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Sample records for ant workers food

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dijkstra, Michiel Bendert; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2006-01-01

    ovaries. Workers of Atta leafcutter ants only lay trophic eggs in queenright colonies. Although Atta colonies are commonly kept at universities, museums, and zoos, no reports of worker sons in orphaned colonies exist, suggesting that Atta workers are infertile. To explicitly test this, we created eleven...

  2. 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...

  3. Colony Diet Influences Ant Worker Foraging and Attendance of Myrmecophilous Lycaenid Caterpillars

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    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.

  4. Feeding and stocking up: radio-labelled food reveals exchange patterns in ants.

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    Buffin, Aurélie; Denis, Damien; Van Simaeys, Gaetan; Goldman, Serge; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2009-06-17

    Food sharing is vital for a large number of species, either solitary or social, and is of particular importance within highly integrated societies, such as in colonial organisms and in social insects. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that govern the distribution of food inside a complex organizational system remain unknown. Using scintigraphy, a method developed for medical imaging, we were able to describe the dynamics of food-flow inside an ant colony. We monitored the sharing process of a radio-labelled sucrose solution inside a nest of Formica fusca. Our results show that, from the very first load that enters the nest, food present within the colony acts as negative feedback to entering food. After one hour of the experiments, 70% of the final harvest has already entered the nest. The total foraged quantity is almost four times smaller than the expected storage capacity. A finer study of the spatial distribution of food shows that although all ants have been fed rapidly (within 30 minutes), a small area representing on average 8% of the radioactive surface holds more than 25% of the stored food. Even in rather homogeneous nests, we observed a strong concentration of food in few workers. Examining the position of these workers inside the nest, we found heavily loaded ants in the centre of the aggregate. The position of the centre of this high-intensity radioactive surface remained stable for the three consecutive hours of the experiments. We demonstrate that the colony simultaneously managed to rapidly feed all workers (200 ants fed within 30 minutes) and build up food stocks to prevent food shortage, something that occurs rather often in changing environments. Though we expected the colony to forage to its maximum capacity, the flow of food entering the colony is finely tuned to the colony's needs. Indeed the food-flow decreases proportionally to the food that has already been harvested, liberating the work-force for other tasks.

  5. Food collection and response to pheromones in an ant species exposed to electromagnetic radiation.

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    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire; Rachidi, Zoheir; Bellens, François; De Doncker, Philippe

    2013-09-01

    We used the ant species Myrmica sabuleti as a model to study the impact of electromagnetic waves on social insects' response to their pheromones and their food collection. We quantified M. sabuleti workers' response to their trail, area marking and alarm pheromone under normal conditions. Then, we quantified the same responses while under the influence of electromagnetic waves. Under such an influence, ants followed trails for only short distances, no longer arrived at marked areas and no longer orientated themselves to a source of alarm pheromone. Also when exposed to electromagnetic waves, ants became unable to return to their nest and recruit congeners; therefore, the number of ants collecting food increases only slightly and slowly. After 180 h of exposure, their colonies deteriorated. Electromagnetic radiation obviously affects social insects' behavior and physiology.

  6. Global network structure of dominance hierarchy of ant workers.

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    Shimoji, Hiroyuki; Abe, Masato S; Tsuji, Kazuki; Masuda, Naoki

    2014-10-06

    Dominance hierarchy among animals is widespread in various species and believed to serve to regulate resource allocation within an animal group. Unlike small groups, however, detection and quantification of linear hierarchy in large groups of animals are a difficult task. Here, we analyse aggression-based dominance hierarchies formed by worker ants in Diacamma sp. as large directed networks. We show that the observed dominance networks are perfect or approximate directed acyclic graphs, which are consistent with perfect linear hierarchy. The observed networks are also sparse and random but significantly different from networks generated through thinning of the perfect linear tournament (i.e. all individuals are linearly ranked and dominance relationship exists between every pair of individuals). These results pertain to global structure of the networks, which contrasts with the previous studies inspecting frequencies of different types of triads. In addition, the distribution of the out-degree (i.e. number of workers that the focal worker attacks), not in-degree (i.e. number of workers that attack the focal worker), of each observed network is right-skewed. Those having excessively large out-degrees are located near the top, but not the top, of the hierarchy. We also discuss evolutionary implications of the discovered properties of dominance networks. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

  10. Reproductive conflict in social insects: Male production by workers in a slave-making ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Brunner, Elizabeth; Trindl, Andreas; Falk, Karl H.

    2005-01-01

    by producing their own sons than workers in nonparasitic species. In this study we investigated worker reproduction in four natural colonies of the slave-making ant Polyergus rufescens, using highly variable microsatellite markers. Our results show that workers produce up to 100% of the males. This study thus...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  12. 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....

  13. Influence of toxic bait type and starvation on worker and queen mortality in laboratory colonies of Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathieson, Melissa; Toft, Richard; Lester, Philip J

    2012-08-01

    The efficacy of toxic baits should be judged by their ability to kill entire ant colonies, including the colony queen or queens. We studied the efficacy of four toxic baits to the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). These baits were Xstinguish that has the toxicant fipronil, Exterm-an-Ant that contains both boric acid and sodium borate, and Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena that both have indoxacarb. Experimental nests contained 300 workers and 10 queen ants that were starved for either 24 or 48 h before toxic bait exposure. The efficacy of the toxic baits was strongly influenced by starvation. In no treatment with 24-h starvation did we observe 100% worker death. After 24-h starvation three of the baits did not result in any queen deaths, with only Exterm-an-Ant producing an average of 25% mortality. In contrast, 100% queen and worker mortality was observed in colonies starved for 48 h and given Xstinguish or Exterm-an-Ant. The baits Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena were not effective against Argentine ants in these trials, resulting in ants are likely to be starved. Our results suggest queen mortality must be assessed in tests for toxic bait efficacy. Our data indicate that of these four baits, Xstinguish and Exterm-an-Ant are the best options for control of Argentine ants in New Zealand.

  14. Gustatory perception and metabolic utilization of sugars by Myrmica rubra ant workers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boevé, J-L.; Wäckers, F.L.

    2003-01-01

    The suitability of various nectar and honeydew sugars as a food source for the polyphagous ant species M. rubra (L.) was studied. The sugars used included monosaccharides (fructose, glucose, galactose, mannose, rhamnose), disaccharides (sucrose, maltose, trehalose, melibiose, lactose) and

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  17. Degeneration of sperm reservoir and the loss of mating ability in worker ants

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    Gobin, Bruno; Ito, Fuminori; Billen, Johan; Peeters, Christian

    2008-11-01

    Workers never mate in the large majority of ants, and they have usually lost the spermatheca, an organ specialized for long-term storage of sperm. Such ‘non-sexual’ workers are restricted to laying unfertilized eggs that give rise to males, and they cannot compete with the queens for the production of female offspring. In sharp contrast, workers in 200 300 species from phylogenetically basal subfamilies can reproduce sexually (‘gamergates’) because they retain a functional spermatheca like the queens. Importantly, ‘non-sexual’ workers in closely related species have a vestigial spermatheca. In this study, we compared the reservoir epithelium of ‘sexual’ workers to that of congeneric queens and ‘non-sexual’ workers using 21 species of Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae and Ectatomminae. We show that a pronounced thickening of the epithelium near the opening of the sperm duct is strictly associated with sexual reproduction in both castes. This is unlike ‘non-sexual’ workers in which this epithelium is always very thin, with few organelles; but all other structures remain intact. We discuss this evolutionary degeneration of the spermatheca and how it relates to behavioural or physiological modifications linked to mating. Our results help understand the loss of sexual reproduction by ant workers, a critical step in the extreme specialization of their phenotype.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gronenberg, Wulfila; Liebig, Jürgen

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Sousa-Souto

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Wiwatwitaya, Decha

    2009-01-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dijkstra, Michiel Bendert; Nash, David Richard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2005-01-01

    Queens of leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex and Atta) are highly multiply mated, resulting in a potential queenworker and worker-worker conflict over who should produce the males in the colony. We studied whether this conflict is expressed, by determining the amount of reproductive egg-laying by worker...

  3. Temporal polyethism, life expectancy, and entropy of workers of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi Almeida, 1987 (Formicidae: Ectatomminae).

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    Santana Vieira, Alexsandro; Desidério Fernandes, Wedson; Fernando Antonialli-Junior, William

    2010-05-01

    We investigated the changes in the behavioral repertoire over the course of life and determined the life expectancy and entropy of workers of the ant Ectatomma vizottoi. Newly emerged ants were individually marked with model airplane paint for observation of behaviors and determination of the age and life expectancy. Ants were divided into two groups: young and old workers. The 36 behaviors observed were divided into eight categories. Workers exhibit a clear division of tasks throughout their lives, with young workers performing more tasks inside the colony and old workers, outside, unlike species that have small colonies. This species also exhibits an intermediate life expectancy compared to workers of other species that are also intermediary in size. This supports the hypothesis of a relationship between size and maximum life expectancy, but it also suggests that other factors may also be acting in concert. Entropy value shows a high mortality rate during the first life intervals.

  4. Bigger helpers in the ant Cataglyphis bombycina: increased worker polymorphism or novel soldier caste?

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    Mathieu Molet

    Full Text Available The mechanisms by which development favors or constrains the evolution of new phenotypes are incompletely understood. Polyphenic species may benefit from developmental plasticity not only regarding ecological advantages, but also potential for evolutionary diversification. For instance, the repeated evolution of novel castes in ants may have been facilitated by the existence of alternative queen and worker castes and their respective developmental programs.Cataglyphis bombycina is exceptional in its genus because winged queens and size-polymorphic workers occur together with bigger individuals having saber-shaped mandibles. We measured seven body parts in more than 150 individuals to perform a morphometric analysis and assess the developmental origin of this novel phenotype.Adults with saber-shaped mandibles differ from both workers and queens regarding the size of most body parts. Their relative growth rates are identical to workers for some pairs of body parts, and identical to queens for other pairs of body parts; critical sizes differ in all cases.Big individuals are a third caste, i.e. soldiers, not major workers. Novel traits such as elongated mandibles are combined with a mix of queen and worker growth rates. We also reveal the existence of a dimorphism in the queen caste (microgynes and macrogynes. We discuss how novel phenotypes can evolve more readily in the context of an existing polyphenism. Both morphological traits and growth rules from existing queen and worker castes can be recombined, hence mosaic phenotypes are more likely to be viable. In C. bombycina, such a mosaic phenotype appears to function both for defense (saber-shaped mandibles and fat storage (big abdomen. Recycling of developmental programs may have contributed to the morphological diversity and ecological success of ants.

  5. Workers select mates for queens: a possible mechanism of gene flow restriction between supercolonies of the invasive Argentine ant

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    Sunamura, Eiriki; Hoshizaki, Sugihiko; Sakamoto, Hironori; Fujii, Takeshi; Nishisue, Koji; Suzuki, Shun; Terayama, Mamoru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Tatsuki, Sadahiro

    2011-05-01

    Some invasive ants form large networks of mutually non-aggressive nests, i.e., supercolonies. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile forms much larger supercolonies in introduced ranges than in its native range. In both cases, it has been shown that little gene flow occurs between supercolonies of this species, though the mechanism of gene flow restriction is unknown. In this species, queens do not undertake nuptial flight, and males have to travel to foreign nests and cope with workers before gaining access to alien queens. In this study, we hypothesized that male Argentine ants receive interference from workers of alien supercolonies. To test this hypothesis, we conducted behavioral and chemical experiments using ants from two supercolonies in Japan. Workers attacked males from alien supercolonies but not those from their own supercolonies. The level of aggression against alien males was similar to that against alien workers. The frequency of severe aggression against alien males increased as the number of recipient workers increased. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, which serve as cues for nestmate recognition, of workers and males from the same supercolony were very similar. Workers are likely to distinguish alien males from males of their own supercolony using the profiles. It is predicted that males are subject to considerable aggression from workers when they intrude into the nests of alien supercolonies. This may be a mechanism underlying the restricted gene flow between supercolonies of Argentine ants. The Argentine ant may possess a distinctive reproductive system, where workers participate in selecting mates for their queens. We argue that the aggression of workers against alien males is a novel form of reproductive interference.

  6. Ants detect but do not discriminate diseased workers within their nest

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    Leclerc, Jean-Baptiste; Detrain, Claire

    2016-08-01

    Social insects have evolved an array of individual and social behaviours that limit pathogen entrance and spread within the colony. The detection of ectoparasites or of fungal spores on a nestmate body triggers their removal by allogrooming and appears as a primary component of social prophylaxis. However, in the case of fungal infection, one may wonder whether ant workers are able to detect, discriminate and keep at bay diseased nestmates that have no spores over their cuticle but which constitute a latent sanitary risk due to post-mortem corpse sporulation. Here, we investigate the ability of Myrmica rubra workers to detect and discriminate a healthy from a diseased nestmate infected by the entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. During dyadic encounters in a neutral location, workers were more aggressive towards isolated sick nestmates on the 3rd post-infection day. However, no such detection or discrimination of fungus-infected nestmates occurred in a social context inside the nest or at the nest entrance. Gatekeepers never actively rejected incoming diseased nestmates that rather spontaneously isolated themselves outside the nest. Our study reveals that ant workers may detect health-dependent cues and that their `acceptance level' of sick nestmates is tunable depending on the social context. This raises questions about possible trade-offs between a social closure to pathogens and risks of erroneous rejection of healthy nestmates. Social isolation of moribund ants also appears as a widespread prophylactic strategy of social insects allowing them to reduce exposure to pathogens and to spare costs associated with the management of infected individuals.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1977-01-01

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

  8. A New Species of Neotropical Carpenter Ant in the Genus Camponotus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Apparently without Major Workers

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    William Mackay

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We describe a new species of carpenter ants from Ecuador, which apparently has an obligatory relationship with the ant plants Cecropia membranacea Trécul, C. herthae Diels and C. marginalis Cuatrec. The workers are relatively small and hairy, and based on a number of collections, it does not appear to have major workers. We compare the new species to Camponotus balzani, to which it appears to be similar and which has normal major workers, and also lives in Cecropia spp.

  9. Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation

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    Roberto S. Camargo

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Energy substrate used by workers of leaf-cutting ants during nest excavation. In this study we aimed to ascertain whether leaf-cutting ant workers lose body reserves (fat or sugars as a function of nest excavation. For each treatment, we isolated 10 workers of Atta sexdens into two experimental groups, Control (C- without excavation and Soil (S- with excavation, which were kept for different time intervals (0, 24, 48 or 72 hours, totaling 700 tested workers. We then determined the concentration of soluble carbohydrates and total lipid content in them. The total carbohydrates were determined colorimetrically, based on the reaction between carbohydrates and sulfuric acid-phenol. For determination of lipids, the insects were immersed in organic solvent until they reached a constant weight. Our results showed that carbohydrates are consumed during nest excavation activities. In the experimental groups S24, S48 and S72, there was an average reduction of 5.82 (20.42%, 14.31 (44.96% and 13.27 (43.96% µ.mg-1 in soluble sugar when compared with the experimental groups that did not excavate. Furthermore, the lipids were not used during this activity. With respect to dry mass of the workers, their values were C0 = 8%, C24 = 10.4%, C48 = 9.2%, C72 = 10%, S24 = 9.2%, S48 = 8.7% and S72 = 8.5%. Our results show experimentally that the source of energy for nest excavation is carbohydrates, whereas lipids are conserved for other activities.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  11. Interactions with combined chemical cues inform harvester ant foragers' decisions to leave the nest in search of food.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Greene

    Full Text Available Social insect colonies operate without central control or any global assessment of what needs to be done by workers. Colony organization arises from the responses of individuals to local cues. Red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus regulate foraging using interactions between returning and outgoing foragers. The rate at which foragers return with seeds, a measure of food availability, sets the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest on foraging trips. We used mimics to test whether outgoing foragers inside the nest respond to the odor of food, oleic acid, the odor of the forager itself, cuticular hydrocarbons, or a combination of both with increased foraging activity. We compared foraging activity, the rate at which foragers passed a line on a trail, before and after the addition of mimics. The combination of both odors, those of food and of foragers, is required to stimulate foraging. The addition of blank mimics, mimics coated with food odor alone, or mimics coated with forager odor alone did not increase foraging activity. We compared the rates at which foragers inside the nest interacted with other ants, blank mimics, and mimics coated with a combination of food and forager odor. Foragers inside the nest interacted more with mimics coated with combined forager/seed odors than with blank mimics, and these interactions had the same effect as those with other foragers. Outgoing foragers inside the nest entrance are stimulated to leave the nest in search of food by interacting with foragers returning with seeds. By using the combined odors of forager cuticular hydrocarbons and of seeds, the colony captures precise information, on the timescale of seconds, about the current availability of food.

  12. Feeding and stocking up: radio-labelled food reveals exchange patterns in ants.

    OpenAIRE

    Aurélie Buffin; Damien Denis; Gaetan Van Simaeys; Serge Goldman; Jean-Louis Deneubourg

    2009-01-01

    Food sharing is vital for a large number of species, either solitary or social, and is of particular importance within highly integrated societies, such as in colonial organisms and in social insects. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that govern the distribution of food inside a complex organizational system remain unknown. Using scintigraphy, a method developed for medical imaging, we were able to describe the dynamics of food-flow inside an ant colony. We monitored the sharing process of a radi...

  13. 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

    2012-01-01

    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 15N showed that larvae ingested domatia fungi. Furthermore, when the natural fungal patch was replaced with a piece of a 15N-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. PMID:22859596

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dijkstra, Michiel B.; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2008-01-01

    The fungal cultivars of fungus-growing ants are vertically transmitted by queens but not males. Selection would therefore favor cultivars that bias the ants' sex ratio towards gynes, beyond the gyne bias that is optimal for workers and queens. We measured sex allocation in 190 colonies of six...... sympatric fungus-growing ant species. As predicted from relatedness, female bias was greater in four singly mated Sericomyrmex and Trachymyrmex species than in two multiply mated Acromyrmex species. Colonies tended to raise mainly a single sex, which could be partly explained by variation in queen number......, colony fecundity, and fungal garden volume for Acromyrmex and Sericomyrmex, but not for Trachymyrmex. Year of collection, worker number and mating frequency of Acromyrmex queens did not affect the colony sex ratios. We used a novel sensitivity analysis to compare the population sex allocation ratios...

  15. Seasonality directs contrasting food collection behavior and nutrient regulation strategies in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven C Cook

    Full Text Available Long-lived animals, including social insects, often display seasonal shifts in foraging behavior. Foraging is ultimately a nutrient consumption exercise, but the effect of seasonality per se on changes in foraging behavior, particularly as it relates to nutrient regulation, is poorly understood. Here, we show that field-collected fire ant colonies, returned to the laboratory and maintained under identical photoperiod, temperature, and humidity regimes, and presented with experimental foods that had different protein (p to carbohydrate (c ratios, practice summer- and fall-specific foraging behaviors with respect to protein-carbohydrate regulation. Summer colonies increased the amount of food collected as the p:c ratio of their food became increasingly imbalanced, but fall colonies collected similar amounts of food regardless of the p:c ratio of their food. Choice experiments revealed that feeding was non-random, and that both fall and summer ants preferred carbohydrate-biased food. However, ants rarely ate all the food they collected, and their cached or discarded food always contained little carbohydrate relative to protein. From a nutrient regulation strategy, ants consumed most of the carbohydrate they collected, but regulated protein consumption to a similar level, regardless of season. We suggest that varied seasonal food collection behaviors and nutrient regulation strategies may be an adaptation that allows long-lived animals to meet current and future nutrient demands when nutrient-rich foods are abundant (e.g. spring and summer, and to conserve energy and be metabolically more efficient when nutritionally balanced foods are less abundant.

  16. Seasonality directs contrasting food collection behavior and nutrient regulation strategies in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Steven C; Eubanks, Micky D; Gold, Roger E; Behmer, Spencer T

    2011-01-01

    Long-lived animals, including social insects, often display seasonal shifts in foraging behavior. Foraging is ultimately a nutrient consumption exercise, but the effect of seasonality per se on changes in foraging behavior, particularly as it relates to nutrient regulation, is poorly understood. Here, we show that field-collected fire ant colonies, returned to the laboratory and maintained under identical photoperiod, temperature, and humidity regimes, and presented with experimental foods that had different protein (p) to carbohydrate (c) ratios, practice summer- and fall-specific foraging behaviors with respect to protein-carbohydrate regulation. Summer colonies increased the amount of food collected as the p:c ratio of their food became increasingly imbalanced, but fall colonies collected similar amounts of food regardless of the p:c ratio of their food. Choice experiments revealed that feeding was non-random, and that both fall and summer ants preferred carbohydrate-biased food. However, ants rarely ate all the food they collected, and their cached or discarded food always contained little carbohydrate relative to protein. From a nutrient regulation strategy, ants consumed most of the carbohydrate they collected, but regulated protein consumption to a similar level, regardless of season. We suggest that varied seasonal food collection behaviors and nutrient regulation strategies may be an adaptation that allows long-lived animals to meet current and future nutrient demands when nutrient-rich foods are abundant (e.g. spring and summer), and to conserve energy and be metabolically more efficient when nutritionally balanced foods are less abundant.

  17. First evidence for slave rebellion: enslaved ant workers systematically kill the brood of their social parasite protomognathus americanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achenbach, Alexandra; Foitzik, Susanne

    2009-04-01

    During the process of coevolution, social parasites have evolved sophisticated strategies to exploit the brood care behavior of their social hosts. Slave-making ant queens invade host colonies and kill or eject all adult host ants. Host workers, which eclose from the remaining brood, are tricked into caring for the parasite brood. Due to their high prevalence and frequent raids, following which stolen host broods are similarly enslaved, slave-making ants exert substantial selection upon their hosts, leading to the evolution of antiparasite adaptations. However, all host defenses shown to date are active before host workers are parasitized, whereas selection was thought to be unable to act on traits of already enslaved hosts. Yet, here we demonstrate the rebellion of enslaved Temnothorax workers, which kill two-thirds of the female pupae of the slave-making ant Protomognathus americanus. Thereby, slaves decrease the long-term parasite impact on surrounding related host colonies. This novel antiparasite strategy of enslaved workers constitutes a new level in the coevolutionary battle after host colony defense has failed. Our discovery is analogous to recent findings in hosts of avian brood parasites where perfect mimicry of parasite eggs leads to the evolution of chick recognition as a second line of defense.

  18. Restaurant manager and worker food safety certification and knowledge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Laura G; Le, Brenda; Wong, Melissa R; Reimann, David; Nicholas, David; Faw, Brenda; Davis, Ernestine; Selman, Carol A

    2014-11-01

    Over half of foodborne illness outbreaks occur in restaurants. To combat these outbreaks, many public health agencies require food safety certification for restaurant managers, and sometimes workers. Certification entails passing a food safety knowledge examination, which is typically preceded by food safety training. Current certification efforts are based on the assumption that certification leads to greater food safety knowledge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted this study to examine the relationship between food safety knowledge and certification. We also examined the relationships between food safety knowledge and restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics. We interviewed managers (N=387) and workers (N=365) about their characteristics and assessed their food safety knowledge. Analyses showed that certified managers and workers had greater food safety knowledge than noncertified managers and workers. Additionally, managers and workers whose primary language was English had greater food safety knowledge than those whose primary language was not English. Other factors associated with greater food safety knowledge included working in a chain restaurant, working in a larger restaurant, having more experience, and having more duties. These findings indicate that certification improves food safety knowledge, and that complex relationships exist among restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics and food safety knowledge.

  19. Restaurant Manager and Worker Food Safety Certification and Knowledge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Laura G.; Le, Brenda; Wong, Melissa R.; Reimann, David; Nicholas, David; Faw, Brenda; Davis, Ernestine; Selman, Carol A.

    2017-01-01

    Over half of foodborne illness outbreaks occur in restaurants. To combat these outbreaks, many public health agencies require food safety certification for restaurant managers, and sometimes workers. Certification entails passing a food safety knowledge examination, which is typically preceded by food safety training. Current certification efforts are based on the assumption that certification leads to greater food safety knowledge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted this study to examine the relationship between food safety knowledge and certification. We also examined the relationships between food safety knowledge and restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics. We interviewed managers (N = 387) and workers (N = 365) about their characteristics and assessed their food safety knowledge. Analyses showed that certified managers and workers had greater food safety knowledge than noncertified managers and workers. Additionally, managers and workers whose primary language was English had greater food safety knowledge than those whose primary language was not English. Other factors associated with greater food safety knowledge included working in a chain restaurant, working in a larger restaurant, having more experience, and having more duties. These findings indicate that certification improves food safety knowledge, and that complex relationships exist among restaurant, manager, and worker characteristics and food safety knowledge. PMID:25361386

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vincent Fourcassié

    2012-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Founding weaver ant queens (Oecophylla longinoda) increase production and nanitic worker size when adopting non-nestmate pupae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ouagoussounon, Issa; Offenberg, Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio; Adandonon, Appolinaire; Kossou, Dansou; Vayssières, Jean-François

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) are used commercially to control pest insects and for protein production. In this respect fast colony growth is desirable for managed colonies. Transplantation of non-nestmate pupae to incipient colonies has been shown to boost colony growth. Our objectives were to find the maximum number of pupae a founding queen can handle, and to measure the associated colony growth. Secondly, we tested if transplantation of pupae led to production of larger nanitic workers (defined as unusually small worker ants produced by founding queens in their first batch of offspring). Forty-five fertilized queens were divided into three treatments: 0 (control), 100 or 300 non-nestmate pupae transplanted to each colony. Pupae transplantation resulted in highly increased growth rates, as pupae were readily adopted by the queens and showed high proportions of surviving (mean = 76%). However, survival was significantly higher when 100 pupae were transplanted compared to transplantation of 300 pupae, indicating that queens were unable to handle 300 pupae adequately and that pupae require some amount of nursing. Nevertheless, within the 60-day experiment the transplantation of 300 pupae increased total colony size more than 10-fold whereas 100 pupae increased the size 5.6 fold, compared to control. This increase was due not only to the individuals added in the form of pupae but also to an increased per capita brood production by the resident queen, triggered by the adopted pupae. The size of hatching pupae produced by the resident queen also increased with the number of pupae transplanted, leading to larger nanitic workers in colonies adopting pupae. In conclusion, pupae transplantation may be used to produce larger colonies with larger worker ants and may thus reduce the time to produce weaver ant colonies for commercial purposes. This in turn may facilitate the implementation of the use of weaver ants.

  3. Blessings on the Food, Blessings on the Workers: Arts-Based Education for Migrant Worker Justice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barndt, Deborah

    2013-01-01

    Migrant agricultural workers are not only on the margins of Canadian and global food systems; they are also on the margins of public consciousness about the labour behind the food we eat. Even local food movement groups who advocate for both social justice and sustainable food production have not made migrant labour a priority concern. Popular…

  4. Founding weaver ant queens (Oecophylla longinoda) increase production and nanitic worker size when adopting non-nestmate pupae

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ouagoussounon, Issa; Offenberg, Joachim; Sinzogan, Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) are used commercially to control pest insects and for protein production. In this respect fast colony growth is desirable for managed colonies. Transplantation of non-nestmate pupae to incipient colonies has been shown to boost colony growth. Our...... of 300 pupae increased total colony size more than 10-fold whereas 100 pupae increased the size 5.6 fold, compared to control. This increase was due not only to the individuals added in the form of pupae but also to an increased per capita brood production by the resident queen, triggered by the adopted...... objectives were to find the maximum number of pupae a founding queen can handle, and to measure the associated colony growth. Secondly, we tested if transplantation of pupae led to production of larger nanitic workers (defined as unusually small worker ants produced by founding queens in their first batch...

  5. [Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus among food service workers].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alarcón-Lavín, María Paula; Oyarzo, Carolina; Escudero, Carlos; Cerda-Leal, Fabiola; Valenzuela, Francisco J

    2017-12-01

    Background Staphylococcus aureus produces 11 serotypes of endotoxins that may cause food poisoning. Aim To determine the prevalence of type A enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus carriage among food service workers in Chillan, Chile. Material and Methods Pharyngeal swabs were obtained from 100 food service workers and were cultured in Agar plates. After identifying the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, DNA was extracted to identify type A toxin by conventional PCR. Results Thirty eight percent of samples were colonized with Staphylococcus aureus. Among these, 26% were toxin A producers. Conclusions Half of the sampled workers carried Staphylococcus aureus and a quarter of these produced type A enterotoxin.

  6. Worker morphology of the ant Gnamptogenys striatula Mayr (Formicidae, Ectatomminae in different landscapes from the Atlantic Forest domain

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roseli F. Oliveira

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Morphological traits, such as size and shape, may reflect a combination of ecological and evolutionary responses by organisms. Ants have been used to evaluate the relationship between the environment and species coexistence and morphology. In the present study, we analyzed the morphology of workers of Gnamptogenys striatula Mayr in different landscapes from the Atlantic Domain in southeastern Brazil, focusing on the variation in the morphological attributes of these populations compared to those from a dense ombrophilous forest. Eighteen morphological traits of functional importance for interactions between workers and the environment were measured to characterize the size and shape of the workers. In general, the results show that ants of urban areas possess some morphological attributes of smaller size, with highly overlapped morphological space between the populations in forested ecosystems. Further, some of the traits related to predation were relatively smaller in modified land areas than in the populations from preserved areas of dense ombrophilous forest. These results help broaden the knowledge regarding morphological diversity in G. striatula, suggesting that the characterization of the morphology may be important to quantify the effects of land use on morphological diversity, and presumably, to facilitate the use of ants as biological indicators.

  7. Food resource and temporal partitioning amongst a guild of predatory agroecosystem - inhabiting ant species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vivek Mohan AGARWAL, Neelkamal RASTOGI

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Prey diversity and temporal foraging patterns of six abundant, predatory ant species were investigated seasonally in an agroecosystem with two main vegetable crops. Pheidole sp. demonstrated the highest predation success and therefore appears to be the dominant species while Tapinoma melanocephalum showed the lowest success under the natural field conditions. Investigation of prey diversity and temporal activity patterns with the null model tests of niche overlap revealed a significant overlap indicating that the activity periods and prey diversity may not be solely influenced by interactions among the co-existing ant species. However, niche partitioning in the daily peak activity periods was demonstrated during all the three seasons (summer, rainy and winter particularly between Pheidole sp. and T. melanocephalum. Pheidole sp. exhibited a high intensity, broadly extended mono-modal foraging pattern. Camponotus compressus and C. paria showed bi-modality in their foraging activity during the rainy season and mono-modal patterns during summer and winter seasons. Pachycondyla tesserinoda, Tetramorium sp. and T. melanocephalum exhibited peak foraging activities in the morning hours during the summer and rainy seasons. The activity profiles of C. compressus and T. melanocephalum were skewed towards late afternoon hours during the winter season indicating avoidance of foraging activity during the favourable periods when the more aggressive Pheidole sp. is active. In the sponge gourd agroecosystem, the ants captured predominantly hymenopteran, orthopteran and coleopteran insects. While Pheidole sp. hunted mainly the large orthopteran prey, other ant species captured worker ants in the sponge gourd agroecosystem. In the cauliflower agroecosystem, while other species captured prey chiefly belonging to six orders, i.e., Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Isoptera and Diptera, Pheidole sp. was the only species to also hunt orthopteran prey

  8. Flexibility in collective decision-making by ant colonies: Tracking food across space and time

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dussutour, Audrey; Nicolis, Stamatios C.

    2013-01-01

    Deciding which of many available resources to exploit is a problem faced by a range of decentralized biological systems. For example, ants are able to choose between food sources that vary in quality using a chemical trail. This communication system characterized by a strong positive feedback allows a rapid transfer of information and the selection of the best food source. This is true in static environment, where a single, unchanging solution exists. In dynamic environments however such recruitment often ‘lock’ groups into suboptimal decisions, preventing a response to changes in available resources. Here, we investigate decision-making in a dynamic environment for the greenhead ants (Rhytidoponera metallica) which use a non-chemical recruitment. To experimentally test our study species’ ability to adapt to changes in their foraging environment, we offered three feeders that changed in quality. At any given time, only one feeder provided high quality food, while the others provided low quality food. Every two hours, the quality of the feeders changed such that the previously high quality feeder became a low quality feeder, and vice versa. We showed that ants were able to track changes in food quality across space and time. By coupling behavioral observations to computer simulations, we demonstrate that selection of food sources relies uniquely on a retention effect of feeding individuals on newcomers without comparison between available opportunities. The elegance of these parsimonious foraging systems is that the collective decision arises from the perception of conspecifics without the need for a leader having a synoptic overall view of the situation and knowing all the available options

  9. Converting pest insects into food

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Hans Joachim; Wiwatwittaya, Decha

    2010-01-01

    Canopy dwelling weaver ants (Oecophylla spp.) are used to control a variety of pests in a number of tropical tree crops. What is less familiar is the existence of commercial markets where these ants and their brood are sold for (i) human consumption, (ii) pet food or (iii) traditional medicine...... on management, 32-115 kg ant brood (mainly new queens) was harvested per ha per year without detrimental effect on colony survival and worker ant densities. This suggest that ant biocontrol and ant harvest can be sustainable integrated in plantations and double benefits derived. As ant production is fuelled...... by pest insects, problematic pests are converted into food and additional earnings. To assess the profitability of providing additional food for the ants, O. smaragdina food conversion efficiency (ECI) was estimated in the laboratory. This estimate suggests the feeding of weaver ants in ant farms...

  10. Listening to food workers: Factors that impact proper health and hygiene practice in food service.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clayton, Megan L; Clegg Smith, Katherine; Neff, Roni A; Pollack, Keshia M; Ensminger, Margaret

    2015-01-01

    Foodborne disease is a significant problem worldwide. Research exploring sources of outbreaks indicates a pronounced role for food workers' improper health and hygiene practice. To investigate food workers' perceptions of factors that impact proper food safety practice. Interviews with food service workers in Baltimore, MD, USA discussing food safety practices and factors that impact implementation in the workplace. A social ecological model organizes multiple levels of influence on health and hygiene behavior. Issues raised by interviewees include factors across the five levels of the social ecological model, and confirm findings from previous work. Interviews also reveal many factors not highlighted in prior work, including issues with food service policies and procedures, working conditions (e.g., pay and benefits), community resources, and state and federal policies. Food safety interventions should adopt an ecological orientation that accounts for factors at multiple levels, including workers' social and structural context, that impact food safety practice.

  11. Ergonomics study for workers at food production industry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohd Fazi Hamizatun

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The health constraint faced by production workers affects the quality of the work. The productivity of the workers is affected by the Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WMSD which limits the movement of the workers. The comfort workplace condition, known as ergonomic environment is important to prevent the occurrence of the WMSD. Proper ergonomic workplace considers the condition of the workers while doing the assigned work. The objectives of this study are to identify the current problems related to ergonomic in food production process, to analyse the actual production data by using Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA and Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA and to recommend the ergonomic workplace environment based on the condition of the study. The study was done at a Small and Medium Enterprises (SME food production company in the Klang Valley of Malaysia. The condition of the workers affects the productivity of the company due to workers’ health deficiency. From the findings, the workers are exposed to the awkward postures which leads to the Work-Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs. Besides, the best height of the worker at the study area (critical area to prevent the worker from WMSDs is within 155 cm to 160 cm. The results show that the workers are exposed to the WMSD in different level of risks which causes high absenteeism among the workers.

  12. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holman, Luke; Stürup, Marlene; Trontti, Kalevi

    2011-01-01

    Sperm competition can produce fascinating adaptations with far-reaching evolutionary consequences. Social taxa make particularly interesting models, because the outcome of sexual selection determines the genetic composition of groups, with attendant sociobiological consequences. Here, we use...... molecular tools to uncover some of the mechanisms and consequences of sperm competition in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica, a species with extreme worker size polymorphism. Competitive PCR allowed quantification of the relative numbers of sperm stored by queens from different males, and offspring...... genotyping revealed how sperm number translated into paternity of eggs and adult workers. We demonstrate that fertilization success is directly related to sperm numbers, that stored sperm are well-mixed and that egg paternity is constant over time. Moreover, worker size was found to have a considerable...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  15. Serving the food nation: Exploring Body Mass Index in food service workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodhall-Melnik, Julia; Cooke, Martin; Bigelow, Philip L

    2015-01-01

    Obesity is a public health concern in North America. Consumption of food prepared outside of the home is often discussed as a contributing factor. To determine whether or not Canadian food service workers are more likely to have high Body Mass Indices (BMIs) as compared with the general population, and to examine factors that contribute to BMI in this population. Analyses of secondary survey data from Cycle 5.1 of the Canadian Community Health Survey were performed. Descriptive statistics were generated to examine food service workers' risk of having above normal BMI compared to other Canadians. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors contributing to variation in BMI among food service workers. Analyses were stratified by age. Canadian food service workers are less likely to have BMIs in the overweight and obese ranges than the general population. Stratification by age demonstrated that this decreased risk can be attributed to the fact that food service workers tend to be younger than the general population. As age increases among food service workers, the odds of having a BMI in the overweight and obese ranges increases. Food service workers in general were not at higher risk for high BMI, but those between the ages of 41 and 64 are at higher risk of having a BMI in the overweight or obese ranges. The findings suggest that proximity to food service outlets may not be the most salient factor in explaining BMI.

  16. The effect of queen and worker adoption on weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) queen fecundity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    Incipient ant colonies are often under fierce competition, making fast growth crucial for survival. To increase production, colonies can adopt multiple queens (pleometrosis), fuse with other colonies or rob brood from neighboring colonies. However, different adoption strategies might have different...

  17. Functional morphology of the postpharyngeal gland of queens and workers of the ant Monomorium pharaonis (L.)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eelen, Dieter; Børgesen, Lisbeth W.; Billen, Johan

    2006-01-01

    the PPG morphology varies considerably according to age and mating status. The epithelial thickness increases with age and reaches a maximum at 3 weeks in both virgin and mated queens. A considerable expansion of the lumen diameter occurs in both groups between 4 and 7 days. Virgin queens release...... nurses and foragers. We suggest the PPG serves different purposes in pharaoh's ants: it is likely that the PPG of workers and virgin queens is used to feed larvae. In mated queens the gland probably plays a role in providing the queen with nutritious oils for egg production. The PPG may also function...

  18. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    The interaction between leaf-cutting ants and their fungus garden mutualists is ideal for studying the evolutionary stability of interspecific cooperation. Although the mutualism has a long history of diffuse coevolution, there is ample potential for conflicts between the partners over the mixing...... and transmission of symbionts. Symbiont transmission is vertical by default, and both the ants and resident fungus actively protect the fungal monoculture growing in their nest against secondary introductions of genetically dissimilar symbionts from other colonies. An earlier study showed that mixtures of major...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  1. Digest: Ant workers might use ancient regulatory pathways to divide labor

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Ernst, Ulrich R.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 71, č. 1 (2017), s. 193-194 ISSN 0014-3820 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : regulatory pathways * social insect * ants Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Biology (theoretical, mathematical, thermal, cryobiology, biological rhythm), Evolutionary biology Impact factor: 4.201, year: 2016

  2. Colony fusion and worker reproduction after queen loss in army ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schöning, Caspar; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2010-01-01

    their reproductive success. We show that worker chemical recognition profiles remain similar after queen loss, but rapidly change into a mixed colony Gestalt odour after fusion, consistent with indiscriminate acceptance of alien workers that are no longer aggressive. We hypothesize that colony fusion after queen...

  3. Development of functional foods for radiation workers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jo, Sung Kee; Yu, Young Beob; Park, Hae Ran; Byun, Myung Woo; Yang, Jae Seung; Kim, Sung Ho; Yee, Sung Tae

    2000-03-01

    In searching modulators of immunity and hematopoiesis among natural products, being used as foods, six herbs exhibited lymphocyte proliferation in vitro, and six exhibited augmentation of hematopoietic cell growth. The combined treatments showed synergistic effects of lymphocyte proliferation and of hematopoietic cell growth. On the other hand, we found four effective oriental medicinal prescriptions, used as energy tonic or blood-building decoctions, for survival and regeneration of hematopoietic cells and for protection of stem cells of intestinal crypt in irradiated mice. On the basis of these results, extracts from combinations of herbs were made in expectation of higher effects in the three respects. In immuno modulation activity by the two combinations of herbs was confirmed in mice. In culture of bone narrow cells, growth improvement of non-adherent precursor and induction of cytokine expression by herb mixture extracts were observed. In evaluation of fractions, polysaccharide fraction showed modulation of immunity and hematopoiesis, and methanol fraction showed stem cell protection from radiation. On the basis of the results, we made two provisional products by addition of polysaccharide fraction to the water extract. In further research, the active components would be identified and the fractional foods would be developed for overcoming of declined immunity and radiation damage. For security of sanitation by irradiation, the stability in activity of irradiated resources was confirmed. (author)

  4. The Food Service Worker and the Travis Air Force Base Experimental Food System: Worker Opinion and Job Satisfaction

    Science.gov (United States)

    1975-04-01

    Surveys and interviews were administered to both civilian and military food service workers at Travis Air Force Base, both before and after dining system changes, to assess job satisfaction, opinions about additional training, and opinions about environmental and equipment features relevant to potential human factors problems.

  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. Food and nutrient intake among workers with different shift systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hemiö, Katri; Puttonen, Sampsa; Viitasalo, Katriina; Härmä, Mikko; Peltonen, Markku; Lindström, Jaana

    2015-07-01

    Over 20% of employees in Europe work in shifts. Shift work increases the risk for chronic diseases, but a healthy lifestyle may attenuate the adverse effect of shift work. The aim of this study was to explore food and nutrient intake differences between working time groups. The participants were 1478 employees (55% of men) of an airline divided into three working time groups: day work (n=608), shift work without in-flight work (n=541) and in-flight work (n=329). Measures included laboratory tests, physical measurements, a questionnaire, and food and nutrient intake estimations by a validated 16-item food intake questionnaire. Shift working men were less likely to consume vegetables (p<0.001) and fruits (p=0.049) daily than male day and in-flight workers. In women, energy intake from saturated fat was higher among shift workers compared with day workers (12.6 vs 12.2 E%, p=0.023). In older female participants, energy intake from fat and saturated fat was higher in the shift work and in-flight work groups than in the day work group (p<0.001). In this study, shift work and working environment were associated with dietary habits, and this association was not explained by other characteristics such as workers' educational level. Shift workers' increased risk for chronic diseases should be taken into account and lifestyle counselling including advice in nutrition should be incorporated in routine occupational healthcare of shift workers. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.

  7. Effects of experimental seaweed deposition on lizard and ant predation in an island food web.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah; Spiller, David A; Schoener, Thomas W

    2011-01-28

    The effect of environmental change on ecosystems is mediated by species interactions. Environmental change may remove or add species and shift life-history events, altering which species interact at a given time. However, environmental change may also reconfigure multispecies interactions when both species composition and phenology remain intact. In a Caribbean island system, a major manifestation of environmental change is seaweed deposition, which has been linked to eutrophication, overfishing, and hurricanes. Here, we show in a whole-island field experiment that without seaweed two predators--lizards and ants--had a substantially greater-than-additive effect on herbivory. When seaweed was added to mimic deposition by hurricanes, no interactive predator effect occurred. Thus environmental change can substantially restructure food-web interactions, complicating efforts to predict anthropogenic changes in ecosystem processes.

  8. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jack eHowe

    2016-05-01

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

  10. Quantifying the effect of colony size and food distribution on harvester ant foraging.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiana P Flanagan

    Full Text Available Desert seed-harvester ants, genus Pogonomyrmex, are central place foragers that search for resources collectively. We quantify how seed harvesters exploit the spatial distribution of seeds to improve their rate of seed collection. We find that foraging rates are significantly influenced by the clumpiness of experimental seed baits. Colonies collected seeds from larger piles faster than randomly distributed seeds. We developed a method to compare foraging rates on clumped versus random seeds across three Pogonomyrmex species that differ substantially in forager population size. The increase in foraging rate when food was clumped in larger piles was indistinguishable across the three species, suggesting that species with larger colonies are no better than species with smaller colonies at collecting clumped seeds. These findings contradict the theoretical expectation that larger groups are more efficient at exploiting clumped resources, thus contributing to our understanding of the importance of the spatial distribution of food sources and colony size for communication and organization in social insects.

  11. Specialization in policing behaviour among workers of the ant Pachycondyla inversa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Van Zweden, Jelle Stijn; Fürst, Matthias Alois; Heinze, Jürgen

    2007-01-01

    of the policing workers had active ovaries, so that policing did not incur a direct selfish benefit to the policer. This suggests that policing is subject to polyethism, just like other tasks in the colony. We discuss several hypotheses on the possible causes of this skew in policing tasks. This is the first non...

  12. Food consumption of sugarcane workers' families in the Brazilian Northeast

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Messias Muniz

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available OBJECTIVE: To analyze the food intake of sugarcane workers' family members. METHODS: The food intake of 159 family members of sugarcane workers from Gameleira, Pernambuco, Brazilian Northeast, was investigated by directly weighing the foods on three non-consecutive days. The percent risk of inadequate macro- and micronutrient intakes was analyzed according to the Reference Dietary Intakes. The macronutrients were analyzed in relation to acceptable distribution intervals. The energy consumed from the various food groups was expressed as a ratio of the total energy intake. RESULTS: The median intake of carbohydrates and proteins remained above the Estimated Average Requirement, and all age groups presented a low risk of inadequate carbohydrate and protein intakes. The median intakes of riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and iron remained above the Estimated Average Requirement for all age groups, but children aged 1-3 years presented a high percent risk of inadequate iron intake. All age groups presented high percent risk of inadequate zinc, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C intakes. Grains and derivatives had a greater participation in the total energy intake, especially in men aged 19-30 years. The group "milk and dairy products" had a greater participation in the diet of children aged 1-3 years. CONCLUSION: The low percent risk of inadequate carbohydrate and protein intakes in all age groups was opposed to the high risk of inadequate mineral and vitamin intakes, making the population vulnerable to nutritional disorders caused by excess macronutrient intake and inadequate micronutrient intake.

  13. Absenteeism following a workplace intervention for older food industry workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siukola, A; Virtanen, P; Huhtala, H; Nygård, C-H

    2011-12-01

    The effects of workplace interventions on sickness absence are poorly understood, in particular in ageing workers. To analyse the effects of a senior programme on sickness absence among blue-collar food industry workers of a food company in Finland. We followed up 129 employees aged 55 years or older, who participated in a senior programme (intervention group), and 229 employees of the same age from the same company who did not participate (control group). Total sickness absence days and spells of 1-3, 4-7, 8-21 and >21 days were recorded for the members of the intervention group from the year before joining the programme and for the control group starting at age 54 years. Both groups were followed for up to 6 years. The median number of sickness absence days per person-year increased significantly from baseline in both groups during the follow-up. Compared with the control group, the intervention group had increased risk for 1-3 days spells [rate ratio 1.34 (1.21-1.48)] and 4-7 days spells [rate ratio 1.23 (1.07-1.41)], but the risk for >21 days spells was decreased [rate ratio 0.68 (0.53-0.88)] after participation in the senior programme. A programme to enhance individual work well-being in ageing workers may increase short-term but reduce long-term sickness absence.

  14. Occupational exposure to Aspergillus and aflatoxins among food-grain workers in India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malik, Abida; Ali, Sana; Shahid, Mohd; Bhargava, Rakesh

    2014-01-01

    Aflatoxins are a metabolite of Aspergillus molds and are widespread in the natural environment. Workers who handle food grains are at increased risk of exposure to aflatoxins and subsequently certain respiratory conditions. In India, more than half of the employed population is engaged in some type of agricultural work, yet little known about the respiratory problems as a result of exposure to aflatoxins among workers who handle food grains in India. The aim of this study was to determine the risk of occupational exposure to aflatoxins in food-grain workers compared to workers who are not occupationally exposed to food grains. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum samples from 46 food-grain workers and 44 non-food-grain workers were analyzed for the presence of aflatoxins. Microscopy and culture of BAL samples were performed to detect Aspergillus species. Aflatoxins were detected in 32·6% of the food-grain workers and 9·1% of non food grain workers (Pworkers and 11·4% of non-food-grain workers had chronic respiratory symptoms. Occupational exposure to aflatoxins in food-grain workers was found to be associated with the increased presence of respiratory symptoms.

  15. Tritrophic effects of birds and ants on a canopy food web, tree growth, and phytochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kailen A. Mooney

    2007-01-01

    Insectivorous birds and ants co-occur in most terrestrial communities, and theory predicts that emergent properties (i.e., nonadditive effects) can determine their combined influence on arthropods and plants. In a three-year factorial experiment, I investigated whether the effects of birds on pine and its arthropods differed based on the presence of ants that were...

  16. Using a Training Video to Improve Agricultural Workers' Knowledge of On-Farm Food Safety

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathiasen, Lisa; Morley, Katija; Chapman, Benjamin; Powell, Douglas

    2012-01-01

    A training video was produced and evaluated to assess its impact on the food safety knowledge of agricultural workers. Increasing food safety knowledge on the farm may help to improve the safety of fresh produce. Surveys were used to measure workers' food safety knowledge before and after viewing the video. Focus groups were used to determine…

  17. Food supplementation for workers: flour enriched with omega -3

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adriana Nery de Oliveira

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was preparing a product (omega-3 flour to increase the nutritional value of the food for workers concerning the content of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FA. The omega-3 flour was prepared using waste (head sardines and leaves of carrot, flaxseed flour, manioc flour and spices. The fatty acids (FA concentration was analyzed by gas chromatography. A total of 28 FA were identified in the omega-3 flour. The concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA were 329.23mg EPA 100 g-1 omega-3 flour and 545.35 mg DHA 100 g-1 omega-3 flour. To meet the minimum requirements of omega -3, it is necessary the intake 2.5 to 3 tablespoons (soup of omega-3 flour day-1.There were analyzed two meals (A and B generally consumed by workers without and with the addition of the omega-3 flour (1 and 2 tablespoons to verify if there was an increase of n-3 FA. It was concluded that there was a significant increase of these FA in both meals. It was found that the omega-3 flour is constituted of a good nutritional value, especially the n-3 FA, so the product can be used as a supplement in the feeding of the workers as well as in other segments.

  18. The effects of food presentation and microhabitat upon resource monopoly in a ground-foraging ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae community

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terrence P McGlynn

    2000-06-01

    Full Text Available In Neotropical wet forests several species of omnivorous, resource-defending ants, live and forage in close proximity to one another. Although the forest floor is heterogeneous in microhabitat and food quantity, little is known about the impact of microhabitat and food variation upon resource monopoly among ants. We investigated how food type and microhabitat influence food monopoly in resource-defending ants in old-growth tropical wet forest in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. We measured several microhabitat characteristics at 66 points in a 0.5 hectare plot, and baited each point with two categories of tuna bait. These baits were presented in "split" and "clumped" arrangements. We measured the frequency of bait monopoly by a single species, as well as the number of recruited ant foragers at a bait. Out of five common species, two (Wasmannia auropunctata and Pheidole simonsi more frequently monopolized one bait type over the other, and one (P. simonsi recruited more ants to the split baits. We then considered the recruitment response by all ant species in the community. We found that the frequency of monopoly, sharing, and the absence of ants at a given point in the rainforest differed with bait type. The frequency of monopoly was associated with microhabitat type in two out of eight microhabitat variables (leaf litter depth and palms; variation in two other types (canopy tree distance and leafcutter ant trails was associated with changes in forager number. In at least two ant species, food presentation affected monopoly at baits; among all resource-defending ants, the microhabitats where ants foraged for food and the type of food located determined in part the frequency of monopoly and the number of foragers at the food item. These results suggest that the location and presentation of food items determines in part which ant species will utilize the resource.En los bosques húmedos de la Región Neotropical conviven varias especies de

  19. 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

  20. Food-plant niche selection rather than the presence of ant nests explains oviposition patterns in the myrmecophilous butterfly genus Maculinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, J A; Elmes, G W

    2001-03-07

    It has been suggested that the socially parasitic butterfly Maculinea alcon detects ant odours before ovipositing on initial larval food plants near colonies of its obligate ant host Myrmica ruginodis. It has also been suggested that overcrowding on food plants near M. ruginodis is avoided by an ability to detect high egg loads, resulting in a switch to selecting plants near less suitable ant species. If confirmed, this hypothesis (H1) would have serious implications for the application of current population models aimed at the conservation of endangered Maculinea species, which are based on the null hypothesis (H0) that females randomly select food plants whose flower buds are at a precise phenological stage, making oviposition independent of ants. If H1 were wrong, practical management based upon its assumptions could lead to the extinction of protected populations. We present data for the five European species of Maculinea which show that (i) each oviposits on a phenologically restricted flower-bud stage, which accounts for the apparent host-ant-mediated niche separation in sympatric populations of Maculinea nausithous and Maculinea teleius, (ii) there is no temporal shift in oviposition by Maculinea arion in relation to host ant distribution or egg density, and (iii) oviposition patterns in 13 populations of M. alcon's closest relative, Macaulinea rebeli, conform to H0 not H1 predictions. It is concluded that conservation measures should continue to be based on H0.

  1. Food Safety Education for Students and Workers in School Gardens and University Farms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dzubak, John; Shaw, Angela; Strohbehn, Catherine; Naeve, Linda

    2016-01-01

    The number of school gardens and university farms is increasing in the United States. Produce grown in these venues is often sampled in the classroom or incorporated into the food chain. Food safety education for students and workers is needed to ensure that produce is safe. Two 1-hr food safety curricula were developed to inform K-12 students and…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    signatures, composed primarily of long-chain cuticular hydrocarbons. These signatures are colony specific and allow discrimination between nestmates and non-nestmates. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying detection, perception and information processing of chemical signatures are poorly understood. It has...... context, affects aggression against non-nestmates carrying the hydrocarbon profile associated with food. Individual ant workers were able to associate the non-nestmate chemical profile with food. However, conditioned ants were still aggressive when encountering a non-nestmate carrying the odour profile...

  4. Evaluating the Influence of Nutrition Determinants on Construction Workers' Food Choices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okoro, Chioma Sylvia; Musonda, Innocent; Agumba, Justus

    2017-11-01

    Nutritional knowledge as well as economic, social, biological, and cultural factors have been known to determine an individual's food choices. Despite the existence of research on the factors which influence nutrition globally, there is little known about the extent to which these factors influence the food choices of construction workers, which in turn influence their health and safety during construction activities. The present article investigates the extent to which construction workers' nutrition is influenced by nutritional knowledge, as well as economic, environmental, social, psychological, and physiological factors. A field questionnaire survey was conducted on site construction workers in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Principal components analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data. Findings revealed that consumption of foods termed alternative foods including dairy products, eggs, nuts, fish, and cereals, was influenced by nutritional knowledge and resources. Foods termed traditional core foods were influenced by cultural background; foods termed secondary core foods comprising fruits and vegetables were influenced by economic factors, resources, and cultural background; while foods termed core foods were mostly influenced by nutritional knowledge. By providing evidence of the factors which most influence selection and consumption of certain foods by construction workers, relevant nutrition interventions will be designed and implemented, taking cognizance of these factors.

  5. "Pizza is cheaper than salad": assessing workers' views for an environmental food intervention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devine, Carol M; Nelson, Janet A; Chin, Nancy; Dozier, Ann; Fernandez, Isabel Diana

    2007-11-01

    "Images of a Healthy Worksite" aims to provide easy access to healthful foods and to reduce sedentarism at the worksite-to prevent weight gain. Formative research for the nutrition intervention component was aimed at gaining a broad understanding of the sociocultural role of food and eating among workers and worker perspectives on socially feasible and culturally acceptable environmental intervention strategies. Using an adapted PRECEDE health planning model, we conducted ecological, educational, environmental, and administrative assessments at the worksite. Through 15 in-depth interviews, five focus groups, and community mapping at two sites with 79 administrators, managers, workers, and food service personnel (51% men, 82% white), we assessed workers' perspectives on physical, sociocultural, economic, and policy environments. Data were coded for predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors related to intervention strategies in vending, cafeteria, catering, and informal food environments. After classification for reach, intensity, and sustainability, objectives and evaluation plans were developed for each highly ranked strategy. Key sociocultural factors affecting food and eating included: stress-related eating in a downsizing workplace, enthusiasm for employer-sponsored weight gain prevention efforts that respect personal privacy, and the consequences of organizational culture on worker access to the food and eating environment. Workers supported healthier cafeteria and catering options, bringing healthful foods closer, and labeling of healthful options. We provide a practical and systematic approach to formative research and assess the interrelatedness of the physical, policy, economic, and sociocultural factors that affect environmental worksite interventions to prevent weight gain among employees.

  6. Perception of environmental health risks among workers in a food ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Background: Workplace safety relies partially on workers' ability to recognize hazards that could result in personal injury. This study aimed to determine the perception of industrial workers to the environmental risks that they are exposed to and their practice of self protection through the use of PPE. Methods: It was a ...

  7. Evaluation of the nutritional status of workers of transformation industries adherent to the Brazilian Workers' Food Program. A comparative study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ingrid W Leal Bezerra

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to assess whether the Brazilian Workers' Food Program (WFP is associated with changes in the nutritional status of workers in the transformation industry. We conducted a cross-sectional, observational, comparative study, based on prospectively collected data from a combined stratified and two-stage probability sample of workers from 26 small and medium size companies, 13 adherent and 13 non-adherent to the WFP, in the food, mining and textile sectors. Study variables were body mass index (BMI, waist circumference (WC, and dietary intake at lunch obtained by 24-hour dietary recall. Data were analyzed with nested mixed effects linear regression with adjustment by subject variables. Sampling weights were applied in computing population parameters. The final sample consisted of 1069 workers, 541 from WFP-adherent and 528 from WFP non-adherent companies. The groups were different only in education level, income and in-house training. Workers in WFP-adherent companies have greater BMI (27.0 kg/m2 vs. 26.0 kg/m2, p = 0.002 and WC (87.9 cm vs. 86.5, p = 0.04, higher prevalence of excessive weight (62.6% vs. 55.5%, p<0.001 and of increased WC (49.1% vs. 39.9%. Workers of WFP companies have lower intake of saturated fat (-1.34 g, p<0.01 and sodium (-0.3 g, p<0.01 at lunch. In conclusion, this study showed that workers of companies adherent to the Brazilian WFP have greater rates of excessive weight and increased cardiovascular risk-a negative finding-as well as lower intake of sodium and saturated fat-a positive finding. Therefore, the WFP needs to be revisited and its aims redefined according to the current epidemiological status of the target population of the program.

  8. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 8. Gloves as barriers to prevent contamination of food by workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, Ewen C D; Michaels, Barry S; Greig, Judy D; Smith, Debra; Bartleson, Charles A

    2010-09-01

    The role played by food workers and other individuals in the contamination of food has been identified as an important contributing factor leading to foodborne outbreaks. To prevent direct bare hand contact with food and food surfaces, many jurisdictions have made glove use compulsory for food production and preparation. When properly used, gloves can substantially reduce opportunities for food contamination. However, gloves have limitations and may become a source of contamination if they are punctured or improperly used. Experiments conducted in clinical and dental settings have revealed pinhole leaks in gloves. Although such loss of glove integrity can lead to contamination of foods and surfaces, in the food industry improper use of gloves is more likely than leakage to lead to food contamination and outbreaks. Wearing jewelry (e.g., rings) and artificial nails is discouraged because these items can puncture gloves and allow accumulation of microbial populations under them. Occlusion of the skin during long-term glove use in food operations creates the warm, moist conditions necessary for microbial proliferation and can increase pathogen transfer onto foods through leaks or exposed skin or during glove removal. The most important issue is that glove use can create a false sense of security, resulting in more high-risk behaviors that can lead to cross-contamination when employees are not adequately trained.

  9. Educating Immigrant Hispanic Foodservice Workers about Food Safety Using Visual-Based Training

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2013-01-01

    Providing food safety training to a diverse workforce brings with it opportunities and challenges that must be addressed. The study reported here provides evidence for benefits of using visual-based tools for food safety training when educating immigrant, Hispanic foodservice workers with no or minimal English language skills. Using visual tools…

  10. Child and youth care workers: Profile, nutrition knowledge and food ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    2014-08-06

    Aug 6, 2014 ... Child and youth care workers (CCWs) in these centres are encouraged to .... underweight, poor bone health and dental caries (Wenhold et al. 2008:443) ... habits; secondly, children who feel stressed, unsafe or anxious do not eat well, ..... America indicate that even though CCWs seem to be well educated ...

  11. Worker lifespan is an adaptive trait during colony establishment in the long-lived ant Lasius niger

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kramer, Boris H.; Schaible, Ralf; Scheuerlein, Alexander

    2016-01-01

    Eusociality has been recognized as a strong driver of lifespan evolution. While queens show extraordinary lifespans of 20 years and more, worker lifespan is short and variable. A recent comparative study found that in eusocial species with larger average colony sizes the disparities in the lifespans

  12. The association between socioeconomic characteristics and consumption of food items among Brazilian industry workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vinholes, Daniele B; Melo, Ione M F; Machado, Carlos Alberto; de Castro Chaves, Hilton; Fuchs, Flavio D; Fuchs, Sandra C

    2012-01-01

    Dietary pattern plays a causative role in the rising of noncommunicable diseases. The SESI (Serviço Social da Indústria) study was designed to evaluate risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. We aimed to describe food items consumed by Brazilian workers and to assess their association with socioeconomic status. Cross-sectional study was carried out among Brazilian industrial workers, selected by multistage sampling, from 157 companies. Interviews were conducted at the work place using standardized forms. 4818 workers were interviewed, aged 35.4 ± 10.7 years, 76.5% were men. The workers had an average of 8.7 ± 4.1 years of schooling and 25.4 ± 4.1 kg/m² of BMI. Men and individuals with less than high school education were less likely to consume dairy products, fruits, and vegetables daily, even after control for confounding factors. Men consumed rice and beans daily more often than women. In comparison to workers aged 50-76 years, those under 30 years old consumed less fruits and green leafy vegetables daily. The food items consumed by Brazilian workers show that there are insufficient consumption according to the guidelines of healthy foods, particularly of dairy products, vegetables, and fruits.

  13. Awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among Nigerian bank workers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eze, Ngozi M.; Maduabum, Felicia O.; Onyeke, Nkechi G.; Anyaegunam, Ngozi J.; Ayogu, Chinwe A.; Ezeanwu, Bibian Amaka; Eseadi, Chiedu

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals, including bank staff. The objective of this study was to investigate the awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among bank workers in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. A purposive sample of 250 bank workers took part in the study. Means and Student t tests were employed for data analysis. Results showed that bank workers were aware of the nutritive value of foods, and that eating practices commonly adopted included skipping breakfast, eating breakfast at work, buying food at work from the bank canteen, eating in between meals, buying snacks as lunch, and consuming soft drinks daily, among others. There were no significant differences between male and female bank workers in mean responses on food nutritive value or in eating practices adopted. Good eating habits will help bank workers not only to improve their nutritional well-being, but also to prevent nutrition-related diseases. The implications for nutritional counseling and education are discussed in the context of these findings. PMID:28272248

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

    2010-06-01

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

  16. Factors influencing workers to follow food safety management systems in meat plants in Ontario, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ball, Brita; Wilcock, Anne; Aung, May

    2009-06-01

    Small and medium sized food businesses have been slow to adopt food safety management systems (FSMSs) such as good manufacturing practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). This study identifies factors influencing workers in their implementation of food safety practices in small and medium meat processing establishments in Ontario, Canada. A qualitative approach was used to explore in-plant factors that influence the implementation of FSMSs. Thirteen in-depth interviews in five meat plants and two focus group interviews were conducted. These generated 219 pages of verbatim transcripts which were analysed using NVivo 7 software. Main themes identified in the data related to production systems, organisational characteristics and employee characteristics. A socio-psychological model based on the theory of planned behaviour is proposed to describe how these themes and underlying sub-themes relate to FSMS implementation. Addressing the various factors that influence production workers is expected to enhance FSMS implementation and increase food safety.

  17. 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....

  18. Child and youth care workers: Profile, nutrition knowledge and food ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    CCWs (N = 40) employed permanently or part-time were included. Convenience purposive sampling of the CCWs was undertaken. A structured self-administered questionnaire, developed and tested for this purpose, was used to gather information on the profile, nutrition knowledge, food safety and hygiene practices.

  19. Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory performance in workers exposed to grain and grain based food dusts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deacon, S P; Paddle, G M

    1998-05-01

    A health surveillance study of male grain food manufacturing workers used a respiratory health questionnaire and spirometry to assess the prevalence of work-related respiratory symptoms and impaired ventilatory performance. The prevalence of cough, breathlessness, wheeze and chest tightness was between 8-13% but was 20% for rhinitis. Rhinitis was the most common symptom with 37% of those reporting rhinitis describing this as work-related. A case-control analysis of workers reporting rhinitis did not identify any specific occupational activities associated with increased risk of rhinitis. Smoking habit and all respiratory symptoms apart from rhinitis had a significant effect upon ventilatory performance. Occupational exposure to raw grains, flour, ingredients and finished food was categorized as high, medium or low in either continuous or intermediate patterns. Multiple regression analysis confirmed the effects of height, age and smoking upon ventilatory performance. However, occupational exposure to grain, flour, food ingredients and cooked food dusts had no effect upon ventilatory performance. It is concluded that smoking habit is the major determinant of respiratory symptoms and impaired ventilatory function. The excess complaints of rhinitis warrant further study but it would appear that the current occupational exposure limits for grain, flour, food ingredients and cooked food dusts are adequate to protect workers against impairment of ventilatory performance.

  20. Impact of nutritional interventions on food consumption pattern changes of workers and staff

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maryam Boshtam

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Background: Worksite Intervention Project from Isfahan Healthy Heart Program aiming at modifying life style of workers and staff in Isfahan and Najafabad (intervention areas, and Arak (reference area carried out for 5 years. Nutritional interventions are one of the interventions of this project. This research aiming at studying the effect of these interventions on food consumption pattern changes carried out in workers and staff of Isfahan and Najafabad. Materials and Method: Food consumption pattern by food frequency questionnaire and demographic information of this group were collected before, after and annually during the intervention. Data were analyzed by Genera Linear Models (GLM, descriptive and trend analysis. Results: Beverage and hydrogenated oil consumption decreased and fruits and vegetables increased in workers and staff of intervention area more than reference area (p0.27. Compare to reference society fast food consumption in office staff of intervention society was increased (p<0.001.Conclusion: We conclude that nutritional interventions have favorite effects on practice of workers and staff of this Iranian population and interventions used in this study can use as applicable interventions for similar societies

  1. Wellbeing at work among kitchen workers during organic food conversion in Danish public kitchens: a longitudinal survey

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Nina Nørgaard; Løje, Hanne; Tetens, Inge

    2016-01-01

    among kitchen workers before and after participating in educational training programmes in organic food conversion. Method: This longitudinal study applied an online self-administered questionnaire among kitchen workers before and after the implementation of an organic food conversion programme with 1......-up (63% of those surveyed at baseline). No substantive differences between baseline and follow-up measurements of organic food conversion were detected on physical or psychological wellbeing at work. Kitchen workers reported a significant improvement in the perceived food quality, motivation to work...

  2. Inflorescences of the Bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis as Nest Sites and Food Resources for Ants and Other Arthropods in Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Schmid, Volker S.; Langner, Simone; Steiner, Josefina; Zillikens, Anne

    2014-01-01

    For the first time, the usage of bromeliad inflorescences as nesting sites for ants and other arthropods was studied. Frequencies of occurrence of nests were recorded from hollow stems of dried infructescences of the bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis on Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil. Three habitat types were studied: miconietum and two types of restinga, one with low (restinga-low) and one with high vegetation cover (restinga-high). Additionally, flower visitation by ants was examined i...

  3. Ants recognize foes and not friends

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    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

  4. 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...

  5. Food Insecurity Increases HIV Risk Among Young Sex Workers in Metro Vancouver, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barreto, Daniella; Shannon, Kate; Taylor, Chrissy; Dobrer, Sabina; Jean, Jessica St; Goldenberg, Shira M; Duff, Putu; Deering, Kathleen N

    2017-03-01

    This research aimed to determine the effect of food insecurity on sexual HIV risk with clients among youth sex workers (YSWs) sex workers (2010-2013). We examined the independent relationship between YSWs' food insecurity and being pressured into sex without a condom by clients ("client condom refusal"). Of 220 YSWs, 34.5 % (n = 76) reported client condom refusal over the 3.5-year study period and 76.4 % (n = 168) reported any food insecurity. Adjusting for other HIV risk pathways, food insecurity retained an independent effect on client condom refusal (AOR 2.08, 95 % CI 1.23-3.51), suggesting that food insecurity is significantly associated with HIV risk among YSWs. This study indicates a critical relationship between food insecurity and HIV risk, and demonstrates YSWs' particular vulnerability. Public policies for food assistance as a harm reduction measure may be key to addressing this disparity.

  6. Food provision for older people receiving home care from the perspectives of home-care workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watkinson-Powell, Anna; Barnes, Sarah; Lovatt, Melanie; Wasielewska, Anna; Drummond, Barbara

    2014-09-01

    Malnutrition is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly among older people. Attention has focused on the inadequacies of food provision in institutions, yet the majority suffering from malnutrition live in the community. The aim of this study was to explore barriers and facilitators to food provision for older people receiving home care. It was a qualitative exploratory study using semi-structured interviews with nine home-care workers in June 2013 employed by independent agencies in a large city in northern England. Data were analysed thematically, based on the principles of grounded theory. Findings showed that significant time pressures limited home-care workers in their ability to socially engage with service users at mealtimes, or provide them with anything other than ready meals. Enabling choice was considered more important than providing a healthy diet, but choice was limited by food availability and reliance on families for shopping. Despite their knowledge of service users and their central role in providing food, home-care workers received little nutritional training and were not involved by healthcare professionals in the management of malnutrition. Despite the rhetoric of individual choice and importance of social engagement and nutrition for health and well-being, nutritional care has been significantly compromised by cuts to social care budgets. The potential role for home-care workers in promoting good nutrition in older people is undervalued and undermined by the lack of recognition, training and time dedicated to food-related care. This has led to a situation whereby good quality food and enjoyable mealtimes are denied to many older people on the basis that they are unaffordable luxuries rather than an integral component of fundamental care. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. US acculturation, food intake, and obesity among Asian-Pacific hotel workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Novotny, Rachel; Williams, Andrew E; Vinoya, Aleli C; Oshiro, Caryn E S; Vogt, Thomas M

    2009-10-01

    Both obesity and immigration continue to increase in the United States. Studies suggest that a transition in lifestyle patterns, such as food intake, may mediate the relationship between immigration and obesity. We examine obesity among hotel workers in relation to age, sex, race/ethnicity, and indicators of food intake, immigration, and acculturation. Four thousand five hundred thirty hotel workers in 30 hotels were studied from the first year of the Work, Weight and Wellness program, before intervention (during 2005-2006). Weight and height were measured, whereas race/ethnicity, language, education, immigration, acculturation, and food intake variables were assessed by questionnaire. The study included 43% male and 57% female hotel workers (mean age 44.4+/-11.3 years; 42% Filipino, 32% other Asian, 13% Pacific Islander, 9% white, 1% black/African American, and 3% other race/ethnicity). On average (mean value), 55% of participants were born outside the United States; 57% were overweight or obese (body mass index [BMI] >25). The BMI of those born in the United States was 1.3 higher than that of those born in another country, adjusting for sex and race/ethnicity. Intake of sweet drinks and meat was positively associated with BMI while intake of fruit was negatively associated with BMI. Age at arrival in United States ("generation") was negatively associated with BMI, whereas greater acculturation was positively associated with BMI. Food intake behaviors are probably related to place of birth, generation of migration to the United States, and acculturation. Direct measures of food intake added explanatory power to models, suggesting the importance of food intake to obesity. Further study of the influence of immigration, acculturation, and food intake on obesity using longitudinal study designs is warranted.

  10. Polyacrylamide hydrogels: an effective tool for delivering liquid baits to pest ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Roper, Elray; Chin, Darren

    2014-04-01

    Ant management in urban and natural areas often relies on toxic baits. Liquid baits are highly attractive to pest ants because they mimic natural food sources such as honeydew and nectar, the principal dietary components of many ants. However, liquid bait use has been limited owing to the lack of bait dispensers that are effective, inexpensive, and easy to service. The current study evaluated the potential of water-storing crystals (polyacrylamide spheres) to effectively deliver liquid thiamethoxam baits to laboratory colonies of Argentine ants, Linepithema humile Mayr. Results of laboratory trials show that bait crystals saturated in 25% sucrose solution containing 0.007% thiamethoxam are highly attractive to Argentine ants and highly effective against all castes and life stages, including workers, queens, and brood. Fresh bait crystals were highly effective and required approximately 2 d to kill all workers and approximately 6 d to achieve complete mortality in queens and brood. Results of bait aging tests show that the crystals lose approximately 70% of moisture in 8 h and the duration of outdoor exposure has a significant effect on moisture loss and subsequently bait acceptance and bait efficacy. A gradual decrease in mortality was observed for all castes and life stages as bait age increased. In general, fresh baits and those aged for ants that obtain thiamethoxam by feeding on bait crystals effectively transfer it to untreated recipient ants. The level of secondary mortality depended on the donor:recipient ratio, with approximately 40% recipient worker mortality with the 1:5 ratio and 15% recipient worker mortality with 1:10 or 1:20 ratios. However, no queens died in any transfer tests, suggesting that multiple feedings from multiple donors may be necessary to produce queen mortality. The results of the transfer tests demonstrate the role of trophallaxis in the distribution of thiamethoxam and confirm that thiamethoxam is effectively transferred in Argentine

  11. 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

  12. Food-coping strategy index applied to a community of farm-worker households in South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kruger, Rozanne; Schönfeldt, Hettie Carina; Owen, Johanna Hendriena

    2008-03-01

    In South Africa, households living in informal urban settlements, in rural areas, and on commercial farms experience various levels of dietary variety, food intake, and household hunger. Low incomes, poor food production and availability, and low spending power characterize these households. Households employ various food-coping strategies to alleviate food stress or poor food availability. To apply an existing food-coping strategy (FCS) index to assess household hunger and its usefulness in identifying the level of food stress and the patterns of food coping in farm-worker households. A cross-sectional survey was conducted. Data were gathered from women (18 to 57 years of age) responsible for food provision in a small farm-worker community in Fouriesburg, South Africa. A structured food-coping questionnaire and a standardized FCS index were used to gather data. The two most common FCS used were relying on cheaper food (chicken feet, diluted soya-mince soup) or less preferred food (meat bones) and employing food-seeking strategies (gathering wild foods), followed by consumption of seed stock (maize) and reduced portion sizes (protein foods and side dishes), resulting in starch-based diets of poor variety. Seasonal strategies varied according to the level of food stress experienced. Patterns of food coping were identified. Negative FCS (limiting food choices, only consuming starchy staples) may cause poor health status. The FCS index was effectively used to assess farm-worker household food-coping behavior (early, clear signals of the level of food distress). These results could be used to allocate appropriate food aid (type of food) and to design nutrition education programs focused on positive FCS (food gathering or bartering) in a particular community to prevent suboptimal nutritional status.

  13. Association between body weight, physical activity and food choices among metropolitan transit workers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hannan Peter J

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Associations between body weight, physical activity and dietary intake among a population of metropolitan transit workers are described. Methods Data were collected during October through December, 2005, as part of the baseline measures for a worksite weight gain prevention intervention in four metro transit bus garages. All garage employees were invited to complete behavioral surveys that assessed food choices and physical activity, and weight and height were directly measured. Seventy-eight percent (N = 1092 of all employees participated. Results The prevalence of obesity (BMI >= 30 kg/m2 was 56%. Over half of the transit workers reported consuming fruit (55% and vegetables (59% ≥ 3/week. Reported fast food restaurant frequency was low (13% visited ≥ 3/week. Drivers reported high levels of physical activity (eg. walking 93 minutes/day. However, an objective measure of physical activity measured only 16 minutes moderate/vigorous per day. Compared to other drivers, obese drivers reported significantly less vigorous physical activity, more time sitting, and more time watching television. Healthy eating, physical activity and weight management were perceived to be difficult at the worksite, particularly among obese transit workers, and perceived social support for these behaviors was modest. However, most workers perceived weight management and increased physical activity to be personally important for their health. Conclusion Although transit workers' self-report of fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity was high, perceived access to physical activity and healthful eating opportunities at the worksite was low. Obese workers were significantly less physically active and were more likely to report work environmental barriers to physical activity.

  14. A socio-historical approach to policy analysis: the case of the Brazilian Workers' Food Policy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costa-Souza, Jamacy; Vieira-da-Silva, Ligia Maria; Pinell, Patrice

    2018-02-05

    Policy analyses based on traditional or structuralist definitions of the state are important, but they have some limitations for explaining processes related to policymaking, implementation, and results. Bourdieusian sociology links the analysis to objective and subjective dimensions of social practices and can help elucidate these phenomena. This article provides such empirical evidence by analyzing the social genesis of a Brazilian policy that currently serves 18 million workers and was established by the state in 1976 through the Fiscal Incentives Program for Workers' Nutrition (PIFAT/PAT). The study linked the analysis of the trajectory of social agents involved in the policy's formulation to the historical conditions that allowed the policy to exist in the first place. Although the literature treats the policy as a workers' food program (PAT), the current study showed that it actually represented a new model for paying financial subsidies to companies that provided food to their employees, meanwhile upgrading the commercial market for collective meals. The study further showed that the program emerged as an administrative policy, but linked to economic agents. The program became a specific social space in which issues related to workers' nutrition became secondary, but useful for disguising what had been an explicit side of its genesis, namely its essentially fiscal nature.

  15. 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.

  16. Cold exposure and health effects among frozen food processing workers in eastern Thailand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thetkathuek, Anamai; Yingratanasuk, Tanongsak; Jaidee, Wanlop; Ekburanawat, Wiwat

    2015-03-01

    Frozen food processing workers work under a cold environment which can cause several adverse health effects.This study explored factors affecting workers' health in the frozen food industry in Thailand. Participants comprised 497 workers exposed to a cold working environment and 255 office workers who served as the controls. Data were collected by a survey on the work environment, and the interview of workers for abnormal symptoms. The exposed group had the following characteristics: 52.7% male, overall average age of 27 (SD 6.6) years old, attained elementary education (Grade 4 and Grade 6) (54.1%), married (48.9%), smokers (21.3%), alcohol consumption (31.0%), duration of work was between 1 and 5 years (65.2%), working 6 days a week (82.7%), 1-5 hours of overtime per week (33.8%), office workers (33.9%); work category: sizing (6.9%), peeling (28.3%) dissecting (22.2%), and in the warehouse (8.6%). The temperature in the work environment ranged from 17.2°C to 19.2°C in most sections, -18.0°C in the warehouse, and 25°C in the office areas. Warehouse workers had more abnormal symptoms than controls including repeated pain in the musculoskeletal system (OR 11.9; 95% CI 6.12-23.45), disturbance throughout the body (OR 4.60; 95% CI 2.00-10.56), respiratory symptoms (OR 9.73; 95% CI 3.53-26.80), episodic finger symptoms (OR 13.51; 95% CI 5.17-35.33). The study results suggest that workers' health should be monitored especially with regard to back and muscle pain, respiratory symptoms, episodic finger symptoms, and cardiovascular symptoms. Health promotion campaigns such as antismoking and reduction of alcohol consumption should be established because smoking and alcohol consumption are contributing factors to the pathogenesis of Raynaud's phenomenon and peripheral vascular disorders such as hypertension and heart disease.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-10-01

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

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

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    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.

  19. Occupational injury among cooks and food service workers in the healthcare sector.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alamgir, Hasanat; Swinkels, Helena; Yu, Shicheng; Yassi, Annalee

    2007-07-01

    Incidence of occupational injury is anticipated to be high among cooks and food service workers (CFSWs) because of the nature of their work and the types of raw and finished materials that they handle. Incidents of occupational injury, resulting in lost time or medical care over a period of 1 year in two health regions were extracted from a standardized operational database and with person years obtained from payroll data, detailed analysis was conducted using Poisson regression modeling. Among the CFSWs the annual injury rate was 38.1 per 100 person years. The risk of contusions [RR, 95% CI 9.66 (1.04, 89.72)], burns [1.79 (1.39, 2.31)], and irritations or allergies [3.84 (2.05, 7.18)] was found to be significantly higher in acute care facilities compared to long-term care facilities. Lower risk was found among older workers for irritations or allergies. Female CFSWs, compared to their male counterparts, were respectively 8 and 20 times more likely to report irritations or allergies and contusions. In respect to outcome, almost all irritations or allergies required medical visits. For MSI incidents, about 67.4% resulted in time-loss from work. Prevention policies should be developed to reduce the hazards present in the workplace to promote safer work practices for cooks and food service workers.

  20. [Work process and workers' health in a food and nutrition unit: prescribed versus actual work].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colares, Luciléia Granhen Tavares; Freitas, Carlos Machado de

    2007-12-01

    This study focuses on the relationship between the work process in a food and nutrition unit and workers' health, in the words of the participants themselves. Direct observation, a semi-structured interview, and focus groups were used to collect the data. The reference was the dialogue between human ergonomics and work psychodynamics. The results showed that work organization in the study unit represents a routine activity, the requirements of which in terms of the work situation are based on criteria set by the institution. Variability in the activities is influenced mainly by the available equipment, instruments, and materials, thereby generating improvisation in meal production that produces both a physical and psychological cost for workers. Dissatisfaction during the performance of tasks results mainly from the supervisory style and relationship to immediate superiors. Workers themselves proposed changes in the work organization, based on greater dialogue and trust between supervisors and the workforce. Finally, the study identifies the need for an intervention that encourages workers' participation as agents of change.

  1. Food industry workers' attitudes on the importance of factors affecting foodstuff quality managament

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    Antić Zorana

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The food industry is faced with several challenges at the same time: to supply safe and affordable foodstuff in sufficient quantity; to provide products in conditions where demand surpasses the human population growth; to operate in circumstances of ever-increasing competition; to protect the environment and respond to the population's public health concerns. An organization's success depends on the knowledge, skills, creativity and motivation of the company's workers and partners. Focus on its employees enables a company's development and improvement, whereas business ethics ensures public health and safety protection, environmental protection and life quality improvement. The company management's responsibility lies foremost in education, worker training and development, thus enabling a direct and indirect influence on the foodstuff quality and satisfying consumer requests in terms of foodstuff quality characteristics.

  2. Use of Visuals for Food Safety Education of Spanish-Speaking Foodservice Workers: A Case Study in Iowa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2012-01-01

    Providing food safety training to an audience whose native language is not English is always a challenge. In the study reported here, minimal-text visuals in Spanish were used to train Hispanic foodservice workers about proper handwashing technique and glove use based on the 2005 Food Code requirements. Overall, results indicated that visuals…

  3. Determination of a seasonal variation in the food exchanges between worker honeybees (Apis mellifica ligustica S.) by means of a radioisotope

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Douault, Philippe; Roger, Bernard; Pain, Janine

    1975-01-01

    Food exchanges have been studied during the whole year between workers of unknown age and 4-days old workers. Variations exist between both groups. The mean percentage of shared food is 27% in the group of honeybees of unknown age and 40% in the group of 4-days old workers with respect to the initial intake of the giver. The effect of the season appears among workers of unknown are particularly [fr

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

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    Michael Poulsen

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

  5. 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....

  6. Prevalence and characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates in food industry workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caggiano, G; Dambrosio, A; Ioanna, F; Balbino, S; Barbuti, G; De Giglio, O; Diella, G; Lovero, G; Rutigliano, S; Scarafile, G; Baldassarre, A; Vimercati, L; Musti, M; Montagna, M T

    2016-01-01

    Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is a pathogen spread not only in the hospital environment but also in the community and amongst livestock (LA-MRSA). LA-MRSA can be transmitted to humans that live in close contact with MRSA-colonized animals, and human colonization and/or infection has been reported worldwide, particularly among those involved with livestock farming. In this study the authors evaluated the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA among healthy carriers who worked in the food industry in Apulia, Southern Italy. Nasal swabs were taken from pasta and pork industry workers. All swab samples were subjected to tests for the isolation, identification and typing of S. aureus and MRSA strains. The identification of the strains was confirmed by molecular assessment using multiplex-PCR for the amplification of the nuc and mecA genes. The strains identified as MRSA were then subjected to a PCR protocol for the characterization of sequence type ST398. In total 26.3% of examined nasal swabs were positive for S. aureus, 8.2% of them were methicillin resistant strains and 28.5% of MRSA isolates were characterized as ST398. The MRSA prevalence among pork factory workers was 3% , whereas among the pasta operators the prevalence was 11.5. The presence of S. aureus and MRSA among food workers represents a public health risk. Further, considering the dissemination of S. aureus and MRSA among non-nosocomial environments, including communities and livestock, careful surveillance and continuous monitoring of the emergence of MRSA is fundamental for safeguarding public health.

  7. Nest Digging by Leaf-Cutting Ants: Effect of Group Size and Functional Structures

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    Roberto da Silva Camargo

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutting ant workers dig underground chambers, for housing their symbiotic fungus, interconnected by a vast quantity of tunnels whose function is to permit the entrance of food (leaves, gaseous exchanges, and movement of workers, offspring, and the queen. Digging is a task executed by a group of workers, but little is known about the group effect and group-constructed functional structures. Thus, we analyzed the structures formed by worker groups (5, 10, 20, and 40 individuals of the leaf-cutting ant, Atta sexdens rubropilosa, for 2 days of excavation. The digging arena was the same for the 4 groups, with each group corresponding to a different density. Our results verified a pattern of tunneling by the workers, but no chamber was constructed. The group effect is well known, since the 40-worker group dug significantly more than the groups of 5, 10, and 20. These groups did not differ statistically from each other. Analysis of load/worker verified that workers of the smallest group carried the greatest load. Our paper demonstrates the group effect on the digging of nests, namely, that excavation is proportional to group size, but without emergence of a functional structure such as a chamber.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  10. Burnout and the quality of life of workers in food industry: A pilot study in Serbia

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    Aranđelović Mirjana

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Background/Aim. Burnout syndrome as a consequence of a long stress at workplace can seriously disturb health and quality of life in exposed workers. It is necessary to have adequate burnout prevention and its detection. Worldwide much attention is paid to protect burnout and methods for its determination constantly improve. In Serbia there has not been a study of that kind yet. The aim of the study was to investigate burnout syndrome impact on the quality of life of workers in food industry in Niš, and to call attention of researchers in Serbia on this phenomenon, as well as to test probability of applying the original, standardized questionnaires (CBI, ComQolA5 to working population in Serbia. Methods. This study was performed in Niš within a period from 2008 to 2009 in the Institute for Workers Health Protection. A total of 489 workers were included in this study by the use of the standard questionnaire for burnout (CBI and quality of life (Com- QoL-A5. Scale confidence for measuring burnout and quality of life was determined by Cronbach α coefficient. ANOVA analysis was used for rating influence of burnout on the quality of life. Results. The values of Cronbach α coefficient showed a high confidence of the scale for measurement personal burnout (0.87, work-related burnout (0.86 and subjective quality of life (0.83. We detected increased scores as a result of personal burnout (60.0, as well as of work-related burnout (67.9. The workers suggested relationship with the family and friends as a very important part for their quality of life (10.8, health (9.8 and safety (8.0. Productivity (6.8, emotional well-being (6.6 and material property (4.5 had smaller influence on their quality of life. An increase in score of work-related burnout by 1 was statistically significantly related to decreasing inter scores for subjective quality of life in health (B = -0.097, relationship with family and friends (B = - 0.048, safety (B = -0.061 and place in

  11. Food safety knowledge, attitude, and practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the abattoir workers in Malaysia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdullahi, Auwalu; Hassan, Azmi; Kadarman, Norizhar; Saleh, Ahmadu; Baraya, Yusha’u Shu’aibu; Lua, Pei Lin

    2016-01-01

    Purpose Foodborne diseases are common in the developing countries due to the predominant poor food handling and sanitation practices, particularly as a result of inadequate food safety laws, weak regulatory structures, and inadequate funding as well as a lack of appropriate education for food-handlers. The most frequently involved foods in disease outbreaks are of animal origin. However, in spite of the adequate legislation and laws governing the abattoir operation in Malaysia, compliance with food safety requirements during meat processing and waste disposal is inadequate. Therefore, the present study was designed to assess the food safety knowledge, attitude, and practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the workers in Terengganu, Malaysia. Materials and methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted using simple random sampling technique in the six districts of Terengganu: two districts were used for the pilot study and the remaining four were used for the main study. One hundred sixty-five abattoir workers from the selected districts were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Results The mean and standard deviation of knowledge, attitude, and practice scores of the workers were 6.02 and 1.954, 45.16 and 4.496, and 18.03 and 3.186, respectively. The majority of the workers (38.8%) had a low level of knowledge and 91.7% had a positive attitude, while 77.7% had a good practice of compliance. Sex had a significant association with the level of knowledge (Plevel of knowledge than the males, while the males had a better practice of compliance than females. Similarly, knowledge also had a significant (P=0.009) association with the level of practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the workers. Conclusion The abattoir workers had a positive attitude and good practice, but a low level of knowledge toward compliance with the abattoir laws. Therefore, public awareness, workshops, and seminars relevant to the abattoir operations should be

  12. Awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among Nigerian bank workers: Implications for nutritional counseling and education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eze, Ngozi M; Maduabum, Felicia O; Onyeke, Nkechi G; Anyaegunam, Ngozi J; Ayogu, Chinwe A; Ezeanwu, Bibian Amaka; Eseadi, Chiedu

    2017-03-01

    Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals, including bank staff. The objective of this study was to investigate the awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among bank workers in Lagos State, Nigeria.The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. A purposive sample of 250 bank workers took part in the study. Means and Student t tests were employed for data analysis.Results showed that bank workers were aware of the nutritive value of foods, and that eating practices commonly adopted included skipping breakfast, eating breakfast at work, buying food at work from the bank canteen, eating in between meals, buying snacks as lunch, and consuming soft drinks daily, among others. There were no significant differences between male and female bank workers in mean responses on food nutritive value or in eating practices adopted.Good eating habits will help bank workers not only to improve their nutritional well-being, but also to prevent nutrition-related diseases. The implications for nutritional counseling and education are discussed in the context of these findings.

  13. Food workers' perspectives on handwashing behaviors and barriers in the restaurant environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pragle, Aimee S; Harding, Anna K; Mack, James C

    2007-06-01

    Food handler focus groups in two Oregon counties discussed knowledge, practices, and barriers related to handwashing in the restaurant environment. Current knowledge-based handwashing training programs do not address the internal and external barriers that affect handwashing practice. According to the focus groups, important barriers were time pressure, inadequate facilities and supplies, lack of accountability, lack of involvement of managers and coworkers, and organizations that were not supportive of handwashing. Because barriers to handwashing are multi-dimensional in nature, the authors recommend that future educational and training programs include 1) a hands-on training program that orients new employees to correct handwashing practice and more advanced education about foodborne illness; 2) involvement of both managers and coworkers in the training; 3) easily accessible hand-washing facilities stocked with necessary supplies; 4) continued handwashing training and support involving the food service industry, managers, and coworkers; and 5) involvement of health departments and inspectors in providing managers and food workers with advice and consultation on improvement of handwashing practice.

  14. Nutritional status, lifestyle, socioeconomic profile and food consumption of commercial workers

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    José Wesley dos Santos Alves

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Objective: Characterize the nutritional status, lifestyle, socioeconomic profile and food consumption of commercial workers customers of a social restaurant in Fortaleza-CE, Brazil. Methods: The convenience sample consisted of 156 individuals, 71 (45.5% men and 85 (54.5% women, aged between 19 and 59 years. The variables analyzed were: weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, history of chronic diseases, alcoholism, smoking and physical activity, family income, education and food intake of a subsample. Theadequacy of consumption was assessed by observing the recommendations of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI and nutritional requirements of the Workers’ Food Program.Results: We observed high prevalence of overweight 49 (31.4% and obesity 18 (11.5%, high rate of physical inactivity 109 (69.9%. Alcohol is often consumed weekly by 27(17.4%. 111 (71.2% of individuals studied until high school; and 104 (66.7% belonged to socioeconomic class C. 136 (87,2% showed no personal history of chronic diseases, or practice of smoking. Dietary intake adequacy revealed adequacy for macronutrients, fiber, saturated fats and micronutrients, with excessive sodium intake. Conclusion: Nutritional status was characterized as high prevalence of overweight and obesity, associated with a high abdominal adiposity, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption and socioeconomicprofile predominantly C1 and C2. Although the present study shows an adequate intake of micronutrients and macronutrients, there are excessive caloric intake, based on profile of physical inactivity and overweight.

  15. Recurrence analysis of ant activity patterns.

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    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.

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

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    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Antagonistic Interactions between the African Weaver Ant Oecophylla longinoda and the Parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Potentially Limits Suppression of the Invasive Mealybug Rastrococcus iceryoides

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chrysantus M. Tanga

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille forms a trophobiotic relationship with the invasive mealybug Rastrococus iceryoides Green and promotes the latter’s infestations to unacceptable levels in the presence of their natural enemies. In this regard, the antagonistic interactions between the ant and the parasitoid Anagyrus pseudococci Girault were assessed under laboratory conditions. The percentage of parasitism of R. iceryoides by A. pseudococci was significantly higher on “ant-excluded” treatments (86.6% ± 1.27% compared to “ant-tended” treatments (51.4% ± 4.13%. The low female-biased sex-ratio observed in the “ant-tended” treatment can be attributed to ants’ interference during the oviposition phase, which disrupted parasitoids’ ability to fertilize eggs. The mean foraging time, host handling time and number of successful oviposition in “ant-excluded” treatment were significantly higher compared to “ant-tended” treatments. When ant workers were allowed access to sterilized sand grains, mummified and unmummified R. iceryoides, they selectively removed the mummified mealybugs, indicating that they recognized the mummies as potential foods (1.2 ± 0.46 to 7.8 ± 1.17 mummies at 10 min intervals for 2 h. Percentage emergence from mummified R. iceryoides removed by the ants was significantly lower compared to emergence from mummies not exposed to ants. Although, host seeking parasitoids frequently evaded attacks, some were killed by the foraging ant workers (2.0 ± 0.38 to 6.0 ± 0.88 at 10 min intervals for 2 h. These results suggest for the first time that the presence of O. longinoda has a detrimental effect on the abundance, reproductive success and possibly oviposition strategy of female parasitoids, which might be a delimiting factor in field conditions if both natural enemies are to be recommended for use within the same agro-ecosystem.

  19. Wellbeing at work among kitchen workers during organic food conversion in Danish public kitchens: a longitudinal survey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sørensen, Nina N; Løje, Hanne; Tetens, Inge; Wu, Jason H Y; Neal, Bruce; Lassen, Anne D

    2016-04-01

    In 2011, the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries launched the Danish Organic Action Plan 2020 intending to double the organic agricultural area in Denmark. This study aims to measure experienced physical and psychological wellbeing at work along with beliefs and attitudes among kitchen workers before and after participating in educational training programmes in organic food conversion. This longitudinal study applied an online self-administered questionnaire among kitchen workers before and after the implementation of an organic food conversion programme with 1-year follow-up. The study targeted all staff members in the participating public kitchens taking part in the organic food conversion process funded by the Danish Organic Action Plan 2020. Of the 448 eligible kitchen workers, 235 completed the questionnaire at baseline (52%) and 149 at follow-up (63% of those surveyed at baseline). No substantive differences between baseline and follow-up measurements of organic food conversion were detected on physical or psychological wellbeing at work. Kitchen workers reported a significant improvement in the perceived food quality, motivation to work and application of nutritional guidelines. Reported organic food percentages for the kitchens also increased significantly (Pfood products to producing more food from base was indicated. Within 1 year, a significant increase in motivation to work among kitchen staff was observed with no substantive changes in physical or psychological wellbeing at work identified. The results support the Danish Organic Action Plan 2020 and initiatives of similar kind. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.

  20. Study of the seasonal variation in the exchanges of food labelled with 198Au from a worker bee to a queen (Apis mellifica ligustica S.)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pain, Janine; Roger, Bernard; Douault, Philippe

    1975-01-01

    Food exchanges from a worker giver to a queen receiver were quantified throughout the year. 4 days old workers distribute great amounts of food to queens, about 74% in average, but variations are low. On the other hand workers of unknown age distribute amounts that are less high and varying in terms of the season. A parallelism exists between percentage variations of food shared by workers of unknown age and the seasonal cycle of the 9-oxodec-2-enoic acid content of queens [fr

  1. 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...

  2. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 4. Infective doses and pathogen carriage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, Ewen C D; Greig, Judy D; Bartleson, Charles A; Michaels, Barry S

    2008-11-01

    In this article, the fourth in a series reviewing the role of food workers in foodborne outbreaks, background information on the presence of enteric pathogens in the community, the numbers of organisms required to initiate an infection, and the length of carriage are presented. Although workers have been implicated in outbreaks, they were not always aware of their infections, either because they were in the prodromic phase before symptoms began or because they were asymptomatic carriers. Pathogens of fecal, nose or throat, and skin origin are most likely to be transmitted by the hands, highlighting the need for effective hand hygiene and other barriers to pathogen contamination, such as no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. The pathogens most likely to be transmitted by food workers are norovirus, hepatitis A virus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus. However, other pathogens have been implicated in worker-associated outbreaks or have the potential to be implicated. In this study, the likelihood of pathogen involvement in foodborne outbreaks where infected workers have been implicated was examined, based on infectious dose, carriage rate in the community, duration of illness, and length of pathogen excretion. Infectious dose estimates are based on volunteer studies (mostly early experiments) or data from outbreaks. Although there is considerable uncertainty associated with these data, some pathogens appear to be able to infect at doses as low as 1 to 100 units, including viruses, parasites, and some bacteria. Lengthy postsymptomatic shedding periods and excretion by asymptomatic individuals of many enteric pathogens is an important issue for the hygienic management of food workers.

  3. Fermat's principle of least time predicts refraction of ant trails at substrate borders.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Oettler

    Full Text Available Fermat's principle of least time states that light rays passing through different media follow the fastest (and not the most direct path between two points, leading to refraction at medium borders. Humans intuitively employ this rule, e.g., when a lifeguard has to infer the fastest way to traverse both beach and water to reach a swimmer in need. Here, we tested whether foraging ants also follow Fermat's principle when forced to travel on two surfaces that differentially affected the ants' walking speed. Workers of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, established "refracted" pheromone trails to a food source. These trails deviated from the most direct path, but were not different to paths predicted by Fermat's principle. Our results demonstrate a new aspect of decentralized optimization and underline the versatility of the simple yet robust rules governing the self-organization of group-living animals.

  4. Fermat's principle of least time predicts refraction of ant trails at substrate borders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oettler, Jan; Schmid, Volker S; Zankl, Niko; Rey, Olivier; Dress, Andreas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2013-01-01

    Fermat's principle of least time states that light rays passing through different media follow the fastest (and not the most direct) path between two points, leading to refraction at medium borders. Humans intuitively employ this rule, e.g., when a lifeguard has to infer the fastest way to traverse both beach and water to reach a swimmer in need. Here, we tested whether foraging ants also follow Fermat's principle when forced to travel on two surfaces that differentially affected the ants' walking speed. Workers of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, established "refracted" pheromone trails to a food source. These trails deviated from the most direct path, but were not different to paths predicted by Fermat's principle. Our results demonstrate a new aspect of decentralized optimization and underline the versatility of the simple yet robust rules governing the self-organization of group-living animals.

  5. Food safety knowledge, attitude, and practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the abattoir workers in Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdullahi, Auwalu; Hassan, Azmi; Kadarman, Norizhar; Saleh, Ahmadu; Baraya, Yusha'u Shu'aibu; Lua, Pei Lin

    2016-01-01

    Foodborne diseases are common in the developing countries due to the predominant poor food handling and sanitation practices, particularly as a result of inadequate food safety laws, weak regulatory structures, and inadequate funding as well as a lack of appropriate education for food-handlers. The most frequently involved foods in disease outbreaks are of animal origin. However, in spite of the adequate legislation and laws governing the abattoir operation in Malaysia, compliance with food safety requirements during meat processing and waste disposal is inadequate. Therefore, the present study was designed to assess the food safety knowledge, attitude, and practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the workers in Terengganu, Malaysia. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using simple random sampling technique in the six districts of Terengganu: two districts were used for the pilot study and the remaining four were used for the main study. One hundred sixty-five abattoir workers from the selected districts were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The mean and standard deviation of knowledge, attitude, and practice scores of the workers were 6.02 and 1.954, 45.16 and 4.496, and 18.03 and 3.186, respectively. The majority of the workers (38.8%) had a low level of knowledge and 91.7% had a positive attitude, while 77.7% had a good practice of compliance. Sex had a significant association with the level of knowledge (P<0.001) and practice (P=0.044) among the workers. The females had a higher level of knowledge than the males, while the males had a better practice of compliance than females. Similarly, knowledge also had a significant (P=0.009) association with the level of practice toward compliance with abattoir laws among the workers. The abattoir workers had a positive attitude and good practice, but a low level of knowledge toward compliance with the abattoir laws. Therefore, public awareness, workshops, and seminars relevant to the abattoir

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Effects of Social Determinants on Chinese Immigrant Food Service Workers' Work Performance and Injuries: Mental Health as a Mediator.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Jenny Hsin-Chun; Thompson, Elaine Adams

    2015-07-01

    The effects of social discrimination, job concerns, and social support on worker mental health and the influence of mental health on occupational health outcomes have been documented intermittently. We propose an integrated, theory-driven model to distinguish the impact of social determinants on work performance and injuries and the mediating effects of mental health problems. The US Chinese immigrant food service workers (N = 194) completed a multimeasure interview; we tested the integrated model using structural equation modeling. Mental health problems, which were associated with decreased work performance and increased injuries, also mediated relationships between job/employment concerns and both work performance and injuries but did not mediate the influences of discrimination and social support. This research reveals mechanisms by which social determinants influence immigrant worker health, pointing to complementary strategies for reducing occupational health disparities.

  13. Association between the use of biomass fuels on respiratory health of workers in food catering enterprises in Nairobi Kenya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keraka, Margaret; Ochieng, Carolyne; Engelbrecht, Jacobus; Hongoro, Charles

    2013-01-01

    Indoor air pollution from biomass fuel use has been found to be responsible for more than 1.6 million annual deaths and 2.7% of the global burden of disease. This makes it the second biggest environmental contributor to ill health, behind unsafe water and sanitation. The main objective of this study was to investigate if there was any association between use of bio-fuels in food catering enterprises and respiratory health of the workers. A cross-sectional design was employed, and data collected using Qualitative and quantitative techniques. The study found significantly higher prevalence of respiratory health outcomes among respondents in enterprises using biomass fuels compared to those using processed fuels. Biomass fuels are thus a major public health threat to workers in this sub-sector, and urgent intervention is required. The study recommends a switch from biomass fuels to processed fuels to protect the health of the workers.

  14. 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...

  15. The first record of a fly of the family Milichiidae (Diptera interacting with an ant of the genus Polyrhachis Smith, 1857 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kalsum Yusah

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Flies in the family Milichiidae are often myrmecophilic. We document the first record of a fly from this family interacting with an ant of the genus Polyrhachis. In lowland riparian rainforest in Sabah, Malaysia, we observed a female of the genus Milichia following an ant of the species of P. illaudata, and repeatedly attempting to make close contact. Our observation suggests that the dipteran may have been attempting to feed kleptoparasitically from the Polyrhachis worker, since members of this ant genus often feed on liquid carbohydrate-rich food resources. This is the first time an interaction has been observed between a fly of this family and an ant of this widespread old world tropical genus.

  16. Studying the influence of vibration exposures on digestives system of workers in a food processing company

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: Today’s, defective and faulty equipments lose a large part of them energy as noise and vibration which beside their financial costs can be hazardous to the health of people. Vibration as a physical agent can cause an adverse health effect on human to nervous system. These effects, based on body region can be as specific or general systems. Digestion system has a natural vibration of 3-8Hz frequency. When the digestive system is exposed by such vibration, it can make impairment on that system. This study aimed to study vibration effect on digestion irregularities. . Material and Method: This was a retrospective case-control study conducted in a food industry. The number of 103 workers digestive problem and 431 healthy workers were selected as population study. Exposure to the vibration in the different parts were measured. People with more than 100 dB was considered exposed group. Then, after determining the number of exposed and non exposed groups, data were analyzed using statistical methodologies. .Result: The acceleration level of vibration was 109.8 dB in the packing section, which was less than standard limit (118.8 dB. Study population had a managed of 24-57 years old with 4-15 years of job tenure. In 59.2% of case comparing to 22.7% of control group were exposed to the vibration. The odds ratio (OR of prevalence rate of digestive problem among exposed group was 6.3 times more than non exposed group people, in risk of gastrointestinal complications. .Conclusion: Beside of the other risk factors of digestive problem, vibration can be also an effective cause of adverse health problem: Even by lower level of digestive problem can be seen in the exposed people. So, we suggest in the workplace with vibration risk factor, a digestive health exam be take general medical beside periodic examination. Moreover, it is recommended that researches related to the vibration is widely developed and the vibration standard limits is revised

  17. Vertical organization of the division of labor within nests of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter R Tschinkel

    Full Text Available In the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, foragers occur only in the top 15 cm of the nest, whereas brood and brood-care workers reside mostly in the deepest regions, yet the food and seeds foragers collect must be transported downward 30 to 80 cm to seed chambers and up to 2 m to brood chambers. Using mark-recapture techniques with fluorescent printer's ink, we identified a class of workers that ranges widely within the vertical structure of the nest, rapidly moving materials dropped by foragers in the upper regions downward, and excavated soil from deeper upward. Within the nest, only 5% of foragers were recovered below 20 cm depth, but about 30% of transfer workers and 82% of unmarked workers were found there. Below 70 cm depth, 90% of workers were unmarked, and were probably involved mostly in brood care. During the summer, the transfer workers comprise about a quarter of the nest population, while foragers make up about 40%. Workers marked as transfer workers later appear as foragers, while those marked as foragers die and disappear from the foraging population, suggesting that transfer workers are younger, and age into foraging. The importance of these findings for laboratory studies of division of labor are discussed. The efficient allocation of labor is a key component of superorganismal fitness.

  18. [Evaluation of Brazilian public policies to promote food security and fight hunger, 1995-2002. 2 - the Workers' Nutrition Program].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pacheco Santos, Leonor Maria; Nazaré Araújo, Maria da Purificação; Martins, Maísa Cruz; Veloso, Iracema Santos; Assunção, Marilena Pacheco; Chaves dos Santos, Sandra Maria

    2007-08-01

    This study evaluated the Workers' Nutrition Program in Brazil from 1995 to 2002, from a structure-process-results perspective. The methodology involved documental research and a case study in 45 municipalities in the State of Bahia, resulting in 2,389 household interviews. In relation to structure, we analyzed the program's normative evolution until 2002. As for nutritional recommendations, the program shifted from insufficient calorie supply in the 1980s to a positive association between overweight and employment in companies adopting the Workers' Nutrition Program. In Bahia, overall program coverage was insufficient among the 5,120 adults 20 years or older who were interviewed. A significant difference was observed in access to food benefits among workers in the interior of the State (6.1%) as compared to the State capital, Salvador (26.1%). However, targeting was adequate: all workers benefiting from the program in the interior and 92.4% of those in Salvador earned less than five times the minimum wage (approximately US dollars 950/month). It is necessary to improve the program's coverage in the target population in order to raise workers' awareness about their rights and the actions developed by the program.

  19. 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.

  20. Ants swimming in pitcher plants: kinematics of aquatic and terrestrial locomotion in Camponotus schmitzi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bohn, Holger Florian; Thornham, Daniel George; Federle, Walter

    2012-06-01

    Camponotus schmitzi ants live in symbiosis with the Bornean pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata. Unique among ants, the workers regularly dive and swim in the pitcher's digestive fluid to forage for food. High-speed motion analysis revealed that C. schmitzi ants swim at the surface with all legs submerged, with an alternating tripod pattern. Compared to running, swimming involves lower stepping frequencies and larger phase delays within the legs of each tripod. Swimming ants move front and middle legs faster and keep them more extended during the power stroke than during the return stroke. Thrust estimates calculated from three-dimensional leg kinematics using a blade-element approach confirmed that forward propulsion is mainly achieved by the front and middle legs. The hind legs move much less, suggesting that they mainly serve for steering. Experiments with tethered C. schmitzi ants showed that characteristic swimming movements can be triggered by submersion in water. This reaction was absent in another Camponotus species investigated. Our study demonstrates how insects can use the same locomotory system and similar gait patterns for moving on land and in water. We discuss insect adaptations for aquatic/amphibious lifestyles and the special adaptations of C. schmitzi to living on an insect-trapping pitcher plant.

  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. Predictors of upper trapezius pain with myofascial trigger points in food service workers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Ui-Jae; Kwon, Oh-Yun; Yi, Chung-Hwi; Jeon, Hye-Seon; Weon, Jong-Hyuck; Ha, Sung-Min

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Shoulder pain occurs commonly in food service workers (FSWs) who repetitively perform motions of the upper limbs. Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) on the upper trapezius (UT) are among the most common musculoskeletal shoulder pain syndromes. This study determined the psychological, posture, mobility, and strength factors associated with pain severity in FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs. In this cross-sectional study, we measured 17 variables in 163 FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs: a visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, age, sex, Borg rating of perceived exertion (BRPE) scale, beck depression inventory, forward head posture angle, rounded shoulder angle (RSA), shoulder slope angle, scapular downward rotation ratio, cervical lateral-bending side difference angle, cervical rotation side difference angle, glenohumeral internal rotation angle, shoulder horizontal adduction angle, serratus anterior (SA) strength, lower trapezius (LT) strength, bicep strength, and glenohumeral external rotator strength, in 163 FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs. The model for factors influencing UT pain with MTrPs included SA strength, age, BRPE, LT strength, and RSA as predictor variables that accounted for 68.7% of the variance in VAS (P < .001) in multiple regression models with a stepwise selection procedure. The following were independent variables influencing the VAS in the order of standardized coefficients: SA strength (β = −0.380), age (β = 0.287), BRPE (β = 0.239), LT strength (β = −0.195), and RSA (β = 0.125). SA strength, age, BRPE, LT strength, and RSA variables should be considered when evaluating and intervening in UT pain with MTrPs in FSWs. PMID:28658117

  3. Predictors of upper trapezius pain with myofascial trigger points in food service workers: The STROBE study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Ui-Jae; Kwon, Oh-Yun; Yi, Chung-Hwi; Jeon, Hye-Seon; Weon, Jong-Hyuck; Ha, Sung-Min

    2017-06-01

    Shoulder pain occurs commonly in food service workers (FSWs) who repetitively perform motions of the upper limbs. Myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) on the upper trapezius (UT) are among the most common musculoskeletal shoulder pain syndromes. This study determined the psychological, posture, mobility, and strength factors associated with pain severity in FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs.In this cross-sectional study, we measured 17 variables in 163 FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs: a visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, age, sex, Borg rating of perceived exertion (BRPE) scale, beck depression inventory, forward head posture angle, rounded shoulder angle (RSA), shoulder slope angle, scapular downward rotation ratio, cervical lateral-bending side difference angle, cervical rotation side difference angle, glenohumeral internal rotation angle, shoulder horizontal adduction angle, serratus anterior (SA) strength, lower trapezius (LT) strength, bicep strength, and glenohumeral external rotator strength, in 163 FSWs with UT pain due to MTrPs.The model for factors influencing UT pain with MTrPs included SA strength, age, BRPE, LT strength, and RSA as predictor variables that accounted for 68.7% of the variance in VAS (P < .001) in multiple regression models with a stepwise selection procedure. The following were independent variables influencing the VAS in the order of standardized coefficients: SA strength (β = -0.380), age (β = 0.287), BRPE (β = 0.239), LT strength (β = -0.195), and RSA (β = 0.125).SA strength, age, BRPE, LT strength, and RSA variables should be considered when evaluating and intervening in UT pain with MTrPs in FSWs.

  4. Paralyzing action from a distance in an arboreal African ant species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aline Rifflet

    Full Text Available Due to their prowess in interspecific competition and ability to catch a wide range of arthropod prey (mostly termites with which they are engaged in an evolutionary arms race, ants are recognized as a good model for studying the chemicals involved in defensive and predatory behaviors. Ants' wide diversity of nesting habits and relationships with plants and prey types implies that these chemicals are also very diverse. Using the African myrmicine ant Crematogaster striatula as our focal species, we adopted a three-pronged research approach. We studied the aggressive and predatory behaviors of the ant workers, conducted bioassays on the effect of their Dufour gland contents on termites, and analyzed these contents. (1 The workers defend themselves or eliminate termites by orienting their abdominal tip toward the opponent, stinger protruded. The chemicals emitted, apparently volatile, trigger the recruitment of nestmates situated in the vicinity and act without the stinger having to come into direct contact with the opponent. Whereas alien ants competing with C. striatula for sugary food sources are repelled by this behavior and retreat further and further away, termites defend their nest whatever the danger. They face down C. striatula workers and end up by rolling onto their backs, their legs batting the air. (2 The bioassays showed that the toxicity of the Dufour gland contents acts in a time-dependent manner, leading to the irreversible paralysis, and, ultimately, death of the termites. (3 Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses showed that the Dufour gland contains a mixture of mono- or polyunsaturated long-chain derivatives, bearing functional groups like oxo-alcohols or oxo-acetates. Electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry showed the presence of a molecule of 1584 Da that might be a large, acetylated alkaloid capable of splitting into smaller molecules that could be responsible for the final degree of venom toxicity.

  5. 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.

  6. Microbial Communities in Different Tissues of Atta sexdens rubropilosa Leaf-cutting Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieira, Alexsandro S; Ramalho, Manuela O; Martins, Cintia; Martins, Vanderlei G; Bueno, Odair C

    2017-10-01

    Bacterial endosymbionts are common in all insects, and symbiosis has played an integral role in ant evolution. Atta sexdens rubropilosa leaf-cutting ants cultivate their symbiotic fungus using fresh leaves. They need to defend themselves and their brood against diseases, but they also need to defend their obligate fungus gardens, their primary food source, from infection, parasitism, and usurpation by competitors. This study aimed to characterize the microbial communities in whole workers and different tissues of A. sexdens rubropilosa queens using Ion Torrent NGS. Our results showed that the microbial community in the midgut differs in abundance and diversity from the communities in the postpharyngeal gland of the queen and in whole workers. The main microbial orders in whole workers were Lactobacillales, Clostridiales, Enterobacteriales, Actinomycetales, Burkholderiales, and Bacillales. In the tissues of the queens, the main orders were Burkholderiales, Clostridiales, Syntrophobacterales, Lactobacillales, Bacillales, and Actinomycetales (midgut) and Entomoplasmatales, unclassified γ-proteobacteria, and Actinomycetales (postpharyngeal glands). The high abundance of Entomoplasmatales in the postpharyngeal glands (77%) of the queens was an unprecedented finding. We discuss the role of microbial communities in different tissues and castes. Bacteria are likely to play a role in nutrition and immune defense as well as helping antimicrobial defense in this ant species.

  7. To drink or grasp? How bullet ants ( Paraponera clavata) differentiate between sugars and proteins in liquids

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jandt, Jennifer; Larson, Hannah K.; Tellez, Peter; McGlynn, Terrence P.

    2013-12-01

    Flexibility in behavior can increase the likelihood that a forager may respond optimally in a fluctuating environment. Nevertheless, physiological or neuronal constraints may result in suboptimal responses to stimuli. We observed foraging workers of the giant tropical ant (also referred to as the "bullet ant"), Paraponera clavata, as they reacted to liquid solutions with varying concentrations of sugar and protein. We show that when protein/sucrose concentration is high, many bullet ants will often try to grasp at the droplet, rather than gather it by drinking. Because P. clavata actively hunt for prey, fixed action patterns and rapid responses to protein may be adaptively important, regardless of the medium in which it is presented. We conclude that, in P. clavata, food-handling decisions are made in response to the nutrient content of the food rather than the texture of the food. Further, we suggest that colonies that maintain a mixture of individuals with consistent fixed or flexible behavioral responses to food-handling decisions may be better adapted to fluctuating environmental conditions, and we propose future studies that could address this.

  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. 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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Occupationally related contact dermatitis in North American food service workers referred for patch testing, 1994 to 2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warshaw, Erin M; Kwon, Gina P; Mathias, C G Toby; Maibach, Howard I; Fowler, Joseph F; Belsito, Donald V; Sasseville, Denis; Zug, Kathryn A; Taylor, James S; Fransway, Anthony F; Deleo, Vincent A; Marks, James G; Pratt, Melanie D; Storrs, Frances J; Zirwas, Matthew J; Dekoven, Joel G

    2013-01-01

    Contact dermatoses are common in food service workers (FSWs). This study aims to (1) determine the prevalence of occupationally related contact dermatitis among FSWs patch tested by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) and (2) characterize responsible allergens and irritants as well as sources. Cross-sectional analysis of patients patch tested by the NACDG, 1994 to 2010, was conducted. Of 35,872 patients patch tested, 1237 (3.4%) were FSWs. Occupationally related skin disease was significantly more common in FSWs when compared with employed non-FSWs. Food service workers were significantly more likely to have hand (P contact dermatitis in FSWs were 30.6% and 54.7%, respectively. Although the final diagnosis of irritant contact dermatitis was statistically higher in FSWs as compared with non-FSWs, allergic contact dermatitis was lower in FSWs as compared with non-FSWs. The most frequent currently relevant and occupationally related allergens were thiuram mix (32.5%) and carba mix (28.9%). Gloves were the most common source of responsible allergens. The NACDG standard tray missed at least 1 occupationally related allergen in 38 patients (4.3%). Among FSWs patch tested by the NACDG between 1994 and 2010, the most common allergens were thiuram mix and carba mix. Gloves were the most common source of responsible allergens.

  16. Farm Workers in the '90s: Where Do We Stand? Food First Action Alert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cunningham, Shea

    During the 1980s, the rise of independent farm labor contractors and Republican labor policies led to a deterioration in the economic well-being of farmworkers and their families. Delays in the implementation of new safeguards under the Worker Protection Standards Act have resulted in continuing exposure to pesticides, causing such exposure to…

  17. Roles for Schools and School Social Workers in Improving Child Food Security

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fram, Maryah Stella; Frongillo, Edward A.; Fishbein, Eliza M.; Burke, Michael P.

    2014-01-01

    Food insecurity is associated with a range of child developmental, behavioral, and emotional challenges, all of which can inhibit a child's school success. Schools offer a number of formal and informal services aimed at reducing food insecurity, but the problems associated with identifying children in need, addressing issues of stigma, and…

  18. Prevalence and determinants of non-standard motorcycle safety helmets amongst food delivery workers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulanthayan, S; See, Lai Git; Kaviyarasu, Y; Nor Afiah, M Z

    2012-05-01

    Almost half of the global traffic crashes involve vulnerable groups such as pedestrian, cyclists and two-wheeler users. The main objective of this study was to determine the factors that influence standard of the safety helmets used amongst food delivery workers by presence of Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM) certification label. A cross sectional study was conducted amongst 150 food delivery workers from fast food outlets in the vicinity of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. During observation, safety helmets were classified as standard safety helmet in the presence of SIRIM label and non-standard in the absence of the label. They were approached for questionnaire participation once consent was obtained and were requested to exchange their safety helmet voluntarily with a new one after the interview. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS. Chi square and logistic regression analysis was applied to determine the significance and odds ratio of the variables studied, respectively (penetration test, age, education level, knowledge, crash history, types of safety helmet, marital status and years of riding experience) against the presence of SIRIM label. The response rate for this study was 85.2%. The prevalence of non-standard helmets use amongst fast food delivery workers was 55.3%. Safety helmets that failed the penetration test had higher odds of being non-standard helmets compared with safety helmets passing the test. Types of safety helmet indicated half-shell safety helmets had higher odds to be non-standard safety helmets compared to full-shell safety helmets. Riders with more years of riding experience were in high odds of wearing non-standard safety helmets compared to riders with less riding experience. Non-standard (non-SIRIM approved) helmets were more likely to be half-shell helmets, were more likely to fail the standards penetration test, and were more likely to be worn by older, more experienced riders. The implications of these

  19. Plant defences against ants provide a pathway to social parasitism in butterflies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patricelli, Dario; Barbero, Francesca; Occhipinti, Andrea; Bertea, Cinzia M.; Bonelli, Simona; Casacci, Luca P.; Zebelo, Simon A.; Crocoll, Christoph; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Maffei, Massimo E.; Thomas, Jeremy A.; Balletto, Emilio

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the chemical cues and gene expressions that mediate herbivore–host-plant and parasite–host interactions can elucidate the ecological costs and benefits accruing to different partners in tight-knit community modules, and may reveal unexpected complexities. We investigated the exploitation of sequential hosts by the phytophagous–predaceous butterfly Maculinea arion, whose larvae initially feed on Origanum vulgare flowerheads before switching to parasitize Myrmica ant colonies for their main period of growth. Gravid female butterflies were attracted to Origanum plants that emitted high levels of the monoterpenoid volatile carvacrol, a condition that occurred when ants disturbed their roots: we also found that Origanum expressed four genes involved in monoterpene formation when ants were present, accompanied by a significant induction of jasmonates. When exposed to carvacrol, Myrmica workers upregulated five genes whose products bind and detoxify this biocide, and their colonies were more tolerant of it than other common ant genera, consistent with an observed ability to occupy the competitor-free spaces surrounding Origanum. A cost is potential colony destruction by Ma. arion, which in turn may benefit infested Origanum plants by relieving their roots of further damage. Our results suggest a new pathway, whereby social parasites can detect successive resources by employing plant volatiles to simultaneously select their initial plant food and a suitable sequential host. PMID:26156773

  20. Association between frequency of fried food consumption and resilience to depression in Japanese company workers: a cross-sectional study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshikawa, Eisho; Nishi, Daisuke; Matsuoka, Yutaka J

    2016-09-15

    Long-chain n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3/n-6 PUFA) play important roles in emotional regulation. We previously reported an association between fish consumption, which is major source of LC n-3 PUFA, and resilience to depression, where resilience is the ability to cope with stress in the face of adversity. Although the traditional Japanese dietary pattern of high fish consumption is associated with low depressive symptoms, the current Japanese diet pattern has become westernized. Westernized diets contain excessive amounts of LC n-6 PUFA due to high intake of vegetable oils commonly used in fried food and are associated with risk of depression. The aim of this study was to examine the association between frequency of fried food consumption and resilience to depression. Participants were 715 Japanese company workers. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was used to measure depressive symptoms, and the 14-item Resilience Scale (RS-14) was used to measure resilience. Frequency of fish and fried food consumption was assessed using a self-report questionnaire based on the Food Frequency Questionnaire. Regression analyses using Preacher and Hayes' bootstrap script were used to adjust for demographic factors, frequency of physical exercise, and fish consumption. Significant associations were identified between frequency of fried food consumption and total CES-D score (path c, B = 0.72; P frequency of fried food consumption and total RS-14 score (path a, B = -1.73, P food consumption and total CES-D score was not significant when we controlled for RS-14 score. Bootstrapping results showed that there was a significant positive indirect association between frequency of fried food and CESD score through RS-14 (95 % bias-corrected and accelerated confidence interval = 0.34 to 0.92). Frequency of fried food consumption was associated with lower resilience to depression. Further nutritional interventional studies to

  1. [Burnout and the quality of life of workers in food industry--a pilot study in Serbia].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arandjelović, Mirjana; Ilić, Ivana; Jović, Sladjana

    2010-09-01

    Burnout syndrome as a consequence of a long stress at workplace can seriously disturb health and quality of life in exposed workers. It is necessary to have adequate burnout prevention and its detection. Worldwide much attention is paid to protect burnout and methods for its determination constantly improve. In Serbia there has not been a study of that kind yet. The aim of the study was to investigate burnout syndrome impact on the quality of life of workers in food industry in Nis, and to call attention of researchers in Serbia on this phenomenon, as well as to test probability of applying the original, standardized questionnaires (CBI, ComQolA5) to working population in Serbia. This study was performed in Nis within a period from 2008 to 2009 in the Institute for Workers Health Protection. A total of 489 workers were included in this study by the use of the standard questionnaire for burnout (CBI) and quality of life (ComQoL-A5). Scale confidence for measuring burnout and quality of life was determined by Cronbach alpha coefficient. ANOVA analysis was used for rating influence of burnout on the quality of life. The values of Cronbach alpha coefficient showed a high confidence of the scale for measurement personal burnout (0.87), work-related burnout (0.86) and subjective quality of life (0.83). We detected increased scores as a result of personal burnout (60.0), as well as of work-related burnout (67.9). The workers suggested relationship with the family and friends as a very important part for their quality of life (10.8), health (9.8) and safety (8.0). Productivity (6.8), emotional well-being (6.6) and material property (4.5) had smaller influence on their quality of life. An increase in score of work-related burnout by 1 was statistically significantly related to decreasing inter scores for subjective quality of life in health (B = -0.097), relationship with family and friends (B = -0.048), safety (B = -0.061) and place in community (B = -0.105). A

  2. 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.

  3. Impact of ecological doses of the most widespread phthalate on a terrestrial species, the ant Lasius niger.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuvillier-Hot, Virginie; Salin, Karine; Devers, Séverine; Tasiemski, Aurélie; Schaffner, Pauline; Boulay, Raphaël; Billiard, Sylvain; Lenoir, Alain

    2014-05-01

    Phthalates are synthetic contaminants released into the environment notably by plastic waste. Semi-volatile, they adsorb to atmospheric particles and get distributed in all ecosystems. Effects of this major anthropogenic pollution in economical species in aquatic habitats have attracted large interest. On the contrary, very few studies have focused on wild terrestrial species. Yet, these lipophilic molecules are easily trapped by insect cuticle; ants and other insects have been shown to permanently bear among their cuticular components a non-negligible proportion of phthalates, meaning that they suffer from chronic exposure to these pollutants. Oral route could also be an additional way of contamination, as phthalates tend to stick to any organic particle. We show here via a food choice experiment that Lasius niger workers can detect, and avoid feeding on, food contaminated with DEHP (DiEthyl Hexyl Phthalate), the most widespread phthalate found in nature. This suggests that the main source of contamination for ants is atmosphere and that doses measured on the cuticle correspond to the chronic exposure levels for these animals. Such an ecologically relevant dose of DEHP was used to contaminate ants in lab and to investigate their physiological impact. Over a chronic exposure (1 dose per week for 5 weeks), the egg-laying rate of queens was significantly reduced lending credence to endocrine disruptive properties of such a pollutant, as also described for aquatic invertebrates. On the contrary, short term exposure (24h) to a single dose of DEHP does not induce oxidative stress in ant workers as expected, but leads to activation of the immune system. Because of their very large distribution, their presence in virtually all terrestrial ecosystems and their representation at all trophic levels, ants could be useful indicators of contamination by phthalates, especially via monitoring the level of activation of their immune state. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin Bollazzi

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Acquisition of information about food sources is essential for animals that forage collectively like social insects. Foragers deliver two commodities to the nest, food and information, and they may favor the delivery of one at the expenses of the other. We predict that information needs should be particularly high at the beginning of foraging: the decision to return faster to the nest will motivate a grass-cutting ant worker to reduce its loading time, and so to leave the source with a partial load.Field results showed that at the initial foraging phase, most grass-cutting ant foragers (Acromyrmex heyeri returned unladen to the nest, and experienced head-on encounters with outgoing workers. Ant encounters were not simply collisions in a probabilistic sense: outgoing workers contacted in average 70% of the returning foragers at the initial foraging phase, and only 20% at the established phase. At the initial foraging phase, workers cut fragments that were shorter, narrower, lighter and tenderer than those harvested at the established one. Foragers walked at the initial phase significantly faster than expected for the observed temperatures, yet not at the established phase. Moreover, when controlling for differences in the fragment-size carried, workers still walked faster at the initial phase. Despite the higher speed, their individual transport rate of vegetable tissue was lower than that of similarly-sized workers foraging later at the same patch.At the initial foraging phase, workers compromised their individual transport rates of material in order to return faster to the colony. We suggest that the observed flexible cutting rules and the selection of partial loads at the beginning of foraging are driven by the need of information transfer, crucial for the establishment and maintenance of a foraging process to monopolize a discovered resource.

  6. Norovirus GII.17 Outbreak Linked to an Infected Post-Symptomatic Food Worker in a French Military Unit Located in France.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez, Marc-Antoine; Corcostégui, Simon-Pierre; De Broucker, Charles-Arnaud; Cabre, Olivier; Watier-Grillot, Stéphanie; Perelle, Sylvie; Ambert-Balay, Katia; Pommier de Santi, Vincent

    2017-06-01

    In February 2016, an outbreak of gastroenteritis occurred in a French military unit located in Poitiers, France. Attack rate was of 34% (103/300). A case-control study identified association between illness and cake consumption. Stool samples were tested positive for Norovirus GII.17 for one patient and one post-symptomatic food worker (FW). The FW presented vomiting one day before cake preparation. The NoV strain was probably spread through food worker hand contact. Prevention of Norovirus foodborne outbreaks implies new guidelines for FWs management in France and Europe.

  7. 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.

  8. The genome sequence of the leaf-cutter ant Atta cephalotes reveals insights into its obligate symbiotic lifestyle.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Garret Suen

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Leaf-cutter ants are one of the most important herbivorous insects in the Neotropics, harvesting vast quantities of fresh leaf material. The ants use leaves to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely facilitated the formation of their massive colonies. Mature leaf-cutter ant colonies contain millions of workers ranging in size from small garden tenders to large soldiers, resulting in one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems within ants. To begin uncovering the genomic underpinnings of this system, we sequenced the genome of Atta cephalotes using 454 pyrosequencing. One prediction from this ant's lifestyle is that it has undergone genetic modifications that reflect its obligate dependence on the fungus for nutrients. Analysis of this genome sequence is consistent with this hypothesis, as we find evidence for reductions in genes related to nutrient acquisition. These include extensive reductions in serine proteases (which are likely unnecessary because proteolysis is not a primary mechanism used to process nutrients obtained from the fungus, a loss of genes involved in arginine biosynthesis (suggesting that this amino acid is obtained from the fungus, and the absence of a hexamerin (which sequesters amino acids during larval development in other insects. Following recent reports of genome sequences from other insects that engage in symbioses with beneficial microbes, the A. cephalotes genome provides new insights into the symbiotic lifestyle of this ant and advances our understanding of host-microbe symbioses.

  9. The Genome Sequence of the Leaf-Cutter Ant Atta cephalotes Reveals Insights into Its Obligate Symbiotic Lifestyle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suen, Garret; Holt, Carson; Abouheif, Ehab; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Bouffard, Pascal; Caldera, Eric J.; Cash, Elizabeth; Cavanaugh, Amy; Denas, Olgert; Elhaik, Eran; Favé, Marie-Julie; Gadau, Jürgen; Gibson, Joshua D.; Graur, Dan; Grubbs, Kirk J.; Hagen, Darren E.; Harkins, Timothy T.; Helmkampf, Martin; Hu, Hao; Johnson, Brian R.; Kim, Jay; Marsh, Sarah E.; Moeller, Joseph A.; Muñoz-Torres, Mónica C.; Murphy, Marguerite C.; Naughton, Meredith C.; Nigam, Surabhi; Overson, Rick; Rajakumar, Rajendhran; Reese, Justin T.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Smith, Chris R.; Tao, Shu; Tsutsui, Neil D.; Viljakainen, Lumi; Wissler, Lothar; Yandell, Mark D.; Zimmer, Fabian; Taylor, James; Slater, Steven C.; Clifton, Sandra W.; Warren, Wesley C.; Elsik, Christine G.; Smith, Christopher D.; Weinstock, George M.; Gerardo, Nicole M.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutter ants are one of the most important herbivorous insects in the Neotropics, harvesting vast quantities of fresh leaf material. The ants use leaves to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely facilitated the formation of their massive colonies. Mature leaf-cutter ant colonies contain millions of workers ranging in size from small garden tenders to large soldiers, resulting in one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems within ants. To begin uncovering the genomic underpinnings of this system, we sequenced the genome of Atta cephalotes using 454 pyrosequencing. One prediction from this ant's lifestyle is that it has undergone genetic modifications that reflect its obligate dependence on the fungus for nutrients. Analysis of this genome sequence is consistent with this hypothesis, as we find evidence for reductions in genes related to nutrient acquisition. These include extensive reductions in serine proteases (which are likely unnecessary because proteolysis is not a primary mechanism used to process nutrients obtained from the fungus), a loss of genes involved in arginine biosynthesis (suggesting that this amino acid is obtained from the fungus), and the absence of a hexamerin (which sequesters amino acids during larval development in other insects). Following recent reports of genome sequences from other insects that engage in symbioses with beneficial microbes, the A. cephalotes genome provides new insights into the symbiotic lifestyle of this ant and advances our understanding of host–microbe symbioses. PMID:21347285

  10. Phengaris (Maculinea) teleius butterflies select host plants close to Myrmica ants for oviposition, but P. nausithous do not

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wynhoff, Irma; Langevelde, van Frank

    2017-01-01

    Many lycaenid butterfly species have interactions with ants, with 12% obligatorily depending on two sequential sources of larval food, namely host plants and host ants. When host plants are abundant but the density of host ant nests is relatively low, most host plants have no host ant nest in their

  11. Consumers and Workers Opinions of A Proposed Cash Food System: NAS Alameda

    Science.gov (United States)

    1975-08-01

    restaurants and drive-ins, vending machines , and other on-base facilities were, in that order, the more likely non-dining hall sources for meals...Weekend Food Variety of Short Order Food Speed of Service or lines Overall Mean R C-M C-S ban Rank Mean Rank Mean Rank 4.24 14 3.53 14 3.57 14...vendi’ng machines 0 0 0 0 0 0 h. From mobile snack or lunch trucks 0 0 0 0 0 0 ’· Other (write it below and indicate how often) 0 0 0 0 0 0 57

  12. NAFTA refugees as protagonists: mexican migrant workers take on the fast food giants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deborah Barndt

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Where does our food come from? Whose hands have planted, cultivated, picked, packed, processed, transported, scanned, sold, sliced, and cooked it? What production practices have transformed it from seed to fruit, from fresh to processed form? Who decides what is grown and how? What are the effects of those decisions on our health and the health of the planet?

  13. An overlooked mandibular-rubbing behavior used during recruitment by the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olivier Roux

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1 use anal spots to mark their territories, (2 drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3 drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then--in a surprising posture--tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. The question of food security in the localities of Ribeirão and Garça de Cima, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, Santo Antão - Cape Verde

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuel Francisco Monteiro

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Cape Verde, an island country with few natural resources and with adverse soil and weather conditions, imports most of the foodstuffs that need. Local production, although scarce, is relevant to food security. This article reflects a case study in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, island of Santo Antão -Cape Verde, whose aim was to study the role of three production systems in the generation of income, food security and improving the quality of life of families. These systems are: vegetable production, rainfed production and sugar cane production. A total of 105 surveys were carried out in the localities of Ribeirão and Garça de Cima, equally distributed among different agricultural producers. It was found that the sugar cane producers have an average annual income superior to horticulture and rainfed farmers, 402,154, 337,602 and 259,764 CVE respectively (1 euro = 110.265 Cape Verdean escudos – CVE. With respect to food intake, the differences are not significant. Horticulture farmers have a calorie intake of 2959.71, rainfed producers 2926.65 and sugar cane producers 2888.86 kcal/EM/day. With regard to indicators of quality of life, the families of horticulture farmers and sugar cane producers present similar results, superior to the rainfed producers’ families.

  17. Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from Crazy Ant Strike Team IX, December 2014-June 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Donmoyer, Kevin; Kropidlowski, Stephan; Pollock, Amanda

    2015-01-01

    The ecologically destructive yellow crazy ant (YCA; Anoplolepis gracilipes) was first detected on Johnston Atoll in January 2010. Within eight months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had mobilized its first crazy ant strike team (CAST), a group of biologists dedicated to testing and identifying insecticidal baits to be used to eradicate the ant on the atoll. During December 2014‒May 2015 CAST IX focused on testing hydrogel crystals saturated with sucrose solution (25%) carrying the insecticides thiamethoxam and dinotefuran against YCA. A series of experiments, including artificial nest box trials, and field-based palatability trials and eradication tests on small (500 m2 or 0.05 ha) and large plots (2500 m2 or 0.25 ha), were conducted to test concentrations of thiamethoxam ranging from 0.0005% to 0.01%, and dinotefuran at 0.05%. Additionally, the cat food-based matrix containing dinotefuran (0.05%), the standard bait used to suppress YCA on Johnston since 2011, and textured vegetable protein (TVP) carrying dinotefuran at 0.1% and 0.05% were included in large plot tests. Nest box trials were inconclusive due to a consistent loss of queen and worker ants in control boxes, so they were discontinued. Palatability trials suggested higher dosages of thiamethoxam (0.005 and 0.01%) were less attractive than lower dosages (0.0005 and 0.001%) and controls (sucrose only), but small and large plot experiments failed to identify a thiamethoxam concentration that was consistently effective at killing YCA. In contrast, hydrogel containing dinotefuran was consistently effective, killing >95% of YCA on small and large plots. As expected, the cat food bait effectively reduced YCA abundances, but was slightly less effective than hydrogel containing dinotefuran over time. Three successive, approximately weekly treatments of large plots with hydrogel bait, or other baits followed by hydrogel bait, suggest an increasing overall effectiveness, with no aversion of YCA to the bait

  18. 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

  19. 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....

  20. Colony structure in a plant-ant: behavioural, chemical and genetic study of polydomy in Cataulacus mckeyi (Myrmicinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debout, Gabriel; Provost, Erick; Renucci, Marielle; Tirard, Alain; Schatz, Bertrand; McKey, Doyle

    2003-10-01

    Social organisation of colonies of obligate plant-ants can affect their interaction with myrmecophyte hosts and with other ants competing for the resources they offer. An important parameter of social organisation is whether nest sites of a colony include one or several host individuals. We determined colony boundaries in a plant-ant associated with the rainforest understorey tree Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana, found in coastal forests of Cameroon (Central Africa). This myrmecophyte is strictly associated with two ants, Petalomyrmex phylax and Cataulacus mckeyi. Plants provide food and nesting sites for P. phylax, which protects young leaves against insect herbivores. This mutualism is often parasitised by C. mckeyi, which uses but does not protect the host. The presence of C. mckeyi on a tree excludes the mutualistic ant. Because Petalomyrmex-occupied trees are better protected, their growth and survival are superior to those of Cataulacus-occupied trees, giving P. phylax an advantage in occupation of nest sites. C. mckeyi often colonises trees that have lost their initial associate P. phylax, as a result of injury to the tree caused by disturbance. Polydomy may allow C. mckeyi to occupy small clumps of trees, without the necessity of claustral colony foundation in each tree. Investigating both the proximate (behavioural repertoire, colony odour) and the ultimate factors (genetic structure) that may influence colony closure, we precisely defined colony boundaries. We show that colonies of C. mckeyi are monogynous and facultatively polydomous, i.e. a colony occupies one to several Leonardoxa trees. Workers do not produce males. Thus, the hypothesis that polydomy allows workers in queenless nests to evade queen control for their reproduction is not supported in this instance. This particular colony structure may confer on C. mckeyi an advantage in short-distance dispersal, and this could help explain its persistence within the dynamic Leonardoxa system.

  1. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  3. Acting of the radiological surveillance of food in Cuba before anomalous situations; Actuacion de la vigilancia radiologica de alimentos en Cuba ante situaciones anomalas

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fernandez G, I.M.; Rodriguez C, G.; Carrazana G, J.; Capote F, E. [CPHR, Calle 20, No. 4113 e/41 y 47, Playa, La Habana, 11300 (Cuba)]. e-mail: isis@cphr.edu.cu

    2006-07-01

    Keeping in mind the real possibility of that would be imported to Cuba polluted foods with radionuclides, product of a nuclear or radiological accident happens one contamination of foods inside the national territory, it was designed and was into effect in January, 2000, a Program of Radiological Surveillance of Foods and Water, in the marks of the National Program of Surveillance of Pollutants in Foods and Water. This surveillance is executed in group among the National Unit of Health Environmental of the Ministry of Health and the Center of Protection and Hygiene of those Radiations of the Ministry of Sciences, Technology and Environment. In this work the design in the way of acting of the Radiological Surveillance of Foods and Water in Cuba, in the event of detection of anomalous situations is presented. The same one includes, the establishment of investigation levels for radionuclides in foods, the ways of performance of the System, of to be overcome or to be equaled the performance levels or established investigation, the flow of the information, as well as the work routine to continue by the essay laboratories, in the event of an anomalous situation. (Author)

  4. A cross-sectional study of lung function and respiratory symptoms among chemical workers producing diacetyl for food flavourings.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Rooy, F.G.; Smit, L.A.; Houba, R.; Zaat, V.A.; Rooijackers, J.M.; Heederik, D.J.J.

    2009-01-01

    OBJECTIVES: Four diacetyl workers were found to have bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Exposures, respiratory symptoms, lung function and exposure-response relationships were investigated. METHODS: 175 workers from a plant producing diacetyl between 1960 and 2003 were investigated. Exposure data

  5. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    How biological systems resolve internal conflicts is a major evolutionary question. Social insect workers cooperate but also pursue individual interests, such as laying male eggs. The rewards of this individual selfishness can be reduced by policing, such as by killing worker-laid eggs. However......, selfish individuals may evade policing. What factors prevent individuals from being able to evade policing? In the ant Pachycondyla inversa, workers kill (police) worker-laid eggs. Because the colony keeps eggs in piles and worker-laid and queen-laid eggs are chemically distinct, worker-laid eggs might...... become more acceptable once placed in the egg pile by odour transfer from touching queen-laid eggs. Here, we show that such "cue scrambling" does not occur. Worker-laid eggs that were sandwiched between three queen-laid eggs for 45 min were not more acceptable in a policing bioassay than control worker...

  6. 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...

  7. Currency as a potential environmental vehicle for transmitting parasites among food-related workers in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassan, Azza; Farouk, Hanan; Hassanein, Faika; Abdul-Ghani, Rashad

    2011-09-01

    Transmission of parasites may occur indirectly via inanimate objects in the surrounding environment. One of the objects most handled and exchanged by people are currency coins and banknotes, which could be one of the most potential vehicles to transmit parasites, even between countries. However, study of the potential contamination of currency in circulation with intestinal parasites has not been given the interest it deserves and the present study is the first pilot study in Alexandria, Egypt. It was revealed that 60.2% of 103 banknotes and 56.6% of 99 coins obtained from food-related workers had been contaminated with one or more parasitic species. Protozoa were the predominant parasites, with microsporidia and Cryptosporidium spp. being the most prevalent. There was no statistically significant difference between currency types regarding parasitological contamination, but there was a significant (Pbanknotes was with the lower denominations being more contaminated. Copyright © 2011 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Working in the UK: Polish migrant worker routes into employment in the north east and north west construction and food processing sectors

    OpenAIRE

    Fitzgerald, Ian

    2007-01-01

    This report presents the findings of a TUC-funded project that sought to identify the main routes into employment for Polish migrant workers in the North East and North West construction and food processing sectors. Its findings show that the two sectors offer real opportunities and challenges for trade unions to organise those who most need help. Indeed many unions in the sectors have already taken up the challenge and have started to see real successes in organising groups traditionally see...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. J. Souza

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

  12. 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....

  13. 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 ...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1999-03-19

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Balaji Prabhakar

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. By their own devices: invasive Argentine ants have shifted diet without clear aid from symbiotic microbes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Yi; Holway, David A; Łukasik, Piotr; Chau, Linh; Kay, Adam D; LeBrun, Edward G; Miller, Katie A; Sanders, Jon G; Suarez, Andrew V; Russell, Jacob A

    2017-03-01

    The functions and compositions of symbiotic bacterial communities often correlate with host ecology. Yet cause-effect relationships and the order of symbiont vs. host change remain unclear in the face of ancient symbioses and conserved host ecology. Several groups of ants exemplify this challenge, as their low-nitrogen diets and specialized symbioses appear conserved and ancient. To address whether nitrogen-provisioning symbionts might be important in the early stages of ant trophic shifts, we studied bacteria from the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile - an invasive species that has transitioned towards greater consumption of sugar-rich, nitrogen-poor foods in parts of its introduced range. Bacteria were present at low densities in most L. humile workers, and among those yielding quality 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing data, we found just three symbionts to be common and dominant. Two, a Lactobacillus and an Acetobacteraceae species, were shared between native and introduced populations. The other, a Rickettsia, was found only in two introduced supercolonies. Across an eight-year period of trophic reduction in one introduced population, we found no change in symbionts, arguing against a relationship between natural dietary change and microbiome composition. Overall, our findings thus argue against major changes in symbiotic bacteria in association with the invasion and trophic shift of L. humile. In addition, genome content from close relatives of the identified symbionts suggests that just one can synthesize most essential amino acids; this bacterium was only modestly abundant in introduced populations, providing little support for a major role of nitrogen-provisioning symbioses in Argentine ant's dietary shift. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. 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.

  2. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villalta, Irene; Amor, Fernando; Cerdá, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël

    2016-04-01

    Ants provide one of the best examples of the division of labor in animal societies. While the queens reproduce, workers generally refrain from laying eggs and dedicate themselves exclusively to domestic tasks. In many species, the small diploid larvae are bipotent and can develop either into workers or queens depending mostly on environmental cues. This generates a conflicting situation between the adults that tend to rear a majority of larvae into workers and the larvae whose individual interest may be to develop into reproductive queens. We tested the social regulation of larval caste fate in the fission-performing ant Aphaenogaster senilis. We first observed interactions between resident workers and queen- and worker-destined larvae in presence/absence of the queen. The results show that workers tend to specifically eliminate queen-destined larvae when the queen is present but not when she is absent or imprisoned in a small cage allowing for volatile pheromone exchanges. In addition, we found that the presence of already developed queen-destined larvae does not inhibit the development of younger still bipotent larvae into queens. Finally, we analyzed the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of queen- and worker-destined larvae and found no significant quantitative or qualitative difference. Interestingly, the total amount of hydrocarbons on both larval castes is extremely low, which lends credence on the chemical insignificance hypothesis of larval ants. Overall, our results suggest that workers control larval development and police larvae that would develop into queens instead of workers. Such policing behavior is similar in many aspects to what is known of worker policing among adults.

  3. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villalta, Irene; Amor, Fernando; Cerdá, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël

    2016-04-01

    Ants provide one of the best examples of the division of labor in animal societies. While the queens reproduce, workers generally refrain from laying eggs and dedicate themselves exclusively to domestic tasks. In many species, the small diploid larvae are bipotent and can develop either into workers or queens depending mostly on environmental cues. This generates a conflicting situation between the adults that tend to rear a majority of larvae into workers and the larvae whose individual interest may be to develop into reproductive queens. We tested the social regulation of larval caste fate in the fission-performing ant Aphaenogaster senilis. We first observed interactions between resident workers and queen- and worker-destined larvae in presence/absence of the queen. The results show that workers tend to specifically eliminate queen-destined larvae when the queen is present but not when she is absent or imprisoned in a small cage allowing for volatile pheromone exchanges. In addition, we found that the presence of already developed queen-destined larvae does not inhibit the development of younger still bipotent larvae into queens. Finally, we analyzed the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of queen- and worker-destined larvae and found no significant quantitative or qualitative difference. Interestingly, the total amount of hydrocarbons on both larval castes is extremely low, which lends credence on the chemical insignificance hypothesis of larval ants. Overall, our results suggest that workers control larval development and police larvae that would develop into queens instead of workers. Such policing behavior is similar in many aspects to what is known of worker policing among adults.

  4. 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....

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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, ...

  9. "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...

  10. Ant Colony Optimization for Control

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Ast, J.M.

    2010-01-01

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

  11. A four-year follow-up study of physical working conditions and perceived mental and physical strain among food industry workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neupane, Subas; Virtanen, Pekka; Luukkaala, Tiina; Siukola, Anna; Nygård, Clas-Håkan

    2014-05-01

    This study hypothesized that in a longitudinal setting deteriorating physical working conditions increases the perceived physical and mental strain among food processing employees. The study was conducted in 2003 and 2007. It examined 248 blue-collar workers, all of whom were in the same occupation throughout the entire follow-up period. The data were obtained through a structural questionnaire distributed to the employees at the workplace. Mental strain had increased (7%) significantly among younger employees during the follow-up. The changes in mental strain for the younger employees were positively associated with the changes in physical strain. The changes in physical strain were also significantly associated with the changes in physical working conditions among both younger and the older workers. The results of this study partly support the study hypothesis, namely that deteriorating physical working condition increases physical strain and also increases mental strain, especially among younger employees. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-02-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Specialization does not predict individual efficiency in an ant.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Dornhaus

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available The ecological success of social insects is often attributed to an increase in efficiency achieved through division of labor between workers in a colony. Much research has therefore focused on the mechanism by which a division of labor is implemented, i.e., on how tasks are allocated to workers. However, the important assumption that specialists are indeed more efficient at their work than generalist individuals--the "Jack-of-all-trades is master of none" hypothesis--has rarely been tested. Here, I quantify worker efficiency, measured as work completed per time, in four different tasks in the ant Temnothorax albipennis: honey and protein foraging, collection of nest-building material, and brood transports in a colony emigration. I show that individual efficiency is not predicted by how specialized workers were on the respective task. Worker efficiency is also not consistently predicted by that worker's overall activity or delay to begin the task. Even when only the worker's rank relative to nestmates in the same colony was used, specialization did not predict efficiency in three out of the four tasks, and more specialized workers actually performed worse than others in the fourth task (collection of sand grains. I also show that the above relationships, as well as median individual efficiency, do not change with colony size. My results demonstrate that in an ant species without morphologically differentiated worker castes, workers may nevertheless differ in their ability to perform different tasks. Surprisingly, this variation is not utilized by the colony--worker allocation to tasks is unrelated to their ability to perform them. What, then, are the adaptive benefits of behavioral specialization, and why do workers choose tasks without regard for whether they can perform them well? We are still far from an understanding of the adaptive benefits of division of labor in social insects.

  16. 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.

  17. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

    . They generally have multiple queens per colony, are unicolonial (lacking internest aggression), quickly recruit to food items, thrive in a variety of habitats including disturbed areas, and can be highly aggressive to other ant species (McGlynn 1999). Hawaii’s arthropod fauna evolved in the absence of ants and has been observed by many biologists to be highly vulnerable to displacement by non-native ants. Pacific island biotas have also very likely suffered greatly from displacement by ants. However, in contrast to Hawaii, virtually nothing has been published on effects of non-native ants on native arthropod fauna elsewhere on Pacific islands, with the exception of the Galapagos archipelago, which may have at least four species of endemic ants (Lubin 1984, Nishida and Evenhuis 2000) and New Caledonia (Jourdan et al. 2001, Le Breton et al. 2005). In addition, many ant species in the Pacific have long been a nuisance for humans, and significant agricultural impacts have occurred from ants tending hemipteran insects of crop plants.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador: representações sociais de gestores locais Workers' Food Program: local managers' social representations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Henrique Bandoni

    2006-10-01

    Full Text Available OBJETIVO: Analisar o conhecimento e a representação social sobre promoção de alimentação saudável e saúde de gestores do Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador. MÉTODOS: Estudo transversal, realizado com empresas cadastradas no Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador na cidade de São Paulo. Foram aplicados aos gestores locais (responsáveis pela alimentação do trabalhador questionários semi-estruturados. Os dados foram tabulados por meio da técnica do discurso do sujeito coletivo, utilizando-se três figuras metodológicas: idéia central, expressões-chave e o discurso do sujeito coletivo. RESULTADOS: Os discursos dos gestores de 70 empresas indicaram que 60% das idéias centrais expressaram desconhecimento sobre o Programa e seus objetivos, ou tinham como representação os benefícios para empresa. Entretanto, observou-se que a idéia central mais freqüente foi: "é um programa para fornecer alimentação balanceada para o trabalhador", representando um discurso com ênfase na promoção de alimentação saudável e saúde, que se aproxima dos objetivos do Programa. CONCLUSÕES: A maioria dos discursos não teve ênfase na promoção de alimentação saudável e saúde. Para que o Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador possa atingir seus objetivos, é necessário que os gestores locais conheçam o Programa e sejam conscientizados do seu objetivo de promoção de saúde.OBJECTIVE: To assess local managers' knowledge and social representations of a healthy diet and health promotion in the Workers' Food Program. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out with companies registered in the Workers' Food Program in the city of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to local managers involved with workers' food. Data were tabulated through the Discourse of the Collective Subject using three methodological approaches: central idea, key expressions and discourse of the collective

  1. Are queen ants inhibited by their own pheromone?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holman, L.; Leroy, C.; Jørgensen, Charlotte

    2013-01-01

    . Communication in social insects is predominantly chemical, and the mechanisms regulating processes such as reproductive division of labor are becoming increasingly well understood. Recently, a queen cuticular hydrocarbon (3-MeC31) that inhibits worker reproduction and aggression was isolated in the ant Lasius...... niger. Here, we find that this pheromone also has a weak negative effect on queen productivity and oogenesis. Because 3-MeC31 is present on both queens and their brood, we suggest that it is used by ants of both castes to adjust their fecundity to the amount of developing brood and the presence of other...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ingrid de Carvalho Guimarães

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

  4. Norovirus: Food Handlers

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... National Institutes of Health NoroCORE Food Virology For Food Workers Language: English (US) Español (Spanish) Recommend on ... trabajadores del sector alimentario Norovirus and Working With Food CDC Vital Signs Report Preventing Norovirus Outbreaks, Food ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Cuticular hydrocarbons correlate with queen reproductive status in native and invasive Argentine ants (Linepithema humile, Mayr)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz, Mireia; Lenoir, Alain; Ivon Paris, Carolina; Boulay, Raphaël; Gómez, Crisanto

    2018-01-01

    In insect societies, chemical communication plays an important role in colony reproduction and individual social status. Many studies have indicated that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are the main chemical compounds encoding reproductive status. However, these studies have largely focused on queenless or monogynous species whose workers are capable of egg laying and have mainly explored the mechanisms underlying queen-worker or worker-worker reproductive conflicts. Less is known about what occurs in highly polygynous ant species with permanently sterile workers. Here, we used the Argentine ant as a model to examine the role of CHCs in communicating reproductive information in such insect societies. The Argentine ant is unicolonial, highly polygynous, and polydomous. We identified several CHCs whose presence and levels were correlated with queen age, reproductive status, and fertility. Our results also provide new insights into queen executions in the Argentine ant, a distinctive feature displayed by this species in its introduced range. Each spring, just before new sexuals appear, workers eliminate up to 90% of the mated queens in their colonies. We discovered that queens that survived execution had different CHC profiles from queens present before and during execution. More specifically, levels of some CHCs were higher in the survivors, suggesting that workers could eliminate queens based on their chemical profiles. In addition, queen CHC profiles differed based on season and species range (native vs. introduced). Overall, the results of this study provide new evidence that CHCs serve as queen signals and do more than just regulate worker reproduction. PMID:29470506

  8. 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....

  9. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amy L. Mertl

    2012-01-01

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

  11. Recognition in ants: social origin matters.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joël Meunier

    Full Text Available The ability of group members to discriminate against foreigners is a keystone in the evolution of sociality. In social insects, colony social structure (number of queens is generally thought to influence abilities of resident workers to discriminate between nestmates and non-nestmates. However, whether social origin of introduced individuals has an effect on their acceptance in conspecific colonies remains poorly explored. Using egg-acceptance bioassays, we tested the influence of social origin of queen-laid eggs on their acceptance by foreign workers in the ant Formica selysi. We showed that workers from both single- and multiple-queen colonies discriminated against foreign eggs from single-queen colonies, whereas they surprisingly accepted foreign eggs from multiple-queen colonies. Chemical analyses then demonstrated that social origins of eggs and workers could be discriminated on the basis of their chemical profiles, a signal generally involved in nestmate discrimination. These findings provide the first evidence in social insects that social origins of eggs interfere with nestmate discrimination and are encoded by chemical signatures.

  12. Ant brood function as life preservers during floods.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jessica Purcell

    Full Text Available Social organisms can surmount many ecological challenges by working collectively. An impressive example of such collective behavior occurs when ants physically link together into floating 'rafts' to escape from flooded habitat. However, raft formation may represent a social dilemma, with some positions posing greater individual risks than others. Here, we investigate the position and function of different colony members, and the costs and benefits of this functional geometry in rafts of the floodplain-dwelling ant Formica selysi. By causing groups of ants to raft in the laboratory, we observe that workers are distributed throughout the raft, queens are always in the center, and 100% of brood items are placed on the base. Through a series of experiments, we show that workers and brood are extremely resistant to submersion. Both workers and brood exhibit high survival rates after they have rafted, suggesting that occupying the base of the raft is not as costly as expected. The placement of all brood on the base of one cohesive raft confers several benefits: it preserves colony integrity, takes advantage of brood buoyancy, and increases the proportion of workers that immediately recover after rafting.

  13. Hospitales seguros ante desastres

    OpenAIRE

    Celso Vladimir Bambaren Alatrista; María Del Socorro Alatrista Gutierrez

    2007-01-01

    Entre 1982 a 2005 se registraron daños en 1 143 establecimientos de salud en el Perú, generalmente debido a sismos, lluvias e inundaciones. Los daños en los servicios de salud producen la interrupción de la atención de la población y de los programas de salud, así como generan un gran gasto para la rehabilitación y reconstrucción. Por ello, se requiere proteger a los establecimientos de salud y desarrollar una política de hospitales seguros ante desastres que incluya medidas para prevenir o r...

  14. La vivienda ante emergencias

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Arq. María Eugenia Gonzàlez Chipont

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Este trabajo propone analizar la evolución de la vivienda como respuesta ante emergencias desde principios del siglo XX hasta nuestros días. La secuencia de casos a analizar no sigue una cronología estricta sino que se organiza en función de un creciente grado de complejidad. Comienza con los aportes fundamentales de la vivienda mínima del movimiento moderno, con un fuerte acento en lo tecnológico, para ir profundizando, mientras avanzamos en el siglo, en los aspectos sociales de la arquitectura. Sin intentar oponer lo tecnológico y lo social, la estructura propuesta expresa un enriquecimiento de la cuestión técnica conforme se van ampliando sus objetivos sociales. Mientras los requerimientos tecnológicos como la inmediatez y la masividad de la respuesta, permanecen a lo largo del tiempo, la vivienda ante emergencias puede plantearse objetivos sociales cada vez más profundos. Los casos fueron elegidos a partir de autores renombrados de la Historia de la Arquitectura partiendo de ejemplos cercanos a la génesis del movimiento moderno para acercarnos cada vez más hacia el contexto actual de Latinoamérica. Se logra así un barrido geográfco pero principalmente cultural: desde las fuentes de la modernidad, bajo el paradigma sólido de la industrialización, hasta la inestabilidad de la ciudad posindustrial latinoamericana

  15. 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.

  16. Temperature limits trail following behaviour through pheromone decay in ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oudenhove, Louise; Billoir, Elise; Boulay, Raphaël; Bernstein, Carlos; Cerdá, Xim

    2011-12-01

    In Mediterranean habitats, temperature affects both ant foraging behaviour and community structure. Many studies have shown that dominant species often forage at lower temperature than subordinates. Yet, the factors that constrain dominant species foraging activity in hot environments are still elusive. We used the dominant ant Tapinoma nigerrimum as a model species to test the hypothesis that high temperatures hinder trail following behaviour by accelerating pheromone degradation. First, field observations showed that high temperatures (> 30°C) reduce the foraging activity of T. nigerrimum independently of the daily and seasonal rhythms of this species. Second, we isolated the effect of high temperatures on pheromone trail efficacy from its effect on worker physiology. A marked substrate was heated during 10 min (five temperature treatments from 25°C to 60°C), cooled down to 25°C, and offered in a test choice to workers. At hot temperature treatments (>40°C), workers did not discriminate the previously marked substrate. High temperatures appeared therefore to accelerate pheromone degradation. Third, we assessed the pheromone decay dynamics by a mechanistic model fitted with Bayesian inference. The model predicted ant choice through the evolution of pheromone concentration on trails as a function of both temperature and time since pheromone deposition. Overall, our results highlighted that the effect of high temperatures on recruitment intensity was partly due to pheromone evaporation. In the Mediterranean ant communities, this might affect dominant species relying on chemical recruitment, more than subordinate ant species, less dependent on chemical communication and less sensitive to high temperatures.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  3. 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.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Jane

    2010-10-11

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

  5. Dentigerumycin: a bacterial mediator of an ant-fungus symbiosis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Oh, Dong-Chan; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R

    2009-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants engage in mutualistic associations with both the fungus they cultivate for food and actinobacteria (Pseudonocardia spp.) that produce selective antibiotics to defend that fungus from specialized fungal parasites. We have analyzed one such system at the molecular level and found...

  6. 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.

  7. 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....

  8. A new carpenter ant, Camponotus parabarbatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae from India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Himender Bharti

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available A new species of carpenter ant, collected in the Shivalik range of Himalaya is described and illustrated based on the worker and gyne castes under the name Camponotus parabarbatus sp. n. Presence of dense, short setae on gena and ventral surface of head resembles it most to Camponotus barbatus Roger, 1863 distributed in Southeast Asia. A regional identification key of Camponotus species is provided from the Shivalik hills of Indian Himalaya.

  9. 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.

  10. Hospitales seguros ante desastres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celso Vladimir Bambaren Alatrista

    2007-07-01

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

  11. Genetic royal cheats in leaf-cutting ant societies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hughes, William O H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2008-01-01

    of the former. The most significant potential conflict in social insect colonies is over which individuals become reproductive queens rather than sterile workers. This reproductive division of labor is a defining characteristic of eusocial societies, but individual larvae will maximize their fitness by becoming...... queens whereas their nestmates will generally maximize fitness by forcing larvae to become workers. However, evolutionary constraints are thought to prevent cheating by removing genetic variation in caste propensity. Here, we show that one-fifth of leaf-cutting ant patrilines cheat their nestmates...

  12. 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.

  13. 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).

  14. Queen Specific Exocrine Glands in Legionary Ants and Their Possible Function in Sexual Selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents.

  15. Queen Specific Exocrine Glands in Legionary Ants and Their Possible Function in Sexual Selection.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bert Hölldobler

    Full Text Available The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents.

  16. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Tofilski, Adam; Heinze, Jürgen; Ratnieks, Francis L. W.

    2006-03-01

    How biological systems resolve internal conflicts is a major evolutionary question. Social insect workers cooperate but also pursue individual interests, such as laying male eggs. The rewards of this individual selfishness can be reduced by policing, such as by killing worker-laid eggs. However, selfish individuals may evade policing. What factors prevent individuals from being able to evade policing? In the ant Pachycondyla inversa, workers kill (police) worker-laid eggs. Because the colony keeps eggs in piles and worker-laid and queen-laid eggs are chemically distinct, worker-laid eggs might become more acceptable once placed in the egg pile by odour transfer from touching queen-laid eggs. Here, we show that such “cue scrambling” does not occur. Worker-laid eggs that were sandwiched between three queen-laid eggs for 45 min were not more acceptable in a policing bioassay than control worker-laid eggs. Chemical analyses also showed that the surface hydrocarbon profile of these eggs was unchanged. Policing, therefore, is stable against this potential cheating mechanism probably because queen-laid eggs are made chemically distinct using chemicals, that are not easily transferred by physical contact.

  17. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    To ameliorate the impact of disease, social insects combine individual innate immune defenses with collective social defenses. This implies that there are different levels of selection acting on investment in immunity, each with their own trade-offs. We present the results of a cross......-fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced...... both individual innate immunity (constitutive antibacterial activity) and the size of the metapleural gland, which secretes antimicrobial compounds and functions in individual and social defense, indicating multiple mating could have important consequences for both defense types. However, the primarily...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-01-01

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

  19. 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].

  20. 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...

  1. A mutualism without honeydew: what benefits for Melissotarsus emeryi ants and armored scale insects (Diaspididae?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Peeters

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Mutualisms between ants and sap-sucking insects generally involve clear benefits for both partners: the ants provide protection in exchange for honeydew. However, a single ant genus associates with armoured scale insects (Diaspididae that do not excrete honeydew. We studied three colonies of Melissotarsus emeryi ants from two localities in Mozambique. Vast numbers of the diaspidid Morganella conspicua occupied galleries dug by the ants under the bark of living trees. Unlike free-living M. conspicua and other diaspidids, M. conspicua living with ants are known to lack shields, likely because they gain protection against enemies and desiccation. Nevertheless, we documented the occurrence of rare individuals with shields inside ant galleries, indicating that their glands continue to secrete wax and proteins as building material. This is likely to constitute a significant portion of the ants’ diet, in addition to diaspidid exuviae and excretions from the Malpighian tubules. Indeed, Melissotarsus workers cannot walk outside the galleries due to modified middle legs, forcing them to obtain all nourishment within the tree. Melissotarsus founding queens, however, must locate a suitable host tree while flying, and acquire diaspidid crawlers. This mutualism involves ants that are highly specialised to chew through living wood, and diaspidids that can also live freely outside the bark. It is extremely widespread in Africa and Madagascar, recorded from 20 tree families, and harmful effects on plant hosts require rapid study.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-05-01

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

  10. Development of functional foods for radiation workers - Search for the active components and studies on the mechanism of the hematopoiesis improvement foods

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yee, Sung Tae; Ha, Mee Hye; Jeong, Young Ran [Sunchon National University, Sunchon (Korea)

    2000-04-01

    In this experiments, we established long-termed culture methods of bone marrow stromal cells for proliferation and differentiation of stem cells. And we selected some extracts which support maximal proliferation of stromal cells with this method. We conformed the synergic effects of herbal mixture extracts for stromal cell growth. The proliferation of stromal cells was increased rather by the addition of mixture extracts than by addition of single strain extract. In the previous and cooperative experiments, we selected complex extracts (Him-I, Him-II) which increased the number of nonadherent mononuclear cells. Different cytokine expression patterns were observed stromal cells cultured in the presence or absence of mixture extracts which support differentiation of nonadherent cells. Some fractions of Him-I and Him-II increased the proliferation of bone marrow cells irradiated {gamma}-ray(4Gray). Stimulation of macrophage cell line with herval extracts with the treatments of recombinant interferon-{gamma} resulted in increased nitric oxide synthesis in a dose-dependent manners. Altered patterns of cytokine mRNA expression were observed in the stromals cells cultured with extracts of herbal plant. In regarding of the results, isolation and development of new and effective systems to screen for active hematopoietic component needs to be proceeded. Such studies on the hematopoietic modulation and mechanism of herbal plants would further lead to new avenues for the development of functional foods which effect such as radiation damages or leukemia. 20 refs., 23 figs. (Author)

  11. Excesso de peso e hipertensão arterial em trabalhadores de empresas beneficiadas pelo Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador (PAT Overweight and hypertension in workers from companies benefited by the Worker Food Program (WFP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Flávio Sarno

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available OBJETIVO: Avaliar as prevalências de excesso de peso (EP, hipertensão arterial (HA e fatores associados em trabalhadores de empresas beneficiadas pelo Programa de Alimentação do Trabalhador (PAT da cidade de São Paulo. MÉTODOS: Estudo transversal com 1.339 trabalhadores de 30 empresas. A coleta de dados envolveu a aplicação de um questionário com dados de caracterização dos trabalhadores e peso e altura auto-referidos. Foi realizada a aferição da pressão arterial e o estado nutricional foi classificado segundo o Índice de Massa Corporal (IMC. Odds ratios foram estimadas na avaliação dos fatores de risco associados a HA e EP. RESULTADOS: Os trabalhadores apresentaram, em média, 36,4 anos (dp = 10,3 e 9,9 anos de estudo (dp = 2,3, sendo 60% da amostra pertencente ao sexo masculino. Na comparação com homens, mulheres apresentaram valores significativamente menores de idade, pressão arterial sistólica (PAS e diastólica (PAD e IMC e maior escolaridade. As prevalências em homens de EP (25 kg/m2 (56% e de HA (PAS > 140 mmHg e/ou PAD > 90 mmHg ou uso de medicações anti-hipertensivas (38%, foram aproximadamente o dobro da registrada em mulheres (30% e 19%, respectivamente. Idade foi fator de risco para a ocorrência de EP e HA em ambos os sexos, enquanto que a escolaridade foi fator de proteção para EP e HA em mulheres e fator de risco para o desenvolvimento de EP em homens. CONCLUSÃO: Os trabalhadores do sexo masculino constituíram uma população de maior risco para ocorrência de HA e EP e devem ser priorizados nos programas que visam a prevenção dessas doenças. Neste sentido, o PAT pode representar um lugar de destaque nas ações de saúde e nutrição no ambiente de trabalho.OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the prevalences of overweight (OW, hypertension (HY and associated factors in workers from companies benefited by the Worker Food Program (WFP in the city of Sao Paulo. METHODS: Cross sectional study with 1,339 workers from

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2004-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Thelytokous parthenogenesis by queens in the dacetine ant Pyramica membranifera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Fuminori; Touyama, Yoshifumi; Gotoh, Ayako; Kitahiro, Shungo; Billen, Johan

    2010-08-01

    Thelytokous parthenogenesis in which diploid females are produced from unfertilized eggs, was recently reported for some ant species. Here, we document thelytokous reproduction by queens in the polygynous species Pyramica membranifera. Queens that emerged in the laboratory were kept with or without workers under laboratory conditions. Independent colony founding was successful for a few queens if prey was provided. All artificial colonies, which started with a newly emerged queen and workers produced new workers and some of the colonies also produced female sexuals. Some of the female sexuals shed their wings in the laboratory and started formation of new polygynous colonies. Workers had no ovaries and thus, were obligatorily sterile.

  15. Strict monandry in the ponerine army ant genus Simopelta suggests that colony size and complexity drive mating system evolution in social insects

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; O'Donnell, Sean; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-01-01

    -ratios have convergently shaped these mating systems. Here we show that ponerine army ants of the genus Simopelta, which are distantly related but similar in general biology to other army ants, have strictly monandrous queens. Preliminary data suggest that workers reproduce in queenright colonies, which...... is in sharp contrast to other army ants. We hypothesize that differences in mature colony size and social complexity may explain these striking discrepancies....

  16. Bug City: Ants [Videotape].

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998

    "Bug City" is a video series created to help children (grades 1-6) learn about insects and other small critters. All aspects of bug life are touched upon including body structure, food, habitat, life cycle, mating habits, camouflage, mutualism (symbiosis), adaptations, social behavior, and more. Each program features dramatic microscopic…

  17. 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.

  18. Worker Entrepreneurship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doucouliagos, Chris

    1992-01-01

    Evaluates the experience of worker entrepreneurship, highlighting successes and failures in Europe, and analyzes the relative importance of factors to worker entrepreneurship such as access to finance, education and training, organizational culture, and worker risk taking. (JOW)

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. Combined effect of workplace noise and smoking on some hematological parameters on workers in a food manufacturing plant.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Alimohammadi

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Generally, no industry can be found to be safe in terms of noise pollution. Noise is the wide- spread form of environmental stressor in the industrialized urban areas. Aim: the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the combined effect of workplace noise and smoking on some hematological parameters on employing work in a food manufacturing plant. This is a retrospective study before and after for five years since starting of the work. In this study, 50 male subjects participated: smokers (n=11 and nonsmokers (n=39, for further individual information and certain specific points, a developed standard questionnaire, were filled out by participants. For the past 4-year’s details, blood tests and medical records of persons since initially hired, were used. The details of the fifth year were measured by the presenters. Using the ISO protocol 1999 and 9612, workplace noise was measured and the noise map was drawn using arc-view GIS software. Statistical analysis SPSS software version 18 was investigated. Due to the nature of the study, the significance level was set at a P value ≤0.1. Statistical findings and laboratory data showed that the effect of noise and smoking on red blood cells and white blood cells of smokers and nonsmokers was significant (p<0.1, so that the amount of red blood cells in smokers who are exposed to noise exceeding 88.83 dB, is higher than nonsmokers, and the white blood cells are lower in nonsmokers in compared with smokers. Our findings showed that combined of workplace noise and smoking has severe adverse effects on hematological parameters, and these alterations might be associated with a greater risk for more diseases. It is notable that results are from a research effort of its researchers and it is not completely certain so further investigation will be needed.

  2. Bacterial symbiont sharing in Megalomyrmex social parasites and their fungus-growing ant hosts

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Liberti, Joanito; Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Hansen, Lars H.

    2015-01-01

    nests such as consumption of the same fungus garden food, eating of host brood by social parasites, trophallaxis and grooming interactions between the ants, or parallel acquisition from the same nest environment. Our results imply that cohabiting ant social parasites and hosts may obtain functional...... benefits from bacterial symbiont transfer even when they are not closely related....

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Pajaro Peres

    2011-06-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pepijn W Kooij

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

  7. How many gamergates is an ant queen worth?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monnin, Thibaud; Peeters, Christian

    2008-02-01

    Ant reproductives exhibit different morphological adaptations linked to dispersal and fertility. By reviewing the literature on taxa where workers can reproduce sexually (i.e. become gamergates) we show that (1) species with a single gamergate generally have lost the winged queen caste, whereas only half of the species with several gamergates have, and (2) single-gamergate species have smaller colonies than multiple-gamergate species. Comparison with “classical” ants without gamergates, where having one vs having several winged queens are two distinct syndromes, suggests that having one vs having several gamergates are not. Gamergate number does not affect the success of colony fission, but retention of the queen caste permits the option of independent foundation.

  8. An Engineered orco Mutation Produces Aberrant Social Behavior and Defective Neural Development in Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Hua; Opachaloemphan, Comzit; Mancini, Giacomo; Yang, Huan; Gallitto, Matthew; Mlejnek, Jakub; Leibholz, Alexandra; Haight, Kevin; Ghaninia, Majid; Huo, Lucy; Perry, Michael; Slone, Jesse; Zhou, Xiaofan; Traficante, Maria; Penick, Clint A; Dolezal, Kelly; Gokhale, Kaustubh; Stevens, Kelsey; Fetter-Pruneda, Ingrid; Bonasio, Roberto; Zwiebel, Laurence J; Berger, Shelley L; Liebig, Jürgen; Reinberg, Danny; Desplan, Claude

    2017-08-10

    Ants exhibit cooperative behaviors and advanced forms of sociality that depend on pheromone-mediated communication. Odorant receptor neurons (ORNs) express specific odorant receptors (ORs) encoded by a dramatically expanded gene family in ants. In most eusocial insects, only the queen can transmit genetic information, restricting genetic studies. In contrast, workers in Harpegnathos saltator ants can be converted into gamergates (pseudoqueens) that can found entire colonies. This feature facilitated CRISPR-Cas9 generation of germline mutations in orco, the gene that encodes the obligate co-receptor of all ORs. orco mutations should significantly impact olfaction. We demonstrate striking functions of Orco in odorant perception, reproductive physiology, and social behavior plasticity. Surprisingly, unlike in other insects, loss of OR functionality also dramatically impairs development of the antennal lobe to which ORNs project. Therefore, the development of genetics in Harpegnathos establishes this ant species as a model organism to study the complexity of eusociality. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. 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.

  10. The Role of Celestial Compass Information in Cataglyphis Ants during Learning Walks and for Neuroplasticity in the Central Complex and Mushroom Bodies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grob, Robin; Fleischmann, Pauline N; Grübel, Kornelia; Wehner, Rüdiger; Rössler, Wolfgang

    2017-01-01

    Central place foragers are faced with the challenge to learn the position of their nest entrance in its surroundings, in order to find their way back home every time they go out to search for food. To acquire navigational information at the beginning of their foraging career, Cataglyphis noda performs learning walks during the transition from interior worker to forager. These small loops around the nest entrance are repeatedly interrupted by strikingly accurate back turns during which the ants stop and precisely gaze back to the nest entrance-presumably to learn the landmark panorama of the nest surroundings. However, as at this point the complete navigational toolkit is not yet available, the ants are in need of a reference system for the compass component of the path integrator to align their nest entrance-directed gazes. In order to find this directional reference system, we systematically manipulated the skylight information received by ants during learning walks in their natural habitat, as it has been previously suggested that the celestial compass, as part of the path integrator, might provide such a reference system. High-speed video analyses of distinct learning walk elements revealed that even exclusion from the skylight polarization pattern, UV-light spectrum and the position of the sun did not alter the accuracy of the look back to the nest behavior. We therefore conclude that C. noda uses a different reference system to initially align their gaze directions. However, a comparison of neuroanatomical changes in the central complex and the mushroom bodies before and after learning walks revealed that exposure to UV light together with a naturally changing polarization pattern was essential to induce neuroplasticity in these high-order sensory integration centers of the ant brain. This suggests a crucial role of celestial information, in particular a changing polarization pattern, in initially calibrating the celestial compass system.

  11. The Role of Celestial Compass Information in Cataglyphis Ants during Learning Walks and for Neuroplasticity in the Central Complex and Mushroom Bodies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robin Grob

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Central place foragers are faced with the challenge to learn the position of their nest entrance in its surroundings, in order to find their way back home every time they go out to search for food. To acquire navigational information at the beginning of their foraging career, Cataglyphis noda performs learning walks during the transition from interior worker to forager. These small loops around the nest entrance are repeatedly interrupted by strikingly accurate back turns during which the ants stop and precisely gaze back to the nest entrance—presumably to learn the landmark panorama of the nest surroundings. However, as at this point the complete navigational toolkit is not yet available, the ants are in need of a reference system for the compass component of the path integrator to align their nest entrance-directed gazes. In order to find this directional reference system, we systematically manipulated the skylight information received by ants during learning walks in their natural habitat, as it has been previously suggested that the celestial compass, as part of the path integrator, might provide such a reference system. High-speed video analyses of distinct learning walk elements revealed that even exclusion from the skylight polarization pattern, UV-light spectrum and the position of the sun did not alter the accuracy of the look back to the nest behavior. We therefore conclude that C. noda uses a different reference system to initially align their gaze directions. However, a comparison of neuroanatomical changes in the central complex and the mushroom bodies before and after learning walks revealed that exposure to UV light together with a naturally changing polarization pattern was essential to induce neuroplasticity in these high-order sensory integration centers of the ant brain. This suggests a crucial role of celestial information, in particular a changing polarization pattern, in initially calibrating the celestial compass system.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schöning, Caspar; Humle, Tatyana; Möbius, Yasmin

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Ješovnik

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Dynamic Wolbachia prevalence in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants: potential for a nutritional symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, S B; Boye, M; Nash, D R; Boomsma, J J

    2012-07-01

    Wolbachia are renowned as reproductive parasites, but their phenotypic effects in eusocial insects are not well understood. We used a combination of qrt-PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization and laser scanning confocal microscopy to evaluate the dynamics of Wolbachia infections in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus across developmental stages of sterile workers. We confirm that workers are infected with one or two widespread wsp genotypes of Wolbachia, show that colony prevalence is always 100% and characterize two rare recombinant genotypes. One dominant genotype is always present and most abundant, whereas another only proliferates in adult workers of some colonies and is barely detectable in larvae and pupae. An explanation may be that Wolbachia genotypes compete for host resources in immature stages while adult tissues provide substantially more niche space. Tissue-specific prevalence of the two genotypes differs, with the rarer genotype being over-represented in the adult foregut and thorax muscles. Both genotypes occur extracellularly in the foregut, suggesting an unknown mutualistic function in worker ant nutrition. Both genotypes are also abundant in the faecal fluid of the ants, suggesting that they may have extended functional phenotypes in the fungus garden that the ants manure with their own faeces. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2012 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  17. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 11. Use of antiseptics and sanitizers in community settings and issues of hand hygiene compliance in health care and food industries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, Ewen C D; Greig, Judy D; Michaels, Barry S; Bartleson, Charles A; Smith, Debra; Holah, John

    2010-12-01

    Hand washing with soap is a practice that has long been recognized as a major barrier to the spread of disease in food production, preparation, and service and in health care settings, including hospitals, child care centers, and elder care facilities. Many of these settings present multiple opportunities for spread of pathogens within at-risk populations, and extra vigilance must be applied. Unfortunately, hand hygiene is not always carried out effectively, and both enteric and respiratory diseases are easily spread in these environments. Where water is limited or frequent hand hygiene is required on a daily basis, such as for many patients in hospitals and astronauts in space travel, instant sanitizers or sanitary wipes are thought to be an effective way of preventing contamination and spread of organisms among coworkers and others. Most concerns regarding compliance are associated with the health care field, but the food industry also must be considered. Specific reasons for not washing hands at appropriate times are laziness, time pressure, inadequate facilities and supplies, lack of accountability, and lack of involvement by companies, managers, and workers in supporting proper hand washing. To facilitate improvements in hand hygiene, measurement of compliant and noncompliant actions is necessary before implementing any procedural changes. Training alone is not sufficient for long-lasting improvement. Multiactivity strategies also must include modification of the organization culture to encourage safe hygienic practices, motivation of employees willing to use peer pressure on noncompliant coworkers, a reward and/or penalty system, and an operational design that facilitates regular hand hygiene.

  18. The effect of sex-allocation biasing on the evolution of worker policing in hymenopteran societies

    OpenAIRE

    Foster, K.R.; Ratnieks, F.L.W.

    2001-01-01

    Mutual policing is thought to be important in conflict suppression at all levels of biological organization. In hymenopteran societies (bees, ants, and wasps), multiple mating by queens favors mutual policing of male production among workers (worker policing). However, worker policing of male production is proving to be more widespread than predicted by relatedness patterns, occurring in societies headed by single-mated queens in which, paradoxically, workers are more related to the workers' ...

  19. Egg-Laying Butterflies Distinguish Predaceous Ants by Sight

    OpenAIRE

    Sendoya, SF; Freitas, AVL; Oliveira, PS

    2009-01-01

    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 Campono...

  20. 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...

  1. Ecological consequences of interactions between ants and honeydew-producing insects

    OpenAIRE

    Styrsky, John D; Eubanks, Micky D

    2006-01-01

    Interactions between ants and honeydew-producing hemipteran insects are abundant and widespread in arthropod food webs, yet their ecological consequences are very poorly known. Ant–hemipteran interactions have potentially broad ecological effects, because the presence of honeydew-producing hemipterans dramatically alters the abundance and predatory behaviour of ants on plants. We review several studies that investigate the consequences of ant–hemipteran interactions as ‘keystone interactions’...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    J.A. Torres

    1989-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

    Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants maintain two highly specialized, vertically transmitted mutualistic ectosymbionts: basidiomycete fungi that are cultivated for food in underground gardens and actinomycete Pseudonocardia bacteria that are reared on the cuticle to produce antibiotics that suppress...

  4. 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 ...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    of the partner species. Here we document such a sequence that was connected to a major evolutionary transition in the fungus-growing ants, when the ancestor of the derived leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet of dry vegetative material to the almost exclusive use of freshly cut leaves. This shift generated...... visible adaptations in the host ants, such as increased worker dimorphism allowing large workers to cut fresh leaves, but comparative studies of the specific fungal adaptations that accompanied the transition have not been done. Here we report the first large comparative data set on enzymatic fungus...

  6. Thermoregulation strategies in ants in comparison to other social insects, with a focus on red wood ants (Formica rufa group [v2; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/35p

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Štěpánka Kadochová

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Temperature influences every aspect of ant biology, especially metabolic rate, growth and development. Maintenance of high inner nest temperature increases the rate of sexual brood development and thereby increases the colony fitness. Insect societies can achieve better thermoregulation than solitary insects due to the former’s ability to build large and elaborated nests and display complex behaviour. In ants and termites the upper part of the nest, the mound, often works as a solar collector and can also have an efficient ventilation system. Two thermoregulatory strategies could be applied. Firstly the ants use an increased thermal gradient available in the mound for brood relocation. Nurse workers move the brood according to the thermal gradients to ensure the ideal conditions for development. A precise perception of temperature and evolution of temperature preferences are needed to make the correct choices. A second thermoregulatory strategy used by mound nesting ants is keeping a high temperature inside large nests. The unique thermal and insulation properties of the nest material help to maintain stable conditions, which is the case of the Wood ant genus Formica. Ants can regulate thermal loss by moving nest aggregation and alternating nest ventilation. Metabolic heat produced by ant workers or associated micro organisms is an important additional source of heat which helps to maintain thermal homeostasis in the nest.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Huszár, Dóra Borbála

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

  8. Variability in individual activity bursts improves ant foraging success.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campos, Daniel; Bartumeus, Frederic; Méndez, Vicenç; Andrade, José S; Espadaler, Xavier

    2016-12-01

    Using experimental and computational methods, we study the role of behavioural variability in activity bursts (or temporal activity patterns) for individual and collective regulation of foraging in A. senilis ants. First, foraging experiments were carried out under special conditions (low densities of ants and food and absence of external cues or stimuli) where individual-based strategies are most prevalent. By using marked individuals and recording all foraging trajectories, we were then able to precisely quantify behavioural variability among individuals. Our main conclusions are that (i) variability of ant trajectories (turning angles, speed, etc.) is low compared with variability of temporal activity profiles, and (ii) this variability seems to be driven by plasticity of individual behaviour through time, rather than the presence of fixed behavioural stereotypes or specialists within the group. The statistical measures obtained from these experimental foraging patterns are then used to build a general agent-based model (ABM) which includes the most relevant properties of ant foraging under natural conditions, including recruitment through pheromone communication. Using the ABM, we are able to provide computational evidence that the characteristics of individual variability observed in our experiments can provide a functional advantage (in terms of foraging success) to the group; thus, we propose the biological basis underpinning our observations. Altogether, our study reveals the potential utility of experiments under simplified (laboratory) conditions for understanding information-gathering in biological systems. © 2016 The Author(s).

  9. 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....

  10. 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....

  11. Worker policing in the German wasp Vespula germanica

    OpenAIRE

    Wim Bonckaert; Kristel Vuerinckx; Johan Billen; Rob L. Hammond; Laurent Keller; Tom Wenseleers

    2008-01-01

    In some ants, bees, and wasps, workers kill or "police" male eggs laid by other workers in order to maintain the reproductive primacy of the queen. Kin selection theory predicts that multiple mating by the queen is one factor that can selectively favor worker policing. This is because when the queen is mated to multiple males, workers are more closely related to the queen's sons than to the sons of other workers. Earlier work has suggested that reproductive patterns in the German wasp Vespula...

  12. Ant Queen Egg-Marking Signals: Matching Deceptive Laboratory Simplicity with Natural Complexity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van Zweden, Jelle Stijn; Heinze, Jürgen; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    2009-01-01

    Background Experiments under controlled laboratory conditions can produce decisive evidence for testing biological hypotheses, provided they are representative of the more complex natural conditions. However, whether this requirement is fulfilled is seldom tested explicitly. Here we provide a lab....../field comparison to investigate the identity of an egg-marking signal of ant queens. Our study was based on ant workers resolving conflict over male production by destroying each other's eggs, but leaving queen eggs unharmed. For this, the workers need a proximate cue to discriminate between the two egg types...... that this compound by itself is not the natural queen egg-marking pheromone. We subsequently investigated the overall differences of entire chemical profiles of eggs, and found that queen-laid eggs in field colonies are more distinct from worker-laid eggs than in lab colonies, have more variation in profiles...

  13. Diversity and transmission of gut bacteria in Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants during development

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zhukova, Mariya; Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Schiøtt, Morten

    2017-01-01

    . To elucidate the extent to which metamorphosis interrupts associations between bacteria and hosts, we analyzed changes in gut microbiota during development and traced the transmission routes of dominant symbionts from the egg to adult stage in the leaf-cutting ants Acromyrmex echinatior and Atta cephalotes...... was the absolute dominant bacterial species across developmental stages in Acromyrmex and we confirmed that Atta lacks Wolbachia also in the immature stages, and had mostly Mollicutes bacteria in the adult worker guts. Wolbachia in Acromyrmex appeared to be transovarially transmitted similar to transmission...... in solitary insects. In contrast, Mollicutes were socially transmitted from old workers to newly emerged callows. We found that larval and pupal guts of both ant species contained Pseudomonas and Enterobacter bacteria that are also found in fungus gardens, but hardly or not in adult workers, suggesting...

  14. Exploitation Strategies in Social Parasites of Fungus Growing Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clement, Janni Dolby

    One of the most remarkable and complex parasitic interactions is social parasitism, where a parasite exploits a complete society, rather than an individual organism. By integrating into a society the parasite gains protection against predators and diseases, and can redirect resources from the host...... to increase its own fitness. The host will use a sophisticated recognition system in order to accept nestmates and expel intruders from their societies. However this defence barrier can be overcome by parasites. Among the most specialized social parasites are the inquilines that exploit social insect colonies...... to this are Acromyrmex insinuator and Acromyrmex ameliae, parasites of fungus-growing ants. By still producing a worker caste both species offers a rare opportunity to study adaptive features in parasite worker behaviour. Furthermore can closely related inquiline-host combinations give us an insight in the trade...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz

    2016-05-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luan D. Lima

    2013-12-01

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

  19. Nutritional composition of Polyrhachis vicina Roger (Edible Chinese black ant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yucui Ren

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Edible black ant (Polyrhachis vicina Roger is a traditional edible insect species in China. It has been used as a functional ingredient in various tonics or health foods. This study determined the nutritional composition of the black ant, which included minerals, amino acids, superoxide dismutase (SOD, Vitamin E, and total acid. Supercritical CO2 fluid extraction was used to extract the organic compounds. The compounds were identified and quantified by GC-MS. Results showed that the ant powder contained 77000 IU/100g of SOD, 56.6g/100g protein, 9.0g/100g fat, 13.2g/100g volatile oil, 6.0g/100g moisture, 1.6g/100g total acid and 6.3g/100g ash. There were 18 amino acids, of which, glutamic acid, glycine, aspartic acid, alanine, leucine, proline and tyrosine were predominant. Among the 16 minerals, K, Ca, P, Mg, Fe, Mn and Zn were predominant. More than 20 organic components were identified, the main ones were 9-octadecenoic acid, ethyl oleate, cholesterol and n-hexadecanoic acid. Six of the compounds found, i.e. hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester, linoleic acid, ethyl oleate, oleic acid and cholesta-3, 5-diene, have not been reported previously. The results indicate that P. vicina Roger is rich in nutrients and is a potential ingredient for health food.

  20. A seismic fault recognition method based on ant colony optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Lei; Xiao, Chuangbai; Li, Xueliang; Wang, Zhenli; Huo, Shoudong

    2018-05-01

    Fault recognition is an important section in seismic interpretation and there are many methods for this technology, but no one can recognize fault exactly enough. For this problem, we proposed a new fault recognition method based on ant colony optimization which can locate fault precisely and extract fault from the seismic section. Firstly, seismic horizons are extracted by the connected component labeling algorithm; secondly, the fault location are decided according to the horizontal endpoints of each horizon; thirdly, the whole seismic section is divided into several rectangular blocks and the top and bottom endpoints of each rectangular block are considered as the nest and food respectively for the ant colony optimization algorithm. Besides that, the positive section is taken as an actual three dimensional terrain by using the seismic amplitude as a height. After that, the optimal route from nest to food calculated by the ant colony in each block is judged as a fault. Finally, extensive comparative tests were performed on the real seismic data. Availability and advancement of the proposed method were validated by the experimental results.

  1. External immunity in ant societies: sociality and colony size do not predict investment in antimicrobials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halawani, Omar; Pearson, Bria; Mathews, Stephanie; López-Uribe, Margarita M.; Dunn, Robert R.; Smith, Adrian A.

    2018-01-01

    Social insects live in dense groups with a high probability of disease transmission and have therefore faced strong pressures to develop defences against pathogens. For this reason, social insects have been hypothesized to invest in antimicrobial secretions as a mechanism of external immunity to prevent the spread of disease. However, empirical studies linking the evolution of sociality with increased investment in antimicrobials have been relatively few. Here we quantify the strength of antimicrobial secretions among 20 ant species that cover a broad spectrum of ant diversity and colony sizes. We extracted external compounds from ant workers to test whether they inhibited the growth of the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis. Because all ant species are highly social, we predicted that all species would exhibit some antimicrobial activity and that species that form the largest colonies would exhibit the strongest antimicrobial response. Our comparative approach revealed that strong surface antimicrobials are common to particular ant clades, but 40% of species exhibited no antimicrobial activity at all. We also found no correlation between antimicrobial activity and colony size. Rather than relying on antimicrobial secretions as external immunity to control pathogen spread, many ant species have probably developed alternative strategies to defend against disease pressure. PMID:29515850

  2. Twigs of Albizia niopoides (Spruce ex Benth. Burkart as a nesting resource for ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Otávio Guilherme Morais da Silva

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Ants can use twigs from fragments of tree branches as a nesting resource. The present study analyzed gatherings of ants in twigs of Albizia niopoides, a Fabaceae native to the Atlantic Forest that is used in landscaping in parks and squares in Brazil. Expeditions were performed in an urban park located in Atlantic Forest areas between February and June 2014. A total of 70 twigs with ants were collected and included 9357 workers, 2309 broods ants, 68 winged ants and 19 queens. Four subfamilies, 10 genera and 17 species/morphospecies were recorded. The species with the largest number of nests were Nylanderia sp.1, Hypoponera sp.4, and Wasmannia auropunctata. Ants of different species were found coexisting in the same twig, and Pheidole gr. tristis was the most common species found sharing a nest. Among the species recorded, only Pseudomyrmex gracilis and P. phyllophilus are arboreal; the others also live in litter. For some species, our results indicate that the twig occupation in the litter can be structured and not by chance. No correlation was found between the twig structure and the colony components.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Ecosystem services delivered by weaver ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Offenberg, Joachim

    Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from the pres......Weaver ants (Oecopgylla spp.) are increasingly being utilized as efficient biocontrol agents in a number of tropical tree crops, as they prey on pest insects and increase yields. However, recent studies and a review of the literature reveal that a number of other services may derive from...... 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...

  6. 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

  7. Assessment of aflatoxin exposure of laboratory worker during food contamination analyses. Assessment of the procedures adopted by an A.R.P.A.L. laboratory (Liguria Region Environmental Protection Agency).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traverso, A; Bassoli, Viviana; Cioè, A; Anselmo, Silvia; Ferro, Marta

    2010-01-01

    Aflatoxins are mycotoxins derived from foodstuffs colonized by fungal species of the genus Aspergillus; they are common food contaminants with immunosuppressive, mutagenic and carcinogenic activity. Aflatoxins are heat-resistant and are thus easily transmitted along the food chain. They are hepatotoxic and have the potential to induce hepatocellular carcinoma. Agri-food industry workers are thus at risk of ingestion as well as transmucosal absorption or inhalation of toxins released during product preparation or processing. To measure the levels of airborne mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins, in a laboratory analysing imported foodstuffs for mycotoxin contamination. The protocol used to analyse a batch of shelled peanuts from Vietnam, especially the grinding phase, which is held to be at the highest risk ofgenerating airborne toxins, was assessed at the A.R.PA.L. laboratory (Liguria Region Environmental Protection Agency) of Genoa, Italy, which participates in a European aflatoxin monitoring project. Wet grinding was performed to avoid production of large amounts of dust. Comparison of airborne concentrations before and after grinding with legal thresholds disclosed that the analytical procedures involved negligible aflatoxin levels for operators (environmental burden 0.11 pg/ m3). Given the toxicity of aflatoxins, worker protection measures should be consistently adopted and enforced. Threshold limit values for working environments should be introduced besides the existing ones for public health.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-05-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Condições de trabalho e estado nutricional de operadores do setor de alimentação coletiva: um estudo de caso Work conditions and nutritional status of workers from the food service sector: a case study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Henschel de Matos

    2003-12-01

    Full Text Available Este estudo analisa a relação entre condições de trabalho e estado nutricional de operadores de uma Unidade de Alimentação e Nutrição. Foi realizada uma Análise Ergonômica do Trabalho, incluindo a caracterização do estado nutricional dos trabalhadores. Fizeram parte do estudo oito operadores (sete mulheres e um homem, com tempo de serviço na unidade de, em média, 45 meses (variação de três meses a cinco anos. Constatou-se que o trabalho realizado exige esforço físico moderado, carregamento e levantamento de peso esporádicos, movimentos repetitivos por longos períodos e postura em pé. O Índice de Massa Corporal indicou eutrofia em dois operadores e sobrepeso em diferentes graus em cinco trabalhadores. A alimentação consumida por quatro dos oito indivíduos avaliados é hipercalórica, e, em relação aos macronutrientes,pode ser caracterizada como hiperprotéica para seis deles, hiperlipídica e hipoglicídica para todos. Apesar de a realização das atividades na unidade requerer um gasto energético significativo, alguns condicionantes físicos e organizacionais estariam contribuindo para o consumo alimentar excessivo e a ingestão de uma dieta desequilibrada.The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between the work conditions and the nutritional status of a group of workers in a Food Service Unit. The methodology consisted of the nutritional status evaluation and the Ergonomic Analysis of Work. Seven female workers and one male worker were included in this research; they had been working at the company for a period from three months to five years (median of 45 months. The work in the Food Service Unit demanded moderate physical effort, repetitive movements for long periods of time, sporadic weight loading and lifting and standing posture. The Body Mass Index data demonstrated that two workers were entrophic and five were overweight. The diets were considered hypercaloric for four workers, hyperproteic for

  13. 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...

  14. Caterpillars and fungal pathogens: two co-occurring parasites of an ant-plant mutualism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deborah M Gordon

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-01-01

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

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. [Indian workers in Oman].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longuenesse, E

    1985-01-01

    savings. Working and living conditions are difficult: the hours are long, the weather is hot, housing conditions are primitive and provide no relief from the heat, the food supply is the minimum required, and almost no diversions are available. There are no unions even among Omani workers, and troublemakers are quickly repatriated. The Indian embassy occasionally intercedes for workers, brief work stoppages may occur if pay is delayed, and some conflicts are settled individually. Resistence among Indian workers may take less visible forms, especially absenteeism and requests for leave.

  1. Design development scopes towards occupational wellness of women workers: specific reference to local agro based food processing industries in NE India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharyya, Nandita; Chakrabarti, Debkumar

    2012-01-01

    Women workers constitute one of the most vulnerable segments of the country's labour force. They often face different workplace health challenges than men do. They are engaged in a range of work that extends from heavy, monotonous, repetitive jobs, which are in many times experienced with low-paid and involves in long hours of work. Women's workplace health problems are frequently compounded by getting more of the same at home--the "double jeopardy" of domestic work. Specific issues to improve the workers motivation leading to enhancement of productivity and improving occupational health and safety were addressed. Context specific application of ergonomics principles were studied in the process of designing of work related equipment of local fruit processing units, as well as in tea industry, covering 180 subjects selected purposively. Ergonomic risk factors prevailed among the workers associates productivity and relevant health issues were quantified using QEC, RULA. NMQ was used to gather data on prevalence of CTDs among the workers. Pineapple peeling, tea leaves plucking were found highly labour intensive, done manually. Postures scores found were very high. WRMSDs were prevalent among the workers. Scope for ergonomic design intervention was observed to improve productivity and occupational health.

  2. 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.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  4. Michael Jackson antes del caos

    OpenAIRE

    Juan Luciano Nieves

    2015-01-01

    Michael Jackson es un buen ejemplo de cómo utilizar las relaciones públicas para realizar o manipular la imagen de un producto a través de los medios de comunicación. Este ensayo pretende analizar los eventos que tuvieron lugar antes de que el cantante fuera acusado de abuso sexual contra un menor. Dichos eventos formaron parte de un plan muy bien delineado para disminuir los efectos de la inminente crisis que se acercaba. Este trabajo combina la crítica retórica de temas de fantasía con teor...

  5. Viaje Antártico

    OpenAIRE

    Lasa, Gorka

    2017-01-01

    Ah, qué grandiosa sensación esta de poder caminar por los eternos hielos y dejar que mi vista se pierda en el horizonte crepuscular de esta desolada región! Aquellas solitarias islas, lamentos blancos en la distancia, aquellos azules glaciares llorando su neblina de frío y siglos. Al llamado lejano, mi alma se ve arrastrada por los vientos australes. Mítico ensueño que genera en mi imaginación el gran continente antártico. Belleza misteriosa e intimidante de la vastedad casi mágica que envuel...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mueller Martin J

    2007-10-01

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

  7. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kavita R. Sharma

    2015-08-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ANA I MEDINA

    2012-06-01

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

  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. Hybrid chaotic ant swarm optimization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li Yuying; Wen Qiaoyan; Li Lixiang; Peng Haipeng

    2009-01-01

    Chaotic ant swarm optimization (CASO) is a powerful chaos search algorithm that is used to find the global optimum solution in search space. However, the CASO algorithm has some disadvantages, such as lower solution precision and longer computational time, when solving complex optimization problems. To resolve these problems, an improved CASO, called hybrid chaotic swarm optimization (HCASO), is proposed in this paper. The new algorithm introduces preselection operator and discrete recombination operator into the CASO; meanwhile it replaces the best position found by own and its neighbors' ants with the best position found by preselection operator and discrete recombination operator in evolution equation. Through testing five benchmark functions with large dimensionality, the experimental results show the new method enhances the solution accuracy and stability greatly, as well as reduces the computational time and computer memory significantly when compared to the CASO. In addition, we observe the results can become better with swarm size increasing from the sensitivity study to swarm size. And we gain some relations between problem dimensions and swam size according to scalability study.

  12. Nest etiquette--where ants go when nature calls.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomer J Czaczkes

    Full Text Available Sanitary behaviour is an important, but seldom studied, aspect of social living. Social insects have developed several strategies for dealing with waste and faecal matter, including dumping waste outside the nest and forming specialised waste-storage chambers. In some cases waste material and faeces are put to use, either as a construction material or as a long-lasting signal, suggesting that faeces and waste may not always be dangerous. Here we examine a previously undescribed behaviour in ants - the formation of well-defined faecal patches. Lasius niger ants were housed in plaster nests and provided with coloured sucrose solution. After two months, 1-4 well defined dark patches, the colour of the sucrose solution, formed within each of the plaster nests. These patches never contained other waste material such as uneaten food items, or nestmate corpses. Such waste was collected in waste piles outside the nest. The coloured patches were thus distinct from previously described 'kitchen middens' in ants, and are best described as 'toilets'. Why faeces is not removed with other waste materials is unclear. The presence of the toilets inside the nest suggests that they may not be an important source of pathogens, and may have a beneficial role.

  13. Ants visiting inflorescences of Actinocephalus polyanthus (Bong. Sano (Eriocaulaceae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tânia Tarabini Castellani

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Plants from the family Eriocaulaceae have a secretion of nectar in floral structures which promotes insect visitation, including ants. This study evaluated the ant species visiting inflorescences of Actinocephalus polyanthus in coastal dunes in southern Brazil and it checked whether the richness and composition of the visiting assemblies differed between the female and male flowering phenophases, due to the greater supply of resources by male flowers. Comments on the resources used and the visiting behavior were also investigated. We found 15 ant species, belonging to 8 genera and 4 subfamilies. There was no difference with regard to richness and diversity of visiting species associated to the male or female flowering phenophase. However, there was a difference with regard to the similarity of these assemblies, due to the higher occurrence of Camponotus fastigatus in the female flowering. Most species registered belong to genera which, typically, use floral and extrafloral nectar as food resource or they are generalist. Brachymyrmex sp.1, Camponotus fastigatus, and Dorymyrmex sp. were observed with pollen stuck to their body, something which suggests a potential transportation of this pollen between flowers.

  14. Emergent oscillations assist obstacle negotiation during ant cooperative transport

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gelblum, Aviram; Pinkoviezky, Itai; Fonio, Ehud; Gov, Nir S.; Feinerman, Ofer

    2016-01-01

    Collective motion by animal groups is affected by internal interactions, external constraints, and the influx of information. A quantitative understanding of how these different factors give rise to different modes of collective motion is, at present, lacking. Here, we study how ants that cooperatively transport a large food item react to an obstacle blocking their path. Combining experiments with a statistical physics model of mechanically coupled active agents, we show that the constraint induces a deterministic collective oscillatory mode that facilitates obstacle circumvention. We provide direct experimental evidence, backed by theory, that this motion is an emergent group effect that does not require any behavioral changes at the individual level. We trace these relaxation oscillations to the interplay between two forces; informed ants pull the load toward the nest whereas uninformed ants contribute to the motion’s persistence along the tangential direction. The model’s predictions that oscillations appear above a critical system size, that the group can spontaneously transition into its ordered phase, and that the system can exhibit complete rotations are all verified experimentally. We expect that similar oscillatory modes emerge in collective motion scenarios where the structure of the environment imposes conflicts between individually held information and the group’s tendency for cohesiveness. PMID:27930304

  15. 75 FR 6031 - Policy Paper on Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-02-05

    ... and its relationship to several other key Agency initiatives that are currently under development and... Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural Fields, and Pesticides with No Food Uses... for comment a policy paper entitled ``Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers...

  16. Genetic evidence for intra- and interspecific slavery in honey ants (genus Myrmecocystus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kronauer, D J C; Gadau, J; Hölldobler, B

    2003-04-22

    The New World honey ant species Myrmecocystus mimicus is well known for its highly stereotyped territorial tournaments, and for the raids on conspecific nests that can lead to intraspecific slavery. Our results from mitochondrial and nuclear markers show that the raided brood emerges in the raiding colony and is subsequently incorporated into the colony's worker force. We also found enslaved conspecifics in a second honey ant species, M. depilis, the sister taxon of M. mimicus, which occurs in sympatry with M. mimicus at the study site. Colonies of this species furthermore contained raided M. mimicus workers. Both species have an effective mating frequency that is not significantly different from 1. This study provides genetic evidence for facultative intra- and interspecific slavery in the genus Myrmecocystus. Slavery in ants has evolved repeatedly and supposedly by different means. We propose that, in honey ants, secondary contact between two closely related species that both exhibit intraspecific slavery gave rise to an early form of facultative interspecific slavery.

  17. 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.

  18. 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 ...

  19. 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

  20. Disentangling environmental and heritable nestmate recognition cues in a carpenter ant

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van Zweden, Jelle S; Dreier, Stephanie; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2009-01-01

    Discriminating between group members and strangers is a key feature of social life. Nestmate recognition is very effective in social insects and is manifested by aggression and rejection of alien individuals, which are prohibited to enter the nest. Nestmate recognition is based on the quantitative...... variation in cuticular hydrocarbons, which can include heritable cues from the workers, as well as acquired cues from the environment or queen-derived cues. We tracked the profile of six colonies of the ant Camponotus aethiops for a year under homogeneous laboratory conditions. We performed chemical...... diagnostic power between colonies. The presence of a queen had little influence on nestmate discrimination abilities. Our results suggest that heritable cues of workers are the dominant factor influencing nestmate discrimination in these carpenter ants and highlight the importance of colony kin structure...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ajay Narendra

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

  6. Repeated evolution of fungal cultivar specificity in independently evolved ant-plant-fungus symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Debaud, Sarah; Salas-Lopez, Alex; Born, Céline; Benoit, Laure; McKey, Doyle B; Attéké, Christiane; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain

    2013-01-01

    Some tropical plant species possess hollow structures (domatia) occupied by ants that protect the plant and in some cases also provide it with nutrients. Most plant-ants tend patches of chaetothyrialean fungi within domatia. In a few systems it has been shown that the ants manure the fungal patches and use them as a food source, indicating agricultural practices. However, the identity of these fungi has been investigated only in a few samples. To examine the specificity and constancy of ant-plant-fungus interactions we characterised the content of fungal patches in an extensive sampling of three ant-plant symbioses (Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana, Aphomomyrmex afer/Leonardoxa africana subsp. letouzeyi and Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa) by sequencing the Internal Transcribed Spacers of ribosomal DNA. For each system the content of fungal patches was constant over individuals and populations. Each symbiosis was associated with a specific, dominant, primary fungal taxon, and to a lesser extent, with one or two specific secondary taxa, all of the order Chaetothyriales. A single fungal patch sometimes contained both a primary and a secondary taxon. In one system, two founding queens were found with the primary fungal taxon only, one that was shown in a previous study to be consumed preferentially. Because the different ant-plant symbioses studied have evolved independently, the high specificity and constancy we observed in the composition of the fungal patches have evolved repeatedly. Specificity and constancy also characterize other cases of agriculture by insects.

  7. Repeated evolution of fungal cultivar specificity in independently evolved ant-plant-fungus symbioses.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rumsaïs Blatrix

    Full Text Available Some tropical plant species possess hollow structures (domatia occupied by ants that protect the plant and in some cases also provide it with nutrients. Most plant-ants tend patches of chaetothyrialean fungi within domatia. In a few systems it has been shown that the ants manure the fungal patches and use them as a food source, indicating agricultural practices. However, the identity of these fungi has been investigated only in a few samples. To examine the specificity and constancy of ant-plant-fungus interactions we characterised the content of fungal patches in an extensive sampling of three ant-plant symbioses (Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana subsp. africana, Aphomomyrmex afer/Leonardoxa africana subsp. letouzeyi and Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa by sequencing the Internal Transcribed Spacers of ribosomal DNA. For each system the content of fungal patches was constant over individuals and populations. Each symbiosis was associated with a specific, dominant, primary fungal taxon, and to a lesser extent, with one or two specific secondary taxa, all of the order Chaetothyriales. A single fungal patch sometimes contained both a primary and a secondary taxon. In one system, two founding queens were found with the primary fungal taxon only, one that was shown in a previous study to be consumed preferentially. Because the different ant-plant symbioses studied have evolved independently, the high specificity and constancy we observed in the composition of the fungal patches have evolved repeatedly. Specificity and constancy also characterize other cases of agriculture by insects.

  8. Ant system for reliability optimization of a series system with multiple-choice and budget constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nahas, Nabil; Nourelfath, Mustapha

    2005-01-01

    Many researchers have shown that insect colonies behavior can be seen as a natural model of collective problem solving. The analogy between the way ants look for food and combinatorial optimization problems has given rise to a new computational paradigm, which is called ant system. This paper presents an application of ant system in a reliability optimization problem for a series system with multiple-choice constraints incorporated at each subsystem, to maximize the system reliability subject to the system budget. The problem is formulated as a nonlinear binary integer programming problem and characterized as an NP-hard problem. This problem is solved by developing and demonstrating a problem-specific ant system algorithm. In this algorithm, solutions of the reliability optimization problem are repeatedly constructed by considering the trace factor and the desirability factor. A local search is used to improve the quality of the solutions obtained by each ant. A penalty factor is introduced to deal with the budget constraint. Simulations have shown that the proposed ant system is efficient with respect to the quality of solutions and the computing time

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-06

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  14. Mathematical modeling on obligate mutualism: Interactions between leaf-cutter ants and their fungus garden.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Yun; Clark, Rebecca; Makiyama, Michael; Fewell, Jennifer

    2011-11-21

    We propose a simple mathematical model by applying Michaelis-Menton equations of enzyme kinetics to study the mutualistic interaction between the leaf cutter ant and its fungus garden at the early stage of colony expansion. We derive sufficient conditions on the extinction and coexistence of these two species. In addition, we give a region of initial condition that leads to the extinction of two species when the model has an interior attractor. Our global analysis indicates that the division of labor by worker ants and initial conditions are two important factors that determine whether leaf cutter ants' colonies and their fungus garden can survive and grow or not. We validate the model by comparing model simulations and data on fungal and ant colony growth rates under laboratory conditions. We perform sensitive analysis of the model based on the experimental data to gain more biological insights on ecological interactions between leaf-cutter ants and their fungus garden. Finally, we give conclusions and discuss potential future work. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  15. Myrmecochory and short-term seed fate in Rhamnus alaternus: Ant species and seed characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bas, J. M.; Oliveras, J.; Gómez, C.

    2009-05-01

    Benefits conferred on plants in ant-mediated seed dispersal mutualisms (myrmecochory) depend on the fate of transported seeds. We studied the effects of elaiosome presence, seed size and seed treatment (with and without passage through a bird's digestive tract) on short-term seed fate in Rhamnus alaternus. In our study, we define short-term seed, or initial, seed fate, as the location where ants release the seeds after ant contact with it. The elaiosomes had the most influence on short-term fate, i.e. whether or not seeds were transported to the nest. The workers usually transported big seeds more often than small ones, but small ants did not transport large seeds. Effect of seed size on transport depended on the ant species and on the treatment of the seed (manual extraction simulating a direct fall from the parent plant vs. bird deposition corresponding to preliminary primary dispersal). Probability of removal of elaiosome-bearing seeds to the nest by Aphaenogaster senilis increased with increasing seed weight.

  16. Anti-pathogen protection versus survival costs mediated by an ectosymbiont in an ant host.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konrad, Matthias; Grasse, Anna V; Tragust, Simon; Cremer, Sylvia

    2015-01-22

    The fitness effects of symbionts on their hosts can be context-dependent, with usually benign symbionts causing detrimental effects when their hosts are stressed, or typically parasitic symbionts providing protection towards their hosts (e.g. against pathogen infection). Here, we studied the novel association between the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus and its fungal ectosymbiont Laboulbenia formicarum for potential costs and benefits. We tested ants with different Laboulbenia levels for their survival and immunity under resource limitation and exposure to the obligate killing entomopathogen Metarhizium brunneum. While survival of L. neglectus workers under starvation was significantly decreased with increasing Laboulbenia levels, host survival under Metarhizium exposure increased with higher levels of the ectosymbiont, suggesting a symbiont-mediated anti-pathogen protection, which seems to be driven mechanistically by both improved sanitary behaviours and an upregulated immune system. Ants with high Laboulbenia levels showed significantly longer self-grooming and elevated expression of immune genes relevant for wound repair and antifungal responses (β-1,3-glucan binding protein, Prophenoloxidase), compared with ants carrying low Laboulbenia levels. This suggests that the ectosymbiont Laboulbenia formicarum weakens its ant host by either direct resource exploitation or the costs of an upregulated behavioural and immunological response, which, however, provides a prophylactic protection upon later exposure to pathogens. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  17. Anti-pathogen protection versus survival costs mediated by an ectosymbiont in an ant host

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konrad, Matthias; Grasse, Anna V.; Tragust, Simon; Cremer, Sylvia

    2015-01-01

    The fitness effects of symbionts on their hosts can be context-dependent, with usually benign symbionts causing detrimental effects when their hosts are stressed, or typically parasitic symbionts providing protection towards their hosts (e.g. against pathogen infection). Here, we studied the novel association between the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus and its fungal ectosymbiont Laboulbenia formicarum for potential costs and benefits. We tested ants with different Laboulbenia levels for their survival and immunity under resource limitation and exposure to the obligate killing entomopathogen Metarhizium brunneum. While survival of L. neglectus workers under starvation was significantly decreased with increasing Laboulbenia levels, host survival under Metarhizium exposure increased with higher levels of the ectosymbiont, suggesting a symbiont-mediated anti-pathogen protection, which seems to be driven mechanistically by both improved sanitary behaviours and an upregulated immune system. Ants with high Laboulbenia levels showed significantly longer self-grooming and elevated expression of immune genes relevant for wound repair and antifungal responses (β-1,3-glucan binding protein, Prophenoloxidase), compared with ants carrying low Laboulbenia levels. This suggests that the ectosymbiont Laboulbenia formicarum weakens its ant host by either direct resource exploitation or the costs of an upregulated behavioural and immunological response, which, however, provides a prophylactic protection upon later exposure to pathogens. PMID:25473011

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

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

  19. Cooperation and conflict in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) farming mutualisms : A review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ivens, Aniek B. F.

    Farming practices, in which one organism (here: "the host") promotes the growth of the organism it relies on for food (here: "the symbiont"), are not restricted to human hosts. Among the non-human farmers, ants are particularly successful. Farming is an example of mutualism: an interaction between

  20. Private information alone can trigger trapping of ant colonies in local feeding optima.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Salmane, Anete K; Klampfleuthner, Felicia A M; Heinze, Jürgen

    2016-03-01

    Ant colonies are famous for using trail pheromones to make collective decisions. Trail pheromone systems are characterised by positive feedback, which results in rapid collective decision making. However, in an iconic experiment, ants were shown to become 'trapped' in exploiting a poor food source, if it was discovered earlier. This has conventionally been explained by the established pheromone trail becoming too strong for new trails to compete. However, many social insects have a well-developed memory, and private information often overrules conflicting social information. Thus, route memory could also explain this collective 'trapping' effect. Here, we disentangled the effects of social and private information in two 'trapping' experiments: one in which ants were presented with a good and a poor food source, and one in which ants were presented with a long and a short path to the same food source. We found that private information is sufficient to trigger trapping in selecting the poorer of two food sources, and may be sufficient to cause it altogether. Memories did not trigger trapping in the shortest path experiment, probably because sufficiently detailed memories did not form. The fact that collective decisions can be triggered by private information alone may require other collective patterns previously attributed solely to social information use to be reconsidered. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2012-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Coevolution in host-parasite systems: behavioural strategies of slave-making ants and their hosts.

    OpenAIRE

    Foitzik, S.; DeHeer, C. J.; Hunjan, D. N.; Herbers, J. M.

    2001-01-01

    Recently, avian brood parasites and their hosts have emerged as model systems for the study of host-parasite coevolution. However, empirical studies of the highly analogous social parasites, which use the workers of another eusocial species to raise their own young, have never explicitly examined the dynamics of these systems from a coevolutionary perspective. Here, we demonstrate interpopulational variation in behavioural interactions between a socially parasitic slave-maker ant and its host...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    1998-01-01

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

  6. Tracer Experiments on Food Exchange in Ants and Termites; Emploi des radioindicateurs dans l'etude de la trophallaxis chez les fourmis et les termites; Izuchenie s pomoshch'yu indikatorov obmena pishchej u murav'ev i termitov; Empleo de indicadores radiactivos para estudiar la trofalaxia en las hormigas y los termites

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gosswald, K.; Kloft, W. [Institute of Applied Zoology, University of Wurzburg, Federal Republic of Germany (Germany)

    1963-09-15

    One of the most important aspects of social insects, such as ants, honey-bees and termites, is their tendency to trophallactic food exchanges, which can be studied well by the use of labelled food. In comparative studies we found the most rapid rate of exchange in honey-bees, but extreme differences were observed among the different sub-families of ants, which must be taken in consideration in case of tracer field-experiments. The greatest tendency towards trophallactic exchanges was found in the sub-family Camponotinae. Ants of the genus Formica, especially Formica polyctena Foerst, and related polygenous and polycalous species known to be imoortant factors in die preventive biological control of forest insect pests, were intensively analysed. It was found that the rate of food exchange within one nest is conditioned by temperature, time, number of individuals and saturation. Another question is whether food exchanges also take place between the different nests of ant-colonies of the same species. By labelling single nests with radioactive food we were able to find intensive food exchanges with different nests in the colony, up to distances of 200 m. We obtained similar results in three different colonies and in different years. The existence of such long-range food exchanges is very important for the estimation of the regulating effect on insect pests of useful Formica species, since these exchanges prevent die quick saturation of any nest through local mass-infestation of insects in their predating area. It was shown bv the tracer experiments that the collected food flows in most of the surrounding nests of the ant-colony: thus colonies of those useful wood-ants act as a complex system with high ecological effectiveness. Using labelled food, we studied in termites (Kalotermes flavicollis Fabr.) which stages and castes are capable of direct feeding or are receptors of stomodeally or proctodeally given trophallactic food. Pseudoworkers are most effective. We also

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Eggs of the Blind Snake, Liotyphlops albirostris, Are Incubated in a Nest of the Lower Fungus-Growing Ant,  Apterostigma cf. goniodes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gaspar Bruner

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Parental care is rare in most lower vertebrates. By selecting optimal oviposition sites, however, mothers can realize some benefits often associated with parental care. We found three ovoid reptilian eggs within a mature nest of a relatively basal fungus-growing ant, Apterostigma cf. goniodes (Attini, in central Panama. In laboratory colonies, A. cf. goniodes workers attended and cared for the eggs. Two blind snakes, Liotyphlops albirostris (Anomalepididae, successfully hatched, which is the first rearing record for this species. The ants did not disturb the snakes, and the snakes did not eat the ants; we found no ants in the dissected stomachs of the snakes. We review other associations between nesting fungus-growing ants and egg-laying vertebrates, which together suggest that attine nests may provide a safe, environmentally buffered location for oviposition, even in basal attine taxa with relatively small colony sizes.

  10. Role of early experience in ant enslavement: a comparative analysis of a host and a non-host species

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    Sermage Claire

    2005-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Ants use the odour of the colony to discriminate nestmates. In some species, this odour is learned during the first days following emergence, and thus early experience has a strong influence on nestmate discrimination. Slave-making ants are social parasites that capture brood of other ant species to increase the worker force of their colony. After emerging in the slave-maker nest, slave workers work as if they were in their own colony. We tested the hypothesis that early experience allows the deception of commonly enslaved species, while non-host species use a different mechanism, which does not involve learning. Results Pupae of a host species, Temnothorax unifasciatus, and a non-host species, T. parvulus, were allowed to emerge in the presence of workers of one of two slave-maker species, Chalepoxenus muellerianus or Myrmoxenus ravouxi. When T. unifasciatus was exposed to slave-makers for 10 days following emergence, they were more aggressive towards their own sisters and groomed the slave-maker more. T. parvulus gave a less clear result: while workers behaved more aggressively towards their sisters when exposed early to C. muellerianus workers, this was not the case when exposed early to M. ravouxi workers. Moreover, T. parvulus workers allogroomed conspecific nestmates less than T. unifasciatus. Allogrooming activity might be very important for the slave-makers because they are tended by their slaves. Conclusion Our findings show that early experience influences nestmate discrimination in the ant T. unifasciatus and can account for the successful enslavement of this species. However, the non-host species T. parvulus is less influenced by the early environment. This might help to explain why this species is never used by social parasites.

  11. Michael Jackson antes del caos

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    Juan Luciano Nieves

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Michael Jackson es un buen ejemplo de cómo utilizar las relaciones públicas para realizar o manipular la imagen de un producto a través de los medios de comunicación. Este ensayo pretende analizar los eventos que tuvieron lugar antes de que el cantante fuera acusado de abuso sexual contra un menor. Dichos eventos formaron parte de un plan muy bien delineado para disminuir los efectos de la inminente crisis que se acercaba. Este trabajo combina la crítica retórica de temas de fantasía con teoría de comunicación.

  12. Individual Recognition in Ant Queens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    D'Ettorre, Patrizia; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-01-01

    Personal relationships are the cornerstone of vertebrate societies, but insect societies are either too large for individual recognition, or their members were assumed to lack the necessary cognitive abilities 1 and 2 . This paradigm has been challenged by the recent discovery that paper wasps...... recognize each other's unique facial color patterns [3] . Individual recognition is advantageous when dominance hierarchies control the partitioning of work and reproduction 2 and 4 . Here, we show that unrelated founding queens of the ant Pachycondyla villosa use chemical cues to recognize each other...... individually. Aggression was significantly lower in pairs of queens that had previously interacted than in pairs with similar social history but no experience with one another. Moreover, subordinates discriminated familiar and unfamiliar dominants in choice experiments in which physical contact, but not odor...

  13. FDTD-ANT User Manual

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, Martin L.

    1995-01-01

    This manual explains the theory and operation of the finite-difference time domain code FDTD-ANT developed by Analex Corporation at the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This code can be used for solving electromagnetic problems that are electrically small or medium (on the order of 1 to 50 cubic wavelengths). Calculated parameters include transmission line impedance, relative effective permittivity, antenna input impedance, and far-field patterns in both the time and frequency domains. The maximum problem size may be adjusted according to the computer used. This code has been run on the DEC VAX and 486 PC's and on workstations such as the Sun Sparc and the IBM RS/6000.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants display symbiont preference in behavioral assays, both towards the fungus they cultivate for food and Actinobacteria they maintain on their cuticle for antibiotic production against parasites. These Actinobacteria, genus Pseudonocardia Henssen (Pseudonocardiacea: Actinomycetales...

  15. Does cooperation mean kinship between spatially discrete ant nests?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Procter, Duncan S; Cottrell, Joan E; Watts, Kevin; A'Hara, Stuart W; Hofreiter, Michael; Robinson, Elva J H

    2016-12-01

    Eusociality is one of the most complex forms of social organization, characterized by cooperative and reproductive units termed colonies. Altruistic behavior of workers within colonies is explained by inclusive fitness, with indirect fitness benefits accrued by helping kin. Members of a social insect colony are expected to be more closely related to one another than they are to other conspecifics. In many social insects, the colony can extend to multiple socially connected but spatially separate nests (polydomy). Social connections, such as trails between nests, promote cooperation and resource exchange, and we predict that workers from socially connected nests will have higher internest relatedness than those from socially unconnected, and noncooperating, nests. We measure social connections, resource exchange, and internest genetic relatedness in the polydomous wood ant Formica lugubris to test whether (1) socially connected but spatially separate nests cooperate, and (2) high internest relatedness is the underlying driver of this cooperation. Our results show that socially connected nests exhibit movement of workers and resources, which suggests they do cooperate, whereas unconnected nests do not. However, we find no difference in internest genetic relatedness between socially connected and unconnected nest pairs, both show high kinship. Our results suggest that neighboring pairs of connected nests show a social and cooperative distinction, but no genetic distinction. We hypothesize that the loss of a social connection may initiate ecological divergence within colonies. Genetic divergence between neighboring nests may build up only later, as a consequence rather than a cause of colony separation.

  16. Three new species and reassessment of the rare Neotropical ant genus Leptanilloides (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Leptanilloidinae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marek Borowiec

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available We describe three new species of the Neotropical ant genus Leptanilloides: L. gracilis sp. n. based on workers from Mexico and Guatemala, L. erinys sp. n. based on workers and a gyne from Ecuador, and L. femoralis sp. n. based on workers from Venezuela. The description of L. gracilis is a northern extension of the known range of the genus, now numbering eleven described species. We also describe and discuss three unassociated male morphotypes from Central America. We report the occurrence of a metatibial gland in Leptanilloides and a fused promesonotal connection (suture in some species. We provide a modified, detailed diagnosis of the genus and a revised key to the worker caste of the known species.

  17. Effects of heavy metal pollution on red wood ant (Formica s. str.) populations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eeva, T.; Sorvari, J.; Koivunen, V.

    2004-01-01

    We studied the species composition, mound population densities, relative abundance and colony sizes of red wood ants along a well known air pollution gradient of a copper smelter in Southwest Finland. The dominant species, Formica aquilonia, was further studied for heavy metal (Al, Cu, Cd, Ni, Zn, As, Pb, Hg) levels and morphological characters (body mass, head width, labial gland disease) of workers. We found five species belonging to Formica s. str., and two of them showed changes in their relative abundance, which could not be explained by natural habitat differences. Nest mound volumes were 34% smaller in the polluted area, suggesting that smaller colonies can be maintained there. The heavy metal levels in F. aquilonia workers were higher in the polluted area for all metals, except Hg. The largest relative differences between the study areas (polluted/unpolluted) were found for As (4.1), Ni (2.4), Cu (2.1) and Pb (1.8). Morphological characters of workers were not related to the heavy metal levels. Our data showed that red wood ants can tolerate relatively high amounts of heavy metals and maintain reproducing colonies even in a heavily polluted area, but on the basis of smaller colony sizes, pollution stress may also cause trade-offs in reproduction. - Capsule: Five species of red wood ants vary in their sensitivity to heavy metal pollution but all of them had smaller colonies in a polluted area

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billen, Johan; Al-Khalifa, Mohammed

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniela Römer

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

  1. 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...

  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. Testing the adjustable threshold model for intruder recognition on Myrmica ants in the context of a social parasite

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fürst, Matthias Alois; Durey, Maëlle; Nash, David Richard

    2012-01-01

    gains access to the ants' nests by mimicking their cuticular hydrocarbon recognition cues, which allows the parasites to blend in with their host ants. Myrmica rubra may be particularly susceptible to exploitation in this fashion as it has large, polydomous colonies with many queens and a very viscous...... and therefore the less-related workers within a colony, the less aggressively they will behave; and that colonies facing parasitism will be more aggressive than colonies experiencing less parasite pressure. Our results confirm all these predictions, supporting flexible aggression behaviour in Myrmica ants...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B.

    2013-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants associate with multiple symbiotic microbes, including Actinobacteria for production of antibiotics. The best studied of these bacteria are within the genus Pseudonocardia, which in most fungus-growing ants are conspicuously visible on the external cuticle of workers. However......, given that fungus-growing ants in the genus Atta do not carry visible Actinobacteria on their cuticle, it is unclear if this genus engages in the symbiosis with Pseudonocardia. Here we explore whether improving culturing techniques can allow for successful isolation of Pseudonocardia from Atta...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail integrity

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  8. Do host species evolve a specific response to slave-making ants?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-08-01

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

  11. Underground anemotactic orientation in leaf-cutting ants: perception of airflow and experience-dependent choice of airflow direction during digging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halboth, Florian; Roces, Flavio

    2017-10-01

    Air exchange between the large nests of Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutting ants and the environment strongly relies on a passive, wind-induced ventilation mechanism. Air moves through nest tunnels and airflow direction depends on the location of the tunnel openings on the nest mound. We hypothesized that ants might use the direction of airflow along nest tunnels as orientation cue in the context of climate control, as digging workers might prefer to broaden or to close tunnels with inflowing or outflowing air in order to regulate nest ventilation. To investigate anemotactic orientation in Atta vollenweideri, we first tested the ants' ability to perceive air movements by confronting single workers with airflow stimuli in the range 0 to 20 cm/s. Workers responded to airflow velocities ≥ 2 cm/s, and the number of ants reacting to the stimulus increased with increasing airflow speed. Second, we asked whether digging workers use airflow direction as an orientation cue. Workers were exposed to either inflow or outflow of air while digging in the nest and could subsequently choose between two digging sites providing either inflow or outflow of air, respectively. Workers significantly chose the side with the same airflow direction they experienced before. When no airflow was present during initial digging, workers showed no preference for airflow directions. Workers developed preferences for airflow direction only after previous exposure to a given airflow direction. We suggest that experience-modified anemotaxis might help leaf-cutting ants spatially organize their digging activity inside the nest during tasks related to climate control.

  12. Foraging loads of red wood ants: Formica aquilonia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in relation to tree characteristics and stand age

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heloise Gibb

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Background. Foraging efficiency is critical in determining the success of organisms and may be affected by a range of factors, including resource distance and quality. For social insects such as ants, outcomes must be considered at the level of both the individual and the colony. It is important to understand whether anthropogenic disturbances, such as forestry, affect foraging loads, independent of effects on the quality and distribution of resources. We asked if ants harvest greater loads from more distant and higher quality resources, how individual efforts scale to the colony level, and whether worker loads are affected by stand age. Methods. First, we performed a fine-scale study examining the effect of distance and resource quality (tree diameter and species on harvesting of honeydew by red wood ants, Formica aquilonia, in terms of crop load per worker ant and numbers of workers walking up and down each tree (ant activity (study 1. Second, we modelled what the combination of load and worker number responses meant for colony-level foraging loads. Third, at a larger scale, we asked whether the relationship between worker load and resource quality and distance depended on stand age (study 2. Results. Study 1 revealed that seventy percent of ants descending trees carried honeydew, and the percentage of workers that were honeydew harvesters was not related to tree species or diameter, but increased weakly with distance. Distance positively affected load mass in both studies 1 and 2, while diameter had weak negative effects on load. Relationships between load and distance and diameter did not differ among stands of different ages. Our model showed that colony-level loads declined much more rapidly with distance for small diameter than large diameter trees. Discussion. We suggest that a negative relationship between diameter and honeydew load detected in study 1 might be a result of crowding on large diameter trees close to nests, while the

  13. [Sanitary education of workers of bakeries and pastry enterprises].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krasil'shchikov, M I; Nemets, M G; Novikova, O V; Gavrilenko, E V; Osipova, E M; Osinova, T I

    2000-01-01

    The paper presents experience with sanitary education of workers from food industrial enterprises. The study revealed a number of disadvantages of the methodological aspect of sanitary education of these workers. A sanitary education programme has been worked out for workers engaged in food and food processing industries (production of bread, baked goods, and confectionery) and approved by the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance Department), Ministry of Health of Russia on March 1999.

  14. A molecular phylogeny of Dorylus army ants provides evidence for multiple evolutionary transitions in foraging niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vilhelmsen Lars B

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Army ants are the prime arthropod predators in tropical forests, with huge colonies and an evolutionary derived nomadic life style. Five of the six recognized subgenera of Old World Dorylus army ants forage in the soil, whereas some species of the sixth subgenus (Anomma forage in the leaf-litter and some as conspicuous swarm raiders on the forest floor and in the lower vegetation (the infamous driver ants. Here we use a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Dorylus s.l. army ants and to infer the evolutionary transitions in foraging niche and associated morphological adaptations. Results Underground foraging is basal and gave rise to leaf-litter foraging. Leaf-litter foraging in turn gave rise to two derived conditions: true surface foraging (the driver ants and a reversal to subterranean foraging (a clade with most of the extant Dorylus s.s. species. This means that neither the subgenus Anomma nor Dorylus s.s. is monophyletic, and that one of the Dorylus s.s. lineages adopted subterranean foraging secondarily. We show that this latter group evolved a series of morphological adaptations to underground foraging that are remarkably convergent to the basal state. Conclusion The evolutionary transitions in foraging niche were more complex than previously thought, but our comparative analysis of worker morphology lends strong support to the contention that particular foraging niches have selected for very specific worker morphologies. The surprising reversal to underground foraging is therefore a striking example of convergent morphological evolution.

  15. Targeted research to improve invasive species management: yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in Samoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffmann, Benjamin D; Auina, Saronna; Stanley, Margaret C

    2014-01-01

    Lack of biological knowledge of invasive species is recognised as a major factor contributing to eradication failure. Management needs to be informed by a site-specific understanding of the invasion system. Here, we describe targeted research designed to inform the potential eradication of the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes on Nu'utele island, Samoa. First, we assessed the ant's impacts on invertebrate biodiversity by comparing invertebrate communities between infested and uninfested sites. Second, we investigated the timing of production of sexuals and seasonal variation of worker abundance and nest density. Third, we investigated whether an association existed between A. gracilipes and carbohydrate sources. Within the infested area there were few other ants larger than A. gracilipes, as well as fewer spiders and crabs, indicating that A. gracilipes is indeed a significant conservation concern. The timing of male reproduction appears to be consistent with places elsewhere in the world, but queen reproduction was outside of the known reproductive period for this species in the region, indicating that the timing of treatment regimes used elsewhere are not appropriate for Samoa. Worker abundance and nest density were among the highest recorded in the world, being greater in May than in October. These abundance and nest density data form baselines for quantifying treatment efficacy and set sampling densities for post-treatment assessments. The number of plants and insects capable of providing a carbohydrate supply to ants were greatest where A. gracilipes was present, but it is not clear if this association is causal. Regardless, indirectly controlling ant abundance by controlling carbohydrate supply appears to be promising avenue for research. The type of targeted, site-specific research such as that described here should be an integral part of any eradication program for invasive species to design knowledge-based treatment protocols and determine

  16. 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 ...

  17. Study on the food distribution among workers of different races of the honeybee Apis mellifica L. by means of the 32P radioisotope

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kloft, W.J.; Djalal, A.S.; Drescher, Wilhelm

    1976-01-01

    Using the radioactive tracer-technique, the social food distribution among workerbees of different races of the honeybee Apis mellifica L. to workerbees of Apis cerana Fabr. was studied. The experiments were carried out under standardized conditions as age, groupsize, food-supply of the donor-bee, distribution-time and temperature. Significant differences in the time required for social food distributions among workerbees of the different races were demonstrated. The highest number of acceptor-bees during 4 hours belonged to A.m.ligustica. A.m. caucasica reached similar values, A.m. carnica was intermediate, while A.m. mellifica was the slowest distributor. This foodsharing behavior was compared with other differences in the activity of different bee races

  18. Carbon dioxide sensing in the social context: Leaf-cutting ants prefer elevated CO2 levels to tend their brood.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Römer, Daniela; Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2018-05-18

    Social insects show temperature and humidity preferences inside their nests to successfully rear brood. In underground nests, ants also encounter rising CO 2 concentrations with increasing depth. It is an open question whether they use CO 2 as a cue to decide where to place and tend the brood. Leaf-cutting ants do show CO 2 preferences for the culturing of their symbiotic fungus. We evaluated their CO 2 choices for brood placement in laboratory experiments. Workers of Acromyrmex lundii in the process of relocating brood were offered a binary choice consisting of two interconnected chambers with different CO 2 concentrations. Values ranged from atmospheric to high concentrations of 4% CO 2 . The CO 2 preferences shown by workers for themselves and for brood placement were assessed by quantifying the number of workers and relocated brood in each chamber. Ants showed clear CO 2 preferences for brood placement. They avoided atmospheric levels, 1% and 4% CO 2 , and showed a preference for levels of 3%. This is the first report of CO 2 preferences for the maintenance of brood in social insects. The observed preferences for brood location were independent of the workers' own CO 2 preferences, since they showed no clear-cut pattern. Workers' CO 2 preferences for brood maintenance were slightly higher than those reported for fungus culturing, although brood is reared in the same chambers as the fungus in leaf-cutting ant nests. Workers' choices for brood placement in natural nests are likely the result of competing preferences for other environmental factors more crucial for brood survival, aside from those for CO 2 . Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. PROFILE OF WORKERS IN THE CUISINE OF THE COQUEIROS GASTRONOMIC WAY AND NOTES ABOUT THE QUALIFICATION IN THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE SECTOR IN FLORIANÓPOLIS (SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando Goulart Rocha

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available This paper aimed at collecting data about the qualifications for professionals from the food and beverage sector in Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina State, considered an important Brazilian city of tourism. Thus, a characterization of cuisine employees of a gastronomic way located in the neighborhood of Coqueiros and vicinity was carried out. Questionnaires have been applied through a structured interview with 39 workers from 15 establishments. The profile of the employees of the Coqueiros Gastronomic Way pointed to a lack of demand for schooling and professional qualification by entrepreneurs who hire the professionals. The little specialized functions for service and high turnover of staff employed have also been identified.

  20. 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...

  1. Kunstikriitik Ants Juske sai doktoriks / Neeme Korv

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    Korv, Neeme, 1974-

    2003-01-01

    Tartu Kõrgema Kunstikooli rektor Ants Juske kaitses 7. veebruaril Tallinnas Kunstiakadeemias edukalt doktoriväitekirja, juhendajaks oli professor Boris Bernštein ning oponeerisid doktor Altti Kuusamo Soomest ja professor Peeter Tulviste

  2. 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....

  3. Spatial distribution of dominant arboreal ants in a malagasy coastal rainforest: gaps and presence of an invasive species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alain Dejean

    Full Text Available We conducted a survey along three belt transects located at increasing distances from the coast to determine whether a non-random arboreal ant assemblage, such as an ant mosaic, exists in the rainforest on the Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar. In most tropical rainforests, very populous colonies of territorially dominant arboreal ant species defend absolute territories distributed in a mosaic pattern. Among the 29 ant species recorded, only nine had colonies large enough to be considered potentially territorially dominant; the remaining species had smaller colonies and were considered non-dominant. Nevertheless, the null-model analyses used to examine the spatial structure of their assemblages did not reveal the existence of an ant mosaic. Inland, up to 44% of the trees were devoid of dominant arboreal ants, something not reported in other studies. While two Crematogaster species were not associated with one another, Brachymyrmex cordemoyi was positively associated with Technomyrmex albipes, which is considered an invasive species-a non-indigenous species that has an adverse ecological effect on the habitats it invades. The latter two species and Crematogaster ranavalonae were mutually exclusive. On the other hand, all of the trees in the coastal transect and at least 4 km of coast were occupied by T. albipes, and were interconnected by columns of workers. Technomyrmex albipes workers collected from different trees did not attack each other during confrontation tests, indicating that this species has formed a supercolony along the coast. Yet interspecific aggressiveness did occur between T. albipes and Crematogaster ranavalonae, a native species which is likely territorially dominant based on our intraspecific confrontation tests. These results suggest that the Masoala rainforest is threatened by a potential invasion by T. albipes, and that the penetration of this species further inland might be facilitated by the low density of native

  4. 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. ...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. Factores alimentarios y dietéticos asociados a la obesidad infantil: recomendaciones para su prevención antes de los dos años de vida Food and diet factors associated to child obesity: recommendations for preventing it in children under two years of age

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José M Saavedra

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Son varios los factores identificados que llevan a la obesidad, cuyo origen se da desde etapas muy tempranas de la vida. Aunque existen contribuyentes genéticos y disparidades socioeconómicas y raciales en la frecuencia de sobrepeso y obesidad, el problema es universal. El estado ponderal de los niños se ha asociado con múltiples factores dietéticos específicos y estos, a su vez, están asociados con específicas “prácticas de alimentación por parte de los padres” (PAPP. Los padres o cuidadores determinan patrones que se establecen muy temprano en la vida, y el peso antes de los dos años de vida predice ya el sobrepeso u obesidad futura. La falta de lactancia materna y la baja calidad de los alimentos, los patrones de consumo y las preferencias por alimentos en los primeros dos años de vida, son altamente dependientes de las PAPP y, por tanto, son también modificables. En este artículo vamos a examinar los factores dietéticos y las prácticas relacionadas con la dieta que han sido asociadas con la obesidad infantil, y que son potencialmente modificables, de forma que sirvan como guía potencial para metas de intervención, en la prevención de la obesidad infantilSeveral factors leading to obesity have been identified, which start at very early stages of life. Although there are genetic contributors and socioeconomic and racial disparities in the prevalence of overweight and obesity, the problem is universal. Children’s weight has been associated to multiple specific diet factors and these, in turn, are associated to specific “parent feeding practices” (PAPP, Spanish abbreviation. Parents or caretakers determine patterns that are set at an early stage in life, and the weight before the first two years of age already predicts future overweight and obesity. Absence of breastfeeding and low food quality, consumption patterns and food preferences in the first two years of life are highly associated to PAPP and can, therefore

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Microbial community structure of leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens and refuse dumps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott, Jarrod J; Budsberg, Kevin J; Suen, Garret; Wixon, Devin L; Balser, Teri C; Currie, Cameron R

    2010-03-29

    Leaf-cutter ants use fresh plant material to grow a mutualistic fungus that serves as the ants' primary food source. Within fungus gardens, various plant compounds are metabolized and transformed into nutrients suitable for ant consumption. This symbiotic association produces a large amount of refuse consisting primarily of partly degraded plant material. A leaf-cutter ant colony is thus divided into two spatially and chemically distinct environments that together represent a plant biomass degradation gradient. Little is known about the microbial community structure in gardens and dumps or variation between lab and field colonies. Using microbial membrane lipid analysis and a variety of community metrics, we assessed and compared the microbiota of fungus gardens and refuse dumps from both laboratory-maintained and field-collected colonies. We found that gardens contained a diverse and consistent community of microbes, dominated by Gram-negative bacteria, particularly gamma-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. These findings were consistent across lab and field gardens, as well as host ant taxa. In contrast, dumps were enriched for Gram-positive and anaerobic bacteria. Broad-scale clustering analyses revealed that community relatedness between samples reflected system component (gardens/dumps) rather than colony source (lab/field). At finer scales samples clustered according to colony source. Here we report the first comparative analysis of the microbiota from leaf-cutter ant colonies. Our work reveals the presence of two distinct communities: one in the fungus garden and the other in the refuse dump. Though we find some effect of colony source on community structure, our data indicate the presence of consistently associated microbes within gardens and dumps. Substrate composition and system component appear to be the most important factor in structuring the microbial communities. These results thus suggest that resident communities are shaped by the plant degradation

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barke Jörg

    2010-08-01

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

  13. Intrinsic worker mortality depends on behavioral caste and the queens' presence in a social insect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohlmeier, Philip; Negroni, Matteo Antoine; Kever, Marion; Emmling, Stefanie; Stypa, Heike; Feldmeyer, Barbara; Foitzik, Susanne

    2017-04-01

    According to the classic life history theory, selection for longevity depends on age-dependant extrinsic mortality and fecundity. In social insects, the common life history trade-off between fecundity and longevity appears to be reversed, as the most fecund individual, the queen, often exceeds workers in lifespan several fold. But does fecundity directly affect intrinsic mortality also in social insect workers? And what is the effect of task on worker mortality? Here, we studied how social environment and behavioral caste affect intrinsic mortality of ant workers. We compared worker survival between queenless and queenright Temnothorax longispinosus nests and demonstrate that workers survive longer under the queens' absence. Temnothorax ant workers fight over reproduction when the queen is absent and dominant workers lay eggs. Worker fertility might therefore increase lifespan, possibly due to a positive physiological link between fecundity and longevity, or better care for fertile workers. In social insects, division of labor among workers is age-dependant with young workers caring for the brood and old ones going out to forage. We therefore expected nurses to survive longer than foragers, which is what we found. Surprisingly, inactive inside workers showed a lower survival than nurses but comparable to that of foragers. The reduced longevity of inactive workers could be due to them being older than the nurses, or due to a positive effect of activity on lifespan. Overall, our study points to behavioral caste-dependent intrinsic mortality rates and a positive association between fertility and longevity not only in queens but also in ant workers.

  14. Rapid modification in the olfactory signal of ants following a change in reproductive status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuvillier-Hot, Virginie; Renault, Valérie; Peeters, Christian

    2005-02-01

    In insect societies, the presence and condition of egg-layers can be assessed with pheromones. Exocrine secretions are expected to vary in time in order to give up-to-date information on an individual’s reproductive physiology. In the queenless monogynous ant Streblognathus peetersi, we allowed a previously infertile high-ranking worker to accede to the alpha rank, thus triggering the onset of her oogenesis (15 replicates). We then studied her interactions with an established egg-layer from the same colony after different durations, ranging from 20 h to several days. Even though her eggs are only ready to be laid after 30 days, the new alpha was recognised within 1 2 days. Detection occurred at a distance of a few millimetres, suggesting the involvement of a pheromone with low volatility, such as cuticular hydrocarbons. When the new alpha had differentiated for >48 h, she was attacked by the established egg-layer. In all cases, low-ranking workers eventually immobilised one of the two alphas: the new alpha was the target if she had differentiated only recently, suggesting that police workers select the dominant worker with the “less fertile” odour. Using the behaviour of ants as our measure, we demonstrate that a dominant’s olfactory signal changes rapidly with a modification in her social status, and it occurs well before the onset of egg-laying.

  15. Multiple Convergent Origins of Workerlessness and Inbreeding in the Socially Parasitic Ant Genus Myrmoxenus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinze, Jürgen; Buschinger, Alfred; Poettinger, Theo; Suefuji, Masaki

    2015-01-01

    The socially parasitic ant genus Myrmoxenus varies strongly in fundamental life history traits, such as queen-worker ratio, the timing of sexual production, and mating behavior. Myrmoxenus queens generally take over nests of Temnothorax ants, kill the resident queen by throttling, and force the workers to take care of the social parasite's brood. Young queens of M. ravouxi and other species produce large numbers of workers, which during "slave-raids" pillage host pupae from neighboring Temnothorax colonies to increase the workforce in their own nests. Other species, such as M. corsicus, have lost caste polyphenism and rear only male and female sexual offspring. Using sequences of the genes CO I/CO II and wingless we reconstruct the phylogeny of Myrmoxenus and document that the worker caste was lost convergently at least three times. Furthermore, mating in the nest and inbreeding obviously also evolved in parallel from ancestors whose sexuals presumably mated during nuptial flights. Myrmoxenus might thus provide a suitable model to investigate caste differentiation and the plasticity of mating behavior in Hymenoptera.

  16. Multiple Convergent Origins of Workerlessness and Inbreeding in the Socially Parasitic Ant Genus Myrmoxenus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jürgen Heinze

    Full Text Available The socially parasitic ant genus Myrmoxenus varies strongly in fundamental life history traits, such as queen-worker ratio, the timing of sexual production, and mating behavior. Myrmoxenus queens generally take over nests of Temnothorax ants, kill the resident queen by throttling, and force the workers to take care of the social parasite's brood. Young queens of M. ravouxi and other species produce large numbers of workers, which during "slave-raids" pillage host pupae from neighboring Temnothorax colonies to increase the workforce in their own nests. Other species, such as M. corsicus, have lost caste polyphenism and rear only male and female sexual offspring. Using sequences of the genes CO I/CO II and wingless we reconstruct the phylogeny of Myrmoxenus and document that the worker caste was lost convergently at least three times. Furthermore, mating in the nest and inbreeding obviously also evolved in parallel from ancestors whose sexuals presumably mated during nuptial flights. Myrmoxenus might thus provide a suitable model to investigate caste differentiation and the plasticity of mating behavior in Hymenoptera.

  17. Synaptic organization and division of labor in the exceptionally polymorphic ant Pheidole rhea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Darcy G; Traniello, James F A

    2018-05-29

    Social insect polyphenisms provide models to examine the neural basis of division of labor and anatomy of the invertebrate social brain. Worker size-related behavior is hypothesized to enhance task performance, raising questions concerning the integration of morphology, behavior, and cellular neuroarchitecture, and how variation in sensory inputs and cognitive demands of behaviorally differentiated workers is reflected in higher-order processing ability. We used the highly polymorphic ant Pheidole rhea, which has three distinct worker size classes - minors, soldiers, and supersoldiers - to examine variation in synaptic circuitry across worker size and social role. We hypothesized that the density and size of synaptic complexes (microglomeruli, MG) would be positively associated with behavioral repertoire and the relative size of the mushroom bodies (MB). Supersoldiers had significantly larger and less dense MG in the lip (olfactory region) of the MB calyx (MBC), and larger MG in the collar (visual region) compared to minors. Soldiers were intermediate in synaptic phenotype: they did not differ significantly in MG density from minors and supersoldiers, had MG of similar size to minors in the lip, and did not differ from these two worker groups in MG size in the collar. Results suggest a complex relationship between MG density, size, behavior, and worker body size involving a conserved and plastic neurobiological development plan, although workers show strong variation in size and social role. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Aphid alarm pheromone as a cue for ants to locate aphid partners.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    François J Verheggen

    Full Text Available The mutualistic relationships that occur between myrmecophilous aphids and ants are based on the rich food supply that honeydew represents for ants and on the protection they provide against aphid natural enemies. While aphid predators and parasitoids actively forage for oviposition sites by using aphid semiochemicals, scouts of aphid-tending ant species would also benefit from locating honeydew resources by orienting toward aphid pheromone sources. The present study aims to provide additional information on the use of Aphis fabae alarm pheromone, i.e. (E-β-farnesene (EβF, by ant scouts. The perception and behavioral impact of EβF on Lasius niger were investigated using electroantennography and two bio-assays measuring their attraction and orientation towards aphid semiochemicals. Pronounced electrical depolarizations were observed from L. niger scout antennae to stimulations of A. fabae alarm pheromone, while other sesquiterpenes elicited weak or no responses. L. niger scouts were significantly attracted toward EβF in a four-arm olfactometer, as well as in an two-choice bioassay. These laboratory results suggest for the first time that low amounts of aphid alarm pheromone can be used by L. niger scouts as a cue indicating the presence of aphid colonies and could therefore mediate the aphid-ant partnership in the field.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Barbero

    2012-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Sex mosaics in a male dimorphic ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshizawa, Juri; Mimori, Kohei; Yamauchi, Katsusuke; Tsuchida, Koji

    2009-01-01

    Gynandromorphy, or the development of organisms with a combination of male and female morphological features, is common in Hymenoptera. The underlying mechanism is likely associated with the sex-determination system, and studying this phenomenon should lead to a deeper understanding of both embryonic development and sex determination. The reproductive capabilities of gynandromorphs (hereafter, sex mosaics) remain unclear. We studied gynandromorphy in the Malaysian ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, which has sex mosaics of queens (gynandromorphs; mosaic of queens and winged male) and workers (ergatandromorphs; mosaic of worker and wingless ergatoid male). These sex mosaics were classified into seven morphological categories. Most individuals had more male than female body areas. Behavioral observations revealed that sex mosaics behave more in accordance with the “sex” of their brain than that of the reproductive organs (gaster). Relative DNA quantities showed that both female and male regions contained haploid and diploid nuclei, irrespective of their phenotypic appearance, indicating that external appearance did not reflect internal tissues. Nearly one third of the adults were sex mosaics and they were not infected with Wolbachia. Our results suggest that the production of sex mosaics in this species does not pose a substantial cost to colonies and that the underlying causes are therefore not strongly selected against.

  2. Older workers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ybema,J.F.; Giesen, F.

    2014-01-01

    Due to an ageing population and global economic competition, there is a societal need for people to extend their working lives while maintaining high work productivity. This article presents an overview of the labour participation, job performance, and job characteristics of older workers in the

  3. Migrating Worker

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Hans

    This is the preliminary report on the results obtained in the Migrating Worker-project. This project was initiated by the Danish Ministry of Finance with the aim of illustrating the effects of the 1408/71 agreement and the bilateral double taxation agreements Denmark has with the countries included...

  4. Acanthopria and Mimopriella parasitoid wasps (Diapriidae) attack Cyphomyrmex fungus-growing ants (Formicidae, Attini)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Zimmerman, Jess K.; Wcislo, William T.

    2006-01-01

    New World diapriine wasps are abundant and diverse, but the biology of most species is unknown. We provide the first description of the biology of diapriine wasps, Acanthopria spp. and Mimopriella sp., which attack the larvae of Cyphomyrmex fungus-growing ants. In Puerto Rico, the koinobiont parasitoids Acanthopria attack Cyphomyrmex minutus, while in Panama at least four morphospecies of Acanthopria and one of Mimopriella attack Cyphomyrmex rimosus. Of the total larvae per colony, 0 100% were parasitized, and 27 70% of the colonies per population were parasitized. Parasitism rate and colony size were negatively correlated for C. rimosus but not for C. minutus. Worker ants grasped at, bit, and in some cases, killed adult wasps that emerged in artificial nests or tried to enter natural nests. Parasitoid secondary sex ratios were female-biased for eclosing wasps, while field collections showed a male-biased sex ratio. Based on their abundance and success in attacking host ants, these minute wasps present excellent opportunities to explore how natural enemies impact ant colony demography and population biology.

  5. Laboratory and Field Evaluations of Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Baits Against Argentine Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rust, Michael K; Soeprono, Andrew; Wright, Sarajean; Greenberg, Les; Choe, Dong-Hwan; Boser, Christina L; Cory, Coleen; Hanna, Cause

    2015-06-01

    The development of effective baits to control the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), has been problematic because foragers prefer sweet liquids, while many toxicants are insoluble in water and liquid baits are generally difficult to deliver. The incorporation of thiamethoxam and sucrose solutions into a water-absorbing polyacrylamide hydrogel provides a unique and novel carrier and method of application for liquid baits. Formulations of thiamethoxam affected the size of the hydrogels, and sucrose solutions containing 0.0003% technical thiamethoxam provided hydrogels as large as those made with 25% sucrose solution or deionized water. Concentrations of thiamethoxam as low as 0.000075% in the hydrogels provided 50% kill of workers within 3 d in a laboratory setting. In small colony studies, baiting with 0.00015 and 0.000075% thiamethoxam hydrogels provided 100% mortality of workers and queens within 8 d. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay indicated that thiamethoxam was absorbed into the interior of the polyacrylamide matrix. The water loss rates of the hydrogels were dependent upon the relative humidity. Polyacrylamide hydrogels with >50% water loss were less attractive to ants. Field studies in highly infested areas indicated that concentrations of 0.0006 or 0.0018% thiamethoxam were more effective than 0.00015%. Hydrogels may provide a cost-effective alternative to providing aqueous baits to control Argentine ants. © 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.

  6. A heritable component in sex ratio and caste determination in a Cardiocondyla ant

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heinze Jürgen

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Studies on sex ratios in social insects provide among the most compelling evidence for the importance of kin selection in social evolution. The elegant synthesis of Fisher's sex ratio principle and Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory predicts that colony-level sex ratios vary with the colonies' social and genetic structures. Numerous empirical studies in ants, bees, and wasps have corroborated these predictions. However, the evolutionary optimization of sex ratios requires genetic variation, but one fundamental determinant of sex ratios - the propensity of female larvae to develop into young queens or workers ("queen bias" - is thought to be largely controlled by the environment. Evidence for a genetic influence on sex ratio and queen bias is as yet restricted to a few taxa, in particular hybrids. Because of the very short lifetime of their queens, ants of the genus Cardiocondyla are ideal model systems for the study of complete lifetime reproductive success, queen bias, and sex ratios. We found that lifetime sex ratios of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi have a heritable component. In experimental single-queen colonies, 22 queens from a genetic lineage with a highly female-biased sex ratio produced significantly more female-biased offspring sex ratios than 16 queens from a lineage with a more male-biased sex ratio (median 91.5% vs. 58.5% female sexuals. Sex ratio variation resulted from different likelihood of female larvae developing into sexuals (median 50% vs. 22.6% female sexuals even when uniformly nursed by workers from another colony. Consistent differences in lifetime sex ratios and queen bias among queens of C. kagutsuchi suggest that heritable, genetic or maternal effects strongly affect caste determination. Such variation might provide the basis for adaptive evolution of queen and worker strategies, though it momentarily constrains the power of workers and queens to optimize caste ratios.

  7. A heritable component in sex ratio and caste determination in a Cardiocondyla ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frohschammer, Sabine; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-10-28

    Studies on sex ratios in social insects provide among the most compelling evidence for the importance of kin selection in social evolution. The elegant synthesis of Fisher's sex ratio principle and Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory predicts that colony-level sex ratios vary with the colonies' social and genetic structures. Numerous empirical studies in ants, bees, and wasps have corroborated these predictions. However, the evolutionary optimization of sex ratios requires genetic variation, but one fundamental determinant of sex ratios - the propensity of female larvae to develop into young queens or workers ("queen bias") - is thought to be largely controlled by the environment. Evidence for a genetic influence on sex ratio and queen bias is as yet restricted to a few taxa, in particular hybrids.Because of the very short lifetime of their queens, ants of the genus Cardiocondyla are ideal model systems for the study of complete lifetime reproductive success, queen bias, and sex ratios. We found that lifetime sex ratios of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi have a heritable component. In experimental single-queen colonies, 22 queens from a genetic lineage with a highly female-biased sex ratio produced significantly more female-biased offspring sex ratios than 16 queens from a lineage with a more male-biased sex ratio (median 91.5% vs. 58.5% female sexuals). Sex ratio variation resulted from different likelihood of female larvae developing into sexuals (median 50% vs. 22.6% female sexuals) even when uniformly nursed by workers from another colony.Consistent differences in lifetime sex ratios and queen bias among queens of C. kagutsuchi suggest that heritable, genetic or maternal effects strongly affect caste determination. Such variation might provide the basis for adaptive evolution of queen and worker strategies, though it momentarily constrains the power of workers and queens to optimize caste ratios.

  8. Mode of action of sodium arsenate on laboratory colonies of the pharaoh's ant Monomorium pharaonis L

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Berndt, K P

    1974-01-01

    Arsenate compounds for pest control have been displayed on large scale by modern insecticides. In the control of the pharaoh's ant the arsenates however still remain an important means for eradication. The present study points out, that the mortality of workers and queens, respectively, are not the decisive factors of action as assumed until now. The causes for the extinction of the ant colonies after application of sodium arsenate are based on a combination of larval mortality and the induction of sterility in the queens, the sterility being the most important factor. A number of other factors moreover are working advantageously. First, the poison bait is not repellent and is well accepted by the workers, and is either stored in the nest or distributed trophalactically. Whereas with the workers there occurs a strongly delayed mortality, the larvae are being inhibited in their development after a few hours, shortly before pupation, or they are being paralyzed, whereby the further pupation would by cut off. The younger larvae normally do not come to pupation, but are being stunted and would be eliminated from the nest. The reproducing females, being the last members in the social chain, are protected in the polygynous society from the lethal action of the poison, although otherwise susceptible in the same way as workers. After a certain time sub-lethal doses of sodium arsenate lead to a decrease in fecundity. Egg production is suppressed dependent on the duration of the poison application up to permanent sterility. On the basis of these investigations some suggestions for practical control of the pharaoh's ant have been derived.

  9. Male adaptations and female sperm use in organismal societies of ants and bees

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stürup, Marlene

    The males of the most advanced eusocial Hymenoptera live short protected lives inside colonies where climatic conditions are meticulously controlled, and where disease pressure is low due to the social immunity provided by their worker sisters. Mature males only leave the colony to mate and die......’s sperm stores and compared this with paternity shares in offspring. I also examined whether patriline distributions in worker cohorts remain stable over time, which is expected to yield the highest colony benefits in terms of worker genetic variation. Selection for extreme sperm viability in males......’, where paternity shares in offspring can be accurately predicted from relative number of sperm stored. Furthermore, sperm was completely mixed inside the spermatheca and sperm used is highly consistent over time in leaf-cutting ants, supporting expectations if polyandrous queens are to obtain the highest...

  10. 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...

  11. Offspring Size and Reproductive Allocation in Harvester Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiernasz, Diane C; Cole, Blaine J

    2018-01-01

    A fundamental decision that an organism must make is how to allocate resources to offspring, with respect to both size and number. The two major theoretical approaches to this problem, optimal offspring size and optimistic brood size models, make different predictions that may be reconciled by including how offspring fitness is related to size. We extended the reasoning of Trivers and Willard (1973) to derive a general model of how parents should allocate additional resources with respect to the number of males and females produced, and among individuals of each sex, based on the fitness payoffs of each. We then predicted how harvester ant colonies should invest additional resources and tested three hypotheses derived from our model, using data from 3 years of food supplementation bracketed by 6 years without food addition. All major results were predicted by our model: food supplementation increased the number of reproductives produced. Male, but not female, size increased with food addition; the greatest increases in male size occurred in colonies that made small females. We discuss how use of a fitness landscape improves quantitative predictions about allocation decisions. When parents can invest differentially in offspring of different types, the best strategy will depend on parental state as well as the effect of investment on offspring fitness.

  12. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  14. 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....

  15. 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...

  16. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cornelia Buehlmann

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

  17. Breeding system and reproductive skew in a highly polygynous ant population

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Haag-Liautard, C.; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Ovaskainen, O.

    2008-01-01

    of mature queens by mark-release-recapture in 29 nests and dissected a sub-sample of queens to assess their reproductive status. We also used microsatellites to estimate relatedness within and between all classes of nestmates (queens, their mates, worker brood, queen brood and male brood). Queen number...... Factors affecting relatedness among nest members in ant colonies with high queen number are still poorly understood. In order to identify the major determinants of nest kin structure, we conducted a detailed analysis of the breeding system of the ant Formica exsecta. We estimated the number...... was very high, with an arithmetic mean of 253 per nest. Most queens (90%) were reproductively active, consistent with the genetic analyses revealing that there was only a minimal reproductive skew among nestmate queens. Despite the high queen number and low reproductive skew, almost all classes...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. The Cafeteria Workers' Skills Enhancement Training Program. Performance Report.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, Miriam

    A program was conducted by the Food and Beverage Workers Union in Washington, D.C., to provide workplace literacy classes for food service workers in the city's government agencies, universities, and museums. A curriculum for workplace literacy skills was developed, sites were selected, and students were recruited. From a target audience of…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Gland origin and electroantennogram activity of volatile compounds in Ghost Ants, Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and behavioral response to (Z)-9-Nonadecene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volatile compounds in Tapinoma melanocephalum workers were analyzed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition to 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one and iridodials that are common in ants of the genus of Tapinoma, (Z)-9-nonadecence was identified the first time in mandibular glands. Elec...

  5. 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.

  6. How much variation can one ant species hold? Species delimitation in the Crematogaster kelleri-group in Madagascar.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bonnie B Blaimer

    Full Text Available We investigated the species-level taxonomy of the Malagasy Crematogaster (Crematogaster kelleri-group and an additional more distantly related species of the same subgenus. Morphological data from worker, queen and male ants, as well as genetic data from three nuclear genes (long wavelength rhodopsin, arginine kinase and carbomoylphosphate synthase and one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome oxidase I led to the recognition of six species. Within the C. kelleri-group, three new species are described: C. hazolava Blaimer sp. n., C. hafahafa Blaimer sp. n. and C. tavaratra Blaimer sp. n. The previously described taxa C. kelleri Forel and C. madagascariensis André are validated by our analysis. Conversely, our data suggests synonymy of C. adrepens Forel (with C. kelleri and C. gibba Emery (with C. madagascariensis. A more distantly related and phylogenetically isolated species, C. tsisitsilo Blaimer sp. n., is further described. We report high levels of morphological and molecular variation in C. kelleri and illustrate that this variation can be explained partly by geography. Species descriptions, images, distribution maps and identification keys based on worker ants, as well as on queen and male ants where available, are presented for all six species. Our work highlights the elevated species richness of Crematogaster ants throughout Madagascar's humid forests, especially in the far northern tip of the island, and the need to use multiple data sources to ensure clear demarcation of this diversity.

  7. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Produces Diverse Enzymes for the Degradation of Recalcitrant Plant Polymers in Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aylward, Frank O. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Burnum-Johnson, Kristin E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Tringe, Susannah G. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Teiling, Clotilde [Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN (United States); Tremmel, Daniel [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Moeller, Joseph [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Scott, Jarrod J. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Barry, Kerrie W. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Piehowski, Paul D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Nicora, Carrie D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Malfatti, Stephanie [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Monroe, Matthew E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Purvine, Samuel O. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Goodwin, Lynne A. [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Smith, Richard D. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Weinstock, George [Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis, MS (United States); Gerardo, Nicole [Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA (United States); Suen, Garret [Dept. of Energy Joint Genome Inst., Walnut Creek, CA (United States); Lipton, Mary S. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Currie, Cameron R. [Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Smothsonian Tropical Research Inst., Balboa (Panama)

    2013-06-12

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Food and feeding performance of Pellonula leonensis (Reajon ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Food and feeding performance of Pellonula leonensis (Reajon, 1917) ... fed more on ants and fish larvae while juveniles fed more on detritus, crustaceans and sand. ... Pellonula was considered piscivorous and cannibalistic its feeding habit.

  11. Cyatta abscondita: taxonomy, evolution, and natural history of a new fungus-farming ant genus from Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo

    Full Text Available Cyatta abscondita, a new genus and species of fungus-farming ant from Brazil, is described based on morphological study of more than 20 workers, two dealate gynes, one male, and two larvae. Ecological field data are summarized, including natural history, nest architecture, and foraging behavior. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data from four nuclear genes indicate that Cyatta abscondita is the distant sister taxon of the genus Kalathomyrmex, and that together they comprise the sister group of the remaining neoattine ants, an informal clade that includes the conspicuous and well-known leaf-cutter ants. Morphologically, Cyatta abscondita shares very few obvious character states with Kalathomyrmex. It does, however, possess a number of striking morphological features unique within the fungus-farming tribe Attini. It also shares morphological character states with taxa that span the ancestral node of the Attini. The morphology, behavior, and other biological characters of Cyatta abscondita are potentially informative about plesiomorphic character states within the fungus-farming ants and about the early evolution of ant agriculture.

  12. Morphological and Chemical Characterization of the Invasive Ants in Hives of Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simoes, M R; Giannotti, E; Tofolo, V C; Pizano, M A; Firmino, E L B; Antonialli-Junior, W F; Andrade, L H C; Lima, S M

    2016-02-01

    Apiculture in Brazil is quite profitable and has great potential for expansion because of the favorable climate and abundancy of plant diversity. However, the occurrence of pests, diseases, and parasites hinders the growth and profitability of beekeeping. In the interior of the state of São Paulo, apiaries are attacked by ants, especially the species Camponotus atriceps (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which use the substances produced by Apis mellifera scutellata (Lepeletier) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), like honey, wax, pollen, and offspring as a source of nourishment for the adult and immature ants, and kill or expel the adult bees during the invasion. This study aimed to understand the invasion of C. atriceps in hives of A. m. scutellata. The individuals were classified into castes and subcastes according to morphometric analyses, and their cuticular chemical compounds were identified using Photoacoustic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The morphometric analyses were able to classify the individuals into reproductive castes (queen and gynes), workers (minor and small ants), and the soldier subcaste (medium and major ants). Identification of cuticular hydrocarbons of these individuals revealed that the eight beehives were invaded by only three colonies of C. atriceps; one of the colonies invaded only one beehive, and the other two colonies underwent a process called sociotomy and were responsible for the invasion of the other seven beehives. The lack of preventive measures and the nocturnal behavior of the ants favored the invasion and attack on the bees.

  13. At Lunch with a Killer: The Effect of Weaver Ants on Host-Parasitoid Interactions on Mango.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valentina Migani

    Full Text Available Predator-prey interactions can affect the behaviour of the species involved, with consequences for population distribution and competitive interactions. Under predation pressure, potential prey may adopt evasive strategies. These responses can be costly and could impact population growth. As some prey species may be more affected than others, predation pressure could also alter the dynamics among species within communities. In field cages and small observation cages, we studied the interactions between a generalist predator, the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda, two species of fruit flies that are primary pests of mango fruits, Ceratitis cosyra and Bactrocera dorsalis, and their two exotic parasitoids, Fopius arisanus and Diachasmimorpha longicaudata. In all experiments, either a single individual (observation cage experiments or groups of individuals (field cage experiments of a single species were exposed to foraging in the presence or absence of weaver ants. Weaver ant presence reduced the number of eggs laid by 75 and 50 percent in B. dorsalis and C. cosyra respectively. Similarly, parasitoid reproductive success was negatively affected by ant presence, with success of parasitism reduced by around 50 percent for both F. arisanus and D. longicaudata. The negative effect of weaver ants on both flies and parasitoids was mainly due to indirect predation effects. Encounters with weaver ant workers increased the leaving tendency in flies and parasitoids, thus reduced the time spent foraging on mango fruits. Parasitoids were impacted more strongly than fruit flies. We discuss how weaver ant predation pressure may affect the population dynamics of the fruit flies, and, in turn, how the alteration of host dynamics could impact parasitoid foraging behaviour and success.

  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. A new type of exocrine gland and its function in mass recruitment in the ant Cylindromyrmex whymperi (Formicidae, Cerapachyinae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobin, Bruno; Rüppell, Olav; Hartmann, Annegret; Jungnickel, Harald; Morgan, David; Billen, Johan

    2001-08-01

    Workers of the ant Cylindromyrmex whymperi display mass trail recruitment. Bioassays show that the trail pheromone originates from a unique gland between abdominal sternites 6 and 7. The gland has a hitherto unknown structural organization. Upon leaving the secretory cell, the duct cell widens to form a sclerotized pear-shaped reservoir chamber, lined with multiple duct cells. Each duct thus forms a miniature reservoir for the secretions of each single secretory cell, a novel structural arrangement in exocrine glands of social Hymenoptera.

  16. Outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis C in workers at a large food-processing plant in Brazil: challenges of controlling disease spread to the larger community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iser, B P M; Lima, H C A V; de Moraes, C; de Almeida, R P A; Watanabe, L T; Alves, S L A; Lemos, A P S; Gorla, M C O; Gonçalves, M G; Dos Santos, D A; Sobel, J

    2012-05-01

    SUMMARYAn outbreak of meningococcal disease (MD) with severe morbidity and mortality was investigated in midwestern Brazil in order to identify control measures. A MD case was defined as isolation of Neisseria meningitidis, or detection of polysaccharide antigen in a sterile site, or presence of clinical purpura fulminans, or an epidemiological link with a laboratory-confirmed case-patient, between June and August 2008. In 8 out of 16 MD cases studied, serogroup C ST103 complex was identified. Five (31%) cases had neurological findings and five (31%) died. The attack rate was 12 cases/100 000 town residents and 60 cases/100 000 employees in a large local food-processing plant. We conducted a matched case-control study of eight primary laboratory-confirmed cases (1:4). Factors associated with illness in single variable analysis were work at the processing plant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·3-207·7, P10 000 plant employees) stopped propagation in the plant, but not in the larger community.

  17. Ants, rodents and seed predation in Proteaceae

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... their nests extremely rapidly. One benefit of the ant-plant interaction may be seed escape ... (odourless to humans when dry) household glue or, b) placing seed in a Petri dish ... the layout of exclosures was completed. Response was not as.

  18. The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  19. The ejaculatory biology of leafcutter ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Mating, hybridisation and introgression in Lasius ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Have, van der T.M.; Pedersen, J.S.; Boomsma, J.J.

    2011-01-01

    Recent reviews have shown that hybridisation among ant species is likely to be more common than previously appreciated. but that documented cases of introgression remain rare. After molecular phylogenetic work had shown that European Lasius niger (LINNAEUS, 1758) and L. psammophilus SEIFERT, 1992