to detect and identify the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.
The genomic state of an individual results from the interplay between its internal condition and the external environment, which may include the social environment. The link between genes and social environment is clearly visible during the process of colony founding in the fire ant Solenopsis invic...
Many ant species are efficient control agents against a wide range of pest insects in many crops. They control pest insects via predation; however, ant communication is based on chemical cues which may be eavesdropped by potential prey and serve as chemical warning signals. Thus, the presence...... of ant pheromones may be sufficient to repel pest insects from ant territories. The study of ant semiochemicals is in its infancy, yet, evidence for their potential use in pest management is starting to build up. Pheromones from four of five tested ant species have been shown to deter herbivorous insect...... prey and competing ant species are also deterred by ant deposits, whereas ant symbionts may be attracted to them. Based on these promising initial findings, it seems advisable to further elucidate the signaling properties of ant pheromones and to test and develop their use in future pest management....
Bächtold, Alexandra; Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber
In Lycaenidae-ant mutualisms, ovipositing females select plants based on the presence and/or species of ants in order to maximize survival rates of immatures. The ants are supposed to protect the immatures from parasitoids, but there is large variation in the protection provided. Here, we experimentally investigated whether the occurrence of the facultative myrmecophilous Allosmaitia strophius (the dominant species in our study system) was ant-related. The parasitism rates of immatures collected in the field and reared in the laboratory were also investigated. Stems of the extrafloral nectaried shrub Peixotoa tomentosa were designated as either ant-present (control) or absent (treated). The occurrence of A. strophius on ant-present stems was five times greater than on treated stems. Most eggs and larvae were associated with Camponotus blandus and Ectatomma tuberculatum, two aggressive ant species in the Brazilian savanna. Egg parasitism rate was 9%, and all the parasitized eggs were on ant-present stems. Pupal parasitism on ant-present and ant-absent stems was 25.6% and 7%, respectively. The higher parasitism rate in the presence of ants might also have been density-dependent, because caterpillars were more abundant in ant-present stems. Tropical lycaenids are frequently found in association with patrolling ants. Nevertheless, there is growing evidence that parasitism is higher in the presence of ants, owing to caterpillar's density-dependent effects in plants with ants, and/or to the weak lycaenid-ant associations. This indicates that the offspring of myrmecophilous lycaenids may not benefit, at least in terms of lower parasitism, by living with ants.
Pringle, Elizabeth G; Ableson, Ian; Kerber, Jennifer; Vannette, Rachel L; Tao, Leiling
Predictable effects of resource availability on plant growth-defense strategies provide a unifying theme in theories of direct anti-herbivore defense, but it is less clear how resource availability modulates plant indirect defense. Ant-plant-hemipteran interactions produce mutualistic trophic cascades when hemipteran-tending ants reduce total herbivory, and these interactions are a key component of plant indirect defense in most terrestrial ecosystems. Here we conducted an experiment to test how ant-plant-hemipteran interactions depend on nitrogen (N) availability by manipulating the presence of ants and aphids under different N fertilization treatments. Ants increased plant flowering success by decreasing the densities of herbivores, and the effects of ants on folivores were positively related to the density of aphids. Unexpectedly, N fertilization produced no changes in plant N concentrations. Plants grown in higher N grew and flowered more, but aphid honeydew chemistry stayed the same, and neither the density of aphids nor the rate of ant attraction per aphid changed with N addition. The positive effects of ants and N addition on plant fitness were thus independent of one another. We conclude that N was the plant's limiting nutrient and propose that addition of the limiting nutrient is unlikely to alter the strength of mutualistic trophic cascades. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.
Larabee, Fredrick J; Fisher, Brian L; Schmidt, Chris A; Matos-Maraví, Pável; Janda, Milan; Suarez, Andrew V
Ants in the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus belong to one of the largest clades in the subfamily Ponerinae, and are one of four lineages of ants possessing spring-loaded "trap-jaws." Here we present results from the first global species-level molecular phylogenetic analysis of these trap-jaw ants, reconstructed from one mitochondrial, one ribosomal RNA, and three nuclear protein-coding genes. Bayesian and likelihood analyses strongly support reciprocal monophyly for the genera Anochetus and Odontomachus. Additionally, we found strong support for seven trap-jaw ant clades (four in Anochetus and three in Odontomachus) mostly concordant with geographic distribution. Ambiguity remains concerning the closest living non-trap-jaw ant relative of the Anochetus+Odontomachus clade, but Bayes factor hypothesis testing strongly suggests that trap-jaw ants evolved from a short mandible ancestor. Ponerine trap-jaw ants originated in the early Eocene (52.5Mya) in either South America or Southeast Asia, where they have radiated rapidly in the last 30million years, and subsequently dispersed multiple times to Africa and Australia. These results will guide future taxonomic work on the group and act as a phylogenetic framework to study the macroevolution of extreme ant mouthpart specialization. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
J.A. Torres; R.R. Snelling; M. Canals
Nocturnal nuptial flights of ants were studied at Guaynabo and Guanica in the tropical island of Puerto Rico. A great proportion of the species had a high frequency of flights during the year with little seasonality in the frequency of flights. Flights were less frequent during the dry season. Nuptlal flights at Guaynabo occurred mostly during the post-sunset (18:30-22...
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.
... the updates to the PPQ Treatment Manual will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human..., stinging insect that, in large numbers, can seriously injure or even kill livestock, pets, and humans. The imported fire ant feeds on crops and builds large, hard mounds that damage farm and field machinery...
Moreau, Corrie S; Bell, Charles D
Ants are one of the most ecologically and numerically dominant group of terrestrial organisms with most species diversity currently found in tropical climates. Several explanations for the disparity of biological diversity in the tropics compared to temperate regions have been proposed including that the tropics may act as a "museum" where older lineages persist through evolutionary time or as a "cradle" where new species continue to be generated. We infer the molecular phylogenetic relationships of 295 ant specimens including members of all 21 extant subfamilies to explore the evolutionary diversification and biogeography of the ants. By constraining the topology and age of the root node while using 45 fossils as minimum constraints, we converge on an age of 139-158 Mya for the modern ants. Further diversification analyses identified 10 periods with a significant change in the tempo of diversification of the ants, although these shifts did not appear to correspond to ancestral biogeographic range shifts. Likelihood-based historical biogeographic reconstructions suggest that the Neotropics were important in early ant diversification (e.g., Cretaceous). This finding coupled with the extremely high-current species diversity suggests that the Neotropics have acted as both a museum and cradle for ant diversity. © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Depickère, Stéphanie; Fresneau, Dominique; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis
Insects are generally described as essentially blind to red wavelengths but sensitive to ultraviolet. Therefore, ants are generally reared in nests where "obscurity" is obtained by the use of a red filter. Yet, no study has been done in order to confirm this idea and to verify whether ants behave differently with or without red light. We performed aggregation experiments with the ant Lasius niger under red light and in total darkness to control the sensitivity of workers. Aggregation is a basic behavior associated with the origin of sociality and with the spatial organization of the colony. We demonstrate that L. niger is sensitive to red wavelengths. Moreover, we show that workers behave differently depending on their ethological caste: foragers aggregate well in total darkness but show low assembly under red light, whereas brood-tenders aggregate well in both conditions. For the first time, a link between vision, social organization and spatial patterns is revealed. The results are discussed relative to their adaptive value and relative to the physiology of the workers. Hypotheses are formulated concerning the acquisition of this change of behavior between castes.
Lai, Li-Chuan; Kuo, Tai-Chih; Huang, Rong-Nan; Wu, Wen-Jer
Although fire ants frequently have negative impacts on agricultural systems and public health, they have additional beneficial insecticidal effects. To evaluate the potential effect of fire ant venoms on agricultural pests, the compositions of the venoms and their insecticidal activities against Plutella xylostella (L.) larvae were evaluated under laboratory conditions. The alkaloids found in Solenopsis geminata (F.) venom are primarily saturated C11, which occur in both cis and trans forms, whereas the venom of S. invicta Buren contains six principal alkaloids (from trans C1, to C17). Moreover, the proportions of unsaturated alkaloids in the venom of polygynous S. invicta were significantly higher than the corresponding proportions in the monogynous S. invicta, as shown by our previous studies. Fire ant venoms were topically applied to the dorsal thoracic region of fourth-instar larvae of P. xylostella. The results of the experiment showed that the larval symptoms induced by fire ant venom include contractile, flaccid paralysis, black coloration and death. P. xylostella larvae were most susceptible to S. geminata venom. The order of the susceptibilities of the larvae to the venoms was as follows: S. geminata > S. invicta (monogyne form) > S. invicta (polygyne form), as measured by the corresponding LT50 values at 24 h.
Ferreira-Filho, Pedro J; Wilcken, Carlos F; Neves, Daniela A; Pogetto, Mario H F A D; Carmo, Janaina B; Guerreiro, Julio C; Serrão, José E; Zanuncio, José C
Genus Atta includes some of the most important Formicidae leaf cutter ants which cause extensive damage to the eucalyptus plantations. Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, one of the chief pests in Brazilian reforestation, can restrict and reduce forest productivity by its intense and constant leaf-cutting activities on plants at all stages. Therefore, the demand for new products to control A. sexdens rubropilosa indicates the study of the utilization of the dry powder formulation of diatomaceous earth (DE) against this pest in the eucalyptus cultivars. The study was conducted using 120 colonies of A. sexdens rubropilosa in Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex. Maiden x Eucalyptus urophylla Blake (Myrtaceae) (urograndis) stand. The randomized block experimental design was used with six treatments (1, 10, 25, and 50 g/m2 of DE, 6.0 g/m2 sulfluramid bait per square meter of loose soil, and the control) with five replications, each with four colonies of this ant. Diatomaceous earth was applied to the active A. sexdens rubropilosa ant holes, and the sulfluramid bait was applied in bulk in a localized manner. The control efficacy of A. sexdens rubropilosa with DE was low, showing values similar to that of the control, and, for this reason, it cannot be used to control this ant. The bait with sulfluramid showed higher efficacy than those of the other treatments. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gotoh, Ayako; Billen, Johan; Hashim, Rosli; Ito, Fuminori
Reproductive division of labor is one of the crucial features in social insects, however, the developmental mechanisms leading to modifications in the reproductive apparatus of workers are still not very clear. Ants show a remarkable diversity in the morphological specialization of the worker's reproductive apparatus, that allows to distinguish four types, type 1: workers that have ovaries and a functional spermatheca, and that reproduce like queens, type 2: workers have ovaries and a vestigial spermatheca, type 3: workers have ovaries but no spermatheca, and type 4: workers lost both ovaries and spermatheca. We investigated morphogenesis of the worker spermatheca in 28 ant species by histological examination. In workers of type 1, the morphogenesis of the spermatheca is very similar to that in ant queens. In type 2, the spermathecal disc also differentiates, however, the development is interrupted and remains vestigial. In types 3 and 4, the absence of the spermatheca in the adult phase is caused by a degeneration after initial formation of the spermathecal disc or by a complete lack of the spermathecal discs. The timing of these interruption and degeneration events varies among species. The species exhibiting an earlier interrupting point of spermatheca formation in workers have a larger queen-worker dimorphism, that seems to be independent from ant phylogeny. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
J. H. Tumlinson; John C. Moser; R. M. Silverstein; R. G. Brownlee; J. M. Ruth
The major volatile trail-marking pheromone of the Texas leaf-cutting Ant, Atta texana, was isolated, identified as methyl 4-methylpyrrole-2-carboxylate, and synthesized. The synthesized pheromone elicited strong trail-following response from workers in the laboratory and field.
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
Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz; Woch, Marcin W
In ants, intra and inter-colony variation in body size can be considerable, even in monomorphic species. It has been previously shown that size-related parameters can be environmentally sensitive. The shape of the body size distribution curve is, however, rarely investigated. In this study, we measured head widthes of the black garden ant Lasius niger workers using digital methods. The ants were sampled from 51 colonies originating from 19 sites located along a metal pollution gradient, established in a former mining area in Poland. Total zinc concentrations in random samples of small invertebrates were used as a measure of site pollution levels. We found that the skewness of head size distribution grows significantly in line with the pollution level of the site, ranging from values slightly below zero (about -0.5) in the least polluted site up to a positive value (about 1.5) in the most polluted site. This result indicates that the frequency of small ants grows as pollution levels increase. The coefficient of variation, as well as the measures of central tendency, was not related to the pollution level. Four hypotheses explaining the obtained results are proposed. The bias towards the higher frequency of small workers may result from energy limitation and/or metal toxicity, but may also have an adaptive function.
Zhou, Aiming; Zeng, Ling; Lu, Yongyue; Xu, Yijuan; Liang, Guangwen
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. PMID:23185505
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...
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...
Saporito, Ralph A; Garraffo, H Martin; Donnelly, Maureen A; Edwards, Adam L; Longino, John T; Daly, John W
A remarkable diversity of bioactive lipophilic alkaloids is present in the skin of poison frogs and toads worldwide. Originally discovered in neotropical dendrobatid frogs, these alkaloids are now known from mantellid frogs of Madagascar, certain myobatrachid frogs of Australia, and certain bufonid toads of South America. Presumably serving as a passive chemical defense, these alkaloids appear to be sequestered from a variety of alkaloid-containing arthropods. The pumiliotoxins represent a major, widespread, group of alkaloids that are found in virtually all anurans that are chemically defended by the presence of lipophilic alkaloids. Identifying an arthropod source for these alkaloids has been a considerable challenge for chemical ecologists. However, an extensive collection of neotropical forest arthropods has now revealed a putative arthropod source of the pumiliotoxins. Here we report on the presence of pumiliotoxins in formicine ants of the genera Brachymyrmex and Paratrechina, as well as the presence of these ants in the stomach contents of the microsympatric pumiliotoxin-containing dendrobatid frog, Dendrobates pumilio. These pumiliotoxins are major alkaloids in D. pumilio, and Brachymyrmex and Paratrechina ants now represent the only known dietary sources of these toxic alkaloids. These findings further support the significance of ant-specialization and alkaloid sequestration in the evolution of bright warning coloration in poison frogs and toads.
Ślipiński, Piotr; Żmihorski, Michał
Subordinate ant species utilize different tactics to reduce competition with the stronger, larger and more aggressive individuals of a dominant species. In our experimental study, we assessed the behavioral response of individual workers of 4 subordinate ant species during their co-occurrence with workers of a single dominant species. Contrary to most classical experiments focused on aggressive interactions, we assessed workers' speed as a crucial factor in the outcome of co-occurrence. Generally, there was a large intraspecific variation in the speed of the studied species-each had slow and fast individuals. Workers of all studied species moved faster just after interaction, suggesting that contact between 2 hostile workers is a stressful stimulus, generating a behavioral reaction of increasing speed. Also, the number of aggressive contacts experienced by a given individual positively affected its speed. Moreover, workers which were fast when exploring territory were also fast after interspecific interactions. The duration of aggression was significantly reduced by the speed and body size of a subordinate species worker-the more quickly a worker reacted and bigger it was, the shorter was the time of cumulative aggression. To our knowledge, this is the first study of this type to be conducted on ants and we conclude that speed is an overlooked and important characteristic of species and also individuals, therefore it should be considered as a driver of patterns of co-occurrence in ant assemblages. © 2016 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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.
Conclusions: ANT is delineated in 3 T MRI by visualization of a thin white matter lamina between ANT and other nuclear groups that lack spiking activity. Direct targeting in the anterior thalamic area is superior to indirect targeting due to extensive individual variation in the location of ANT. Without detailed imaging information, however, a single trajectory MER has little localizing value.
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.
Shiroto, Akiyoshi; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hirota, Tadao
The higher proportion of polygynous ant species in northern areas indicates that cold climates influence queen number per colony. It is unclear, however, what ecological and physiological factors facilitate the dominance of polygynous species in cold climates. This is the case in two common arboreal ants in Japan-Camponotus yamaokai and C. nawai-which are quite similar in morphology, but different in social structure and geographical distribution. Polygynous C. yamaokai inhabits colder areas, whereas monogynyous C. nawai inhabits warmer climates. We compared queen survival in both ants at low temperature to evaluate whether interspecific difference in cold tolerance can explain the geographical distribution. We examined the influence of cohabitation with other individuals, as well as individual cold tolerance. Experimental groups with different caste compositions were prepared and maintained under conditions simulating in the laboratory climates of the northern limit of C. nawai. Wintering experiments revealed that C. yamaokai queens survived longer than C. nawai queens under solitary conditions, although half of the queens died in less than a month, even in C. yamaokai. Queens hibernating with workers survived longer than solitary queens, but queen number did not affect queen survival. Cohabitation with workers allowed 80% of C. yamaokai queens to survive more than two months. Under field conditions, monogynous C. nawai foundresses overwinter without workers, whereas new queens of polygynous C. yamaokai always overwinter with many workers. Thus, the geographical distribution of these ants appears to depend on the overwintering behavior of new queens.
Palmer, Todd M; Stanton, Maureen L; Young, Truman P; Goheen, Jacob R; Pringle, Robert M; Karban, Richard
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.
Full Text Available Abstract Background Microorganisms are a large and diverse form of life. Many of them live in association with large multicellular organisms, developing symbiotic relations with the host and some have even evolved to form obligate endosymbiosis 1. All Carpenter ants (genus Camponotus studied hitherto harbour primary endosymbiotic bacteria of the Blochmannia genus. The role of these bacteria in ant nutrition has been demonstrated 2 but the omnivorous diet of these ants lead us to hypothesize that the bacteria might provide additional advantages to their host. In this study, we establish links between Blochmannia, growth of starting new colonies and the host immune response. Results We manipulated the number of bacterial endosymbionts in incipient laboratory-reared colonies of Camponotus fellah by administrating doses of an antibiotic (Rifampin mixed in honey-solution. Efficiency of the treatment was estimated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH, using Blochmannia specific primers (qPCR and two fluorescent probes (one for all Eubacterial and other specific for Blochmannia. Very few or no bacteria could be detected in treated ants. Incipient Rifampin treated colonies had significantly lower numbers of brood and adult workers than control colonies. The immune response of ants from control and treated colonies was estimated by inserting nylon filaments in the gaster and removing it after 24 h. In the control colonies, the encapsulation response was positively correlated to the bacterial amount, while no correlation was observed in treated colonies. Indeed, antibiotic treatment increased the encapsulation response of the workers, probably due to stress conditions. Conclusion The increased growth rate observed in non-treated colonies confirms the importance of Blochmannia in this phase of colony development. This would provide an important selective advantage during colony founding, where the colonies
Farder-Gomes, C F; Oliveira, M A; Gonçalves, P L; Gontijo, L M; Zanuncio, J C; Bragança, M A L; Pires, E M
The leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is one of the most damaging agricultural pests in the Neotropics. Management strategies predominantly rely on the use of general insecticides. What is needed are more species-specific and environmentally friendly options. Parasitioids such as phorid flies (Diptera: Phoridae) may be one such option, but a greater understanding of the ecology of the flies and their ant hosts is essential to devise biological control strategies. Here we report parasitism rates, ant host size, parasitoid abundance per host and resultant sex ratios of two phorid species Apocephalus attophilus Borgmeier and Eibesfeldtphora tonhascai Brown parasitizing A.sexdens. The two species achieved parasitism rates of 1.48 and 1.46%, respectively and the pupal period was 14.7 ± 1.1 days and 22.1 ± 2.8 days, respectively. There was no significant difference between the head capsule width of ants parasitized by either A. attophilus or E. tonhascai. Likewise, there was no significant effect between the head capsule width of parasitized and unparasitized ants for both species. A significant positive correlation was found between the head capsule width of the parasitized ants and the number of adult parasitoids A. attophilus emerged. Ants parasitized by E. tonhascai survived significantly longer than those parasitized by A. attophilus. There was no significant effect of ant head width on the sex ratio of the offspring of either parasitoid species and no significant difference in the sex ratio (male: female) of their offspring. In summary, these data addressed here are important steps when considering natural enemies for biological control. Studying survival of the parasitized ants, parasitoid offspring sex ratio and host size preference allows for a better understanding of ant natural biological control in the field and can help in rearing of A. attophilus and E. tonhascai in laboratory.
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
Oral health status of pregnant women attending the ante-natal clinic of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. ... Higher proportion of patients with secondary and tertiary education had high DMFT scores which increased with gestational age of the patients. These were not statistically significant (p values = 0.946 and ...
It is endemic to the biodiversity hotspot of the southern Western Ghats of India and, besides ants, harbours many endemic invertebrate taxa, such as bees that pollinate it as well as arboreal earthworms, within swollen hollow stem internodes called domatia. Using inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers, three ...
[Dev S A, Shenoy M and Borges R M 2010 Genetic and clonal diversity of the endemic ant-plant Humboldtia brunonis (Fabaceae) in the Western. Ghats of India; J. Biosci. 35 267–279] DOI 10.1007/s12038-010-0031-5. Keywords. Caesalpinioideae; clonality; Detarieae; myrmecophyte; inter simple sequence repeats; spatial ...
Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Céréghino, Régis; Roux, Olivier; Hérault, Bruno; Rossi, Vivien; Guerrero, Roberto J.; Delabie, Jacques H. C.; Orivel, Jérôme; Boulay, Raphaël
Myrmecophytes offer plant-ants a nesting place in exchange for protection from their enemies, particularly defoliators. These obligate ant-plant mutualisms are common model systems for studying factors that allow horizontally transmitted mutualisms to persist since parasites of ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms exploit the rewards provided by host plants whilst providing no protection in return. In pioneer formations in French Guiana, Azteca alfari and Azteca ovaticeps are known to be mutualists of myrmecophytic Cecropia ( Cecropia ants). Here, we show that Azteca andreae, whose colonies build carton nests on myrmecophytic Cecropia, is not a parasite of Azteca- Cecropia mutualisms nor is it a temporary social parasite of A. alfari; it is, however, a temporary social parasite of A. ovaticeps. Contrarily to the two mutualistic Azteca species that are only occasional predators feeding mostly on hemipteran honeydew and food bodies provided by the host trees, A. andreae workers, which also attend hemipterans, do not exploit the food bodies. Rather, they employ an effective hunting technique where the leaf margins are fringed with ambushing workers, waiting for insects to alight. As a result, the host trees’ fitness is not affected as A. andreae colonies protect their foliage better than do mutualistic Azteca species resulting in greater fruit production. Yet, contrarily to mutualistic Azteca, when host tree development does not keep pace with colony growth, A. andreae workers forage on surrounding plants; the colonies can even move to a non- Cecropia tree.
Kwapich, Christina L.
The Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, is one of many ant species and genera that stores large numbers of seeds in damp, underground chambers for later consumption. A comparison of the sizes of seeds recovered from storage chambers with those of seed husks discarded following consumption revealed that the used seeds are far smaller than stored seeds. This difference in use-rate was confirmed in field and laboratory colonies by offering marked seeds of various sizes and monitoring the appearance of size-specific chaff. Because foragers collect a range of seed sizes but only open small seeds, large seeds accumulate, forming 70% or more of the weight of seed stores. Major workers increase the rates at which small and medium seeds are opened, but do not increase the size range of opened seeds. Experiments limiting ant access to portions of natural seed chambers showed that seeds germinate during storage, but that the ants rapidly remove them. When offered alongside non germinating seeds, germinating seeds were preferentially fed to larvae. The rate of germination during the annual cycle was determined by both burial in artificial chambers at various depths and under four laboratory temperatures. The germination rate depends upon the species of seed, the soil/laboratory temperature and/or the elapsed time. The seasonal soil temperature cycle generated germination patterns that vary with the mix of locally-available seeds. Taken together, exploitation of germination greatly increases the resources available to the ants in space and time. While the largest seeds may have the nutritional value of 15 small seeds, the inability of workers to open large seeds at will precludes them from rapid use during catastrophic events. The harvester ant’s approach to seed harvesting is therefore two-pronged, with both immediate and delayed payoffs arising from the tendency to forage for a wide variety of seeds sizes. PMID:27893844
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
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.
Baer, Boris; Krug, A.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan
Parasites represent significant challenges to social insects. The high density, interaction rate and relatedness of individuals within colonies are all predicted to make social insect colonies particularly vulnerable to parasites. To cope with this pressure, social insects have evolved a number...... of defence mechanisms. These include the immune response, which, aside from in bumblebees, has been relatively little studied in social insects. Here we compare the immune responses of males and workers of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and examine the effect upon immunocompetence of prior......-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...
Wynhoff, I.; Grutters, M.; Langevelde, van F.
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
John Moser; Stacy Blomquist
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...
Cardiocondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) is an old world genus of omnivorous ants native to Africa and Asia. The genus Cardiocondyla includes several common tramp species that have spread globally with human commerce. A single alate female C. obscurior Wheeler was collected by J. M. Stro...
Ouagoussounon, Issa; Sinzogan, Antonio; Offenberg, Joachim
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 developme...
Bargum, Katja; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan; Sundström, L.
. In this study, we present the first evidence of an additive genetic component to queen size in ants, using maternal half sib analysis. We also compared intra-colony size variation in colonies with high (queen doubly mated) versus low (queen singly mated) genetic variability. We found a high and significant...
Salas-Lopez, Alex; Mickal, Houadria; Menzel, Florian; Orivel, Jérôme
The diversity and functional identity of organisms are known to be relevant to the maintenance of ecosystem processes but can be variable in different environments. Particularly, it is uncertain whether ecosystem processes are driven by complementary effects or by dominant groups of species. We investigated how community structure (i.e., the diversity and relative abundance of biological entities) explains the community-level contribution of Neotropical ant communities to different ecosystem processes in different environments. Ants were attracted with food resources representing six ant-mediated ecosystem processes in four environments: ground and vegetation strata in cropland and forest habitats. The exploitation frequencies of the baits were used to calculate the taxonomic and trophic structures of ant communities and their contribution to ecosystem processes considered individually or in combination (i.e., multifunctionality). We then investigated whether community structure variables could predict ecosystem processes and whether such relationships were affected by the environment. We found that forests presented a greater biodiversity and trophic complementarity and lower dominance than croplands, but this did not affect ecosystem processes. In contrast, trophic complementarity was greater on the ground than on vegetation and was followed by greater resource exploitation levels. Although ant participation in ecosystem processes can be predicted by means of trophic-based indices, we found that variations in community structure and performance in ecosystem processes were best explained by environment. We conclude that determining the extent to which the dominance and complementarity of communities affect ecosystem processes in different environments requires a better understanding of resource availability to different species.
Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Hagedorn, Henry
Supercoloniality is a social structure displayed by many invasive ant species, but there has been surprisingly little research quantifying the extent to which individual species display traits underlying such social organisation. This study quantifies three traits for the yellow crazy ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): little or no aggression between workers from different nests; the exchange of workers among nests; and resource exchange among nests, as well as supercolony structure arising from patterns of distribution and density of detections. Supercolonies displayed a structural continuum from being small ( 10,000 ha) and "diffuse" with little continuity among detections. Smaller supercolonies had greater ant densities than larger supercolonies. In laboratory trials, no aggression was observed between workers from different nests sourced from different supercolonies, and paired nests merged within 24 hours. Workers lacked nest fidelity by rapidly populating artificial nests containing alien queens. The daily worker turnover rate per nest was estimated to be below 20%. Resources were readily moved among nests, with a resource being detected up to 13 m away from a source within 24 hours, and as far as 32 m after four days. The rate and distance of resource movement increased with increasing worker and nest density. This research has demonstrated that A. gracilipes displays supercoloniality equivalent to that of the well-studied Argentine ant Linepithema humile. Quantification of these traits is required for other supercolonial species to improve our understanding of this social strategy, especially for invasive ants to aid in understanding factors that promote invasion success and to improve management. This is an open access paper. We use the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license that permits unrestricted use, provided that the paper is properly attributed.
Billen, Johan; Al-Khalifa, Mohammed
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.
Varanda-Haifig, Sadala Schmidt; Albarici, Tatiane Regina; Nunes, Pablo Henrique; Haifig, Ives; Vieira, Paulo Cezar; Rodrigues, Andre
Leaf-cutter ants cultivate and feed on the mutualistic fungus, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which is threatened by parasitic fungi of the genus Escovopsis. The mechanism of Escovopsis parasitism is poorly understood. Here, we assessed the nature of the antagonism of different Escovopsis species against its host. We also evaluated the potential antagonism of Escovopsioides, a recently described fungal genus from the attine ant environment whose role in the colonies of these insects is unknown. We performed dual-culture assays to assess the interactions between L. gongylophorus and both fungi. We also evaluated the antifungal activity of compounds secreted by the latter on L. gongylophorus growth using crude extracts of Escovopsis spp. and Escovopsioides nivea obtained either in (1) absence or (2) presence of the mutualistic fungus. The physical interaction between these fungi and the mutualistic fungus was examined under scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Escovopsis spp. and E. nivea negatively affected the growth of L. gongylophorus, which was also significantly inhibited by both types of crude extract. These results indicate that Escovopsis spp. and E. nivea produce antifungal metabolites against the mutualistic fungus. SEM showed that Escovopsis spp. and E. nivea maintained physical contact with the mutualistic fungus, though no specialised structures related to mycoparasitism were observed. These results showed that Escovopsis is a destructive mycoparasite that needs physical contact for the death of the mutualistic fungus to occur. Also, our findings suggest that E. nivea is an antagonist of the ant fungal cultivar.
Yilmaz, Ayse; Dyer, Adrian G; Rössler, Wolfgang; Spaethe, Johannes
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.
Luna, Pedro; García-Chávez, Juan Héctor; Dáttilo, Wesley
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.
Yamagata, Nobuhiro; Fujiwara-Tsujii, Nao; Yamaoka, Ryohei; Mizunami, Makoto
Communication by means of pheromones plays predominant roles in colony integration by social insects. However, almost nothing is known about pheromone processing in the brains of social insects. In this study, we successfully applied intracellular recording and staining techniques to anatomically and physiologically characterize brain neurons of the ant Camponotus obscuripes. We identified 42 protocerebral neurons that responded to undecane and/or formic acid, components of alarm pheromones that evoke attraction or evasive behavior, respectively. Notably, 30 (71%) of these neurons were efferent (output) or feedback neurons of the mushroom body, and many of these exhibited different responses to formic acid and undecane. Eight of the remaining 12 neurons had arborizations in the lateral and/or medial protocerebrum, which receive terminations of efferent neurons of the mushroom body and from which premotor descending neurons originate. The remaining four neurons were bilateral neurons that connect lateral accessory lobes or dorsal protocerebrums of both hemispheres. We suggest that the mushroom body of the ant participates in the processing of alarm pheromones. Seventeen (40%) of 42 neurons exhibited responses to nonpheromonal odors, indicating that the pheromonal and nonpheromonal signals are not fully segregated when they are processed in the protocerebrum. This may be related to modulatory functions of alarm pheromones, i.e., they change alertness of the ant and change responses to a variety of sensory stimuli.
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.
Jóhannesson, Gunnar Thór; Ren, Carina Bregnholm; van der Duim, René
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...
Bulova, S.; Purce, K.; Khodak, P.; Sulger, E.; O'Donnell, S.
Shifts to new ecological settings can drive evolutionary changes in animal sensory systems and in the brain structures that process sensory information. We took advantage of the diverse habitat ecology of Neotropical army ants to test whether evolutionary transitions from below- to above-ground activity were associated with changes in brain structure. Our estimates of genus-typical frequencies of above-ground activity suggested a high degree of evolutionary plasticity in habitat use among Neotropical army ants. Brain structure consistently corresponded to degree of above-ground activity among genera and among species within genera. The most above-ground genera (and species) invested relatively more in visual processing brain tissues; the most subterranean species invested relatively less in central processing higher-brain centers (mushroom body calyces). These patterns suggest a strong role of sensory ecology (e.g., light levels) in selecting for army ant brain investment evolution and further suggest that the subterranean environment poses reduced cognitive challenges to workers. The highly above-ground active genus Eciton was exceptional in having relatively large brains and particularly large and structurally complex optic lobes. These patterns suggest that the transition to above-ground activity from ancestors that were largely subterranean for approximately 60 million years was followed by re-emergence of enhanced visual function in workers.
Pantoja, L D M; Moreira Filho, R E; Brito, E H S; Aragão, T B; Brilhante, R S N; Cordeiro, R A; Rocha, M F G; Monteiro, A J; Quinet, Y P; Sidrim, J J C
The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of filamentous fungi and yeasts on the external surface of ants at hospitals. From March 2007 to February 2008, 2,899 ants were evaluated in two public hospitals in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará, in northeastern Brazil. The ants were attracted by nontoxic baits, distributed within critical and semicritical hospital areas. The fungi were identified through macro- and micromorphological analysis, biochemical profile, and growth in chromogenic medium. From this study, 5 genera and 13 species of ants were identified, from critical (8% of the collected ants) and semicritical (92%) areas, during the daytime (48%) and nighttime (52%) periods. In the mycological analysis, 75% of the ants were fungi carriers, with the species Tapinoma melanocephalum and species from the genus Pheidole having the most potential as carriers of airborne fungi (75 and 18%, respectively) and yeasts (6 and 1%, respectively). In summary, ants act as carriers of airborne fungi and yeasts, including some pathogenic species.
Zhang, Yujian; Tian, Defeng; Matsuyama, Hironori; Hamazaki, Takashi; Shiratsuchi, Takayuki; Terada, Naohiro; Hook, Derek J; Walters, Michael A; Georg, Gunda I; Hawkinson, Jon E
Transport of ADP and ATP across mitochondria is one of the primary points of regulation to maintain cellular energy homeostasis. This process is mainly mediated by adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) located on the mitochondrial inner membrane. There are four human ANT isoforms, each having a unique tissue-specific expression pattern and biological function, highlighting their potential as drug targets for diverse clinical indications, including male contraception and cancer. In this study, we present a novel yeast-based high-throughput screening (HTS) strategy to identify compounds inhibiting the function of ANT. Yeast strains generated by deletion of endogenous proteins with ANT activity followed by insertion of individual human ANT isoforms are sensitive to cell-permeable ANT inhibitors, which reduce proliferation. Screening hits identified in the yeast proliferation assay were characterized in ADP/ATP exchange assays employing recombinant ANT isoforms expressed in isolated yeast mitochondria and Lactococcus lactis as well as by oxygen consumption rate in mammalian cells. Using this approach, closantel and CD437 were identified as broad-spectrum ANT inhibitors, whereas leelamine was found to be a modulator of ANT function. This yeast "knock-out/knock-in" screening strategy is applicable to a broad range of essential molecular targets that are required for yeast survival. © 2016 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.
Moll, Karin; Federle, Walter; Roces, Flavio
Grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) carry fragments that can be many times heavier and longer than the ants themselves and it is important for them to avoid falling over during load transport. To investigate whether the energetic costs of transport are affected by the need to maintain stability, the rate of CO(2) production was measured in both unladen workers and workers carrying standardized paper fragments of different size and shape. We tested: (1) the effect of mass by comparing workers carrying either light or heavy fragments of the same size, and (2) the effect of shape by comparing short and long fragments of the same mass. Consistent with previous studies, metabolic rate increased but running speed remained constant when ants carried heavier fragments. The net cost of transport (normalized to the total mass of ant and fragment) was the same for heavy and light fragments, and did not differ from the costs of carrying a unit body mass. Ants carrying long fragments showed similar metabolic rates but ran significantly slower than ants carrying short fragments. As a consequence, net cost of transport was significantly higher for long fragments than for short ones, and higher than the costs of carrying a unit body mass. The observed reduction in running speed is likely a result of the ants' need to maintain stability. When the absolute costs of transport were compared, smaller ants required more energy to carry heavier and longer fragments than larger workers, but the opposite was found for lighter and shorter fragments. The absolute costs of transport per unit fragment mass suggest that it is energetically advantageous for a colony to allocate smaller workers for the transport of small fragments and larger workers for large fragments. The present results underline the importance of biomechanical factors for the understanding of leaf-cutting ant foraging strategies.
Toksari, M. Duran
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)
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
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.
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.
Full Text Available Abstract Background Models of palliative care delivery develop within a social, cultural, and political context. This paper describes the 30-year history of the National Tumor Association (ANT, a palliative care organization founded in the Italian province of Bologna, focusing on this model of home care for palliative cancer patients and on its evaluation. Methods Data were collected from the 1986-2008 ANT archives and documents from the Emilia-Romagna Region Health Department, Italy. Outcomes of interest were changed in: number of patients served, performance status at admission (Karnofsky Performance Status score [KPS], length of participation in the program (days of care provided, place of death (home vs. hospital/hospice, and satisfaction with care. Statistical methods included linear and quadratic regressions. A linear and a quadratic regressions were generated; the independent variable was the year, while the dependent one was the number of patients from 1986 to 2008. Two linear regressions were generated for patients died at home and in the hospital, respectively. For each regression, the R square, the unstandardized and standardized coefficients and related P-values were estimated. Results The number of patients served by ANT has increased continuously from 131 (1986 to a cumulative total of 69,336 patients (2008, at a steady rate of approximately 121 additional patients per year and with no significant gender difference. The annual number of home visits increased from 6,357 (1985 to 904,782 (2008. More ANT patients died at home than in hospice or hospital; this proportion increased from 60% (1987 to 80% (2007. The rate of growth in the number of patients dying in hospital/hospice was approximately 40 patients/year (p 40 increased. Mean days of care for patients with KPS > 40 exceeded mean days for patients with KPS Conclusions The ANT home care model of palliative care delivery has been well-received, with progressively growing numbers
Sosa-Calvo, Jeffrey; Ješovnik, Ana; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L; Bacci, Mauricio; Schultz, Ted R
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.
Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are eaten by a number of bird species in southern Africa. Our database contained 545 species (excluding waterbirds and raptors), of which 179 species have been observed feeding on ants, or had ants in their stomachs. Ants are eaten by birds in all ecosystems, but the consumption of ants ...
Touchard, Axel; Dauvois, Mélodie; Arguel, Marie-Jeanne; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Leblanc, Mathieu; Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme; Nicholson, Graham M; Escoubas, Pierre
The rise of integrative taxonomy, a multi-criteria approach used in characterizing species, fosters the development of new tools facilitating species delimitation. Mass spectrometric (MS) analysis of venom peptides from venomous animals has previously been demonstrated to be a valid method for identifying species. Here we aimed to develop a rapid chemotaxonomic tool for identifying ants based on venom peptide mass fingerprinting. The study focused on the biodiversity of ponerine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae) in French Guiana. Initial experiments optimized the use of automated matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to determine variations in the mass profiles of ant venoms using several MALDI matrices and additives. Data were then analyzed via a hierarchical cluster analysis to classify the venoms of 17 ant species. In addition, phylogenetic relationships were assessed and were highly correlated with methods using DNA sequencing of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1. By combining a molecular genetics approach with this chemotaxonomic approach, we were able to improve the accuracy of the taxonomic findings to reveal cryptic ant species within species complexes. This chemotaxonomic tool can therefore contribute to more rapid species identification and more accurate taxonomies. This is the first extensive study concerning the peptide analysis of the venom of both Pachycondyla and Odontomachus ants. We studied the venoms of 17 ant species from French Guiana that permitted us to fine-tune the venom analysis of ponerine ants via MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. We explored the peptidomes of crude ant venom and demonstrated that venom peptides can be used in the identification of ant species. In addition, the application of this novel chemotaxonomic method combined with a parallel genetic approach using COI sequencing permitted us to reveal the presence of cryptic ants within both the
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.
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
Celina S. B. Pereira
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
Losa, Alessia; Colombo, Monica; Brambilla, Vittoria; Colombo, Lucia
AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) promotes initiation and growth of ovule integuments which cell fate is specified by ovule identity factors, such as SEEDSTICK (STK), SHATTERPROOF1 (SHP1) and SHATTERPROOF2 (SHP2). To study the genetic interaction between ANT and the ovule identity genes, we have obtained a stk shp1 shp2 ant quadruple mutant. The molecular and morphological characterization of the quadruple mutant and its comparison with the stk shp1 shp2 triple mutant, the shp1 shp2 ant triple mutant and the stk ant double mutant are here presented.
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.
Francisco Hita Garcia
Full Text Available The Fiji archipelago harbours a surprisingly diverse and endemic ant fauna, despite its isolated and remote location in the South Pacific. The ant genus Proceratium is present on Fiji with three endemic species, of which P. oceanicum De Andrade, 2003 and P. relictum Mann, 1921 were previously known. In this study we describe the third species: P. vinaka sp. n. All three species are members of the widespread and species-rich P. silaceum clade. In order to integrate the new species into the current taxonomic system, we present an illustrated identification key to the worker caste of the three Fijian species. In addition, we provide a detailed description of P. vinaka, as well as species accounts for the other two species, which include diagnoses, taxonomic discussions, specimen photographs, and a distribution map.
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 o...
Poulsen, Michael; Erhardt, Daniel P; Molinaro, Daniel J
is likely more complex than in intraspecific cooperative relationship, because of the potential presence of: i) multiple genotypes of microbial species associated with individual hosts, ii) multiple species of symbiotic lineages forming cooperative partner pairings, and iii) additional symbiont lineages......Conflict within mutually beneficial associations is predicted to destabilize relationships, and theoretical and empirical work exploring this has provided significant insight into the dynamics of cooperative interactions. Within mutualistic associations, the expression and regulation of conflict...... relationships between the ant host of the symbionts, as well as the pair-wise genetic distances between strains. The presence of antagonism throughout the phylogenetic diversity of Pseudonocardia symbionts indicates that these reactions likely have shaped the symbiosis from its origin. Antagonism is expected...
Blaimer, Bonnie B
This study unravels the evolution and biogeographic history of the globally distributed ant genus Crematogaster on the basis of a molecular phylogeny, reconstructed from five nuclear protein-coding genes and a total of 3384 bp of sequence data. A particular emphasis is placed on the evolutionary history of these ants in the Malagasy region. Bayesian and likelihood analyses performed on a dataset of 124 Crematogaster ingroup taxa lend strong support for three deeply diverging phylogenetic lineages within the genus: the Orthocrema clade, the Global Crematogaster clade and the Australo-Asian Crematogaster clade. The 15 previous subgenera within Crematogaster are mostly not monophyletic. Divergence dating analyses and ancestral range reconstructions suggest that Crematogaster evolved in South-East Asia in the mid-Eocene (40-45 ma). The three major lineages also originated in this region in the late Oligocene/early Miocene (~24-30 ma). A first dispersal out of S-E Asia by an Orthocrema lineage is supported for 22-30 ma to the Afrotropical region. Successive dispersal events out of S-E Asia began in the early, and continued throughout the late Miocene. The global distribution of Crematogaster was achieved by subsequent colonizations of all major biogeographic regions by the Orthocrema and the Global Crematogaster clade. Molecular dating estimates and ancestral range evolution are discussed in the light of palaeogeographic changes in the S-E Asian region and an evolving ocean circulation system throughout the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene. Eight dispersal events to/from Madagascar by Crematogaster are supported, with most events occurring in the late Miocene to Pliocene (5.0-9.5 ma). These results suggest that Crematogaster ants possess exceptional dispersal and colonization abilities, and emphasize the need for detailed investigations of traits that have contributed to the global evolutionary success of these ants. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Elena Pajaro Peres
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
Garrett, Ryan W; Carlson, Katherine A; Goggans, Matthew Scott; Nesson, Michael H; Shepard, Christopher A; Schofield, Robert M S
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.
Josens, Roxana; Sola, Francisco J; Marchisio, Nahuel; Di Renzo, María Agostina; Giacometti, Alina
Ant control is difficult in systems even where a variety of control strategies and compounds are allowed; in sensitive places such as hospitals, where there are often restrictions on the methods and toxicants to be applied, the challenge is even greater. Here we report the methods and results of how we faced this challenge of controlling ants in a pediatric hospital using baits. Our strategy was based on identifying the species present and analyzing their behavior. On the one hand, we evaluated outdoors in the green areas of the hospital, the relative abundance of ant genera, their food preferences and the behavioral dominances. On the other hand, control treatments were performed using separately two boron compounds added to sucrose solution which was not highly concentrated to avoid constrains due to the viscosity. Most of the species in the food preference test accepted sugary food; only one species was recorded to visit it less than the protein foods. This result was consistent with the efficacy of control treatments by sugary baits within the rooms. For species that showed good acceptance of sugar solutions in the preference test outdoors, sugar bait control indoors was 100& effective. Conversely, for the only species that foraged significantly less on sugar food, the bait treatment was ineffective. This work reveals the importance of considering the behavior and feeding preferences of the species to be controlled by toxic baits.
Follett, Peter A; Porcel, Sol; Calcaterra, Luis A
We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to identify a dose that prevents reproduction. Virgin or fertile queens were collected from Santa Fe and Formosa provinces in Argentina and reared in the laboratory in microcolonies. Virgin queens were irradiated at 0 (control), 70, 90, 120, or 150 Gy, and fertile queens were irradiated at 0, 60, 125, and 190 Gy, and then followed for 11 wk in the microcolonies to evaluate survival and reproduction. Virgin queens lay trophic eggs that do not hatch, whereas fertile queens lay eggs that hatch and develop into brood. In general, queen oviposition and survival decreased with increasing irradiation dose. For virgin queens, no eggs were laid by irradiated queens after the third week, whereas the control queens continued laying eggs throughout the 11-wk experiment. For fertile queens, only one larva and no pupae was observed in the 60 Gy treatment and no larvae or pupae were observed in the 125 and 190 Gy treatments, whereas a total of 431 larvae and 83 pupae were produced by untreated control queens during 11 wks. Survivorship of virgin and fertile queens was similarly reduced by irradiation treatment. These results with S. invicta are consistent with previous findings for three other invasive ants, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger), Pheidole megacephala (F.), and Linephithema humile (Mayr), that are hitchhiker pests on fresh horticultural commodities. A radiation dose of 150 Gy is proposed as a phytosanitary treatment to prevent reproduction in ants. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2016. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.
Borowiec, Marek; Longino, John
Abstract We describe three new species of the Neotropical ant genus Leptanilloides : Leptanilloides gracilis sp. n. based on workers from Mexico and Guatemala, Leptanilloides erinys sp. n. based on workers and a gyne from Ecuador, and Leptanilloides femoralis sp. n. based on workers from Venezuela. The description of Leptanilloides gracilis is a northern extension of the known range of the genus, now numbering eleven described species. We also describe and discuss three unassociated male morp...
Hartmann, Anne; D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Jones, Graeme R.
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....
Denmead, Lisa H; Darras, Kevin; Clough, Yann; Diaz, Patrick; Grass, Ingo; Hoffmann, Munir P; Nurdiansyah, Fuad; Fardiansah, Rico; Tscharntke, Teja
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.
Forti, Luiz Carlos; Protti de Andrade, Ana Paula; Camargo, Roberto da Silva; Caldato, Nadia; Moreira, Aldenise Alves
Atta capiguara is a grass-cutting ant species frequently found in Cerrado biome. However, little is known about the giant nest architecture of this ant. In this study, we investigated the architecture of three A. capiguara nests from a fragment of Cerrado in Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Casts were made of the nests by filling them with cement to permit better visualization of internal structures such as chambers and tunnels. After excavation, the depth and dimensions (length, width, and height) of the chambers were measured. The results showed the shape of Atta capiguara nests consisting of mounds of loose soil with unique features resembling a conic section. The fungus chambers were found distant from the mound of loose soil and were spaced apart and distributed laterally at the soil profile. The waste chambers were located beneath the largest mound of loose soil. Both the fungus and waste chambers were separated and distant. Our study contributes to a better understanding of the so far unknown nest architecture of the grass-cutting ant A. capiguara .
Dejean, Alain; Grangier, Julien; Leroy, Céline; Orivel, Jerôme
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.
Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes
In colonies of eusocial Hymenoptera cooperation is organized through social odors, and particularly ants rely on a sophisticated odor communication system. Neuronal information about odors is represented in spatial activity patterns in the primary olfactory neuropile of the insect brain, the antennal lobe (AL), which is analog to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. The olfactory system is characterized by neuroanatomical compartmentalization, yet the functional significance of this organization is unclear. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we investigated the neuronal representation of multicomponent colony odors, which the ants assess to discriminate friends (nestmates) from foes (nonnestmates). In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, colony odors elicited spatial activity patterns distributed across different AL compartments. Activity patterns in response to nestmate and nonnestmate colony odors were overlapping. This was expected since both consist of the same components at differing ratios. Colony odors change over time and the nervous system has to constantly adjust for this (template reformation). Measured activity patterns were variable, and variability was higher in response to repeated nestmate than to repeated nonnestmate colony odor stimulation. Variable activity patterns may indicate neuronal plasticity within the olfactory system, which is necessary for template reformation. Our results indicate that information about colony odors is processed in parallel in different neuroanatomical compartments, using the computational power of the whole AL network. Parallel processing might be advantageous, allowing reliable discrimination of highly complex social odors.
Full Text Available The following ten new species of the ant genus Temnothorax are described and illustrated: T. anaphalantus (California, Baja California, T. arboreus (California, T. caguatan (Oregon, California, Baja California, T.morongo (California, Baja California, T. myrmiciformis (California, Baja California, T. nuwuvi (Nevada, T. paiute (California, Nevada, T. pseudandrei (Arizona, California, T. quasimodo (California and T. wardi (California. A key to workers of the twenty-two Temnothorax species known or expected to occur in California is provided.
and sophisticated social insects. As may be imagined, the process of fungus cultivation is a complicated business. In the field, leaves are cut to a size that .... however, should be intelligent management of their populations and never their com- plete eradication. Our advantage - and re- sponsibility - lies in the fact that we can.
Full Text Available In this paper we operated ant collections in three inland Atlantic forest fragments and in the neighboring Edmundo Navarro de Andrade State Forest (FEENA, an Eucalyptus plantation located in Rio Claro, interior of São Paulo State. We show that the ant communities of the native forest fragments are more similar among themselves than to the ant community of FEENA. Thus we evidence that, in addition to the clear difference in vegetation segment, other components of the biota (like ants can be different between FEENA and the native forest fragments. Our results conveniently served as a basis to discuss the proposal of connecting FEENA to the three native forest fragments by a habitat corridor. These fragments are important to conservation purposes since they represent the biggest areas of native vegetation in the region.
Devigne, Cédric; de Biseau, Jean-Christophe
It is well known that ants can use cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) as a specific recognition cue. Most previous studies addressed the perception of CHCs occurring on the cuticle. However, the presence of CHCs in the environment (e.g., on the substrate) and the role of these compounds as a signal cue are less clear. In this study of the ant L. niger, CHCs were extracted from corpses of workers, from the legs of workers and from filter paper marked by workers. Behavioural choice tests were then performed to study the reactions of workers and queens to CHC passively deposited on the substrate by walking workers. A GC-MS analysis of the CHCs revealed a complex mixture of 28 peaks composed of linear alkanes, alkenes and mono-, di- or trimethylalkane. This mixture was consistently present in the three sources tested (corpses of workers, the tarsus of workers and paper marked by walking workers). Nevertheless, discriminant analyses distinguished clearly among the three types of profiles. The results of our behavioural experiments showed that the workers were able to distinguish between marked and unmarked papers but that they exhibited no preferences for different types of marked papers (papers marked by workers from their own colony or papers marked by workers from a different colony). In queens, the perception of marked papers depended on age or physiological state. Just-mated queens did not discriminate between unmarked papers and papers marked by an alien colony. In contrast, the egg-laying queens 3 days after mating significantly favoured the marked papers. We discuss the ecological relevance of the differences in decision-making between castes. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Fayle, Tom M; Eggleton, Paul; Manica, Andrea; Yusah, Kalsum M; Foster, William A
Understanding how species assemble into communities is a key goal in ecology. However, assembly rules are rarely tested experimentally, and their ability to shape real communities is poorly known. We surveyed a diverse community of epiphyte-dwelling ants and found that similar-sized species co-occurred less often than expected. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that invasion was discouraged by the presence of similarly-sized resident species. The size difference for which invasion was less ...
Grafton, R. Quentin; Akter, Sonia; Kompas, Tom
Marine protected areas (MPA) potentially offer a wide range of use and non-use benefits. These include critical habitat protection, conservation of marine biodiversity, recovery of threatened and endangered marine species, and increased biomass of targeted marine species. To assess whether such benefits exceed the potential costs, we provide the first-ever comprehensive ex-ante, socio-economic guide to MPA evaluation. Our framework shows how to quantify four key values of MPAs: consumptive, n...
Pekár, S.; Toft, Søren; Hrusková, M.
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...
Vidkjær, Nanna Hjort; Wollenweber, Bernd; Jensen, Karl-Martin Vagn
analyzed, and urea concentrations ranging from 1.98 to 31.05 μg/mg ant feces were detected. Subsequently, we investigated the uptake and translocation of 15N2-urea in amounts corresponding to the estimated urea contribution via feces depositions on single host plant leaves under laboratory conditions......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...... feces deposited on the leaves. In a recent study, we demonstrated that Coffea arabica plants hosting Oecophylla smaragdina weaver ants under laboratory conditions experienced enhanced nitrogen availability compared with plants grown without ants. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to further...
Miguel Angel Aníbarro
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
Roberto da Silva Camargo
Full Text Available Energetic cost of digging behavior in workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Fabricius. During nest excavation, leaf-cutting ant workers undergo reduction in their body reserve, particularly carbohydrates. In order to estimate the energetic cost of digging, groups of 30 workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens were sealed in a hermetic chamber for 24, 48 and 72 hours, with and without soil for digging, and had the CO2 concentration measured using respirometric chambers as well as volume of soil excavated (g. As expected, the worker groups that carried out soil excavation expelled more carbon dioxide than the groups that did not excavate. Therefore, a worker with body mass of 9.65 ± 1.50 mg dug in average 0.85 ± 0.27 g of soil for 24 hours, consuming ca. 0.58 ± 0.23 J. In this study, we calculate that the energetic cost of excavation per worker per day in the experimental set-up was ca. 0.58 J.
Poulsen, M; Cafaro, M; Boomsma, J J
Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants maintain two highly specialized, vertically transmitted mutualistic ectosymbionts: basidiomycete fungi that are cultivated for food in underground gardens and actinomycete Pseudonocardia bacteria that are reared on the cuticle to produce antibiotics that suppress the ...
He, Hong; Wei, Cong; Wheeler, Diana E
Camponotus is the second largest ant genus and known to harbor the primary endosymbiotic bacteria of the genus Blochmannia. However, little is known about the effect of diet and environment changes on the gut bacterial communities of these ants. We investigated the intestinal bacterial communities in the lab-raised and field-collected ants of Camponotus fragilis which is found in the southwestern United States and northern reaches of Mexico. We determined the difference of gut bacterial composition and distribution among the crop, midgut, and hindgut of the two types of colonies. Number of bacterial species varied with the methods of detection and the source of the ants. Lab-raised ants yielded 12 and 11 species using classical microbial culture methods and small-subunit rRNA genes (16S rRNAs) polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis, respectively. Field-collected ants yielded just 4 and 1-3 species using the same methods. Most gut bacterial species from the lab-raised ants were unevenly distributed among the crop, midgut, and hindgut, and each section had its own dominant bacterial species. Acetobacter was the prominent bacteria group in crop, accounting for about 55 % of the crop clone library. Blochmannia was the dominant species in midgut, nearly reaching 90 % of the midgut clone library. Pseudomonas aeruginosa dominated the hindgut, accounting for over 98 % of the hindgut clone library. P. aeruginosa was the only species common to all three sections. A comparison between lab-raised and field-collected ants, and comparison with other species, shows that gut bacterial communities vary with local environment and diet. The bacterial species identified here were most likely commensals with little effect on their hosts or mild pathogens deleterious to colony health.
Krushelnycky, Paul D.; Reimer, Neil J.
The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), has proven to be a threat to native arthropod species in Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI, and is also a potential threat to the park's native flora. As it continues to expand its range, an effort has been undertaken to eradicate it, or at the least, control its spread. The 1st part of this effort focused on finding a bait carrier for subsequent toxicant-based control tests. A year-long bait preference test was implemented at each of the ant's 2 infestation sites in Haleakala National Park, in which 6 solid baits and 2 liquid baits were assessed for attractiveness and feasibility for large scale control. At both sites, a toxicant-free formulation of Maxforce, a protein-based granular bait made from ground silkworm, Bombyx mori (L.), pupae, and a 25% sugar water solution were the most attractive baits. Ants took more Maxforce (without toxicant) and sugar water than all other baits, including honey granules and a fish protein bait. Sugar water, however, is difficult to distribute over large natural areas. Maxforce was therefore concluded to be the best bait carrier for toxicant-based control at Haleakala National Park because of its attractiveness and its ease for large scale broadcast dispersal.
Full Text Available The genus Dohrniphora is a hyperdiverse group of phorid flies, a family whose species are commonly characterized as generalized scavengers. The lifestyle of most species of Dohrniphora is unknown, although one cosmopolitan, synanthropic species, D. cornuta (Bigot fits the general scavenger mold. Here we show that flies of the D. longirostrata species group exhibit highly specific “headhunting” behavior in which injured Odontomachus ants are decapitated, the heads dragged away, and females either feed on their contents or lay an egg nearby. Since most females studied lacked eggs in their ovaries, we conclude that this bizarrely specialized feeding is necessary to provide nutrients for reproduction in these flies. Our study provides further evidence that injured ants are a common, stable resource in tropical ecosystems that support a wide array of phorid flies. Such narrowly constrained lifestyles, as exemplified by exclusively feeding on and breeding in the head contents of certain ponerine worker ants, could allow the co-existence of a huge community of saprophagous flies.
Tong, Reina L; Grace, J Kenneth; Krushelnycky, Paul D; Spafford, Helen
Hawaii is home to over 60 ant species, including five of the six most damaging invasive ants. Although there have been many surveys of ants in Hawaii, the last island-wide hand-collection survey of ants on Oahu was conducted in 1988-1994. In 2012, a timed hand-collection of ants was made at 44 sites in a systematic, roadside survey throughout Oahu. Ants were identified and species distribution in relation to elevation, precipitation and soil type was analyzed. To assess possible convenience sampling bias, 15 additional sites were sampled further from roads to compare with the samples near roads. Twenty-four species of ants were found and mapped; Pheidole megacephala (F.), Ochetellus glaber (Mayr), and Technomyrmex difficilis Forel were the most frequently encountered ants. For six ant species, a logistic regression was performed with elevation, average annual precipitation, and soil order as explanatory variables. O. glaber was found in areas with lower precipitation around Oahu. Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle) and Tetramorium simillimum (Smith, F.) were found more often in lower elevations and in areas with the Mollisol soil order. Elevation, precipitation, and soil type were not significant sources of variation for P. megacephala, Plagiolepis alluaudi Emery, and T. difficilis . P. megacephala was associated with fewer mean numbers of ants where it occurred. Ant assemblages near and far from roads did not significantly differ. Many species of ants remain established on Oahu, and recent invaders are spreading throughout the island. Mapping ant distributions contributes to continued documentation and understanding of these pests.
Detrain, C.; Tasse, Olivier
To determine whether the harvester ant Messor barbarus acts as a seed disperser in Mediterranean grasslands, the accuracy level of seed processing was assessed in the field by quantifying seed drops by loaded foragers. In the vicinity of exploited seed patches 3times as many diaspores were found as in controls due to seed losses by foragers. Over trails, up to 30% of harvested seeds were dropped, singly, by workers but all were recovered by nestmates within 24h. Seeds were also dropped within temporary caches with very few viable diaspores being left per cache when ants no longer used the trail. Globally, ant-dispersed diaspores accounted for only 0.1% of seeds harvested by M. barbarus. We discuss the possible significance for grassland vegetation of harvester-ant-mediated seed dispersal.
Chen, Li; Sharma, Kavita R.; Fadamiro, Henry Y.
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