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Sample records for ant solenopsis invicta

  1. The genome of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. Interspecific competition between Solenopsis invicta and two native ant species, Pheidole fervens and Monomorium chinense.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yin-Cheng; Kafle, Lekhnath; Shih, Cheng-Jen

    2011-04-01

    This study was designed to understand the effects of the interspecific competition between red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren and two native ant species, Pheidole fervens Smith and Monomorium chinense Santschi, by conducting colony interference and individual confrontation tests under laboratory conditions. The colony interference test showed that both native ant species, owing to their numerical advantage, killed the Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1)-infected or healthy queens of S. invicta. Significantly less time was required for M. chinense to kill all SINV-1-infected S. invicta compared with the time required to kill the healthy S. invicta. Compared with healthy S. invicta, SINV-1-infected S. invicta spent a longer time eliminating the P. fervens colonies. In confrontation tests, M. chinense killed a significantly higher number of infected S. invicta minors than they did healthy minors, but the number of S. invicta majors (either infected or healthy) killed was substantially less. This study found that the viral infection weakened the competitive ability of S. invicta and made them prone to be eliminated by M. chinense but not by P. fervens.

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

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    Steven M. Valles

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven M Valles

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

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

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

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

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

    2010-02-01

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

  9. Antimicrobial properties of nest volatiles in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (hymenoptera: formicidae)

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    Wang, Lei; Elliott, Brad; Jin, Xixuan; Zeng, Ling; Chen, Jian

    2015-12-01

    The antimicrobial property of volatiles produced by red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, against Beauveria bassiana, a common entomopathogenic fungus, was demonstrated. The germination rate of B. bassiana spores was significantly reduced after they were exposed to volatiles within an artificial ant nest. Since the air that contained the same level of O2 and CO2 as that in artificial fire ant nests did not suppress the germination rate of B. bassiana, the observed reduction of germination rate must be caused by the toxicity of nest volatiles. Nest fumigation may be an important component of the social immune system in S. invicta.

  10. Microencapsulated bait: Does it work with Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)?

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    The preference of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta for microencapsulated (MC) pyriproxifen based corn grit baits (P-bait) was conducted in laboratory and field conditions. A positive correlation between the microencapsulation rate and water tolerance ability of P-bait was observed. A 20% in...

  11. Isolation and characterization of Solenopsis invicta virus 3, a new positive-strand RNA virus infecting the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valles, Steven M.; Hashimoto, Yoshifumi

    2009-01-01

    We report the discovery of a new virus from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) represents the third virus discovered from this ant species using the metagenomics approach. The single (positive)-strand RNA, monopartite, bicistronic genome of SINV-3 was sequenced in entirety (GenBank accession number (FJ528584)), comprised of 10,386 nucleotides, and polyadenylated at the 3' terminus. This genome size was confirmed by Northern analysis. The genome revealed 2 large open reading frames (ORFs) in the sense orientation with an untranslated region (UTR) at each end and between the two ORFs. The 5' proximal ORF (ORF 1) encoded a predicted protein of 299.1 kDa (2580 amino acids). The 3' proximal ORF (ORF 2) encoded a predicted protein of 73.2 kDa (651 amino acids). RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), helicase, and protease domains were recognized in ORF 1. SDS-PAGE separation of purified SINV-3 particles yielded 2 bands (ostensibly capsid proteins) with a combined molecular mass of 77.3 kDa which was similar to the mass predicted by ORF 2 (73.2 kDa). Phylogenetic analysis of the conserved amino acid sequences containing domains I to VIII of the RdRp from dicistroviruses, iflaviruses, plant small RNA viruses, picornaviruses, and 4 unassigned positive-strand RNA viruses revealed a trichotomous phenogram with SINV-3 and Kelp fly virus comprising a unique cluster. Electron microscopic examination of negatively stained samples of SINV-3 revealed isometric particles with apparent projections and a diameter of 27.3 ± 1.3 nm. SINV-3 was successfully transmitted to uninfected workers by feeding. The minus (replicative) strand of SINV-3 was detected in worker ants indicating replication of the virus. The possibility of using SINV-3 as a microbial control agent for fire ants is discussed.

  12. Histiostoma Blomquisti N. SP. (Acari: Histiostomatidae) A phoretic mite of the red imported ant, Solenopsis Invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

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    Stefan Wirth; John Moser

    2010-01-01

    The new species Histiostoma bJol1lquisti n. sp., associated with the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta, is described by its deutonymph. A putative adult female is depicted. The deutonymphs only attach to female alates, dealates and queens of S. invicta. While queens may be covered by more than 200 deutonymphs over their entire bodies, the numbers of deutonymphs...

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

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    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...

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

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

    2011-10-01

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

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

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

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    Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson Fox

    2012-01-01

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

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

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

    2009-05-01

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

  18. A comparative study between Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri on tolerance to heat and desiccation stresses.

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    Jian Chen

    Full Text Available Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri are two very closely related invasive ant species; however, S. invicta is a much more successful invader. Physiological tolerance to abiotic stress has been hypothesized to be important to the success of an invasive species. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that S. invicta is more tolerant to heat and desiccation stress than S. richteri. The data strongly support our hypothesis. S. invicta was found to be significantly less vulnerable than S. richteri to both heat and desiccation stress. Despite S. richteri having significantly higher body water content, S. invicta was less sensitive to desiccation stress due to its significantly lower water loss rate (higher desiccation resistance. After the cuticular lipid was removed, S. invicta still had a significantly lower water loss rate than S. richteri, indicating that cuticular lipids were not the only factors accounting for difference in the desiccation resistance between these two species. Since multiple biological and/or ecological traits can contribute to the invasion success of a particular species, whether the observed difference in tolerance to heat and desiccation stresses is indeed associated with the variation in invasion success between these two species can only be confirmed by further extensive comparative study.

  19. Contact toxicities of anuran skin alkaloids against the fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta)

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    Weldon, Paul J.; Cardoza, Yasmin J.; Vander Meer, Robert K.; Hoffmann, W. Clint; Daly, John W.; Spande, Thomas F.

    2013-02-01

    Nearly 500 alkaloids, representing over 20 structural classes, have been identified from the skin of neotropical poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). These cutaneous compounds, which are derived from arthropod prey of the frogs, generally are believed to deter predators. We tested the red imported fire ant ( Solenopsis invicta) for toxicosis following contact with 20 alkaloids (12 structural classes) identified from dendrobatids or other anurans. Individual ants forced to contact the dried residues of 13 compounds exhibited convulsions and/or reduced ambulation. We estimated the cutaneous concentrations of several compounds based on their reported recoveries from skin extracts of free-ranging frogs and our measurements of the skin surface areas of museum specimens. Pumiliotoxin 251D exhibited contact toxicity below its estimated cutaneous concentration in the Ecuadorian frog, Epipedobates anthonyi, an observation consistent with the hypothesized role of this compound in anuran chemical defense. Our results and those of a previous study of mosquitoes indicate that some anuran skin compounds function defensively as contact toxins against arthropods, permeating their exoskeleton.

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

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    Chloe Hawkings

    2018-05-01

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

  1. Wolbachia wSinvictaA infections in natural populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: testing for phenotypic effects.

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    Bouwma, Andrew M; Shoemaker, Dewayne

    2011-01-01

    Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that commonly infect many arthropods and some nematodes. In arthropods, these maternally transmitted bacteria often induce a variety of phenotypic effects to enhance their own spread within host populations. Wolbachia phenotypic effects generally either provide benefits to infected host females (cytoplasmic incompatibility, positive fitness effects) or bias host sex ratio in favor of females (male-killing, parthenogenesis, feminization), all of which increase the relative production of infected females in host populations. Wolbachia surveys have found infections to be exceedingly common in ants, but little is known at this juncture as to what phenotypic effects, if any, they induce in this group. Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals from native populations of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta commonly harbor one or more of three Wolbachia variants. One of the variants, wSinvictaA, typically occurs at low prevalence in S. invicta populations, appears to have been transmitted horizontally into S. invicta three or more times, and has been lost repeatedly from host lineages over time. In order to determine the phenotypic effects and likely population dynamics of wSinvictaA infections in these ants, brood production patterns of newly mated fire ant queens were studied during simulated claustral founding and measured wSinvictaA transmission fidelity within mature single-queen families. No clear evidence was found for Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility, significant fitness effects, or male-killing. Maternal transmission was perfect to both virgin queens and males. Possible mechanisms for how this variant could be maintained in host populations are discussed.

  2. Ingested boric acid effect on the venom chemistry of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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    During a field evaluation of a boric acid bait against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, it was observed that workers of intoxicated colonies produced stings with less toxic effects compared to workers from healthy colonies. In this study, the effect of boric acid on the levels o...

  3. Wolbachia infections in native and introduced populations of fire ants (Solenopsis spp.).

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    Shoemaker, D D; Ross, K G; Keller, L; Vargo, E L; Werren, J H

    2000-12-01

    Wolbachia are cytoplasmically inherited bacteria that induce a variety of effects with fitness consequences on host arthropods, including cytoplasmic incompatibility, parthenogenesis, male-killing and feminization. We report here the presence of Wolbachia in native South American populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, but the apparent absence of the bacteria in introduced populations of this pest species in the USA. The Wolbachia strains in native S. invicta are of two divergent types (A and B), and the frequency of infection varies dramatically between geographical regions and social forms of this host. Survey data reveal that Wolbachia also are found in other native fire ant species within the Solenopsis saevissima species complex from South America, including S. richteri. This latter species also has been introduced in the USA, where it lacks Wolbachia. Sequence data reveal complete phylogenetic concordance between mtDNA haplotype in S. invicta and Wolbachia infection type (A or B). In addition, the mtDNA and associated group A Wolbachia strain in S. invicta are more closely related to the mtDNA and Wolbachia strain found in S. richteri than they are to the mtDNA and associated group B Wolbachia in S. invicta. These data are consistent with historical introgression of S. richteri cytoplasmic elements into S. invicta populations, resulting in enhanced infection and mtDNA polymorphisms in S. invicta. Wolbachia may have significant fitness effects on these hosts (either directly or by cytoplasmic incompatibility) and therefore these microbes potentially could be used in biological control programmes to suppress introduced fire ant populations.

  4. Gaeolaelaps Invictianus, a new and unusual species of Hypoaspidine Mite (Acari: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) phoretic on the red imported fire ant Solenopsis Invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Louisiana, USA

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    David Walter; John Moser

    2010-01-01

    A new species ofhypoaspidine laelapid mite, Gaeolaelaps invictianus, associated with the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren in the southern United States of America is described. This new species is unusual among the gamasine Mesostigmata in lacking a postanal seta in adults of both sexes and among species of Gaeolaelaps in being phoretic on dispersing male...

  5. Biological Control of Solenopsis Fire Ants by Pseudacteon Parasitoids: Theory and Practice

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    Lloyd W. Morrison

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Pseudacteon parasitoids are potential biocontrol agents of invasive Solenopsis fire ants. Pseudacteon species that parasitize the invasive S. invicta Buren and S. richteri Forel have been introduced to, and naturally dispersed across, the southeastern USA, although there is no evidence yet that Solenopsis host ant populations have decreased. The ability of introduced Pseudacteon species to regulate Solenopsis populations will depend upon the relative importance of top-down effects in the recipient communities. In this paper, I examine the characteristics of the Pseudacteon/Solenopsis parasitoid/host system and evaluate the extent to which research findings are consistent with top-down control. Laboratory and field experiments evaluating Solenopsis population regulation have been equivocal, and overall the available evidence provides little support for strong top-down effects in this system. Competitive exclusion may occur among introduced Pseudacteon species, and future efforts at biological control are likely to be more efficacious if they focus on other types of natural enemies.

  6. An empirical test of Lanchester's square law: mortality during battles of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

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    Plowes, Nicola J.R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-01-01

    Lanchester's models of attrition describe casualty rates during battles between groups as functions of the numbers of individuals and their fighting abilities. Originally developed to describe human warfare, Lanchester's square law has been hypothesized to apply broadly to social animals as well, with important consequences for their aggressive behaviour and social structure. According to the square law, the fighting ability of a group is proportional to the square of the number of individuals, but rises only linearly with fighting ability of individuals within the group. By analyzing mortality rates of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) fighting in different numerical ratios, we provide the first quantitative test of Lanchester's model for a non-human animal. Casualty rates of fire ants were not consistent with the square law; instead, group fighting ability was an approximately linear function of group size. This implies that the relative numbers of casualties incurred by two fighting groups are not strongly affected by relative group sizes and that battles do not disproportionately favour group size over individual prowess. PMID:16096093

  7. Tunneling Performance Increases at Lower Temperatures for Solenopsis invicta (Buren) but not for Nylanderia fulva (Mayr).

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    Bentley, Michael T; Oi, Faith M; Gezan, Salvador A; Hahn, Daniel A

    2015-07-23

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr), the tawny crazy ant, is an invasive pest established in Florida and several other Gulf Coast states. In their invasive ranges in the Southeastern USA, large N. fulva populations have reduced species abundance, even displacing another invasive ant, Solenopsis invicta (Buren). In North Florida, N. fulva populations survive winter temperatures that reach below freezing for extended periods. However, the shallow littoral debris used by N. fulva for nest construction offers little insulation to brood and reproductives when exposed to freezing temperatures. Field populations of N. fulva in North Florida were observed tunneling below ground, a previously undescribed behavior. Other invasive ants exhibit similar subterranean tunneling behavior as a means of thermoregulation. To test the hypothesis that N. fulva has the capacity to construct subterranean tunnels across a range of ecologically relevant temperatures, tunneling performance for N. fulva and S. invicta, another invasive ant that tunnels extensively, were compared at four temperatures (15.0, 18.0, 20.0, and 22.0 °C). Overall, N. fulva tunneled significantly less than S. invicta. Nylanderia fulva tunneled furthest at warmer temperatures whereas S. invicta tunneled furthest at cooler temperatures. However, N. fulva constructed subterranean tunnels at all temperatures evaluated. These data support the hypothesis that N. fulva is capable of tunneling in temperatures as low as 15.0 °C, confirming that this ant can also perform a behavior that is used by other ants for cold avoidance.

  8. Tunneling Performance Increases at Lower Temperatures for Solenopsis invicta (Buren but not for Nylanderia fulva (Mayr

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    Michael T. Bentley

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Nylanderia fulva (Mayr, the tawny crazy ant, is an invasive pest established in Florida and several other Gulf Coast states. In their invasive ranges in the Southeastern USA, large N. fulva populations have reduced species abundance, even displacing another invasive ant, Solenopsis invicta (Buren. In North Florida, N. fulva populations survive winter temperatures that reach below freezing for extended periods. However, the shallow littoral debris used by N. fulva for nest construction offers little insulation to brood and reproductives when exposed to freezing temperatures. Field populations of N. fulva in North Florida were observed tunneling below ground, a previously undescribed behavior. Other invasive ants exhibit similar subterranean tunneling behavior as a means of thermoregulation. To test the hypothesis that N. fulva has the capacity to construct subterranean tunnels across a range of ecologically relevant temperatures, tunneling performance for N. fulva and S. invicta, another invasive ant that tunnels extensively, were compared at four temperatures (15.0, 18.0, 20.0, and 22.0 °C. Overall, N. fulva tunneled significantly less than S. invicta. Nylanderia fulva tunneled furthest at warmer temperatures whereas S. invicta tunneled furthest at cooler temperatures. However, N. fulva constructed subterranean tunnels at all temperatures evaluated. These data support the hypothesis that N. fulva is capable of tunneling in temperatures as low as 15.0 °C, confirming that this ant can also perform a behavior that is used by other ants for cold avoidance.

  9. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren kept Y not F: predicted sNPY endogenous ligands deorphanize the short NPF (sNPF receptor.

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    Prati Bajracharya

    Full Text Available Neuropeptides and their receptors play vital roles in controlling the physiology and behavior of animals. Short neuropeptide F (sNPF signaling regulates several physiological processes in insects such as feeding, locomotion, circadian rhythm and reproduction, among others. Previously, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta sNPF receptor (S. invicta sNPFR, a G protein-coupled receptor, was immunolocalized in queen and worker brain and queen ovaries. Differential distribution patterns of S. invicta sNPFR protein in fire ant worker brain were associated both with worker subcastes and with presence or absence of brood in the colony. However, the cognate ligand for this sNPFR has not been characterized and attempts to deorphanize the receptor with sNPF peptides from other insect species which ended in the canonical sequence LRLRFamide, failed. Receptor deorphanization is an important step to understand the neuropeptide receptor downstream signaling cascade. We cloned the full length cDNA of the putative S. invicta sNPF prepropeptide and identified the putative "sNPF" ligand within its sequence. The peptide ends with an amidated Tyr residue whereas in other insect species sNPFs have an amidated Phe or Trp residue at the C-terminus. We stably expressed the HA-tagged S. invicta sNPFR in CHO-K1 cells. Two S. invicta sNPFs differing at their N-terminus were synthesized that equally activated the sNPFR, SLRSALAAGHLRYa (EC50 = 3.2 nM and SALAAGHLRYa (EC50 = 8.6 nM. Both peptides decreased the intracellular cAMP concentration, indicating signaling through the Gαi-subunit. The receptor was not activated by sNPF peptides from other insect species, honey bee long NPF (NPY or mammalian PYY. Further, a synthesized peptide otherwise identical to the fire ant sequence but in which the C-terminal amidated amino acid residue 'Y' was switched to 'F', failed to activate the sNPFR. This discovery will now allow us to investigate the function of sNPY and

  10. A picorna-like virus from the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta: initial discovery, genome sequence, and characterization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valles, Steven M.; Strong, Charles A.; Dang, Phat M.; Hunter, Wayne B.; Pereira, Roberto M.; Oi, David H.; Shapiro, Alexandra M.; Williams, David F.

    2004-01-01

    We report the first discovery and genome sequence of a virus infecting the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The 8026 nucleotide, polyadenylated, RNA genome encoded two large open reading frames (ORF1 and ORF2), flanked and separated by 27, 223, and 171 nucleotide untranslated regions, respectively. The predicted amino acid sequence of the 5' proximal ORF1 (nucleotides 28 to 4218) exhibited significant identity and possessed consensus sequences characteristic of the helicase, cysteine protease, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase sequence motifs from picornaviruses, picorna-like viruses, comoviruses, caliciviruses, and sequiviruses. The predicted amino acid sequence of the 3' proximal ORF2 (nucleotides 4390-7803) showed similarity to structural proteins in picorna-like viruses, especially the acute bee paralysis virus. Electron microscopic examination of negatively stained samples from virus-infected fire ants revealed isometric particles with a diameter of 31 nm, consistent with Picornaviridae. A survey for the fire ant virus from areas around Florida revealed a pattern of fairly widespread distribution. Among 168 nests surveyed, 22.9% were infected. The virus was found to infect all fire ant caste members and developmental stages, including eggs, early (1st-2nd) and late (3rd-4th) instars, worker pupae, workers, sexual pupae, alates ( male and female ), and queens. The virus, tentatively named S. invicta virus (SINV-1), appears to belong to the picorna-like viruses. We did not observe any perceptible symptoms among infected nests in the field. However, in every case where an SINV-1-infected colony was excavated from the field with an inseminated queen and held in the laboratory, all of the brood in these colonies died within 3 months

  11. Odorant binding proteins of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta: an example of the problems facing the analysis of widely divergent proteins.

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    Dietrich Gotzek

    Full Text Available We describe the odorant binding proteins (OBPs of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, obtained from analyses of an EST library and separate 454 sequencing runs of two normalized cDNA libraries. We identified a total of 18 putative functional OBPs in this ant. A third of the fire ant OBPs are orthologs to honey bee OBPs. Another third of the OBPs belong to a lineage-specific expansion, which is a common feature of insect OBP evolution. Like other OBPs, the different fire ant OBPs share little sequence similarity (∼ 20%, rendering evolutionary analyses difficult. We discuss the resulting problems with sequence alignment, phylogenetic analysis, and tests of selection. As previously suggested, our results underscore the importance for careful exploration of the sensitivity to the effects of alignment methods for data comprising widely divergent sequences.

  12. Potential economic impact of introduction and spread of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutrich, J.J.; VanGelder, E.; Loope, L.

    2007-01-01

    Globally, many invasive alien species have caused extensive ecological and economic damage from either accidental or intentional introduction. The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has created billions of dollars in costs annually, spreading as an invasive species across the southern United States. In 1998, the red imported fire ant spread into California creating a highly probable future introduction via shipped products to Hawaii. This paper presents the estimation of potential economic impacts of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) to the state of Hawaii. Evaluation of impacts focuses on the economic sectors of (1) households, (2) agriculture (cattle and crop production), (3) infrastructure (cemeteries, churches, cities, electrical, telephone, and cable services, highways, hospitals and schools), (4) recreation, tourism and business (hotels/resort areas, golf courses, commercial businesses and tourists), and (5) government expenditures (with minimal intervention). The full annual economic costs of the red imported fire ant to Hawaii are estimated (in US$ 2006) to be $211 million/year, comprised of $77 million in damages and expenditures and $134 million in foregone outdoor opportunities to households and tourists. The present value of the projected costs of RIFA over a 20-year period after introduction total $2.5 billion. RIFA invasions across the globe indicate that economic cost-effective action in Hawaii entails implementation of prevention, early detection and rapid response treatment programs for RIFA. ?? 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. [Trapping techniques for Solenopsis invicta].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Xiao-song; Zhang, Qiang; Zhuang, Yiong-lin; Li, Gui-wen; Ji, Lin-peng; Wang, Jian-guo; Dai, Hua-guo

    2007-06-01

    A field study was made to investigate the trapping effects of different attractants, traps, and wind directions on Solenopsis invicta. The results showed that among the test attractants, TB1 (50 g fishmeal, 40 g peptone, 10 ml 10% sucrose water solution and 20 ml soybean oil) had the best effect, followed by TB2 (ham), TB6 (100 g cornmeal and 20 ml soybean oil) and TB4 (10 ml 10% sucrose water solution, 100 g sugarcane powder and 20 ml soybean oil), with a mean capture efficiency being 77.6, 58.7, 29 and 7.7 individuals per trap, respectively. No S. invicta was trapped with TB3 (10 ml 10% sucrose water solution, 100 g cornmeal and 20 ml soybean oil) and TB5 (honey). Tube trap was superior to dish trap, with a trapping efficiency of 75.2 and 35 individuals per trap, respectively. The attractants had better effects in leeward than in windward.

  14. Comparative effectiveness of light-microscopic techniques and PCR in detecting Thelohania solenopsae (Microsporidia) infections in red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milks, Maynard L; Sokolova, Yuliya Y; Isakova, Irina A; Fuxa, James R; Mitchell, Forrest; Snowden, Karen F; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2004-01-01

    The main goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of three staining techniques (calcofluor white M2R, Giemsa and modified trichrome), and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in detecting the microsporidium Thelohania solenopsae in red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). The effect of the number of ants in a sample on the sensitivity of the staining techniques and the PCR, and the effect of three DNA extraction protocols on the sensitivity of PCR were also examined. In the first protocol, the ants were macerated and the crude homogenate was used immediately in the PCR. In the second protocol, the homogenate was placed on a special membrane (FTA card) that traps DNA, which is subsequently used in the PCR. In the third protocol, the DNA was purified from the homogenate by traditional phenol-chloroform extraction. Except for PCR using FTA cards, the sensitivity (number of samples positive for T. solenopsae) of all detection techniques increased with the number of ants in the sample. Overall, Giemsa was the least sensitive of all detection techniques. Calcofluor was more sensitive than modified trichrome with ants from one site and was equally as sensitive as PCR with crude DNA or a FTA card with ants from both sites. Trichrome staining was equally as sensitive as PCR with a FTA card at both sites, but it was less sensitive than PCR with crude DNA at one site. PCR on FTA cards was less sensitive than PCR with crude DNA for ants from one site but not the other. There was no difference whether crude or phenol-chloroform purified DNA was used as template. In summary, the results of this study show that PCR based on a crude DNA solution is equal to or more sensitive in detecting T. solenopsae than the other detection techniques investigated, and that it can be used as a reliable diagnostic tool for screening field samples of S. invicta for T. solenopsae. Nevertheless, ant smear stained with calcofluor or modified trichrome should be used to buttress findings

  15. Validation of reference genes in Solenopsis invicta in different developmental stages, castes and tissues.

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    Daifeng Cheng

    Full Text Available To accurately assess gene expression levels, it is essential to normalize real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR data with suitable internal reference genes. For the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, reliable reference genes to assess the transcript expression levels of the target genes have not been previously investigated. In this study, we examined the expression levels of five candidate reference genes (rpl18, ef1-beta, act, GAPDH, and tbp in different developmental stages, castes and tissues of S. invicta. To evaluate the suitability of these genes as endogenous controls, three software-based approaches (geNorm, BestKeeper and NormFinder and one web-based comprehensive tool (RefFinder were used to analyze and rank the tested genes. Furthermore, the optimal number of reference gene(s was determined by the pairwise variation value. Our data showed that two of the five candidate genes, rpl18 and ef1-beta, were the most suitable reference genes because they have the most stable expression among different developmental stages, castes and tissues in S. invicta. Although widely used as reference gene in other species, in S. invicta the act gene has high variation in expression and was consequently excluded as a reliable reference gene. The two validated reference genes, rpl18 and ef1-beta, can be widely used for quantification of target gene expression with RT-qPCR technology in S. invicta.

  16. A queen pheromone induces workers to kill sexual larvae in colonies of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klobuchar, Emily; Deslippe, Richard

    2002-05-01

    We conducted five bioassays to study how queens control the execution of sexual larvae by workers in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In each assay, subset colonies were made from many large polygyne colonies, and the 20 sexual larvae they contained were monitored over time. Sexual larvae mostly survived in queenless colonies, but were mostly killed in colonies with a single dealated queen, regardless of whether or not the queen was fertilized. The larvae were also killed when fresh corpses of queens were added to queenless colonies. Whereas acetone extracts of queens did not produce a significant increase in killings, extracts in buffered saline induced workers to execute most sexual larvae, indicating successful extraction of an execution pheromone. We identified the probable storage location of the chemical as the poison sac, and found both fresh (1 day) and old (21 day) extracts of poison sacs to be equally effective in inducing executions. The pheromone is stable at room temperature, perhaps because venom alkaloids also present in the extracts keep the pheromone from degrading. It is apparently either proteinaceous or associated with a proteinaceous molecule, a novel finding, as no queen pheromone of a proteinaceous nature has been previously demonstrated in ants.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  18. Workers and alate queens of Solenopsis geminata share qualitatively similar but quantitatively different venom alkaloid chemistry

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    Qun-Hui eShi

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Solenopsis geminata group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae encompasses ant species commonly called fire ants because of their painful sting. The many physiological effects of the venom are caused by 2-methyl-6-alkyl and/or alkenylpiperidine alkaloids. The variation in piperidine alkaloid structures has useful taxonomic characters. The most well studied Solenopsis species is S. invicta, which was accidentally imported into the USA in the 1930s from South America. It quickly spread throughout the southern USA and is now a major invasive pest ant in the USA and in other parts of the world. Interestingly, the invasive S. invicta has largely displaced a native USA fire ant, S. geminata, from the southern USA. We explore the possibility that differences in venom chemistry could be correlated with this displacement. The cis and trans alkaloids from body extracts of workers and alate queens of S. geminata were separated by silica gel chromatography, identified, and quantitated by GC-MS analysis. Both workers and alate queens produce primarily cis- and trans-2-methyl-6-n-undecyl-piperidines, as well as other minor alkaloid components. Imported fire ant, S. invicta, alate queens produce the same alkaloids as S. geminata alate queens, but in contrast S. invicta workers produce piperidine alkaloids with longer side chains, which are purported to be physiologically more effective. These results are discussed in relation to the evolutionary progression of fire ant venom alkaloids and displacement of S. geminata by S. invicta in the USA.

  19. Social chromosome variants differentially affect queen determination and the survival of workers in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buechel, Séverine D; Wurm, Yanick; Keller, Laurent

    2014-10-01

    Intraspecific variation in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known. An exception is the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in which the existence of two distinct forms of social colony organization is under the control of the two variants of a pair of social chromosomes, SB and Sb. Colonies containing exclusively SB/SB workers accept only one single queen and she must be SB/SB. By contrast, when colonies contain more than 10% of SB/Sb workers, they accept several queens but only SB/Sb queens. The variants of the social chromosome are associated with several additional important phenotypic differences, including the size, fecundity and dispersal strategies of queens, aggressiveness of workers, and sperm count in males. However, little is known about whether social chromosome variants affect fitness in other life stages. Here, we perform experiments to determine whether differential selection occurs during development and in adult workers. We find evidence that the Sb variant of the social chromosome increases the likelihood of female brood to develop into queens and that adult SB/Sb workers, the workers that cull SB/SB queens, are overrepresented in comparison to SB/SB workers. This demonstrates that supergenes such as the social chromosome can have complex effects on phenotypes at various stages of development. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Distribution of 32P in laboratory colonies of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) after feeding on labeled Heliothis zeal (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs: an explanation of discrepancies encountered in field predation experiments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nuessly, G.S.; Sterling, W.L.

    1986-01-01

    Factors responsible for low recovery rates of radioactive Solenopsis invicta Buren following placement of 32 P-labeled Heliothis zea (Boddie) eggs on cotton in field predation tests were investigated using laboratory colonies of the ants. S. invicta workers became radioactive while handling labeled eggs by rupturing the egg chorion or by picking up labeled substances present on the surface of eggs. Foragers that removed the eggs from the plants picked up significantly more of the label than did workers that were sampled from the colonies between 12 and 72 h after egg introduction. Percentage of workers that became labeled over time was much lower with the solid live food than in other studies that used powdered food sources. Problems in finding labeled ants in the field may have been associated with low mean levels of 32 P per ant, together with difficulty in locating and isolating labeled ants from the population. Results indicate that egg predation rates estimated from counts per minute per predator have high variability, and suggest fairly large errors in estimates of eggs consumed per ant. Use of recovery rates of labeled predators to improve estimation of predation rates is discussed

  1. Predaceous ants, beach replenishment, and nest placement by sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetterer, James K; Wood, Lawrence D; Johnson, Chris; Krahe, Holly; Fitchett, Stephanie

    2007-10-01

    Ants known for attacking and killing hatchling birds and reptiles include the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), tropical fire ant [Solenopsis geminata (Fabr.)], and little fire ant [Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger)]. We tested whether sea turtle nest placement influenced exposure to predaceous ants. In 2000 and 2001, we surveyed ants along a Florida beach where green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta L.) nest. Part of the beach was artificially replenished between our two surveys. As a result, mean beach width experienced by nesting turtles differed greatly between the two nesting seasons. We surveyed 1,548 sea turtle nests (2000: 909 nests; 2001: 639 nests) and found 22 ant species. S. invicta was by far the most common species (on 431 nests); S. geminata and W. auropunctata were uncommon (on 3 and 16 nests, respectively). In 2000, 62.5% of nests had ants present (35.9% with S. invicta), but in 2001, only 30.5% of the nests had ants present (16.4% with S. invicta). Turtle nests closer to dune vegetation had significantly greater exposure to ants. Differences in ant presence on turtle nests between years and among turtle species were closely related to differences in nest placement relative to dune vegetation. Beach replenishment significantly lowered exposure of nests to ants because on the wider beaches turtles nested farther from the dune vegetation. Selective pressures on nesting sea turtles are altered both by the presence of predaceous ants and the practice of beach replenishment.

  2. Red imported fire ant impacts on upland arthropods in Southern Mississippi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epperson, D.M.; Allen, Craig R.

    2010-01-01

    Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have negative impacts on a broad array of invertebrate species. We investigated the impacts of fire ants on the upland arthropod community on 20???40 ha study sites in southern Mississippi. Study sites were sampled from 19972000 before, during, and after fire ant bait treatments to reduce fire ant populations. Fire ant abundance was assessed with bait transects on all sites, and fire ant population indices were estimated on a subset of study sites. Species richness and diversity of other ant species was also assessed from bait transects. Insect biomass and diversity was determined from light trap samples. Following treatments, fire ant abundance and population indices were significantly reduced, and ant species diversity and richness were greater on treated sites. Arthropod biomass, species diversity and species richness estimated from light trap samples were negatively correlated with fire ant abundance, but there were no observable treatment effects. Solenopsis invicta has the potential to negatively impact native arthropod communities resulting in a potential loss of both species and function.

  3. AN UNUSUAL PATTERN OF GENE FLOW BETWEEN THE TWO SOCIAL FORMS OF THE FIRE ANT SOLENOPSIS INVICTA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, D DeWayne

    1993-10-01

    Uncertainty over the role of shifts in social behavior in the process of speciation in social insects has stimulated interest in determining the extent of gene flow between conspecific populations differing in colony social organization. Allele and genotype frequencies at 12 neutral polymorphic protein markers, as well as the numbers of alleles at the sex-determining locus (loci), are shown here to be consistent with significant ongoing gene flow between two geographically adjacent populations of Solenopsis invicta that differ in colony queen number. Data from a thirteenth protein marker that is under strong differential selection in the two social forms confirm that such gene flow occurs. Data from this selected locus, combined with knowledge of the reproductive biology of the two social forms, further suggest that interform gene flow is largely unidirectional and mediated through males only. This unusual pattern of gene flow results from the influence of the unique social enviroments of the two forms on the behavior of workers and on the reproductive physiology of sexuals. © 1993 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  4. Solenopsis invicta virus 3: mapping of structural proteins, ribosomal frameshifting, and similarities to Acyrthosiphon pisum virus and Kelp fly virus.

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    Steven M Valles

    Full Text Available Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that infects the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. We show that the second open reading frame (ORF of the dicistronic genome is expressed via a frameshifting mechanism and that the sequences encoding the structural proteins map to both ORF2 and the 3' end of ORF1, downstream of the sequence that encodes the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. The genome organization and structural protein expression strategy resemble those of Acyrthosiphon pisum virus (APV, an aphid virus. The capsid protein that is encoded by the 3' end of ORF1 in SINV-3 and APV is predicted to have a jelly-roll fold similar to the capsid proteins of picornaviruses and caliciviruses. The capsid-extension protein that is produced by frameshifting, includes the jelly-roll fold domain encoded by ORF1 as its N-terminus, while the C-terminus encoded by the 5' half of ORF2 has no clear homology with other viral structural proteins. A third protein, encoded by the 3' half of ORF2, is associated with purified virions at sub-stoichiometric ratios. Although the structural proteins can be translated from the genomic RNA, we show that SINV-3 also produces a subgenomic RNA encoding the structural proteins. Circumstantial evidence suggests that APV may also produce such a subgenomic RNA. Both SINV-3 and APV are unclassified picorna-like viruses distantly related to members of the order Picornavirales and the family Caliciviridae. Within this grouping, features of the genome organization and capsid domain structure of SINV-3 and APV appear more similar to caliciviruses, perhaps suggesting the basis for a "Calicivirales" order.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  6. Evaluation of a New Entomopathogenic Strain of Beauveria bassiana and a New Field Delivery Method against Solenopsis invicta.

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    Jun Li

    Full Text Available Solenopsis invicta Buren is one of the most important pests in China, and control measures are mainly based on the use of synthetic pesticides, which may be inadequate and unsustainable. Hence, there is a growing interest in developing biological control alternatives for managing S. invicta, such as the use of entomopathogenic fungi. To facilitate the commercialization of entomopathogenic fungi against S. invicta, 10 Beauveria bassiana isolates originating from different hosts were tested for virulence in laboratory bioassays, and the most pathogenic strain, ZGNKY-5, was tested in field studies using an improved pathogen delivery system. The cumulative mortality rate reached 93.40% at 1×108 mL-1 conidia after 504 h. The germination and invasion of the spores were observed under a scanning electron microscope, and several conidia adhered to the cuticle of S. invicta after 2 h. Furthermore, the germ tubes of the conidia oriented toward the cuticle after 48 h, and the mycelium colonized the entire body after 96 h. Based on the efficacy observed in the laboratory trials, further experiments were performed with ZGNKY-5 strain to evaluate its utility in an injection control technology against S. invicta in the field. We found that three dosage treatments of ZGNKY-5 strain (500 mL, 750 mL, and 1,000 mL per nest had significant control effects. Our results show that this strain of Beauveria bassiana and our control method were effective against S. invicta in both laboratory and field settings.

  7. Evaluation of a New Entomopathogenic Strain of Beauveria bassiana and a New Field Delivery Method against Solenopsis invicta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jun; Guo, Qiang; Lin, Miaofeng; Jiang, Lu; Ye, Jingwen; Chen, Dasong; Li, Zhigang; Dai, Jianqing; Han, Shichou

    2016-01-01

    Solenopsis invicta Buren is one of the most important pests in China, and control measures are mainly based on the use of synthetic pesticides, which may be inadequate and unsustainable. Hence, there is a growing interest in developing biological control alternatives for managing S. invicta, such as the use of entomopathogenic fungi. To facilitate the commercialization of entomopathogenic fungi against S. invicta, 10 Beauveria bassiana isolates originating from different hosts were tested for virulence in laboratory bioassays, and the most pathogenic strain, ZGNKY-5, was tested in field studies using an improved pathogen delivery system. The cumulative mortality rate reached 93.40% at 1×108 mL-1 conidia after 504 h. The germination and invasion of the spores were observed under a scanning electron microscope, and several conidia adhered to the cuticle of S. invicta after 2 h. Furthermore, the germ tubes of the conidia oriented toward the cuticle after 48 h, and the mycelium colonized the entire body after 96 h. Based on the efficacy observed in the laboratory trials, further experiments were performed with ZGNKY-5 strain to evaluate its utility in an injection control technology against S. invicta in the field. We found that three dosage treatments of ZGNKY-5 strain (500 mL, 750 mL, and 1,000 mL per nest) had significant control effects. Our results show that this strain of Beauveria bassiana and our control method were effective against S. invicta in both laboratory and field settings. PMID:27341441

  8. Characterization of the allergen Sol gem 2 from the fire ant venom, Solenopsis geminata

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    S Sukprasert

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Sol i 2 is a potent allergen in Solenopsis invicta venom, and most humans exhibit reactivity to it. The Sol gem 2 allergen found in the venom of the Thai tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata was analysed in the present study. The protein was present in higher amounts than other proteins, as determined by SDS-PAGE, and presumably has allergenic properties similar to those of Sol i 2. Sol gem 2 molecular weight is 28 and 15 kDa, respectively, under non-reducing and reducing conditions, indicating that its native form is a dimer. LC-MS/MS analysis confirmed its similarity to Sol i 2. The mono/dimeric form of Sol gem 2 was determined to be relevant by proteomic approach and immunoblotting. An anti-Sol gem 2 antibody was produced in mice, with a titer greater than 1:800 according to the Western blotting analysis. The Sol gem 2-neutralising activity of this antibody was determined in crickets. The paralytic dose 50 (PD50 of crude S. geminata venom was elevated from 0.18 mg/g of body weight to more than 0.90 mg/g of body weight after preincubation with antibody at a ratio of 1:1. These results suggest that Sol gem 2 plays an important role in mediating the effects of the piperidine derivatives in the venom.

  9. Solenopsis ant magnetic material: statistical and seasonal studies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abraçado, Leida G; Esquivel, Darci M S; Wajnberg, Eliane

    2009-01-01

    In this paper, we quantify the magnetic material amount in Solenopsis ants using ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) at room temperature. We sampled S. interrupta workers from several morphologically indistinguishable castes. Twenty-five oriented samples of each body part of S. interrupta (20 units each) showed that FMR line shapes are reproducible. The relative magnetic material amount was 31 ± 12% (mean ± SD) in the antennae, 27 ± 13% in the head, 21 ± 12% in the thorax and 20 ± 10% in the abdomen. In order to measure variation in the magnetic material from late summer to early winter, ants were collected each month between March and July. The amount of magnetic material was greatest in all four body parts in March and least in all four body parts in June. In addition, S. richteri majors presented more magnetic material than minor workers. Extending these findings to the genera Solenopsis, the reduction in magnetic material found in winter could be explained by our sampling fewer foraging major ants

  10. A Y-like social chromosome causes alternative colony organization in fire ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Intraspecific variability in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known1-3. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the existence of two divergent forms of social organisation is under the control of a single Mendelian genomic element marked by two variants of an odorant b...

  11. Presence of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Westwood) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) stimulates burrowing behavior by larvae of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) (Diptera: Psychodidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harvey, Jeffrey A; Hamilton, James G C; Ward, Richard D

    2010-01-01

    The sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) vectors leishmaniasis in the neotropics. Although much is known about the biology of adult flies, little is known about interactions with its natural enemies. Here, we examined behavior of larvae of L4 L.longipalpis on a soil substrate when exposed to the fire ant Solenopsis invicata (Westwood). When ants were absent, most larvae tended to remain at or close to the soil surface, but when ants were present the larvae burrowed into the soil. Sandflies seek refuges in the presence of generalist predators, thus rendering them immune to attack from many potential enemies.

  12. Pseudacteon decapitating flies: Potential vectors of a fire ant virus?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valles, S.M.; Porter, S.D.

    2007-01-01

    Solenopsis invicta virus (SINV-1) is a positive-stranded RNA virus recently found to infect all stages of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV-1 and a second genotype have been tentatively assigned to the Dicistroviridae (Mayo 2002). Infected individuals or colonies did not exhibit any immediate, discernible symptoms in the field. However, under stress from introduction into the laboratory, brood death was often observed among infected colonies, ultimately leading to the death of the entire colony (Valles et al. 2004). These characteristics are consistent with other insect-infecting positive-stranded RNA viruses. They often persist as inapparent, asymptomatic infections that, under certain conditions, induce replication within the host, resulting in observable symptoms and often death (Christian and Scotti 1998; Fernandez et al. 2002). The SINV infection rate among colonies was reported to be around 25% in Gainesville, Florida (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV vertical and horizontal transmission were inferred based on RT-PCR detection of virus genome in eggs and successful colony to colony transfer under lab conditions (Valles et al. 2004). However, the exact mechanisms by which the virus is spread from nest to nest in the field are unknown. Our results indicate that SINV does not replicate within Pseudacteon decapitating flies that parasitize S. invicta. Flies appeared to develop normally from SINV-infected S. invicta workers. Mechanical transmission of SINV to uninfected ants by oviposition appears unlikely

  13. GP-9s are ubiquitous proteins unlikely involved in olfactory mediation of social organization in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter S Leal

    Full Text Available The red imported fire ant (RIFA, Solenopsis invicta, is an invasive species, accidentally introduced in the United States that can cause painful (sometimes life-threatening stings to human, pets, and livestock. Their colonies have two social forms: monogyne and polygyne that have a single and multiple functional queens, respectively. A major gene (Gp-9, identified as a putative pheromone-binding protein on the basis of a modest amino acid sequence identity, has been suggested to influence the expression of colony social organization. Monogyne queens are reported to possess only the GP-9B alleles, whereas polygyne queens possess both GP-9B and GP-9b. Thus, both social forms are reported to express GP-9B, with GP-9b being a marker expressed in polygynes but it is absent in monogynes. Here, we report two types of polygyne colonies, one that does not express GP-9b (monogyne-like and the other expressing both proteins, GP-9B and GP-9b. Given their expression pattern, GP-9s are hemolymph proteins, which are more likely to be involved in the transport of lipids and small ligands within the homocoel. GP-9B existed in two forms, one of them is phosphorylated. The helical-rich content of the protein resembles the secondary structures of a beetle hemolymph protein and moth pheromone-binding proteins. An olfactory role is unlikely given the lack of specific expression in the sensillar lymph. In marked contrast to GP-9s, a chemosensory protein, SinvCSP, is demonstrated to be specifically expressed in the antennae. Within the antennae, expression of SinvCSP is restricted to the last two segments, which are known to house olfactory sensilla.

  14. Presence of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Westwood) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) stimulates burrowing behavior by larvae of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva) (Diptera: Psychodidae)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harvey, Jeffrey A. [Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Heteren (Netherlands). Dept. of Terrestrial Ecology; Hamilton, James G.C.; Ward, Richard D. [University of Keele, Staffordshire (United Kingdom). Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology. Dept. of Biological Sciences

    2010-01-15

    The sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva) vectors leishmaniasis in the neotropics. Although much is known about the biology of adult flies, little is known about interactions with its natural enemies. Here, we examined behavior of larvae of L4 L. longipalpis on a soil substrate when exposed to the fire ant Solenopsis invicata (Westwood). When ants were absent, most larvae tended to remain at or close to the soil surface, but when ants were present the larvae burrowed into the soil. Sandflies seek refuges in the presence of generalist predators, thus rendering them immune to attack from many potential enemies. (author)

  15. Presence of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Westwood) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) stimulates burrowing behavior by larvae of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva) (Diptera: Psychodidae)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Hamilton, James G.C.; Ward, Richard D.

    2010-01-01

    The sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva) vectors leishmaniasis in the neotropics. Although much is known about the biology of adult flies, little is known about interactions with its natural enemies. Here, we examined behavior of larvae of L4 L. longipalpis on a soil substrate when exposed to the fire ant Solenopsis invicata (Westwood). When ants were absent, most larvae tended to remain at or close to the soil surface, but when ants were present the larvae burrowed into the soil. Sandflies seek refuges in the presence of generalist predators, thus rendering them immune to attack from many potential enemies. (author)

  16. Monthly fluctuation of termite caste proportions (Isoptera) within fire ant mounds (hymenoptera: formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas G. Shelton; J.T. Vogt; Marla J. Tanley; Arthur G. Appel

    2003-01-01

    Monthly abundance and caste proportions of subterranean termites (Reticulitennes spp.) inhabiting red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) mounds were recorded during 1999 and 2000 from a relatively undisturbed forest edge in Tuskegee, Alabama. Temperature data were also recorded at these mounds; mean air, soil, and mound temperatures followed a sine model over...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  18. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeBrun, Edward G; Plowes, Robert M; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2012-07-01

    1. Habitat disturbance and species invasions interact in natural systems, making it difficult to isolate the primary cause of ecosystem degradation. A general understanding requires case studies of how disturbance and invasion interact across a variety of ecosystem - invasive species combinations. 2. Dramatic losses in ant diversity followed the invasion of central Texas by red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). However, recent manipulative studies in Florida revealed no effect on ant diversity following the removal of S. invicta from a disturbed pasture habitat, but moderate loss of diversity associated with their introduction into undisturbed habitat and no invasion occurred without disturbance. Thus, the importance of S. invicta in driving diversity loss and its ability to invade undisturbed systems is unresolved. 3. We examine the distribution and abundance of a large monogyne S. invicta population and its association with the co-occurring ant assemblage at a site in south Texas close to the aridity tolerance limit of S. invicta. 4. We document that moisture modulates S. invicta densities. Further, soil disturbing habitat manipulations greatly increase S. invicta population densities. However, S. invicta penetrates all habitats regardless of soil disturbance history. In contrast, controlled burns depress S. invicta densities. 5. In habitats where S. invicta is prevalent, it completely replaces native fire ants. However, S. invicta impacts native ants as a whole less strongly. Intriguingly, native ants responded distinctly to S. invicta in different environments. In wet, undisturbed environments, high S. invicta abundance disrupts the spatial structure of the ant assemblage by increasing clumping and is associated with reduced species density, while in dry-disturbed habitats, sites with high S. invicta abundance possess high numbers of native species. Analyses of co-occurrence indicate that reduced species density in wet

  19. Immunolocalization of the short neuropeptide F receptor in queen brains and ovaries of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pietrantonio Patricia V

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Insect neuropeptides are involved in diverse physiological functions and can be released as neurotransmitters or neuromodulators acting within the central nervous system, and as circulating neurohormones in insect hemolymph. The insect short neuropeptide F (sNPF peptides, related to the vertebrate neuropeptide Y (NPY peptides, have been implicated in the regulation of food intake and body size, and play a gonadotropic role in the ovaries of some insect species. Recently the sNPF peptides were localized in the brain of larval and adult Drosophila. However, the location of the sNPF receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR, has not yet been investigated in brains of any adult insect. To elucidate the sites of action of the sNPF peptide(s, the sNPF receptor tissue expression and cellular localization were analyzed in queens of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera, an invasive social insect. Results In the queen brains and subesophageal ganglion about 164 cells distributed in distinctive cell clusters (C1-C9 and C12 or as individual cells (C10, C11 were immuno-positive for the sNPF receptor. Most of these neurons are located in or near important sensory neuropils including the mushroom bodies, the antennal lobes, the central complex, and in different parts of the protocerebrum, as well as in the subesophageal ganglion. The localization of the sNPF receptor broadly links the receptor signaling pathway with circuits regulating learning and feeding behaviors. In ovaries from mated queens, the detection of sNPF receptor signal at the posterior end of oocytes in mid-oogenesis stage suggests that the sNPF signaling pathway may regulate processes at the oocyte pole. Conclusions The analysis of sNPF receptor immunolocalization shows that the sNPF signaling cascade may be involved in diverse functions, and the sNPF peptide(s may act in the brain as neurotransmitter(s or neuromodulator(s, and in the ovaries

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine C Horn

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aiming Zhou

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

  3. A new fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) bait base carrier for moist conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kafle, Lekhnath; Wu, Wen-Jer; Shih, Cheng-Jen

    2010-10-01

    A new water-resistant fire ant bait (T-bait; cypermethrin 0.128%) consisting of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) as a carrier was developed and evaluated against a standard commercial bait (Advion; indoxacarb 0.045%) under both laboratory and field conditions. When applying the normal T-bait or Advion in the laboratory, 100% of Solenopsis invicta Buren worker ants were killed within 4 days. However, when the T-bait and Advion were wetted, 70.6 and 39.7% of the ants were killed respectively. Under field conditions, dry T-bait and dry Advion had almost the same efficacy against ant colonies. However, when T-bait and Advion came in contact with water, the former's ability to kill S. invicta colonies in the field was only marginally reduced, while Advion lost virtually all of its activity. In addition, DDGS was also shown to be compatible with a number of other insecticides, such as d-allethrin, permethrin and pyrethrin. Based on its properties of remaining attractive to the fire ants when wetted, combined with its ant-killing abilities both in the laboratory and in the field, T-bait is an efficient fire ant bait, especially under moist conditions.

  4. North American Invasion of the Tawny Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva) Is Enabled by Pheromonal Synergism from Two Separate Glands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Qing-He; McDonald, Danny L; Hoover, Doreen R; Aldrich, Jeffrey R; Schneidmiller, Rodney G

    2015-09-01

    A new invader, the "tawny crazy ant", Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae; Formicinae), is displacing the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Formicidae: Myrmicinae), in the southern U.S., likely through its superior chemical arsenal and communication. Alone, formic acid is unattractive, but this venom (= poison) acid powerfully synergizes attraction of tawny crazy ants to volatiles from the Dufour's gland secretion of N. fulva workers, including the two major components, undecane and 2-tridecanone. The unexpected pheromonal synergism between the Dufour's gland and the venom gland appears to be another key factor, in addition to previously known defensive and detoxification semiochemical features, for the successful invasion and domination of N. fulva in the southern U.S. This synergism is an efficient mechanism enabling N. fulva workers to outcompete Solenopsis and other ant species for food and territory. From a practical standpoint, judicious point-source release formulation of tawny crazy ant volatiles may be pivotal for enhanced attract-and-kill management of this pest.

  5. Colony growth of two species of Solenopsis fire ants(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reared with crickets and beef liver

    Science.gov (United States)

    Most diets for rearing fire ants and other ants contain insects such as crickets or mealworms. Unfortunately, insect diets are expensive, especially for large rearing operations, and are not always easily available. This study was designed to examine colony growth of Solenopsis fire ants on beef liv...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shonna R. Storz

    2004-04-01

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

  7. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gravish, Nick; Gold, Gregory; Zangwill, Andrew; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2014-03-01

    Many social animals move and communicate within confined spaces. In subterranean fire ants Solenopsis invicta, mobility within crowded nest tunnels is important for resource and information transport. Within confined tunnels, communication and traffic flow are at odds: trafficking ants communicate through tactile interactions while stopped, yet ants that stop to communicate impose physical obstacles on the traffic. We monitor the bi-directional flow of fire ant workers in laboratory tunnels of varied diameter D. The persistence time of communicating ant aggregations, τ, increases approximately linearly with the number of participating ants, n. The sensitivity of traffic flow increases as D decreases and diverges at a minimum diameter, Dc. A cellular automata model incorporating minimal traffic features--excluded volume and communication duration--reproduces features of the experiment. From the model we identify a competition between information transfer and the need to maintain jam-free traffic flow. We show that by balancing information transfer and traffic flow demands, an optimum group strategy exists which maximizes information throughput. We acknowledge funding from NSF PoLS #0957659 and #PHY-1205878.

  8. Habitat alteration increases invasive fire ant abundance to the detriment of amphibians and reptiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, B.D.; Rothermel, B.B.; Reed, R.N.; Luhring, T.M.; Schlatter, K.; Trenkamp, L.; Gibbons, J.W.

    2008-01-01

    Altered habitats have been suggested to facilitate red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) colonization and dispersal, possibly compounding effects of habitat alteration on native wildlife. In this study, we compared colonization intensity of wood cover boards by S. invicta among four forest management treatments in South Carolina, USA: an unharvested control (>30 years old); a partially thinned stand; a clearcut with coarse woody debris retained; and a clearcut with coarse woody debris removed. Additionally, we compared dehydration rates and survival of recently metamorphosed salamanders (marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, and mole salamanders, A. talpoideum) among treatments. We found that the number of wood cover boards colonized by S. invicta differed significantly among treatments, being lowest in the unharvested forest treatments and increasing with the degree of habitat alteration. Salamanders that were maintained in experimental field enclosures to study water loss were unexpectedly subjected to high levels of S. invicta predation that differed among forest treatments. All known predation by S. invicta was restricted to salamanders in clearcuts. The amount of vegetative ground cover was inversely related to the likelihood of S. invicta predation of salamanders. Our results show that S. invicta abundance increases with habitat disturbance and that this increased abundance has negative consequences for amphibians that remain in altered habitats. Our findings also suggest that the presence of invasive S. invicta may compromise the utility of cover boards and other techniques commonly used in herpetological studies in the Southeast. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  9. Fire ants perpetually rebuild sinking towers

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-01

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

  10. The evolution of genome size in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Spagna Joseph C

    2008-02-01

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

  11. Extracted Venom and Cuticular Compounds of Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis spp., and Chemotaxonomic Applications Across a Persistent Hybrid Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Characterization of cuticular biomolecular assemblages for imported fire ants permit basic distinctions among colonies of S. invicta, S. richteri, and their hybrids; thus, providing opportunities to investigate details of landscape ecology for this species complex as well as to assess levels of inva...

  12. Induced Effects on Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Forager Size Ratios by Pseudacteon spp. (Diptera: Phoridae): Implications on Bait Size Selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reed, J J; Puckett, R T; Gold, R E

    2015-10-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are adversely affected by phorid flies in the genus Pseudacteon by instigating defensive behaviors in their hosts, and in turn reducing the efficiency of S. invicta foraging. Multiple Pseudacteon species have been released in Texas, and research has been focused on the establishment and spread of these introduced biological control agents. Field experiments were conducted to determine bait particle size selection of S. invicta when exposed to phorid populations. Four different particle sizes of two candidate baits were offered to foragers (one provided by a pesticide manufacturer, and a laboratory-created bait). Foragers selectively were attracted to, and removed more 1-1.4-mm particles than any other bait size. The industry-provided bait is primarily made of particles in the 1.4-2.0 mm size, larger than what was selected by the ants in this study. While there was a preference for foragers to be attracted to and rest on the industry-provided blank bait, S. invicta removed more of the laboratory-created bait from the test vials. There was an abundance of workers with head widths ranging from 0.5-0.75 mm collected from baits. This was dissimilar from a previous study wherein phorid flies were not active and in which large workers were collected in higher abundance at the site. This implies that phorid fly activity caused a shift for red imported fire ant colonies to have fewer large foragers. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aiming Zhou

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

  15. Antimicrobial properties of nest volatiles in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    In social insects, antimicrobial secretions are often used collectively for the benefit of the whole colony, which is an important component in social immunity. Many ant species build nests in which air circulation can be controlled. Volatile antimicrobial agents would be ideal in implementing socia...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dietrich Gotzek

    2007-11-01

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

  17. Consuming fire ants reduces northern bobwhite survival and weight gain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, P.E.; Allen, Craig R.; Birge, Hannah E.

    2014-01-01

    Northern bobwhite quail, Colinus virginianus (L.) (Galliformes: Odontophoridae), population declines are well documented, but pinpointing the reasons for these decreases has proven elusive. Bobwhite population declines are attributed primarily to loss of habitat and land use changes. This, however, does not entirely explain population declines in areas intensively managed for bobwhites. Although previous research demonstrates the negative impact of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on northern bobwhites, the mechanisms underlying this effect are largely unknown. To meet the protein demands of early growth and development, bobwhite chicks predominantly consume small insects, of which ants are a substantial proportion. Fire ants alter ant community dynamics by often reducing native ant diversity and abundance while concurrently increasing the abundance of individuals. Fire ants have negative effects on chicks, but they are also a large potential protein source, making it difficult to disentangle their net effect on bobwhite chicks. To help investigate these effects, we conducted a laboratory experiment to understand (1) whether or not bobwhites consume fire ants, and (2) how the benefits of this consumption compare to the deleterious impacts of bobwhite chick exposure to fire ants. Sixty bobwhite chicks were separated into two groups of 30; one group was provided with starter feed only and the second group was provided with feed and fire ants. Bobwhite chicks were observed feeding on fire ants. Chicks that fed on fire ants had reduced survival and weight gain. Our results show that, while fire ants increase potential food sources for northern bobwhite, their net effect on bobwhite chicks is deleterious. This information will help inform land managers and commercial bobwhite rearing operations.

  18. Molecular structure and diversity of PBAN/Pyrokinin family peptides in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Man-Yeon eChoi

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Neuropeptides are the largest group of insect hormones. They are produced in the central and peripheral nervous systems and affect insect development, reproduction, feeding and behavior. A variety of neuropeptide families have been identified in insects. One of these families is the PBAN/pyrokinin family defined by a common FXPRLamide or similar amino acid fragment at the C-terminal end. These peptides, found in all insects studied thus far, have been conserved throughout evolution. The most well studied physiological function is regulation of moth sex pheromone biosynthesis through the Pheromone Biosynthesis Activating Neurohormone (PBAN, although several developmental functions have also been reported. Over the past years we have extended knowledge of the PBAN/pyrokinin family of peptides to ants, focusing mainly on the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The fire ant is one of the most studied social insects and over the last 60 years a great deal has been learned about many aspects of this ant, including the behaviors and chemistry of pheromone communication. However, virtually nothing is known about the regulation of these pheromone systems. Recently, we demonstrated the presence of PBAN/pyrokinin immunoreactive neurons in the fire ant, and identified and characterized PBAN and additional neuropeptides. We have mapped the fire ant PBAN gene structure and determined the tissue expression level in the central nervous system of the ant. We review here our research to date on the molecular structure and diversity of ant PBAN/pyrokinin peptides in preparation for determining the function of the neuropeptides in ants and other social insects.

  19. Stable isotope enrichment in laboratory ant colonies: effects of colony age, metamorphosis, diet, and fat storage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ecologists use stable isotopes to infer diets and trophic levels of animals in food webs, yet some assumptions underlying these inferences have not been thoroughly tested. We used laboratory-reared colonies of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Formicidae: Solenopsidini) to test the effects of metamorphosis,...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kafle, Lekhnath; Shih, Cheng-Jen

    2012-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  2. Sampling high-altitude and stratified mating flights of red imported fire ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritz, Gary N; Fritz, Ann H; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2011-05-01

    With the exception of an airplane equipped with nets, no method has been developed that successfully samples red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, sexuals in mating/dispersal flights throughout their potential altitudinal trajectories. We developed and tested a method for sampling queens and males during mating flights at altitudinal intervals reaching as high as "140 m. Our trapping system uses an electric winch and a 1.2-m spindle bolted to a swiveling platform. The winch dispenses up to 183 m of Kevlar-core, nylon rope and the spindle stores 10 panels (0.9 by 4.6 m each) of nylon tulle impregnated with Tangle-Trap. The panels can be attached to the rope at various intervals and hoisted into the air by using a 3-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon. Raising or lowering all 10 panels takes approximately 15-20 min. This trap also should be useful for altitudinal sampling of other insects of medical importance.

  3. Are ant assemblages of Brazilian veredas characterised by location or habitat type?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costa-Milanez, C B; Lourenço-Silva, G; Castro, P T A; Majer, J D; Ribeiro, S P

    2014-02-01

    Wetland areas in the Brazilian Cerrado, known as "veredas", represent ecosystems formed on sandy soils with high concentrations of peat, and are responsible for the recharge of aquiferous reservoirs. They are currently under threat by various human activities, most notably the clearing of vegetation for Eucalyptus plantations. Despite their ecological importance and high conservation value, little is known about the actual effects of human disturbance on the animal community. To assess how habitat within different veredas, and plantations surrounding them affect ant assemblages, we selected four independent vereda locations, two being impacted by Eucalyptus monoculture (one younger and one mature plantation) and two controls, where the wetland was surrounded by cerrado vegetation. Ant sampling was conducted in May 2010 (dry season) using three complementary methods, namely baits, pitfall traps, and hand collection, in the wetland and in the surrounding habitats. A total of 7,575 ants were sampled, belonging to seven subfamilies, 32 genera and 124 species. Ant species richness and abundance did not differ between vereda locations, but did between the habitats. When impacted by the monoculture, ant species richness and abundance decreased in wetlands, but were less affected in the cerrado habitat. Ant species composition differed between the three habitats and between vereda locations. Eucalyptus plantations had an ant species composition defined by high dominance of Pheidole sp. and Solenopsis invicta, while natural habitats were defined by Camponotus and Crematogaster species. Atta sexdens was strictly confined to native habitats of non-impacted "veredas". Eucalyptus monocultures require high quantities of water in the early stages, which may have caused a decrease in groundwater level in the wetland, allowing hypogeic ants such as Labidus praedator to colonise this habitat.

  4. Targeted removal of ant colonies in ecological experiments, using hot water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R; King, Joshua R

    2007-01-01

    Ecological experiments on fire ants cannot, or should not, use poison baits to eliminate the fire ants because such baits are not specific to fire ants, or even to ants. Hot water is an extremely effective and specific killing agent for fire ant colonies, but producing large amounts of hot water in the field, and making the production apparatus mobile have been problematical. The construction and use of a charcoal-fired kiln made from a 55-gal. oil drum lined with a sand-fireclay mixture is described. An automobile heater fan powered from a 12-v battery provided a draft. Dual bilge pumps pumped water from a large tank through a long coil of copper tubing within the kiln to produce 4 to 5 l. of hot water per min. The hot water was collected in 20 l. buckets and poured into fire ant nests previously opened by piercing with a stick. The entire assembly was transported in and operated from the back of a pickup truck. Five experimental plots containing 32 to 38 colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were treated with hot water over a period of two years. All colonies on the treatment plots were treated twice with hot water early in 2004, reducing their numbers to zero. However new colonies were formed, and mature colonies expanded into the plots. A third treatment was made in the spring of 2005, after which fire ant populations were suppressed for over a year. Whereas the 5 control plots contained a total of 166 mostly large colonies, the 5 treatment plots contained no live colonies at all. Averaged over a two-year period, a 70% reduction in total number of colonies was achieved (P ants.

  5. Occurrence of Solenopsis saevissima F Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) damaging Schizolobium amazonicum; Danos de Solenopsis saevissima F Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em Parica, Schizolobium amazonicum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lunz, Alexandre M.; Aguiar, Tanice da S.; Cardoso, Andreza S. [EMBRAPA Amazonia Oriental, Belem, PA (Brazil). Lab. de Entomologia], e-mail: amehl@cpatu.embrapa.br; Harada, Ana Y. [Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, PA (Brazil). Coordenacao de Pesquisas em Zoologia. Setor de Invertebrados], e-mail: ahara@museu-goeldi.br

    2009-03-15

    Injuries by Solenopsis saevissima F Smith in parica (Schizolobium amazonicum) trees are described for the first time in Dom Eliseu County, Para State, Brazil. This ant damages leaves and the shaft where holes and galleries are opened up to the plant shoot. Terminal and new shoots are attacked and destroyed, harming the development of upright and uniform trunks for commercialization. Arboreal nests constructed by this ant were also observed in some plants. (author)

  6. Are ant assemblages of Brazilian veredas characterised by location or habitat type?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    CB Costa-Milanez

    Full Text Available Wetland areas in the Brazilian Cerrado, known as “veredas”, represent ecosystems formed on sandy soils with high concentrations of peat, and are responsible for the recharge of aquiferous reservoirs. They are currently under threat by various human activities, most notably the clearing of vegetation for Eucalyptus plantations. Despite their ecological importance and high conservation value, little is known about the actual effects of human disturbance on the animal community. To assess how habitat within different veredas, and plantations surrounding them affect ant assemblages, we selected four independent vereda locations, two being impacted by Eucalyptus monoculture (one younger and one mature plantation and two controls, where the wetland was surrounded by cerrado vegetation. Ant sampling was conducted in May 2010 (dry season using three complementary methods, namely baits, pitfall traps, and hand collection, in the wetland and in the surrounding habitats. A total of 7,575 ants were sampled, belonging to seven subfamilies, 32 genera and 124 species. Ant species richness and abundance did not differ between vereda locations, but did between the habitats. When impacted by the monoculture, ant species richness and abundance decreased in wetlands, but were less affected in the cerrado habitat. Ant species composition differed between the three habitats and between vereda locations. Eucalyptus plantations had an ant species composition defined by high dominance of Pheidole sp. and Solenopsis invicta, while natural habitats were defined by Camponotus and Crematogaster species. Atta sexdens was strictly confined to native habitats of non-impacted “veredas”. Eucalyptus monocultures require high quantities of water in the early stages, which may have caused a decrease in groundwater level in the wetland, allowing hypogeic ants such as Labidus praedator to colonise this habitat.

  7. Activity of bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam against red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiltz, B A; Suiter, D R; Gardner, W A

    2010-06-01

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined after topical treatments. Both immobilization and mortality occurred most quickly with bifenthrin, followed by thiamethoxam, chlorfenapyr, and fipronil. Mortality due to horizontal exposure was evaluated at 10, 20, or 30 degrees C, with three ratios of topically treated donor ant corpses to live recipients (5, 10, or 20% donors). Bifenthrin had the greatest horizontal activity of the chemicals tested. For chlorfenapyr, the only treatments having higher mortality than controls were the highest percentage donors at either 10 or 30 degrees C. Horizontal activity of fipronil was temperature dependent only with the highest proportion of donors and was lower than that ofbifenthrin but higher than that of chlorfenapyr or thiamethoxam. Mean mortality due to thiamethoxam was similar to that with chlorfenapyr. Significant mortality occurred in all of the 20 and 30 degrees C thiamethoxam treatments, but none of the 10 degrees C treatments. Effectiveness as a barrier was evaluated by providing a choice between bridges treated with insecticide or water. Although bifenthrin did not provide an impenetrable barrier, it was the only treatment having fewer ants than its paired control bridge. Mortality data suggest that a reduction in recruitment rather than repellency account for this result.

  8. Application of ground penetrating radar in detecting the hazards and risks of termites and ants in soil levees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Xiuhao; Henderson, Gregg; Mao, Lixin; Evans, Ahmad

    2009-08-01

    A ground penetrating radar (GPR) technique was used to detect Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) and red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) hazards and risks (targets) in a soil levee at the London Avenue Canal in New Orleans, LA. To make this assessment, GPR signal scans were examined for features produced by termite or ant activities and potential sources of food and shelter such as nests, tree roots, and voids (tunnels). The total scanned length of the soil levee was 4,125 m. The average velocity and effective depth of the radar penetration was 0.080 m/ns and 0.61 m, respectively. Four hundred twenty-seven targets were identified. Tree roots (38), voids (31), fire ant nests (209), and metal objects (149) were detected, but no Formosan termite carton nests were identified. The lack of identified termite nests may be related to drowning events at the time to the flood. Based on the target density (TD), the two new floodwall and levee sections that were rebuilt or reinforced after they were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were determined to be at low potential risk from termites and ants. A merging target density (MTD) method indicated a high potential risk near one of the breached sections still remains. Foraging and nesting activity of Formosan subterranean termites and red imported fire ants may be a contributory factor to the levee failure at the London Avenue Canal.

  9. Occurrence of Solenopsis saevissima F Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) damaging Schizolobium amazonicum

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lunz, Alexandre M.; Aguiar, Tanice da S.; Cardoso, Andreza S.; Harada, Ana Y.

    2009-01-01

    Injuries by Solenopsis saevissima F Smith in parica (Schizolobium amazonicum) trees are described for the first time in Dom Eliseu County, Para State, Brazil. This ant damages leaves and the shaft where holes and galleries are opened up to the plant shoot. Terminal and new shoots are attacked and destroyed, harming the development of upright and uniform trunks for commercialization. Arboreal nests constructed by this ant were also observed in some plants. (author)

  10. [Occurrence of Solenopsis saevissima F Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) damaging Schizolobium amazonicum].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lunz, Alexandre M; Harada, Ana Y; Aguiar, Tanice da S; Cardoso, Andreza S

    2009-01-01

    Injuries by Solenopsis saevissima F Smith in paricá (Schizolobium amazonicum) trees are described for the first time in Dom Eliseu County, Pará State, Brazil. This ant damages leaves and the shaft where holes and galleries are opened up to the plant shoot. Terminal and new shoots are attacked and destroyed, harming the development of upright and uniform trunks for commercialization. Arboreal nests constructed by this ant were also observed in some plants.

  11. Do Mound Disturbance and Bait Placement Affect Bait Removal and Treatment Efficacy in Red Imported Fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae at Different Seasons?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xing P. Hu

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This study provides empirical evidence that disturbing mound immediately before application, as opposed to label recommendation, did not reduce foraging activity of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, except for about 10-min delay in foraging. Despite the delayed foraging, there was no significant difference in the amount of baits foraged between disturbed and undisturbed colonies. Eventually, >96% of the baits were foraged, with the maximum removal occurred by 2 and 3 h, respectively, in summer and spring trial. The fastest and great amount of bait removal 1 h post-treatment occurred to baits placed on mound, followed by 0.18–0.3-m from mound base, and the slowest 1.08–1.2-m from mound base. All treatment gave 100% control 1 mo later, regardless of the season, without colony relocation or new colony invasion in the test plots.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Diehl

    2005-12-01

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

  13. A histochemical and X-ray microanalysis study of calcium changes in insect flight muscle degeneration in Solenopsis, the queen fire ant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, R.G.; Davis, W.L.; Vinson, S.B.

    1982-01-01

    Potassium pyroantimonate histochemistry, coupled with ethyleneglycoltetraacetic acid (EGTA)-chelation and X-ray microprobe analysis, was employed to localize intracellular calcium binding sites in the normal and degenerating flight musculature in queens of Solenopsis, the fire ant. In normal animals, calcium distribution was light to moderate within myofibrils and mitochondria. In the early contracture stages of the insemination-induced degeneration, both myofilament and mitochondrial calcium loading was markedly increased. In the terminal stages of myofibril breakdown, only Z-lines (isolated or in clusters) with an associated filamentous residue persisted. These complexes were also intensely calcium positive. This study further documents the presence of increased sarcoplasmic calcium during muscle necrosis. Surface membrane defects, mitochondrial calcium overload, and calcium-activated proteases may all be involved in this ''normal'' breakdown process

  14. Workers and alate queens of Solenopsis geminata share qualitatively similar but quantitatively different venom alkaloid chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    The cis and trans alkaloids from body extracts of workers and alate queens of the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were successfully separated by silica gel chromatography, identified, and quantitated by GC-MS analysis. Both workers and alate queens produce primarily...

  15. Intraspecific Variation among Social Insect Colonies: Persistent Regional and Colony-Level Differences in Fire Ant Foraging Behavior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison A Bockoven

    Full Text Available Individuals vary within a species in many ecologically important ways, but the causes and consequences of such variation are often poorly understood. Foraging behavior is among the most profitable and risky activities in which organisms engage and is expected to be under strong selection. Among social insects there is evidence that within-colony variation in traits such as foraging behavior can increase colony fitness, but variation between colonies and the potential consequences of such variation are poorly documented. In this study, we tested natural populations of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, for the existence of colony and regional variation in foraging behavior and tested the persistence of this variation over time and across foraging habitats. We also reared single-lineage colonies in standardized environments to explore the contribution of colony lineage. Fire ants from natural populations exhibited significant and persistent colony and regional-level variation in foraging behaviors such as extra-nest activity, exploration, and discovery of and recruitment to resources. Moreover, colony-level variation in extra-nest activity was significantly correlated with colony growth, suggesting that this variation has fitness consequences. Lineage of the colony had a significant effect on extra-nest activity and exploratory activity and explained approximately half of the variation observed in foraging behaviors, suggesting a heritable component to colony-level variation in behavior.

  16. Irradiation as a quarantine treatment for the solenopsis mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Huang, Fang; Li, Weidi; Li, Xiuqiong; Bei, Yawei; Lin, Wencai; Lu, Yaobin; Wang, Bingkui

    2014-01-01

    Phenacoccus solenopsis is an aggressively invasive species that targets agricultural and ornamental plants, thereby threatening the world cotton industry and other crops. P. solenopsis has been listed as a quarantine insect in Europe and China. The utilization of phytosanitary irradiation as a potential treatment for disinfesting agricultural commodities in trade has expanded rapidly in recent years. A reasonable dose of radiation to eliminate P. solenopsis needs to be determined, taking into account the side effects of radiation on agricultural products and the species-specific tolerance of the insect to radiation. We applied radiation ranging from 50 to 200 Gy to P. solenopsis to determine the optimal dose. Both the radiation dose and the developmental stage of the insect were independent variables. Higher doses of radiation or lesser mature insect stages provided more effective treatment. In nymphs, a radiation dose of 100 Gy caused extinction of the irradiated population by disrupting ovary development, while 150 Gy caused 100% mortality. In adults, all tested doses of irradiation did not affect longevity, but we were able to prevent reproduction with high (150 and 200 Gy) doses. In P. solenopsis, a 100 Gy dose of radiation could eliminate the irradiated population in two generations. The mortality curve showed a steep slope beyond 150 Gy; thus, if killing all of the insects in a shorter amount of time is necessary, 200 Gy may be a reasonable dose for the quarantine treatment of the solenopsis mealybug. - Highlights: • Both ‘radiation dose’ and ‘irradiated insect stage’ are important factors. • 100-Gy irradiation could achieve population extinction in two generations. • 200 Gy should be a reasonable dose in the quarantine treatment

  17. Fumigant Activity of Sweet Orange Essential Oil Fractions Against Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Wei; Zhang, Ning; Chen, Hongli; Zhong, Balian; Yang, Aixue; Kuang, Fan; Ouyang, Zhigang; Chun, Jiong

    2017-08-01

    Sweet orange oil fractions were prepared by molecular distillation of cold-pressed orange oil from sample A (Citrus sinensis (L.) 'Hamlin' from America) and sample B (Citrus sinensis Osbeck 'Newhall' from China) respectively, and their fumigant activities against medium workers of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) were investigated. The volatile composition of the orange oil fractions was identified and quantified using GC-MS. Fractions from sample A (A1, A2, and A3) contained 23, 37, and 48 chemical constituents, and fractions from sample B (B1, B2, and B3) contained 18, 29, and 26 chemical constituents, respectively. Monoterpenes were the most abundant components, accounting for 73.56% to 94.86% of total orange oil fractions, among which D-limonene (65.28-80.18%), β-pinene (1.71-5.58%), 3-carene (0.41-4.01%), β-phellandrene (0.58-2.10%), and linalool (0.31-2.20%) were major constituents. Fumigant bioassay indicated that all orange oil fractions exerted good fumigant toxicity against workers of fire ants at 3, 5, 10, and 20 mg/centrifuge tubes, and B1 had the strongest insecticidal potential, followed by A1, B2, A2, B3, and A3. The fractions composed of more high volatile molecules (A1 and B1) showed greater fumigant effects than others. Compounds linalool and D-limonene, which were the constituents of the orange oil, exhibited excellent fumigant toxicity against red imported fire ant workers. Linalool killed red imported fire ant workers completely at 5, 10, and 20 mg/tube after 8 h of treatment, and D-limonene induced >86% mortality at 8 h of exposure. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  18. A revision of the genus Kaszabister Mazur (Histeridae, Histerinae, Exosternini

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicolas Degallier

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available We revise the four species of Kaszabister Mazur, 1972, one of which, Kaszabister barrigai sp. n., is described as new. The other species in the genus are K. rubellus (Erichson, 1834, K. ferrugineus (Kirsch, 1873 and K. carinatus (Lewis, 1888. The species are principally known from the subtropics of South America, with one in Central America. Lectotypes are designated for K. rubellus and K. ferrugineus, and a key is provided for all the species. Ants of the genus Solenopsis Westwood, mainly S. invicta Buren and S. saevissima (Smith, are documented as hosts of three of the four species.

  19. Intraspecific and Intracolonial Variation in the Profile of Venom Alkaloids and Cuticular Hydrocarbons of the Fire Ant Solenopsis saevissima Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Gonçalves Paterson Fox

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Fire ants are aggressive Neotropical ants that are extensively similar in general biology and morphology, making species identification difficult. Some fire ant species are top-rated pests spreading throughout the world by trade vessels. Many researchers attempted to sort between invasive and native species by using chemical characters, including patterns of venom alkaloids. The present study is the first to report intraspecific variation in some chemical characters, namely, cuticular hydrocarbons and venom alkaloids, within the Brazilian fire ant species Solenopsis saevissima and also reports on within-nest variations among members of different castes. Two different haplotypes (cryptic species of S. saevissima were clearly identified, one presenting a predominant combination of the venom alkaloids cis- and trans-2-methyl-6-undecylpiperidine with the cuticular hydrocarbons C23, 3-Me-C23, 10-C25 : 1, C25, and 3-Me-C25, and the other a predominant combination of cis- and trans-2-methyl-6-tridecenylpiperidine with predominance of 12-C25 : 1, C25, 11-Me-C25, 3-Me-C25, 13-C27 : 1, C27, and 13-Me-C27. Intranest variations revealed that the proportions among these compounds varied sensibly among workers of different sizes, gynes, and males (no alkaloids were detected in the latter. Larva contained vestiges of the same compounds. The recorded chemical profiles are quite different from previous reports with S. saevissima samples from São Paulo. The finds thus support other recent claims that S. saevissima includes cryptic species; the study, moreover, adds the find that they can occur in the same geographical location.

  20. Significance of the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata (hymenoptera: formicidae) as part of the natural enemy complex responsible for successful biological control of many tropical irrigated rice pests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Way, M J; Heong, K L

    2009-10-01

    The tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) often nests very abundantly in the earthen banks (bunds) around irrigated rice fields in the tropics. Where some farmers habitually drain fields to the mud for about 3-4 days, the ants can quickly spread up to about 20 m into the fields where they collect food, including pest prey such as the eggs and young of the apple snail Pomacea caniculata (Lamarck) and insects such as lepidopterous larvae and hoppers, notably Nilaparvata lugens (Stäl) the brown planthopper (Bph) and green leafhoppers Nephotettix spp. Even in drained fields, the activity of S. geminata is restricted by rainfall in the wet season. The relatively few ant workers that forage characteristically into drained fields and on to the transplanted clumps of rice plants (hills) kill the normally few immigrant Bph adults but are initially slower acting than other species of the natural enemy complex. However, larger populations of Bph are fiercely attacked and effectively controlled by rapidly recruited ant workers; whereas, in the absence of the ant, the other natural enemies are inadequate. In normal circumstances, there is no ant recruitment in response to initially small populations of immigrant Bph and no evidence of incompatibility between ant foragers and other natural enemies such as spiders. However, when many ants are quickly and aggressively recruited to attack large populations of Bph, they temporarily displace some spiders from infested hills. It is concluded that, in suitable weather conditions and even when insecticides kill natural enemies within the rice field, periodic drainage that enables S. geminata to join the predator complex is valuable for ant-based control of pests such as snails and Lepidoptera, and especially against relatively large populations of Bph. Drainage practices to benefit ants are fully compatible with recent research, which shows that periodic drainage combats problems of 'yield decline' in intensively irrigated

  1. Genetic regulation of colony social organization in fire ants: an integrative overview.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gotzek, Dietrich; Ross, Kenneth G

    2007-09-01

    Expression of colony social organization in fire ants appears to be under the control of a single Mendelian factor of large effect. Variation in colony queen number in Solenopsis invicta and its relatives is associated with allelic variation at the gene Gp-9, but not with variation at other unlinked genes; workers regulate queen identity and number on the basis of Gp-9 genotypic compatibility. Nongenetic factors, such as prior social experience, queen reproductive status, and local environment, have negligible effects on queen numbers which illustrates the nearly complete penetrance of Gp-9. As predicted, queen number can be manipulated experimentally by altering worker Gp-9 genotype frequencies. The Gp-9 allele lineage associated with polygyny in South American fire ants has been retained across multiple speciation events, which may signal the action of balancing selection to maintain social polymorphism in these species. Moreover, positive selection is implicated in driving the molecular evolution of Gp-9 in association with the origin of polygyny. The identity of the product of Gp-9 as an odorant-binding protein suggests plausible scenarios for its direct involvement in the regulation of queen number via a role in chemical communication. While these and other lines of evidence show that Gp-9 represents a legitimate candidate gene of major effect, studies aimed at determining (i) the biochemical pathways in which GP-9 functions; (ii) the phenotypic effects of molecular variation at Gp-9 and other pathway genes; and (iii) the potential involvement of genes in linkage disequilibrium with Gp-9 are needed to elucidate the genetic architecture underlying social organization in fire ants. Information that reveals the links between molecular variation, individual phenotype, and colony-level behaviors, combined with behavioral models that incorporate details of the chemical communication involved in regulating queen number, will yield a novel integrated view of the

  2. Insecticidal activity of Piper essential oils from the Amazon against the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Souto, R N P; Harada, A Y; Andrade, E H A; Maia, J G S

    2012-12-01

    Pepper plants in the genus Piper (Piperales: Piperaceae) are common in the Brazilian Amazon and many produce compounds with biological activity against insect pests. We evaluated the insecticidal effect of essential oils from Piper aduncum, Piper marginatum (chemotypes A and B), Piper divaricatum and Piper callosum against workers of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), as well as their chemical composition by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The lowest median lethal concentration (LC50) in 48 h was obtained with the oil of P. aduncum (58.4 mg/L), followed by the oils of P. marginatum types A (122.4 mg/L) and B (167.0 mg/L), P. divaricatum (301.7 mg/L), and P. callosum (312.6 mg/L). The major chemical constituents were dillapiole (64.4%) in the oil of P. aduncum; p-mentha-1(7),8-diene (39.0%), 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone (19.0%), and (E)-β-ocimene (9.8%) in P. marginatum chemotype A and (E)-isoosmorhizole (32.2%), (E)-anethole (26.4%), isoosmorhizole (11.2%), and (Z)-anethole (6.0%) in P. marginatum chemotype B; methyleugenol (69.2%) and eugenol (16.2%) in P. divaricatum; and safrole (69.2%), methyleugenol (8.6%), and β-pinene (6.2%) in P. callosum. These chemical constituents have been previously known to possess insecticidal properties.

  3. Sublethal effect of imidacloprid on Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) feeding, digging, and foraging behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    There is increasing evidence that exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal levels impairs colonies of honeybee and other pollinators. Recently, it was found that sublethal contamination with neonicotinoids also affect growth and behavior of ants. In this study, we exposed red imported fi...

  4. Dicty_cDB: VHD642 [Dicty_cDB

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available VH (Link to library) VHD642 (Link to dictyBase) - - - Contig-U11361-1 - (Link to Or...iginal site) VHD642F 629 - - - - - - Show VHD642 Library VH (Link to library) Clone ID VHD642 (Link to dicty...Base) Atlas ID - NBRP ID - dictyBase ID - Link to Contig Contig-U11361-1 Original site URL http://dictycdb.b...us erato cDNA clone He_wd2a1_74D09 5' similar to UniRef90_UPI000051A2A9 Cluster related to UPI000051A2A9; PREDICT...DNA, mRNA sequence. 56 1e-12 4 EE133491 |EE133491.1 SiJWH07ADU Lausanne fire ant library Solenopsis invicta

  5. Suppression of jasmonic acid-dependent defense in cotton plant by the mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pengjun Zhang

    Full Text Available The solenopsis mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, has been recently recognized as an aggressively invasive pest in China, and is now becoming a serious threat to the cotton industry in the country. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the molecular mechanisms employed by cotton for defending against P. solenopsis before the pest populations reach epidemic levels. Here, we examined the effects of exogenous jasmonic acid (JA, salicylic acid (SA, and herbivory treatments on feeding behavior and on development of female P. solenopsis. Further, we compared the volatile emissions of cotton plants upon JA, SA, and herbivory treatments, as well as the time-related changes in gossypol production and defense-related genes. Female adult P. solenopsis were repelled by leaves from JA-treated plant, but were not repelled by leaves from SA-treated plants. In contrast, females were attracted by leaves from plants pre-infested by P. solenopsis. The diverse feeding responses by P. solenopsis were due to the difference in volatile emission of plants from different treatments. Furthermore, we show that JA-treated plants slowed P. solenopsis development, but plants pre-infested by P. solenopsis accelerated its development. We also show that P. solenopsis feeding inhibited the JA-regulated gossypol production, and prevented the induction of JA-related genes. We conclude that P. solenopsis is able to prevent the activation of JA-dependent defenses associated with basal resistance to mealybugs.

  6. Associações entre Cinara atlantica, seus inimigos naturais e formigas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Susete do Rocio Chiarello Penteado

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The study of the relationship between species or populations is an excellent tool to learn about ecological phenomena. Among the possible interaction between two species, it is highlighted the mutualism between ants and insects that produce honeydew. While honeydew is "garbage" for the aphids it can be a food source for ants. The type of interaction between aphids and their natural enemies, known as "intraguild predation" or predation of natural enemies that share the same prey is an interaction that occurs in aphid communities. The majority of natural enemies in this system interact asymmetrically according to differences in body size, feeding strategy and priorities of each species. In agroecosystems, the consequence of this relation becomes particularly important for the biological control of pests of economic importance. In Brazil, few publications refer to the association among ants, aphids and their natural enemies, specifically in forest areas. Thus, this work had the objective to review studies regarding these association and discuss a field observed case involving the giant conifer aphid, Cinara atlantica (Hemiptera: Aphididae, its natural enemies and the ants Solenopsis invicta and Camponotus rufipes, occurring on Pinus taeda.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    John Moser; Stacy Blomquist

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert B. Pape

    2016-09-01

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

  9. Weed hosts of cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vennila, S; Prasad, Y G; Prabhakar, M; Agarwal, Meenu; Sreedevi, G; Bambawale, O M

    2013-03-01

    The exotic cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) invaded India during 2006, and caused widespread infestation across all nine cotton growing states. P. solenopsis also infested weeds that aided its faster spread and increased severity across cotton fields. Two year survey carried out to document host plants of P. solenopsis between 2008 and 2010 revealed 27, 83, 59 and 108 weeds belonging to 8, 18, 10 and 32 families serving as alternate hosts at North, Central, South and All India cotton growing zones, respectively. Plant species of four families viz., Asteraceae, Amaranthaceae, Malvaceae and Lamiaceae constituted almost 50% of the weed hosts. While 39 weed species supported P. solenopsis multiplication during the cotton season, 37 were hosts during off season. Higher number of weeds as off season hosts (17) outnumbering cotton season (13) at Central over other zones indicated the strong carryover of the pest aided by weeds between two cotton seasons. Six, two and seven weed hosts had the extreme severity of Grade 4 during cotton, off and cotton + off seasons, respectively. Higher number of weed hosts of P. solenopsis were located at roadside: South (12) > Central (8) > North (3) zones. Commonality of weed hosts was higher between C+S zones, while no weed host was common between N+S zones. Paper furnishes the wide range of weed hosts of P. solenopsis, discusses their significance, and formulated general and specific cultural management strategies for nationwide implementation to prevent its outbreaks.

  10. Phenotypic variation and identification of Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Jing; Watson, Gillian W; Sun, Yang; Tan, Yongan; Xiao, Liubin; Bai, Lixin

    2014-05-23

    Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is an invasive mealybug that seriously damages cotton and other important crops. In previous studies in China, the presence of two submedian longitudinal lines of pigmented spots on the dorsum of adult females frequently has been used to identify this species. However, the present study records the occasional absence of pigmented spots in a sample from Guangxi province, China. Specimens without pigmented spots showed all the molecular and morphological characters that separate P. solenopsis from the similar species P. solani Ferris, especially the distribution of multilocular disc pores. In different geographic populations of P. solenopsis in China, mitochondrial COI and nuclear 28SrDNA genes are very similar (99.8-100%), indicating that they are conspecific. For COI, the genetic distance between P. solenopsis and P. solani is more than 3%. A map of the distribution of P. solenopsis in China is given. To help identify both pigmented and non-pigmented P. solenopsis accurately, an identification key to the 16 species of Phenacoccus found in China is provided. The key also identifies five potentially invasive Phenacoccus species not yet established in China, in case they get introduced there.

  11. Fire Ants (Solenopsis spp. and Their Natural Enemies in Southern South America

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan Briano

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We review the fire ant research conducted by the ARS-South American Biological Control Laboratory (SABCL since 1987 to find a complex of natural enemies in southern South America and evaluate their specificity and suitability for field release as self-sustaining biological control agents. We also include those studies conducted by the ARS-Center for Medical, Agriculture, and Veterinary Entomology in the United States with the SABCL collaboration. Ecological and biological information is reported on local fire ants and their microsporidia, nematodes, viruses, phorid flies, eucharitid wasps, strepsiptera, and parasitic ants. Their biology, abundance, distribution, detrimental effect, field persistence, specificity, and phenology are discussed. We conclude that the objectives of the ARS program in South America are being achieved and that the pioneering studies have served to encourage further investigations in the United States and other countries and advanced the implementation of biological control programs to decrease imported fire ant densities and damage. Still, several promising organisms should be further investigated for eventual field release in the near future.

  12. Dicty_cDB: Contig-U06298-1 [Dicty_cDB

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available tyostelium discoideum vegetative cDNA clone:VS... 285 1e-72 1 ( EE133340 ) SiJWA08ADK Lausanne fire ant library...2812( AM114193 |pid:none) Uncultured methanogenic archaeo... 53 8e-06 CP001400_1176( CP001400 |pid:none) Sulfolobus islandicu... Solenopsis i... 70 2e-16 2 ( EE147225 ) SiJWA11BCW2 Lausanne fire ant library Solenops...is ... 70 2e-16 2 ( EE135511 ) SiJWG03BAL Lausanne fire ant library Solenopsis i... 70 2e-16 2 ( EE141156 ) SiJWG10CAP Lausanne fire... ant library Solenopsis i... 70 2e-16 2 ( EE142395 ) SiJWC03BCA2 Lausanne fire

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David J Gonthier

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Diehl

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-08-01

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

  17. Soil carabids and ants in two farming areas of yellow passion fruit (passiflora edulis) at Valle del Cauca, Colombia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arenas, Anderson; Armbrecht, Inge; Chacon, Patricia

    2013-01-01

    The fauna of beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and ants that survive in the soil of a passion fruit crop under conventional management in Roldanillo-Valle del Cauca was examined, in March and May (rainy season) and in June and July (dry season), 2012. We carried out four samplings of monthly intensity in two plots with plants of different ages, and registered the species found. We found 149 individuals of Carabidae, distributed into ten species and 2447 ants, distributed in 19 morphospecies. The most abundant species of ants was Solenopsis geminata, while Megacephala (Tetracha) sobrina was the most abundant species of Carabidae. It was also found that the abundance and richness of carabid beetles tend to be higher in the rainy season, while some ant species showed a preference for specific seasonal periods. We conclude that a rich fauna of ground carabids and ants survives in the study area, which could contribute in the control of phytophagous insects populations associated with the crops of passion fruit.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari T Ryder Wilkie

    2010-10-01

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

  19. The cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae as a new menace to cotton in Egypt and its chemical control

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    El-Zahi El-Zahi Saber

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available The cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae is a polyphagous sap sucking insect with a wide geographical and host range causing severe losses in economically important crops. This study represents the first record of P. solenopsis as a new insect attacking cotton plants (Gossypium barbadense var. Giza 86 in Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, Egypt. The insect was noticed on cotton plants for the first time during its growing season of 2014. The mealybug specimens were collected from infested cotton plants and identified as P. solenopsis. In an attempt to control this pest, eight toxic materials viz., imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, flonicamid, emamectin-benzoate, chlorpyrifos, methomyl, deltamethrin and mineral oil (KZ-oil, belonging to different chemical groups, were tested for their influence against P. solenopsis on cotton under field conditions. Methomyl, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and chlorpyrifos showed the highest efficacy against P. solenopsis recording 92.3 to 80.4% reduction of the insect population. Flonicamid, emamectin-benzoate and KZ-oil failed to exhibit sufficient P. solenopsis control.

  20. GOPHERUS AGASSIZII (Desert Tortoise)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    JAMES L. BOONE, DANNY L. RAKESTRAW, AND KURT R. RAUTENSTRAUCH

    1997-01-01

    GOPHERLTS AGAISSIZII (Desert Tortoise). Predation. A variety of predators, most notably coyotes (Canis Iatrans) and Common Ravens (Corvis corau) have been reported to prey on hatchling desert tortoises (Emst et al. 1994). Turtles of the United States and Canada (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 578 pp.). Here, we report an observation of a hatchling tortoise, fitted with a radiotransmitter, that was preyed upon by native fire ants (Solenopsis sp.) in the eastern Mojave Desert at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (36 degrees 50 minutes N, 116 degree 25 minutes E). On 8/27/94, tortoise No.9315 (carapace length = 45 mm, age = 5 d) was found alive with eyes, chin, and parts of the head and legs being eaten by ants. The tortoise was alive, but lethargic, and responded little when touched. Eight of 74 other radiomarked hatchlings monitored at Yucca Mountain during 1992-1994 were found dead with fire ants on their carcass 3-7 days after the hatchlings emerged from their nests. It is not known whether those tortoises were killed by ants or were being scavenged when found. While imported fire ants (S. invicta) have long been known to kill hatchling gopher tortoises (G. polyphemus; Mount 1981. J. Alabama Acad. Sci. 52: 71-78), native fire ants have previously not been implicated as predators of desert tortoises. However, only 1 of 75 (or at worst 9 of 75) was killed by fire ants, suggesting that although fire ants do kill hatchlings, they were not important predators on desert tortoises during this study. Tortoise specimens were deposited at the University of California at Berkeley

  1. An empirical test of Lanchester's square law: mortality during battles of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    OpenAIRE

    Plowes, Nicola J.R; Adams, Eldridge S

    2005-01-01

    Lanchester's models of attrition describe casualty rates during battles between groups as functions of the numbers of individuals and their fighting abilities. Originally developed to describe human warfare, Lanchester's square law has been hypothesized to apply broadly to social animals as well, with important consequences for their aggressive behaviour and social structure. According to the square law, the fighting ability of a group is proportional to the square of the number of individual...

  2. Active insecticides for Diaphania hyalinata selective for the natural enemy Solenopsis saevissima.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguiar, Alex R; Alvarenga, Elson S; Lopes, Mayara C; Santos, Izailda B Dos; Galdino, Tarcisio V; Picanço, Marcelo C

    2016-09-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity of the nine synthetic dienamides against the insect pest Diaphania hyalinata (melonworm) and the selectivity of these substances for the predator Solenopsis saevissima (fire ant). Four bioassays were conducted. To begin with, the dienamides that caused high mortality of D. hyalinata have been selected. In the second bioassay the dose-mortality curves of the selected dienamides have been constructed. In the third bioassay, the survival curves for D. hyalinata and the elapsed time to kill 50% of their population have been determined. In the fourth biological test, the selectivity of the substances to the predator S. saevissima has been evaluated. The most active (2E,4E)-N-butylhexa-2,4-dienamide 3d has killed 95% of the melonworm, D. hyalinata, and less than 10% of the natural enemy S. saevissima. The results presented by this compound are superior to the outcome displayed by the commercial insecticide Malathion®. Three of the dienamides prepared in this manuscript have proven to be selective in killing the pest, but not the beneficial insect.

  3. Sex Pheromone of the Cotton Mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, with an Unusual Cyclobutane Structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tabata, Jun; Ichiki, Ryoko T

    2016-11-01

    The cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, the distribution of which was formerly limited to Nearctic and Neotropical regions, recently invaded many countries in various regions including Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. More recently, P. solenopsis was newly recorded in Japan and is currently an emerging pest of agricultural crops. In this study, we determined the structure of a sex pheromone of P. solenopsis in order to develop an effective lure for monitoring this pest. From volatiles emitted by virgin adult females, we isolated a compound attractive to males. By means of coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we identified this as (2,2-dimethyl-3-isopropylidenecyclobutyl)methyl 3-methylbut-2-enoate. This compound was synthesized and shown to be attractive to male P. solenopsis. Analysis by gas chromatography using an enantioselective stationary phase and polarimetry analyses of the natural pheromone and synthetic enantiomers showed the natural compound to be the (R)-(-)-enantiomer. This compound is an ester of maconelliol, which has an unusual cyclobutane structure found in sex pheromones of other mealybug species, and senecioic acid, also found in the pheromones of other mealybug species. However, this is the first example of the ester of maconelliol and senecioic acid as a natural product.

  4. Characterization of Phenacoccus solenopsis (Tinsley) (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) Resistance to Emamectin Benzoate: Cross-Resistance Patterns and Fitness Cost Analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Afzal, M B S; Shad, S A

    2016-06-01

    Cotton mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Tinsley) (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) is a sucking pest of worldwide importance causing huge losses by feeding upon cotton in various parts of the world. Because of the importance of this pest, this research was carried out to select emamectin resistance in P. solenopsis in the laboratory to study cross-resistance, stability, realized heritability, and fitness cost of emamectin resistance. After selection from third generation (G3) to G6, P. solenopsis developed very high emamectin resistance (159.24-fold) when compared to a susceptible unselected population (Unsel pop). Population selected to emamectin benzoate conferred moderate (45.81-fold), low (14.06-fold), and no cross-resistance with abamectin, cypermethrin, and profenofos, respectively compared to the Unsel pop. A significant decline in emamectin resistance was observed in the resistant population when not exposed to emamectin from G7 to G13. The estimated realized heritability (h (2)) for emamectin resistance was 0.84. A high fitness cost was associated with emamectin resistance in P. solenopsis. Results of this study may be helpful in devising insecticide resistance management strategies for P. solenopsis.

  5. Effects of piperidine and piperideine alkaloids from the venom of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, on Pythium ultimum Trow growth in vitro and the application of piperideine alkaloids to control cucumber..

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pythium ultimum Trow is a plant pathogen that causes significant yield losses on many economically important crops. Chemical seed treatment has been used for disease control. In searching for alternatives, the venom alkaloids from red imported fire ant were tested against P. ultimum in vitro and to ...

  6. Chemical Composition, Antifungal and Insecticidal Activities of Hedychium Essential Oils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kanniah Rajasekaran

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available The antimicrobial properties of essential oils have been documented, and their use as “biocides” is gaining popularity. The aims of this study were to analyze the chemical composition and assess the biological activities of Hedychium essential oils. Oils from 19 Hedychium species and cultivars were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS techniques. The antifungal and insecticidal activities of these oils were tested against Colletotrichum acutatum, C. fragariae, and C. gloeosporioides, and three insects, the azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti, and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta. Hedychium oils were rich in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, especially 1,8-cineole (0.1%–42%, linalool (<0.1%–56%, a-pinene (3%–17%, b-pinene (4%–31%, and (E-nerolidol (0.1%–20%. Hedychium oils had no antifungal effect on C. gloeosporioides, C. fragariae, and C. acutatum, but most Hedychium oils effectively killed azalea lace bugs. The oils also show promise as an adult mosquito repellent, but they would make rather poor larvicides or adulticides for mosquito control. Hedychium oils acted either as a fire ant repellent or attractant, depending on plant genotype and oil concentration.

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

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    CM. Kamura

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

  8. Fire Ants (Solenopsis spp.) and Their Natural Enemies in Southern South America

    OpenAIRE

    Briano, Juan; Calcaterra, Luis; Varone, Laura

    2012-01-01

    We review the fire ant research conducted by the ARS-South American Biological Control Laboratory (SABCL) since 1987 to find a complex of natural enemies in southern South America and evaluate their specificity and suitability for field release as self-sustaining biological control agents. We also include those studies conducted by the ARS-Center for Medical, Agriculture, and Veterinary Entomology in the United States with the SABCL collaboration. Ecological and biological information is repo...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marko Pećarević

    2010-10-01

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

  10. A Non-lethal water-based removal-reapplication technique for behavioral analysis of cuticular compounds of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roux, Olivier; Martin, Jean-Michel; Ghomsi, Nathan Tene; Dejean, Alain

    2009-08-01

    Interspecific relationships among insects are often mediated by chemical cues, including non-volatile cuticular compounds. Most of these compounds are hydrocarbons that necessitate the use of solvents for their extraction, identification, and manipulation during behavioral assays. The toxicity of these solvents often precludes the removal and reapplication of hydrocarbons from and to live insects. As a consequence, dummies often are used in behavioral assays, but their passivity can bias the behavior of the responding insects. To overcome these limitations, we propose a method where cuticular compounds are extracted from live ants by placing them into glass vials half-filled with tepid water (ca. 34 degrees C) and vigorously shaking the vials to form an emulsion whose supernatant can be analyzed and/or reapplied to other ants. We demonstrate that cuticular compounds can be extracted from workers of the red fire ant, Solenopsis saevissima, and reapplied to the cuticle of workers from a sympatric species, Camponotus blandus (both Hymenoptera: Formicidae), while keeping the ants alive. Gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis and behavioral assays were used to confirm the successful transfer of the behaviorally active compounds.

  11. Bioefficacy of gamma radiation on Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: pseudococcidae)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zarin, Mahtab; Zubeda; Seth, R.K.; Seth, Ranjana

    2012-01-01

    Ionizing radiation can be considered as a possible alternative for treating agricultural products to overcome quarantine barriers against the Solenopsis mealy bug, Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). Exposure of ionizing radiation is one of the quarantine treatments which penetrate commodities quickly and most commodities can tolerate irradiation at doses that kill the pest. Evaluation of various bio-characteristics (survival, metamorphosis and reproductive potential) of Phenacoccus solenopsis irradiated in various life stages was attempted to ascertain the lethal doses and sublethal doses having sterilizing potential. A dose of 40Gy administered to the first instar nymph (N 1 ) inhibited formation of adult male, whereas 100Gy checked the transformation of N 1 up to adult female. Males exhibited short life span and appeared to have no or limited role in progeny formation. Males were more radio-sensitive than the female mealy bugs. Further, in case of N 2 treatment, a dose of 100Gy completely inhibited adult male formation, and 150 Gy could completely inhibit male adult formation. The sexes were discernible only after N 2 . A dose of 500Gy given to female-N 3 totally inhibited adult formation. The developmental period of female N 3 was protracted with increase in radiation dosage. The efficacy of radiation at dose range, 5-300Gy, was evaluated on N 3 and N 4 male nymphs. Irradiation affected metamorphosis and reduced adult formation. For instance, a dose of 300Gy caused 0% male adult development from N 4 . 400Gy was almost sterilizing dose for 11-12 day old female mealy bug, and this sterilizing dose reduced oviposition by 28.1%; whereas 200Gy was found to induce sterility in 5-6 day old female mealy bug, with about 50% reduction in oviposition. The freshly emerged female adults (0-1 day old) was the most sensitive stage than the adult mealy bugs in their older phase, and it was completely sterilized by 40Gy. The data suggests a definite role of

  12. Bioclimatic Thresholds, Thermal Constants and Survival of Mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in Response to Constant Temperatures on Hibiscus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sreedevi, Gudapati; Prasad, Yenumula Gerard; Prabhakar, Mathyam; Rao, Gubbala Ramachandra; Vennila, Sengottaiyan; Venkateswarlu, Bandi

    2013-01-01

    Temperature-driven development and survival rates of the mealybug, Phenacoccussolenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) were examined at nine constant temperatures (15, 20, 25, 27, 30, 32, 35 and 40°C) on hibiscus ( Hibiscus rosa -sinensis L.). Crawlers successfully completed development to adult stage between 15 and 35°C, although their survival was affected at low temperatures. Two linear and four nonlinear models were fitted to describe developmental rates of P . solenopsis as a function of temperature, and for estimating thermal constants and bioclimatic thresholds (lower, optimum and upper temperature thresholds for development: Tmin, Topt and Tmax, respectively). Estimated thresholds between the two linear models were statistically similar. Ikemoto and Takai’s linear model permitted testing the equivalence of lower developmental thresholds for life stages of P . solenopsis reared on two hosts, hibiscus and cotton. Thermal constants required for completion of cumulative development of female and male nymphs and for the whole generation were significantly lower on hibiscus (222.2, 237.0, 308.6 degree-days, respectively) compared to cotton. Three nonlinear models performed better in describing the developmental rate for immature instars and cumulative life stages of female and male and for generation based on goodness-of-fit criteria. The simplified β type distribution function estimated Topt values closer to the observed maximum rates. Thermodynamic SSI model indicated no significant differences in the intrinsic optimum temperature estimates for different geographical populations of P . solenopsis . The estimated bioclimatic thresholds and the observed survival rates of P . solenopsis indicate the species to be high-temperature adaptive, and explained the field abundance of P . solenopsis on its host plants. PMID:24086597

  13. Bioclimatic thresholds, thermal constants and survival of mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis (hemiptera: pseudococcidae) in response to constant temperatures on hibiscus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sreedevi, Gudapati; Prasad, Yenumula Gerard; Prabhakar, Mathyam; Rao, Gubbala Ramachandra; Vennila, Sengottaiyan; Venkateswarlu, Bandi

    2013-01-01

    Temperature-driven development and survival rates of the mealybug, Phenacoccussolenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) were examined at nine constant temperatures (15, 20, 25, 27, 30, 32, 35 and 40°C) on hibiscus (Hibiscusrosa -sinensis L.). Crawlers successfully completed development to adult stage between 15 and 35°C, although their survival was affected at low temperatures. Two linear and four nonlinear models were fitted to describe developmental rates of P. solenopsis as a function of temperature, and for estimating thermal constants and bioclimatic thresholds (lower, optimum and upper temperature thresholds for development: Tmin, Topt and Tmax, respectively). Estimated thresholds between the two linear models were statistically similar. Ikemoto and Takai's linear model permitted testing the equivalence of lower developmental thresholds for life stages of P. solenopsis reared on two hosts, hibiscus and cotton. Thermal constants required for completion of cumulative development of female and male nymphs and for the whole generation were significantly lower on hibiscus (222.2, 237.0, 308.6 degree-days, respectively) compared to cotton. Three nonlinear models performed better in describing the developmental rate for immature instars and cumulative life stages of female and male and for generation based on goodness-of-fit criteria. The simplified β type distribution function estimated Topt values closer to the observed maximum rates. Thermodynamic SSI model indicated no significant differences in the intrinsic optimum temperature estimates for different geographical populations of P. solenopsis. The estimated bioclimatic thresholds and the observed survival rates of P. solenopsis indicate the species to be high-temperature adaptive, and explained the field abundance of P. solenopsis on its host plants.

  14. Genome-wide expression patterns and the genetic architecture of a fundamental social trait.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, John; Ross, Kenneth G; Keller, Laurent

    2008-07-18

    Explaining how interactions between genes and the environment influence social behavior is a fundamental research goal, yet there is limited relevant information for species exhibiting natural variation in social organization. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is characterized by a remarkable form of social polymorphism, with the presence of one or several queens per colony and the expression of other phenotypic and behavioral differences being completely associated with allelic variation at a single Mendelian factor marked by the gene Gp-9. Microarray analyses of adult workers revealed that differences in the Gp-9 genotype are associated with the differential expression of an unexpectedly small number of genes, many of which have predicted functions, implying a role in chemical communication relevant to the regulation of colony queen number. Even more surprisingly, worker gene expression profiles are more strongly influenced by indirect effects associated with the Gp-9 genotypic composition within their colony than by the direct effect of their own Gp-9 genotype. This constitutes an unusual example of an "extended phenotype" and suggests a complex genetic architecture with a single Mendelian factor, directly and indirectly influencing the individual behaviors that, in aggregate, produce an emergent colony-level phenotype.

  15. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom. XXV: The amino acid sequences of antigen 5 molecules and the structural basis of antigenic cross-reactivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffman, D R

    1993-11-01

    The complete amino acid sequences have been determined by solid-phase protein sequencing for eight different vespid venom antigen 5 molecules. These include five species of yellow jackets, Vespula squamosa, V. flavopilosa, V. germanica, V. pensylvanica and V. vidua, representing all three species groups; two variants from the European hornet, Vespa crabro; and a species of paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus, from a second subgenus. The new sequences were compared with the seven previously published sequences from yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps, and to that of Solenopsis invicta 3 allergen from imported fire ant venom. These comparisons provided structural evidence to support the observed high degree of cross-reactivity among the antigens of the common group of yellow jackets and among those of the two common North American subgenera of paper wasps studied. The antigen 5 of V. squamosa and of V. vidua were significantly different from those of the vulgaris group. Common features that could generate immunologic cross-reactivity were seen among the antigen 5 molecules of hornets of both genera and among those of yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps. The imported fire ant allergen has only minimal conserved areas in common with the vespid allergens, which explains the lack of observed IgE cross-reactivity. These results provide the structural basis for the cross-reactivity patterns observed in clinical practice and suggest that the commercial extracts of yellow jacket and paper wasp could be prepared with fewer carefully selected species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre Soliva Ribeiro

    2005-11-01

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

  18. Effect of Carbohydrate Supplementation on Investment into Offspring Number, Size, and Condition in a Social Insect.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bill D Wills

    Full Text Available Resource availability can determine an organism's investment strategies for growth and reproduction. When nutrients are limited, there are potential tradeoffs between investing into offspring number versus individual offspring size. In social insects, colony investment in offspring size and number may shift in response to colony needs and the availability of food resources. We experimentally manipulated the diet of a polymorphic ant species (Solenopsis invicta to test how access to the carbohydrate and amino acid components of nectar resources affect colony investment in worker number, body size, size distributions, and individual percent fat mass. We reared field-collected colonies on one of four macronutrient treatment supplements: water, amino acids, carbohydrates, and amino acid and carbohydrates. Having access to carbohydrates nearly doubled colony biomass after 60 days. This increase in biomass resulted from an increase in worker number and mean worker size. Access to carbohydrates also altered worker body size distributions. Finally, we found a negative relationship between worker number and size, suggesting a tradeoff in colony investment strategies. This tradeoff was more pronounced for colonies without access to carbohydrate resources. The monopolization of plant-based resources has been implicated in the ecological success of ants. Our results shed light on a possible mechanism for this success, and also have implications for the success of introduced species. In addition to increases in colony size, our results suggest that having access to plant-based carbohydrates can also result in larger workers that may have better individual fighting ability, and that can withstand greater temperature fluctuations and periods of food deprivation.

  19. Desert Tortoise Head-start Program at Twentynine Palms Marine Base

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-02

    starting method, extinction , predation, mortality, survivorship Kenneth An Nagy, Scott Hillard University of California - Los Angeles Regents of the...the netting problems were corrected. The remaining two predators were ants : native fire ants (Solenopsis xyloni—already known as hatchling...predators from another study site) and common Harvester Ants , Pogonomyrmex californicus. Both have been controlled when and where necessary by cautious use

  20. Behavioral and olfactory antennal responses of Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) workers to their Dufour gland secretion

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brindis, Yolanda; Gomez y Gomez, Beningno; Rojas, Julio C.; Malo, Edi A.; Cruz-Lopez, Leopoldo [El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Tapachula, Chiapas (Mexico); Lachaud, Jean P. [Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CRCA), CNRS-UMR5169, Toulouse (France). Univ. Paul-Sabatier

    2008-03-15

    Behavioral and electrophysiological tests were performed to evaluate the responses of workers of the ant Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) from different size categories to Dufour gland extracts. Morphometric measures based in head widths across eyes were used to determine worker sizes. Trail following response of different worker sizes to Dufour gland extract from workers of different sizes was assessed. For each worker size category olfactory responses to Dufour gland extracts were determined using electroantennography (EAG). Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were used to determine the chromatographic profile of Dufour gland secretion for each worker size. Morphometric measures permitted to classify the workers of S. geminata as large, medium and small workers. Medium S. geminata workers displayed a significantly higher behavioral response to Dufour gland extracts produced by medium size workers. Similarly, medium workers showed a significantly higher EAG response to Dufour gland extracts produced by medium sized workers. Chromatographic profile of Dufour gland secretions produced by workers showed that each size category exhibited a characteristic profile of the three main components considered as potential trail pheromone constituents. This work showed that medium workers of S. geminata exhibited a high trail-following behavior as well as a high antennal response to Dufour gland secretion. This and their relative abundance in field foraging areas, suggest that medium-sized workers are specialized in foraging activities. (author)

  1. The ant genomes have been invaded by several types of mariner transposable elements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorite, Pedro; Maside, Xulio; Sanllorente, Olivia; Torres, María I.; Periquet, Georges; Palomeque, Teresa

    2012-12-01

    To date, only three types of full-length mariner elements have been described in ants, each one in a different genus of the Myrmicinae subfamily: Sinvmar was isolated from various Solenopsis species, Myrmar from Myrmica ruginodis, and Mboumar from Messor bouvieri. In this study, we report the coexistence of three mariner elements ( Tnigmar- Si, Tnigmar- Mr, and Tnigmar- Mb) in the genome of a single species, Tapinoma nigerrimum (subfamily Dolichoderinae). Molecular evolutionary analyses of the nucleotide sequence data revealed a general agreement between the evolutionary history of most the elements and the ant species that harbour them, and suggest that they are at the vertical inactivation stage of the so-called Mariner Life Cycle. In contrast, significantly reduced levels of synonymous divergence between Mboumar and Tnigmar- Mb and between Myrmar and Botmar (a mariner element isolated from Bombus terrestris), relative to those observed between their hosts, suggest that these elements arrived to the species that host them by horizontal transfer, long after the species' split. The horizontal transfer events for the two pairs of elements could be roughly dated within the last 2 million years and about 14 million years, respectively. As would be expected under this scenario, the coding sequences of the youngest elements, Tnigmar- Mb and Mboumar, are intact and, thus, potentially functional. Each mariner element has a different chromosomal distribution pattern according to their stage within the Mariner Life Cycle. Finally, a new defective transposable element ( Azteca) has also been found inserted into the Tnigmar- Mr sequences showing that the ant genomes have been invaded by at least four different types of mariner elements.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabio Villani

    2008-10-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Debora R. de Souza

    2012-01-01

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

  4. A checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae of the department of Antioquia, Colombia and new records for the country

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erika Valentina Vergara-Navarro

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Antioquia is a state (department of Colombia, located in the northwestern Andes of South America. Geologically, the northwestern region of the Western Range in Antioquia and Chocó includes the fault resulting from the connection between the Isthmus of Panamá and South America. The Occidental and Central cordilleras in Colombia are characterized by a number of reliefs, valleys and water basins, containing historical biological refuges and endemisms. In this study, we present the first species-level checklist of the 255 species (in 64 genera and 14 subfamilies of ants currently known in Antioquia. One hundred and fifty-two (152 species had previously been registered for the state in different publications. Here, 103 additional species are recognized. Most of these species are distributed in other bioregions of the country as well. Forty-six percent are present in the Amazon Province and 36% in the Colombian Orinoco River basin. Less than 3% are found in the arid lands of the Colombian Caribbean area, Guyana, and the Colombian Pacific Province, plus the Caribbean islands. Sixty-three percent of the species are shared with Costa Rica. Our checklist constitutes the largest roster of ants at the species level for a state in Colombia to date and constitutes the beginning of the assessment of ant diversity in Antioquia. Many more field trips are necessary to gain a better understanding of the ant composition of this state. The following 13 species are new to the records for Colombia: Azteca diabolica, Camponotus amoris, C. eurynotus, C. pachylepis, C. propinquus, C. tonduzi, Cerapachys toltecus, Cylindromyrmex whymperi, Myrmicocrypta urichi, Pheidole angulifera, Pseudomyrmex lisus, Solenopsis subterranea and Trachymyrmex zeteki

  5. Occurrence of Solenopsis saevissima F Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Damaging Schizolobium amazonicum

    OpenAIRE

    Lunz, Alexandre M; Harada, Ana Y; Aguiar, Tanice da S; Cardoso, Andreza S

    2009-01-01

    São descritas pela primeira vez injúrias causadas por Solenopsis saevissima F Smith em árvores de paricá, Schizolobium amazonicum, em Dom Eliseu, PA. Essa formiga ataca folhas e o fuste, onde são abertos orifícios e galerias, até a região apical da planta. Brotos terminais e novas brotações também são atacados e destruídos, prejudicando a formação de um tronco retilíneo e uniforme para comercialização. Ninhos arborícolas construídos pelas formigas foram observados em algumas plantas. Injur...

  6. Catalogue of Dacetini and Solenopsidini ant type specimens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica Antunes Ulysséa

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The present catalogue lists ant (Formicidae types of the Myrmicinae tribes Dacetini (Acanthognathus and Strumigenys and Solenopsidini (Allomeurs, Carebarella, Megalomyrmex, Monomorium, Oxyepoecus, Solenopsis, Carebara and Tropidomyrmex housed in the Formicidae collection of the Laboratório de Hymenoptera, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo/MZSP, Brazil. In total, the collection includes 141 types of these tribes, 41 of the Dacetini (nine holotypes and paratypes, 15 holotypes, 13 paratypes and four syntypes and 100 of the Solenopsidini (28 holotypes and paratypes, eight holotypes, 29 paratypes, 27 syntypes, four lectotypes and paralectotypes, one lectotype and three paralectotypes, of which 37 and 89 are of still recognized species, respectively. We record label information, condition of the specimens, nomenclatural changes and type status, as well as provide indexes of the listed taxa.

  7. Dicty_cDB: Contig-U16468-1 [Dicty_cDB

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available 04 3 ( GE650452 ) EST0779 Tender roots cDNA library of tea plant Ca... 44 4e-04 3 ( AU267323 ) Dictyostelium discoideum vegetati...52475 ) EST2802 Tender roots cDNA library of tea plant Ca... 54 0.007 1 ( DW079867 ) CLPX2381.b1_I19.ab1 CLP(XYZ) lettuce pere...ae, tobacco... 46 6e-08 3 ( EE147643 ) SiJWD11BDW Lausanne fire ant library Solenopsis i...6 2 ( GE652597 ) EST2924 Tender roots cDNA library of tea plant Ca... 50 6e-06 3 ( DW013875 ) w6k19_M13F Myzus persic...histosoma manso... 42 7e-06 3 ( EE128458 ) SiJWF01ACB Lausanne fire ant library Solenopsis i... 34 7e-06 4 (

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

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

  9. ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  10. A Framework for Spatial Risk Assessments: Potential Impacts of Nonindigenous Invasive Species on Native Species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig R. Allen

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available Many populations of wild animals and plants are declining and face increasing threats from habitat fragmentation and loss as well as exposure to stressors ranging from toxicants to diseases to invasive nonindigenous species. We describe and demonstrate a spatially explicit ecological risk assessment that allows for the incorporation of a broad array of information that may influence the distribution of an invasive species, toxicants, or other stressors, and the incorporation of landscape variables that may influence the spread of a species or substances. The first step in our analyses is to develop species models and quantify spatial overlap between stressor and target organisms. Risk is assessed as the product of spatial overlap and a hazard index based on target species vulnerabilities to the stressor of interest. We illustrate our methods with an example in which the stressor is the ecologically destructive nonindigenous ant, Solenopsis invicta, and the targets are two declining vertebrate species in the state of South Carolina, USA. A risk approach that focuses on landscapes and that is explicitly spatial is of particular relevance as remaining undeveloped lands become increasingly uncommon and isolated and more important in the management and recovery of species and ecological systems. Effective ecosystem management includes the control of multiple stressors, including invasive species with large impacts, understanding where those impacts may be the most severe, and implementing management strategies to reduce impacts.

  11. A riqueza das formigas relacionada aos períodos sazonais em Caxiuanã durante os anos de 2006 e 2007 The ants wealth in relation to seasonal Caxiuanã periods during years 2006 and 2007

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sérgio Rodrigo Quadros dos Santos

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available A variabilidade temporal da fauna de formigas coletadas em Caxiuanã -PA, durante o protocolo de formigas de serrapilheira do Projeto TEAM/Caxiuanã , foram estudadas a partir das condições meteorológicas locais observadas nos meses de janeiro a abril (estação chuvosa, e julho a outubro (estação menos chuvosa, para os anos de 2006 e 2007. Para isso, foram utilizados dados meteorológicos da torre micrometeorológica de Caxiuanã . Durante a estação chuvosa, notou-se o predomínio de elevados valores de precipitação e umidade do solo, e baixas temperaturas do ar. Na estação menos chuvosa, observou-se comportamento oposto ao período chuvoso. Em geral, observou-se que a frequência de formigas é maior quando há redução da precipitação e da umidade do solo; e do aumento da temperatura do ar. Os gêneros das formigas Crematogaster, Hypoponera, Pheidole e Solenopsis apresentaram maior quantidade de indivíduos. Percebeu-se ainda, que as correlações estatísticas com função polinomial de segunda ordem, entre as variáveis atmosféricas e a frequência de formigas, mostram claramente que estas ocorrem de modo inverso com a precipitação e a umidade do solo, e direta com a temperatura do ar. Assim, os resultados deste estudo corroboram a alta variação da abundância dos quatro gêneros de formigas supracitados, em função das variáveis atmosféricas em áreas tropicais.The temporal variability of ant fauna collected in Caxiuanã -PA during the leaf litter ants protocol of the Project TEAM/Caxiuanã were studied based on the local meteorological conditions observed during the months from January to April (rainfall season, and July to October (dry season to 2006 to 2007. Data from the micrometeorological tower at Caxiuanã were used. During the rainfall season the predominance of high values of precipitation and soil moisture and low values of air temperatures is noted. In the dry season the opposite behavior compared to the

  12. Presence of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Westwood) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) stimulates burrowiong behavior by larvae of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva)(Diptera: Psychodidae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Harvey, J.A.; Hamilton, J.G.C.; Ward, R.D.

    2010-01-01

    The sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) vectors leishmaniasis in the neotropics. Although much is known about the biology of adult flies, little is known about interactions with its natural enemies. Here, we examined behavior of larvae of L4 L.longipalpis on a soil substrate when exposed to

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James M. Cook

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates. However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies. Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies (two separate colonies were used and previous diet (sugar only or sugar and protein. We found that the presence of larvae in the ant colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates. Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest. Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes.

  15. Fire Ant Bites

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oña, L; Lachmann, M

    2011-03-01

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

  17. Keanekaragaman dan struktur komunitas semut pada perkebunan lada di Lampung

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yudiyanto Yudiyanto

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The occurrence of ants in agricultural habitat is related to the availability of food resources as well as environmental condition for its nesting site. As predator, ants play an important role on controlling pest population in agricultural habitat. The objective of this research was to study the diversity of ants in pepper plantation. The research outcome can be used as basic information for cultivation management of pepper. Ecological observation was conducted in four regencies in Lampung Province with two selected plots on each regency. On each plot, ants were sampled using pitfall traps. In total, 28 ant species were recorded from pepper field in four regencies. Two species i.e. Anoplolepis gracilipes and Solenopsis geminataare well-known as tramp and invasive species. There is significantly different of ant species composition among regencies. The occurrence of ants in pepper plantationis probably affected by habitat condition surrounding pepper plantation and precipitation.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammed Faisal

    2016-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sudholt, Dirk

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vega, Clara; Herrera, Carlos M

    2013-04-01

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

  1. Taxonomic and Biological Characterization of Steinernema rarum Found in the Southeastern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nguyen, Khuong B.; Shapiro-Ilan, David I.; Fuxa, James R.; Wood, Bruce W.; Bertolotti, Maria A.; Adams, Byron J.

    2006-01-01

    Two Steinernema isolates found in Louisiana and Mississippi were later identified as isolates of S. rarum. DNA sequences of ITS regions of the United States isolates are identical with sequences of Argentinean S. rarum strains Samiento and Noetinger and differ by two bases from the Arroyo Cabral isolate from Córdoba, Argentina. SEM observations revealed several new structures in the isolates from the US: female face views have a hexagonal-star perioral disc and eye-shaped lips; some females do not have cephalic papillae; lateral fields of infective juveniles are variable; there are two openings observed close to the posterior edge of the cloaca. Virulence of the US isolates to Anthonomus grandis, Diaprepes abbreviatus, Solenopsis invicta, Coptotermes formosanus, Agrotis ipsilon, Spodoptera frugiperda, and Trichoplusia ni and reproductive potential were evaluated in comparison with other heterorhabditid and steinernematid nematodes. Results such as particularly high virulence to S. frugiperda indicate that the biocontrol potential of the new S. rarum strains merits further study. PMID:19259427

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G

    2014-06-22

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

  3. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John T Longino

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

  6. Pest repelling properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballantyne, Gavin; Willmer, Pat

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Pest repellent properties of ant pheromones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-10-22

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

  10. Beyond ANT

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jansen, Till

    2017-01-01

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

  11. Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan Andersen

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available Ecological patterns and processes are characteristically scale dependent, and research findings often cannot be translated easily from one scale to another. Conservation biology is challenged by a lack of congruence between the spatial scales of ecological research (typically involving small plots and land management (typically involving whole landscapes. Here, I discuss spatial scaling issues as they relate to an understanding of ant communities and, consequently, their use as bioindicators in land management. Our perceptions of fundamental patterns and processes in ant communities depend on scale: taxa that are behaviorally dominant at one scale are not necessarily so at others, functional groups recognized at one scale are often inappropriate for others, and the role of competition in community structure depends on the scale of analysis. Patterns of species richness and composition, and the ability of total richness to be estimated by surrogates, are all also scale dependent. Ant community ecology has a tradition of detailed studies in small plots, but the use of ants as bioindicators requires a predictive understanding of community structure and dynamics at a range of spatial scales. Such an appreciation of ant communities and their most effective use as bioindicators is best served by studies integrating results from plot-scale research with the broad-scale paradigms of biogeography, systematics, and evolutionary biology.

  13. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

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

  14. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

  15. The metapleural gland of ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Salyer

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

  18. Microsatellite primers for fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  19. Microsatellite Primers for Fungus-Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  20. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-10-01

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

  2. Sick ants become unsociable

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veen, G.F.; Olff, H.

    2011-01-01

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

  4. Roadside Survey of Ants on Oahu, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Carlos Da-Silva

    2012-07-01

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

  6. Induced remanent magnetization of social insects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wajnberg, E.; Cernicchiaro, G.; Acosta-Avalos, D.; El-Jaick, L.J.; Esquivel, D.M.S. E-mail: darci@cbpf.br

    2001-05-01

    The induced remanent magnetization (IRM) of honeybees Apis mellifera and ants as Pachycondyla marginata, a migratory species, and Solenopsis sp., a fire ant, was obtained using a SQUID magnetometer from 10 to 300 K. An anomalous sharp change of the remanent magnetization is observed at 67{+-}0.2 K for migratory ants. The IRM at room temperature indicates the presence of at least 10 times lower concentration of magnetic material in the whole fire ant as compared to the migratory ant abdomen (0.22{+-}0.33x10{sup -6} emu/ant, and 2.8{+-}1.2x10{sup -6} emu/abdomen, respectively). Our results in honeybee abdomen (4.6{+-}0.9x10{sup -6} emu/abdomen) agree with other reported values. IRM at room temperature in ants and honeybees indicates the presence of single domain (SD) or aggregates of magnetite nanoparticles. The loss of remanence from 77 to 300 K can be related to the stable-superparamagnetic (SPM) transition of small particles (less than ca. 30 nm). From these values and considering their estimated volumes an upper limit 10{sup 10} SPM and 10{sup 9} SD or aggregate particles are obtained in these insects.

  7. Induced remanent magnetization of social insects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wajnberg, E.; Cernicchiaro, G.; Acosta-Avalos, D.; El-Jaick, L.J.; Esquivel, D.M.S.

    2001-01-01

    The induced remanent magnetization (IRM) of honeybees Apis mellifera and ants as Pachycondyla marginata, a migratory species, and Solenopsis sp., a fire ant, was obtained using a SQUID magnetometer from 10 to 300 K. An anomalous sharp change of the remanent magnetization is observed at 67±0.2 K for migratory ants. The IRM at room temperature indicates the presence of at least 10 times lower concentration of magnetic material in the whole fire ant as compared to the migratory ant abdomen (0.22±0.33x10 -6 emu/ant, and 2.8±1.2x10 -6 emu/abdomen, respectively). Our results in honeybee abdomen (4.6±0.9x10 -6 emu/abdomen) agree with other reported values. IRM at room temperature in ants and honeybees indicates the presence of single domain (SD) or aggregates of magnetite nanoparticles. The loss of remanence from 77 to 300 K can be related to the stable-superparamagnetic (SPM) transition of small particles (less than ca. 30 nm). From these values and considering their estimated volumes an upper limit 10 10 SPM and 10 9 SD or aggregate particles are obtained in these insects

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. The interactions of ants with their biotic environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Renner, Susanne S

    2017-03-15

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

  10. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yuanshi; Wang, Shikun

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  18. The distribution of weaver ant pheromones on host trees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2007-01-01

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

  19. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-24

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

  1. Monoculture of leafcutter ant gardens.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulrich G Mueller

    2010-09-01

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

  2. The distribution and diversity of insular ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  3. Antígona y la muerte

    OpenAIRE

    Pérez Alcolea, Simona Micaela

    2012-01-01

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

  4. From Ant Trails to Pedestrian Dynamics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Schadschneider

    2003-01-01

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

  5. Ants defend aphids against lethal disease

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  6. Collective search by ants in microgravity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stefanie M. Countryman

    2015-03-01

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

  7. The impact of some environmental factors on the fecundity of phenacoccus solenopsis tinsley (hemiptera: pseudococcidae): a serious pest of cotton and other crops

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abbas, G.; Arif, M.J.; Aslam, M.

    2010-01-01

    Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Pseudococcidae) was first recorded on cultivated cotton from Texas, USA in 1991. Since 2005, this New World species has emerged as serious pest of cotton in Pakistan and India, and is now a serious threat to cotton in China and other cotton-growing countries worldwide. The species is polyphagous and invasive, and can attack many other economic crops. So far, it has been reported from 173 species in 54 plant families, and from 26 countries in different ecological zones. The study found that host plant species and meteorological conditions had significant effects, whereas locality had no significant effect on the fecundity of the mealybug. (author)

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Priscila Andre Sanz-Veiga

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

  9. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Axel Touchard

    2016-01-01

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

  10. The Biochemical Toxin Arsenal from Ant Venoms

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

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

  12. Ants Orase kultuurisõnum

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2007-01-01

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

  13. Ant-plant symbioses: Stalking the chuyachaqui.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davidson, D W; McKey, D

    1993-09-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  15. ANT, tourism and situated globality

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    viable descriptions of the collective condition of humans and more-than-humans in the Anthropocene. Also and moving past a merely descriptive approach, it discusses it as a useful tool to engage with the situated globalities which come into being through the socio-spatial coupling of tourism......In recent years Actor-network theory (ANT) has increasingly been felt in the field of tourism studies (Van der Duim, Ren, & Jóhannesson, 2012). An important implication of the meeting between ANT and tourism studies is the notion of tourism being described as a heterogeneous assemblage of what we...... are used to define as the separate spheres of nature and culture. This paper explores and relates the central tenets of ANT in tourism with regard to the concept of the Anthropocene. It presents the ANT approach as a flat and object-oriented ontology and methodology and explores its potentials to carve out...

  16. Recurrence analysis of ant activity patterns.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Felipe Marcel Neves

    Full Text Available In this study, we used recurrence quantification analysis (RQA and recurrence plots (RPs to compare the movement activity of individual workers of three ant species, as well as a gregarious beetle species. RQA and RPs quantify the number and duration of recurrences of a dynamical system, including a detailed quantification of signals that could be stochastic, deterministic, or both. First, we found substantial differences between the activity dynamics of beetles and ants, with the results suggesting that the beetles have quasi-periodic dynamics and the ants do not. Second, workers from different ant species varied with respect to their dynamics, presenting degrees of predictability as well as stochastic signals. Finally, differences were found among minor and major caste of the same (dimorphic ant species. Our results underscore the potential of RQA and RPs in the analysis of complex behavioral patterns, as well as in general inferences on animal behavior and other biological phenomena.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-10-01

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

  18. Formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae urbanas em um hospital no município de Luz, Estado de Minas Gerais - DOI: 10.4025/actascihealthsci.v32i1.5805 Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in a hospital in the city of Luz, Minas Gerais, Brazil - DOI: 10.4025/actascihealthsci.v32i1.5805

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Renata Bernardes Faria Campos

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available As formigas urbanas, quando presentes em ambientes hospitalares, tornam-se um perigo potencial à saúde pública, pelo fato de terem a capacidade de transportar organismos patogênicos, podendo essas estar diretamente associadas ao problema de infecção hospitalar. Durante o período de um ano, foram realizadas coletas de formigas em um hospital do município de Luz, Estado de Minas Gerais, utilizando-se iscas não-tóxicas. As mesmas foram distribuídas em 16 pontos de coleta, sendo três localizados na área externa e os demais na área interna do hospital. Foram encontradas formigas em 15 dos 16 pontos amostrados. Os gêneros mais abundantes foram Brachymyrmex e Tapinoma, sendo sua presença registrada tanto na parte externa, quanto na interna. Salienta-se, ainda, a presença do gênero Camponotus, observada, geralmente, onde há disponibilidade de alimento (como cozinha, quarto, refeitório e local de acondicionamento de lixo e falhas estruturais nas paredes. Também foram coletados, no hospital, Wasmannia, Pheidole, Linepithema, Monomorium, Dorymyrmex, Solenopsis e Paratrechina, totalizando-se dez gêneros. Nossos resultados indicam possíveis implicações da precariedade em estruturas de construção em hospitais e a importância da limpeza nesses ambientes.Urban ants, when present in hospital environments, can be a potential danger to public health, because they can carry pathogenic organisms and are possibly directly associated with the hospital cross infection problem. During a one-year period, collections were carried out, using non-toxic baits in a hospital of Luz, Minas Gerais State. The samples were distributed in 16 sites, being three outside and the others inside the hospital. Ants were found in 15 of the 16 sampled points. The most abundant genera were Brachymyrmex e Tapinoma, recorded inside and outside the hospital. The Camponotus genus was present as well, and generally collected where food was available (such as kitchen

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-07

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

  20. Incidence of a New Pest, the Cotton Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley, on Sesame in North Ethiopia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zenawi Gebregergis

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Sesame (Sesamum indicum is one of the most important cash crops grown extensively for its seeds in Ethiopia. Production of sesame in the country is very crucial in many aspects, but the invasion of the cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley, is becoming a big deal in its production. A survey for mealybug infestation was conducted during 2016 production season in 15 localities of “Kafta Humera” district so as to assess the incidence and severity of the pest. In each locality 2 sesame farms have been selected and 6 samples per farm (2 samples from the road sides, 2 from camp surrounding, and 2 from the central part of the farms have been checked. During the survey, “Bowal” and “Sherif Hamad” have scored the higher incidence and severity of mealybugs. Road sides and camp surrounding of the farms were shown to have severe infestation. Stony and oxen plowed farms were also intensively invaded with cotton mealybugs. The pest has different natural means to infest new areas; thus its control measure has to be developing timely.

  1. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, D.M.; Peck, R.W.; Manning, L.M.; Stringer, L.D.; Cappadonna, J.; El-Sayed, A. M.

    2008-01-01

    Disruption of Argentine ant trail following and reduced ability to forage (measured by bait location success) was achieved after presentation of an oversupply of trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal. Experiments tested single pheromone point sources and dispersion of a formulation in small field plots. Ant walking behavior was recorded and digitized by using video tracking, before and after presentation of trail pheromone. Ants showed changes in three parameters within seconds of treatment: (1) Ants on trails normally showed a unimodal frequency distribution of walking track angles, but this pattern disappeared after presentation of the trail pheromone; (2) ants showed initial high trail integrity on a range of untreated substrates from painted walls to wooden or concrete floors, but this was significantly reduced following presentation of a point source of pheromone; (3) the number of ants in the pheromone-treated area increased over time, as recruitment apparently exceeded departures. To test trail disruption in small outdoor plots, the trail pheromone was formulated with carnuba wax-coated quartz laboratory sand (1 g quartz sand/0.2 g wax/1 mg pheromone). The pheromone formulation, with a half-life of 30 h, was applied by rotary spreader at four rates (0, 2.5, 7.5, and 25 mg pheromone/m2) to 1- and 4-m2 plots in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Ant counts at bait cards in treated plots were significantly reduced compared to controls on the day of treatment, and there was a significant reduction in ant foraging for 2 days. These results show that trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ants is possible, but a much more durable formulation is needed before nest-level impacts can be expected. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    De La Riva, Deborah G.; Trumble, John T.

    2016-01-01

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

  3. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Clustering analysis is used in many disciplines and applications; it is an important tool that descriptively identifies homogeneous groups of objects based on attribute values. The ant colony clustering algorithm is a swarm-intelligent method used for clustering problems that is inspired by the behavior of ant colonies that cluster their corpses and sort their larvae. A new abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm using a data combination mechanism is proposed to improve the computational efficiency and accuracy of the ant colony clustering algorithm. The abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm is used to cluster benchmark problems, and its performance is compared with the ant colony clustering algorithm and other methods used in existing literature. Based on similar computational difficulties and complexities, the results show that the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm produces results that are not only more accurate but also more efficiently determined than the ant colony clustering algorithm and the other methods. Thus, the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm can be used for efficient multivariate data clustering. PMID:26839533

  4. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

    can be combined with the use of the ants in biological control programmes in tropical plantations where pest insects are converted into ant biomass. To assess the cost-benefits of ant farming based on artificial feeding, food consumption and food conversion efficiency (ECI) of Oecophylla smaragdina......Oecophylla ants are sold at high prices on several commercial markets as a human delicacy, as pet food or as traditional medicine. Currently markets are supplied by ants collected from the wild; however, an increasing interest in ant farming exists as all harvest is easily sold and as ant farming...... selling prices these efficiencies led to rates of return from 1.52 to 4.56, respectively, if: (i) protein is supplied from commercial products; or (ii) alternatively supplied from free sources such as insects and kitchen waste. These results suggest that Oecophylla ant farming may become highly profitable...

  6. A cellular automata model for ant trails

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    In this study, the unidirectional ant traffic flow with U-turn in an ant trail was investigated using one-dimensional cellular automata model. It is known that ants communicate with each other by dropping a chemical, called pheromone, on the substrate. Apart from the studies in the literature, it was considered in the model that ...

  7. Ant-Related Oviposition and Larval Performance in a Myrmecophilous Lycaenid

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew D. Trager

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We experimentally assessed ant-related oviposition and larval performance in the Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri. Ant tending had sex-dependent effects on most measures of larval growth: female larvae generally benefitted from increased tending frequency whereas male larvae were usually unaffected. The larger size of female larvae tended by ants resulted in a substantial predicted increase in lifetime egg production. Oviposition by adult females that were tended by C. floridanus ants as larvae was similar between host plants with or without ants. However, they laid relatively more eggs on plants with ants than did females raised without ants, which laid less than a third of their eggs on plants with ants present. In summary, we found conditional benefits for larvae tended by ants that were not accompanied by oviposition preference for plants with ants present, which is a reasonable result for a system in which ant presence at the time of oviposition is not a reliable indicator of future ant presence. More broadly, our results emphasize the importance of considering the consequences of variation in interspecific interactions, life history traits, and multiple measures of performance when evaluating the costs and benefits of mutualistic relationships.

  8. Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    1. With an expanding human population placing increasing pressure on the environment, agriculture needs sustainable production that can match conventional methods. Integrated pest management (IPM) is more sustainable, but not necessarily as efficient as conventional non-sustainable measures. 2...... in multiple crops. Their efficiency is comparable to chemical pesticides or higher, while at lower costs. They provide a rare example of documented efficient conservation biological control. 3. Weaver ants share beneficial traits with almost 13 000 other ant species and are unlikely to be unique...... of agricultural systems, this review emphasizes the potential of managing ants to achieve sustainable pest management solutions. The synthesis suggests future directions and may catalyse a research agenda on the utilization of ants, not only against arthropod pests, but also against weeds and plant diseases...

  9. ADAPTIVE ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION BASED GRADIENT FOR EDGE DETECTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Febri Liantoni

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is a nature-inspired optimization algorithm which is motivated by ants foraging behavior. Due to its favorable advantages, ACO has been widely used to solve several NP-hard problems, including edge detection. Since ACO initially distributes ants at random, it may cause imbalance ant distribution which later affects path discovery process. In this paper an adaptive ACO is proposed to optimize edge detection by adaptively distributing ant according to gradient analysis. Ants are adaptively distributed according to gradient ratio of each image regions. Region which has bigger gradient ratio, will have bigger number of ant distribution. Experiments are conducted using images from various datasets. Precision and recall are used to quantitatively evaluate performance of the proposed algorithm. Precision and recall of adaptive ACO reaches 76.98 % and 96.8 %. Whereas highest precision and recall for standard ACO are 69.74 % and 74.85 %. Experimental results show that the adaptive ACO outperforms standard ACO which randomly distributes ants.

  10. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) feed off a fungus they cultivate in a mutualistic symbiosis in underground chambers by providing it substrate they collect outside the colony. The tribe of Attine ants ranges from small colonies of the paleo- and basal Attine species with a few hundred workers that fo...... that the fungus evolved some incredible adaptations to a mutualistic life with the ants....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flanagan, Tatiana P; Pinter-Wollman, Noa M; Moses, Melanie E; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-01-01

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  12. Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me!

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Videos for Educators Search English Español Hey! A Fire Ant Stung Me! KidsHealth / For Kids / Hey! A ... Me picó una roja o colorada! What's a Fire Ant? There are many different types of fire ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiana P Flanagan

    Full Text Available Argentine ants (Linepithema humile live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources.

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana Santos de Jesus

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus.

  15. [Ants as carriers of microorganisms in hospital environments].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pereira, Rogério Dos Santos; Ueno, Mariko

    2008-01-01

    Concern exists regarding the real possibility of public health threats caused by pathogenic agents that are carried by urban ants. The present study had the objective of isolating and identifying the microorganisms that are associated with ants in hospital environments. One hundred and twenty-five ants of the same species were collected from different units of a university hospital. Each ant was collected using a swab soaked with physiological solution and was transferred to a tube containing brain heart infusion broth and incubated at 35 degrees C for 24 hours. From each tube, with growth, inoculations were made into specific culturing media, to isolate any microorganisms. The ants presented a high capacity for carrying microorganism groups: spore-producing Gram-positive bacilli 63.5%, Gram-negative bacilli 6.3%, Gram-positive cocci 23.1%, filamentous fungi 6.7% and yeast 0.5%. Thus, it can be inferred that ants may be one of the agents responsible for disseminating microorganisms in hospital environments.

  16. Cuando dialogan dos Antígonas: La tumba de Antígona de María Zambrano y Antígona furiosa de Griselda Gambaro

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rose Duroux

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Antígona ha sido un tópico por más de 2.000 años, participando de una historia que siempre puede ser reconocida. Tanto la Guerra Civil española como la dictadura argentina vieron surgir Antígonas en busca de justicia. A partir de los trabajos de María Zambrano y Griselda Gambaro, este artículo busca rehabilitar discursivamente estas versiones. Por un lado, la filósofa española nunca regresó del exilio iniciado en 1939 y defendió hasta el final los valores republicanos. Cuando asumió que su expatriación era irreversible, ingresó en un exilio profundo del cual Antígona revela lo esencial, pasando de la "privación" a la "revelación" tanto en un modo filosófico como en el poético, tanto en sus ensayos como en su única pieza teatral, La Tumba de Antígona [1967], una significativa metáfora de la guerra fratricida y del exilio. Por otro, Antígona furiosa [1986] de Gambaro, reescribe la tragedia de Sófocles cuando denuncia el terrorismo de estado argentino en una furiosa Antígona. Gambaro, hermana y madre de desaparecidos de la guerra sucia eleva su grito por justicia en nombre de la fraternidad humanaAntigone has been a topical figure for more than 2,000 years. She plays a part in a story that one can always identify. Spanish Civil War and Argentine dictatorship saw the birth of many Antigones seeking justice. Starting from the M. Zambrano and G. Gambaro's creations, this work rehabilitates the speech and the incarnations of the Iberian and Ibero-american Antigone. On the one hand, Spanish philosopher María Zambrano never came out of the exodus which began in 1939, and she defended the values of the Republic all the way. Once she acknowledged that expatriation was irreversible, she entered a profound exile of which Antigone reveals the essence, going from "deprivation" to "revelation" in a philosophical as well as a poetical manner, both in her essays and in her unique play, La Tumba de Antígona [1967], a striking metaphor

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Lucky

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

  19. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hooper-Bui, L.M. [Department of Environmental Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (United States); Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Kwok, E.S.C. [Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Buchholz, B.A., E-mail: buchholz2@llnl.gov [Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551 (United States); Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 (United States); Rust, M.K. [Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Eastmond, D.A. [Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States); Vogel, J.S. [Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551 (United States)

    2015-10-15

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of {sup 14}C-sucrose, {sup 14}C-hydramethylnon, and {sup 14}C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

  20. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2015-01-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 14 C-sucrose, 14 C-hydramethylnon, and 14 C-fipronil was shared between single donor and recipient ants. Dead workers and queens contained significantly more hydramethylnon (122.7 and 22.4 amol/μg ant, respectively) than did live workers and queens (96.3 and 10.4 amol/μg ant, respectively). Dead workers had significantly more fipronil (420.3 amol/μg ant) than did live workers (208.5 amol/μg ant), but dead and live queens had equal fipronil levels (59.5 and 54.3 amol/μg ant, respectively). The distribution of fipronil differed within the bodies of dead and live queens; the highest amounts of fipronil were recovered in the thorax of dead queens whereas live queens had the highest levels in the head. Resurgence of polygynous ant colonies treated with hydramethylnon baits may be explained by queen survival resulting from sublethal doses due to a slowing of trophallaxis throughout the colony. Bait strategies and dose levels for controlling insect pests need to be based on the specific toxicant properties and trophic strategies for targeting the entire colony.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Di Giulio

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

  2. Ant species confer different partner benefits on two neotropical myrmecophytes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E

    2005-04-01

    The dynamics of mutualistic interactions involving more than a single pair of species depend on the relative costs and benefits of interaction among alternative partners. The neotropical myrmecophytes Cordia nodosa and Duroia hirsuta associate with several species of obligately symbiotic ants. I compared the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia with respect to two benefits known to be important in ant-myrmecophyte interactions: protection against herbivores provided by ants, and protection against encroaching vegetation provided by ants. Azteca spp., Myrmelachista schumanni, and Allomerus octoarticulatus demerarae ants all provide the leaves of Cordia and Duroia some protection against herbivores. However, Azteca and Allomerus provide more protection than does Myrmelachista to the leaves of their host plants. Although Allomerus protects the leaves of its hosts, plants occupied by Allomerus suffer more attacks by herbivores to their stems than do plants occupied by other ants. Relative to Azteca or Allomerus, Myrmelachista ants provide better protection against encroaching vegetation, increasing canopy openness over their host plants. These differences in benefits among the ant partners of Cordia and Duroia are reflected in the effect of each ant species on host plant size, growth rate, and reproduction. The results of this study show how mutualistic ant partners can differ with respect to both the magnitude and type of benefits they provide to the same species of myrmecophytic host.

  3. Life-Histories of Sub-Arctic Ants

    OpenAIRE

    Heinze, Jürgen

    1993-01-01

    Ant species belonging to seven genera occur in habitats near the tree line in the Northern Hemisphere. An analysis of colony founding strategies suggests that in addition to physiological cold resistance, behavioral and sociometric adaptations might be important for survival and propagation of ants in subarctic biomes.

  4. Edge detection in digital images using Ant Colony Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marjan Kuchaki Rafsanjani

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is an optimization algorithm inspired by the behavior of real ant colonies to approximate the solutions of difficult optimization problems. In this paper, ACO is introduced to tackle the image edge detection problem. The proposed approach is based on the distribution of ants on an image; ants try to find possible edges by using a state transition function. Experimental results show that the proposed method compared to standard edge detectors is less sensitive to Gaussian noise and gives finer details and thinner edges when compared to earlier ant-based approaches.

  5. Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dash, Madhumita; Malladi, Anish

    2012-06-25

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  8. Influence of cover crops on insect pests and predators in conservation tillage cotton.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tillman, Glynn; Schomberg, Harry; Phatak, Sharad; Mullinix, Benjamin; Lachnicht, Sharon; Timper, Patricia; Olson, Dawn

    2004-08-01

    In fall 2000, an on-farm sustainable agricultural research project was established for cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., in Tift County, Georgia. The objective of our 2-yr research project was to determine the impact of several cover crops on pest and predator insects in cotton. The five cover crop treatments included 1) cereal rye, Secale cereale L., a standard grass cover crop; 2) crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum L., a standard legume cover crop; 3) a legume mixture of balansa clover, Trifolium michelianum Savi; crimson clover; and hairy vetch, Vicia villosa Roth; 4) a legume mixture + rye combination; and 5) no cover crop in conventionally tilled fields. Three main groups or species of pests were collected in cover crops and cotton: 1) the heliothines Heliothis virescens (F.) and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie); 2) the tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois); and 3) stink bugs. The main stink bugs collected were the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.); the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say); and the green stink bug, Acrosternum hilare (Say). Cotton aphids, Aphis gossypii Glover, were collected only on cotton. For both years of the study, the heliothines were the only pests that exceeded their economic threshold in cotton, and the number of times this threshold was exceeded in cotton was higher in control cotton than in crimson clover and rye cotton. Heliothine predators and aphidophagous lady beetles occurred in cover crops and cotton during both years of the experiment. Geocoris punctipes (Say), Orius insidiosus (Say), and red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren were relatively the most abundant heliothine predators observed. Lady beetles included the convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens Guérin-Méneville; the sevenspotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata L.; spotted lady beetle, Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer); and the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas). Density of G. punctipes was

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Toxic industrial deposit remediation by ant activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Toxic industrial deposits are often contaminated by heavy metals and the substrates have low pH values. In such systems, soil development is thus slowed down by high toxicity and acidic conditions which are unfavourable to soil fauna. Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) are considered tolerant to heavy metal pollution and are known to increase organic matter content and microbial activity in their nests. Here, we focused on soil remediation caused by three ant species (Formica sanguinea, Lasius niger, and Tetramorium sp.) in an ore-washery sedimentation basin near Chvaletice (Czech Republic). Soil samples were taken from the centre of ant nests and from the nest surroundings (>3 m from nests). Samples were then analyzed for microbial activity and biomass and contents of organic matter and nutrients. As a result, ant species that most influenced soil properties was F. sanguinea as there were higher microbial activity and total nitrogen and ammonia contents in ant nests than in the surrounding soil. We expected such a result because F. sanguinea builds conspicuous large nests and is a carnivorous species that brings substantial amounts of nitrogen in insect prey to their nests. Effects of the other two ant species might be lower because of smaller nests and different feeding habits as they rely mainly on honeydew from aphids or on plant seeds that do not contain much nutrients.

  11. Heat-induced symmetry breaking in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae escape behavior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuan-Kai Chung

    Full Text Available The collective egress of social insects is important in dangerous situations such as natural disasters or enemy attacks. Some studies have described the phenomenon of symmetry breaking in ants, with two exits induced by a repellent. However, whether symmetry breaking occurs under high temperature conditions, which are a common abiotic stress, remains unknown. In our study, we deposited a group of Polyrhachis dives ants on a heated platform and counted the number of escaping ants with two identical exits. We discovered that ants asymmetrically escaped through two exits when the temperature of the heated platform was >32.75°C. The degree of asymmetry increased linearly with the temperature of the platform. Furthermore, the higher the temperature of heated platform was, the more ants escaped from the heated platform. However, the number of escaping ants decreased for 3 min when the temperature was higher than the critical thermal limit (39.46°C, which is the threshold for ants to endure high temperature without a loss of performance. Moreover, the ants tended to form small groups to escape from the thermal stress. A preparatory formation of ant grouping was observed before they reached the exit, indicating that the ants actively clustered rather than accidentally gathered at the exits to escape. We suggest that a combination of individual and grouping ants may help to optimize the likelihood of survival during evacuation.

  12. Ants Orasest ja Anne Lange monograafiast / Jüri Talvet

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Talvet, Jüri, 1945-

    2005-01-01

    Arvustus: Oras, Ants. Luulekool. I, Apoloogia / koostajad Hando Runnel ja Jaak Rähesoo. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2003 ; Oras, Ants. Luulekool II, Meistriklass. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004 ; Lange, Anne. Ants Oras : [kirjandusteadlane, -kriitik ja tõlkija (1900-1982)]. Tartu : Ilmamaa, 2004

  13. Ant tending influences soldier production in a social aphid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shingleton, A W; Foster, W A

    2000-09-22

    The aphid Pseudoregma sundanica (Van der Goot) (Homoptera: Aphididae) has two defence strategies. It is obligatorily tended by various species of ant and also produces sterile soldiers. We investigated how they allocate their investment in these two strategies. We measured the size, number of soldiers, number and species of tending ant, and number and species of predators in P. sundanica populations. We found that the level of ant tending correlated negatively with soldier investment in P. sundanica. The species of tending ant also influenced soldier investment. We excluded ants from aphid populations and recorded changes in population size and structure over four weeks. Ant exclusion led to population decline and extinction. At the same time, surviving populations showed a significant increase in soldier investment. The data demonstrate that social aphids can adjust their investment in soldiers in direct response to environmental change.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, D P; Kronauer, D J C; Boomsma, J J

    2008-01-01

    A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs.......A recent study has discovered a novel extended phenotype of a nematode which alters its ant host to resemble ripe fruit. The infected ants are in turn eaten by frugivorous birds that disperse the nematode's eggs....

  15. Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fürst, Matthias A; Nash, David Richard

    2010-01-01

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

  17. What do myrmecophagous geckos eat when ants are not available ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Like other Pristurus species, P. samhaensis on Samha and P. sokotranus on Socotra were highly myrmecophagous (76.7% and 38.6% ants, respectively). However, ants were absent from the diet of P. samhaensis on Darsa. In contrast to the rich native ant fauna of the other islands, only one ant species was reported for ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyle M Turner

    Full Text Available Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds.

  19. Fuzzy Rules for Ant Based Clustering Algorithm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amira Hamdi

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides a new intelligent technique for semisupervised data clustering problem that combines the Ant System (AS algorithm with the fuzzy c-means (FCM clustering algorithm. Our proposed approach, called F-ASClass algorithm, is a distributed algorithm inspired by foraging behavior observed in ant colonyT. The ability of ants to find the shortest path forms the basis of our proposed approach. In the first step, several colonies of cooperating entities, called artificial ants, are used to find shortest paths in a complete graph that we called graph-data. The number of colonies used in F-ASClass is equal to the number of clusters in dataset. Hence, the partition matrix of dataset founded by artificial ants is given in the second step, to the fuzzy c-means technique in order to assign unclassified objects generated in the first step. The proposed approach is tested on artificial and real datasets, and its performance is compared with those of K-means, K-medoid, and FCM algorithms. Experimental section shows that F-ASClass performs better according to the error rate classification, accuracy, and separation index.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-06-01

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

  1. Competitive assembly of South Pacific invasive ant communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarty Megan

    2009-01-01

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

  2. Exploring with PAM: Prospecting ANTS Missions for Solar System Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-01-01

    ANTS (Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm), a large (1000 member) swarm of nano to picoclass (10 to 1 kg) totally autonomous spacecraft, are being developed as a NASA advanced mission concept. ANTS, based on a hierarchical insect social order, use an evolvable, self-similar, hierarchical neural system in which individual spacecraft represent the highest level nodes. ANTS uses swarm intelligence attained through collective, cooperative interactions of the nodes at all levels of the system. At the highest levels this can take the form of cooperative, collective behavior among the individual spacecraft in a very large constellation. The ANTS neural architecture is designed for totally autonomous operation of complex systems including spacecraft constellations. The ANTS (Autonomous Nano Technology Swarm) concept has a number of possible applications. A version of ANTS designed for surveying and determining the resource potential of the asteroid belt, called PAM (Prospecting ANTS Mission), is examined here.

  3. Egg-laying butterflies distinguish predaceous ants by sight.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Freitas, André V L; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2009-07-01

    Information about predation risks is critical for herbivorous insects, and natural selection favors their ability to detect predators before oviposition and to select enemy-free foliage when offspring mortality risk is high. Food plants are selected by ovipositing butterflies, and offspring survival frequently varies among plants because of variation in the presence of predators. Eunica bechina butterflies oviposit on Caryocar brasiliense, an ant-defended plant. Experiments with dried Camponotus and Cephalotes ants pinned to leaves revealed that butterflies use ant size and form as visual cues to avoid ovipositing on plant parts occupied by ants more likely to kill larval offspring. Presence of sap-sucking bugs did not affect butterfly oviposition. This is the first demonstration that visual recognition of predators can mediate egg-laying decisions by an insect herbivore and that an insect will discriminate among different species of potential predators. This unusual behavioral capability permits specialization on a risky, ant-defended food plant.

  4. Protection of Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae by a nectar-thieving ant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Q. ROMERO

    Full Text Available Vochysia elliptica (Vochysiaceae is a shrubby plant, which does not have EFNs. Camponotus ants thieve nectar, and can decrease plant fitness by making flowers less attractive to pollinators. However, ants remove herbivores, wich can be beneficial. Results show that plants from which ants were excluded had lower rates of termite (simulated herbivore removal than did plants visited by ants. Plants accessible to ants showed higher rates of termite removal in the base of leaves and in the inflorescence, than in the tip of leaves. This occurs because ants must pass through the principal axis to reach the inflorescence. Conclusive results of this cost/benefit analysis of the Camponotus sp. presence for V. elliptica can be obtained, with experimental manipulations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1997-10-01

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

  6. Competence of Litter Ants for Rapid Biodiversity Assessments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. H. Saumya E. Silva

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emilio M Bruna

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

  8. Disease dynamics in a specialized parasite of ant societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Ant exclusion in citrus over an 8-year period reveals a pervasive yet changing effect of ants on a Mediterranean spider assemblage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mestre, L; Piñol, J; Barrientos, J A; Espadaler, X

    2013-09-01

    Ants and spiders are ubiquitous generalist predators that exert top-down control on herbivore populations. Research shows that intraguild interactions between ants and spiders can negatively affect spider populations, but there is a lack of long-term research documenting the strength of such interactions and the potentially different effects of ants on the diverse array of species in a spider assemblage. Similarly, the suitability of family-level surrogates for finding patterns revealed by species-level data (taxonomic sufficiency) has almost never been tested in spider assemblages. We present a long-term study in which we tested the impact of ants on the spider assemblage of a Mediterranean citrus grove by performing sequential 1-year experimental exclusions on tree canopies for 8 years. We found that ants had a widespread influence on the spider assemblage, although the effect was only evident in the last 5 years of the study. During those years, ants negatively affected many spiders, and effects were especially strong for sedentary spiders. Analyses at the family level also detected assemblage differences between treatments, but they concealed the different responses to ant exclusion shown by some related spider species. Our findings show that the effects of experimental manipulations in ecology can vary greatly over time and highlight the need for long-term studies to document species interactions.

  10. Just follow your nose: homing by olfactory cues in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steck, Kathrin

    2012-04-01

    How is an ant-equipped with a brain that barely exceeds the size of a pinhead-capable of achieving navigational marvels? Even though evidences suggest that navigation is a multimodal process, ants heavily depend on olfactory cues-of pheromonal and non-pheromonal nature-for foraging and orientation. Recent studies have directed their attention to the efficiency of pheromone trail networks. Advances in neurophysiological techniques make it possible to investigate trail pheromone processing in the ant's brain. In addition to relying on pheromone odours, ants also make use of volatiles emanating from the nest surroundings. Deposited in the vicinity of the nest, these home-range markings help the ants to home after a foraging run. Furthermore, olfactory landmarks associated with the nest enhance ants' homing abilities. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Poulsen, Michael; Sapountzis, Panagiotis

    2012-01-01

    on the potential contribution of the ants’ gut symbionts. This issue of Molecular Ecology contains a study by Anderson et al. (2012), who take a comparative approach to explore the link between trophic levels and ant microbiomes, specifically, to address three main questions: (i) Do closely related herbivorous...... conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host. These findings suggest an ecological role of gut symbionts in ants, for example, in metabolism and/or protection, and the comparative approach taken supports a model of co-evolution between...... ant species and specific core symbiont microbiomes. This study, thereby, highlights the omnipresence and importance of gut symbioses—also in the Hymenoptera—and suggests that these hitherto overlooked microbes likely have contributed to the ecological success of the ants....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriela Pérez-Lachaud

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

  14. Histrionicotoxin alkaloids finally detected in an ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    Workers of the ant Carebarella bicolor collected in Panama were found to have two major poison-frog alkaloids, cis- and trans-fused decahydroquinolines (DHQs) of the 269AB type, four minor 269AB isomers, two minor 269B isomers, and three isomers of DHQ 271D. For the first time in an ant, however......) sp., were found to have a very similar DHQ complex but failed to show HTXs. Several new DHQ alkaloids of MW 271 (named in the frog as 271G) are reported from the above ants that have both m/z 202 and 204 as major fragment ions, unlike the spectrum seen for the poison-frog alkaloid 271D, which has...... only an m/z 204 base peak. Found also for the first time in skin extracts from the comparison frog Oophaga granulifera of Costa Rica is a trace DHQ of MW 273. It is coded as 273F in the frog; a different isomer is found in the ant....

  15. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bubak, Andrew N; Yaeger, Jazmine D W; Renner, Kenneth J; Swallow, John G; Greene, Michael J

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies are distributed systems that are regulated in a non-hierarchical manner. Without a central authority, individuals inform their decisions by comparing information in local cues to a set of inherent behavioral rules. Individual behavioral decisions collectively change colony behavior and lead to self-organization capable of solving complex problems such as the decision to engage in aggressive societal conflicts with neighbors. Despite the relevance to colony fitness, the mechanisms that drive individual decisions leading to cooperative behavior are not well understood. Here we show how sensory information, both tactile and chemical, and social context-isolation, nestmate interaction, or fighting non-nestmates-affects brain monoamine levels in pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum). Our results provide evidence that changes in octopamine and serotonin in the brains of individuals are sufficient to alter the decision by pavement ants to be aggressive towards non-nestmate ants whereas increased brain levels of dopamine correlate to physical fighting. We propose a model in which the changes in brain states of many workers collectively lead to the self-organization of societal aggression between neighboring colonies of pavement ants.

  16. Antílope

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro Anderson Martinho Moçambique

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Essa espécie de antílope só é encontrada em território angolano, sendo assim um símbolo nacional. Segundo a mitologia africana é símbolo de vivacidade, velocidade e beleza - Angola.

  17. Antílope

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro Anderson Martinho Moçambique

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Essa espécie de antílope só é encontrada em território angolano, sendo assim um símbolo nacional. Segundo a mitologia africana é símbolo de vivacidade, velocidade e beleza - Angola.

  18. Application of an Image Tracking Algorithm in Fire Ant Motion Experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lichuan Gui

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available An image tracking algorithm, which was originally used with the particle image velocimetry (PIV to determine velocities of buoyant solid particles in water, is modified and applied in the presented work to detect motion of fire ant on a planar surface. A group of fire ant workers are put to the bottom of a tub and excited with vibration of selected frequency and intensity. The moving fire ants are captured with an image system that successively acquires image frames of high digital resolution. The background noise in the imaging recordings is extracted by averaging hundreds of frames and removed from each frame. The individual fire ant images are identified with a recursive digital filter, and then they are tracked between frames according to the size, brightness, shape, and orientation angle of the ant image. The speed of an individual ant is determined with the displacement of its images and the time interval between frames. The trail of the individual fire ant is determined with the image tracking results, and a statistical analysis is conducted for all the fire ants in the group. The purpose of the experiment is to investigate the response of fire ants to the substrate vibration. Test results indicate that the fire ants move faster after being excited, but the number of active ones are not increased even after a strong excitation.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Evlyn Pless

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, J; Roces, F

    2003-04-01

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

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

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    Balaji Prabhakar

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  4. Diversity of Species and Behavior of Hymenopteran Parasitoids of Ants: A Review

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    Jean-Paul Lachaud

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Reports of hymenopterans associated with ants involve more than 500 species, but only a fraction unambiguously pertain to actual parasitoids. In this paper, we attempt to provide an overview of both the diversity of these parasitoid wasps and the diversity of the types of interactions they have formed with their ant hosts. The reliable list of parasitoid wasps using ants as primary hosts includes at least 138 species, reported between 1852 and 2011, distributed among 9 families from 3 superfamilies. These parasitoids exhibit a wide array of biologies and developmental strategies: ecto- or endoparasitism, solitary or gregarious, and idio- or koinobiosis. All castes of ants and all developmental stages, excepting eggs, are possible targets. Some species parasitize adult worker ants while foraging or performing other activities outside the nest; however, in most cases, parasitoids attack ant larvae either inside or outside their nests. Based on their abundance and success in attacking ants, some parasitoid wasps like diapriids and eucharitids seem excellent potential models to explore how parasitoids impact ant colony demography, population biology, and ant community structure. Despite a significant increase in our knowledge of hymenopteran parasitoids of ants, most of them remain to be discovered.

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

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    Maria Fernanda Miori de Zarzuela

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    behaviour is thought to be rare in one of the classic examples of cooperation--social insect colonies--because the colony-level costs of individual selfishness select against cues that would allow workers to recognize their closest relatives. In accord with this, previous studies of wasps and ants have...... found little or no kin information in recognition cues. Here, we test the hypothesis that social insects do not have kin-informative recognition cues by investigating the recognition cues and relatedness of workers from four colonies of the ant Acromyrmex octospinosus. Contrary to the theoretical...... prediction, we show that the cuticular hydrocarbons of ant workers in all four colonies are informative enough to allow full-sisters to be distinguished from half-sisters with a high accuracy. These results contradict the hypothesis of non-heritable recognition cues and suggest that there is more potential...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    significantly larger for ants challenged with virulent and mild pathogens/weeds than for controls and Escovopsis-challenged ants. We conclude that the MG defence system of leaf-cutting ants has characteristics reminiscent of an additional cuticular immune system, with specific and non-specific components......Ants have paired metapleural glands (MGs) to produce secretions for prophylactic hygiene. These exocrine glands are particularly well developed in leaf-cutting ants, but whether the ants can actively regulate MG secretion is unknown. In a set of controlled experiments using conidia of five fungi...

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

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    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.

  9. Aversive learning of odor-heat associations in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Desmedt, Lucie; Baracchi, David; Devaud, Jean-Marc; Giurfa, Martin; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2017-12-15

    Ants have recently emerged as useful models for the study of olfactory learning. In this framework, the development of a protocol for the appetitive conditioning of the maxilla-labium extension response (MaLER) provided the possibility of studying Pavlovian odor-food learning in a controlled environment. Here we extend these studies by introducing the first Pavlovian aversive learning protocol for harnessed ants in the laboratory. We worked with carpenter ants Camponotus aethiops and first determined the capacity of different temperatures applied to the body surface to elicit the typical aversive mandible opening response (MOR). We determined that 75°C is the optimal temperature to induce MOR and chose the hind legs as the stimulated body region because of their high sensitivity. We then studied the ability of ants to learn and remember odor-heat associations using 75°C as the unconditioned stimulus. We studied learning and short-term retention after absolute (one odor paired with heat) and differential conditioning (a punished odor versus an unpunished odor). Our results show that ants successfully learn the odor-heat association under a differential-conditioning regime and thus exhibit a conditioned MOR to the punished odor. Yet, their performance under an absolute-conditioning regime is poor. These results demonstrate that ants are capable of aversive learning and confirm previous findings about the different attentional resources solicited by differential and absolute conditioning in general. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  10. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants.

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    Andrew N Bubak

    Full Text Available Ant colonies are distributed systems that are regulated in a non-hierarchical manner. Without a central authority, individuals inform their decisions by comparing information in local cues to a set of inherent behavioral rules. Individual behavioral decisions collectively change colony behavior and lead to self-organization capable of solving complex problems such as the decision to engage in aggressive societal conflicts with neighbors. Despite the relevance to colony fitness, the mechanisms that drive individual decisions leading to cooperative behavior are not well understood. Here we show how sensory information, both tactile and chemical, and social context-isolation, nestmate interaction, or fighting non-nestmates-affects brain monoamine levels in pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum. Our results provide evidence that changes in octopamine and serotonin in the brains of individuals are sufficient to alter the decision by pavement ants to be aggressive towards non-nestmate ants whereas increased brain levels of dopamine correlate to physical fighting. We propose a model in which the changes in brain states of many workers collectively lead to the self-organization of societal aggression between neighboring colonies of pavement ants.

  11. Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  12. The invasion biology and sociogenetics of pharaoh ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, Anna Mosegaard

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

  13. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

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    Cornelia Buehlmann

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

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

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    Fatahuddin Fatahuddin

    2010-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinze, Jürgen; Frohschammer, Sabine; Bernadou, Abel

    2017-08-18

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E

    2009-05-01

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

  17. Fire Ant Allergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... venom in a fire ant sting will kill bacteria and some of your skin cells. This results in the formation of a blister that fills with a cloudy white material in about 24 hours. While this looks like a pus-filled lesion that should be drained, ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

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

  19. Ant colony search algorithm for optimal reactive power optimization

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    Lenin K.

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The paper presents an (ACSA Ant colony search Algorithm for Optimal Reactive Power Optimization and voltage control of power systems. ACSA is a new co-operative agents’ approach, which is inspired by the observation of the behavior of real ant colonies on the topic of ant trial formation and foraging methods. Hence, in the ACSA a set of co-operative agents called "Ants" co-operates to find good solution for Reactive Power Optimization problem. The ACSA is applied for optimal reactive power optimization is evaluated on standard IEEE, 30, 57, 191 (practical test bus system. The proposed approach is tested and compared to genetic algorithm (GA, Adaptive Genetic Algorithm (AGA.

  20. Individual-based ant-plant networks: diurnal-nocturnal structure and species-area relationship.

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    Wesley Dáttilo

    Full Text Available Despite the importance and increasing knowledge of ecological networks, sampling effort and intrapopulation variation has been widely overlooked. Using continuous daily sampling of ants visiting three plant species in the Brazilian Neotropical savanna, we evaluated for the first time the topological structure over 24 h and species-area relationships (based on the number of extrafloral nectaries available in individual-based ant-plant networks. We observed that diurnal and nocturnal ant-plant networks exhibited the same pattern of interactions: a nested and non-modular pattern and an average level of network specialization. Despite the high similarity in the ants' composition between the two collection periods, ant species found in the central core of highly interacting species totally changed between diurnal and nocturnal sampling for all plant species. In other words, this "night-turnover" suggests that the ecological dynamics of these ant-plant interactions can be temporally partitioned (day and night at a small spatial scale. Thus, it is possible that in some cases processes shaping mutualistic networks formed by protective ants and plants may be underestimated by diurnal sampling alone. Moreover, we did not observe any effect of the number of extrafloral nectaries on ant richness and their foraging on such plants in any of the studied ant-plant networks. We hypothesize that competitively superior ants could monopolize individual plants and allow the coexistence of only a few other ant species, however, other alternative hypotheses are also discussed. Thus, sampling period and species-area relationship produces basic information that increases our confidence in how individual-based ant-plant networks are structured, and the need to consider nocturnal records in ant-plant network sampling design so as to decrease inappropriate inferences.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-07-22

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

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

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    Jim Underwood

    2002-11-01

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

  3. The diversity of microorganisms associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants

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    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2002-05-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  5. Ants recognize foes and not friends

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies. Ants are good models for studying recognition mechanisms, because they are typically very efficient in discriminating ‘friends’ (nest-mates) from ‘foes’ (non-nest-mates). Recognition in ants involves multicomponent cues encoded in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Here, we tested whether workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus herculeanus use the presence and/or absence of cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate between nest-mates and non-nest-mates. We supplemented the cuticular profile with synthetic hydrocarbons mixed to liquid food and then assessed behavioural responses using two different bioassays. Our results show that (i) the presence, but not the absence, of an additional hydrocarbon elicited aggression and that (ii) among the three classes of hydrocarbons tested (unbranched, mono-methylated and dimethylated alkanes; for mono-methylated alkanes, we present a new synthetic pathway), only the dimethylated alkane was effective in eliciting aggression. Our results suggest that carpenter ants use a fundamentally different mechanism for nest-mate recognition than previously thought. They do not specifically recognize nest-mates, but rather recognize and reject non-nest-mates bearing odour cues that are novel to their own colony cuticular hydrocarbon profile. This begs for a reappraisal of the mechanisms underlying recognition systems in social insects. PMID:19364750

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth G Pringle

    2013-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Akçay, Erol; Raab, Ted K; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-11-01

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

  9. Ant colony algorithm for clustering in portfolio optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Subekti, R.; Sari, E. R.; Kusumawati, R.

    2018-03-01

    This research aims to describe portfolio optimization using clustering methods with ant colony approach. Two stock portfolios of LQ45 Indonesia is proposed based on the cluster results obtained from ant colony optimization (ACO). The first portfolio consists of assets with ant colony displacement opportunities beyond the defined probability limits of the researcher, where the weight of each asset is determined by mean-variance method. The second portfolio consists of two assets with the assumption that each asset is a cluster formed from ACO. The first portfolio has a better performance compared to the second portfolio seen from the Sharpe index.

  10. Automating ActionScript Projects with Eclipse and Ant

    CERN Document Server

    Koning, Sidney

    2011-01-01

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

  11. Carbohydrate supply limits invasion of natural communities by Argentine ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2009-08-01

    The ability of species to invade new habitats is often limited by various biotic and physical factors or interactions between the two. Invasive ants, frequently associated with human activities, flourish in disturbed urban and agricultural environments. However, their ability to invade and establish in natural habitats is more variable. This is particularly so for the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). While biotic resistance and low soil moisture limits their invasion of natural habitats in some instances, the effect of food availability has been poorly explored. We conducted field experiments to determine if resource availability limits the spread and persistence of Argentine ants in remnant natural forest in North Carolina. Replicated transects paired with and without sucrose solution feeding stations were run from invaded urban edges into forest remnants and compared over time using baits and direct counts at feeding stations. Repeated under different timing regimes in 2006 and 2007, access to sucrose increased local Argentine ant abundances (1.6-2.5 fold) and facilitated their progression into the forest up to 73 +/- 21% of 50-m transects. Resource removal caused an expected decrease in Argentine ant densities in 2006, in conjunction with their retreat to the urban/forest boundary. However, in 2007, Argentine ant numbers unexpectedly continued to increase in the absence of sugar stations, possibly through access to alternative resources or conditions not available the previous year such as honeydew-excreting Hemiptera. Our results showed that supplementing carbohydrate supply facilitates invasion of natural habitat by Argentine ants. This is particularly evident where Argentine ants continued to thrive following sugar station removal.

  12. Exotic ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Ohio

    OpenAIRE

    Ivanov,Kal

    2016-01-01

    The worldwide transfer of plants and animals outside their native ranges is an ever increasing problem for global biodiversity. Ants are no exception and many species have been transported to new locations often with profound negative impacts on local biota. The current study is based on data gathered since the publication of the “Ants of Ohio” in 2005. Here I expand on our knowledge of Ohio’s myrmecofauna by contributing new records, new distributional information and natural history notes. ...

  13. Individual Rules for Trail Pattern Formation in Argentine Ants (Linepithema humile)

    OpenAIRE

    Perna, Andrea; Granovskiy, Boris; Garnier, Simon; Nicolis, Stamatios C.; Labédan, Marjorie; Theraulaz, Guy; Fourcassié, Vincent; Sumpter, David J. T.

    2012-01-01

    We studied the formation of trail patterns by Argentine ants exploring an empty arena. Using a novel imaging and analysis technique we estimated pheromone concentrations at all spatial positions in the experimental arena and at different times. Then we derived the response function of individual ants to pheromone concentrations by looking at correlations between concentrations and changes in speed or direction of the ants. Ants were found to turn in response to local pheromone concentrations,...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  15. Ants: Major Functional Elements in Fruit Agro-Ecosystems and Biological Control Agents

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lamine Diamé

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Ants are a very diverse taxonomic group. They display remarkable social organization that has enabled them to be ubiquitous throughout the world. They make up approximately 10% of the world’s animal biomass. Ants provide ecosystem services in agrosystems by playing a major role in plant pollination, soil bioturbation, bioindication, and the regulation of crop-damaging insects. Over recent decades, there have been numerous studies in ant ecology and the focus on tree cropping systems has given added importance to ant ecology knowledge. The only missing point in this knowledge is the reasons underlying difference between the positive and negative effects of ants in tree cropping systems. This review article provides an overview of knowledge of the roles played by ants in orchards as functional elements, and on the potential of Oecophylla weaver ants as biological control agents. It also shows the potential and relevance of using ants as an agro-ecological diagnosis tool in orchards. Lastly, it demonstrates the potential elements which may determine the divergent negative and positive of their effects on cropping systems.

  16. Economy of scale: third partner strengthens a keystone ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prior, Kirsten M; Palmer, Todd M

    2018-02-01

    While foundation species can stabilize ecosystems at landscape scales, their ability to persist is often underlain by keystone interactions occurring at smaller scales. Acacia drepanolobium is a foundation tree, comprising >95% of woody cover in East African black-cotton savanna ecosystems. Its dominance is underlain by a keystone mutualistic interaction with several symbiotic ant species in which it provides housing (swollen thorns) and carbohydrate-rich nectar from extra-floral nectaries (EFN). In return, it gains protection from catastrophic damage from mega-herbivores. Crematogaster mimosae is the ecologically dominant symbiotic ant in this system, also providing the highest protection services. In addition to tending EFN, C. mimosae tend scale insects for carbohydrate-rich honeydew. We investigated the role of scale insects in this specialized ant-plant interaction. Specifically, does this putatively redundant third partner strengthen the ant-plant mutualism by making the ant a better protector of the tree? Or does it weaken the mutualism by being costly to the tree while providing no additional benefit to the ant-plant mutualism? We coupled observational surveys with two scale-manipulation experiments and found evidence that this third partner strengthens the ant-plant mutualism. Trees with scale insects experimentally removed experienced a 2.5X increase in elephant damage compared to trees with scale insects present over 10 months. Reduced protection was driven by scale removal causing a decrease in ant colony size and per capita baseline activity and defensive behavior. We also found that ants increased scale-tending and the density of scale insects on trees when EFN were experimentally reduced. Thus, in this system, scale insects and EFN are likely complementary, rather than redundant, resources with scale insects benefitting ants when EFN production is low (such as during annual dry periods in this semi-arid ecosystem). This study reveals that a third

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  18. Olfactory memory established during trophallaxis affects food search behaviour in ants

    OpenAIRE

    Provecho, Y.; Josens, R.

    2009-01-01

    Camponotus mus ants can associate sucrose and odour at the source during successive foraging cycles and use this memory to locate the nectar in the absence of other cues. These ants perform conspicuous trophallactic behaviour during recruitment while foraging for nectar. In this work, we studied whether Camponotus mus ants are able to establish this odour-sucrose association in the social context of trophallaxis and we evaluated this memory in another context previously experienced by the ant...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mooney, Kailen A; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2008-06-01

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

  20. Commentary: Warring ants

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Home; Journals; Journal of Biosciences; Volume 27; Issue 2. Commentary: Warring ants: Lessons from Lanchester's laws of combat? Renee M Borges. Volume 27 Issue 2 March 2002 pp 75-78. Fulltext. Click here to view fulltext PDF. Permanent link: https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jbsc/027/02/0075-0078 ...

  1. Individual Rules for Trail Pattern Formation in Argentine Ants (Linepithema humile)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perna, Andrea; Granovskiy, Boris; Garnier, Simon; Nicolis, Stamatios C.; Labédan, Marjorie; Theraulaz, Guy; Fourcassié, Vincent; Sumpter, David J. T.

    2012-01-01

    We studied the formation of trail patterns by Argentine ants exploring an empty arena. Using a novel imaging and analysis technique we estimated pheromone concentrations at all spatial positions in the experimental arena and at different times. Then we derived the response function of individual ants to pheromone concentrations by looking at correlations between concentrations and changes in speed or direction of the ants. Ants were found to turn in response to local pheromone concentrations, while their speed was largely unaffected by these concentrations. Ants did not integrate pheromone concentrations over time, with the concentration of pheromone in a 1 cm radius in front of the ant determining the turning angle. The response to pheromone was found to follow a Weber's Law, such that the difference between quantities of pheromone on the two sides of the ant divided by their sum determines the magnitude of the turning angle. This proportional response is in apparent contradiction with the well-established non-linear choice function used in the literature to model the results of binary bridge experiments in ant colonies (Deneubourg et al. 1990). However, agent based simulations implementing the Weber's Law response function led to the formation of trails and reproduced results reported in the literature. We show analytically that a sigmoidal response, analogous to that in the classical Deneubourg model for collective decision making, can be derived from the individual Weber-type response to pheromone concentrations that we have established in our experiments when directional noise around the preferred direction of movement of the ants is assumed. PMID:22829756

  2. Individual rules for trail pattern formation in Argentine ants (Linepithema humile.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Perna

    Full Text Available We studied the formation of trail patterns by Argentine ants exploring an empty arena. Using a novel imaging and analysis technique we estimated pheromone concentrations at all spatial positions in the experimental arena and at different times. Then we derived the response function of individual ants to pheromone concentrations by looking at correlations between concentrations and changes in speed or direction of the ants. Ants were found to turn in response to local pheromone concentrations, while their speed was largely unaffected by these concentrations. Ants did not integrate pheromone concentrations over time, with the concentration of pheromone in a 1 cm radius in front of the ant determining the turning angle. The response to pheromone was found to follow a Weber's Law, such that the difference between quantities of pheromone on the two sides of the ant divided by their sum determines the magnitude of the turning angle. This proportional response is in apparent contradiction with the well-established non-linear choice function used in the literature to model the results of binary bridge experiments in ant colonies (Deneubourg et al. 1990. However, agent based simulations implementing the Weber's Law response function led to the formation of trails and reproduced results reported in the literature. We show analytically that a sigmoidal response, analogous to that in the classical Deneubourg model for collective decision making, can be derived from the individual Weber-type response to pheromone concentrations that we have established in our experiments when directional noise around the preferred direction of movement of the ants is assumed.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  4. Weaver Ants to Control Fruit Fly Damage to Tanzanian Mangoes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kirkegaard, Nina

    in Australia and West Africa. In this study, small scale farmers did not think weaver ants protected their mangoes from fruit flies. Observational studies confirmed the farmers’ views. No volatile compounds, likely to be responsible for the weaver ants’ deterrent effect, were identified. This study focused...... mangoes varied a lot with zero infestation in some fruits and more than 100 pupae emerging from other fruits, indicating that other factors than the presence of weaver ants affect the fruit flies’ decision on where to oviposit. It was not uncommon for farmers to place newly harvested mangoes below mango...... not shown to be effectively deterring fruit flies, there is no great motivation for farmers to adopt weaver ants. Assuming the weaver ants could be managed in a way that made weaver ants deter fruit flies effectively there are still some economic aspects which should be studied further. It is necessary...

  5. Comparing different methods to assess weaver ant abundance in plantation trees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wargui, Rosine; Offenberg, Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are widely used as effective biological control agents. In order to optimize their use, ant abundance needs to be tracked. As several methods have been used to estimate ant abundance on plantation trees, abundances are not comparable between studies and no guideline...... is available on which method to apply in a particular study. This study compared four existing methods: three methods based on the number of ant trails on the main branches of a tree (called the Peng 1, Peng 2 and Offenberg index) and one method based on the number of ant nests per tree. Branch indices did...... not produce equal scores and cannot be compared directly. The Peng 1 index was the fastest to assess, but showed only limited seasonal fluctuations when ant abundance was high, because it approached its upper limit. The Peng 2 and Offenberg indices were lower and not close to the upper limit and therefore...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yoko Inui

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

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

  8. Uni-directional trail sharing by two species of ants a Monte Carlo study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kunduraci, T; Kayacan, O

    2015-01-01

    We study insect traffic, specifically ant traffic on a uni-directional trail which is shared by two species of ants, one of which is ‘good’ at smelling and the other ‘poor’. The two distinct species of ants are placed mixed on the same trail and individuals of both are permitted to make a U-turn when they encounter another ant in front of them. The theoretical scheme for the ant traffic is based on an asymmetric simple exclusion model. The ant traffic on the uni-directional trail is studied as a function of the number of ‘good-smelling’ ants and the evaporation probability of pheromones by keeping the number of ‘poor-smelling ants’ constant during Monte Carlo simulations. (paper)

  9. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-03-01

    perform functions such as nursing the brood or maintaining the nest. The more mature workers will begin to travel outside the nest to perform foraging...small sized ants predominantly act in functional roles such as nurses or transport services within the nest. The larger sizes predominantly function...stages: the founding stage, the ergonomic stage, and the reproductive stage. The founding stage is marked by a queen ant successful mating and laying

  10. Revolutionizing Remote Exploration with ANTS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, P. E.; Rilee, M. L.; Curtis, S.; Truszkowski, W.

    2002-05-01

    We are developing the Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm (ANTS) architecture based on an insect colony analogue for the cost-effective, efficient, systematic survey of remote or inaccessible areas with multiple object targets, including planetary surface, marine, airborne, and space environments. The mission context is the exploration in the 2020s of the most compelling remaining targets in the solar system: main belt asteroids. Main belt asteroids harbor important clues to Solar System origins and evolution which are central to NASA's goals in Space Science. Asteroids are smaller than planets, but their number is far greater, and their combined surface area likely dwarfs the Earth's. An asteroid survey will dramatically increase our understanding of the local resources available for the Human Exploration and Development of Space. During the mission composition, shape, gravity, and orbit parameters could be returned to Earth for perhaps several thousand asteroids. A survey of this area will rival the great explorations that encircled this globe, opened up the New World, and laid the groundwork for the progress and challenges of the last centuries. The ANTS architecture for a main belt survey consists of a swarm of as many as a thousand or more highly specialized pico-spacecraft that form teams to survey as many as one hundred asteroids a month. Multi-level autonomy is critical for ANTS and the objective of the proposed study is to work through the implications and constraints this entails. ANTS couples biologically inspired autonomic control for basic functions to higher level artificial intelligence that together enable individual spacecraft to operate as specialized, cooperative, social agents. This revolutionary approach postulates highly advanced, but familiar, components integrated and operated in a way that uniquely transcends any evolutionary extrapolation of existing trends and enables thousand-spacecraft missions.

  11. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alessandro Ossola

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size.

  12. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nash, Michael A.; Christie, Fiona J.; Hahs, Amy K.; Livesley, Stephen J.

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size. PMID:26528416

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Z Gonçalves

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

  14. New fossil ants in French Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-02-01

    Recent studies on the ant phylogeny are mainly based on the molecular analyses of extant subfamilies and do not include the extinct, only Cretaceous subfamily Sphecomyrminae. However, the latter is of major importance for ant relationships, as it is considered the most basal subfamily. Therefore, each new discovery of a Mesozoic ant is of high interest for improving our understanding of their early history and basal relationships. In this paper, a new sphecomyrmine ant, allied to the Burmese amber genus Haidomyrmex, is described from mid-Cretaceous amber of France as Haidomyrmodes mammuthus gen. and sp. n. The diagnosis of the tribe Haidomyrmecini is emended based on the new type material, which includes a gyne (alate female) and two incomplete workers. The genus Sphecomyrmodes, hitherto known by a single species from Burmese amber, is also reported and a new species described as S. occidentalis sp. n. after two workers remarkably preserved in a single piece of Early Cenomanian French amber. The new fossils provide additional information on early ant diversity and relationships and demonstrate that the monophyly of the Sphecomyrminae, as currently defined, is still weakly supported.

  15. Ants farm subterranean aphids mostly in single clone groups

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ivens, Aniek B.F.; Kronauer, Daniel Jan Christoph; Pen, Ido

    2012-01-01

    mutualisms have been studied in sufficient genetic detail to address these issues, so we decided to characterize symbiont diversity in the complex mutualism between multiple root aphid species and Lasius flavus ants. After showing elsewhere that three of these aphid species have low dispersal and mostly...... if not exclusively asexual reproduction, we here investigate aphid diversity within and between ant nest mounds. Results The three focal species (Geoica utricularia, Forda marginata and Tetraneura ulmi) had considerable clonal diversity at the population level. Yet more than half of the ant mounds contained just....... The ants appear to eat most of the early instar aphids, so that adult aphids are unlikely to face limited phloem resources and scramble competition with other aphids. We suggest that such culling of carbohydrate-providing symbionts for protein ingestion may maintain maximal host yield per aphid while also...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    1. The leaf-cutting ants practise an advanced system of mycophagy where they grow a fungus as a food source. As a consequence of parasite threats to their crops, they have evolved a system of morphological, behavioural, and chemical defences, particularly against fungal pathogens (mycopathogens). 2....... Specific fungal diseases of the leaf-cutting ants themselves have not been described, possibly because broad spectrum anti-fungal defences against mycopathogens have reduced their susceptibility to entomopathogens. 3. Using morphological and molecular tools, the present study documents three rare infection...... events of Acromyrmex and Atta leaf-cutting ants by Ophiocordyceps fungi, agenus of entomopathogens that is normally highly specific in its host choice. 4. As leaf-cutting ants have been intensively studied, the absence of prior records of Ophiocordyceps suggests that these infections may be a novel event...

  17. Operant conditioning in the ant Myrmica sabuleti.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cammaerts, M C

    2004-11-30

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

  18. Ant parasite queens revert to mating singly

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  19. The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    Aim The aim of this study was to determine the number of successful establishments of the invasive Argentine ant outside native range and to see whether introduced supercolonies have resulted from single or multiple introductions. We also compared the genetic diversity of native versus introduced...... supercolonies to assess the size of the propagules (i.e. the number of founding individuals) at the origin of the introduced supercolonies. Location Global. Methods We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers and microsatellite loci to study 39 supercolonies of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile covering both......) and secondary introductions (from sites with established invasive supercolonies) were important in the global expansion of the Argentine ant. In combination with the similar social organization of colonies in the native and introduced range, this indicates that invasiveness did not evolve recently as a unique...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Angilletta

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

  1. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts

    OpenAIRE

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

    2014-01-01

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal dese...

  2. Antígonas. Una visión intertextual

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Cano Turrión

    2011-04-01

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

  3. Reaction of mutualistic and granivorous ants to ulex elaiosome chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gammans, Nicola; Bullock, James M; Gibbons, Hannah; Schönrogge, Karsten

    2006-09-01

    It has been proposed that chemicals on plant elaiosomes aid seed detection by seed-dispersing ants. We hypothesized that the chemical interaction between ants and elaiosomes is more intimate than a generic attraction, and that elaiosome chemicals will attract mutualistic but not granivorous ant species. We investigated this by using two gorse species, Ulex minor and U. europaeus, and two associated ant species from European heathlands, the mutualist Myrmica ruginodis and the granivore Tetramorium caespitum. Behavioral studies were conducted with laboratory nests and foraging arenas. Both ants will take Ulex seeds, but while M. ruginodis showed increased antennation toward ether extracts of elaiosome surface chemicals compared with controls, T. caespitum showed no response. Elaiosome extracts were separated into seven lipid fractions. M. ruginodis showed increased antennation only toward the diglyceride fractions of both Ulex species, whereas T. caespitum showed no consistent reaction. This indicates that M. ruginodis can detect the elaiosome by responding to its surface chemicals, but T. caespitum is unresponsive to these chemicals. Responses to surface chemicals could increase the rate of seed detection in the field, and so these results suggest that Ulex elaiosomes produce chemicals that facilitate attraction of mutualistic rather than granivorous ant species. This could reduce seed predation and increase Ulex fitness.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  5. Recognition of social identity in ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nick eBos

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend of hydrocarbons present on the cuticle of every individual (the label. Recognition occurs when an ant encounters another individual, and compares the label it perceives to an internal representation of its own colony odor (the template. A mismatch between label and template leads to rejection of the encountered individual. Although advances have been made in our understanding of how the label is produced and acquired, contradictory evidence exists about information processing of recognition cues. Here, we review the literature on template acquisition in ants and address how and when the template is formed, where in the nervous system it is localized, and the possible role of learning. We combine seemingly contradictory evidence in to a novel, parsimonious theory for the information processing of nestmate recognition cues.

  6. In vitro studies of ante-mortem proliferation kinetics

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McBride, W.H.; Withers, H.R.

    1986-01-01

    Using K562 human erythroblastoid cells, it was concluded that dose fractionation has no discrepant effect on the ante-mortem proliferation kinetics of doomed cells as opposed to clonogenic cell survival and that effects on ante-mortem proliferation kinetics cannot be solely responsible for the differences in fractionation response between early and late responding tissues. (UK)

  7. Bacteria may contribute to distant species recognition in ant-aphid mutualistic relationships.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Christophe Y; Detrain, Claire; Thonart, Philippe; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Verheggen, François J; Lognay, Georges C

    2017-04-01

    Mutualistic interactions between ant and aphid species have been the subject of considerable historical and contemporary investigations, the primary benefits being cleaning and protection for the aphids and carbohydrate-rich honeydew for the ants. Questions remained, however, as to the volatile semiochemical factor influencing this relationship. A recent study highlighted the role of bacterial honeydew volatile compounds in ant attraction. Here, ant's ability to distantly discriminate 2 aphid species was investigated based on bacterial honeydew semiochemicals emissions using a two-way olfactometer. Both the mutualistic aphid Aphis fabae L. and the nonmyrmecophilous aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris were found to be attractive for the ant Lasius niger L. The level of attraction was similar in both assays (control vs. one of the aphid species). However, when given a choice between these 2 aphid species, ants showed a significant preference for Aphis fabae. Honeydew volatiles, mostly from bacterial origins, are known to be a key element in ant attraction. Using the same olfactometry protocol, the relative attractiveness of volatiles emitted by honeydews collected from each aphid species and by bacteria isolated from each honeydew was investigated. Again, ants significantly preferred volatiles released by Aphis fabae honeydew and bacteria. This information suggests that microbial honeydew volatiles enable ants to distantly discriminate aphid species. These results strengthen the interest of studying the occurrence and potential impact of microorganisms in insect symbioses. © 2015 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gadau, Jürgen; Helmkampf, Martin; Nygaard, Sanne

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Arruda de Toledo

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

  10. Infection of army ant pupae by two new parasitoid mites (Mesostigmata: Uropodina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrian Brückner

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available A great variety of parasites and parasitoids exploit ant societies. Among them are the Mesostigmata mites, a particularly common and diverse group of ant-associated arthropods. While parasitism is ubiquitous in Mesostigmata, parasitoidism has only been described in the genus Macrodinychus. Yet information about the basic biology of most Macrodinychus species is lacking. Out of 24 formally described species, information about basic life-history traits is only available for three species. Here we formally describe two new Macrodinychus species, i.e. Macrodinychus hilpertae and Macrodinychus derbyensis. In both species, immature stages developed as ecto-parasitoids on ant pupae of the South-East Asian army ant Leptogenys distinguenda. By piercing the developing ant with their chelicera, the mites apparently suck ant hemolymph, ultimately killing host individuals. We compare infection rates among all studied Macrodinychus species and discuss possible host countermeasures against parasitoidism. The cryptic lifestyle of living inside ant nests has certainly hampered the scientific discovery of Macrodinychus mites and we expect that many more macrodinychid species await scientific discovery and description.

  11. Infection of army ant pupae by two new parasitoid mites (Mesostigmata: Uropodina).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brückner, Adrian; Klompen, Hans; Bruce, Andrew Iain; Hashim, Rosli; von Beeren, Christoph

    2017-01-01

    A great variety of parasites and parasitoids exploit ant societies. Among them are the Mesostigmata mites, a particularly common and diverse group of ant-associated arthropods. While parasitism is ubiquitous in Mesostigmata, parasitoidism has only been described in the genus Macrodinychus . Yet information about the basic biology of most Macrodinychus species is lacking. Out of 24 formally described species, information about basic life-history traits is only available for three species. Here we formally describe two new Macrodinychus species, i.e. Macrodinychus hilpertae and Macrodinychus derbyensis . In both species, immature stages developed as ecto-parasitoids on ant pupae of the South-East Asian army ant Leptogenys distinguenda . By piercing the developing ant with their chelicera, the mites apparently suck ant hemolymph, ultimately killing host individuals. We compare infection rates among all studied Macrodinychus species and discuss possible host countermeasures against parasitoidism. The cryptic lifestyle of living inside ant nests has certainly hampered the scientific discovery of Macrodinychus mites and we expect that many more macrodinychid species await scientific discovery and description.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    BC. Barbosa

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

  13. Olfactory memory established during trophallaxis affects food search behaviour in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Provecho, Yael; Josens, Roxana

    2009-10-01

    Camponotus mus ants can associate sucrose and odour at the source during successive foraging cycles and use this memory to locate the nectar in the absence of other cues. These ants perform conspicuous trophallactic behaviour during recruitment while foraging for nectar. In this work, we studied whether Camponotus mus ants are able to establish this odour-sucrose association in the social context of trophallaxis and we evaluated this memory in another context previously experienced by the ant, as a nectar source. After a single trophallaxis of a scented solution, the receiver ant was tested in a Y-maze without any reward, where two scents were presented: in one arm, the solution scent and in the other, a new scent. Ants consistently chose the arm with the solution scent and stayed longer therein. Trophallaxis duration had no effect on the arm choice or with the time spent in each arm. Workers are able to associate an odour (conditioned stimulus) with the sucrose (unconditioned stimulus) they receive through a social interaction and use this memory as choice criteria during food searching.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2007-01-12

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2007-01-01

    To perform tasks, organisms often use multiple procedures. Explaining the breadth of such behavioural repertoires is not always straightforward. During house hunting, colonies of Temnothorax albipennis ants use a range of behaviours to organise their emigrations. In particular, the ants use tandem

  17. AntBot: Anti-pollution peer-to-peer botnets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yan, Guanhua [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Eidenbenz, Stephan [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Ha, Duc T [UNIV. AT BUFFALO

    2009-01-01

    Botnets, which are responsible for many email sparnming and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks in the current Internet, have emerged as one of most severe cyber-threats in recent years. To evade detection and improve resistance against countermeasures, botnets have evolved from the first generation that relies on IRC chat channels to deliver commands to the current generation that uses highly resilient P2P (Peer-to-Peer) protocols to spread their C&C (Command and Control) information. It is, however, revealed that P2P botnets, although relieved from the single point of failure that IRC botnets suffer, can be easily disrupted using pollution-based mitigation schemes [15]. In this paper, we play the devil's advocate and propose a new type of hypothetical botnets called AntBot, which aim to propagate their C&C information to individual bots even though there exists an adversary that persistently pollutes keys used by seized bots to search the command information. The key idea of AntBot is a tree-like structure that bots use to deliver the command so that captured bots reveal only limited information. To evaluate effectiveness of AntBot against pollution-based mitigation in a virtual environment, we develop a distributed P2P botnet simulator. Using extensive experiments, we demonstrate that AntBot operates resiliently against pollution-based mitigation. We further present a few potential defense schemes that could effectively disrupt AntBot operations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganas, Jessica; Robbins, Martha M

    2004-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dong-Hwan Choe

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Werenkraut, Victoria

    2017-07-01

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

  2. Specialized Fungal Parasites and Opportunistic Fungi in Gardens of Attine Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando C. Pagnocca

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ants in the tribe Attini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae comprise about 230 described species that share the same characteristic: all coevolved in an ancient mutualism with basidiomycetous fungi cultivated for food. In this paper we focused on fungi other than the mutualistic cultivar and their roles in the attine ant symbiosis. Specialized fungal parasites in the genus Escovopsis negatively impact the fungus gardens. Many fungal parasites may have small impacts on the ants' fungal colony when the colony is balanced, but then may opportunistically shift to having large impacts if the ants' colony becomes unbalanced.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

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

  5. Molecular Characterization of Two Fatty Acyl-CoA Reductase Genes From Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiaolong; Zheng, Tianxiang; Zheng, Xiaowen; Han, Na; Chen, Xuexin; Zhang, Dayu

    2016-01-01

    Fatty acyl-CoA reductases (FARs) are key enzymes involved in fatty alcohol synthesis. Here, we cloned and characterized full-length cDNAs of two FAR genes from the cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis. The results showed PsFAR I and PsFAR II cDNAs were 1,584 bp and 1,515 bp in length respectively. Both PsFAR I and PsFAR II were predicted to be located in the endoplasmic reticulum by Euk-mPLoc 2.0 approach. Both of them had a Rossmann folding region and a FAR_C region. Two conservative motifs were discovered in Rossmann folding region by sequence alignment including a NADPH combining motif, TGXXGG, and an active site motif, YXXXK. A phylogenetic tree made using MEGA 6.06 indicated that PsFAR I and PsFAR II were placed in two different branches. Gene expression analysis performed at different developmental stages showed that the expression of PsFar I is significantly higher than that of PsFar II in first and second instar nymphs and in male adults. Spirotetramat treatment at 125 mg/liter significantly increased the expression of PsFar I in third instar nymphs, but there was no effect in the expression of PsFar II Our results indicated these two FAR genes showed different expression patterns during insect development and after pesticide treatment, suggesting they play different roles in insect development and detoxification against pesticides. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America.

  6. Edge Effects on Community and Social Structure of Northern Temperate Deciduous Forest Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valerie S. Banschbach

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Determining how ant communities are impacted by challenges from habitat fragmentation, such as edge effects, will help us understand how ants may be used as a bioindicator taxon. To assess the impacts of edge effects upon the ant community in a northern temperate deciduous forest, we studied edge and interior sites in Jericho, VT, USA. The edges we focused upon were created by recreational trails. We censused the ants at these sites for two consecutive growing seasons using pitfall traps and litter plot excavations. We also collected nests of the most common ant species at our study sites, Aphaenogaster rudis, for study of colony demography. Significantly greater total numbers of ants and ant nests were found in the edge sites compared to the interior sites but rarefaction analysis showed no significant difference in species richness. Aphaenogaster rudis was the numerically dominant ant in the habitats sampled but had a greater relative abundance in the interior sites than in the edge sites both in pitfall and litter plot data. Queen number of A. rudis significantly differed between the nests collected in the edge versus the interior sites. Habitat-dependent changes in social structure of ants represent another possible indicator of ecosystem health.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nygaard, Sanne; Hu, Haofu; Li, Cai

    2016-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Boomsma, JJ

    2003-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2002-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  11. PARAMETER ESTIMATION OF VALVE STICTION USING ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Kalaivani

    2012-07-01

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

  12. Effects of dam-induced landscape fragmentation on amazonian ant-plant mutualistic networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emer, Carine; Venticinque, Eduardo Martins; Fonseca, Carlos Roberto

    2013-08-01

    Mutualistic networks are critical to biological diversity maintenance; however, their structures and functionality may be threatened by a swiftly changing world. In the Amazon, the increasing number of dams poses a large threat to biological diversity because they greatly alter and fragment the surrounding landscape. Tight coevolutionary interactions typical of tropical forests, such as the ant-myrmecophyte mutualism, where the myrmecophyte plants provide domatia nesting space to their symbiotic ants, may be jeopardized by the landscape changes caused by dams. We analyzed 31 ant-myrmecophyte mutualistic networks in undisturbed and disturbed sites surrounding Balbina, the largest Central Amazonian dam. We tested how ant-myrmecophyte networks differ among dam-induced islands, lake edges, and undisturbed forests in terms of species richness, composition, structure, and robustness (number of species remaining in the network after partner extinctions). We also tested how landscape configuration in terms of area, isolation, shape, and neighborhood alters the structure of the ant-myrmecophyte networks on islands. Ant-myrmecophytic networks were highly compartmentalized in undisturbed forests, and the compartments had few strongly connected mutualistic partners. In contrast, networks at lake edges and on islands were not compartmentalized and were negatively affected by island area and isolation in terms of species richness, density, and composition. Habitat loss and fragmentation led to coextinction cascades that contributed to the elimination of entire ant-plant compartments. Furthermore, many myrmecophytic plants in disturbed sites lost their mutualistic ant partners or were colonized by opportunistic, nonspecialized ants. Robustness of ant-myrmecophyte networks on islands was lower than robustness near lake edges and in undisturbed forest and was particularly susceptible to the extinction of plants. Beyond the immediate habitat loss caused by the building of large dams

  13. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  14. Ants at Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, Songkhla

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Watanasit, S.

    2005-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-23

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

  16. Ant-inspired density estimation via random walks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Musco, Cameron; Su, Hsin-Hao; Lynch, Nancy A

    2017-10-03

    Many ant species use distributed population density estimation in applications ranging from quorum sensing, to task allocation, to appraisal of enemy colony strength. It has been shown that ants estimate local population density by tracking encounter rates: The higher the density, the more often the ants bump into each other. We study distributed density estimation from a theoretical perspective. We prove that a group of anonymous agents randomly walking on a grid are able to estimate their density within a small multiplicative error in few steps by measuring their rates of encounter with other agents. Despite dependencies inherent in the fact that nearby agents may collide repeatedly (and, worse, cannot recognize when this happens), our bound nearly matches what would be required to estimate density by independently sampling grid locations. From a biological perspective, our work helps shed light on how ants and other social insects can obtain relatively accurate density estimates via encounter rates. From a technical perspective, our analysis provides tools for understanding complex dependencies in the collision probabilities of multiple random walks. We bound the strength of these dependencies using local mixing properties of the underlying graph. Our results extend beyond the grid to more general graphs, and we discuss applications to size estimation for social networks, density estimation for robot swarms, and random walk-based sampling for sensor networks.

  17. A global database of ant species abundances

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Effects of invasive European fire ants (Myrmica rubra on herring gull (Larus argentatus reproduction.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luke E DeFisher

    Full Text Available Various invasive ant species have negatively affected reproductive success in birds by disrupting nest site selection, incubation patterns, food supply, and by direct predation on nestlings. Impacts can be particularly severe when non-native ants colonize seabird nesting islands where thousands of birds may nest in high densities on the ground or in burrows or crevices. Here we report on the first documented effects of Myrmica rubra, the European fire ant, on the reproduction of birds in its non-native range. We documented herring gulls (Larus argentatus on Appledore Island, Maine, engaging in more erratic incubation behaviors at nests infested by the ants. Newly-hatched chicks in some nests were swarmed by ants, leading to rapid chick death. Due to high overall rates of chick mortality, survival probabilities did not vary between nests with and without ant activity, however chick growth rates were slower at nests with ants than at ant-free nests. Ant infestation likely leads to longer-term fitness consequences because slower growth rates early in life may ultimately lead to lower post-fledging survival probabilities.

  19. Studies of laboulbeniales (Fungi, Ascomycota) on myrmica ants (II)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haelewaters, Danny; Boer, Peter; Gort, Gerrit; Noordijk, Jinze

    2015-01-01

    One group of important insect parasites are the Laboulbeniales (Ascomycota), microscopic fungi that live attached to the exterior of their hosts, mainly beetles, but also mites, millipedes, earwigs, and ants. Rickia wasmannii is a common fungus in Europe and is limited to the ant genus Myrmica

  20. Disease dynamics in a specialized parasite of ant societies.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra B Andersen

    Full Text Available Coevolution between ant colonies and their rare specialized parasites are intriguing, because lethal infections of workers may correspond to tolerable chronic diseases of colonies, but the parasite adaptations that allow stable coexistence with ants are virtually unknown. We explore the trade-offs experienced by Ophiocordyceps parasites manipulating ants into dying in nearby graveyards. We used field data from Brazil and Thailand to parameterize and fit a model for the growth rate of graveyards. We show that parasite pressure is much lower than the abundance of ant cadavers suggests and that hyperparasites often castrate Ophiocordyceps. However, once fruiting bodies become sexually mature they appear robust. Such parasite life-history traits are consistent with iteroparity--a reproductive strategy rarely considered in fungi. We discuss how tropical habitats with high biodiversity of hyperparasites and high spore mortality has likely been crucial for the evolution and maintenance of iteroparity in parasites with low dispersal potential.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    Attine ants engage in a quadripartite symbiosis with fungi they cultivate for food, specialized garden parasites, and parasite-inhibiting bacteria. Molecular phylogenetic evidence supports an ancient host-pathogen association between the ant-cultivar mutualism and the garden parasite. Here we show...... that ants rear the antibiotic-producing bacteria in elaborate cuticular crypts, supported by unique exocrine glands, and that these structures have been highly modified across the ants' evolutionary history. This specialized structural evolution, together with the absence of these bacteria and modifications...

  2. Absence of jamming in ant trails: feedback control of self-propulsion and noise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaudhuri, Debasish; Nagar, Apoorva

    2015-01-01

    We present a model of ant traffic considering individual ants as self-propelled particles undergoing single-file motion on a one-dimensional trail. Recent experiments on unidirectional ant traffic in well-formed natural trails showed that the collective velocity of ants remains approximately unchanged, leading to the absence of jamming even at very high densities [John et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 108001 (2009)]. Assuming a feedback control mechanism of self-propulsion force generated by each ant using information about the distance from the ant in front, our model captures all the main features observed in the experiment. The distance headway distribution shows a maximum corresponding to separations within clusters. The position of this maximum remains independent of average number density. We find a non-equilibrium first-order transition, with the formation of an infinite cluster at a threshold density where all the ants in the system suddenly become part of a single cluster.

  3. Macrodinychus mites as parasitoids of invasive ants: an overlooked parasitic association.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lachaud, Jean-Paul; Klompen, Hans; Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela

    2016-07-21

    Mites are frequent ant symbionts, yet the exact nature of their interactions with their hosts is poorly known. Generally, myrmecophilous mites show adaptations for dispersal through phoresis, but species that lack such an adaptation may have evolved unusual specialized relationships with their hosts. The immature stages of Macrodinychus multispinosus develop as ectoparasitoids of pupae of the invasive ant Paratrechina longicornis. Feeding stages show regressed locomotor appendages. These mites complete their development on a single host, sucking all of its body content and therefore killing it. Locally high proportions of parasitized host pupae suggest that M. multispinosus could serve as a biological control agent. This is the ninth species of Macrodinychus reported as ant parasite, and the third known as parasitoid of invasive ants, confirming a unique habit in the evolution of mite feeding strategies and suggesting that the entire genus might be parasitic on ants. Several mites' characteristics, such as their protective morphology, possible viviparity, lack of a specialized stage for phoretic dispersal, and low host specificity, combined with both the general low aggressiveness of invasive P. longicornis towards other ants and its possible susceptibility to generalist ectoparasites would account for the host shift in native macrodinychid mites.

  4. Tree-Dwelling Ants: Contrasting Two Brazilian Cerrado Plant Species without Extrafloral Nectaries

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonas Maravalhas

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ants dominate vegetation stratum, exploiting resources like extrafloral nectaries (EFNs and insect honeydew. These interactions are frequent in Brazilian cerrado and are well known, but few studies compare ant fauna and explored resources between plant species. We surveyed two cerrado plants without EFNs, Roupala montana (found on preserved environments of our study area and Solanum lycocarpum (disturbed ones. Ants were collected and identified, and resources on each plant noted. Ant frequency and richness were higher on R. montana (67%; 35 spp than S. lycocarpum (52%; 26, the occurrence of the common ant species varied between them, and similarity was low. Resources were explored mainly by Camponotus crassus and consisted of scale insects, aphids, and floral nectaries on R. montana and two treehopper species on S. lycocarpum. Ants have a high diversity on cerrado plants, exploring liquid and prey-based resources that vary in time and space and affect their presence on plants.

  5. Ants use partner specific odors to learn to recognize a mutualistic partner.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masaru K Hojo

    Full Text Available Regulation via interspecific communication is an important for the maintenance of many mutualisms. However, mechanisms underlying the evolution of partner communication are poorly understood for many mutualisms. Here we show, in an ant-lycaenid butterfly mutualism, that attendant ants selectively learn to recognize and interact cooperatively with a partner. Workers of the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus learn to associate cuticular hydrocarbons of mutualistic Narathura japonica caterpillars with food rewards and, as a result, are more likely to tend the caterpillars. However, the workers do not learn to associate the cuticular hydrocarbons of caterpillars of a non-ant-associated lycaenid, Lycaena phlaeas, with artificial food rewards. Chemical analysis revealed cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of the mutualistic caterpillars were complex compared with those of non-ant-associated caterpillars. Our results suggest that partner-recognition based on partner-specific chemical signals and cognitive abilities of workers are important mechanisms underlying the evolution and maintenance of mutualism with ants.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phillip Barden

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2002-07-01

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

  9. Characterization of actinobacteria associated with three ant-plant mutualisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanshew, Alissa S; McDonald, Bradon R; Díaz Díaz, Carol; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Currie, Cameron R

    2015-01-01

    Ant-plant mutualisms are conspicuous and ecologically important components of tropical ecosystems that remain largely unexplored in terms of insect-associated microbial communities. Recent work has revealed that ants in some ant-plant systems cultivate fungi (Chaetothyriales) within their domatia, which are fed to larvae. Using Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. from French Guiana and Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana and Crematogaster margaritae/Keetia hispida, both from Cameroon, as models, we tested the hypothesis that ant-plant-fungus mutualisms co-occur with culturable Actinobacteria. Using selective media, we isolated 861 putative Actinobacteria from the three systems. All C. margaritae/K. hispida samples had culturable Actinobacteria with a mean of 10.0 colony forming units (CFUs) per sample, while 26 % of P. penetrator/Tachigali samples (mean CFUs 1.3) and 67 % of P. phylax/L. africana samples (mean CFUs 3.6) yielded Actinobacteria. The largest number of CFUs was obtained from P. penetrator workers, P. phylax alates, and C. margaritae pupae. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of four main clades of Streptomyces and one clade of Nocardioides within these three ant-plant mutualisms. Streptomyces with antifungal properties were isolated from all three systems, suggesting that they could serve as protective symbionts, as found in other insects. In addition, a number of isolates from a clade of Streptomyces associated with P. phylax/L. africana and C. margaritae/K. hispida were capable of degrading cellulose, suggesting that Streptomyces in these systems may serve a nutritional role. Repeated isolation of particular clades of Actinobacteria from two geographically distant locations supports these isolates as residents in ant-plant-fungi niches.

  10. Hybrid Bee Ant Colony Algorithm for Effective Load Balancing And ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    PROF. OLIVER OSUAGWA

    Ant Colony algorithm is used in this hybrid Bee Ant Colony algorithm to solve load balancing issues ... Genetic Algorithm (MO-GA) for dynamic job scheduling that .... Information Networking and Applications Workshops. [7]. M. Dorigo & T.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. Comunidade de formigas que nidificam em pequenos galhos da serrapilheira em floresta da Amazônia Central, Brasil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karine S. Carvalho

    2002-01-01

    Full Text Available Community of ants that nest in dead twigs on the ground of Central Amazonian forest, Brazil. A total area of 2,880 m² in four forest sites, near Manaus, Brazil, was searched for ant colonies nesting in dead twigs on the ground. An amount of 3,706 twigs (0.5-5 cm in diameter were gathered, of which only 623 (16.8% had ants, which is equivalent to a density of 0.22 nests per m². Seventy species have been found. The predominant genera were Pheidole (Westwood, Crematogaster (Lund, and Solenopsis (Westwood. For most species, many of the nests found had only workers and brood, suggesting that colonies either use multiple twigs to nest or do not live exclusively in the twigs, using other types of substrate (e.g., leaf-litter, soil, fruit pods to nest. Most colonized twigs were hollow or partially hollow inside and relatively easy to break apart. There were significant differences among species with respect to the size (diameter of twig used as nest. No correlation was found between the number of twigs available and the number colonized by ants, suggesting that ant populations were not limited by the amount of nesting sites (twigs. The three most common Pheidole species had small colonies with less than 200 workers. Colony size was not related to twig size (volume, for any of these three species.

  13. Evolution of Fungal enzymes in the attine ant symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

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

  14. Social context predicts recognition systems in ant queens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dreier, Stéphanie Agnès Jeanine; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-01-01

    Recognition of group-members is a key feature of sociality. Ants use chemical communication to discriminate nestmates from intruders, enhancing kin cooperation and preventing parasitism. The recognition code is embedded in their cuticular chemical profile, which typically varies between colonies....... We predicted that ants might be capable of accurate recognition in unusual situations when few individuals interact repeatedly, as new colonies started by two to three queens. Individual recognition would be favoured by selection when queens establish dominance hierarchies, because repeated fights...... for dominance are costly; but it would not evolve in absence of hierarchies. We previously showed that Pachycondyla co-founding queens, which form dominance hierarchies, have accurate individual recognition based on chemical cues. Here, we used the ant Lasius niger to test the null hypothesis that individual...

  15. Ant colonies prefer infected over uninfected nest sites

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley

    2014-01-01

    with sporulating mycelium of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (infected nests), nests containing nestmates killed by freezing (uninfected nests), and empty nests. In contrast to the expectation pharaoh ant colonies preferentially (84%) moved into the infected nest when presented with the choice...... the high risk of epidemics in group-living animals. Choosing nest sites free of pathogens is hypothesized to be highly efficient in invasive ants as each of their introduced populations is often an open network of nests exchanging individuals (unicolonial) with frequent relocation into new nest sites...... and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Van Bael Sunshine A

    2012-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-15

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

  20. Plant-ants feed their host plant, but above all a fungal symbiont to recycle nitrogen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Defossez, Emmanuel; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Selosse, Marc-André; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2011-05-07

    In ant-plant symbioses, plants provide symbiotic ants with food and specialized nesting cavities (called domatia). In many ant-plant symbioses, a fungal patch grows within each domatium. The symbiotic nature of the fungal association has been shown in the ant-plant Leonardoxa africana and its protective mutualist ant Petalomyrmex phylax. To decipher trophic fluxes among the three partners, food enriched in (13)C and (15)N was given to the ants and tracked in the different parts of the symbiosis up to 660 days later. The plant received a small, but significant, amount of nitrogen from the ants. However, the ants fed more intensively the fungus. The pattern of isotope enrichment in the system indicated an ant behaviour that functions specifically to feed the fungus. After 660 days, the introduced nitrogen was still present in the system and homogeneously distributed among ant, plant and fungal compartments, indicating efficient recycling within the symbiosis. Another experiment showed that the plant surface absorbed nutrients (in the form of simple molecules) whether or not it is coated by fungus. Our study provides arguments for a mutualistic status of the fungal associate and a framework for investigating the previously unsuspected complexity of food webs in ant-plant mutualisms.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mabelis, A.A.; Korczynska, J.

    2001-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Himaman Winanda

    2011-05-01

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

  3. Evolutionary transition from single to multiple mating in fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, Palle; Gertsch, P J; Frydenberg, Jane

    1999-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants exhibit the highest known levels of multiple mating (up to 10 mates per queen) among ants. Multiple mating may have been selected to increase genetic diversity among nestmate workers, which is hypothesized to be critical in social systems with large, long-lived colonies...... under severe pressure of pathogens. Advanced fungus-growing (leafcutter) ants have large numbers (104-106 workers) and long-lived colonies, whereas basal genera in the attine tribe have small (... to have lower queen mating frequencies, similar to those found in most other ants. We tested this prediction by analysing queen mating frequency and colony kin structure in three basal attine species: Myrmicocrypta ednaella, Apterostigma collare and Cyphomyrmex longiscapus. Microsatellite marker analyses...

  4. Modeling no-jam traffic in ant trails: a pheromone-controlled approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Ning; Hu, Mao-Bin; Jiang, Rui; Ding, Jianxun; Ling, Xiang

    2018-05-01

    The experiment in John et al (2009 Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 108001) shows that when ants move in a single-file trail, no jam emerges even at very high densities. We propose a self-propelled model of ant traffic to reproduce the fundamental diagram without a jammed branch. In this model, ants can adjust their desired velocities actively by perceiving pheromone concentration near the front of the trail. Moreover, ants will bear the repulsive force when they have physical contact with neighbors. The velocity in the simulation decreases slightly with increasing density, which captures the main feature observed in the experiment. Distributions of velocity and distance headway basically also conform to the experimental ones.

  5. Canopy cover negatively affects arboreal ant species richness in a tropical open habitat

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. C. M. Queiroz

    Full Text Available Abstract We tested the hypothesis of a negative relationship between vegetation characteristics and ant species richness in a Brazilian open vegetation habitat, called candeial. We set up arboreal pitfalls to sample arboreal ants and measured the following environmental variables, which were used as surrogate of environmental heterogeneity: tree richness, tree density, tree height, circumference at the base of the plants, and canopy cover. Only canopy cover had a negative effect on the arboreal ant species richness. Vegetation characteristics and plant species composition are probably homogeneous in candeial, which explains the lack of relationship between other environmental variables and ant richness. Open vegetation habitats harbor a large number of opportunistic and generalist species, besides specialist ants from habitats with high temperatures. An increase in canopy cover decreases sunlight incidence and may cause local microclimatic differences, which negatively affect the species richness of specialist ants from open areas. Canopy cover regulates the richness of arboreal ants in open areas, since only few ant species are able to colonize sites with dense vegetation; most species are present in sites with high temperature and luminosity. Within open vegetation habitats the relationship between vegetation characteristics and species richness seems to be the opposite from closed vegetation areas, like forests.

  6. Salticid predation as one potential driving force of ant mimicry in jumping spiders

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Jin-Nan; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Li, Daiqin; Tso, I-Min

    2011-01-01

    Many spiders possess myrmecomorphy, and species of the jumping spider genus Myrmarachne exhibit nearly perfect ant mimicry. Most salticids are diurnal predators with unusually high visual acuity that prey on various arthropods, including conspecifics. In this study, we tested whether predation pressure from large jumping spiders is one possible driving force of perfect ant mimicry in jumping spiders. The results showed that small non-ant-mimicking jumping spiders were readily treated as prey by large ones (no matter whether heterospecific or conspecific) and suffered high attack and mortality rates. The size difference between small and large jumping spiders significantly affected the outcomes of predatory interactions between them: the smaller the juvenile jumping spiders, the higher the predation risk from large ones. The attack and mortality rates of ant-mimicking jumping spiders were significantly lower than those of non-ant-mimicking jumping spiders, indicating that a resemblance to ants could provide protection against salticid predation. However, results of multivariate behavioural analyses showed that the responses of large jumping spiders to ants and ant-mimicking salticids differed significantly. Results of this study indicate that predation pressure from large jumping spiders might be one selection force driving the evolution of nearly perfect myrmecomorphy in spiders and other arthropods. PMID:20961898

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-13

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ceres Belchior

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Different tolerances of symbiotic and nonsymbiotic ant-plant networks to species extinctions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wesley Dattilo

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available The knowledge of the mechanisms that shape biodiversity-stability relationships is essential to understand ecological and evolutionary dynamics of interacting species. However, most studies focus only on species loss and ignore the loss of interactions. In this study, I evaluated the topological structure of two different ant-plant networks: symbiotic (ants and myrmecophytes and nonsymbiotic (ants and plants with extrafloral nectaries. Moreover, I also evaluated in both networks the tolerance to plant and ant species extinction using a new approach. For this, I used models based on simulations of cumulative removals of species from the network at random. Both networks were fundamentally different in the interaction and extinction patterns. The symbiotic network was more specialized and less robust to species extinction. On the other hand, the nonsymbiotic network tends to be functionally redundant and more robust to species extinction. The difference for food resource utilization and ant nesting in both ant-plant interactions can explain the observed pattern. In short, I contributed in this manner to our understanding of the biodiversity maintenance and coevolutionary processes in facultative and obligate mutualisms.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2007-01-01

    Symbiont choice has been proposed to play an important role in shaping many symbiotic relationships, including the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism. Over millions of years, fungus-growing ants have defended their fungus gardens from specialized parasites with antibiotics produced...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Borowiec Lech

    2017-09-01

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

  14. Phthalate pollution in an Amazonian rainforest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenoir, Alain; Boulay, Raphaël; Dejean, Alain; Touchard, Axel; Cuvillier-Hot, Virginie

    2016-08-01

    Phthalates are ubiquitous contaminants and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can become trapped in the cuticles of insects, including ants which were recognized as good bioindicators for such pollution. Because phthalates have been noted in developed countries and because they also have been found in the Arctic, a region isolated from direct anthropogenic influence, we hypothesized that they are widespread. So, we looked for their presence on the cuticle of ants gathered from isolated areas of the Amazonian rainforest and along an anthropogenic gradient of pollution (rainforest vs. road sides vs. cities in French Guiana). Phthalate pollution (mainly di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)) was higher on ants gathered in cities and along road sides than on those collected in the pristine rainforest, indicating that it follows a human-mediated gradient of disturbance related to the use of plastics and many other products that contain phthalates in urban zones. Their presence varied with the ant species; the cuticle of Solenopsis saevissima traps higher amount of phthalates than that of compared species. However, the presence of phthalates in isolated areas of pristine rainforests suggests that they are associated both with atmospheric particles and in gaseous form and are transported over long distances by wind, resulting in a worldwide diffusion. These findings suggest that there is no such thing as a "pristine" zone.

  15. Density-dependent effects of ants on selection for bumble bee pollination in Polemonium viscosum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galen, Candace; Geib, Jennifer C

    2007-05-01

    Mutualisms are commonly exploited by cheater species that usurp rewards without providing reciprocal benefits. Yet most studies of selection between mutualist partners ignore interactions with third species and consequently overlook the impact of cheaters on evolution in the mutualism. Here, we explicitly investigate how the abundance of nectar-thieving ants (cheaters) influences selection in a pollination mutualism between bumble bees and the alpine skypilot, Polemonium viscosum. As suggested in past work with this species, bumble bees accounted for most of the seed production (78% +/- 6% [mean +/- SE]) in our high tundra study population and, in the absence of ants, exerted strong selection for large flowers. We tested for indirect effects of ant abundance on seed set through bumble bee pollination services (pollen delivery and pollen export) and a direct effect through flower damage. Ants reduced seed set per flower by 20% via flower damage. As ant density increased within experimental patches, the rate of flower damage rose, but pollen delivery and export did not vary significantly, showing that indirect effects of increased cheater abundance on pollinator service are negligible in this system. To address how ants affect selection for plant participation in the pollination mutualism we tested the impact of ant abundance on selection for bumble bee-mediated pollination. Results show that the impact of ants on fitness (seed set) accruing under bumble bee pollination is density dependent in P. viscosum. Selection for bumble bee pollination declined with increasing ant abundance in experimental patches, as predicted if cheaters constrain fitness returns of mutualist partner services. We also examined how ant abundance influences selection on flower size, a key component of plant investment in bumble bee pollination. We predicted that direct effects of ants would constrain bumble bee selection for large flowers. However, selection on flower size was significantly

  16. Heavy metal pollution disturbs immune response in wild ant populations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sorvari, Jouni; Rantala, Liisa M.; Rantala, Markus J.; Hakkarainen, Harri; Eeva, Tapio

    2007-01-01

    Concern about the effects of environmental contaminants on immune function in both humans and wildlife is growing and practically nothing is known about this impact on terrestrial invertebrates, even though they are known to easily accumulate pollutants. We studied the effect of industrial heavy metal contamination on immune defense of a free-living wood ant (Formica aquilonia). To find out whether ants show an adapted immune function in a polluted environment, we compared encapsulation responses between local and translocated colonies. Local colonies showed higher heavy metal levels than the translocated ones but the encapsulation response was similar between the two groups, indicating that the immune system of local ants has not adapted to high contamination level. The encapsulation response was elevated in moderate whereas suppressed in high heavy metal levels suggesting higher risk for infections in heavily polluted areas. - Heavy metal pollution affects immune function in ants

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  18. Ants avoid superinfections by performing risk-adjusted sanitary care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konrad, Matthias; Pull, Christopher D; Metzler, Sina; Seif, Katharina; Naderlinger, Elisabeth; Grasse, Anna V; Cremer, Sylvia

    2018-03-13

    Being cared for when sick is a benefit of sociality that can reduce disease and improve survival of group members. However, individuals providing care risk contracting infectious diseases themselves. If they contract a low pathogen dose, they may develop low-level infections that do not cause disease but still affect host immunity by either decreasing or increasing the host's vulnerability to subsequent infections. Caring for contagious individuals can thus significantly alter the future disease susceptibility of caregivers. Using ants and their fungal pathogens as a model system, we tested if the altered disease susceptibility of experienced caregivers, in turn, affects their expression of sanitary care behavior. We found that low-level infections contracted during sanitary care had protective or neutral effects on secondary exposure to the same (homologous) pathogen but consistently caused high mortality on superinfection with a different (heterologous) pathogen. In response to this risk, the ants selectively adjusted the expression of their sanitary care. Specifically, the ants performed less grooming and more antimicrobial disinfection when caring for nestmates contaminated with heterologous pathogens compared with homologous ones. By modulating the components of sanitary care in this way the ants acquired less infectious particles of the heterologous pathogens, resulting in reduced superinfection. The performance of risk-adjusted sanitary care reveals the remarkable capacity of ants to react to changes in their disease susceptibility, according to their own infection history and to flexibly adjust collective care to individual risk.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-02

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitrus, S

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

  1. Symmetry breaking on density in escaping ants: experiment and alarm pheromone model.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Geng Li

    Full Text Available The symmetry breaking observed in nature is fascinating. This symmetry breaking is observed in both human crowds and ant colonies. In such cases, when escaping from a closed space with two symmetrically located exits, one exit is used more often than the other. Group size and density have been reported as having no significant impact on symmetry breaking, and the alignment rule has been used to model symmetry breaking. Density usually plays important roles in collective behavior. However, density is not well-studied in symmetry breaking, which forms the major basis of this paper. The experiment described in this paper on an ant colony displays an increase then decrease of symmetry breaking versus ant density. This result suggests that a Vicsek-like model with an alignment rule may not be the correct model for escaping ants. Based on biological facts that ants use pheromones to communicate, rather than seeing how other individuals move, we propose a simple yet effective alarm pheromone model. The model results agree well with the experimental outcomes. As a measure, this paper redefines symmetry breaking as the collective asymmetry by deducing the random fluctuations. This research indicates that ants deposit and respond to the alarm pheromone, and the accumulation of this biased information sharing leads to symmetry breaking, which suggests true fundamental rules of collective escape behavior in ants.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-02-01

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

  3. Host-ant specificity of endangered large blue butterflies (Phengaris spp., Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) in Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ueda, Shouhei; Komatsu, Takashi; Itino, Takao; Arai, Ryusuke; Sakamoto, Hironori

    2016-11-03

    Large blue butterflies, Phengaris (Maculinea), are an important focus of endangered-species conservation in Eurasia. Later-instar Phengaris caterpillars live in Myrmica ant nests and exploit the ant colony's resources, and they are specialized to specific host-ant species. For example, local extinction of P. arion in the U. K. is thought to have been due to the replacement of its host-ant species with a less-suitable congener, as a result of changes in habitat. In Japan, Myrmica kotokui hosts P. teleius and P. arionides caterpillars. We recently showed, however, that the morphological species M. kotokui actually comprises four genetic clades. Therefore, to determine to which group of ants the hosts of these two Japanese Phengaris species belong, we used mitochondrial COI-barcoding of M. kotokui specimens from colonies in the habitats of P. teleius and P. arionides to identify the ant clade actually parasitized by the caterpillars of each species. We found that these two butterfly species parasitize different ant clades within M. kotokui.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-01

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

  5. Dicty_cDB: Contig-U06758-1 [Dicty_cDB

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available 129 4e-29 EU016618_33( EU016618 |pid:none) Uncultured marine microorganism H... 129 4e-29 (Q12WQ7) RecName: Full=Putati...... 54 0.005 1 ( EE147587 ) SiJWA07BAA2 Lausanne fire ant library Solenopsis ... 44 0.008 2 ( BW805727 ) Bra...nidia eriantha youn... 44 4.4 1 ( EU016618 ) Uncultured marine microorga...ve O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidas... 119 3e-26 EU016589_20( EU016589 |pid:none) Uncultured Group I marine cre...das... 58 1e-07 (Q3K5S1) RecName: Full=Probable O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidas... 58 1e-07 AB290257_1( AB290257 |pid:none) Uncultur

  6. Autonomous Agents on Expedition: Humans and Progenitor Ants and Planetary Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rilee, M. L.; Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Truszkowski, W. F.

    2002-01-01

    The Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm (ANTS) is an advanced mission architecture based on a social insect analog of many specialized spacecraft working together to achieve mission goals. The principal mission concept driving the ANTS architecture is a Main Belt Asteroid Survey in the 2020s that will involve a thousand or more nano-technology enabled, artificially intelligent, autonomous pico-spacecraft (architecture. High level, mission-oriented behaviors are to be managed by a control / communications layer of the swarm, whereas common low level functions required of all spacecraft, e.g. attitude control and guidance and navigation, are handled autonomically on each spacecraft. At the higher levels of mission planning and social interaction deliberative techniques are to be used. For the asteroid survey, ANTS acts as a large community of cooperative agents while for precursor missions there arises the intriguing possibility of Progenitor ANTS and humans acting together as agents. For optimal efficiency and responsiveness for individual spacecraft at the lowest levels of control we have been studying control methods based on nonlinear dynamical systems. We describe the critically important autonomous control architecture of the ANTS mission concept and a sequence of partial implementations that feature increasingly autonomous behaviors. The scientific and engineering roles that these Progenitor ANTS could play in human missions or remote missions with near real time human interactions, particularly to the Moon and Mars, will be discussed.

  7. Nonintegrated Host Association of Myrmecophilus tetramorii, a Specialist Myrmecophilous Ant Cricket (Orthoptera: Myrmecophilidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takashi Komatsu

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Myrmecophilus ant crickets (Orthoptera: Myrmecophilidae are typical ant guests. In Japan, about 10 species are recognized on the basis of morphological and molecular phylogenetic frameworks. Some of these species have restricted host ranges and behave intimately toward their host ant species (i.e., they are host specialist. We focused on one species, M. tetramorii, which uses the myrmicine ant Tetramorium tsushimae as its main host. All but one M. tetramorii individuals were collected specifically from nests of T. tsushimae in the field. However, behavioral observation showed that all individuals used in the experiment received hostile reactions from the host ants. There were no signs of intimate behaviors such as grooming of hosts or receipt of mouth-to-mouth feeding from hosts, which are seen in some host-specialist Myrmecophilus species among obligate host-ant species. Therefore, it may be that M. tetramorii is the species that is specialized to exploit the host by means other than chemical integration.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alok Bajpai

    2015-08-01

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

  9. Using ant-behavior-based simulation model AntWeb to improve website organization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Weigang; Pinheiro Dib, Marcos V.; Teles, Wesley M.; Morais de Andrade, Vlaudemir; Alves de Melo, Alba C. M.; Cariolano, Judas T.

    2002-03-01

    Some web usage mining algorithms showed the potential application to find the difference among the organizations expected by visitors to the website. However, there are still no efficient method and criterion for a web administrator to measure the performance of the modification. In this paper, we developed an AntWeb, a model inspired by ants' behavior to simulate the sequence of visiting the website, in order to measure the efficient of the web structure. We implemented a web usage mining algorithm using backtrack to the intranet website of the Politec Informatic Ltd., Brazil. We defined throughput (the number of visitors to reach their target pages per time unit relates to the total number of visitors) as an index to measure the website's performance. We also used the link in a web page to represent the effect of visitors' pheromone trails. For every modification in the website organization, for example, putting a link from the expected location to the target object, the simulation reported the value of throughput as a quick answer about this modification. The experiment showed the stability of our simulation model, and a positive modification to the intranet website of the Politec.

  10. Development of a Bait System for the Pharaoh's Ant, Monomorium ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  11. A Generalized Ant Colony Algorithm for Job一shop Scheduling Problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ZHANG Hong-Guo

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Aiming at the problem of ant colony algorithm for solving Job一shop scheduling problem. Considering the complexity of the algorithm that uses disjunctive graph to describe the relationship between workpiece processing. To solve the problem of optimal solution,a generalized ant colony algorithm is proposed. Under the premise of considering constrained relationship between equipment and process,the pheromone update mechanism is applied to solve Job-shop scheduling problem,so as to improve the quality of the solution. In order to improve the search efficiency,according to the state transition rules of ant colony algorithm,this paper makes a detailed study on the selection and improvement of the parameters in the algorithm,and designs the pheromone update strategy. Experimental results show that a generalized ant colony algorithm is more feasible and more effective. Compared with other algorithms in the literature,the results prove that the algorithm improves in computing the optimal solution and convergence speed.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

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

  13. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant–plant mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G.

    2014-01-01

    In horizontally transmitted mutualisms, mutualists disperse separately and reassemble in each generation with partners genetically unrelated to those in the previous generation. Because of this, there should be no selection on either partner to enhance the other's reproductive output directly. In symbiotic ant–plant mutualisms, myrmecophytic plants host defensive ant colonies, and ants defend the plants from herbivores. Plants and ants disperse separately, and, although ant defence can indirectly increase plant reproduction by reducing folivory, it is unclear whether ants can also directly increase plant reproduction by defending seeds. The neotropical tree Cordia alliodora hosts colonies of Azteca pittieri ants. The trees produce domatia where ants nest at stem nodes and also at the node between the peduncle and the rachides of the infloresence. Unlike the stem domatia, these reproductive domatia senesce after the tree fruits each year. In this study, I show that the tree's resident ant colony moves into these ephemeral reproductive domatia, where they tend honeydew-producing scale insects and patrol the nearby developing fruits. The presence of ants significantly reduced pre-dispersal seed predation by Amblycerus bruchid beetles, thereby directly increasing plant reproductive output. PMID:24807259

  14. Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Bekker, Charissa; Quevillon, Lauren E; Smith, Philip B; Fleming, Kimberly R; Ghosh, Debashis; Patterson, Andrew D; Hughes, David P

    2014-08-29

    A compelling demonstration of adaptation by natural selection is the ability of parasites to manipulate host behavior. One dramatic example involves fungal species from the genus Ophiocordyceps that control their ant hosts by inducing a biting behavior. Intensive sampling across the globe of ants that died after being manipulated by Ophiocordyceps suggests that this phenomenon is highly species-specific. We advance our understanding of this system by reconstructing host manipulation by Ophiocordyceps parasites under controlled laboratory conditions and combining this with field observations of infection rates and a metabolomics survey. We report on a newly discovered species of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato from North America that we use to address the species-specificity of Ophiocordyceps-induced manipulation of ant behavior. We show that the fungus can kill all ant species tested, but only manipulates the behavior of those it infects in nature. To investigate if this could be explained at the molecular level, we used ex vivo culturing assays to measure the metabolites that are secreted by the fungus to mediate fungus-ant tissue interactions. We show the fungus reacts heterogeneously to brains of different ant species by secreting a different array of metabolites. By determining which ion peaks are significantly enriched when the fungus is grown alongside brains of its naturally occurring host, we discovered candidate compounds that could be involved in behavioral manipulation by O. unilateralis s.l.. Two of these candidates are known to be involved in neurological diseases and cancer. The integrative work presented here shows that ant brain manipulation by O. unilateralis s.l. is species-specific seemingly because the fungus produces a specific array of compounds as a reaction to the presence of the host brain it has evolved to manipulate. These studies have resulted in the discovery of candidate compounds involved in establishing behavioral manipulation

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ugelvig, Line; Drijfhout, Falko; Kronauer, Daniel

    2008-01-01

    BACKGROUND: The invasive garden ant, Lasius neglectus, is the most recently detected pest ant and the first known invasive ant able to become established and thrive in the temperate regions of Eurasia. In this study, we aim to reconstruct the invasion history of this ant in Europe analysing 14 po...

  16. Indirect effects of mutualism: ant-treehopper associations deter pollinators and reduce reproduction in a tropical shrub.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibarra-Isassi, Javier; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2018-03-01

    Animal-pollinated plants can be susceptible to changes in pollinator availability. Honeydew-producing treehoppers frequently occur on inflorescences, potentially enhancing ant-mediated negative effects on pollination services. However, the effect of ant-attended, honeydew-producing insects on plant reproduction remains uncertain. We recorded the abundance of treehoppers and ants on Byrsonima intermedia (Malpighiaceae), and monitored floral visitors in a Brazilian cerrado savanna. We manipulated the presence of ants and ant-treehopper associations on inflorescences to assess their effect on pollination and fruit formation. We used dried ants pinned to inflorescences to evaluate the effect of ant presence and ant identity on potential pollinators. Results show that the presence of treehoppers increases ant abundance on flowers and disrupts pollination by oil-collecting bees, decreasing the frequency and duration of floral visits and reducing fruit and seed set. Treehopper herbivory has no direct effect on fruit or seed production, which are independent of treehopper density. Pinned ants promote avoidance by floral visitors, reducing the number of visits. Ant identity mediates visitation decisions, with Ectatomma brunneum causing greater avoidance by floral visitors than Camponotus rufipes. Field videos show that pollinating bees are harassed by ants near flowers, prompting avoidance behavior by the bees. This is the first demonstration of indirect effects by honeydew-gathering ants, via disrupted pollination, on plant reproduction in tropical cerrado savanna. Our results highlight the importance of studying other interactions near flowers, in addition to just observing pollinators, for a proper understanding of plant reproduction.

  17. [Behavioral mechanisms of spatial competition between red wood ants (Formica aquilonia) and ground beetles (Carabidae)].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorosheva, E A; Reznikova, Zh I

    2006-01-01

    Behavioral aspects of spatial competition between red wood ants (Formica aquilonia) and six mass species of Carabidae were studied in field and laboratory experiments. We showed that red wood ants essentially influence spatial distribution of ground beetles on their common territories. Transplantation experiments suggest that in newly established ants' settlements stronger forms of interrelations arise than in old stable colony. To examine the ability of beetles to avoid collisions with ants we used two experimental techniques. In laboratory, we tested carabids ability to avoid a clash in a Y-shaped labyrinth containing an active tethered ant in one section. In field experiments we compared quantitative characteristics of movements (such as crookedness of individual trajectories, speed of movement, the time spent on stops) for beetles placed close to ants foraging routes and on ant-free plots. All beetles studied displayed a clear tendency to learn, that is, to modity their behavior in order to avoid collisions with ants. Species that exhibited best parameters of learning were closer to ants by their size and characteristic movement, namely, Pterostichus oblogopunctatus and P. magus. Beetles' stereotyped behavioral tactics can be considered universal for avoiding collisions with any subject (for instance, with an ant) of a certain size and speed of movements. A set of tactics in the labyrinth included: (1) attempts to round the ant; (2) turns away after touching the ant with antennae; (3) turns away without a contact; (4) avoidances of a dangerous section; (5) stops near the ant with the antennae hidden. Comparing pairwise difference between four species shows that beetles use species-specific preference for definite combinations of tactics. Effective learning allows carabids to penetrate into ant foraging territory and partly avoide interference competition. It seems that red wood ants are not inclined to learn to avoid collisions with competing carabid species

  18. CO2 efflux from subterranean nests of ant communities in a seasonal tropical forest, Thailand

    OpenAIRE

    Hasin, Sasitorn; Ohashi, Mizue; Yamada, Akinori; Hashimoto, Yoshiaki; Tasen, Wattanachai; Kume, Tomonori; Yamane, Seiki

    2014-01-01

    Many ant species construct subterranean nests. The presence of their nests may explain soil respiration “hot spots”, an important factor in the high CO2 efflux from tropical forests. However, no studies have directly measured CO2 efflux from ant nests. We established 61 experimental plots containing 13 subterranean ant species to evaluate the CO2 efflux from subterranean ant nests in a tropical seasonal forest, Thailand. We examined differences in nest CO2 efflux among ant species. We determi...

  19. DATA MINING UNTUK KLASIFIKASI PELANGGAN DENGAN ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maulani Kapiudin

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stefanie Kautz

    2013-01-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  3. EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITIONS IN ENZYME ACTIVITY OF ANT FUNGUS GARDENS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  4. Unusual animal-plant interaction: Feeding of Schomburgkia tibicinis (Orchidaceae) by ants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rico-Gray, V.; Barber, J.T.; Thien, L.B.; Ellgaard, E.G.; Toney, J.J.

    1989-01-01

    The hollow pseudobulbs of Schomburgkia tibicinis (Orchidaceae; Central America) serve as domatia for many species of ants. The ants pack many of the pseudobulbs with debris including dead insects, plant material, and sand. Ants were fed 14 C-labelled D-glucose in honey, killed, and placed in the pseudobulbs for up to eight weeks. Samples of plant tissue were harvested and tested for radioactivity after 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 weeks. The labelled material had moved into various parts of the plant and demonstrated direct nutrient uptake

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yi-Huei Chen

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

  7. El periodista, ante la espiral de silencio

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dr. Fermín Galindo Arranz

    1998-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-31

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Boomsma Jacobus J

    2010-12-01

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

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

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    María José Campos-Navarrete

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

  11. Activity of bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam against Argentine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiltz, B A; Suiter, D R; Gardner, W A

    2009-12-01

    Bifenthrin, chlorfenapyr, fipronil, and thiamethoxam were evaluated for activity against the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mobility impairment and lethal times were determined after topical treatments. Ants were immobilized most quickly by bifenthrin, followed by chlorfenapyr and thiamethoxam. After 2 h, the number of fipronil-treated ants unable to walk out of test arenas did not differ from control ants. Median lethal time (LT50) after topical treatment was lowest in the bifenthrin treatment, followed by thiamethoxam, chlorfenapyr, and then fipronil. Mortality due to horizontal exposure was evaluated at 10, 20, or 30 degrees C, with topically treated ant corpses serving as donors. There was low to moderate horizontal activity in bifenthrin and chlorfenapyr treatments, with no temperature effect in bifenthrin treatments and a positive temperature effect in chlorfenapyr treatments. Mortality in the fipronil treatments was highest and was positively correlated with temperature. Thiamethoxam treatments did not differ from controls at 10 degrees C, but mortality increased with temperature. To evaluate contact activity, either all of 20% of the ants in a cohort were exposed to insecticide-treated pine needles. In both tests, mortality was highest in fipronil and bifenthrin treatments, followed by thiamethoxam, with lowest mortality in chlorfenapyr treatments. Effectiveness as a barrier was evaluated by providing a choice between bridges treated with insecticide or water. Although bifenthrin did not provide an impenetrable barrier, it was the only treatment having fewer ants than its paired control. Mortality data suggest that lack of recruitment rather than repellency account for this result.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    1993-01-01

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

  13. Image Edge Tracking via Ant Colony Optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Ruowei; Wu, Hongkun; Liu, Shilong; Rahman, M. A.; Liu, Sanchi; Kwok, Ngai Ming

    2018-04-01

    A good edge plot should use continuous thin lines to describe the complete contour of the captured object. However, the detection of weak edges is a challenging task because of the associated low pixel intensities. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) has been employed by many researchers to address this problem. The algorithm is a meta-heuristic method developed by mimicking the natural behaviour of ants. It uses iterative searches to find the optimal solution that cannot be found via traditional optimization approaches. In this work, ACO is employed to track and repair broken edges obtained via conventional Sobel edge detector to produced a result with more connected edges.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-08

    Leaf-cutting ants combine large-scale herbivory with fungus farming to sustain advanced societies. Their stratified colonies are major evolutionary achievements and serious agricultural pests, but the crucial adaptations that allowed this mutualism to become the prime herbivorous component of neotropical ecosystems has remained elusive. Here we show how coevolutionary adaptation of a specific enzyme in the fungal symbiont has helped leaf-cutting ants overcome plant defensive phenolic compounds. We identify nine putative laccase-coding genes in the fungal genome of Leucocoprinus gongylophorus cultivated by the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. One of these laccases (LgLcc1) is highly expressed in the specialized hyphal tips (gongylidia) that the ants preferentially eat, and we confirm that these ingested laccase molecules pass through the ant guts and remain active when defecated on the leaf pulp that the ants add to their gardens. This accurate deposition ensures that laccase activity is highest where new leaf material enters the fungus garden, but where fungal mycelium is too sparse to produce extracellular enzymes in sufficient quantities to detoxify phenolic compounds. Phylogenetic analysis of LgLcc1 ortholog sequences from symbiotic and free-living fungi revealed significant positive selection in the ancestral lineage that gave rise to the gongylidia-producing symbionts of leaf-cutting ants and their non-leaf-cutting ant sister group. Our results are consistent with fungal preadaptation and subsequent modification of a particular laccase enzyme for the detoxification of secondary plant compounds during the transition to active herbivory in the ancestor of leaf-cutting ants between 8 and 12 Mya.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Suparoek Watanasit

    2011-04-01

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

  16. Agricultural matrices affect ground ant assemblage composition inside forest fragments.

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    Diego Santana Assis

    Full Text Available The establishment of agricultural matrices generally involves deforestation, which leads to fragmentation of the remaining forest. This fragmentation can affect forest dynamics both positively and negatively. Since most animal species are affected, certain groups can be used to measure the impact of such fragmentation. This study aimed to measure the impacts of agricultural crops (matrices on ant communities of adjacent lower montane Atlantic rainforest fragments. We sampled nine forest fragments at locations surrounded by different agricultural matrices, namely: coffee (3 replicates; sugarcane (3; and pasture (3. At each site we installed pitfall traps along a 500 m transect from the interior of the matrix to the interior of the fragment (20 pitfall traps ~25 m apart. Each transect was partitioned into four categories: interior of the matrix; edge of the matrix; edge of the fragment; and interior of the fragment. For each sample site, we measured ant species richness and ant community composition within each transect category. Ant richness and composition differed between fragments and matrices. Each sample location had a specific composition of ants, probably because of the influence of the nature and management of the agricultural matrices. Species composition in the coffee matrix had the highest similarity to its corresponding fragment. The variability in species composition within forest fragments surrounded by pasture was greatest when compared with forest fragments surrounded by sugarcane or, to a lesser extent, coffee. Functional guild composition differed between locations, but the most representative guild was 'generalist' both in the agricultural matrices and forest fragments. Our results are important for understanding how agricultural matrices act on ant communities, and also, how these isolated forest fragments could act as an island of biodiversity in an 'ocean of crops'.

  17. Agricultural matrices affect ground ant assemblage composition inside forest fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Assis, Diego Santana; Dos Santos, Iracenir Andrade; Ramos, Flavio Nunes; Barrios-Rojas, Katty Elena; Majer, Jonathan David; Vilela, Evaldo Ferreira

    2018-01-01

    The establishment of agricultural matrices generally involves deforestation, which leads to fragmentation of the remaining forest. This fragmentation can affect forest dynamics both positively and negatively. Since most animal species are affected, certain groups can be used to measure the impact of such fragmentation. This study aimed to measure the impacts of agricultural crops (matrices) on ant communities of adjacent lower montane Atlantic rainforest fragments. We sampled nine forest fragments at locations surrounded by different agricultural matrices, namely: coffee (3 replicates); sugarcane (3); and pasture (3). At each site we installed pitfall traps along a 500 m transect from the interior of the matrix to the interior of the fragment (20 pitfall traps ~25 m apart). Each transect was partitioned into four categories: interior of the matrix; edge of the matrix; edge of the fragment; and interior of the fragment. For each sample site, we measured ant species richness and ant community composition within each transect category. Ant richness and composition differed between fragments and matrices. Each sample location had a specific composition of ants, probably because of the influence of the nature and management of the agricultural matrices. Species composition in the coffee matrix had the highest similarity to its corresponding fragment. The variability in species composition within forest fragments surrounded by pasture was greatest when compared with forest fragments surrounded by sugarcane or, to a lesser extent, coffee. Functional guild composition differed between locations, but the most representative guild was 'generalist' both in the agricultural matrices and forest fragments. Our results are important for understanding how agricultural matrices act on ant communities, and also, how these isolated forest fragments could act as an island of biodiversity in an 'ocean of crops'.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

    Oecophylla ants may protect tropical plantation crops against pests. Cost-benefit studies comparing ant-based protection with conventional methods are needed to assess whether it is economically viable. Here we contrast profits in ant and chemically protected plots in a Thai and a Vietnamese citrus...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isabel E Moller

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

  1. Water Stress Strengthens Mutualism Among Ants, Trees, and Scale Insects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Elizabeth G.; Akçay, Erol; Raab, Ted K.; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2013-01-01

    Abiotic environmental variables strongly affect the outcomes of species interactions. For example, mutualistic interactions between species are often stronger when resources are limited. The effect might be indirect: water stress on plants can lead to carbon stress, which could alter carbon-mediated plant mutualisms. In mutualistic ant–plant symbioses, plants host ant colonies that defend them against herbivores. Here we show that the partners' investments in a widespread ant–plant symbiosis increase with water stress across 26 sites along a Mesoamerican precipitation gradient. At lower precipitation levels, Cordia alliodora trees invest more carbon in Azteca ants via phloem-feeding scale insects that provide the ants with sugars, and the ants provide better defense of the carbon-producing leaves. Under water stress, the trees have smaller carbon pools. A model of the carbon trade-offs for the mutualistic partners shows that the observed strategies can arise from the carbon costs of rare but extreme events of herbivory in the rainy season. Thus, water limitation, together with the risk of herbivory, increases the strength of a carbon-based mutualism. PMID:24223521

  2. Do host species evolve a specific response to slave-making ants?

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    Delattre Olivier

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Social parasitism is an important selective pressure for social insect species. It is particularly the case for the hosts of dulotic (so called slave-making ants, which pillage the brood of host colonies to increase the worker force of their own colony. Such raids can have an important impact on the fitness of the host nest. An arms race which can lead to geographic variation in host defenses is thus expected between hosts and parasites. In this study we tested whether the presence of a social parasite (the dulotic ant Myrmoxenus ravouxi within an ant community correlated with a specific behavioral defense strategy of local host or non-host populations of Temnothorax ants. Social recognition often leads to more or less pronounced agonistic interactions between non-nestmates ants. Here, we monitored agonistic behaviors to assess whether ants discriminate social parasites from other ants. It is now well-known that ants essentially rely on cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate nestmates from aliens. If host species have evolved a specific recognition mechanism for their parasite, we hypothesize that the differences in behavioral responses would not be fully explained simply by quantitative dissimilarity in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, but should also involve a qualitative response due to the detection of particular compounds. We scaled the behavioral results according to the quantitative chemical distance between host and parasite colonies to test this hypothesis. Results Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles were distinct between species, but host species did not show a clearly higher aggression rate towards the parasite than toward non-parasite intruders, unless the degree of response was scaled by the chemical distance between intruders and recipient colonies. By doing so, we show that workers of the host and of a non-host species in the parasitized site displayed more agonistic behaviors (bites and ejections towards parasite

  3. Warehouse stocking optimization based on dynamic ant colony genetic algorithm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Xiaoxu

    2018-04-01

    In view of the various orders of FAW (First Automotive Works) International Logistics Co., Ltd., the SLP method is used to optimize the layout of the warehousing units in the enterprise, thus the warehouse logistics is optimized and the external processing speed of the order is improved. In addition, the relevant intelligent algorithms for optimizing the stocking route problem are analyzed. The ant colony algorithm and genetic algorithm which have good applicability are emphatically studied. The parameters of ant colony algorithm are optimized by genetic algorithm, which improves the performance of ant colony algorithm. A typical path optimization problem model is taken as an example to prove the effectiveness of parameter optimization.

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

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    Pedro Leite Ribeiro

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

  5. Predatory behavior of Pseudodorus clavatus (Diptera, Syrphidae on aphids tended by ants

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    Alexandra Bächtold

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Predatory behavior of Pseudodorus clavatus (Diptera, Syrphidae on aphids tended by ants. In this study, we examined the interactions between myrmecophilous aphids, their ant-guards and a predatory syrphid species, Pseudodorus clavatus (F.. Larvae of this predator were found in the colonies of three aphid species: Aphis gossypii, A. spiraecola and Toxoptera sp., which were tended by eight ant species, especially Camponotus. Hoverfly larvae managed to infiltrate the aphid colonies and consume nymphs. Predator larvae exhibited inconspicuous movements and were not detected by ants which were commonly observed touching and antennating the larvae they come into contact. These results suggest that behavioral and chemical cues are involved in the infiltration and on the successful predation of syrphids upon aphids.

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

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    Ana Ješovnik

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

  7. Male parentage in army ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-07-01

    Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens are targeted primarily toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency.

  9. Extracción y caracterización de antígeno micelial de Aspergillus fumigatus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernarda Cuadrado

    1995-06-01

    Full Text Available Este estudio presenta la estandarización y caracterización antigénica de un extracto micelial de Aspergillus fumigatus, con el fin de utilizarlo posteriormente en pruebas diagnósticas de aspergilosis pulmonar. Para la evaluación del antígeno micelial, se emplearon técnicas de doble inmunodifusión (DD, contra inmunoelectroforesis (CIE+ ID y enzimoinmuno ensayo (ELISA, comparando sus resultados con un antígeno de referencia. La concentración de proteínas y carbohidratos del antígeno estudiado fue de 8.800pglmL y 2.452 pg/mL respectivamente, muy similares a los encontrados en el antígeno de referencia. Los antígenos analizados presentaron bandas de identidad total y parcial en la DD. No hubo bandas de precipitinas al enfrentar ambos antígenos con 20 sueros negativos, utilizando las pruebas de DD y CIE+ID. En la ClE+lD se presentaron precipitinas en los lados anódico y catódico de ambos antígenos. El punto de corte determinado en la prueba de ELlSA para el antígeno del estudio fué de 0,352, con un intervalo de confianza del 95%. Es posible concluir que el antígeno micelial estudiado puede ser empleado en pruebas serológicas diagnósticas.

  10. Diapriinae Wasps (Hymenoptera: Diaprioidea: Diapriidae Associated with Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta S. Loiácono

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We provide an overview of diapriid wasps associated with ants in Argentina and the diversity of interactions they have developed with their hosts. As a result, we report 16 species of nine genera of Diapriinae, two new geographic distributions, three new association records, illustrations, and photographs. We highlight myrmecophile symphylic species, with a high degree of integration with the host ants, adaptation being morphological and behavioral. A table with diapriid species and ant hosts is given.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    . To investigate this hypothesis, we studied the effect of sex and life history stage on the frequency of kleptoparasitism in ant-eating spiders of the genus Zodarion in the field. These spiders use a special capture technique involving a quick attack on an ant that is left unguarded by spiders for several minutes......, providing ample opportunities for kleptoparasitism. We found that adult females consistently hunted actively, while adult males ceased active prey capture and instead engaged in kleptoparasitism. Juvenile spiders were active hunters irrespective of sex. Consistent with an ontogenetic shift in foraging...

  12. Attracting predators without falling prey: chemical camouflage protects honeydew-producing treehoppers from ant predation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silveira, Henrique C P; Oliveira, Paulo S; Trigo, José R

    2010-02-01

    Predaceous ants are dominant organisms on foliage and represent a constant threat to herbivorous insects. The honeydew of sap-feeding hemipterans has been suggested to appease aggressive ants, which then begin tending activities. Here, we manipulated the cuticular chemical profiles of freeze-dried insect prey to show that chemical background matching with the host plant protects Guayaquila xiphias treehoppers against predaceous Camponotus crassus ants, regardless of honeydew supply. Ant predation is increased when treehoppers are transferred to a nonhost plant with which they have low chemical similarity. Palatable moth larvae manipulated to match the chemical background of Guayaquila's host plant attracted lower numbers of predatory ants than unchanged controls. Although aggressive tending ants can protect honeydew-producing hemipterans from natural enemies, they may prey on the trophobionts under shortage of alternative food resources. Thus chemical camouflage in G. xiphias allows the trophobiont to attract predaceous bodyguards at reduced risk of falling prey itself.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-10

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

  14. Defensive traits exhibit an evolutionary trade-off and drive diversification in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blanchard, Benjamin D; Moreau, Corrie S

    2017-02-01

    Evolutionary biologists have long predicted that evolutionary trade-offs among traits should constrain morphological divergence and species diversification. However, this prediction has yet to be tested in a broad evolutionary context in many diverse clades, including ants. Here, we reconstruct an expanded ant phylogeny representing 82% of ant genera, compile a new family-wide trait database, and conduct various trait-based analyses to show that defensive traits in ants do exhibit an evolutionary trade-off. In particular, the use of a functional sting negatively correlates with a suite of other defensive traits including spines, large eye size, and large colony size. Furthermore, we find that several of the defensive traits that trade off with a sting are also positively correlated with each other and drive increased diversification, further suggesting that these traits form a defensive suite. Our results support the hypothesis that trade-offs in defensive traits significantly constrain trait evolution and influence species diversification in ants. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loreto, Raquel G.; Hughes, David P.

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Differential Sharing of Chemical Cues by Social Parasites Versus Social Mutualists in a Three-Species Symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emery, Virginia J; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2016-04-01

    Chemical recognition systems are crucial for maintaining the unity of social insect colonies. It has been proposed that colonies form a common chemical signature, called the gestalt odor, which is used to distinguish colony members and non-members. This chemical integration is achieved actively through social interactions such as trophallaxis and allogrooming, or passively such as through exposure to common nest material. When colonies are infiltrated by social parasites, the intruders often use some form of chemical mimicry. However, it is not always clear how this chemical mimicry is accomplished. Here, we used a three-species nesting symbiosis to test the differences in chemical integration of mutualistic (parabiotic) and parasitic ant species. We found that the parasite (Solenopsis picea) obtains chemical cues from both of the two parabiotic host ant species. However, the two parabiotic species (Crematogaster levior and Camponotus femoratus) maintain species-specific cues, and do not acquire compounds from the other species. Our findings suggest that there is a fundamental difference in how social mutualists and social parasites use chemicals to integrate themselves into colonies.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lynegaard, Gina; Offenberg, Joachim; Fast, Thora

    2014-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are managed in plantations to control insect pests and are sometimes harvested as a protein rich food source. In both cases, the amount of insect prey caught by the ants is imperative for returns, as more prey leads to more effective biocontrol and to a higher...... by O. longinoda under natural conditions (without traps), potentially increasing to 14% if ants learn to extract all insects. Thus, prey intake may be increased with 5-14% per 3.9 USD invested in traps. These numbers increased to 38 and 78%, respectively, when light was used to attract insects during...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    , whereas most of the other attine species use dry and partly degraded plant material such as leaf litter and caterpillar frass, but systematic comparative studies of actual resource acquisition across the attine ants have not been done. 3. Here we review 179 literature records of diet composition across...... the extant genera of fungus-growing ants. The records confirm the dependence of leaf-cutting ants on fresh vegetation but find that flowers, dry plant debris, seeds (husks), and insect frass are used by all genera, whereas other substrates such as nectar and insect carcasses are only used by some. 4. Diet...

  19. Spider-Ant Associations: An Updated Review of Myrmecomorphy, Myrmecophily, and Myrmecophagy in Spiders

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula E. Cushing

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides a summary of the extensive theoretical and empirical work that has been carried out in recent years testing the adaptational significance of various spider-ant associations. Hundreds of species of spiders have evolved close relationships with ants and can be classified as myrmecomorphs, myrmecophiles, or myrmecophages. Myrmecomorphs are Batesian mimics. Their close morphological and behavioral resemblance to ants confers strong survival advantages against visually hunting predators. Some species of spiders have become integrated into the ant society as myrmecophiles or symbionts. These spider myrmecophiles gain protection against their own predators, live in an environment with a stable climate, and are typically surrounded by abundant food resources. The adaptations by which this integration is made possible are poorly known, although it is hypothesized that most spider myrmecophiles are chemical mimics and some are even phoretic on their hosts. The third type of spider-ant association discussed is myrmecophagy—or predatory specialization on ants. A table of known spider myrmecophages is provided as is information on their biology and hunting strategies. Myrmecophagy provides these predators with an essentially unlimited food supply and may even confer other protections to the spiders.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan E Ron

    2018-05-01

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

  1. Chemical camouflage--a frog's strategy to co-exist with aggressive ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark-Oliver Rödel

    Full Text Available Whereas interspecific associations receive considerable attention in evolutionary, behavioural and ecological literature, the proximate bases for these associations are usually unknown. This in particular applies to associations between vertebrates with invertebrates. The West-African savanna frog Phrynomantis microps lives in the underground nest of ponerine ants (Paltothyreus tarsatus. The ants usually react highly aggressively when disturbed by fiercely stinging, but the frog is not attacked and lives unharmed among the ants. Herein we examined the proximate mechanisms for this unusual association. Experiments with termites and mealworms covered with the skin secretion of the frog revealed that specific chemical compounds seem to prevent the ants from stinging. By HPLC-fractionation of an aqueous solution of the frogs' skin secretion, two peptides of 1,029 and 1,143 Da were isolated and found to inhibit the aggressive behaviour of the ants. By de novo sequencing using tandem mass spectrometry, the amino acid sequence of both peptides consisting of a chain of 9 and 11 residues, respectively, was elucidated. Both peptides were synthesized and tested, and exhibited the same inhibitory properties as the original frog secretions. These novel peptides most likely act as an appeasement allomone and may serve as models for taming insect aggression.

  2. Prey and mound disassembly, manipulation and transport by fire ant collectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dutta, Bahnisikha; Monaenkova, Daria; Goodisman, Michael A.; Goldman, Daniel

    Fire ants inhabit subterranean nests covered by a hemispherical mound of soil permeated by narrow ( 1 body length diameter) tunnels. Fire ants can use their mound for long-term food storage [Gayahan &Tschinkel, J. Insect Sci.,2008]. Since mound tunnels are narrow, we expect that in addition to prey manipulation, mound reconfiguration could also be an important aspect of the food storage strategy. Ant colonies collected from wild were allowed to build nests in containers filled with clay soil in the laboratory. These colonies were offered diverse prey embedded with lead markers, including mealworms, crickets and shrimp. Ant-prey-soil interactions on the nest surface were recorded using overhead video and subsurface using x-ray imaging. Individual ants involved in prey storage exhibited three distinct behaviors: prey maneuvering, prey dissection and mound reconfiguration. Small prey (e.g. mealworms) were collectively carried intact into the mound through a tunnel, and then disassembled within the mound. Larger prey (e.g. shrimp) were dismantled into small pieces above the surface and carried to mound tunnels. The bodies of hard medium-sized prey (e.g. crickets) were buried after limb removal and then disassembled and moved into tunnels. Soil reconfiguration occurred in all cases.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abel Bernadou

    2013-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-11-01

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

  5. How to find home backwards? Navigation during rearward homing of Cataglyphis fortis desert ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeffer, Sarah E; Wittlinger, Matthias

    2016-07-15

    Cataglyphis ants are renowned for their impressive navigation skills, which have been studied in numerous experiments during forward locomotion. However, the ants' navigational performance during backward homing when dragging large food loads has not been investigated until now. During backward locomotion, the odometer has to deal with unsteady motion and irregularities in inter-leg coordination. The legs' sensory feedback during backward walking is not just a simple reversal of the forward stepping movements: compared with forward homing, ants are facing towards the opposite direction during backward dragging. Hence, the compass system has to cope with a flipped celestial view (in terms of the polarization pattern and the position of the sun) and an inverted retinotopic image of the visual panorama and landmark environment. The same is true for wind and olfactory cues. In this study we analyze for the first time backward-homing ants and evaluate their navigational performance in channel and open field experiments. Backward-homing Cataglyphis fortis desert ants show remarkable similarities in the performance of homing compared with forward-walking ants. Despite the numerous challenges emerging for the navigational system during backward walking, we show that ants perform quite well in our experiments. Direction and distance gauging was comparable to that of the forward-walking control groups. Interestingly, we found that backward-homing ants often put down the food item and performed foodless search loops around the left food item. These search loops were mainly centred around the drop-off position (and not around the nest position), and increased in length the closer the ants came to their fictive nest site. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  6. Colony Diet Influences Ant Worker Foraging and Attendance of Myrmecophilous Lycaenid Caterpillars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sebastian Pohl

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Foraging animals regulate their intake of macronutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins. However, regulating the intake of these two macronutrients can be constrained by the nutrient content of available food sources. Compensatory foraging is a method to adjust nutrient intake under restricted nutrient availability by preferentially exploiting food sources that contain limiting nutrients. Here we studied the potential for compensatory foraging in the dolichoderine ant Iridomyrmex mayri, which is commonly found in associations with caterpillars of the obligatorily ant-associated lycaenid butterfly Jalmenus evagoras. The caterpillars receive protection against predators and parasites, and reward the ants with nutritional secretions from specialized exocrine glands. These secretions contain a mixture of sugars and free amino acids, particularly serine. We tested the influence of nutrient-deficient diets on foraging patterns in I. mayri by recording the intake of test solutions containing single types of macronutrients during food preference tests. We also investigated the level of ant attendance on fifth instar J. evagoras caterpillars to evaluate how changes in diet influenced ant tending of caterpillars and foraging on their secretions. Foragers on a protein diet compensated for the nutritional deficit by increasing the intake of test solutions that contained sucrose, compared to their counterparts on a non-restricted diet. Ants on a sugar diet, however, did not show a corresponding increased consumption of test solutions containing the amino acid serine. Additionally, compared with their counterparts on a mixed diet, ants on limited nutrient diets showed an increase in the number of caterpillar-tending workers, suggesting that the caterpillars’ secretions are suitable to compensate for the ants’ nutritional deficit.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2006-03-15

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

  8. Evolutionary transition from single to multiple mating in fungus-growing ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villesen, P.; Gertsch, Pia J.; Frydenberg, J.

    1999-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants exhibit the highest known levels of multiple mating (up to 10 mates per queen) among ants. Multiple mating may have been selected to increase genetic diversity among nestmate workers, which is hypothesized to be critical in social systems with large, long-lived colonies ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-10-01

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

  10. Rovno Amber Ant Assamblage: Bias toward Arboreal Strata or Sampling Effect?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Perkovsky E. E.

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available In 2015 B. Guenard with co-authors indicated that the Rovno amber ant assemblage, as described by G. Dlussky and A. Rasnitsyn (2009, showed modest support for a bias towards arboreal origin comparing the Baltic and Bitterfeld assemblages, although it is not clear whether this reflects a sampling error or a signal of real deviation. Since 2009, the Rovno ant collection has now grown more than twice in volume which makes possible to check if the above inference about the essentially arboreal character of the assemblage is real or due to a sampling error. The comparison provided suggests in favour of the latter reason for the bias revealed by B. Guenard and co-authors. The new and larger data on the Rovno assemblage show that the share of non-arboreal ants is now well comparable with those concerning the Baltic and Bitterfeld assemblages. This holds true for the both total assemblages and subassemblages of worker ants only.

  11. Ant mimicry lessens predation on a North American jumping spider by larger salticid spiders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durkee, Caitlin A; Weiss, Martha R; Uma, Divya B

    2011-10-01

    Ant-like appearance (myrmecomorphy) has evolved >70 times in insects and spiders, accounting for >2,000 species of myrmecomorphic arthropods. Most myrmecomorphic spiders are considered to be Batesian mimics; that is, a palatable spider avoids predation through resemblance to an unpalatable ant-although this presumption has been tested in relatively few cases. Here we explicitly examined the extent to which Peckhamia picata (Salticidae), a North American ant-mimicking jumping spider, is protected from four species of jumping spider predators, relative to nonmimetic salticids and model ants. In addition, we conducted focused behavioral observations on one salticid predator, Thiodina puerpera, to determine the point at which the predators' behaviors toward model, mimic, and nonmimic diverge. We also examined the behaviors of Peckhamia in the presence of Thiodina. We found that mimetic jumping spiders were consumed less than a third as often as nonmimetic jumping spiders, suggesting that Peckhamia does indeed gain protection as a result of its resemblance to ants, and so can be considered a Batesian mimic. Furthermore, our focal predator did not consume any ant-mimicking spiders, and seemed to categorize Peckhamia with its model ant early in the hunting sequence. Such early determination of prey versus nonprey may be the result of speed-accuracy trade-offs in predator decision-making.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Edward O; Nowak, Martin A

    2014-09-02

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

  13. Precision Rescue Behavior in North American Ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine Taylor

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Altruistic behavior, in which one individual provides aid to another at some cost to itself, is well documented. However, some species engage in a form of altruism, called rescue, that places the altruist in immediate danger. Here we investigate one such example, namely rescuing victims captured by predators. In a field experiment with two North American ant species, Tetramorium sp. E and Prenolepis imparis, individuals were held in artificial snares simulating capture. T. sp. E, but not P. imparis, exhibited digging, pulling, and snare biting, the latter precisely targeted to the object binding the victim. These results are the first to document precision rescue in a North American ant species; moreover, unlike rescue in other ants, T. sp. E rescues conspecifics from different colonies, mirroring their atypical social behavior, namely the lack of aggression between non-nestmate (heterocolonial conspecifics. In a second, observational study designed to demonstrate rescue from an actual predator, T. sp. E victims were dropped into an antlion's pit and the behavior of a single rescuer was observed. Results showed that T. sp. E not only attempted to release the victim, but also risked attacking the predator, suggesting that precision rescue may play an important role in this species' antipredator behavior.

  14. Adoption of parasitic Maculinea alcon caterpillars (Lepidoptera : Lycaenidae) by three Myrmica ant species

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2001-01-01

    Maculinea butterflies are parasites of Myrmica ant nests. The Alcon blue, Maculinea alcon, is unusual in that it parasitizes the nests of several Myrmica species, using M. rubra, M. ruginodis and M. scabrinodis as hosts in different parts of Europe. In Denmark it uses M. rubra and M. ruginodis....... alcon from three populations differing in their host use to laboratory nests of all three recorded host ant species collected from each of the M. alcon populations. We measured the attractiveness of the caterpillars to their host ants as the time taken for them to be adopted by each ant colony....... Caterpillars from all populations took longer to be adopted to M. scabrinodis nests than to nests of the other two ant species. Adoption times to M. rubra and M. ruginodis colonies differed: caterpillars from each of the two populations that used a single host species were adopted most quickly by that species...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-05-01

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

  16. Caterpillars and fungal pathogens: two co-occurring parasites of an ant-plant mutualism.

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    Olivier Roux

    Full Text Available In mutualisms, each interacting species obtains resources from its partner that it would obtain less efficiently if alone, and so derives a net fitness benefit. In exchange for shelter (domatia and food, mutualistic plant-ants protect their host myrmecophytes from herbivores, encroaching vines and fungal pathogens. Although selective filters enable myrmecophytes to host those ant species most favorable to their fitness, some insects can by-pass these filters, exploiting the rewards supplied whilst providing nothing in return. This is the case in French Guiana for Cecropia obtusa (Cecropiaceae as Pseudocabima guianalis caterpillars (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae can colonize saplings before the installation of their mutualistic Azteca ants. The caterpillars shelter in the domatia and feed on food bodies (FBs whose production increases as a result. They delay colonization by ants by weaving a silk shield above the youngest trichilium, where the FBs are produced, blocking access to them. This probable temporal priority effect also allows female moths to lay new eggs on trees that already shelter caterpillars, and so to occupy the niche longer and exploit Cecropia resources before colonization by ants. However, once incipient ant colonies are able to develop, they prevent further colonization by the caterpillars. Although no higher herbivory rates were noted, these caterpillars are ineffective in protecting their host trees from a pathogenic fungus, Fusarium moniliforme (Deuteromycetes, that develops on the trichilium in the absence of mutualistic ants. Therefore, the Cecropia treelets can be parasitized by two often overlooked species: the caterpillars that shelter in the domatia and feed on FBs, delaying colonization by mutualistic ants, and the fungal pathogen that develops on old trichilia. The cost of greater FB production plus the presence of the pathogenic fungus likely affect tree growth.

  17. Establishment of Black Ant (Dolichoderus thoracicuson Cocoa Plantation and Its Effects on Helopeltisspp. Infestation

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    Soekadar Wiryadiputra

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available Black ant (Dolichoderus thoracicusis the efficient biological control agent in suppressing main cocoa pests. It was reported that besides controlling the cocoa mirids, Helopeltisspp., this agent also can be used for biological control of cocoa pod borer (Conopomorpha cramerellaand rodents pest. Nevertheles, establishment of black ant in cocoa plantation is difficult. The objectives of research were to obtain the best method of black ant establisment and to know its effect on suppressing population and infestation of Helopeltis spp. The experiment was conducted on two cocoa ecosystems, namely cocoa plantation with coconut shading trees and with Gliricidia sepium shading trees. There were six methods of black ant establisment tried using a combination between black ant nest types and innoculation of mealybug (Cataenococcus hispidus. A control plot also added on these trial, therefore seven treatments were tried in this experiment and each treatmentwasreplicated three times. The results revealedthat on cocoa shaded by coconuts, ant establishment by the nests of coconut leaves combined with mealybug(Cataenococcus hispidusinoculation on husk wedges were the best method and could effectively control Helopeltis infestation. Good results of ant establishment also occurred on cocoa shaded by Gliricidia but its effect on Helopeltis infestation has not been significant. Four months after establishment of black ant on cocoa with coconut shading trees, Helopeltisspp. population on the plots treated by coconut leaves nest combined with innoculation of mealybug using husk wedges were very low, namely only one Helopeltisper 36 cocoa trees, whereas on control plot reaches of 85 Helopeltis. Infestation of Helopeltis measured by percentage of trees occupied by Helopeltisper 36 cocoa trees in the same period and treatment plot revealed also very low, namely 1.04% compared to 27.86% on that of the control plot. Key words : Cocoa, black ant (Dolichoderus thoracicus

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

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    Fernando C. Pagnocca

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in ant nests may play the role of making nutrients readily available throughout the garden and detoxification of compounds that may be deleterious to the ants and their fungal cultivar. Among the yeasts screened, 65% exhibited cellulolytic enzym