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Sample records for ground foraging ant

  1. Effects of large-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsuda, Tritia; Turschak, Greta; Brehme, Cheryl; Rochester, Carlton; Mitrovich, Milan; Fisher, Robert

    2011-01-01

    We investigated the effect of broad-scale wildfire on ground foraging ants within southern California. In October and November of 2003, two wildfires burned large portions of the wildlands within San Diego County. Between January 2005 and September 2006, we surveyed 63 plots across four sites to measure the effect of the fires on the ant assemblages present in four vegetation types: 1) coastal sage scrub, 2) chaparral, 3) grassland, and 4) woodland riparian. Thirty-six of the 63 plots were sampled before the fires between March 2001 and June 2003. Mixed model regression analyses, accounting for the burn history of each plot and our pre- and postfire sampling efforts, revealed that fire had a negative effect on ant species diversity. Multivariate analyses showed that ant community structure varied significantly among the four vegetation types, and only the ant assemblage associated with coastal sage scrub exhibited a significant difference between burned and unburned samples. The most notable change detected at the individual species level involved Messor andrei (Mayr), which increased from ant samples to 32.1% in burned plots postfire. We theorize that M. andrei responded to the increase of bare ground and postfire seed production, leading to an increase in the detection rate for this species. Collectively, our results suggest that wildfires can have short-term impacts on the diversity and community structure of ground foraging ants in coastal sage scrub. We discuss these findings in relation to management implications and directions for future research.

  2. Monopolization of resources by ground-nesting ants foraging on trees in Mediterranean forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez, Jean-Jacques Itzhak

    2015-05-01

    Ant communities are generally structured by territoriality, dominance and resource monopolization, but in Mediterranean hot grassland thermal tolerance plays a more important role. The main purposes of the present research were to investigate the hypothesis that in cooler Mediterranean forests resource monopolization structures the generalist ground-nesting ant community while foraging on trees, and to learn if tree heterogeneity plays any role in this structure. In Mediterranean forests in Israel, I visually recorded and trapped ants on the forest floor and those climbing on trees of five species. Ants of 27 species were detected, while the Chao2 index indicated an asymptotic richness estimation of 31 ± 8.1 species (mean ± S.D.). The numerically dominant species were Crematogaster lorteti and Tapinoma simrothi followed by Tapinoma israele and Crematogaster scutellaris. In more than 80% of the cases, specimens of only one ant species climbed at the same time on any individual tree, and no tree was occupied by more than three species. The C-score of climbing ants was statistically higher than simulated indexes when resources were individual trees, indicating that the ants strongly monopolized each tree. No difference was detected between observed and simulated C-scores when resources were tree species. The observed index of Pianka's niche overlap indicated no species specific interaction between trees and ants. In conclusion, this study confirms that ant mosaic structure may be formed by ground-nesting ants while foraging on trees. Tree species heterogeneity did not have a selective impact on the ants nor a central role in the ant community structure.

  3. The Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baxter, G. William

    2009-03-01

    We experimentally study the foraging of small black ants, Formicinae lasius flavus, in order to describe their foraging behavior mathematically. Individual ants are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional surface in the absence of any food sources. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined using a high-resolution digital camera. Analysis of the average square displacements of many ants suggests that the foraging strategy is a non-reversing random walk. Moreover, the ants do not retrace their steps to return home but instead continue the random walk until it brings them back near their starting point.

  4. Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae and rainfall effect on pitfall trapping in a deciduous thorn woodland (Caatinga, Northeastern Brazil

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    Francyregis A Nunes

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The semi-arid Caatinga is the fourth largest biome of Brazil, which biota still remains one of the most poorly known, especially with regard to invertebrate groups. In this study, a ground-foraging ant assemblage was surveyed during one year and the effect of rainfall on pitfall trapping was assessed. The study was performed in an area located in the municipality of Pentecoste (3º48’ S - 39º20’ W, in the State of Ceará. A 200m transect with 20 equidistant sampling points was established. Transect sampling was performed once a month during 12 months, over the period August 2008-August 2009. At each sampling point, a pitfall trap partially filled with a mixture of ethanol and monoethylene glycol was placed at the beginning of each month and remained in the field for seven days. 39 species belonging to six subfamilies and 19 genera, plus two unidentified species, were collected, with Pheidole (10 spp. and Camponotus (8 spp. being the taxa with the most species. 23 species were frequent, being found in more than 50% of the 12 transect samplings. Five species had an intermediate frequency (25 to 50%, while 13 were relatively infrequent (less than 25%. Most of the species (22 showed low occurrence, being found in less than 10% of the 240 samples (20 samples each month, during 12 months. Only five species were collected in more than 50% of the samples, those species being also responsible for most of the total abundance (number of captured individuals of all species observed each month. The speciesaccumulation curves (observed and estimated indicated that sampling sufficiency was attained, and that about 92% of the estimated ground-foraging ant fauna had been collected. 40 and 29 species were collected in the dry and rainy season, respectively, with monthly species richness ranging from 13 to 28. The total ant abundance showed a drastic decrease during the rainy season, and a negative linear correlation was found between rainfall and total ant

  5. Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and rainfall effect on pitfall trapping in a deciduous thorn woodland (caatinga), Northeastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, Francyregis A; Segundo, Glauco B Martins; Vasconcelos, Yuri B; Azevedo, Raul; Quinet, Yves

    2011-12-01

    The semi-arid Caatinga is the fourth largest biome of Brazil, which biota still remains one of the most poorly known, especially with regard to invertebrate groups. In this study, a ground-foraging ant assemblage was surveyed during one year and the effect of rainfall on pitfall trapping was assessed. The study was performed in an area located in the municipality of Pentecoste (3 degrees 48' S - 39 degrees 20' W), in the State of Ceará. A 200m transect with 20 equidistant sampling points was established. Transect sampling was performed once a month during 12 months, over the period August 2008-August 2009. At each sampling point, a pitfall trap partially filled with a mixture of ethanol and monoethylene glycol was placed at the beginning of each month and remained in the field for seven days. 39 species belonging to six subfamilies and 19 genera, plus two unidentified species, were collected, with Pheidole (10 spp.) and Camponotus (8 spp.) being the taxa with the most species. 23 species were frequent, being found in more than 50% of the 12 transect samplings. Five species had an intermediate frequency (25 to 50%), while 13 were relatively infrequent (less than 25%). Most of the species (22) showed low occurrence, being found in less than 10% of the 240 samples (20 samples each month, during 12 months). Only five species were collected in more than 50% of the samples, those species being also responsible for most of the total abundance (number of captured individuals of all species) observed each month. The species-accumulation curves (observed and estimated) indicated that sampling sufficiency was attained, and that about 92% of the estimated ground-foraging ant fauna had been collected. 40 and 29 species were collected in the dry and rainy season, respectively, with monthly species richness ranging from 13 to 28. The total ant abundance showed a drastic decrease during the rainy season, and a negative linear correlation was found between rainfall and total ant

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

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    McGlynn, T P; Kirksey, S E

    2000-01-01

    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.

  7. ANT Oosterschelde: Long-term trends of waders and their dependence on intertidal foraging grounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Troost, K.; Ysebaert, T.

    2011-01-01

    The ANT study (“Autonomous Negative Trend” of the Oosterschelde estuary) aims to deliver the scientific support needed to assess the feasibility and affordability of the different conservation goals of Natura 2000. The main aim is to advise in which locations in the Oosterschelde estuary what kind o

  8. ANT Oosterschelde: Long-term trends of waders and their dependence on intertidal foraging grounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Troost, K.; Ysebaert, T.

    2011-01-01

    The ANT study (“Autonomous Negative Trend” of the Oosterschelde estuary) aims to deliver the scientific support needed to assess the feasibility and affordability of the different conservation goals of Natura 2000. The main aim is to advise in which locations in the Oosterschelde estuary what kind

  9. Ground-foraging ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae and rainfall effect on pitfall trapping in a deciduous thorn woodland (Caatinga, Northeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francyregis A Nunes

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The semi-arid Caatinga is the fourth largest biome of Brazil, which biota still remains one of the most poorly known, especially with regard to invertebrate groups. In this study, a ground-foraging ant assemblage was surveyed during one year and the effect of rainfall on pitfall trapping was assessed. The study was performed in an area located in the municipality of Pentecoste (3º48’ S - 39º20’ W, in the State of Ceará. A 200m transect with 20 equidistant sampling points was established. Transect sampling was performed once a month during 12 months, over the period August 2008-August 2009. At each sampling point, a pitfall trap partially filled with a mixture of ethanol and monoethylene glycol was placed at the beginning of each month and remained in the field for seven days. 39 species belonging to six subfamilies and 19 genera, plus two unidentified species, were collected, with Pheidole (10 spp. and Camponotus (8 spp. being the taxa with the most species. 23 species were frequent, being found in more than 50% of the 12 transect samplings. Five species had an intermediate frequency (25 to 50%, while 13 were relatively infrequent (less than 25%. Most of the species (22 showed low occurrence, being found in less than 10% of the 240 samples (20 samples each month, during 12 months. Only five species were collected in more than 50% of the samples, those species being also responsible for most of the total abundance (number of captured individuals of all species observed each month. The speciesaccumulation curves (observed and estimated indicated that sampling sufficiency was attained, and that about 92% of the estimated ground-foraging ant fauna had been collected. 40 and 29 species were collected in the dry and rainy season, respectively, with monthly species richness ranging from 13 to 28. The total ant abundance showed a drastic decrease during the rainy season, and a negative linear correlation was found between rainfall and total ant

  10. 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

  11. Spatiotemporal chemotactic model for ant foraging

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    Ramakrishnan, Subramanian; Laurent, Thomas; Kumar, Manish; Bertozzi, Andrea L.

    2014-12-01

    In this paper, we present a generic theoretical chemotactic model that accounts for certain emergent behaviors observed in ant foraging. The model does not have many of the constraints and limitations of existing models for ants colony dynamics and takes into account the distinctly different behaviors exhibited in nature by ant foragers in search of food and food ferrying ants. Numerical simulations based on the model show trail formation in foraging ant colonies to be an emergent phenomenon and, in particular, replicate behavior observed in experiments involving the species P. megacephala. The results have broader implications for the study of randomness in chemotactic models. Potential applications include the developments of novel algorithms for stochastic search in engineered complex systems such as robotic swarms.

  12. Uncovering the complexity of ant foraging trails.

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    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Jones, Sam M; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2012-01-01

    The common garden ant Lasius niger use both trail pheromones and memory of past visits to navigate to and from food sources. In a recent paper we demonstrated a synergistic effect between route memory and trail pheromones: the presence of trail pheromones results in experienced ants walking straighter and faster. We also found that experienced ants leaving a pheromone trail deposit less pheromone. Here we focus on another finding of the experiment: the presence of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), which are used as home range markers by ants, also affects pheromone deposition behavior. When walking on a trail on which CHCs are present but trail pheromones are not, experienced foragers deposit less pheromone on the outward journey than on the return journey. The regulatory mechanisms ants use during foraging and recruitment behavior is subtle and complex, affected by multiple interacting factors such as route memory, travel direction and the presence trail pheromone and home-range markings.

  13. Elevation and forest clearing effects on foraging differ between surface--and subterranean--foraging army ants (Formicidae: Ecitoninae).

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    Kumar, Anjali; O'Donnell, Sean

    2009-01-01

    1. Forest fragmentation often results in a matrix of open areas mixed with patches of forest. Both biotic and abiotic factors can affect consumer species' ability to utilize the altered habitat, especially for species that range over large areas searching for prey. 2. Army ants (Formicidae: Ecitoninae) are highly mobile top predators in terrestrial Neotropical ecosystems. Army ant foraging behaviour is influenced by forest clearing at lowland sites, and clearing can reduce army ant population persistence. 3. Because high temperatures are implicated in hindering above-ground army ant foraging, we predicted that forest clearing effects on army ant foraging would be reduced at higher (cooler) elevations in montane forest. We also predicted that subterranean foraging, employed by some army ant species, would buffer them from the negative effects of forest clearing. 4. We quantified the foraging rates of above-ground and underground foraging army ants at eight sites along an elevational gradient from 1090 to 1540 m a.s.l. We asked whether these two foraging strategies cause a difference in the ability of army ants to forage in open matrix areas relative to elevationally matched forested habitats, and whether elevation predicts open area vs. forest foraging rate differences. 5. As predicted, army ants that forage above-ground had lower foraging rates in open areas, but the open area vs. forest difference declined with elevation. In contrast, underground foragers were not affected by habitat type, and underground foraging rates increased with elevation. Ground surface temperatures were higher in open areas than forested areas. Temperatures declined with elevation, and temperature differences between open and forested areas decreased with elevation. 6. We conclude that army ants that forage above-ground may be restricted to forested areas due to a thermal tolerance threshold, but that they are released from this limitation at higher elevations. We further suggest that

  14. Food Preference and Foraging Activity of Ants: Recommendations for Field Applications of Low-Toxicity Baits

    OpenAIRE

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-01-01

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species (Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi...

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

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

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    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.

  17. The effects of forest conversion to oil palm on ground-foraging ant communities depend on beta diversity and sampling grain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Wendy Y; Foster, William A

    2015-08-01

    Beta diversity - the variation in species composition among spatially discrete communities - and sampling grain - the size of samples being compared - may alter our perspectives of diversity within and between landscapes before and after agricultural conversion. Such assumptions are usually based on point comparisons, which do not accurately capture actual differences in total diversity. Beta diversity is often not rigorously examined. We investigated the beta diversity of ground-foraging ant communities in fragmented oil palm and forest landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using diversity metrics transformed from Hill number equivalents to remove dependences on alpha diversity. We compared the beta diversities of oil palm and forest, across three hierarchically nested sampling grains. We found that oil palm and forest communities had a greater percentage of total shared species when larger samples were compared. Across all grains and disregarding relative abundances, there was higher beta diversity of all species among forest communities. However, there were higher beta diversities of common and very abundant (dominant) species in oil palm as compared to forests. Differences in beta diversities between oil palm and forest were greatest at the largest sampling grain. Larger sampling grains in oil palm may generate bigger species pools, increasing the probability of shared species with forest samples. Greater beta diversity of all species in forest may be attributed to rare species. Oil palm communities may be more heterogeneous in common and dominant species because of variable community assembly events. Rare and also common species are better captured at larger grains, boosting differences in beta diversity between larger samples of forest and oil palm communities. Although agricultural landscapes support a lower total diversity than natural forests, diversity especially of abundant species is still important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Diversity in

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

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    Prabhakar, Balaji; Dektar, Katherine N; Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-01-01

    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.

  19. Polydomy enhances foraging performance in ant colonies.

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    Stroeymeyt, N; Joye, P; Keller, L

    2017-04-26

    Collective foraging confers benefits in terms of reduced predation risk and access to social information, but it heightens local competition when resources are limited. In social insects, resource limitation has been suggested as a possible cause for the typical decrease in per capita productivity observed with increasing colony size, a phenomenon known as Michener's paradox. Polydomy (distribution of a colony's brood and workers across multiple nests) is believed to help circumvent this paradox through its positive effect on foraging efficiency, but there is still little supporting evidence for this hypothesis. Here, we show experimentally that polydomy enhances the foraging performance of food-deprived Temnothorax nylanderi ant colonies via several mechanisms. First, polydomy influences task allocation within colonies, resulting in faster retrieval of protein resources. Second, communication between sister nests reduces search times for far away resources. Third, colonies move queens, brood and workers across available nest sites in response to spatial heterogeneities in protein and carbohydrate resources. This suggests that polydomy represents a flexible mechanism for space occupancy, helping ant colonies adjust to the environment. © 2017 The Author(s).

  20. Comparison Between Ground Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities Foraging in the Straw Mulch of Sugarcane Crops and in the Leaf Litter of Neighboring Forests.

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    Silva, N S; Saad, L P; Souza-Campana, D R; Bueno, O C; Morini, M S C

    2017-02-01

    In many sugarcane plantations in Brazil, the straw is left on the soil after harvesting, and vinasse, a by-product of the production of sugar and ethanol, is used for fertigation. Our goal was to compare ant community composition and species richness in the straw mulch of sugarcane crops with the leaf litter of neighboring forests. We tested the hypothesis that ant communities in the straw mulch of vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops and in the forest leaf litter were similar, because the combination of straw mulching and vinasse irrigation has a positive effect on soil fauna. Straw mulch and leaf litter were collected from 21 sites and placed in Berlese funnels. In total, 61 species were found in the forest leaf litter, whereas 34 and 28 species were found in the straw mulch of sugarcane fields with and without vinasse, respectively. Ant communities differed between forest and crop fields, but the species in the sugarcane straw mulch were a subset of the species found in the forest leaf litter. Although vinasse is rich in organic matter, it did not increase ant diversity. Seven feeding and/or foraging types were identified and, among the different types, surface-foraging omnivorous ants were the most prevalent in all habitats. Vinasse-irrigated sugarcane straw mulch had more predatory species than mulch from vinasse-free fields, but fewer than forest leaf litter. However, this positive effect of vinasse irrigation should be carefully evaluated because vinasse has negative effects on the environment. © 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.

  1. Experimental Study of the Dynamics of Foraging Ants

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    Walker, J. I.; Fetzner, R. P.; Baxter, G. W.

    2006-03-01

    We study the search paths of foraging ants in order to describe their behavior mathematically. Ants have become popular as simple agents in models of artificial life. Here, the ant is presented the problem of finding food when no food cues are present. In this experiment, individual ants (Formicinae lasius flavus) are allowed to forage on a two-dimensional textured surface in the absence of a food source. The position of the ant as a function of time is determined with a high resolution digital camera. The scaling properties of the resulting foraging paths compare favorably with those of certain types of random walk.

  2. Effect of interactions between harvester ants on forager decisions

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    Jacob D Davidson

    2016-10-01

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

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

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    Lima,Luan D.; Antonialli-Junior, William F.

    2013-01-01

    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, t...

  4. Spatiotemporal resource distribution and foraging strategies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of food resources in space and time is likely to be an important factor governing the type of foraging strategy used by ants. However, no previous systematic attempt has been made to determine whether spatiotemporal resource distribution is in fact correlated with foraging strategy across the ants. In this analysis, I present data compiled from the literature on the foraging strategy and food resource use of 402 species of ants from across the phylogenetic tree. By categorizing the distribution of resources reported in these studies in terms of size relative to colony size, spatial distribution relative to colony foraging range, frequency of occurrence in time relative to worker life span, and depletability (i.e., whether the colony can cause a change in resource frequency), I demonstrate that different foraging strategies are indeed associated with specific spatiotemporal resource attributes. The general patterns I describe here can therefore be used as a framework to inform predictions in future studies of ant foraging behavior. No differences were found between resources collected via short-term recruitment strategies (group recruitment, short-term trails, and volatile recruitment), whereas different resource distributions were associated with solitary foraging, trunk trails, long-term trail networks, group raiding, and raiding. In many cases, ant species use a combination of different foraging strategies to collect diverse resources. It is useful to consider these foraging strategies not as separate options but as modular parts of the total foraging effort of a colony. PMID:25525497

  5. Spatiotemporal resource distribution and foraging strategies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

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    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of food resources in space and time is likely to be an important factor governing the type of foraging strategy used by ants. However, no previous systematic attempt has been made to determine whether spatiotemporal resource distribution is in fact correlated with foraging strategy across the ants. In this analysis, I present data compiled from the literature on the foraging strategy and food resource use of 402 species of ants from across the phylogenetic tree. By categorizing the distribution of resources reported in these studies in terms of size relative to colony size, spatial distribution relative to colony foraging range, frequency of occurrence in time relative to worker life span, and depletability (i.e., whether the colony can cause a change in resource frequency), I demonstrate that different foraging strategies are indeed associated with specific spatiotemporal resource attributes. The general patterns I describe here can therefore be used as a framework to inform predictions in future studies of ant foraging behavior. No differences were found between resources collected via short-term recruitment strategies (group recruitment, short-term trails, and volatile recruitment), whereas different resource distributions were associated with solitary foraging, trunk trails, long-term trail networks, group raiding, and raiding. In many cases, ant species use a combination of different foraging strategies to collect diverse resources. It is useful to consider these foraging strategies not as separate options but as modular parts of the total foraging effort of a colony.

  6. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    OpenAIRE

    Liqiang Liu; Yuntao Dai; Jinyu Gao

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-06-10

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

  8. Ant Foraging Behavior for Job Shop Problem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahad Diyana Abdul

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-01

    Variation in foraging behavior may indicate differences in food availability and allow assessment of restoration actions. Ants are prominent bioindicators used in assessing ecological responses to disturbance. However, behavioral data have been poorly incorporated as an index. The foraging performance of red harvester ants was quantified in order to evaluate the success of a restoration ecology experiment in the tropical dry forest of Sierra de Huautla, Morelos, in central Mexico. Foraging performance by granivorous, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, ants was diminished after 6 and 8 years of cattle grazing and wood harvest were excluded as part of a restoration experiment in a highly degraded biome. Despite investing more time in foraging, ant colonies in exclusion plots showed lower foraging success and acquired less seed biomass than colonies in control plots. In line with the predictions of optimal foraging theory, in restored plots where ant foraging performance was poor, ants harvested a higher diversity of seeds. Reduced foraging success and increased harvest of non-preferred foods in exclusion plots were likely due to the growth of herbaceous vegetation, which impedes travel by foragers. Moreover, by 8 years of exclusion, 37% of nests in exclusion plots had disappeared compared to 0% of nests in control plots. Ants' foraging success and behavior were sensitive to changes in habitat quality due to the plant successional process triggered by a restoration intervention. This study spotlights on the utility of animal foraging behavior in the evaluation of habitat restoration programs. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  10. 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.

  11. Cotton Rats Alter Foraging in Response to an Invasive Ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darracq, Andrea K; Conner, L Mike; Brown, Joel S; McCleery, Robert A

    We assessed the effects of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta; hereafter fire ant) on the foraging of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). We used a manipulative experiment, placing resource patches with a known amount of millet seed within areas with reduced (RIFA [-]) or ambient (RIFA [+]) numbers of fire ants. We measured giving up densities (the amount of food left within each patch) within the resource patches for 4 days to quantify the effects of fire ants on cotton rat foraging. We assessed the effects of fire ant treatment (RIFA), Day, and their interaction on cotton rat giving up densities. Giving up densities on RIFA [+] grids were nearly 2.2 times greater across all foraging days and ranged from 1.6 to 2.3 times greater from day 1 to day 4 than the RIFA [-] grids. From day 1 to day 4, mean giving up densities decreased significantly faster for the RIFA [-] than RIFA [+] treatments, 58% and 13%, respectively. Our results demonstrate that cotton rats perceive a risk of injury from fire ants, which is likely caused by interference competition, rather than direct predation. Envenomation from ants likely decrease the foraging efficiency of cotton rats resulting in more time spent foraging. Increased time spent foraging is likely stressful in terms of the opportunity for direct injury and encounters with other predators. These indirect effects may reduce an individual cotton rat's fitness and translate into lowered population abundances.

  12. Food preference and foraging activity of ants: recommendations for field applications of low-toxicity baits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyamukondiwa, Casper; Addison, Pia

    2014-04-10

    Control of ants using baits of low toxicity cannot be effective without knowledge of bait distribution patterns and bait station densities, which are determined by ants' foraging activities. Furthermore, the success of toxic baits also depends upon attractiveness of bait carriers. Here, we assessed ground and vine foraging activity and food preferences for the three ant species ( Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Anoplolepis custodiens (F. Smith) and Crematogaster peringueyi Emery) under field conditions. We found that L. humile's vineyard foraging activity was high and that movement of ant bait by C. peringueyi and A. custodiens in the vineyard was relatively low. Consequently, more bait stations need to be dispensed for more effective control of C. peringueyi and A. custodiens than for L. humile. Different bait densities are discussed for the various ant species. Food preference trials indicated that vineyard foraging ants preferred wet bait attractants over dry ones, making liquids the most ideal carriers for baiting these ants. Linepithema humile was attracted to 25% sugar water, while C. peringueyi was attracted to both 25% sugar water and honey. Anoplolepis custodiens was attracted to tuna but was also attracted to 25% sugar water. Thus, future bait formulations should be tailor made to suit these specific food requirements if baits are to be successful in ant pest management. This is an open access paper. We use the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license that permits unrestricted use, provided that the paper is properly attributed.

  13. Harvester ants use interactions to regulate forager activation and availability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Bala, Ashwin; Merrell, Andrew; Queirolo, Jovel; Stumpe, Martin C; Holmes, Susan; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-07-01

    Social groups balance flexibility and robustness in their collective response to environmental changes using feedback between behavioural processes that operate at different timescales. Here we examine how behavioural processes operating at two timescales regulate the foraging activity of colonies of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, allowing them to balance their response to food availability and predation. Previous work showed that the rate at which foragers return to the nest with food influences the rate at which foragers leave the nest. To investigate how interactions inside the nest link the rates of returning and outgoing foragers, we observed outgoing foragers inside the nest in field colonies using a novel observation method. We found that the interaction rate experienced by outgoing foragers inside the nest corresponded to forager return rate, and that the interactions of outgoing foragers were spatially clustered. Activation of a forager occurred on the timescale of seconds: a forager left the nest 3-8 s after a substantial increase in interactions with returning foragers. The availability of outgoing foragers to become activated was adjusted on the timescale of minutes: when forager return was interrupted for more than 4-5 min, available foragers waiting near the nest entrance went deeper into the nest. Thus, forager activation and forager availability both increased with the rate at which foragers returned to the nest. This process was checked by negative feedback between forager activation and forager availability. Regulation of foraging activation on the timescale of seconds provides flexibility in response to fluctuations in food abundance, whereas regulation of forager availability on the timescale of minutes provides robustness in response to sustained disturbance such as predation.

  14. Extrafloral nectar content alters foraging preferences of a predatory ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

    We tested whether the carbohydrate and amino acid content of extrafloral nectar affected prey choice by a predatory ant. Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, were provided with artificial nectar that varied in the presence of carbohydrates and amino acids and were then provided with two prey items that differed in nutritional content, female and male crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with carbohydrate supplements consumed less of the female crickets and frequently did not consume the high-lipid ovaries of female crickets. Colonies of fire ants provided with amino acid supplements consumed less of the male crickets. While a number of studies have shown that the presence of extrafloral nectar or honeydew can affect ant foraging activity, these results suggest that the nutritional composition of extrafloral nectar is also important and can affect subsequent prey choice by predatory ants. Our results suggest that, by altering the composition of extrafloral nectar, plants could manipulate the prey preferences of ants foraging on them.

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

    CERN Document Server

    Tejera, F

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Flexible Foraging of Ants under Unsteadily Varying Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tao, Tomomi; Nakagawa, Hiroyuki; Yamasaki, Masato; Nishimori, Hiraku

    2004-08-01

    Using a simple model for the trail formation of ants, the relation between i) the schedule of feeding which represents the unsteady natural environment, ii) emerging patterns of trails connecting a nest with food resources, and iii) the foraging efficiency is studied. Simulations and a simple analysis show that the emergent trail pattern flexibly varies depending on the feeding schedule by which ants can make an efficient foraging according to the underlying unsteady environment.

  17. Chaos–order transition in foraging behavior of ants

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    The study of the foraging behavior of group animals (especially ants) is of practical ecological importance, but it also contributes to the development of widely applicable optimization problem-solving techniques. Biologists have discovered that single ants exhibit low-dimensional deterministic-chaotic activities. However, the influences of the nest, ants’ physical abilities, and ants’ knowledge (or experience) on foraging behavior have received relatively little attention in studies of the collective behavior of ants. This paper provides new insights into basic mechanisms of effective foraging for social insects or group animals that have a home. We propose that the whole foraging process of ants is controlled by three successive strategies: hunting, homing, and path building. A mathematical model is developed to study this complex scheme. We show that the transition from chaotic to periodic regimes observed in our model results from an optimization scheme for group animals with a home. According to our investigation, the behavior of such insects is not represented by random but rather deterministic walks (as generated by deterministic dynamical systems, e.g., by maps) in a random environment: the animals use their intelligence and experience to guide them. The more knowledge an ant has, the higher its foraging efficiency is. When young insects join the collective to forage with old and middle-aged ants, it benefits the whole colony in the long run. The resulting strategy can even be optimal. PMID:24912159

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouchebti, S; Ferrere, S; Vittori, K; Latil, G; Dussutour, A; Fourcassié, V

    2015-12-21

    Lane segregation is rarely observed in animals that move in bidirectional flows. Consequently, these animals generally experience a high rate of head-on collisions during their journeys. Although these collisions have a cost (each collision induces a delay resulting in a decrease of individual speed), they could also have a benefit by promoting information transfer between individuals. Here we explore the impact of head-on collisions in leaf-cutting ants moving on foraging trails by artificially decreasing the rate of head-on collisions between individuals. We show that head-on collisions do not influence the rate of recruitment in these ants but do influence foraging efficiency, i.e. the proportion of ants returning to the nest with a leaf fragment. Surprisingly, both unladen and laden ants returning to the nest participate in the modulation of foraging efficiency: foraging efficiency decreases when the rate of contacts with both nestbound laden or unladen ants decreases. These results suggest that outgoing ants are able to collect information from inbound ants even when these latter do not carry any leaf fragment and that this information can influence their foraging decisions when reaching the end of the trail.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karin Moll

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants' running speed and thereby the colony's food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. CONCLUSIONS: In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate.

  20. Experience, corpulence and decision making in ant foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Elva J H; Feinerman, Ofer; Franks, Nigel R

    2012-08-01

    Social groups are structured by the decisions of their members. Social insects typically divide labour: some decide to stay in the nest while others forage for the colony. Two sources of information individuals may use when deciding whether to forage are their own experience of recent task performance and their own physiology, e.g. fat reserves (corpulence). The former is primarily personal information; the latter may give an indication of the food reserves of the whole colony. These factors are hard to separate because typically leaner individuals are also more experienced foragers. We designed an experiment to determine whether foraging specialisation is physiological or experience based (or both). We invented a system of automatic doors controlled by radio-tag information to manipulate task access and decouple these two sources of information. Our results show that when information from corpulence and recent experience conflict, ants behave only in accordance with their corpulence. However, among ants physiologically inclined to forage (less corpulent ants), recent experience of success positively influenced their propensity to forage again. Hence, foraging is organised via long-term physiological differences among individuals resulting in a relatively stable response threshold distribution, with fine-tuning provided by short-term learning processes. Through these simple rules, colonies can organise their foraging effort both robustly and flexibly.

  1. A mathematical model of foraging in a dynamic environment by trail-laying Argentine ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramsch, Kai; Reid, Chris R; Beekman, Madeleine; Middendorf, Martin

    2012-08-07

    Ants live in dynamically changing environments, where food sources become depleted and alternative sources appear. Yet most mathematical models of ant foraging assume that the ants' foraging environment is static. Here we describe a mathematical model of ant foraging in a dynamic environment. Our model attempts to explain recent empirical data on dynamic foraging in the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr). The ants are able to find the shortest path in a Towers of Hanoi maze, a complex network containing 32,768 alternative paths, even when the maze is altered dynamically. We modify existing models developed to explain ant foraging in static environments, to elucidate what possible mechanisms allow the ants to quickly adapt to changes in their foraging environment. Our results suggest that navigation of individual ants based on a combination of one pheromone deposited during foraging and directional information enables the ants to adapt their foraging trails and recreates the experimental results. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. How Load-Carrying Ants Avoid Falling Over: Mechanical Stability during Foraging in Atta vollenweideri Grass-Cutting Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Karin; Roces, Flavio; Federle, Walter

    2013-01-01

    Background Foraging workers of grass-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) regularly carry grass fragments larger than their own body. Fragment length has been shown to influence the ants’ running speed and thereby the colony’s food intake rate. We investigated whether and how grass-cutting ants maintain stability when carrying fragments of two different lengths but identical mass. Principal Findings Ants carried all fragments in an upright, backwards-tilted position, but held long fragments more vertically than short ones. All carrying ants used an alternating tripod gait, where mechanical stability was increased by overlapping stance phases of consecutive steps. The overlap was greatest for ants carrying long fragments, resulting in more legs contacting the ground simultaneously. For all ants, the projection of the total centre of mass (ant and fragment) was often outside the supporting tripod, i.e. the three feet that would be in stance for a non-overlapping tripod gait. Stability was only achieved through additional legs in ground contact. Tripod stability (quantified as the minimum distance of the centre of mass to the edge of the supporting tripod) was significantly smaller for ants with long fragments. Here, tripod stability was lowest at the beginning of each step, when the center of mass was near the posterior margin of the supporting tripod. By contrast, tripod stability was lowest at the end of each step for ants carrying short fragments. Consistently, ants with long fragments mainly fell backwards, whereas ants carrying short fragments mainly fell forwards or to the side. Assuming that transporting ants adjust neither the fragment angle nor the gait, they would be less stable and more likely to fall over. Conclusions In grass-cutting ants, the need to maintain static stability when carrying long grass fragments has led to multiple kinematic adjustments at the expense of a reduced material transport rate. PMID:23300994

  3. 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).

  4. The organization of foraging in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2011-01-01

    Although natural selection in ants acts most strongly at the colony, or superorganismal level, foraging patterns have rarely been studied at that level, focusing instead on the behavior of individual foragers or groups of foragers. The experiments and observations in this paper reveal in broad strokes how colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), allocate their available labor to foraging, how they disperse that force within their territory, and how this force changes with colony size, season and worker age. Territory area is positively related to colony size and the number of foragers, more so during the spring than fall. Changes of colony size and territory area are driven by seasonal variation of sexual and worker production, which in turn drive seasonal variation of worker age-distribution. During spring sexual production, colonies shrink because worker production falls below replacement. This loss is proportional to colony size, causing forager density in the spring to be negatively related to colony and territory size. In the fall, colonies emphasize worker production, bringing colony size back up. However, because smaller colonies curtailed spring worker production less than larger ones, their fall forager populations are proportionally greater, causing them to gain territory at the expense of large colonies. Much variation of territory area remains unexplained and can probably be attributed to pressure from neighboring colonies. Boundaries between territories are characterized by "no ants' zones" mostly devoid of fire ants. The forager population can be divided into a younger group of recruitable workers that wait for scouts to activate them to help retrieve large food finds. About one-third of the recruits wait near openings in the foraging tunnels that underlie the entire territory, while two-thirds wait in the nest. Recruitment to food is initially very rapid and local from the foraging tunnels, while sustained

  5. The Müller-Lyer illusion in ant foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakiyama, Tomoko; Gunji, Yukio-Pegio

    2013-01-01

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

  6. The Muller-Lyer illusion in ant foraging.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomoko Sakiyama

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

  7. Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains based on position distribution model of ant colony foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao; Gao, Jinyu

    2014-01-01

    Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  8. Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm for Continuous Domains Based on Position Distribution Model of Ant Colony Foraging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liqiang Liu

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous domains is a major research direction for ant colony optimization algorithm. In this paper, we propose a distribution model of ant colony foraging, through analysis of the relationship between the position distribution and food source in the process of ant colony foraging. We design a continuous domain optimization algorithm based on the model and give the form of solution for the algorithm, the distribution model of pheromone, the update rules of ant colony position, and the processing method of constraint condition. Algorithm performance against a set of test trials was unconstrained optimization test functions and a set of optimization test functions, and test results of other algorithms are compared and analyzed to verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  9. A mathematical and experimental study of ant foraging trail dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Katie; Rossi, Louis F

    2006-07-21

    In this article, we present a mathematical model coupled to an experimental study of ant foraging trails. Our laboratory experiments on Tetramorium caespitum do not find a strong relationship between ant densities and velocities, a common assumption in traffic modeling. Rather, we find that higher order effects play a major role in observed behavior, and our model reflects this by including inertial terms in the evolution equation. A linearization of the resulting system yields left- and right-moving waves, in agreement with laboratory measurements. The linearized system depends upon Froude numbers reflecting a ratio of the energy stored in the foraging trail to the kinetic energy of the ants. The model predicts and the measurements support the existence of two distinct phase velocities.

  10. Mapping the navigational knowledge of individually foraging ants, Myrmecia croslandi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narendra, Ajay; Gourmaud, Sarah; Zeil, Jochen

    2013-01-01

    Ants are efficient navigators, guided by path integration and visual landmarks. Path integration is the primary strategy in landmark-poor habitats, but landmarks are readily used when available. The landmark panorama provides reliable information about heading direction, routes and specific location. Visual memories for guidance are often acquired along routes or near to significant places. Over what area can such locally acquired memories provide information for reaching a place? This question is unusually approachable in the solitary foraging Australian jack jumper ant, since individual foragers typically travel to one or two nest-specific foraging trees. We find that within 10 m from the nest, ants both with and without home vector information available from path integration return directly to the nest from all compass directions, after briefly scanning the panorama. By reconstructing panoramic views within the successful homing range, we show that in the open woodland habitat of these ants, snapshot memories acquired close to the nest provide sufficient navigational information to determine nest-directed heading direction over a surprisingly large area, including areas that animals may have not visited previously. PMID:23804615

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2009-01-01

    . To investigate this hypothesis, we studied the effect of sex and life history stage on the frequency of kleptoparasitism in ant-eating spiders of the genus Zodarion in the field. These spiders use a special capture technique involving a quick attack on an ant that is left unguarded by spiders for several minutes......, providing ample opportunities for kleptoparasitism. We found that adult females consistently hunted actively, while adult males ceased active prey capture and instead engaged in kleptoparasitism. Juvenile spiders were active hunters irrespective of sex. Consistent with an ontogenetic shift in foraging...

  12. A continuous model of ant foraging with pheromones and trail formation

    OpenAIRE

    Amorim, Paulo

    2014-01-01

    We propose and numerically analyze a PDE model of ant foraging behavior. Ant foraging is a prime example of individuals following simple behavioral rules based on local information producing complex, organized and ``intelligent'' strategies at the population level. One of its main aspects is the widespread use of pheromones, which are chemical compounds laid by the ants used to attract other ants to a food source. In this work, we consider a continuous description of a population of ants and ...

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  15. Trail pheromone disruption of Argentine ant trail formation and foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, David Maxwell; Peck, Robert W; Stringer, Lloyd D; Snook, Kirsten; Banko, Paul C

    2010-01-01

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

  16. Modelling of self-driven particles: Foraging ants and pedestrians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishinari, Katsuhiro; Sugawara, Ken; Kazama, Toshiya; Schadschneider, Andreas; Chowdhury, Debashish

    2006-12-01

    Models for the behavior of ants and pedestrians are studied in a unified way in this paper. Each ant follows pheromone put by preceding ants, hence creating a trail on the ground, while pedestrians also try to follow others in a crowd for efficient and safe walking. These following behaviors are incorporated in our stochastic models by using only local update rules for computational efficiency. It is demonstrated that the ant trail model shows a unusual non-monotonic dependence of the average speed of the ants on their density, which can be well analyzed by the zero-range process. We also show that this anomalous behavior is clearly observed in an experiment of multiple robots. Next, the relation between the ant trail model and the floor field model for studying evacuation dynamics of pedestrians is discussed. The latter is regarded as a two-dimensional generalization of the ant trail model, where the pheromone is replaced by footprints. It is shown from simulations that small perturbations to pedestrians will sometimes avoid congestion and hence allow safe evacuation.

  17. Ant colonies and foraging line dynamics: Modeling, experiments and computations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossi, Louis

    2005-11-01

    Ants are one of several types of insects that form robust and complex societies, and as such, provide rich theoretical ground for the exploration and understanding of collective dynamics and the behaviorial parameters that drive the dynamics. Many species of ants are nearly or completely blind, so they interact locally through behaviorial cues with nearby ants, and through pheromone trails left by other ants. Consistent with biological observation, two populations of ants are modeled, those seeking food and those returning to the nest with food. A simple constitutive model relating ant densities to pheromone concentrations yields a system of equations describing two interacting fluids and predicts left- and right-moving traveling waves. All the model parameters can be reduced to two Froude numbers describing the ratio between a chemical potential and the kinetic energy of the traveling ants. Laboratory experiments on Tetramorium caespitum (L) clearly indicate left and right-moving traveling density waves in agreement with the mathematical model. We focus on understanding the evolutionary utility of the traveling waves, and the optimality of the Froude numbers and other parameters.

  18. Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Foraging Networks in the Grass-Cutting Ant Atta bisphaerica Forel, 1908 (Formicidae, Attini).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopes, Juliane F S; Brugger, Mariana S; Menezes, Regys B; Camargo, Roberto S; Forti, Luiz Carlos; Fourcassié, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Foraging networks are a key element for ant colonies because they facilitate the flow of resources from the environment to the nest and they allow the sharing of information among individuals. Here we report the results of an 8-month survey, extending from November 2009 to June 2010, of the foraging networks of four mature colonies of Atta bisphaerica, a species of grass-cutting ant which is considered as a pest in Brazil. We found that the distribution of foraging effort was strongly influenced by the landscape features around the nests, in particular by the permanently wet parts of the pasture in which the nests were located. The foraging networks consisted of underground tunnels which opened on average at 21.5m from the nests and of above-ground physical trails that reached on average 4.70m in length. The use of the foraging networks was highly dynamic, with few sections of the networks used for long periods of time. Three different phases, which could be linked to the seasonal change in the local rainfall regime, could be identified in the construction and use of the foraging networks. The first phase corresponded to the beginning of the rainy season and was characterized by a low foraging activity, as well as a low excavation and physical trail construction effort. The second phase, which began in February and extended up to the end of the humid season at the end of March, was characterized by an intense excavation and trail construction effort, resulting in an expansion of the foraging networks. Finally, in the third phase, which corresponded to the beginning of the dry season, the excavation and trail construction effort leveled off or decreased while foraging activity kept increasing. Our hypothesis is that ants could benefit from the underground tunnels and physical trails built during the humid season to maintain their foraging activity at a high level.

  19. Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Foraging Networks in the Grass-Cutting Ant Atta bisphaerica Forel, 1908 (Formicidae, Attini.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliane F S Lopes

    Full Text Available Foraging networks are a key element for ant colonies because they facilitate the flow of resources from the environment to the nest and they allow the sharing of information among individuals. Here we report the results of an 8-month survey, extending from November 2009 to June 2010, of the foraging networks of four mature colonies of Atta bisphaerica, a species of grass-cutting ant which is considered as a pest in Brazil. We found that the distribution of foraging effort was strongly influenced by the landscape features around the nests, in particular by the permanently wet parts of the pasture in which the nests were located. The foraging networks consisted of underground tunnels which opened on average at 21.5m from the nests and of above-ground physical trails that reached on average 4.70m in length. The use of the foraging networks was highly dynamic, with few sections of the networks used for long periods of time. Three different phases, which could be linked to the seasonal change in the local rainfall regime, could be identified in the construction and use of the foraging networks. The first phase corresponded to the beginning of the rainy season and was characterized by a low foraging activity, as well as a low excavation and physical trail construction effort. The second phase, which began in February and extended up to the end of the humid season at the end of March, was characterized by an intense excavation and trail construction effort, resulting in an expansion of the foraging networks. Finally, in the third phase, which corresponded to the beginning of the dry season, the excavation and trail construction effort leveled off or decreased while foraging activity kept increasing. Our hypothesis is that ants could benefit from the underground tunnels and physical trails built during the humid season to maintain their foraging activity at a high level.

  20. The Role of Non-Foraging Nests in Polydomous Wood Ant Colonies

    OpenAIRE

    Ellis, Samuel; Robinson, Elva J. H.

    2015-01-01

    A colony of red wood ants can inhabit more than one spatially separated nest, in a strategy called polydomy. Some nests within these polydomous colonies have no foraging trails to aphid colonies in the canopy. In this study we identify and investigate the possible roles of non-foraging nests in polydomous colonies of the wood ant Formica lugubris. To investigate the role of non-foraging nests we: (i) monitored colonies for three years; (ii) observed the resources being transported between non...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Lubertazzi

    2003-07-01

    Full Text Available Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species and within-habitat species richness (72 species ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form, was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lubertazzi, David; Tschinkel, Walter

    2003-01-01

    Ant communities in longleaf pine habitats are poorly known and hence the naturally occurring ant assemblages of a large portion of southeastern North America are not well understood. This study examined the diverse ant community found in the longleaf pine flatwoods of north Florida and tested how ant diversity changes along a herbaceous ground cover gradient. Restoring the ground cover to its original floral composition is an important focus of longleaf pine conservation and hence it is important to understand how native faunal communities vary with ground cover variation. Using 4 sampling methods, we characterized the ant community and analyzed its within-habitat variation among 12 study sites. We found the highest plot species richness (55 species) and within-habitat species richness (72 species) ever recorded for North American ants. The ants formed three distinct communities. The low-diversity arboreal and subterranean assemblages varied little across forest stands while the diversity of the species-rich ground foraging ant community was negatively correlated with percent herbaceous cover. The imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (monogyne form), was unexpectedly found to be abundant in high herbaceous cover sites. Floral restoration of the pine flatwoods, which is increasing the proportion of herbaceous cover, is likely to cause an increase in the abundance of the imported fire ant.

  3. Colony variation in the collective regulation of foraging by harvester ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guetz, Adam; Greene, Michael J.; Holmes, Susan

    2011-01-01

    This study investigates variation in collective behavior in a natural population of colonies of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Harvester ant colonies regulate foraging activity to adjust to current food availability; the rate at which inactive foragers leave the nest on the next trip depends on the rate at which successful foragers return with food. This study investigates differences among colonies in foraging activity and how these differences are associated with variation among colonies in the regulation of foraging. Colonies differ in the baseline rate at which patrollers leave the nest, without stimulation from returning ants. This baseline rate predicts a colony's foraging activity, suggesting there is a colony-specific activity level that influences how quickly any ant leaves the nest. When a colony's foraging activity is high, the colony is more likely to regulate foraging. Moreover, colonies differ in the propensity to adjust the rate of outgoing foragers to the rate of forager return. Naturally occurring variation in the regulation of foraging may lead to variation in colony survival and reproductive success. PMID:22479133

  4. Colony variation in the collective regulation of foraging by harvester ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Deborah M; Guetz, Adam; Greene, Michael J; Holmes, Susan

    2011-03-01

    This study investigates variation in collective behavior in a natural population of colonies of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Harvester ant colonies regulate foraging activity to adjust to current food availability; the rate at which inactive foragers leave the nest on the next trip depends on the rate at which successful foragers return with food. This study investigates differences among colonies in foraging activity and how these differences are associated with variation among colonies in the regulation of foraging. Colonies differ in the baseline rate at which patrollers leave the nest, without stimulation from returning ants. This baseline rate predicts a colony's foraging activity, suggesting there is a colony-specific activity level that influences how quickly any ant leaves the nest. When a colony's foraging activity is high, the colony is more likely to regulate foraging. Moreover, colonies differ in the propensity to adjust the rate of outgoing foragers to the rate of forager return. Naturally occurring variation in the regulation of foraging may lead to variation in colony survival and reproductive success.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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    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.

  8. Harvester ant colony variation in foraging activity and response to humidity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Deborah M; Dektar, Katherine N; Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2013-01-01

    Collective behavior is produced by interactions among individuals. Differences among groups in individual response to interactions can lead to ecologically important variation among groups in collective behavior. Here we examine variation among colonies in the foraging behavior of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Previous work shows how colonies regulate foraging in response to food availability and desiccation costs: the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest depends on the rate at which foragers return with food. To examine how colonies vary in response to humidity and in foraging rate, we performed field experiments that manipulated forager return rate in 94 trials with 17 colonies over 3 years. We found that the effect of returning foragers on the rate of outgoing foragers increases with humidity. There are consistent differences among colonies in foraging activity that persist from year to year.

  9. Harvester ant colony variation in foraging activity and response to humidity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deborah M Gordon

    Full Text Available Collective behavior is produced by interactions among individuals. Differences among groups in individual response to interactions can lead to ecologically important variation among groups in collective behavior. Here we examine variation among colonies in the foraging behavior of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Previous work shows how colonies regulate foraging in response to food availability and desiccation costs: the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest depends on the rate at which foragers return with food. To examine how colonies vary in response to humidity and in foraging rate, we performed field experiments that manipulated forager return rate in 94 trials with 17 colonies over 3 years. We found that the effect of returning foragers on the rate of outgoing foragers increases with humidity. There are consistent differences among colonies in foraging activity that persist from year to year.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schöning, Caspar; Vilhelmsen, Lars

    2007-01-01

    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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliveira, P S; da Silva, A F; Martins, A B

    1987-12-01

    Qualea grandiflora is a typical tree of Brazilian cerrados (savanna-like vegetation) that bears paired extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) along its stems. Results show that possession of EFNs increases ant density on Q. grandiflora shrubs over that of neighbouring non-nectariferous plants. Frequency of ant occupancy and mean number of ants per plant were much higher on Qualea than on plants lacking EFNs. These differences resulted in many more live termitebaits being attacked by foraging ants on Qualea than on neighbours without EFNs. Termites were attacked in equal numbers and with equal speeds on different-aged leaves of Qualea. The greatest potential for herbivore deterrence was presented by Camponotus ants (C. crassus, C. rufipes and C. aff. blandus), which together attacked significantly more termites than nine other ant species grouped. EFNs are regarded as important promoters of ant activity on cerado plants.

  12. Nectar foraging behaviour is affected by ant body size in Camponotus mus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medan, Violeta; Josens, Roxana B

    2005-08-01

    The nectivorous ant Camponotus mus shows a broad size variation within the worker caste. Large ants can ingest faster and larger loads than small ones. Differences in physiological abilities in fluid ingestion due to the insect size could be related to differences in decision-making according to ant size during nectar foraging. Sucrose solutions of different levels of sugar concentration (30% or 60%w/w), viscosity (high or low) or flow rate (ad libitum or 1microl/min) were offered in combination to analyse the behavioural responses to each of these properties separately. Differences were found depending on ant body size and the property compared. A regulated flow produced smaller crop loads for medium and large ants compared to the same solution given ad libitum. All foragers remained longer times feeding at the regulated flow source but larger ants often made longer interruptions. When sugar concentration was constant but viscosity was high, only large ants increased feeding time. Constant viscosity with different sugar concentration determined longer feeding time and bigger loads for the most concentrated solution for small but not for large ants. Small ants reached similar crop loads in a variety of conditions while large ants did not. These differences could be evidence of a possible specialization for nectar foraging based on ant body size.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  14. Harvester Ant Colony Variation in Foraging Activity and Response to Humidity

    OpenAIRE

    Gordon, Deborah M.; Dektar, Katherine N.; Noa Pinter-Wollman

    2013-01-01

    Collective behavior is produced by interactions among individuals. Differences among groups in individual response to interactions can lead to ecologically important variation among groups in collective behavior. Here we examine variation among colonies in the foraging behavior of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Previous work shows how colonies regulate foraging in response to food availability and desiccation costs: the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest depends on the ...

  15. How to not get stuck-negative feedback due to crowding maintains flexibility in ant foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J

    2014-11-07

    Ant foraging is an important model system in the study of adaptive complex systems. Many ants use trail pheromones to recruit nestmates to resources. Differential recruitment depending on resource quality coupled with positive feedback allows ant colonies to make rapid and accurate collective decisions about how best to allocate their work-force. However, ant colonies can become trapped in sub-optimal foraging decisions if recruitment to a poor resource becomes too strong before a better resource is discovered. Genetic algorithms and Ant Colony Optimisation heuristics can also suffer from being trapped in such local optima. Recently, two negative feedback effects were described, in which an increase in crowding (crowding negative feedback-CNF) or trail pheromones (pheromone negative feedback-PNF) caused a decrease in subsequent pheromone deposition. Using agent based simulations with realistic parameters I test whether these negative feedback effects can prevent simulated ant colonies from becoming trapped in sub-optimal foraging decisions. Colonies are presented with two food sources of different qualities, and these qualities switch part way through the experiment. When either no negative feedback effects are implemented or only PNF is implemented colonies are completely unable to refocus their foraging effort to the high quality feeder. However, when CNF alone is implemented at a realistic level 97% of colonies successfully refocus their foraging effort. This ability to refocus colony foraging efforts is due to the strong reduction of pheromone deposition caused by CNF. This suggests that CNF is an important behaviour enabling ant colonies to maintain foraging flexibility. However, CNF comes at a slight cost to colonies when making their initial foraging decision. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. The rewards of restraint in the collective regulation of foraging by harvester ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-06-06

    Collective behaviour, arising from local interactions, allows groups to respond to changing conditions. Long-term studies have shown that the traits of individual mammals and birds are associated with their reproductive success, but little is known about the evolutionary ecology of collective behaviour in natural populations. An ant colony operates without central control, regulating its activity through a network of local interactions. This work shows that variation among harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) colonies in collective response to changing conditions is related to variation in colony lifetime reproductive success in the production of offspring colonies. Desiccation costs are high for harvester ants foraging in the desert. More successful colonies tend to forage less when conditions are dry, and show relatively stable foraging activity when conditions are more humid. Restraint from foraging does not compromise a colony's long-term survival; colonies that fail to forage at all on many days survive as long, over the colony's 20-30-year lifespan, as those that forage more regularly. Sensitivity to conditions in which to reduce foraging activity may be transmissible from parent to offspring colony. These results indicate that natural selection is shaping the collective behaviour that regulates foraging activity, and that the selection pressure, related to climate, may grow stronger if the current drought in their habitat persists.

  17. The Role of Non-Foraging Nests in Polydomous Wood Ant Colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis, Samuel; Robinson, Elva J H

    2015-01-01

    A colony of red wood ants can inhabit more than one spatially separated nest, in a strategy called polydomy. Some nests within these polydomous colonies have no foraging trails to aphid colonies in the canopy. In this study we identify and investigate the possible roles of non-foraging nests in polydomous colonies of the wood ant Formica lugubris. To investigate the role of non-foraging nests we: (i) monitored colonies for three years; (ii) observed the resources being transported between non-foraging nests and the rest of the colony; (iii) measured the amount of extra-nest activity around non-foraging and foraging nests. We used these datasets to investigate the extent to which non-foraging nests within polydomous colonies are acting as: part of the colony expansion process; hunting and scavenging specialists; brood-development specialists; seasonal foragers; or a selfish strategy exploiting the foraging effort of the rest of the colony. We found that, rather than having a specialised role, non-foraging nests are part of the process of colony expansion. Polydomous colonies expand by founding new nests in the area surrounding the existing nests. Nests founded near food begin foraging and become part of the colony; other nests are not founded near food sources and do not initially forage. Some of these non-foraging nests eventually begin foraging; others do not and are abandoned. This is a method of colony growth not available to colonies inhabiting a single nest, and may be an important advantage of the polydomous nesting strategy, allowing the colony to expand into profitable areas.

  18. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Denise; Calixto, Eduardo Soares; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system.

  19. Variation in Extrafloral Nectary Productivity Influences the Ant Foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-01-01

    Extrafloral nectar is the main food source offered by plants to predatory ants in most land environments. Although many studies have demonstrated the importance of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to plant defense against herbivores, the influence of EFNs secretory activity pattern on predatory ants remains yet not fully understood. Here, we verified the relation between the extrafloral nectar production of a plant community in Cerrado in different times of the day, and its attractiveness to ants. The extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of seven plant species showed higher productivity overnight. Ant abundance was higher in times of large extrafloral nectar production, however, there was no positive relation between ant richness on plants and EFNs productivity. There was temporal resource partitioning among ant species, and it indicates strong resource competition. The nectar productivity varied among plant species and time of the day, and it influenced the visitation patterns of ants. Therefore, EFNs are a key ant-plant interaction driver in the studied system. PMID:28046069

  20. Tandem carrying, a new foraging strategy in ants: description, function, and adaptive significance relative to other described foraging strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guénard, Benoit; Silverman, Jules

    2011-08-01

    An important aspect of social insect biology lies in the expression of collective foraging strategies developed to exploit food. In ants, four main types of foraging strategies are typically recognized based on the intensity of recruitment and the importance of chemical communication. Here, we describe a new type of foraging strategy, "tandem carrying", which is also one of the most simple recruitment strategies, observed in the Ponerinae species Pachycondyla chinensis. Within this strategy, workers are directly carried individually and then released on the food resource by a successful scout. We demonstrate that this recruitment is context dependent and based on the type of food discovered and can be quickly adjusted as food quality changes. We did not detect trail marking by tandem-carrying workers. We conclude by discussing the importance of tandem carrying in an evolutionary context relative to other modes of recruitment in foraging and nest emigration.

  1. Egocentric and geocentric navigation during extremely long foraging paths of desert ants.

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    Huber, Roman; Knaden, Markus

    2015-06-01

    Desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, navigate individually in the salt pans of Tunisia by means of path integration. However, as path integration is error-prone, the ants in addition use visual and olfactory cues to pinpoint their nest entrance. It has been shown that the accuracy of the path integrator as well as the ants' confidence in that egocentric navigational tool decreases with increasing foraging distance. Here, we show that despite the accumulating errors, even after far-reaching foraging runs path integration provides the ants with surprisingly accurate information regarding the nest position. However, in addition, the ants take into account distant visual cues that are most probably provided by the patterns along the horizon line behind the nest entrance.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingram, Krista K; Kleeman, Lindsay; Peteru, Swetha

    2011-08-10

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kleeman Lindsay

    2011-08-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Reduced foraging investment as an adaptation to patchy food sources: A phasic army ant simulation.

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    Teseo, Serafino; Delloro, Francesco

    2017-09-07

    Colonies of several ant species within the subfamily Dorylinae alternate stereotypical discrete phases of foraging and reproduction. Such phasic cycles are thought to be adaptive because they minimize the amount of foraging and the related costs, and at the same time enhance the colony-level ability to rely on patchily distributed food sources. In order to investigate these hypotheses, we use here a simple computational approach to study the population dynamics of two species of virtual ant colonies that differ quantitatively in their foraging investment. One species, which we refer to as "phasic", forages only half of the time, mirroring the phasic activity of some army ants; the other "non-phasic" species forages instead all the time. We show that, when foraging costs are relatively high, populations of phasic colonies grow on average faster than non-phasic populations, outcompeting them in mixed populations. Interestingly, such tendency becomes more consistent as food becomes more difficult to find but locally abundant. According to our results, reducing the foraging investment, for example by adopting a phasic lifestyle, can result in a reproductive advantage, but only in specific conditions. We thus suggest phasic colony cycles to have emerged together with the doryline specialization in feeding on the brood of other eusocial insects, a resource that is hard to obtain but highly abundant if available. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-10-01

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

  9. How does habitat complexity affect ant foraging success? A test using functional measures on three continents.

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    Gibb, H; Parr, C L

    2010-12-01

    Habitat complexity can mediate key processes that structure local assemblages through effects on factors such as competition, predation and foraging behaviour. While most studies address assemblage responses to habitat complexity within one locality, a more global approach allows conclusions with greater independence from the phylogenetic constraints of the target assemblages, thus allowing greater generality. We tested the effects of natural and manipulated habitat complexities on ant assemblages from South Africa, Australia and Sweden, in order to determine if there were globally consistent responses in how functional measures of foraging success are regulated by habitat complexity. Specifically, we considered how habitat complexity affected ant foraging rates including the speed of discovery and rate of monopolisation. We also tested if habitat complexity affected the body size index, a size-related morphological trait, of ants discovering resources and occupying and monopolising the resources after 180 min. Ants were significantly slower to discover baits in the more complex treatments, consistent with predictions that they would move more slowly through more complex environments. The monopolisation index was also lower in the more complex treatments, suggesting that resources were more difficult to defend. Our index of ant body size showed trends in the predicted direction for complexity treatments. In addition, ants discovering, occupying and monopolising resources were smaller in simple than in complex natural habitats. Responses of discovering ants to resources in natural habitats were clear in only one of three regions. Consistent with our predictions, habitat complexity thus affected functional measures of the foraging success of ants in terms of measures of discovery and monopolisation rates and body size traits of successful ants. However, patterns were not always equally clear in manipulative and mensurative components of the study.

  10. Dominance in a ground-dwelling ant community of banana agroecosystem.

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    Carval, Dominique; Cotté, Violaine; Resmond, Rémi; Perrin, Benjamin; Tixier, Philippe

    2016-12-01

    In tropical ecosystems, ants represent a substantial portion of the animal biomass and contribute to various ecosystem services, including pest regulation and pollination. Dominant ant species are known to determine the structure of ant communities by interfering in the foraging of other ant species. Using bait and pitfall trapping experiments, we performed a pattern analysis at a fine spatial scale of an ant community in a very simplified and homogeneous agroecosystem, that is, a single-crop banana field in Martinique (French West Indies). We found that the community structure was driven by three dominant species (Solenopsis geminata, Nylanderia guatemalensis, and Monomorium ebeninum) and two subdominant species (Pheidole fallax and Brachymyrmex patagonicus). Our results showed that dominant and subdominant species generally maintained numerical dominance at baits across time, although S. geminata, M. ebeninum, and B. patagonicus displayed better abilities to maintain dominance than P. fallax and N. guatemalensis. Almost all interspecific correlations between species abundances, except those between B. patagonicus and N. guatemalensis, were symmetrically negative, suggesting that interference competition prevails in this ground-dwelling ant community. However, we observed variations in the diurnal and nocturnal foraging activity and in the daily occurrence at baits, which may mitigate the effect of interference competition through the induction of spatial and temporal niche partitioning. This may explain the coexistence of dominant, subdominant, and subordinate species in this very simplified agroecosystem, limited in habitat structure and diversity.

  11. Ant foraging on complex trails: route learning and the role of trail pheromones in Lasius niger.

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    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Ellis, Laura; Wood, Elizabeth; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2013-01-15

    Ants are central place foragers and use multiple information sources to navigate between the nest and feeding sites. Individual ants rapidly learn a route, and often prioritize memory over pheromone trails when tested on a simple trail with a single bifurcation. However, in nature, ants often forage at locations that are reached via more complex routes with multiple trail bifurcations. Such routes may be more difficult to learn, and thus ants would benefit from additional information. We hypothesized that trail pheromones play a more significant role in ant foraging on complex routes, either by assisting in navigation or route learning or both. We studied Lasius niger workers foraging on a doubly bifurcating trail with four end points. Route learning was slower and errors greater on alternating (e.g. left-right) versus repeating routes (e.g. left-left), with error rates of 32 and 3%, respectively. However, errors on alternating routes decreased by 30% when trail pheromone was present. Trail pheromones also aid route learning, leading to reduced errors in subsequent journeys without pheromone. If an experienced forager makes an error when returning to a food source, it reacts by increasing pheromone deposition on the return journey. In addition, high levels of trail pheromone suppress further pheromone deposition. This negative feedback mechanism may act to conserve pheromone or to regulate recruitment. Taken together, these results demonstrate further complexity and sophistication in the foraging system of ant colonies, especially in the role of trail pheromones and their relationship with learning and the use of private information (memory) in a complex environment.

  12. Modeling ant foraging: A chemotaxis approach with pheromones and trail formation.

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    Amorim, Paulo

    2015-11-21

    We consider a continuous mathematical description of a population of ants and simulate numerically their foraging behavior using a system of partial differential equations of chemotaxis type. We show that this system accurately reproduces observed foraging behavior, especially spontaneous trail formation and efficient removal of food sources. We show through numerical experiments that trail formation is correlated with efficient food removal. Our results illustrate the emergence of trail formation from simple modeling principles. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Natural history of the Neotropical arboreal ant, Odontomachus hastatus: nest sites, foraging schedule, and diet.

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    Camargo, Rafael X; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2012-01-01

    The ecology of most arboreal ants remains poorly documented because of the difficulty in accessing ant nests and foragers in the forest canopy. This study documents the nesting and foraging ecology of a large (∼13 mm total length) arboreal trap-jaw ant, Odontomachus hastatus (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a sandy plain forest on Cardoso Island, off the coast of Southeast Brazil. The results showed that O. hastatus nested in root clusters of epiphytic bromeliads, most commonly Vriesea procera (70% of nest plants). Mature O. hastatus colonies include one to several queens and about 500 workers. Foraging by O. hastatus is primarily nocturnal year-round, with increased foraging activity during the wet/warm season. The foragers hunt singly in the trees, preying on a variety of canopy-dwelling arthropods, with flies, moths, ants, and spiders accounting for > 60% of the prey captured. Although predators often have impacts on prey populations, the ecological importance of O. hastatus remains to be studied.

  14. Record and foraging behavior of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae in vertebrate carcasses

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiane Tagliatti Maciel

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Knowing the importance of participation by insects at cadaverous decomposition processes, and the limited use of the family Formicidae in criminal investigations, this study aims to record the foraging activity of four genera of ants in carcasses of birds and mammals. Observations occurred accidentally in two locations in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. In total, seven species of ants foraging in eight vertebrate carcasses were recorded. In addition, the study reported for the first time the presence of Wasmannia in carcasses in Brazil.

  15. The influence of the physical environment on the self-organised foraging patterns of ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Detrain, C.; Natan, C.; Deneubourg, J.-L.

    2001-04-01

    Among social insects such as ants, scouts that modulate their recruiting behaviour, following simple rules based on local information, generate collective patterns of foraging. Here we demonstrate that features of the abiotic environment, specifically the foraging substrate, may also be influential in the emergence of group-level decisions such as the choice of one foraging path. Experimental data and theoretical analyses show that the collective patterns can arise independently of behavioural changes of individual scouts and can result, through self-organising processes, from the physico-chemical properties of the environment that alter the dynamics of information transfer by chemical trails.

  16. Identifying robustness in the regulation of collective foraging of ant colonies using an interaction-based model with backward bifurcation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Udiani, Oyita; Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Kang, Yun

    2015-02-21

    Collective behaviors in social insect societies often emerge from simple local rules. However, little is known about how these behaviors are dynamically regulated in response to environmental changes. Here, we use a compartmental modeling approach to identify factors that allow harvester ant colonies to regulate collective foraging activity in response to their environment. We propose a set of differential equations describing the dynamics of: (1) available foragers inside the nest, (2) active foragers outside the nest, and (3) successful returning foragers, to understand how colony-specific parameters, such as baseline number of foragers, interactions among foragers, food discovery rates, successful forager return rates, and foraging duration might influence collective foraging dynamics, while maintaining functional robustness to perturbations. Our analysis indicates that the model can undergo a forward (transcritical) bifurcation or a backward bifurcation depending on colony-specific parameters. In the former case, foraging activity persists when the average number of recruits per successful returning forager is larger than one. In the latter case, the backward bifurcation creates a region of bistability in which the size and fate of foraging activity depends on the distribution of the foraging workforce among the model's compartments. We validate the model with experimental data from harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) and perform sensitivity analysis. Our model provides insights on how simple, local interactions can achieve an emergent and robust regulatory system of collective foraging activity in ant colonies. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

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    Flanagan, Tatiana P; Letendre, Kenneth; Burnside, William R; Fricke, G Matthew; Moses, Melanie E

    2012-01-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greene, Michael J; Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-01-01

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Individual and collective problem-solving in a foraging context in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dussutour, Audrey; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis; Beshers, Samuel; Fourcassié, Vincent

    2009-01-01

    In this paper we investigate the flexibility of foraging behavior in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica, both at the individual and collective levels, following a change in the physical properties of their environment. We studied in laboratory conditions the changes occurring in foraging behavior when a height constraint was placed 1 cm above part of the trail linking the nest to the foraging area. We found that the size and shape of the fragments of foraging material brought back to the nest were significantly modified when the constraint was placed on the trail: independent of their size, forager ants cut smaller and rounder fragments in the presence of a height constraint than in its absence. This size adjustment does not require any direct sensory feedback because it occurred when the ants cut fragments in the foraging area; no further cutting was done when they encountered the constraint. This points to the existence of a template that ants store and use as a reference to adjust their reach while cutting. Remarkably, despite the decrease in the foraging material brought to the nest per capita the colony was still able to improve its foraging performance by doubling the number of transporters. This study illustrates the flexibility of foraging behavior exhibited by an ant colony. It provides a rare example of insects finding an intelligent solution to a problem occurring in a foraging context, at both the individual and collective levels.

  1. Can communication disruption of red imported fire ants reduce foraging success

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    Invasive pest ants often coordinate resource retrieval and colony expansion through the use of recruitment pheromones for information sharing to optimise their foraging; we argue that the potential for disruption of trail pheromone communication deserves investigation as a new and benign ecologicall...

  2. An empirically based simulation of group foraging in the harvesting ant, Messor pergandei.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plowes, Nicola J R; Ramsch, Kai; Middendorf, Martin; Hölldobler, Bert

    2014-01-07

    We present an empirically based group model of foraging interactions in Messor pergandei, the Sonoran desert harvesting ant. M. pergandei colonies send out daily foraging columns consisting of tens of thousands of individual ants. Each day, the directions of the columns may change depending on the resource availability and the neighbor interactions. If neighboring columns meet, ants fight, and subsequent foraging is suppressed. M. pergandei colonies face a general problem which is present in many systems: dynamic spatial partitioning in a constantly changing environment, while simultaneously minimizing negative competitive interactions with multiple neighbors. Our simulation model of a population of column foragers is spatially explicit and includes neighbor interactions. We study how different behavioral strategies influence resource exploitation and space use for different nest distributions and densities. Column foraging in M. pergandei is adapted to the spatial and temporal properties of their natural habitat. Resource and space use is maximized both at the colony and the population level by a model with a behavioral strategy including learning and fast forgetting rates. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Lucky

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. Foraging behavior of the queenless ant Dinoponera quadriceps Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Araújo, Arrilton; Rodrigues, Zenilde

    2006-01-01

    The search for and ingestion of food are essential to all animals, which spend most of their lives looking for nutritional sources, more than other activities such as mating, intra-specific disputes or escaping from predators. The present study aims to describe and quantify several aspects of foraging behavior, diet and food transport in the queenless ant Dinoponera quadriceps Santschi in a secondary Atlantic forest, Northeastern Brazil. Three colonies were randomly selected at a distance of at least 50 m from one another. On leaving the colony, worker ants were followed until their return, with no nutritional provision or interference with their activities. Activities were recorded using focal time sampling with instantaneous recording every minute for 10 consecutive minutes. Each colony was observed 1 day/week, for at least 6 h/day resulting in 53.8h of direct observation of the workers. Foraging activities, success in transporting food, type of food, cleaning and interaction among the workers were recorded. Foraging was always individual, with no occurrence of recruitment. Diet was composed mainly of arthropods, mostly insects. The collection of small fruits (Eugenia sp.) was also observed. Foraging time was greater when workers transported food to the colony, the return time being shorter than the foraging period, suggesting the use of chemical and visual cues for orientation during their foraging and food-collecting activities.

  6. Foraging recruitment by the Giant Tropical Ant Paraponera clavata (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrett, Bruce A.; Jorgenson, Clive D.; Looman, Sandra J.

    1985-01-01

    Increased foraging of an exceptionally abundant, but ephemeral, food source by ants can result from foraging excitement that does not include pheromone trails, tandem running, or from recruitment of other workers along pheromone trails (Carrol and Janzen, 1973). They also provided rationale for two types of short-lived pheromone trails resulting in mass or group recruitment. These both seem to fall into the Type II foraging strategy described by Oster and Wilson (1978). Neither of these discussions conveniently allow for pheromone recruitment by relatively small colonies of a primitive monomorphic species such as Paraponera clavata. Our observations suggest that recruitment to an abundant ephemeral food source does occur naturally and can be induced artificially in colonies of P. clavata.Paraponera clavata is considered primitive (Wilson, 1958), particularly in foraging habits (Young and Hermann, 1980; Young, 1977). Hermann (1973, 1975) reported the P. clavata, unlike more advanced species, forages independently; following shot periods of apparent group activity outside of the colony (Young and Hermann, 1980). It reportedly does not return to a food source when only part has been harvested. After returning to its colony with booty, a single worker resumes foraging independently, with no observable tendency to return to partially harvested booty or without recruiting additional workers to collect the remaining food (Hermann, 1973; Young and Hermann, 1980). Reports of independent foraging, lack of forager recruitment, and apparent lack of food source fidelity resulted in the assumption that P. clavata probably lacks an effective pheromone trail communication system (Young and Hermann, 1980).

  7. Mating for variety increases foraging activity in the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiernasz, Diane C; Hines, Jessica; Parker, Dara G; Cole, Blaine J

    2008-02-01

    Multiple mating by females characterizes most insect species, but is relatively uncommon in social insects. Females may mate with multiple mates because they experience the direct benefits of increased survival or fecundity, to acquire high quality mates, or to lower the risk of reduced fecundity by mating with incompatible males. We used the extensive natural variation in mating frequency in the western harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, to test the hypothesis that increased mating by the queen leads to an increase in colony performance. Colonies with greater genetic diversity began to forage earlier in the day and foraged for longer time periods. The workers which initiated foraging were a nonrandom subset of the genotypes present in the colony. We used a statistical approach to correctly predict the direction and magnitude of the correlation between genetic diversity and colony foraging activity.

  8. Patches of bare ground as a staple commodity for declining ground-foraging insectivorous farmland birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaub, Michael; Martinez, Nicolas; Tagmann-Ioset, Aline; Weisshaupt, Nadja; Maurer, Melanie L; Reichlin, Thomas S; Abadi, Fitsum; Zbinden, Niklaus; Jenni, Lukas; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2010-10-06

    Conceived to combat widescale biodiversity erosion in farmland, agri-environment schemes have largely failed to deliver their promises despite massive financial support. While several common species have shown to react positively to existing measures, rare species have continued to decline in most European countries. Of particular concern is the status of insectivorous farmland birds that forage on the ground. We modelled the foraging habitat preferences of four declining insectivorous bird species (hoopoe, wryneck, woodlark, common redstart) inhabiting fruit tree plantations, orchards and vineyards. All species preferred foraging in habitat mosaics consisting of patches of grass and bare ground, with an optimal, species-specific bare ground coverage of 30-70% at the foraging patch scale. In the study areas, birds thrived in intensively cultivated farmland where such ground vegetation mosaics existed. Not promoted by conventional agri-environment schemes until now, patches of bare ground should be implemented throughout grassland in order to prevent further decline of insectivorous farmland birds.

  9. An agent-based model to investigate the roles of attractive and repellent pheromones in ant decision making during foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Elva J H; Ratnieks, Francis L W; Holcombe, M

    2008-11-21

    Pharaoh's ants organise their foraging system using three types of trail pheromone. All previous foraging models based on specific ant foraging systems have assumed that only a single attractive pheromone is used. Here we present an agent-based model based on trail choice at a trail bifurcation within the foraging trail network of a Pharaoh's ant colony which includes both attractive (positive) and repellent (negative) trail pheromones. Experiments have previously shown that Pharaoh's ants use both types of pheromone. We investigate how the repellent pheromone affects trail choice and foraging success in our simulated foraging system. We find that both the repellent and attractive pheromones have a role in trail choice, and that the repellent pheromone prevents random fluctuations which could otherwise lead to a positive feedback loop causing the colony to concentrate its foraging on the unrewarding trail. An emergent feature of the model is a high level of variability in the level of repellent pheromone on the unrewarding branch. This is caused by the repellent pheromone exerting negative feedback on its own deposition. We also investigate the dynamic situation where the location of the food is changed after foraging trails are established. We find that the repellent pheromone has a key role in enabling the colony to refocus the foraging effort to the new location. Our results show that having a repellent pheromone is adaptive, as it increases the robustness and flexibility of the colony's overall foraging response.

  10. Essential Balm: A Strong Repellent Against Foraging and Defending Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Yuzhen; Ma, Tao; Chen, Xuan; Liu, Zhitao; Zhu, Chengqi; Zhang, Yuanyuan; Strecker, Rachel; Henderson, Gregg; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M; Chen, Xiaoyang; Sun, Zhaohui; Wen, Xiujun; Wang, Cai

    2016-08-01

    In the present study, the repellent effects of essential balm, a traditional medicine product in China, was tested against foraging and defending red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, under laboratory and field conditions. The laboratory study showed that both band- (width = 1 cm) and patch-smearing of essential balm at each concentration (0.5, 1, or 2 μl/cm(2)) significantly decreased the number of S. invicta foragers within the 6-h observation period. Moreover, band-smearing of 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm and patch-smearing of 0.5, 1, and 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm inhibited most S. invicta foraging activity at 3, 6, 6, and 24 h into the experiment, respectively. The field study showed that after a disturbance was created on the S. invicta mound, there were significantly less defending ants on the substance treated (patch-smeared) with 0.5, 1, and 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm than the controls, but the number of ants on the substance of these three concentrations was similar. Our study suggested that essential balm is a strong repellent against foraging and defending S. invicta and could be applied when temporary protection from S. invicta is needed.

  11. A sublethal imidacloprid concentration alters foraging and competition behaviour of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thiel, Sarina; Köhler, Heinz-R

    2016-05-01

    Neonicotinoid pesticides, such as the widely used compound imidacloprid, are suspected to impair cognitive capacity, behaviour, and fitness of a number of non-target species. We tested whether sublethal imidacloprid concentrations alter the foraging and aggression behaviour of two European ant species. Even though the nestmate-recruitment of Lasius niger was not affected by pesticide exposure, these ants required more time to become active and the number of foraging workers was lower than in sub-colonies not exposed to imidacloprid. In interspecific confrontations, imidacloprid increased the aggressiveness of a usually subordinate species (Lasius flavus) enormously (3.7-fold increase in average number of aggressive encounters), whereas they did not affect a subdominant species (L. niger) that severely (1.2-fold increase in average number of aggressive encounters). The high frequency of aggressive encounters of L. flavus vs. non-exposed L. niger workers, reduced their survival probability significantly down to 60 %. The observed behavioural alterations of the two ant species have the potential to impair their viability and co-occurrence with behaviourally dominate species due to a decreased exploitative competition and a reduced chance to locate and use resources before competitors. As competition is considered key in structuring ant communities, changes in aggressiveness are likely to alter established dominance hierarchies and thereby the dynamic and structure of ant communities.

  12. [Foraging intensity of ants in Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formiciddae) invaded and un-invaded habitats].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Bi-Qiu; Lu, Yong-Yue; Zeng, Ling; Song, Zhen-Dong; Liang, Guang-Wen

    2009-10-01

    By the methods of bait (honey, peanut oil, sausage, and mealworm larvae) trap, this paper studied the searching time, recruitment time, and recruitment number of ants in 3 typical habitats invaded and un-invaded by red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in South China, and analyzed the effects of S. invicta invasion on the foraging intensity of native ants. In S. invicta invaded lawn, the searching time of ants for mealworm larvae and peanut oil was significantly shorter, compared with that in S. invicta un-invaded area. Less difference was observed in the searching time for the 4 baits between S. invicta invaded and un-invaded wasteland, but the recruitment time for peanut oil was significantly longer in invaded than in un-invaded area. The searching time and recruitment time of the ants for the 4 baits had less difference between the invaded and un-invaded litchi orchard. 30 min after setting bait traps, the recruitment number of S. invicta workers on peanut oil, mealworm larvae, and sausage in invaded lawn, and on peanut oil in invaded wasteland was larger than that of native ants, but no significant difference was found in the recruitment number of S. invicta workers and native ants on the baits in invaded litchi orchard.

  13. Foraging arena size and structural complexity affect the dynamics of food distribution in ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; VanWeelden, Matthew

    2010-12-01

    Food acquisition by ant colonies is a complex process that starts with acquiring food at the source (i.e., foraging) and culminates with food exchange in or around the nest (i.e., feeding). While ant foraging behavior is relatively well understood, the process of food distribution has received little attention, largely because of the lack of methodology that allows for accurate monitoring of food flow. In this study, we used the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say) to investigate the effect of foraging arena size and structural complexity on the rate and the extent of spread of liquid carbohydrate food (sucrose solution) throughout a colony. To track the movement of food, we used protein marking and double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, DAS-ELISA. Variation in arena size, in conjunction with different colony sizes, allowed us to test the effect of different worker densities on food distribution. Results demonstrate that both arena size and colony size have a significant effect on the spread of the food and the number of workers receiving food decreased as arena size and colony size increased. When colony size was kept constant and arena size increased, the percentage of workers testing positive for the marker decreased, most likely because of fewer trophallactic interactions resulting from lower worker density. When arena size was kept constant and colony size increased, the percentage of workers testing positive decreased. Nonrandom (clustered) worker dispersion and a limited supply of food may have contributed to this result. Overall, results suggest that food distribution is more complete is smaller colonies regardless of the size of the foraging arena and that colony size, rather than worker density, is the primary factor affecting food distribution. The structural complexity of foraging arenas ranged from simple, two-dimensional space (empty arenas) to complex, three-dimensional space (arenas filled with mulch). The structural

  14. Forager Polymorphism and Foraging Ecology in the Leaf-Cutting Ant, Atta colombica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James K. Wetterer

    1995-01-01

    workers are smaller and do not appear to be so specialized as soldiers as are A. cephalotes maxima workers. The broader size-range of workers participating in foraging appears to allow A. colombica to exploit a wider range of resources than A. cephalotes, including tougher, denser vegetation and fallen fruits.

  15. Symmetry breaking in mass-recruiting ants: extent of foraging biases depends on resource quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, R I'Anson; Grüter, C; Hughes, W O H; Evison, S E F

    2016-01-01

    The communication involved in the foraging behaviour of social insects is integral to their success. Many ant species use trail pheromones to make decisions about where to forage. The strong positive feedback caused by the trail pheromone is thought to create a decision between two or more options. When the two options are of identical quality, this is known as symmetry breaking, and is important because it helps colonies to monopolise food sources in a competitive environment. Symmetry breaking is thought to increase with the quantity of pheromone deposited by ants, but empirical studies exploring the factors affecting symmetry breaking are limited. Here, we tested if (i) greater disparity between two food sources increased the degree to which a higher quality food source is favoured and (ii) if the quality of identical food sources would affect the degree of symmetry breaking that occurs. Using the mass-recruiting Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, we carried out binary choice tests to investigate how food quality affects the choice and distribution of colony foraging decisions. We found that colonies could coordinate foraging to exploit food sources of greater quality, and a greater contrast in quality between the food sources created a stronger collective decision. Contrary to prediction, we found that symmetry breaking decreased as the quality of two identical food sources increased. We discuss how stochastic effects might lead to relatively strong differences in the amount of pheromone on alternative routes when food source quality is low. Pheromones used by social insects should guide a colony via positive feedback to distribute colony members at resources in the most adaptive way given the current environment. This study shows that when food resources are of equal quality, Pharaoh ant foragers distribute themselves more evenly if the two food sources are both of high quality compared to if both are of low quality. The results highlight the way in which

  16. 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.

  17. Do leaf cutting ants cut undetected? Testing the effect of ant-induced plant defences on foraging decisions in Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kost, Christian; Tremmel, Martin; Wirth, Rainer

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are polyphagous, yet highly selective herbivores. The factors that govern their selection of food plants, however, remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the induction of anti-herbivore defences by attacked food plants, which are toxic to either ants or their mutualistic fungus, should significantly affect the ants' foraging behaviour. To test this "induced defence hypothesis," we used lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), a plant that emits many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) upon herbivore attack with known anti-fungal or ant-repellent effects. Our results provide three important insights into the foraging ecology of LCAs. First, leaf-cutting by Atta ants can induce plant defences: Lima bean plants that were repeatedly exposed to foraging workers of Atta colombica over a period of three days emitted significantly more VOCs than undamaged control plants. Second, the level to which a plant has induced its anti-herbivore defences can affect the LCAs' foraging behaviour: In dual choice bioassays, foragers discriminated control plants from plants that have been damaged mechanically or by LCAs 24 h ago. In contrast, strong induction levels of plants after treatment with the plant hormone jasmonic acid or three days of LCA feeding strongly repelled LCA foragers relative to undamaged control plants. Third, the LCA-specific mode of damaging leaves allows them to remove larger quantities of leaf material before being recognized by the plant: While leaf loss of approximately 15% due to a chewing herbivore (coccinelid beetle) was sufficient to significantly increase VOC emission levels after 24 h, the removal of even 20% of a plant's leaf area within 20 min by LCAs did not affect its VOC emission rate after 24 h. Taken together, our results support the "induced defence hypothesis" and provide first empirical evidence that the foraging behaviour of LCAs is affected by the induction of plant defence responses.

  18. Sequential Subterranean Transport of Excavated Sand and Foraged Seeds in Nests of the Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex badius.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R; Rink, William J; Kwapich, Christina L

    2015-01-01

    During their approximately annual nest relocations, Florida harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex badius) excavate large and architecturally-distinct subterranean nests. Aspects of this process were studied by planting a harvester ant colony in the field in a soil column composed of layers of 12 different colors of sand. Quantifying the colors of excavated sand dumped on the surface by the ants revealed the progress of nest deepening to 2 m and enlargement to 8 L in volume. Most of the excavation was completed within about 2 weeks, but the nest was doubled in volume after a winter lull. After 7 months, we excavated the nest and mapped its structure, revealing colored sand deposited in non-host colored layers, especially in the upper 30 to 40 cm of the nest. In all, about 2.5% of the excavated sediment was deposited below ground, a fact of importance to sediment dating by optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL). Upward transport of excavated sand is carried out in stages, probably by different groups of ants, through deposition, re-transport, incorporation into the nest walls and floors and remobilization from these. This results in considerable mixing of sand from different depths, as indicated in the multiple sand colors even within single sand pellets brought to the surface. Just as sand is transported upward by stages, incoming seeds are transported downward to seed chambers. Foragers collect seeds and deposit them only in the topmost nest chambers from which a separate group of workers rapidly transports them downward in increments detectable as a "wave" of seeds that eventually ends in the seed chambers, 20 to 80 cm below the surface. The upward and downward transport is an example of task-partitioning in a series-parallel organization of work carried out by a highly redundant work force in which each worker usually completes only part of a multi-step process.

  19. Patch sampling behaviour and future foraging expectations in Argentine ants, Linepithema humile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nonacs; Soriano

    1998-03-01

    Nests of Argentine ants, L. humile, were exposed to pairs of foraging patches of varying quality. These patches varied from never having food to having food for 4 h every day. After 15 days, colonies were allowed an added access to a new patch. The new patch, however, never contained food. The sampling behaviour of nests towards the initial patches and the new patch suggested that the nests were using a sampling rule based on maximizing net benefits of finding food minus the cost of sampling. The behaviour of the nests towards the new patch was also significantly affected by what the foraging workers had previouisly encountered in the foraging patches. The behaviour of the L. humile colonies is similar in pattern to what would result by Bayesian updating of expectations for success in novel foraging opportunities. These data are the first suggestions of such an ability in an insect. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

  20. Foraging energetics of a nectar-feeding ant: metabolic expenditure as a function of food-source profitability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schilman, Pablo E; Roces, Flavio

    2006-10-01

    We examined the quantitative relationship between the energetic costs and benefits of nectar collection by nectar-feeding ants, Camponotus rufipes. In the laboratory, individual workers were trained to visit an artificial feeder that provided a sucrose solution of 1%, 5%, 10%, 30% or 50% at controlled flows, in a similar span range to those observed in natural nectar sources. We measured foraging times, nectar loads collected, and CO(2) production during actual feeding, as an indication of the energy expenditure for a single forager. Results show an increase in individual metabolic rates with increasing flow rate of sugar solution, but no dependence on sucrose concentration. This increase in metabolic expenditure does not depend on the crop load attained while feeding, as intuitively expected, and is therefore a result of an increased activity brought about by the food-source profitability experienced by the forager. The energy gained during collection of sugar solution is always higher than the energy spent by the ant. Even with a food source of lower quality than a natural source, the ants gain ca. tenfold of what they spend. Based on a simplified model, we calculated that foragers of C. rufipes could travel from 0.5 to 9 km with the energy gained in a single foraging trip only. These results suggest that decreasing foraging time is more important than increasing individual energetic efficiency when workers of the nectar-feeding ant C. rufipes decide to stop drinking and return to the nest with partial crop loads.

  1. Patches of bare ground as a staple commodity for declining ground-foraging insectivorous farmland birds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Schaub

    Full Text Available Conceived to combat widescale biodiversity erosion in farmland, agri-environment schemes have largely failed to deliver their promises despite massive financial support. While several common species have shown to react positively to existing measures, rare species have continued to decline in most European countries. Of particular concern is the status of insectivorous farmland birds that forage on the ground. We modelled the foraging habitat preferences of four declining insectivorous bird species (hoopoe, wryneck, woodlark, common redstart inhabiting fruit tree plantations, orchards and vineyards. All species preferred foraging in habitat mosaics consisting of patches of grass and bare ground, with an optimal, species-specific bare ground coverage of 30-70% at the foraging patch scale. In the study areas, birds thrived in intensively cultivated farmland where such ground vegetation mosaics existed. Not promoted by conventional agri-environment schemes until now, patches of bare ground should be implemented throughout grassland in order to prevent further decline of insectivorous farmland birds.

  2. The Old Ladies of the Seed Harvester ant Pogonomyrmex Rugosus: Foraging Performed by Two Groups of Workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oettler, Jan; Johnson, Robert A

    2009-05-01

    We examined temporal polyethism in Pogonomyrmex rugosus, predicting a pattern of decreasing age from foragers to nest maintenance workers to individuals that were recruited to harvest a temporary food source. Nest maintenance workers were younger than foragers, as indicated by their heavier mass and lower mandibular wear. In contrast, recruited foragers were similar in mass to foragers but they displayed higher mandibular wear, suggesting that they were at least as old as foragers. Longevity estimates for marked individuals of these two latter task groups showed mixed results. Higher mandibular wear of recruited foragers suggests that they did not follow the normal sequence for temporal polyethism, but rather that they functioned as seed-millers, which should more quickly abrade their dentition. This would be the first demonstration of specialist milling individuals in a monomorphic seed-harvester ant.

  3. Foraging activity and dietary spectrum of the Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in invaded natural areas of the northeast Iberian Peninsula.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abril, S; Oliveras, J; Gómez, C

    2007-10-01

    We analyzed the foraging activity and the dietary spectrum of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile Mayr) and select native ants on cork oaks from Mediterranean open cork oak (Quercus suber) secondary forests. The study areas included invaded and noninvaded zones in close proximity. The Argentine ant's daily foraging activity was correlated to the abiotic factors studied, whereas the seasonal foraging activity was related not only to the variations in the average air temperature, but also to the trophic needs of the colony. Argentine ant workers focused their attention on protein foods during the queens' oviposition periods and during the larvae development phase, and on carbohydrate foods, such as honeydew, when males and workers were hatching. There were no significant differences over the entire year in the quantity of liquid food collected by the Argentine ant workers in comparison with the native ants studied. The solid diet of the Argentine ant on cork oaks is composed of insects, most of which are aphids. Our results have clear applications for control methods based on toxic baits in the invaded natural ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-13

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

  5. Branch Width and Height Influence the Incorporation of Branches into Foraging Trails and Travel Speed in Leafcutter Ants Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, B M; Chaves-Campos, J

    2016-06-01

    Fallen branches are often incorporated into Atta cephalotes (L.) foraging trails to optimize leaf tissue transport rates and economize trail maintenance. Recent studies in lowlands show laden A. cephalotes travel faster across fallen branches than on ground, but more slowly ascending or descending a branch. The latter is likely because (1) it is difficult to travel up or downhill and (2) bottlenecks occur when branches are narrower than preceding trail. Hence, both branch height and width should determine whether branches decrease net travel times, but no study has evaluated it yet. Laden A. cephalotes were timed in relation to branch width and height across segments preceding, accessing, across, and departing a fallen branch in the highlands of Costa Rica. Ants traveled faster on branches than on cleared segments of trunk-trail, but accelerated when ascending or descending the branch-likely because of the absence of bottlenecks during the day in the highlands. Branch size did not affect ant speed in observed branches; the majority of which (22/24) varied from 11 to 120 mm in both height and width (average 66 mm in both cases). To determine whether ants exclude branches outside this range, ants were offered the choice between branches within this range and branches that were taller/wider than 120 mm. Ants strongly preferred the former. Our results indicate that A. cephalotes can adjust their speed to compensate for the difficulty of traveling on branch slopes. More generally, branch size should be considered when studying ant foraging efficiency.

  6. Learning through the waste: olfactory cues from the colony refuse influence plant preferences in foraging leaf-cutting ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2016-08-15

    Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid plants initially harvested if they prove to be harmful for their symbiotic fungus once incorporated into the nest. At this point, waste particles removed from the fungus garden are likely to contain cues originating from both the unsuitable plant and the damaged fungus. We investigated whether leaf-cutting ant foragers learn to avoid unsuitable plants solely through the colony waste. We fed subcolonies of Acromymex ambiguus privet leaves treated with a fungicide undetectable to the ants, then collected the produced waste, and placed it into the fungus chamber of naive subcolonies. In individual choice tests, naive foragers preferred privet leaves before waste was put into the fungus chamber, but avoided them afterwards. Evidence on the influence of olfactory cues from the waste on decision making by foragers was obtained by scenting and transferring waste particles from subcolonies that had been fed either fungicide-treated or untreated leaves. In choice experiments, foragers from subcolonies given scented waste originating from fungicide-treated leaves collected fewer sugared paper discs with that scent compared with foragers from subcolonies given scented waste from untreated leaves. The results indicate that foragers learn to avoid plants unsuitable for the fungus by associating plant odours and cues from the damaged fungus that are present in waste particles. It is argued that waste particles may contribute to spread information about noxious plants for the fungus within the colony. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

    Antthrushes (Formicarius, Chamaeza) sometimes walk around swarms of army ants and capture ground prey, but do not follow ants regularly. Among antpittas, only fast-leaping Pittasoma michleri and P. rufopileatum regularly follow ants. Gnateaters (Conopophaga) follow ants little. All these ground-foraging genera are poorly adapted for rapid flying, and failure to follow ants is perhaps due to inability to evade predators or out fly competitors near groups of birds attracted by ants.

  8. Seasonal Activity and Foraging Preferences of the Leaf-Cutting Ant Atta sexdens piriventris (Santschi) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giesel, A; Boff, M I C; Boff, P

    2013-12-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are known for their habit of foraging. These habits can be influenced by several factors, including variations in topography, soil, and climate among others. The objective of this research was to study the seasonal activity and foraging preferences of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens piriventris (Santschi). The study was carried out from January to October of 2007 in grasslands of the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Nests of A. sexdens piriventris were randomly selected and the forager's activities were recorded. Damaged plant species, soil fertility, and climatic conditions were recorded. The maximum foraging activity in the summer was recorded during periods of darkness or low light (between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.). In autumn and spring, foraging was the highest in the morning, but during winter time the foraging activity was high in the afternoon. Fourteen plant species were frequently visited during our study with the lowest foraging activity being recorded at very low (1 to 4°C) or very high temperatures (above 26°C). The number of exploited plant species was higher in winter (13) than in summer (9). Baccharis trimera (Asteraceae) (43%) and Paspalum spp. (Poaceae) (33%) were the most exploited plants among the identified species.

  9. Random behaviour, amplification processes and number of participants: How they contribute to the foraging properties of ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deneubourg, J. L.; Aron, S.; Goss, S.; Pasteels, J. M.; Duerinck, G.

    1986-10-01

    Two major types of foraging organisation in ants are described and compared, being illustrated with experimental data and mathematical models. The first concerns large colonies of identical, unspecialised foragers. The communication and interaction between foragers and their randomness generates collective and efficient structures. The second concerns small societies of deterministic and specialised foragers, rarely communicating together. The first organisation is discussed in relation to the different recruitment mechanisms, trail-following error, quality and degree of aggregation of food-sources, and territorial marking, and is the key to many types of collective behaviour in social insects. The second is discussed in relation to spatial specialisation, foraging density, individual learning and genetic programming. The two organisations may be associated in the same colony. The choice of organisation is discussed in relation to colony size and size and predictability of food sources.

  10. Spatio-temporal permanence and plasticity of foraging trails in young and mature leaf-cutting ant colonies (Atta spp.)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    C. Kost (Christian); E.G. de Oliveira (Evandro); T.A. Knoch (Tobias); R. Wirth (Rainer)

    2005-01-01

    textabstractThe distribution and formation of foraging trails have largely been neglected as factors explaining harvesting patterns of leaf-cutting ants.We applied fractal analysis, circular, and conventional statistics to published and newly recorded trailmaps of seven Atta colonies focusing on

  11. A quantification of predation rates, indirect positive effects on plants, and foraging variation of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lee A. Dyer

    2002-09-01

    Full Text Available While a clear consensus is emerging that predators can play a major role in shaping terrestrial communities, basic natural history observations and simple quantifications of predation rates in complex terrestrial systems are lacking. The potential indirect effect of a large predatory ant, Paraponera clavata Fabricius (Formicidae: Ponerinae, on herbivores was determined on rainforest trees at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica and Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Prey and other food brought back to nests by 75 colonies of P. clavata were quantified, taking into account temporal, seasonal, and microhabitat variation for both foraging activity and composition of foraging booty. The dispersion and density of ant colonies and combined density with the mean amounts of prey retrieval were used to calculate rates of predation per hectare in the two forests. In addition, herbivory was measured on trees containing P. clavata and on trees where the ants were not foraging. Colonies at La Selva brought back significantly more nectar plus prey than those at Barro Colorado Island, but foraging patterns were similar in the two forests. At both forests, the ants were more active at night, and there was no significant seasonal or colonial variation in consumption of nectar, composition of foraging booty, and overall activity of the colonies. At La Selva, trees containing P. clavata colonies had the same levels of folivory as nearest neighbor trees without P. clavata but had significantly lower folivory than randomly selected trees. Predation by this ant was high in both forests, despite its omnivorous diet. This insect predator is part of potentially important top-down controls in these wet and moist forests.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison A Bockoven

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bockoven, Alison A; Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Benefits of dispersed central-place foraging: an individual-based model of a polydomous ant colony.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmolke, Amelie

    2009-06-01

    Colonies of many ant species are not confined to a single nest but inhabit several dispersed nests, a colony organization referred to as polydomy. The benefits of polydomy are not well understood. It has been proposed that increased foraging efficiency promotes polydomy. In a spatially explicit individual-based model, I compare the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in environments with varying food distributions. Multiple nests increased the colony's foraging success if food sources were randomly scattered in the environment. Monodomous and polydomous colonies did not differ in foraging success if food sources were clustered in one or three locations. These results support the hypothesis that foraging success serves as a driver for polydomous colony organization. Because transport may occur between the dispersed nests of a polydomous colony, I tested the efficiency of a simple mechanism of food exchange between nests. This mechanism, as introduced previously in the literature, proves insufficient to equalize the level of food between nests. While the importance of transport between nests remains unclear, the model results indicate that polydomy may increase the foraging success of ant colonies and that this effect may be robust across a range of food distributions.

  15. Context-dependent expression of the foraging gene in field colonies of ants: the interacting roles of age, environment and task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingram, Krista K; Gordon, Deborah M; Friedman, Daniel A; Greene, Michael; Kahler, John; Peteru, Swetha

    2016-08-31

    Task allocation among social insect workers is an ideal framework for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying behavioural plasticity because workers of similar genotype adopt different behavioural phenotypes. Elegant laboratory studies have pioneered this effort, but field studies involving the genetic regulation of task allocation are rare. Here, we investigate the expression of the foraging gene in harvester ant workers from five age- and task-related groups in a natural population, and we experimentally test how exposure to light affects foraging expression in brood workers and foragers. Results from our field study show that the regulation of the foraging gene in harvester ants occurs at two time scales: levels of foraging mRNA are associated with ontogenetic changes over weeks in worker age, location and task, and there are significant daily oscillations in foraging expression in foragers. The temporal dissection of foraging expression reveals that gene expression changes in foragers occur across a scale of hours and the level of expression is predicted by activity rhythms: foragers have high levels of foraging mRNA during daylight hours when they are most active outside the nests. In the experimental study, we find complex interactions in foraging expression between task behaviour and light exposure. Oscillations occur in foragers following experimental exposure to 13 L : 11 D (LD) conditions, but not in brood workers under similar conditions. No significant differences were seen in foraging expression over time in either task in 24 h dark (DD) conditions. Interestingly, the expression of foraging in both undisturbed field and experimentally treated foragers is also significantly correlated with the expression of the circadian clock gene, cycle Our results provide evidence that the regulation of this gene is context-dependent and associated with both ontogenetic and daily behavioural plasticity in field colonies of harvester ants. Our results underscore

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

    OpenAIRE

    David Lubertazzi; Walter Tschinkel

    2003-01-01

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

  17. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibb, Heloise; Andersson, Jon; Johansson, Therese

    2016-01-01

    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 increase in honeydew

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thiele, Theresa; Kost, Christian; Roces, Flavio; Wirth, Rainer

    2014-06-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (LCAs) are dominant herbivores of the Neotropics, as well as economically important pests. Their foraging ecology and patterns/mechanisms of food selection have received considerable attention. Recently, it has been documented that LCAs exhibit a delayed rejection of previously accepted food plants following treatment with a fungicide that makes the plants unsuitable as substrate for their symbiotic fungus. Here, we investigated whether LCAs similarly reject plants with induced chemical defenses, by combining analysis of volatile emissions with dual-choice bioassays that used LCA subcolonies (Atta sexdens L.). On seven consecutive days, foraging ants were given the choice between leaf disks from untreated control plants and test plants of Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera L. treated with the phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) to mimic herbivore attack. Chemical analysis revealed the emission of a characteristic set of herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds (VOC) from JA-induced plants. Dual-choice experiments indicated that workers did not show any preference initially, but that they avoided JA-treated plants from day five onwards. Our finding that A. sexdens foragers learn to avoid VOC-emitting plants, which are likely detrimental to their symbiotic fungus, represents the first evidence for avoidance learning in attine ants toward plants with induced defenses.

  1. Foraging Activity and Trophic Spectrum of Red Ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus Smith, 1858, in Productivity-Contrasted Microenvironments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael Guzmán-Mendoza

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Foraging strategies can be influenced by many factors such as abundance, availability, and toxicity of the resources. In arid zones, the distribution and productivity of plants also act as additional factors that affect foraging strategies. Twenty colonies of Pogonomyrmex barbatus ants were studied in an arid zone of central Mexico to evaluate the trophic niche breadth in two sites with contrasting productivities in terms of their diversity and amount of resources during two seasons. The results suggest that when the resources are abundant as in the rainy season, the trophic niche breadth is reduced in sites with high productivity and, in the same sites, the trophic niche breadth increases when the resources are limited as in the dry season. In contrast, the trophic niche breadth is similar in both conditions of resource availability (i.e., rainy and dry seasons at sites with low productivity. During the dry season, populations of P. barbatus showed a similar foraging behavior in sites with high and low productivity. Thus, the particular characteristics of a site can significantly affect the foraging strategies of the ants in those environments.

  2. Parameter Selection for Ant Colony Algorithm Based on Bacterial Foraging Algorithm

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    Peng Li

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The optimal performance of the ant colony algorithm (ACA mainly depends on suitable parameters; therefore, parameter selection for ACA is important. We propose a parameter selection method for ACA based on the bacterial foraging algorithm (BFA, considering the effects of coupling between different parameters. Firstly, parameters for ACA are mapped into a multidimensional space, using a chemotactic operator to ensure that each parameter group approaches the optimal value, speeding up the convergence for each parameter set. Secondly, the operation speed for optimizing the entire parameter set is accelerated using a reproduction operator. Finally, the elimination-dispersal operator is used to strengthen the global optimization of the parameters, which avoids falling into a local optimal solution. In order to validate the effectiveness of this method, the results were compared with those using a genetic algorithm (GA and a particle swarm optimization (PSO, and simulations were conducted using different grid maps for robot path planning. The results indicated that parameter selection for ACA based on BFA was the superior method, able to determine the best parameter combination rapidly, accurately, and effectively.

  3. Ant larvae regulate worker foraging behavior and ovarian activity in a dose-dependent manner.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulrich, Yuko; Burns, Dominic; Libbrecht, Romain; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-07-01

    Division of labor in insect societies relies on simple behavioral rules, whereby individual colony members respond to dynamic signals indicating the need for certain tasks to be performed. This in turn gives rise to colony-level phenotypes. However, empirical studies quantifying colony-level signal-response dynamics are lacking. Here, we make use of the unusual biology and experimental amenability of the queenless clonal raider ant Cerapachys biroi, to jointly quantify the behavioral and physiological responses of workers to a social signal emitted by larvae. Using automated behavioral quantification and oocyte size measurements in colonies of different sizes and with different worker to larvae ratios, we show that the workers in a colony respond to larvae by increasing foraging activity and inhibiting ovarian activation in a progressive manner, and that these responses are stronger in smaller colonies. This work adds to our knowledge of the processes that link plastic individual behavioral/physiological responses to colony-level phenotypes in social insect colonies.

  4. Priority rules govern the organization of traffic on foraging trails under crowding conditions in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dussutour, A; Beshers, S; Deneubourg, J L; Fourcassié, V

    2009-02-01

    Foraging in leaf-cutting ants is generally organized along well-defined recruitment trails supporting a bi-directional flow of outbound and nestbound individuals. This study attempts to reveal the priority rules governing the organization of traffic on these trails. Ants were forced to move on a narrow trail, allowing the passage of only two individuals at a time. In this condition, a desynchronization of inbound and outbound traffic was observed, involving the formation of alternating clusters of inbound and outbound ants. Most clusters of inbound ants were headed by laden ants followed by unladen ants. This occurred because inbound unladen ants did not attempt to overtake the laden ants in front of them. As unladen ants move on average faster than laden ants, these ants were thus forced to decrease their speed. By contrast, this decrease was counterbalanced by the fact that, by staying in a cluster instead of moving in isolation, inbound unladen ants limit the number of head-on encounters with outbound ants. Our analysis shows that the delay induced by these head-on encounters would actually be twice as high as the delay induced by the forced decrease in speed incurred by ants staying in a cluster. The cluster organization also promotes information transfer about the level of food availability by increasing the number of contacts between outbound and inbound laden ants, which could possibly stimulate these former to cut and retrieve leaf fragments when reaching the end of the trail.

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

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    Martin Bollazzi

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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. Information needs at the beginning of foraging: grass-cutting ants trade off load size for a faster return to the nest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bollazzi, Martin; Roces, Flavio

    2011-03-09

    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.

  7. Expression of foraging and Gp-9 are associated with social organization in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucas, C; Nicolas, M; Keller, L

    2015-02-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate levels of expression of two major genes, the odorant binding protein Gp-9 (general protein-9) and foraging, that have been shown to be associated with behavioural polymorphisms in ants. We analysed workers and young nonreproductive queens collected from nests of the monogyne (single reproductive queen per nest) and polygyne (multiple reproductive queens) social forms of Solenopsis invicta. In workers but not young queens, the level of foraging expression was significantly associated with social form and the task performed (ie localization in the nest or foraging area). The level of expression of Gp-9 was also associated with social form and worker localization. In addition there was a higher level of expression of the Gp-9(b) allele compared with the Gp-9(B) allele in the heterozygote workers and the young nonreproductive queens. Finally, in the polygyne colonies the level of expression of foraging was not significantly associated with the Gp-9 genotype for either workers or young nonreproductive queens, suggesting that both genes have independent non-epistatic effects on behaviour in S. invicta. © 2014 The Royal Entomological Society.

  8. Impact of Ground-Applied Termiticides on the Above-Ground Foraging Behavior of the Formosan Subterranean Termite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Gregg; Gautam, Bal K; Wang, Cai

    2016-08-26

    We conducted a laboratory study to determine the impact of ground-applied termiticides on the above-ground foraging behavior of Coptotermes formosanus. Two concentrations (1 and 10 ppm) each of three termiticides, viz. fipronil, imidacloprid and chlorantraniliprole, were tested. After one month post-treatment (fipronil 10 ppm was run for 12 days only and all other treatments were run for one month), fipronil had the lowest percentage of survival (3%-4%) at both concentrations. Termite survival ranged from 31% to 40% in the case of imidacloprid treatments and 10 ppm chlorantraniliprole. However, 1 ppm chlorantraniliprole did not cause significant mortality compared to the controls. Foraging on the bottom substrate was evident in all replicates for all chemicals initially. However, a portion of the foraging population avoided the ground treatment toxicants after several days of bottom foraging. Only the slower-acting non-repellents created this repellent barrier, causing avoidance behavior that was most likely due to dead termites and fungus buildup on the treated bottom substrate. Fipronil appeared more toxic and faster acting at the concentrations tested, thus limiting this repellent effect. Suggestions by the pest control industry in Louisiana that some non-repellents can create a repellent barrier stranding live termites above ground are supported by this laboratory study.

  9. Impact of Ground-Applied Termiticides on the Above-Ground Foraging Behavior of the Formosan Subterranean Termite

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gregg Henderson

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available We conducted a laboratory study to determine the impact of ground-applied termiticides on the above-ground foraging behavior of Coptotermes formosanus. Two concentrations (1 and 10 ppm each of three termiticides, viz. fipronil, imidacloprid and chlorantraniliprole, were tested. After one month post-treatment (fipronil 10 ppm was run for 12 days only and all other treatments were run for one month, fipronil had the lowest percentage of survival (3%–4% at both concentrations. Termite survival ranged from 31% to 40% in the case of imidacloprid treatments and 10 ppm chlorantraniliprole. However, 1 ppm chlorantraniliprole did not cause significant mortality compared to the controls. Foraging on the bottom substrate was evident in all replicates for all chemicals initially. However, a portion of the foraging population avoided the ground treatment toxicants after several days of bottom foraging. Only the slower-acting non-repellents created this repellent barrier, causing avoidance behavior that was most likely due to dead termites and fungus buildup on the treated bottom substrate. Fipronil appeared more toxic and faster acting at the concentrations tested, thus limiting this repellent effect. Suggestions by the pest control industry in Louisiana that some non-repellents can create a repellent barrier stranding live termites above ground are supported by this laboratory study.

  10. Does substrate coarseness matter for foraging ants? An experiment with Lasius niger (Hymenoptera; Formicidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernadou, Abel; Fourcassié, Vincent

    2008-03-01

    We investigated whether workers of the ant species Lasius niger are able to sense and discriminate the coarseness of the substrate on which they walk. First, we studied the way in which substrate coarseness affects the ants' locomotory behaviour. Second, we investigated the spontaneous preference of ants for substrates of different coarseness. And third, we tested with a differential conditioning procedure the ants' capacity to learn to associate a given coarseness with a food reward. The locomotory behaviour of ants differed according to substrate coarseness: ants moved significantly faster and had more sinuous trajectories on a fine than on a coarse substrate. No spontaneous preference for a substrate of a given coarseness was observed and, even after 20 successive conditioning trials, there was little evidence of the effect of experience on substrate coarseness discrimination. Overall however, ants trained on fine sand made significantly more correct choice than those trained on coarse sand. We discuss these results and argue that in L. niger substrate coarseness may be more important at the collective level, by interacting with the chemical properties of the pheromone trail used in mass recruitment to food source, than at the individual level.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo Arruda de Toledo

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

  12. 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

    2017-01-01

    facultative relationships, where ants forage on plants. 2. In a laboratory setupexperiment, weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) were confined to the canopies of coffee (Coffea arabica) seedlings, excluding any ant-to-plant transfer of nutrients via the soil strata. When ants were fed 15N-labelled glycine......-recognised but probably more fluctuating benefit from herbivore protection. Given the worldwide abundance of plant canopies foraged by ants, this nutrient pathway may be of high ecological significance.......1. Nutrient supplies to plants from ants are well known from specialised myrmecophytic symbioses and from plants growing in soil close to ant nests. However, above ground nutrient pathways may play a hitherto largely unrecognised role also in less specialised ant-plant interactions – the numerous...

  13. Ant foraging and geodesic paths in labyrinths: analytical and computational results.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vela-Pérez, M; Fontelos, M A; Velázquez, J J L

    2013-03-07

    In this paper we propose a mechanism for the formation of paths of minimal length between two points (trails) by a collection of individuals undergoing reinforced random walks. This is the case, for instance, of ant colonies in search for food and the development of ant trails connecting nest and food source. Our mechanism involves two main ingredients: (1) the reinforcement due to the gradients in the concentration of some substance (pheromones in the case of ants) and (2) the persistence understood as the tendency to preferably follow straight directions in the absence of any external effect. Our study involves the formulation and analysis of suitable Markov chains for the motion in simple labyrinths, that will be understood as graphs, and numerical computations in more complex graphs reproducing experiments performed in the past with ants. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. 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....

  15. Density-Dependent Effects of an Invasive Ant on a Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooling, M; Sim, D A; Lester, P J

    2015-02-01

    It is frequently assumed that an invasive species that is ecologically or economically damaging in one region, will typically be so in other environments. The Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) is listed among the world's worst invaders. It commonly displaces resident ant species where it occurs at high population densities, and may also reduce densities of other ground-dwelling arthropods. We investigated the effect of varying Argentine ant abundance on resident ant and nonant arthropod species richness and abundance in seven cities across its range in New Zealand. Pitfall traps were used to compare an invaded and uninvaded site in each city. Invaded sites were selected based on natural varying abundance of Argentine ant populations. Argentine ant density had a significant negative effect on epigaeic ant abundance and species richness, but hypogaeic ant abundance and species richness was unaffected. We observed a significant decrease in Diplopoda abundance with increasing Argentine ant abundance, while Coleoptera abundance increased. The effect on Amphipoda and Isopoda depended strongly on climate. The severity of the impact on negatively affected taxa was reduced in areas where Argentine ant densities were low. Surprisingly, Argentine ants had no effect on the abundance of the other arthropod taxa examined. Morphospecies richness for all nonant arthropod taxa was unaffected by Argentine ant abundance. Species that are established as invasive in one location therefore cannot be assumed to be invasive in other locations based on presence alone. Appropriate management decisions should reflect this knowledge. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    from rearing leucocoprinous fungi to cultivating pterulaceous fungi, but the evolutionary derived transition to yeast growing in the Cyphomyrmex rimosus group, which relies almost exclusively on nectar and insect frass, was associated with specific changes in diet composition. 5. The co-evolutionary...... the extant genera of fungus-growing ants. The records confirm the dependence of leaf-cutting ants on fresh vegetation but find that flowers, dry plant debris, seeds (husks), and insect frass are used by all genera, whereas other substrates such as nectar and insect carcasses are only used by some. 4. Diet...... transitions in diet composition across the genera of attine ants indicate that fungus-farming insect societies have the possibility to obtain more optimal fungal crops via artificial selection, analogous to documented practice in human subsistence farming....

  17. Migrations of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) between nesting and foraging grounds across the Coral Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Read, Tyffen C; Wantiez, Laurent; Werry, Jonathan M; Farman, Richard; Petro, George; Limpus, Colin J

    2014-01-01

    Marine megafauna tend to migrate vast distances, often crossing national borders and pose a significant challenge to managers. This challenge is particularly acute in the Pacific, which contains numerous small island nations and thousands of kilometers of continental margins. The green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, is one such megafauna that is endangered in Pacific waters due to the overexploitation of eggs and adults for human consumption. Data from long-term tagging programs in Queensland (Australia) and New Caledonia were analysed to investigate the migrations by C. mydas across the Coral Sea between their nesting site and their feeding grounds. A review of data collected over the last 50 years by different projects identified multiple migrations of C. mydas to and from New Caledonia (n = 97) and indicate that turtles foraging in New Caledonia nest in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and vice versa. Several explanations exist for turtles exhibiting this energetically costly movement pattern from breeding to distant foraging grounds (1200-2680 km away) despite viable foraging habitat being available in the local vicinity. These include hatchling drift, oceanic movements and food abundance predictability. Most of the tag recoveries in New Caledonia belonged to females from the south Great Barrier Reef genetic stock. Some females (n = 2) even showed fidelity to foraging sites located 1200 km away from the nesting site located in New Caledonia. This study also reveals previously unknown migrations pathways of turtles within the Coral Sea.

  18. Migrations of green turtles (Chelonia mydas between nesting and foraging grounds across the Coral Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tyffen C Read

    Full Text Available Marine megafauna tend to migrate vast distances, often crossing national borders and pose a significant challenge to managers. This challenge is particularly acute in the Pacific, which contains numerous small island nations and thousands of kilometers of continental margins. The green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, is one such megafauna that is endangered in Pacific waters due to the overexploitation of eggs and adults for human consumption. Data from long-term tagging programs in Queensland (Australia and New Caledonia were analysed to investigate the migrations by C. mydas across the Coral Sea between their nesting site and their feeding grounds. A review of data collected over the last 50 years by different projects identified multiple migrations of C. mydas to and from New Caledonia (n = 97 and indicate that turtles foraging in New Caledonia nest in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia and vice versa. Several explanations exist for turtles exhibiting this energetically costly movement pattern from breeding to distant foraging grounds (1200-2680 km away despite viable foraging habitat being available in the local vicinity. These include hatchling drift, oceanic movements and food abundance predictability. Most of the tag recoveries in New Caledonia belonged to females from the south Great Barrier Reef genetic stock. Some females (n = 2 even showed fidelity to foraging sites located 1200 km away from the nesting site located in New Caledonia. This study also reveals previously unknown migrations pathways of turtles within the Coral Sea.

  19. Chemical Recruitment for Foraging in Ants (Formicidae and Termites (Isoptera: A Revealing Comparison

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Klaus Jaffe

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available All termites secrete trail pheromones from their sternal gland, whereas ants use a variety of glands for this purpose. This and the diversity of chemical compounds that serve as trail pheromones among ants, and the uniformity of chemicals among termite trails, suggest a different evolutionary historical dynamics for the development of chemical mass recruitment in both taxa. Termites in addition show pheromonal parsimony. This suggest a single evolutionary origin of pheromone trails in Isoptera, whereas chemical mass recruitment among Formicidae seems to have evolved many times and in different ways. Despite these very different evolutionary histories, both taxa evolved chemical recruitment systems involving attractants and orientation signals, and at least two divergent decision making system for recruitment. This evolutionary analogy suggests that chemical mass recruitment is constraint by fundamental physical dynamic laws. Artificial intelligence including “mass intelligence” and “ant intelligence”, emulates mass recruitment in interacting virtual agents in search of optimal solutions. This approach, however, has copied only the “Democratic” recruitment dynamics with a single compound pheromone. Ant and termite evolution shows more sophisticated recruitment dynamics which, if understood properly, will improve our understanding of nature and applications of artificial “swarm intelligence”.

  20. Pygidial gland chemistry and potential alarm-recruitment function in column foraging, but not solitary, Nearctic Messor harvesting ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hölldobler, Bert; Plowes, Nicola J R; Johnson, Robert A; Nishshanka, Upul; Liu, Chongming; Attygalle, Athula B

    2013-09-01

    We investigated the role of the pygidial gland on foraging behavior in two ecologically dominant column foraging Nearctic harvesting ants (Messor pergandei and Messor andrei). Using chemical analyses and behavioral tests, we show that n-tridecane is the major biologically active compound of pygidial gland secretions in both species, and that this chemical functions as a powerful alarm-recruitment pheromone. Another major compound of pygidial gland contents is benzaldehyde; this substance does not release behavioral reactions in M. pergandei workers but might function as a defensive secretion. Six solitary foraging Nearctic Messor and two column foraging Palearctic Messor species, did not have large pygidial gland reservoirs. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. A Scalable and Adaptable Multiple-Place Foraging Algorithm for Ant-Inspired Robot Swarms

    OpenAIRE

    Lu, Qi; Moses, Melanie E.; Hecker, Joshua P.

    2016-01-01

    Individual robots are not effective at exploring large unmapped areas. An alternate approach is to use a swarm of simple robots that work together, rather than a single highly capable robot. The central-place foraging algorithm (CPFA) is effective for coordinating robot swarm search and collection tasks. Robots start at a centrally placed location (nest), explore potential targets in the area without global localization or central control, and return the targets to the nest. The scalability o...

  2. Aerosol delivery of trail pheromone disrupts the foraging of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suckling, David Maxwell; Stringer, Lloyd D; Corn, Joshua E; Bunn, Barry; El-Sayed, Ashraf M; Vander Meer, Robert K

    2012-12-01

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world. The trail pheromone Z,E-α-farnesene (91% purity) was prepared, and disruption of worker trail orientation was tested using an ethanol-based aerosol formulation presenting a single puff of this compound by airbrush and compressed air. Trail-following behaviour was recorded by overhead webcam and ants digitised before and after presentation of the aerosol treatment at four rates (1.6, 16, 160 and 1600 ng cm(-2)). Ants preferred 110 ng cm(-1) over 11, 1.1 and 0.11 ng cm(-1) for trail following. Within seconds of presentation of 1600 ng cm(-2), the highest dose tested, trail disruption was observed. Disruption was evident as reduced arrival success and reduction in the trail integrity statistic (r(2)), as well as increased deviation from the trail (deg). The distribution of walking track angles was also flattened. The feasibility of using aerosol for delivery of trail pheromone was demonstrated, but the need for high purity combined with the difficulty of commercial supply makes this technique impractical. However, the commercial production of Z,E-α-farnesene of high purity by industrial biotechnology or from (E)-nerolidol may be possible in future, which would facilitate further development of trail pheromone disruption of S. invicta. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

  3. Foraging behaviors of two sympatric ant species in response to lizard eggs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Wen-San

    2010-03-01

    The trade-off between behavioral dominance and resource discovery ability represents a mechanism which could facilitate the coexistence of species, but evidence of the existence of this trade-off is limited and is often derived from experiments using artificial bait. In this study, I performed a field experiment to investigate the outcome of potential food competition between an encounter species (Paratrechina longicornis) and an exploitative one (Pheidole taivanensis) and to examine the factors that may explain the behavior of P. taivanensis when obtaining food (lizard eggs) without being attacked by P. longicornis. When P. longicornis was experimentally introduced to eggs occupied by P. taivanensis for 1 day, it displaced P. taivanensis. However, P. longicornis ignored lizard eggs which had been occupied by P. taivanensis for 2 or more days, and did not displace P. taivanensis, because by that time the eggshells had been damaged by P. taivanensis so they could no longer be used by P. longicornis. Eggshells were damaged more quickly by P. taivanensis at Santimen, southwestern Taiwan, than at four other study sites where there were lower intensities of food competition between P. taivanensis and P. longicornis. The displacement percentage was higher at Santimen which had higher ant population densities. The present study shows that lizard eggs may constitute a natural, ephemeral resource for which ants compete in space and time. Comparisons between study sites with and without ants suggest the existence of a trade-off between resource discovery and territorial defense.

  4. Humpback whale song and foraging behavior on an antarctic feeding ground.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stimpert, Alison K; Peavey, Lindsey E; Friedlaender, Ari S; Nowacek, Douglas P

    2012-01-01

    Reports of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song chorusing occurring outside the breeding grounds are becoming more common, but song structure and underwater behavior of individual singers on feeding grounds and migration routes remain unknown. Here, ten humpback whales in the Western Antarctic Peninsula were tagged in May 2010 with non-invasive, suction-cup attached tags to study foraging ecology and acoustic behavior. Background song was identified on all ten records, but additionally, acoustic records of two whales showed intense and continuous singing, with a level of organization and structure approaching that of typical breeding ground song. The songs, produced either by the tagged animals or close associates, shared phrase types and theme structure with one another, and some song bouts lasted close to an hour. Dive behavior of tagged animals during the time of sound production showed song occurring during periods of active diving, sometimes to depths greater than 100 m. One tag record also contained song in the presence of feeding lunges identified from the behavioral sensors, indicating that mating displays occur in areas worthy of foraging. These data show behavioral flexibility as the humpbacks manage competing needs to continue to feed and to prepare for the breeding season during late fall. This may also signify an ability to engage in breeding activities outside of the traditional, warm water breeding ground locations.

  5. Humpback whale song and foraging behavior on an antarctic feeding ground.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison K Stimpert

    Full Text Available Reports of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae song chorusing occurring outside the breeding grounds are becoming more common, but song structure and underwater behavior of individual singers on feeding grounds and migration routes remain unknown. Here, ten humpback whales in the Western Antarctic Peninsula were tagged in May 2010 with non-invasive, suction-cup attached tags to study foraging ecology and acoustic behavior. Background song was identified on all ten records, but additionally, acoustic records of two whales showed intense and continuous singing, with a level of organization and structure approaching that of typical breeding ground song. The songs, produced either by the tagged animals or close associates, shared phrase types and theme structure with one another, and some song bouts lasted close to an hour. Dive behavior of tagged animals during the time of sound production showed song occurring during periods of active diving, sometimes to depths greater than 100 m. One tag record also contained song in the presence of feeding lunges identified from the behavioral sensors, indicating that mating displays occur in areas worthy of foraging. These data show behavioral flexibility as the humpbacks manage competing needs to continue to feed and to prepare for the breeding season during late fall. This may also signify an ability to engage in breeding activities outside of the traditional, warm water breeding ground locations.

  6. Disproportionate Declines in Ground-Foraging Insectivorous Birds after Mistletoe Removal.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David M Watson

    Full Text Available Insectivorous birds have been recognized as disproportionately sensitive to land-use intensification and habitat loss, with those species feeding primarily on the ground exhibiting some of the most dramatic declines. Altered litter inputs and availability of epigeic arthropods have been suggested to underlie reduced abundances and shrinking distributions but direct evidence is lacking. I used a patch-scale removal experiment in southern Australia to evaluate whether ground-feeding insectivores are especially vulnerable to altered litter-fall. Building on work demonstrating the importance of mistletoe litter to nutrient dynamics, litter was reduced by removing mistletoe (Loranthaceae from one set of eucalypt woodlands, responses of birds three years after mistletoe removal compared with otherwise similar control woodlands containing mistletoe. Despite not feeding on mistletoes directly, insectivores exhibited the greatest response to mistletoe removal. Among woodland residents, ground-foraging insectivores showed the most dramatic response; treatment woodlands losing an average of 37.4% of their pre-treatment species richness. Once these 19 species of ground-foraging insectivores were excluded, remaining woodland species showed no significant effect of mistletoe removal. This response reflects greater initial losses in treatment woodlands during the study (which coincided with a severe drought and double the number of species returning to control woodlands (where mistletoe numbers and litter were not manipulated post-drought. These findings support the productivity-based explanation of declining insectivores, suggesting diminished litter-fall reduced habitat quality for these birds via decreased availability of their preferred prey. In addition to altered prey availability, interactions between litter-fall and epigeic arthropods exemplify the importance of below-ground / above-ground linkages driving ecosystem function.

  7. Disproportionate Declines in Ground-Foraging Insectivorous Birds after Mistletoe Removal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watson, David M

    2015-01-01

    Insectivorous birds have been recognized as disproportionately sensitive to land-use intensification and habitat loss, with those species feeding primarily on the ground exhibiting some of the most dramatic declines. Altered litter inputs and availability of epigeic arthropods have been suggested to underlie reduced abundances and shrinking distributions but direct evidence is lacking. I used a patch-scale removal experiment in southern Australia to evaluate whether ground-feeding insectivores are especially vulnerable to altered litter-fall. Building on work demonstrating the importance of mistletoe litter to nutrient dynamics, litter was reduced by removing mistletoe (Loranthaceae) from one set of eucalypt woodlands, responses of birds three years after mistletoe removal compared with otherwise similar control woodlands containing mistletoe. Despite not feeding on mistletoes directly, insectivores exhibited the greatest response to mistletoe removal. Among woodland residents, ground-foraging insectivores showed the most dramatic response; treatment woodlands losing an average of 37.4% of their pre-treatment species richness. Once these 19 species of ground-foraging insectivores were excluded, remaining woodland species showed no significant effect of mistletoe removal. This response reflects greater initial losses in treatment woodlands during the study (which coincided with a severe drought) and double the number of species returning to control woodlands (where mistletoe numbers and litter were not manipulated) post-drought. These findings support the productivity-based explanation of declining insectivores, suggesting diminished litter-fall reduced habitat quality for these birds via decreased availability of their preferred prey. In addition to altered prey availability, interactions between litter-fall and epigeic arthropods exemplify the importance of below-ground / above-ground linkages driving ecosystem function.

  8. Phorid flies, Pseudacteon spp. (Diptera: Phoridae), affect forager size ratios of red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Texas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puckett, R T; Harris, M K

    2010-10-01

    Multiple species of Pseudacteon phorid flies (Diptera: Phoridae) are currently being released throughout the southern United States to aid biological control of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). It is anticipated that these flies will interfere with S. invicta foraging, allowing native ant assemblages to outcompete S. invicta for available resources. Numerous studies have shown a decrease in S. invicta foraging intensity when exposed to phorids. This study documents a behavioral change in phorid-exposed S. invicta colonies at a phorid release site in central Texas. Significant differences in forager size ratios were detected between phorid-exposed and phorid-absent colonies. A similar phenomenon was recently documented in the native range of these insects in South America as well. Experimental manipulation of ratios of S. invicta worker sizes has been shown to have important effects on colony success. This newly documented phorid-mediated S. invicta colony-level effect represents a significant shift in S. invicta foraging dynamics and may provide an additional mechanism by which phorids can influence S. invicta populations in their United States range.

  9. Evolution of thorax architecture in ant castes highlights trade-off between flight and ground behaviors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, Roberto A; Peeters, Christian; Beldade, Patrícia

    2014-01-01

    The concerted evolution of morphological and behavioral specializations has compelling examples in ant castes. Unique to ants is a marked divergence between winged queens and wingless workers, but morphological specializations for behaviors on the ground have been overlooked. We analyzed thorax morphology of queens and workers in species from 21 of the 25 ant subfamilies. We uncovered unique skeletomuscular modifications in workers that presumably increase power and flexibility of head-thorax articulation, emphasizing that workers are not simply wingless versions of queens. We also identified two distinct types of queens and showed repeated evolutionary associations with strategies of colony foundation. Solitary founding queens that hunt have a more worker-like thorax. Our results reveal that ants invest in the relative size of thorax segments according to their tasks. Versatility of head movements allows for better manipulation of food and objects, which arguably contributed to the ants' ecological and evolutionary success. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01539.001.

  10. Eurajoki Olkiluoto study on species of ground beetles and ants 2008

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Santaharju, J.; Helminen, S.-L.; Yrjoelae, R. (Environmental Research Yrjoelae Ltd, Helsinki (Finland))

    2009-02-15

    The species of ants and Ground beetles at Olkiluoto in Eurajoki were studied in the summer of 2008 during two trapping periods: in June and August. The research goal was to clarify the species on Olkiluoto island of the earlier mentioned groups, at least at the family level, and to collect samples for further examination by Posiva. The trapping areas were selected at Olkiluoto in Posiva test monitoring sectors, a part of the trapping areas was the same as the earlier study. Species of ants, depending on their particular species, are a very dominating group of insects. The ants are the most important predators, scavengers and soil movers in Finnish forests. It looks as if the biomass of ants may be more than 10% of the biomass of all animals in certain areas of Finnish forests. In Finland there are about 60 species of ants that have been observed. They have been divided into four sub-groups, which are Myrmicinae, Formicinae, Ponerinae and Dolichoderinae. In Finland there are close to 300 species of ground beetles (Carabidae), which are divided into dozens of different families. The species, to a great extent, consist mostly of predatory insects that prey on microbes in field layers, but a part of them are specialized in feeding on flora. Ground beetles are usually divided into three groups according to their choice of habitat: Species that favour open biotopes, species that favour forests, and generalist species that can thrive in a variety of environments. Ground beetles also reflect changes in their living environment, and possibly they can be significant as socalled bio-indicators. Pitfall traps were used as the method of research. The preservative fluid used was ethanol (50%) with dishwashing liquid to remove surface tension. The points were located in various different biotopes in fields, meadows and forests. The data collected was defined as a minimum for the family level of Ground beetles and for ants to the species or species pairs. The species of Ground

  11. Plasticity of Daily Behavioral Rhythms in Foragers and Nurses of the Ant Camponotus rufipes: Influence of Social Context and Feeding Times

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mildner, Stephanie; Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    Daily activities within an ant colony need precise temporal organization, and an endogenous clock appears to be essential for such timing processes. A clock drives locomotor rhythms in isolated workers in a number of ant species, but its involvement in activities displayed in the social context is unknown. We compared locomotor rhythms in isolated individuals and behavioral rhythms in the social context of workers of the ant Camponotus rufipes. Both forager and nurse workers exhibited circadian rhythms in locomotor activity under constant conditions, indicating the involvement of an endogenous clock. Activity was mostly nocturnal and synchronized with the 12:12h light-dark-cycle. To evaluate whether rhythmicity was maintained in the social context and could be synchronized with non-photic zeitgebers such as feeding times, daily behavioral activities of single workers inside and outside the nest were quantified continuously over 24 hours in 1656 hours of video recordings. Food availability was limited to a short time window either at day or at night, thus mimicking natural conditions of temporally restricted food access. Most foragers showed circadian foraging behavior synchronized with food availability, either at day or nighttime. When isolated thereafter in single locomotor activity monitors, foragers mainly displayed arrhythmicity. Here, high mortality suggested potential stressful effects of the former restriction of food availability. In contrast, nurse workers showed high overall activity levels in the social context and performed their tasks all around the clock with no circadian pattern, likely to meet the needs of the brood. In isolation, the same individuals exhibited in turn strong rhythmic activity and nocturnality. Thus, endogenous activity rhythms were inhibited in the social context, and timing of daily behaviors was flexibly adapted to cope with task demands. As a similar socially-mediated plasticity in circadian rhythms was already shown in honey

  12. Ant distribution in relation to ground water in north Florida pine flatwoods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschinkel, Walter R; Murdock, Tyler; King, Joshua R; Kwapich, Christina

    2012-01-01

    Longleaf pine savannas are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, yet are understudied. Ants are a functionally important and diverse group of insects in these ecosystems. It is largely unknown how local patterns of species diversity and composition are determined through the interaction of this dominant animal group with abiotic features of longleaf pine ecosystems. Here we describe how an important abiotic variable, depth to water table, relates to ant species distributions at local scales. Pitfall trapping studies across habitat gradients in the Florida coastal plains longleaf pine flatwoods showed that the ant community changed with mild differences in habitat. In this undulating landscape, elevation differences were less than 2 m, and the depth to the water table ranged from plant species composing the ground cover were zoned in response to depth to water, and shading by canopy trees increased over deeper water tables. Of the 27 ant species that were analyzed, depending on the statistical test, seven or eight were significantly more abundant over a deep water table, eight to ten over a shallow one, and nine to eleven were not significantly patterned with respect to depth to water. Ant species preferring sites with shallow groundwater also preferred the shadier parts of the sites, while those preferring sites with deeper groundwater preferred the sunnier parts of the sites. This suggests that one group of species prefers hot-dry conditions, and the other cooler-moist. Factor analysis and abundance-weighted mean site characteristics generally confirmed these results. These results show that ant communities in this region respond to subtle differences in habitat, but whether these differences arise from founding preferences, survival, competition, or some combination of these is not known.

  13. Bare ground as a crucial habitat feature for a rare terrestrially foraging farmland bird of Central Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tagmann-Ioset, Aline; Schaub, Michael; Reichlin, Thomas S.; Weisshaupt, Nadja; Arlettaz, Raphaël

    2012-02-01

    Most farmland birds have declined significantly throughout the world due to agricultural intensification. Agri-environmental policies could not halt the decline of ground-foraging insectivorous farmland birds in Europe, indicating a gap in knowledge of species' ecological requirements. This represents a major impediment to the development of efficient, evidence-based agri-environmental measures. Using radio-tracking we studied habitat selection by farmland Hoopoes, a rare terrestrially foraging bird in Central Europe, and assessed habitat preferences of their main prey (Molecrickets), with the aim to identify optimal foraging habitat profiles in order to guide farmland management. Hierarchical logistic regression modelling of habitat descriptors at actual foraging locations vs. random locations within the home ranges of 13 males showed that the availability of bare ground was the principal determinant of foraging activity, with an optimum of 60-70% bare ground at patch scale. This ideal habitat configuration, which facilitates birds' terrestrial hunting, was found primarily in intensively farmed fruit tree plantations which dominated the landscape matrix: this habitat offers extensive strips of bare ground due to systematic removal of ground vegetation along tree rows. In contrast, dense grassland and cropland were avoided. Another important habitat feature was the availability of nongravelly soil, which enabled Hoopoes to probe the earth with their long, curved bill in search of underground invertebrates. The role of Molecrickets, however, appeared secondary to foraging patch selection, suggesting that prey accessibility was per se more important than prey abundance. Creating patches of bare ground within modern farmland where sufficient supplies of suitable invertebrate prey exist will support Hoopoe populations.

  14. Videography reveals in-water behavior of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta at a foraging ground

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samir Harshad Patel

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Assessing sea turtle behavior at the foraging grounds has been primarily limited to the interpretation of remotely-sensed data. As a result, there is a general lack of detailed understanding regarding the habitat use of sea turtles during a phase that accounts for a majority of their lives. Thus, this study aimed to fill these data gaps by providing detailed information about the feeding habits, prey availability, buoyancy control and water column usage by 73 loggerhead turtles across 45.7 hours of video footage obtained from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV from 2008 – 2014. We developed an ethogram to account for 27 potential environmental and behavioral parameters. Turtles were filmed through the entire water column and we quantified the frequency of behaviors such as flipper beats, breaths, defecations, feedings and reactions to the ROV. We used the ROV’s depth sensor and visible cues (i.e. water surface or benthic zone in view to distinguish depth zones and assess the turtles’ use of the water column. We also quantified interactions with sympatric biota, including potential gelatinous and non-gelatinous prey species, fish (including sharks, marine mammals and other sea turtles. We discovered that turtles tended to remain within the near surface and surface zones of the water column through the majority of the footage. During benthic dives, turtles consistently exhibited negative buoyancy and some turtles exhibited a dichotomous foraging behavior, first foraging within the water column, then diving to the benthic environment. Videography allowed us to combine behavioral observations and habitat features that cannot be captured by traditional telemetry methods, resulting in a broader understanding of loggerheads’ ecological role in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oettler, Jan; Nachtigal, Anna-Lena; Schrader, Lukas

    2015-01-01

    One of the fundamental principles of social organization, age polyethism, describes behavioral maturation of workers leading to switches in task preference. Here we present a system that allows for studying division of labor (DOL) by taking advantage of the relative short life of Cardiocondyla obscurior workers and thereby the pace of behavioral transitions. By challenging same-age young and older age cohorts to de novo establish DOL into nurse and foraging tasks and by forcing nurses to precociously become foragers and vice versa we studied expression patterns of one of the best known candidates for social insect worker behavior, the foraging gene. Contrary to our expectations we found that foraging gene expression correlates with age, but not with the task foraging per se. This suggests that this nutrition-related gene, and the pathways it is embedded in, correlates with physiological changes over time and potentially primes, but not determines task preference of individual workers. PMID:26650238

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oettler, Jan; Nachtigal, Anna-Lena; Schrader, Lukas

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Oettler

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

  18. Stable Isotopes Reveal Long-Term Fidelity to Foraging Grounds in the Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drago, Massimiliano; Franco-Trecu, Valentina; Cardona, Luis; Inchausti, Pablo; Tapia, Washington; Páez-Rosas, Diego

    2016-01-01

    Most otariids have colony-specific foraging areas during the breeding season, when they behave as central place foragers. However, they may disperse over broad areas after the breeding season and individuals from different colonies may share foraging grounds at that time. Here, stable isotope ratios in the skull bone of adult Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) were used to assess the long-term fidelity of both sexes to foraging grounds across the different regions of the Galapagos archipelago. Results indicated that the stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) of sea lion bone significantly differed among regions of the archipelago, without any significant difference between sexes and with a non significant interaction between sex and region. Moreover, standard ellipses, estimated by Bayesian inference and used as a measure of the isotopic resource use area at the population level, overlapped widely for the sea lions from the southern and central regions, whereas the overlap of the ellipses for sea lions from the central and western regions was small and non-existing for those from the western and southern regions. These results suggest that males and females from the same region within the archipelago use similar foraging grounds and have similar diets. Furthermore, they indicate that the exchange of adults between regions is limited, thus revealing a certain degree of foraging philopatry at a regional scale within the archipelago. The constraints imposed on males by an expanded reproductive season (~ 6 months), resulting from the weak reproductive synchrony among females, and those imposed on females by a very long lactation period (at least one year but up to three years), may explain the limited mobility of adult Galapagos sea lions of both sexes across the archipelago. PMID:26808381

  19. Specializations of birds that attend army ant raids: an ecological approach to cognitive and behavioral studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Sean; Logan, Corina J; Clayton, Nicola S

    2012-11-01

    Tropical birds forage at army ant raids on several continents. Obligate foraging at army ant raids evolved several times in the Neotropical true antbird family (Thamnophilidae), and recent evidence suggests a diversity of bird species from other families specialize to varying degrees on army ant exploitation. Army ant raids offer access to high prey densities, but the ant colonies are mobile and widely spaced. Successful army ant exploitation requires solving a complex foraging problem because army ant raids are unpredictable in space and time. Birds can counteract the challenges posed by the ants by using strategies that raise their chances of detecting army ant raids, and birds can use additional strategies to track army ant colonies they have located. Some features of army ant biology, such as their conspicuous swarms and columns, above-ground activity, and regular cycles of behavior, provide opportunities for birds to increase their effectiveness at exploiting raids. Changes in sensory, cognitive and behavioral systems may all contribute to specialized army ant exploitation in a bird population. The combination of specializations that are employed may vary independently among bird species and populations. The degree of army ant exploitation by birds varies geographically with latitude and elevation, and with historical patterns such as centers of distribution of obligate thamnophilid antbirds. We predict the set of specializations a given bird population exhibits will depend on local ecology, as well as phylogenetic history. Comparative approaches that focus on these patterns may indicate ecological and evolutionary factors that have shaped the costs and benefits of this foraging strategy. The development of army ant exploitation in individual birds is poorly understood, and individual expression of these specializations may depend on a combination of genetic adaptation with cognitive plasticity, possibly including social and experiential learning. Future

  20. Empirical test of the influence of global warming and forest disturbance on ant fauna at the Gwangneung Forest Long Term Ecological Research site, South Korea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tae-Sung Kwon

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available This study examined the effects of forest disturbance and climate change on the ant fauna at the Long Term Ecological Research site in Gwangneung Forest, Korea in 2003 and 2012. After forest disturbance, the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the functional groups of forest ground forager and soil and litter dweller are predicted to decrease, while the occurrence and abundance of ants belonging to the open land forager and forest vegetation forager functional groups are predicted to increase. In terms of the effects of climate change, if the optimum temperature of the ants is lower than the annual average temperature in the survey area, the occurrence and abundance of the ants are predicted to decrease and vice versa. Ant surveys were carried out using pitfall traps. Changes in the dominant species, occurrence, and abundance mostly corresponded to the predictions for forest disturbance, but did not match the prediction for an increase in temperature.

  1. Winter forage selection by barren-ground caribou: Effects of fire and snow

    OpenAIRE

    Lisa Saperstein

    1996-01-01

    Both long- and short-term consequences should be considered when examining the effects of fire on the foraging behavior of caribou. Post-fire increases in protein content, digestibility, and availability of E. vaginatum make burned tussock tundra an attractive feeding area for caribou in late winter. These benefits are likely short-lived, however. Lowered availability of lichens and increased relative frequency of bryophytes will persist for a much longer period.

  2. Winter forage selection by barren-ground caribou: Effects of fire and snow

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Saperstein

    1996-01-01

    Full Text Available Both long- and short-term consequences should be considered when examining the effects of fire on the foraging behavior of caribou. Post-fire increases in protein content, digestibility, and availability of E. vaginatum make burned tussock tundra an attractive feeding area for caribou in late winter. These benefits are likely short-lived, however. Lowered availability of lichens and increased relative frequency of bryophytes will persist for a much longer period.

  3. Argentine ant invasion associated with loblolly pines in the southeastern United States: minimal impacts but seasonally sustained.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2010-08-01

    Invasive ants are notorious for directly displacing native ant species. Although such impacts are associated with Argentine ant invasions (Linepithema humile) worldwide, impacts within natural habitat are less widely reported, particularly those affecting arboreal ant communities. Argentine ants were detected in North Carolina mixed pine-hardwood forest for the first time but were localized on and around loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), probably because of association with honeydew-producing Hemiptera. We explored the potential impacts of L. humile on arboreal and ground-foraging native ant species by comparing interspersed loblolly pines invaded and uninvaded by Argentine ants. Impacts on native ants were assessed monthly over 1 yr by counting ants in foraging trails on pine trunks and in surrounding plots using a concentric arrangement of pitfall traps at 1, 2, and 3 m from the base of each tree. Of floristics and habitat variables, higher soil moisture in invaded plots was the only difference between plot types, increasing confidence that any ant community differences were caused by Argentine ants. Overall patterns of impact were weak. Composition differed significantly between Argentine ant invaded and uninvaded trunks and pitfalls but was driven only by the presence of Argentine ants rather than any resulting compositional change in native ant species. Native ant abundance and richness were similarly unaffected by L. humile. However, the abundance of individual ant species was more variable. Although numbers of the arboreal Crematogaster ashmeadi (Myrmicinae) declined on and around invaded pines, epigeic Aphaenogaster rudis (Myrmicinae) remained the most abundant species in all plots. Argentine ant densities peaked in late summer and fall, therefore overlapping with most native ants. Unexpected was their continued presence during even the coldest months. We provide evidence that Argentine ants can invade and persist in native North Carolina forests, probably

  4. 实时双向群组搜索及其在蚁群觅食动画中的应用%Real Time Bidirectional Crowd Search and the Application in Ant Colony Foraging Animation

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邹北骥; 孟志刚; 向遥; 曾羽

    2011-01-01

    This paper proposed a real-time bidirectional crowd search (RBCS) approach based on real time bidirectional search and crowd collaboration. The collaboration mechanism is inspired by the foraging behaviors of an ant colony. We present an ant colony foraging model based on RBCS and it consists of a finite state machine (FSM) and a serial of rules defining the interactions between ants and environment. The model has the ability of adapting to dynamically changing environment to find the shortest route. Experi-mental results demonstrate the power of our approach; ant colony behaves reasonably in different environments. Extension to human group moving between fixed positions time and again acquires approving result And comparison with traditional ant colony foraging model based on using pheromone shows the superiority of this method.%基于双向搜索和群组协作的研究,提出一种新颖的搜索算法一实时双向群组搜索(real-time bidirectional crowd search,简称RBCS).基于这个搜索算法所提出的蚁群觅食模型包含了有限状态机和一系列表示蚂蚁和环境交互的规则,具有在复杂动态环境下找到食物和巢穴之间最短路径的能力.2D/3D实验结果表明,算法的搜索能力具有可信性,将其扩展到人群在固定点之间的来回往复运动也获得了满意的效果;和传统基于信息素的蚁群觅食模型的仿真实验对比表明了算法的优越性.

  5. Influence of insecticide treatments on ant-hemiptera associations in tropical plantations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenne, M; Djiéto-Lordon, C; Orivel, J; Mony, R; Fabre, A; Dejean, A

    2003-04-01

    In this survey conducted in southern Cameroon, we compared ant-Hemiptera associations on plantations treated with insecticides, on plantations 2 years after insecticide treatments ceased, and on control lots that never received insecticide treatments. By eliminating arboreal-nesting ants, insecticides favored the presence of "ecologically dominant" ground-nesting, arboreal-foraging species that occupied the tree crowns. The reinstallation of arboreal ants was slow as 2 yr after insecticide treatment ceased differences with the control lots were significant. This intermediary period also illustrated that arboreal ants can found and develop colonies on trees occupied by ground-nesting species. Certain arboreal species were more frequent during this intermediary period than on the control lots, showing that the period of installation in the trees was followed by competition between arboreal ants. We confirm that ground-nesting ants tend a wide range of hemipteran families, including well known agricultural pests, whereas arboreal ants, particularly dominant species, were mostly associated with Coccidae and Stictococcidae that do not pose problems to the supporting trees. A tree effect was also noted for both ant and hemipteran distribution. We concluded that because of insecticide use, ground-nesting ants pose problems through their associated Hemiptera. On the contrary, dominant arboreal ants, strong predators, benefit their supporting trees by excluding ground-nesting species and tending mostly nonpest Hemiptera. Nevertheless, certain of them, carpenter species or species likely to tend Pseudococcidae, have to be eliminated through integrated management.

  6. Incremental amounts of ground flaxseed decreases milk production but increases n-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids in dairy cows fed high-forage diets

    Science.gov (United States)

    The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of incremental amounts of ground flaxseed (GFLAX) on milk yield and fatty acids (FA) profile, ruminal metabolism, and nutrient digestibility in dairy cows fed high-forage diets. Twelve multiparous Jersey cows averaging (mean ± SD) 112 ± 68 da...

  7. Disproportionate Declines in Ground-Foraging Insectivorous Birds after Mistletoe Removal

    OpenAIRE

    Watson, David M.

    2015-01-01

    Insectivorous birds have been recognized as disproportionately sensitive to land-use intensification and habitat loss, with those species feeding primarily on the ground exhibiting some of the most dramatic declines. Altered litter inputs and availability of epigeic arthropods have been suggested to underlie reduced abundances and shrinking distributions but direct evidence is lacking. I used a patch-scale removal experiment in southern Australia to evaluate whether ground-feeding insectivore...

  8. Combined effect of hemipteran control and liquid bait on Argentine ant populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brightwell, R J; Bambara, S B; Silverman, J

    2010-10-01

    The invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), has become a worldwide problem capable of inflicting significant ecological and economic injury on urban, agricultural, and natural environments. The mobility of this pest ant has long been noted, rapidly moving nests to new food resources and then away as resources are depleted. This ant, like many pest ant species, has a special affinity for honeydew excreted by phloem-feeding Hemiptera. We investigated the effect of various hemipteran control strategies on terrapin scale densities and measured their indirect effect on local Argentine ant densities and foraging effort. We then determined whether this indirect treatment strategy improved the performance of an ant bait. We predicted that Argentine ants would move nests away from trees treated for Hemiptera and then move nests back when a liquid bait was offered, followed by a decline in ant numbers due to intake of the toxicant. A horticultural oil spray and soil application of the systemic insecticide, imidacloprid, had no effect on terrapin scale numbers. However, trunk-injected dicrotophos caused a reduction in scale and a decline in local Argentine ant nest density and canopy foraging effort. We also recorded a reduction in local Argentine ant ground foraging when large amounts of liquid bait were applied, and we found no evidence that combining dicrotophos with liquid ant bait performed better than each treatment alone. We suggest that a strategy of combined hemipteran control plus application of liquid ant bait can reduce local Argentine ant densities, when both components of this system are highly efficacious.

  9. Determining spatio-temporal distribution of bee forage species of Al-Baha region based on ground inventorying supported with GIS applications and Remote Sensed Satellite Image analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adgaba, Nuru; Alghamdi, Ahmed; Sammoud, Rachid; Shenkute, Awraris; Tadesse, Yilma; Ansari, Mahammad J; Sharma, Deepak; Hepburn, Colleen

    2017-07-01

    In arid zones, the shortage of bee forage is critical and usually compels beekeepers to move their colonies in search of better forages. Identifying and mapping the spatiotemporal distribution of the bee forages over given area is important for better management of bee colonies. In this study honey bee plants in the target areas were inventoried following, ground inventory work supported with GIS applications. The study was conducted on 85 large plots of 50 × 50 m each. At each plot, data on species name, height, base diameter, crown height, crown diameter has been taken for each plant with their respective geographical positions. The data were stored, and processed using Trimble GPS supported with ArcGIS10 software program. The data were used to estimate the relative frequency, density, abundance and species diversity, species important value index and apicultural value of the species. In addition, Remotely Sensed Satellite Image of the area was obtained and processed using Hopfield Artificial Neural Network techniques. During the study, 182 species from 49 plant families were identified as bee forages of the target area. From the total number of species; shrubs, herbs and trees were accounting for 61%, 27.67%, and 11.53% respectively. Of which Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia tortilis, Acacia origina, Acacia asak, Lavandula dentata, and Hypoestes forskaolii were the major nectar source plants of the area in their degree of importance. The average vegetation cover values of the study areas were low (place. The Remote Sensed Satellite Image analysis confirmed the spatial distribution of the bee forage resources as determined by the ground inventory work. An integrated approach, combining the ground inventory work with GIS and satellite image processing techniques could be an important tool for characterizing and mapping the available bee forage resources leading to their efficient and sustainable utilization.

  10. Effects of the Heterogeneity of the Landscape and the Abundance of Wasmannia auropunctata on Ground Ant Assemblages in a Colombian Tropical Dry Forest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael Achury

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available To evaluate the response of the ant assemblages to different management practices in the tropical dry forests of southwestern Colombia, 10 sites that conserve forest fragments surrounded by pastures and sugarcane crops were sampled. Tuna-fish baits placed on the ground in the three habitats captured 100 ant species (41 genera. The greatest number of species was found in the forests in contrast with a significant loss of richness and diversity in the productive habitats, the pastures being richer than the cane fields. Species richness was negatively correlated with the abundance of the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata. Ant species composition was related to soil temperature and percent ground cover, as well as being partially determined by location and the abundance of W. auropunctata. The forests had a significantly different species composition from the other two habitats, but there were no consistent differences between the pastures and the cane fields.

  11. Walking on smooth or rough ground: passive control of pretarsal attachment in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Endlein, Thomas; Federle, Walter

    2008-01-01

    The hymenopteran tarsus is equipped with claws and a movable adhesive pad (arolium). Even though both organs are specialised for substrates of different roughness, they are moved by the same muscle, the claw flexor. Here we show that despite this seemingly unfavourable design, the use of arolium and claws can be adjusted according to surface roughness by mechanical control. Tendon pull experiments in ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) revealed that the claw flexor elicits rotary movements around several (pre-) tarsal joints. However, maximum angular change of claws, arolium and fifth tarsomere occurred at different pulling amplitudes, with arolium extension always being the last movement. This effect indicates that arolium use is regulated non-neuronally. Arolium unfolding can be suppressed on rough surfaces, when claw tips interlock and inhibit further contraction of the claw flexor or prevent legs from sliding towards the body. To test whether this hypothesised passive control operates in walking ants, we manipulated ants by clipping claw tips. Consistent with the proposed control mechanism, claw pruning resulted in stronger arolium extension on rough but not on smooth substrates. The control of attachment by the insect claw flexor system demonstrates how mechanical systems in the body periphery can simplify centralised, neuro-muscular feedback control.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kari T Ryder Wilkie

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

  13. Determining spatio-temporal distribution of bee forage species of Al-Baha region based on ground inventorying supported with GIS applications and Remote Sensed Satellite Image analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nuru Adgaba

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available In arid zones, the shortage of bee forage is critical and usually compels beekeepers to move their colonies in search of better forages. Identifying and mapping the spatiotemporal distribution of the bee forages over given area is important for better management of bee colonies. In this study honey bee plants in the target areas were inventoried following, ground inventory work supported with GIS applications. The study was conducted on 85 large plots of 50 × 50 m each. At each plot, data on species name, height, base diameter, crown height, crown diameter has been taken for each plant with their respective geographical positions. The data were stored, and processed using Trimble GPS supported with ArcGIS10 software program. The data were used to estimate the relative frequency, density, abundance and species diversity, species important value index and apicultural value of the species. In addition, Remotely Sensed Satellite Image of the area was obtained and processed using Hopfield Artificial Neural Network techniques. During the study, 182 species from 49 plant families were identified as bee forages of the target area. From the total number of species; shrubs, herbs and trees were accounting for 61%, 27.67%, and 11.53% respectively. Of which Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia tortilis, Acacia origina, Acacia asak, Lavandula dentata, and Hypoestes forskaolii were the major nectar source plants of the area in their degree of importance. The average vegetation cover values of the study areas were low (<30% with low Shannon’s species diversity indices (H′ of 0.5–1.52 for different sites. Based on the eco-climatological factors and the variations in their flowering period, these major bee forage species were found to form eight distinct spatiotemporal categories which allow beekeepers to migrate their colonies to exploit the resources at different seasons and place. The Remote Sensed Satellite Image analysis confirmed the spatial

  14. Ant Abundance along a Productivity Gradient: Addressing Two Conflicting Hypotheses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Segev, Udi; Kigel, Jaime; Lubin, Yael; Tielbörger, Katja

    2015-01-01

    The number of individuals within a population or community and their body size can be associated with changes in resource supply. While these relationships may provide a key to better understand the role of abiotic vs. biotic constraints in animal communities, little is known about the way size and abundance of organisms change along resource gradients. Here, we studied this interplay in ants, addressing two hypotheses with opposite predictions regarding variation in population densities along resource gradients- the ‘productivity hypothesis’ and the ‘productivity-based thinning hypothesis’. The hypotheses were tested in two functional groups of ground-dwelling ants that are directly primary consumers feeding on seeds: specialized seed-eaters and generalist species. We examined variations in colony density and foraging activity (a size measurement of the forager caste) in six ant assemblages along a steep productivity gradient in a semi-arid region, where precipitation and plant biomass vary 6-fold over a distance of 250km. An increase in the density or foraging activity of ant colonies along productivity gradients is also likely to affect competitive interactions among colonies, and consequently clinal changes in competition intensity were also examined. Ant foraging activity increased with productivity for both functional groups. However, colony density revealed opposing patterns: it increased with productivity for the specialized seed-eaters, but decreased for the generalist species. Competition intensity, evaluated by spatial partitioning of species at food baits and distribution of colonies, was uncorrelated with productivity in the specialized seed-eaters, but decreased with increasing productivity in the generalists. Our results provide support for two contrasting hypotheses regarding the effect of resource availability on the abundance of colonial organisms- the ‘productivity hypothesis’ for specialized seed-eaters and the

  15. 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 species...

  16. Properties of Arboreal Ant and Ground-Termite Nests in relation to Their Nesting Sites and Location in a Tropical-Derived Savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. C. Echezona

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Ecosystem engineers such as ants and termites play an important role in the fertility of tropical soils. Physicochemical analyses were thus carried out on some arboreal ant nests collected from mango (Mangifera indica, bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis, kola (Cola nitida, newbouldia plant (Newbouldia laevis, and oil bean plant (Pentaclethra macrophylla and on ground nest of termite, Odontotermes sudanensis Sjost. (Isoptera: Termitidae in Nigeria. Arboreal nests, particularly those of M. indica, were significantly richer in the chemical constituents sampled, compared to those of ground-termite nests or adjacent unaffected soils. Available water capacity of nests from M. indica (60.0% was significantly higher than those of other sites or locations sampled. While biogenic structures were sandy-loamy in texture, their corresponding adjacent soils were either sandy or sandy-loamy. Soils worked by ants and termites had greater proportions of silt-sized (17.9 versus 9.7 and clay-sized (19.2 versus 9.3 to the detriment of coarse-sized particles (51.2 versus 60.9 and fine-sand-sized particles (11.7 versus 20.1 relative to the adjacent soils. Generally, biogenic structures were about 348% richer in P than their corresponding adjacent soils; an attribute, which holds a strong promise in bioremediation and biofortification of soils especially during amendment.

  17. Selective Foraging by Pogonomyrmex salinus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Semiarid Grassland: Implications for a Rare Plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmasow, Matthew S; Robertson, Ian C

    2016-08-01

    Selective foraging by granivores can have important consequences for the structure and composition of plant communities, and potentially severe consequences for rare plant species. To understand how granivore foraging behavior affects common and rare plant species, diet selection should be viewed relative to the availability of alternative seed options, and with consideration of the individual attributes of those seeds (e.g., morphology, nutrient content). We examined the foraging decisions of Owyhee harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex salinus (Olsen), in semiarid grassland dominated by two species of grass, Poa secunda and Bromus tectorum, and two species of mustard, Sisymbrium altissimum and Lepidium papilliferum The latter is a rare plant endemic to southwestern Idaho, and its seeds are readily consumed by P. salinus We examined the diets of P. salinus colonies in June and July over three years and compared these values to the weekly availability of seeds on the ground in a 3-12 -m radius around individual ant colonies. Small-seeded species (P. secunda, S. altissimum, and L. papilliferum) were usually overrepresented in the diet of ants relative to their availability, whereas the large seeds of B. tectorum were largely avoided despite being abundant and nutritious. The reduced travel time associated with carrying small seeds may overshadow differences in nutritional content among seed types, except in times when small seeds are in short supply. Lepidium papilliferum appears particularly vulnerable to seed predation, likely in part because it grows in dense patches that are easily exploited by foragers.

  18. Environment heterogeneity and seasonal effects in ground-dwelling ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, MG, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coelho, Igor R; Ribeiro, Sérvio P

    2006-01-01

    This work aimed to explore the response of ant species assemblage to contrasting types of forests in a semideciduous stationary rainforest, in the Parque Estadual do Rio Doce, South Eastern Brazil. We compared antropomorphic borders of this park and natural ecotones, such as lake margins continuous with forests, as well as preserved forests far from ecotones. We investigated whether ground-dwelling ant species richness, abundance and composition would change according to forest types and ecotones. We expected greater species richness in interior tall forest, compared with low forest or ecotone habitats. In addition, we tested the effect of climate seasonality on ant assemblages found in each studied vegetation type. Each forest type was surveyed based on a minimum transect sampling unit of 150 m long summing up 30 pit-falls per unit. Two sampling events, one in dry season (September of 2001) and another in the rainy season (January of 2002) were performed. For both seasons, tall forest presented greater total number of ant species, however lower mean ant species and abundance per trap than other forest types, thus corroborating the prediction that ecotones might present high alpha diversity. Mean species richness and abundance did not differ between interior low forest and lake edge, or between these habitats and reserve border. In general, species composition were not clearly defined by forest types. Results here found suggest that species loss or community dominance by generalist species, eventually due to deforestation, is probably a much greater problem than previously thought. However, to understand patterns of insect species diversity and distribution in tropical ecosystem should be taken in account much more comprehensive, spatially explicit sampling designs.

  19. Soil bulk electrical resistivity and forage ground cover: nonlinear models in an alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. case study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberta Rossi

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Alfalfa is a highly productive and fertility-building forage crop; its performance, can be highly variable as influenced by within-field soil spatial variability. Characterising the relations between soil and forage- variation is important for optimal management. The aim of this work was to model the relationship between soil electrical resistivity (ER and plant productivity in an alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. field in Southern Italy. ER mapping was accomplished by a multi-depth automatic resistivity profiler. Plant productivity was assessed through normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI at 2 dates. A non-linear relationship between NDVI and deep soil ER was modelled within the framework of generalised additive models. The best model explained 70% of the total variability. Soil profiles at six locations selected along a gradient of ER showed differences related to texture (ranging from clay to sandy-clay loam, gravel content (0 to 55% and to the presence of a petrocalcic horizon. Our results prove that multi-depth ER can be used to localise permanent soil features that drive plant productivity.

  20. Fast food in ant communities: how competing species find resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearce-Duvet, Jessica M C; Moyano, Martin; Adler, Frederick R; Feener, Donald H

    2011-09-01

    An understanding of foraging behavior is crucial to understanding higher level community dynamics; in particular, there is a lack of information about how different species discover food resources. We examined the effect of forager number and forager discovery capacity on food discovery in two disparate temperate ant communities, located in Texas and Arizona. We defined forager discovery capacity as the per capita rate of resource discovery, or how quickly individual ants arrived at resources. In general, resources were discovered more quickly when more foragers were present; this was true both within communities, where species identity was ignored, as well as within species. This pattern suggests that resource discovery is a matter of random processes, with ants essentially bumping into resources at a rate mediated by their abundance. In contrast, species that were better discoverers, as defined by the proportion of resources discovered first, did not have higher numbers of mean foragers. Instead, both mean forager number and mean forager discovery capacity determined discovery success. The Texas species used both forager number and capacity, whereas the Arizona species used only forager capacity. There was a negative correlation between a species' prevalence in the environment and the discovery capacity of its foragers, suggesting that a given species cannot exploit both high numbers and high discovery capacity as a strategy. These results highlight that while forager number is crucial to determining time to discovery at the community level and within species, individual forager characteristics influence the outcome of exploitative competition in ant communities.

  1. Foraging Behavior of Odontomachus bauri on Barro Colorado Island, Panama

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Birgit Ehmer

    1995-01-01

    Full Text Available Foraging behavior and partitioning of foraging areas of Odonomachus bauri were investigated on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. The activity of the ants did not show any daily pattern; foragers were active day and night. The type of prey captured by O. bauri supports the idea that in higher Odontomachus and Anochetus species, the high speed of mandible closure serves more for generating power than capturing elusive prey. Polydomous nests may enable O. bauri colonies to enlarge their foraging areas.

  2. Honey Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conway, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Provides background information on honey ants. These ants are found in dry or desert regions of North America, Africa, and Australia. Also provides a list of activities using local species of ants. (JN)

  3. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Zoe; Franks, Daniel W; Robinson, Elva J H

    2013-04-21

    In socially foraging species resource information can be shared between individuals, increasing foraging success. In ant colonies, nestmate recruitment allows high exploitation rates at known resources however, to maximise foraging efficiency this must be balanced with searching for new resources. Many ant species form colonies inhabiting two or more spatially separated but socially connected nests: this type of organisation is known as polydomy. Polydomous colonies may benefit from increased foraging efficiency by carrying out dispersed-central place foraging. However, decentralisation of the colony may affect recruitment success by limiting interaction between ants based in separate nests. We use an agent-based model which compares the foraging success of monodomous and polydomous colonies in different food environments, incorporating recruitment through pheromone trails and group foraging. In contrast to previous results we show that polydomy is beneficial in some but not all cases. Polydomous colonies discover resources at a higher rate, making them more successful when food is highly dispersed, but their relative success can be lowered by limitations on recruitment success. Monodomous colonies can have higher foraging efficiency than polydomous colonies by exploiting food more rapidly. The results show the importance of interactions between recruitment strategy, colony size, and colony organisation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Record dynamics in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas O Richardson

    Full Text Available The success of social animals (including ourselves can be attributed to efficiencies that arise from a division of labour. Many animal societies have a communal nest which certain individuals must leave to perform external tasks, for example foraging or patrolling. Staying at home to care for young or leaving to find food is one of the most fundamental divisions of labour. It is also often a choice between safety and danger. Here we explore the regulation of departures from ant nests. We consider the extreme situation in which no one returns and show experimentally that exiting decisions seem to be governed by fluctuating record signals and ant-ant interactions. A record signal is a new 'high water mark' in the history of a system. An ant exiting the nest only when the record signal reaches a level it has never perceived before could be a very effective mechanism to postpone, until the last possible moment, a potentially fatal decision. We also show that record dynamics may be involved in first exits by individually tagged ants even when their nest mates are allowed to re-enter the nest. So record dynamics may play a role in allocating individuals to tasks, both in emergencies and in everyday life. The dynamics of several complex but purely physical systems are also based on record signals but this is the first time they have been experimentally shown in a biological system.

  5. Growth performance, feeding behavior, and selected blood metabolites of Holstein dairy calves fed restricted amounts of milk: No interactions between sources of finely ground grain and forage provision.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mirzaei, M; Khorvash, M; Ghorbani, G R; Kazemi-Bonchenari, M; Ghaffari, M H

    2017-02-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of grain sources and forage provision on growth performance, blood metabolites, and feeding behaviors of dairy calves. Sixty 3-d-old Holstein dairy calves (42.2 ± 2.5 kg of body weight) were used in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement with the factors being grain sources (barley and corn) and forage provision (no forage, alfalfa hay, and corn silage). Individually housed calves were randomly assigned (n = 10 calves per treatment: 5 males and 5 females) to 6 treatments: (1) barley grain (BG) without forage supplement, (2) BG with alfalfa hay (AH) supplementation, (3) BG with corn silage (CS) supplementation, (4) corn grain (CG) without forage supplement, (5) CG with AH supplementation, and (6) CG with CS supplementation. All calves had ad libitum access to water and starter feed throughout the experiment. All calves were weaned on d 49 and remained in the study until d 63. Starter feed intake and average daily gain (ADG) was greater for calves fed barley than those fed corn during the preweaning and overall periods. Calves supplemented with CS had greater final body weight and postweaning as well as overall starter feed intake than AH and non-forage-supplemented calves. During the preweaning and overall periods, feeding of CS was found to increase ADG compared with feeding AH and nonforage diets. However, feed efficiency was not affected by dietary treatments. Calves supplemented with CS spent more time ruminating compared with AH and control groups; nonnutritive oral behaviors were the greatest in non-forage-supplemented calves. Regardless of the grain sources, the rumen pH value was greater for AH calves compared with CS and non-forage-supplemented calves. Blood concentration of BHB was greater for CS-supplemented calves compared with AH and non-forage-supplemented calves. Furthermore, body length and heart girth were greater for calves fed barley compared with those fed corn, and also in forage

  6. Ontogeny of learning walks and the acquisition of landmark information in desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleischmann, Pauline N; Christian, Marcelo; Müller, Valentin L; Rössler, Wolfgang; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2016-10-01

    At the beginning of their foraging lives, desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis) are for the first time exposed to the visual world within which they henceforth must accomplish their navigational tasks. Their habitat, North African salt pans, is barren, and the nest entrance, a tiny hole in the ground, is almost invisible. Although natural landmarks are scarce and the ants mainly depend on path integration for returning to the starting point, they can also learn and use landmarks successfully to navigate through their largely featureless habitat. Here, we studied how the ants acquire this information at the beginning of their outdoor lives within a nest-surrounding array of three artificial black cylinders. Individually marked 'newcomers' exhibit a characteristic sequence of learning walks. The meandering learning walks covering all directions of the compass first occur only within a few centimeters of the nest entrance, but then increasingly widen, until after three to seven learning walks, foraging starts. When displaced to a distant test field in which an identical array of landmarks has been installed, the ants shift their search density peaks more closely to the fictive goal position, the more learning walks they have performed. These results suggest that learning of a visual landmark panorama around a goal is a gradual rather than an instantaneous process. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  7. Fungal Adaptations to Mutualistic Life with Ants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kooij, Pepijn Wilhelmus

    that forage on crude substrates such as insect frass and dry plant material, to large colonies of the leaf-cutting ants with several thousands to several million workers that provide live plant material to their fungus gardens. Leaf-cutting ants are the dominant herbivores of the Neo-tropics, and have a major...... on specific enzyme groups and Acromyrmex having an overall high enzyme activity. Finally, I show that the fungal symbiont of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior produces large amounts of biodegrading enzymes in special structures called gongylidia. The ants eat these structures, but enzymes pass...

  8. Synchrony between fruit maturation and effective dispersers' foraging activity increases seed protection against seed predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulay, Raphaël; Carro, Francisco; Soriguer, Ramón C; Cerdá, Xim

    2007-10-22

    The evolution of pollination and seed dispersal mutualisms is conditioned by the spatial and temporal co-occurrence of animals and plants. In the present study we explore the timing of seed release of a myrmecochorous plant (Helleborus foetidus) and ant activity in two populations in southern Spain during 2 consecutive years. The results indicate that fruit dehiscence and seed shedding occur mostly in the morning and correspond to the period of maximum foraging activity of the most effective ant dispersers. By contrast, ant species that do not transport seeds and/or that do not abound near the plants are active either before or after H. foetidus diaspores are released. Experimental analysis of diet preference for three kinds of food shows that effective ant dispersers are mostly scavengers that readily feed on insect corpses and sugars. Artificial seed depots suggest that seeds deposited on the ground out of the natural daily time window of diaspore releasing are not removed by ants and suffer strong predation by nocturnal rodents Apodemus sylvaticus. Nevertheless, important inter-annual variations in rodent populations cast doubts on their real importance as selection agents. We argue that traits allowing synchrony between seed presentation and effective partners may constitute a crucial pre-adaptation for the evolution of plant-animal mutualisms involving numerous animal partners.

  9. Honey Bees Avoiding Ant Harassment at Flowers Using Scent Cues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sidhu, Sheena C; Wilson Rankin, Erin E

    2016-02-01

    Pollinators require resources throughout the year to maintain healthy populations. Along the urban-natural interface, floral resource availability may be limited especially when the system experiences extreme drought and fire threats. In such areas, succulents, such as Aloe spp., are commonly planted to serve as functional drought-tolerant, fire-protective landscaping, which can also support pollinator populations. However, access to this resource may be restricted by competition from other floral foragers, including invasive pests. We measured free-foraging honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) visitation rate and visitation duration to aloe flowers with and without Argentine ants (Linepithema humile (Mayr)) in a drought-stressed environment and found that bees actively avoided foraging on the ant-occupied flowers. To determine the mechanisms of avoidance, our subsequent experiments assessed visitation in the absence of ants and compared aloe flowers treated with ant pheromone to unmanipulated flowers lacking ant pheromone. Bees approached all flowers equally, but accepted flowers without ants at a higher rate than flowers with ants. Visitation duration also increased twofold on ant-excluded flowers, which suggests that Argentine ants may limit resource acquisition by bees. Honey bees similarly avoided flowers with Argentine ant pheromone and preferentially visited unmanipulated flowers at threefold higher rate. This study demonstrates that honey bees avoid foraging on floral resources with invasive Argentine ants and that bees use ant odors to avoid ant-occupied flowers. Resource limitation by this invasive pest ant may have serious implication for sustaining healthy pollinator populations at the urban-natural interface. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  10. Polyethism in a colony of artificial ants

    CERN Document Server

    Marriott, Chris

    2011-01-01

    We explore self-organizing strategies for role assignment in a foraging task carried out by a colony of artificial agents. Our strategies are inspired by various mechanisms of division of labor (polyethism) observed in eusocial insects like ants, termites, or bees. Specifically we instantiate models of caste polyethism and age or temporal polyethism to evaluated the benefits to foraging in a dynamic environment. Our experiment is directly related to the exploration/exploitation trade of in machine learning.

  11. Bio-inspired Ant Algorithms: A review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sangita Roy

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Ant Algorithms are techniques for optimizing which were coined in the early 1990’s by M. Dorigo. The techniques were inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants in the nature. The focus of ant algorithms is to find approximate optimized problem solutions using artificial ants and their indirect decentralized communications using synthetic pheromones. In this paper, at first ant algorithms are described in details, then transforms to computational optimization techniques: the ACO metaheuristics and developed ACO algorithms. A comparative study of ant algorithms also carried out, followed by past and present trends in AAs applications. Future prospect in AAs also covered in this paper. Finally a comparison between AAs with well-established machine learning techniques were focused, so that combining with machine learning techniques hybrid, robust, novel algorithms could be produces for outstanding result in future.

  12. 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.

  13. The Argentine ant persists through unfavorable winters via a mutualism facilitated by a native tree.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brightwell, Robert J; Silverman, Jules

    2011-10-01

    Mutualisms and facilitations can fundamentally change the relationship between an organism's realized and fundamental niche. Invasive species may prove particularly suitable models for investigating this relationship as many are dependent on finding new partners for successful establishment. We conducted field-based experiments testing whether a native tree facilitates the successful survival of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), through unfavorable winter conditions in the southeastern United States. We found Argentine ant nests aggregated around the native loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L., during the winter months. The bark of this tree absorbed enough radiant solar energy to reach temperatures suitable for Argentine ant foraging even when ambient temperatures should have curtailed all foraging. Conversely, foraging ceased when the trunk was shaded. The sun-warmed bark of this tree gave the Argentine ant access to a stable honeydew resource. Argentine ants were not found on or near deciduous trees even though bark temperatures were warm enough to permit Argentine ant foraging on cold winter days. Augmenting deciduous trees with sucrose water through the winter months lead to Argentine ant nests remaining at their base and Argentine ants foraging on the tree. The Argentine ant requires both foraging opportunity and a reliable winter food source to survive through unfavorable winter conditions in the southeastern United States. The loblolly pine provided both of these requirements extending the realized niche of Argentine ants beyond its fundamental niche.

  14. The effect of wildfire and clear-cutting on above-ground biomass, foliar C to N ratios and fiber content throughout succession: Implications for forage quality in woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallon, E. E.; Turetsky, M.; Thompson, I.; Noland, T. L.; Wiebe, P.

    2013-12-01

    Disturbance is known to play an important role in maintaining the productivity and biodiversity of boreal forest ecosystems. Moderate to low frequency disturbance is responsible for regeneration opportunities creating a mosaic of habitats and successional trajectories. However, large-scale deforestation and increasing wildfire frequencies exacerbate habitat loss and influence biogeochemical cycles. This has raised concern about the quality of the under-story vegetation post-disturbance and whether this may impact herbivores, especially those vulnerable to change. Forest-dwelling caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are declining in several regions of Canada and are currently listed as a species at risk by COSEWIC. Predation and landscape alteration are viewed as the two main threats to woodland caribou. This has resulted in caribou utilizing low productivity peatlands as refuge and the impact of this habitat selection on their diet quality is not well understood. Therefore there are two themes in the study, 1) Forage quantity: above-ground biomass and productivity and 2) Forage quality: foliar N and C to N ratios and % fiber. The themes are addressed in three questions: 1) How does forage quantity and quality vary between upland forests and peatlands? 2) How does wildfire affect the availability and nutritional quality of forage items? 3) How does forage quality vary between sites recovering from wildfire versus timber harvest? Research sites were located in the Auden region north of Geraldton, ON. This landscape was chosen because it is known woodland caribou habitat and has thorough wildfire and silviculture data from the past 7 decades. Plant diversity, above-ground biomass, vascular green area and seasonal foliar fiber and C to N ratios were collected across a matrix of sites representing a chronosequence of time since disturbance in upland forests and peatlands. Preliminary findings revealed productivity peaked in early age stands (0-30 yrs) and biomass peaked

  15. Foraging strategy quick response to temperature of Messor barbarus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Mediterranean environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doblas-Miranda, Enrique; Reyes-López, Joaquín

    2008-08-01

    Animals principally forage to try to maximize energy intake per unit of feeding time, developing different foraging strategies. Temperature effects on foraging have been observed in diverse ant species; these effects are limited to the duration of foraging or the number of foragers involved. The harvester ant Messor barbarus L. 1767 has a specialized foraging strategy that consists in the formation of worker trails. Because of the high permeability of their body integument, we presume that the length, shape, and type of foraging trails of M. barbarus must be affected by temperature conditions. From mid-June to mid-August 1999, we tested the effect on these trail characteristics in a Mediterranean forest. We found that thermal stress force ants to use a foraging pattern based on the variation of the workers trail structure. Ants exploit earlier well-known sources using long physical trails, but as temperatures increases throughout the morning, foragers reduce the length of the foraging column gradually, looking for alternative food sources in nonphysical trails. This study shows that animal forage can be highly adaptable and versatile in environments with high daily variations.

  16. Nesting habits shape feeding preferences and predatory behavior in an ant genus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dejean, Alain; Labrière, Nicolas; Touchard, Axel; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-04-01

    We tested if nesting habits influence ant feeding preferences and predatory behavior in the monophyletic genus Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae) which comprises terrestrial and arboreal species, and, among the latter, plant-ants which are obligate inhabitants of myrmecophytes (i.e., plants sheltering so-called plant-ants in hollow structures). A cafeteria experiment revealed that the diet of ground-nesting Pseudomyrmex consists mostly of prey and that of arboreal species consists mostly of sugary substances, whereas the plant-ants discarded all the food we provided. Workers forage solitarily, detecting prey from a distance thanks to their hypertrophied eyes. Approach is followed by antennal contact, seizure, and the manipulation of the prey to sting it under its thorax (next to the ventral nerve cord). Arboreal species were not more efficient at capturing prey than were ground-nesting species. A large worker size favors prey capture. Workers from ground- and arboreal-nesting species show several uncommon behavioral traits, each known in different ant genera from different subfamilies: leaping abilities, the use of surface tension strengths to transport liquids, short-range recruitment followed by conflicts between nestmates, the consumption of the prey's hemolymph, and the retrieval of entire prey or pieces of prey after having cut it up. Yet, we never noted group ambushing. We also confirmed that Pseudomyrmex plant-ants live in a kind of food autarky as they feed only on rewards produced by their host myrmecophyte, or on honeydew produced by the hemipterans they attend and possibly on the fungi they cultivate.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hsun-Yi Hsieh

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corona, Miguel; Libbrecht, Romain; Wurm, Yannick; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Studer, Romain A; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH) proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg), is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2) and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A) or in foraging workers (subfamily B). Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to acquire caste- and

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Corona

    Full Text Available The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg, is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2 and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A or in foraging workers (subfamily B. Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to

  20. Vitellogenin Underwent Subfunctionalization to Acquire Caste and Behavioral Specific Expression in the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wurm, Yannick; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Studer, Romain A.; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    The reproductive ground plan hypothesis (RGPH) proposes that the physiological pathways regulating reproduction were co-opted to regulate worker division of labor. Support for this hypothesis in honeybees is provided by studies demonstrating that the reproductive potential of workers, assessed by the levels of vitellogenin (Vg), is linked to task performance. Interestingly, contrary to honeybees that have a single Vg ortholog and potentially fertile nurses, the genome of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus harbors two Vg genes (Pb_Vg1 and Pb_Vg2) and nurses produce infertile trophic eggs. P. barbatus, thus, provides a unique model to investigate whether Vg duplication in ants was followed by subfunctionalization to acquire reproductive and non-reproductive functions and whether Vg reproductive function was co-opted to regulate behavior in sterile workers. To investigate these questions, we compared the expression patterns of P. barbatus Vg genes and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of Vg genes in ants. qRT-PCRs revealed that Pb_Vg1 is more highly expressed in queens compared to workers and in nurses compared to foragers. By contrast, the level of expression of Pb_Vg2 was higher in foragers than in nurses and queens. Phylogenetic analyses show that a first duplication of the ancestral Vg gene occurred after the divergence between the poneroid and formicoid clades and subsequent duplications occurred in the lineages leading to Solenopsis invicta, Linepithema humile and Acromyrmex echinatior. The initial duplication resulted in two Vg gene subfamilies preferentially expressed in queens and nurses (subfamily A) or in foraging workers (subfamily B). Finally, molecular evolution analyses show that the subfamily A experienced positive selection, while the subfamily B showed overall relaxation of purifying selection. Our results suggest that in P. barbatus the Vg gene underwent subfunctionalization after duplication to acquire caste- and

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

    OpenAIRE

    Vincent Fourcassié; Tristan Schmitt; Claire Detrain

    2012-01-01

    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 underlyin...

  2. Look before leaping: foraging selectivity of capuchin monkeys on acacia trees in Costa Rica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Hilary; Fedigan, Linda M; Addicott, John F

    2008-02-01

    Acacia trees in Costa Rica have an obligate mutualism with three species of Pseudomyrmex ants, which vigorously defend their host tree from insect and mammalian herbivores. Depending on the size and species of ant colony, individual acacia trees may be differentially protected. For animals able to discern between weakly and highly aggressive ant colonies, costs of ant stings from less active colonies might be offset by nutritional value acquired from feeding on acacia fruit or ant larvae in swollen thorns. We examined foraging selectivity of capuchin monkeys on acacia trees in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. We measured four characteristics of the acacia trees from which capuchins fed and of acacias immediately adjacent to those in which the monkeys fed: diameter at breast height (DBH), accessibility, species of closest tree and ant species present. We found that capuchins prefer to forage in acacias that are large and accessible. We also made two measurements of ant colony activity on each tree, one before and one after disturbing the ant colony. We found that the three species of mutualistic ants differ in baseline activity levels and that mutualistic ants are more active than non-mutualistic ant species found in acacia trees. We also found that capuchins foraged more frequently in trees colonized by non-mutualistic ants, but the explanatory value (r (2)) of this model was low. Furthermore, monkeys did not discriminate between acacias on the basis of baseline ant activity or the ant colony's response to disturbance. We conclude that these monkeys select acacia trees in which to forage based on characteristics of the trees rather than the ants. In addition, our study suggests that white-faced capuchins act as predators on the acacia ants but they probably benefit the dispersal and reproductive success of acacia trees. Capuchins may in fact function as an additional mutualistic partner for acacia trees via seed dispersal, but they must overcome the ants

  3. Amphotis marginata (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) a highwayman of the ant Lasius fuliginosus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hölldobler, Bert; Kwapich, Christina L

    2017-01-01

    The space occupied by evolutionarily advanced ant societies can be subdivided into functional sites, such as broodchambers; peripheral nest chambers; kitchen middens; and foraging routes. Many predators and social parasites are specially adapted to make their living inside specific niches created by ants. In particular, the foraging paths of certain ant species are frequented by predatory and kleptoparasitic arthropods, including one striking example, the nitidulid beetle, Amphotis marginata. Adults of this species obtain the majority of their nutrition by acting as a kind of "highwayman" on the foraging trails of the ant Lasius fuliginosus, where they solicit regurgitation from food laden ant-workers by mimicking the ant's food-begging signals. Employing food labeled with the radio isotope 32P, we assessed the quantities of food the beetles siphoned-off of food-laden ants, and we investigated the site preferences, behavioral mechanisms and possible morphological adaptations underlying the food kleptoparasitism of A. marginata.

  4. 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.

  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......, 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. From individual to collective dynamics in Argentine ants (Linepithema humile).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vela-Pérez, M; Fontelos, M A; Garnier, S

    2015-04-01

    In this paper we propose a model for the formation of paths in Argentine ants when foraging in an empty arena. Based on experimental observations, we provide a distribution for the random change in direction that they approximately undergo while foraging as a mixture of a Gaussian and a Pareto distribution. By following the principles described in previous work, we consider persistence and reinforcement to create a model for the motion of ants in the plane. Numerical simulations based on this model lead to the formation of branched ant-trails analogous to those observed experimentally. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Struggling Ants

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Some of China’s college graduates are barely scraping by The village of Tangjialing, 20 km north of down town Beijing, was thrust into the public consciousness in November. Publishers that month released a book titled Ants

  8. Research Progress of Utilization of Medicinal and Edible Insects-Ground Beetle, Caterpillar Fungus and Ants%三种药食两用昆虫的研究与利用综述

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    葛正焱

    2012-01-01

    综述了三种药食两用昆虫地鳖虫、冬虫夏草和蚂蚁研究及利用现状,介绍它们的药用和营养保健价值以及使用方法,为进一步研究开发提供科学依据。%The paper summarized the research advancement and utilization status of medicinal and edible insects such as ground beetle, caterpillar fungus and ants, and their nutritional value, healthy function and use methods were included, which could be helpful to further research and development.

  9. Toxicity Profiles and Colony Effects of Liquid Baits on Tawny Crazy Ants (plus an update on their U.S. distribution)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva, is an invasive ant that are known to readily forage on the liquid, carbohydrate rich honeydew produced by hemipterans such as aphids and scales. There is interest in developing liquid ant baits that can eliminate tawny crazy ant colonies. Preliminary and anecdot...

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

    CERN Document Server

    Malíčková, Miriam; Boďová, Katarína

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. A FPGA Architecture for Foraging Behavior in Simulation and Colonies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristian David Rodríguez Rodríguez

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents some results regarding the desing and implementation of an architecture that supports an experimental platform for simulating the foraging process of ant colonies. Both the Ant-System and the Ant-Cycle algorithms model the behavior of ants. The platform allows to change parameters like the quantity and speed of ants, the amount and location of food and the ratio and difussion frequency of ant pheromone. These parameters are visualized through a VGA interface. The hardware implementation is carried out over FPGA Xilinx© technology. Theory behind this design considers that complex behaviors can emerge from systems with simple structure. This work confronts the question about global complexity emerging from a system whose structural complexity is minimal or inexistent.

  13. Ant Farm

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Publié à l’occasion de l’exposition d’Ant Farm au Frac Centre du 12 au 23 décembre 2007, ce très beau catalogue, qui fait état des dix ans de création du collectif californien, propose un nombre important de documents iconographiques, de notices et de textes concernant leurs différents projets. Fondé en 1968 par Doug Michels et Chip Lord, rejoints par la suite par Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez, Douglas Hurr et d’autres encore, le collectif Ant Farm a marqué les esprits par quelques œuvres s...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Huszár, Dóra Borbála

    Ants, like other social insects, have evolved cooperative societies based on kinship. Colonies headed by a single breeding queen (monogyny) was the ancestral state but today ca. half of the ant species live in multi-queen societies (polygyny), which can sometimes reach extreme sizes (supercolony...... that only ants, not the other obligatorily social insects were able to decrease social and sexual conflicts sufficiently to make polygyny reach obligate form in some species. This can be explained by general ant biology, such as perennial lifehistories, foraging on foot instead of wings and having one...

  15. Nasa's Ant-Inspired Swarmie Robots

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leucht, Kurt W.

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Arthropod prey of imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Mississippi sweetpotato fields.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rashid, Tahir; Chen, Jian; Vogt, James T; McLeod, Paul J

    2013-08-01

    The red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Buren), are generally considered pests. They have also been viewed as beneficial predators feeding on other insect pests of various agroecosystems. This study documents the foraging habits of fire ants in a sweetpotato field in Mississippi. Fire ant foraging trails connecting outside colonies to a sweetpotato field were exposed and foraging ants moving out of the field toward the direction of the colony were collected along with the solid food particles they were carrying. The food material was classified as arthropod or plant in origin. The arthropod particles were identified to orders. Fire ant foragers carried more arthropods than plant material. Coleoptera and Homoptera were the most abundant groups preyed upon. These insect orders contain various economically important pests of sweetpotato. Other major hexapod groups included the orders Hemiptera, Diptera and Collembola. The quantity of foraged material varied over the season. No damage to sweetpotato roots could be attributed to fire ant feeding. Imported fire ant foraging may reduce the number of insect pests in sweetpotato fields. © 2012 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  17. A list of and some comments about the trail pheromones of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerdá, Xim; van Oudenhove, Louise; Bernstein, Carlos; Boulay, Raphaël R

    2014-08-01

    Ants use many different chemical compounds to communicate with their nestmates. Foraging success depends on how efficiently ants communicate the presence of food and thus recruit workers to exploit the food resource. Trail pheromones, produced by different exocrine glands, are a key part of ant foraging strategies. By combing through the literature, we compiled a list of the identity and glandular origin of the chemical compounds found in the trail pheromones of 75 different ant species. Of the 168 compounds identified, more than 40% are amines. In the subfamily Myrmicinae, trail pheromones are mostly produced in the venom gland, while in the subfamily Formicinae, they come from the rectal gland.

  18. 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

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHU Qiong; WU Li-hui; ZHANG Jie

    2009-01-01

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

  20. Mutualism exploitation: predatory drosophilid larvae sugar-trap ants and jeopardize facultative ant-plant mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidal, Mayra C; Sendoya, Sebastian F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2016-07-01

    An open question in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant facultative mutualism is how other members of the associated community can affect the interaction to a point where reciprocal benefits are disrupted. While visiting Qualea grandiflora shrubs to collect sugary rewards at extrafloral nectaries, tropical savanna ants deter herbivores and reduce leaf damage. Here we show that larvae of the fly Rhinoleucophenga myrmecophaga, which develop on extrafloral nectaries, lure potentially mutualistic, nectar-feeding ants and prey on them. Foraging ants spend less time on fly-infested foliage. Field experiments showed that predation (or the threat of predation) on ants by fly larvae produces cascading effects through three trophic levels, resulting in fewer protective ants on leaves, increased numbers of chewing herbivores, and greater leaf damage. These results reveal an undocumented mode of mutualism exploitation by an opportunistic predator at a plant-provided food source, jeopardizing ant-derived protection services to the plant. Our study documents a rather unusual case of predation of adult ants by a dipteran species and demonstrates a top-down trophic cascade within a generalized ant-plant mutualism. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  1. Age versus stage: does ontogeny modify the effect of phosphorus and arbuscular mycorrhizas on above- and below-ground defence in forage sorghum?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Rebecca E; Gleadow, Roslyn M; Cavagnaro, Timothy R

    2014-04-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) can increase plant acquisition of P and N. No published studies have investigated the impact of P and AM on the allocation of N to the plant defence, cyanogenic glucosides. We investigated the effects of soil P and AM on cyanogenic glucoside (dhurrin) concentration in roots and shoots of two forage sorghum lines differing in cyanogenic potential (HCNp). Two harvest times allowed plants grown at high and low P to be compared at the same age and the same size, to take account of known ontogenetic changes in shoot HCNp. P responses were dependent on ontogeny and tissue type. At the same age, P-limited plants were smaller and had higher shoot HCNp but lower root HCNp. Ontogenetically controlled comparisons showed a P effect of lesser magnitude, and that there was also an increase in the allocation of N to dhurrin in shoots of P-limited plants. Colonization by AM had little effect on shoot HCNp, but increased root HCNp and the allocation of N to dhurrin in roots. Divergent responses of roots and shoots to P, AM and with ontogeny demonstrate the importance of broadening the predominantly foliar focus of plant defence studies/theory, and of ontogenetically controlled comparisons. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. A Hybrid Bacterial Foraging Algorithm For Solving Job Shop Scheduling Problems

    OpenAIRE

    Narendhar, S.; T Amudha

    2012-01-01

    Bio-Inspired computing is the subset of Nature-Inspired computing. Job Shop Scheduling Problem is categorized under popular scheduling problems. In this research work, Bacterial Foraging Optimization was hybridized with Ant Colony Optimization and a new technique Hybrid Bacterial Foraging Optimization for solving Job Shop Scheduling Problem was proposed. The optimal solutions obtained by proposed Hybrid Bacterial Foraging Optimization algorithms are much better when compared with the solution...

  3. A trail pheromone component of the ant Mayriella overbecki Viehmeyer (Formicidae: Myrmicinae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohl, E.; Hölldobler, B.; Bestmann, H.-J.

    The myrmicine ant Mayriella overbecki lays recruitment trails during foraging and nest emigrations. The trail pheromone originates from the poison gland. From ten identified components of the poison gland secretions only methyl 6-methylsalicylate 1 elicited trail following behavior.

  4. Chaotic ant swarm optimization to economic dispatch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cai, Jiejin; Ma, Xiaoqian [Electric Power College, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640 (China); Li, Lixiang; Yang, Yixian [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); Peng, Haipeng [Information Security Center, Department of Information Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing 100876 (China); School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China); Wang, Xiangdong [School of Information Science and Engineering, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110023 (China)

    2007-08-15

    This paper developed a novel algorithm named chaotic ant swarm optimization (CASO) for solving the economic dispatch (ED) problems of thermal generators in power systems. This algorithm combines with the chaotic and self-organization behavior of ants in the foraging process. It includes both effects of chaotic dynamics and swarm-based search. The algorithm was employed to solve the ED problems of thermal generators. The proposed method was applied to three examples of power systems. Simulation results demonstrated that the method can obtain feasible and effective solutions, and it is a promising alternative approach for solving the ED problems in practical power systems. (author)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Petr Klimes

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

  7. 金沙江干热河谷人工林地表的蚂蚁群落%Communities of Ground-Dwelling Ants in Different Plantation Forests in Arid-Hot Valleys of Jinsha River,Yunnan Province,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李巧; 卢志兴; 张威; 马艳滟; 冯萍

    2015-01-01

    Objective]Because of the fragile ecological environment in arid-hot valleys of Jinsha River,Yunnan Province,China,the region has been the hot spots of vegetation restoration for which plantation is the main model. To reveal the diversity status of these plantations,and the potential role in biodiversity protection,the ground-dwelling ant community was studied in 7 different plantations in Jinsha River arid-hot valleys,by comparing the difference of ground-dwelling ant community in terms of species composition and diversity. It would be reference for revegetation and biodiversity protection in the arid-hot valleys.[Method]The experimental sites were in the Desert Ecosystem Observation Station of the State Forestry Administration in Yuanmou County. The sampled plots were set in the following tree plantations: Eucalyptus spp.; Jatropha carcas; Jatropha carcas +Leucaena leucocephala; Azadirachta indica; Azadirachta indica + Acacia auriculiformis; Azadirachta indica + Acacia glauca and Azadirachta indica + Leucaena leucocephala. Investigation of ground-dwelling ant community was carried out by pitfall trappings in all 7 plantations in April ( dry season) and August (wet season),2011,respectively. At each plot,two-three 200 m transects were established for ant collection. The 20 pitfall traps with 50ml 50% glycerol were set along each transect at 10 m intervals at ground level.Pitfall traps were made from plastic containers,8 cm diameter and 15 cm deep,covered by a stone plate to protect the trap from rain. Traps were set for 5 days. The contents of each transect were placed separately in plastic bottles and deposited in 95% alcohol.[Results]The resultswere as follows: 1 ) Ant community composition: 4001 ant individuals were collected,representing 36 species in 17 genera and 5 subfamilies. The collected Myrmicinae subfamily had the most abundant genus and species,with 18 species in 6 genera,followed by Formicinae with 10 species in 5 genera,then Dolichoderinae with 6

  8. 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.

  9. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

  10. The Ants Have It!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

  11. Taxonomic and functional ecology of montane ants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Rhys Bishop

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Why is biological diversity distributed in the way that it is? This question has been central to ecology and biogeography for centuries and is of great importance for pure and applied reasons. I use a functional trait view of ecology to complement standard sampling protocols to better understand the distribution and structure of ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae diversity across mountains. I use a long-term dataset of ant diversity and abundance, combined with a recently collected morphological trait dataset to examine how the alpha and beta diversity of ants responds to changes in temperature along an extensive elevational gradient in southern Africa. In addition, I link morphological thermoregulatory traits to each other and to the environment with a new database of ant elevational abundances from across the globe. Finally, I analyse how physiological thermal tolerances vary and constrain foraging patterns in montane ants. I find that temperature is a strong driver of both alpha and beta diversity patterns. In addition, morphological traits such as colour and body size are found to have a significant relationship to ambient temperatures. This relationship also implies that the relative abundances of different ant species change depending on their thermoregulatory traits (colour and body size and the surrounding thermal environment. Furthermore, the critical thermal minimum (CTmin of the ant species investigated and the lowest environmental temperatures are found to be key in constraining foraging activity patterns. The data presented here strengthen and link existing ideas about how thermoregulation can influence ecological communities and also suggests important ways in which diversity patterns may change in the future.

  12. Improved ant colony algorithm and its simulation study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zongjiang

    2013-03-01

    Ant colony algorithm is development a new heuristic algorithm through simulation ant foraging. For its convergence rate slow, easy to fall into local optimal solution proposed for the adjustment of key parameters, pheromone update to improve the way and through the issue of TSP experiments, results showed that the improved algorithm has better overall search capabilities and demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of this method.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2009-01-01

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

  14. Urban Infestation Patterns of Argentine Ants, Linepithema humile, in Los Angeles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Smadar Gilboa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Infestations of buildings by Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr, were monitored on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Foraging ant activity peaked during the hotter months of the year. The mean monthly maximum temperature, but not rainfall, positively correlated with indoor infestation frequency. Neither garden size nor the predominant groundcover vegetation correlated with the number of foraging ants at baits within gardens. Although the number of foraging ants outside a building varied over 40-fold, ant density in gardens did not predict the likelihood of infestation within the building. Also, the type of vegetative groundcover employed did not predict infestation frequency. There was, however, a significant negative relationship between the size of the garden outside of a building and the number of infestations. Given the large foraging area of L. humile workers, buildings next to small gardens may be infested simply because they lie within the “normal” foraging area of a colony. The best predictor of which rooms were infested within buildings was the presence of a water source. Thus providing water for ant colonies outside and away from buildings may be one method of integrated pest management to reduce the proclivity of ants to infest structures.

  15. Tradeoffs, competition, and coexistence in eastern deciduous forest ant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuble, Katharine L; Rodriguez-Cabal, Mariano A; McCormick, Gail L; Jurić, Ivan; Dunn, Robert R; Sanders, Nathan J

    2013-04-01

    Ecologists have long sought to explain the coexistence of multiple potentially competing species in local assemblages. This is especially challenging in species-rich assemblages in which interspecific competition is intense, as it often is in ant assemblages. As a result, a suite of mechanisms has been proposed to explain coexistence among potentially competing ant species: the dominance-discovery tradeoff, the dominance-thermal tolerance tradeoff, spatial segregation, temperature-based niche partitioning, and temporal niche partitioning. Through a series of observations and experiments, we examined a deciduous forest ant assemblage in eastern North America for the signature of each of these coexistence mechanisms. We failed to detect evidence for any of the commonly suggested mechanisms of coexistence, with one notable exception: ant species appear to temporally partition foraging times such that behaviourally dominant species foraged more intensely at night, while foraging by subdominant species peaked during the day. Our work, though focused on a single assemblage, indicates that many of the commonly cited mechanisms of coexistence may not be general to all ant assemblages. However, temporal segregation may play a role in promoting coexistence among ant species in at least some ecosystems, as it does in many other organisms.

  16. Fire Ant Allergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Treatments ▸ Library ▸ Allergy Library ▸ Fire ant allergy Share | Fire Ant Allergy This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Fire ants are a stinging insect typically found in ...

  17. 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 ...

  18. Effects of an alien ant invasion on abundance, behavior, and reproductive success of endemic island birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Naomi E; O'Dowd, Dennis J; Green, Peter T; Nally, Ralph Mac

    2008-10-01

    Biological invaders can reconfigure ecological networks in communities, which changes community structure, composition, and ecosystem function. We investigated whether impacts caused by the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), a pantropical invader rapidly expanding its range, extend to higher-order consumers by comparing counts, behaviors, and nesting success of endemic forest birds in ant-invaded and uninvaded rainforest on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Point counts and direct behavioral observations showed that ant invasion altered abundances and behaviors of the bird species we examined: the Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus), Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica natalis), and Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis). The thrush, which frequents the forest floor, altered its foraging and reproductive behaviors in ant-invaded forest, where nest-site location changed, and nest success and juvenile counts were lower. Counts of the dove, which forages exclusively on the forest floor, were 9-14 times lower in ant-invaded forest. In contrast, counts and foraging success of the white-eye, a generalist feeder in the understory and canopy, were higher in ant-invaded forest, where mutualism between the ant and honeydew-secreting scale insects increased the abundance of scale-insect prey. These complex outcomes involved the interplay of direct interference by ants and altered resource availability and habitat structure caused indirectly by ant invasion. Ecological meltdown, rapidly unleashed by ant invasion, extended to these endemic forest birds and may affect key ecosystem processes, including seed dispersal.

  19. Disruption of foraging by a dominant invasive species to decrease its competitive ability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westermann, Fabian Ludwig; Suckling, David Maxwell; Lester, Philip John

    2014-01-01

    Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity when dominant within their newly established habitat. The globally distributed Argentine ant Linepithema humile has been reported to break the trade-off between interference and exploitative competition, achieve high population densities, and overpower nests of many endemic ant species. We have used the sensitivity of the Argentine ant to the synthetic trail pheromone (Z)-9-hexadecanal to investigate species interactions for the first time. We predicted that disrupting Argentine ant trail following behaviour would reduce their competitive ability and create an opportunity for three other resident species to increase their foraging success. Argentine ant success in the control was reduced with increasing pheromone concentration, as predicted, but interactions varied among competing resident species. These behavioural variations provide an explanation for observed differences in foraging success of the competing resident species and how much each of these individual competitors can increase their foraging if the competitive ability of the dominant invader is decreased. The mechanism for the observed increase in resource acquisition of resident species appears to be a decrease in aggressive behaviour displayed by the Argentine ant, which may create an opportunity for other resident species to forage more successfully. Our demonstration of species interactions with trail pheromone disruption is the first known case of reduced dominance under a pheromone treatment in ants.

  20. Disruption of foraging by a dominant invasive species to decrease its competitive ability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabian Ludwig Westermann

    Full Text Available Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity when dominant within their newly established habitat. The globally distributed Argentine ant Linepithema humile has been reported to break the trade-off between interference and exploitative competition, achieve high population densities, and overpower nests of many endemic ant species. We have used the sensitivity of the Argentine ant to the synthetic trail pheromone (Z-9-hexadecanal to investigate species interactions for the first time. We predicted that disrupting Argentine ant trail following behaviour would reduce their competitive ability and create an opportunity for three other resident species to increase their foraging success. Argentine ant success in the control was reduced with increasing pheromone concentration, as predicted, but interactions varied among competing resident species. These behavioural variations provide an explanation for observed differences in foraging success of the competing resident species and how much each of these individual competitors can increase their foraging if the competitive ability of the dominant invader is decreased. The mechanism for the observed increase in resource acquisition of resident species appears to be a decrease in aggressive behaviour displayed by the Argentine ant, which may create an opportunity for other resident species to forage more successfully. Our demonstration of species interactions with trail pheromone disruption is the first known case of reduced dominance under a pheromone treatment in ants.

  1. Disruption of Foraging by a Dominant Invasive Species to Decrease Its Competitive Ability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westermann, Fabian Ludwig; Suckling, David Maxwell; Lester, Philip John

    2014-01-01

    Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity when dominant within their newly established habitat. The globally distributed Argentine ant Linepithema humile has been reported to break the trade-off between interference and exploitative competition, achieve high population densities, and overpower nests of many endemic ant species. We have used the sensitivity of the Argentine ant to the synthetic trail pheromone (Z)-9-hexadecanal to investigate species interactions for the first time. We predicted that disrupting Argentine ant trail following behaviour would reduce their competitive ability and create an opportunity for three other resident species to increase their foraging success. Argentine ant success in the control was reduced with increasing pheromone concentration, as predicted, but interactions varied among competing resident species. These behavioural variations provide an explanation for observed differences in foraging success of the competing resident species and how much each of these individual competitors can increase their foraging if the competitive ability of the dominant invader is decreased. The mechanism for the observed increase in resource acquisition of resident species appears to be a decrease in aggressive behaviour displayed by the Argentine ant, which may create an opportunity for other resident species to forage more successfully. Our demonstration of species interactions with trail pheromone disruption is the first known case of reduced dominance under a pheromone treatment in ants. PMID:24594633

  2. Arthropod prey of imported fire ants (Hymenopter: formicidae) in Mississippi sweetpotato fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Buren) are generally considered pests. They have also been viewed as beneficial predators feeding on other insect pests of agricultural and medical importance in various agroecosystems. This study documents the foraging habits of fire ants in sweetpotato. Swee...

  3. Insect symbioses: a case study of past, present, and future fungus-growing ant research

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Caldera, Eric J; Poulsen, Michael; Suen, Garret

    2009-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae) engage in an obligate mutualism with fungi they cultivate for food. Although biologists have been fascinated with fungus-growing ants since the resurgence of natural history in the modern era, the early stages of research focused mainly on the foraging beh...

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Bael, Sunshine A; Estrada, Catalina; Rehner, Stephen A; Santos, Janette Fabiola; Wcislo, William T

    2012-11-09

    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. 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. 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.

  6. (AJST) FORAGE POTENTIAL, MICRO-SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    NORBERT OPIYO AKECH

    wetlands persists. An investigation into the abundance, distribution and forage potential of ground ... wetlands persists. Waterbird population declines in coastal ... ecological status resulting from human use, climate change and pollution.

  7. Ecological factors affecting the foraging behaviour of Xerus rutilus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The African unstriped ground squirrel (Xerus rutilus) is widely dispersed across ... efficiency to explore the foraging costs of environmental heterogeneity. ... with common plant toxins, we presented the squirrels with seeds soaked in either ...

  8. Simulation of an Ant Colony Optimization Technique in Continuous Space-Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vlachos, D. S.

    2008-11-01

    The ant colony optimization system is an algorithm inspired by the ants' foraging behavior. The good results obtained by this system on academic problems has made it appealing for applications in industrial settings, one of the current hot topics of the method is the application in continuous problems. In this work, a modified model is presented which is based on autonomous agents, the ants, which behave like the ants in the ant colony system. These agents communicate by the biological inspired pheromone mechanism in order to find sources of food which located near their nest (optimal solutions).

  9. Visual scene perception in navigating wood ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lent, David D; Graham, Paul; Collett, Thomas S

    2013-04-22

    Ants, like honeybees, can set their travel direction along foraging routes using just the surrounding visual panorama. This ability gives us a way to explore how visual scenes are perceived. By training wood ants to follow a path in an artificial scene and then examining their path within transformed scenes, we identify several perceptual operations that contribute to the ants' choice of direction. The first is a novel extension to the known ability of insects to compute the "center of mass" of large shapes: ants learn a desired heading toward a point on a distant shape as the proportion of the shape that lies to the left and right of the aiming point--the 'fractional position of mass' (FPM). The second operation, the extraction of local visual features like oriented edges, is familiar from studies of shape perception. Ants may use such features for guidance by keeping them in desired retinal locations. Third, ants exhibit segmentation. They compute the learned FPM over the whole of a simple scene, but over a segmented region of a complex scene. We suggest how the three operations may combine to provide efficient directional guidance. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Specialization on pollen or nectar in bumblebee foragers is not associated with ovary size, lipid reserves or sensory tuning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam R. Smith

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Foraging specialization allows social insects to more efficiently exploit resources in their environment. Recent research on honeybees suggests that specialization on pollen or nectar among foragers is linked to reproductive physiology and sensory tuning (the Reproductive Ground-Plan Hypothesis; RGPH. However, our understanding of the underlying physiological relationships in non-Apis bees is still limited. Here we show that the bumblebee Bombus terrestris has specialist pollen and nectar foragers, and test whether foraging specialization in B. terrestris is linked to reproductive physiology, measured as ovarian activation. We show that neither ovary size, sensory sensitivity, measured through proboscis extension response (PER, or whole-body lipid stores differed between pollen foragers, nectar foragers, or generalist foragers. Body size also did not differ between any of these three forager groups. Non-foragers had significantly larger ovaries than foragers. This suggests that potentially reproductive individuals avoid foraging.

  11. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krzysztof Miler

    Full Text Available When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed.

  12. Bioturbation by Fire Ants in the Coastal Prairie of Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

    Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) were introduced to the US in the early part of the last century. They have spread throughout the southeastern US in the absence of native competitors and predators with a range limited by abiotic factors. Each fire ant mound contains thousands of individuals, can be large, and can be numerous enough to comprise a dominant feature of the landscape. Studies of this species have focused upon its spread, formation of single- and multiple-queen colonies, genetic structure, and impact on native fauna and human health. Some studies have analyzed native fire ant-soil interactions, but few studies have examined the process of bioturbation by introduced fire ants in native ecosystems. Fire ants on the coastal prairie of Texas primarily are of the multiple-queen type that exhibit a much higher density of mounds than the single-queen type. Consequently, mound-building activities by fire ants can have a marked effect upon soil structure and nutrient content and may affect soil organisms and plants. Fire ant activity, mound density, mound dispersion, soil texture, soil permeability, soil moisture content, and soil nutrients were measured. Fire ants mounds are visible aboveground from April-November. Density of mounds was 117-738/ha, and average mound lifespan was 3.6 months with only 9% of the mounds remaining active throughout the entire season. Mounds were dispersed randomly. Foraging activity by fire ants was from June through October with a peak in July. Annual soil turnover was estimated by collecting and weighing mounds. There was no effect of ant mounds on soil texture, but water infiltration was higher in areas with ant mounds. Early-season samples showed no nutrient differences, but late-season samples showed that ant mounds contained higher amounts of micronutrients than random samples of soil. These data are compared to similar data on effects of mounds from native ants and from native and introduced ants in different habitats.

  13. The chemistry, recognition behaviors, and population genetics of Neotropical parabiotic ants

    OpenAIRE

    Emery, Virginia Jayne

    2013-01-01

    In my dissertation, I have explored behavioral, chemical and genetic aspects of a unique nesting symbiosis called parabiosis. In parabiosis, two unrelated ant species share a nest and foraging trails in a potentially mutualistic association. I have focused on the Neotropical parabiosis between Camponotus femoratus (Subfamily: Formicinae) and Crematogaster levior (Subfamily: Myrmicinae), which occur in ant- gardens throughout Amazonia. These two ants share a common nest but keep their brood in...

  14. Balancing organization and flexibility in foraging dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tabone, Michaelangelo; Ermentrout, Bard; Doiron, Brent

    2010-10-07

    Proper pattern organization and reorganization are central problems facing many biological networks which thrive in fluctuating environments. However, in many cases the mechanisms that organize system activity oppose those that support behavioral flexibility. Thus, a balance between pattern organization and pattern flexibility is critically important for overall biological fitness. We study this balance in the foraging strategies of ant colonies exploiting food in dynamic environments. We present discrete time and space simulations of colony activity that uses a pheromone-based recruitment strategy biasing foraging towards a food source. After food relocation, the pheromone must evaporate sufficiently before foraging can shift colony attention to a new food source. The amount of food consumed within the dynamic environment depends non-monotonically on the pheromone evaporation time constant-with maximal consumption occurring at a time constant which balances trail formation and trail flexibility. A deterministic, 'mean field' model of pheromone and foragers on trails mimics our colony simulations. This reduced framework captures the essence of the flexibility-organization balance, and relates optimal pheromone evaporation to the timescale of the dynamic environment. We expect that the principles exposed in our study will generalize and motivate novel analysis across a broad range systems biology.

  15. An ants-eye view of an ant-plant protection mutualism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanan, M. C.; Bronstein, J. L.

    2013-01-01

    Ant protection of extrafloral nectar-secreting plants (EFN plants) is a common form of mutualism found in most habitats around the world. However, very few studies have considered these mutualisms from the ant, rather than the plant, perspective. In particular, a whole-colony perspective that takes into account the spatial structure and nest arrangement of the ant colonies that visit these plants has been lacking, obscuring when and how colony-level foraging decisions might affect tending rates on individual plants. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that recruitment of Crematogaster opuntiae (Buren) ant workers to the extrafloral nectar-secreting cactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Englem) is not independent between plants up to 5m apart. Colony territories of C. opuntiae are large, covering areas of up to 5000m2, and workers visit between five and thirty-four extrafloral nectar-secreting barrel cacti within the territories. These ants are highly polydomous, with up to twenty nest entrances dispersed throughout the territory and interconnected by trail networks. Our study demonstrates that worker recruitment is not independent within large polydomous ant colonies, highlighting the importance of considering colonies rather than individual workers as the relevant study unit within ant/plant protection mutualisms PMID:23515612

  16. Development of virtual bait stations to control Argentine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in environmentally sensitive habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choe, Dong-Hwan; Vetter, Richard S; Rust, Michael K

    2010-10-01

    A novel bait station referred to as a virtual bait station was developed and tested against field populations of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), at White Beach, Camp Pendleton, in Oceanside, CA. White Beach is a nesting habitat for an endangered seabird, the California least tern (Sterna antillarum browni Mearns). The beach is heavily infested with Argentine ants, one of the threats for the California least tern chicks. Conventional pest control strategies are prohibited because of the existence of the protected bird species and the site's proximity to the ocean. The bait station consisted of a polyvinyl chloride pipe that was treated on the inside with fipronil insecticide at low concentrations to obtain delayed toxicity against ants. The pipe was provisioned with an inverted bottle of 25% sucrose solution, then capped, and buried in the sand. Foraging ants crossed the treated surface to consume the sucrose solution. The delayed toxicity of fipronil deposits allowed the ants to continue foraging on the sucrose solution and to interact with their nestmates, killing them within 3-5 d after exposure. Further modification of the bait station design minimized the accumulation of dead ants in the sucrose solution, significantly improving the longevity and efficacy of the bait station. The virtual bait station exploits the foraging behavior of the ants and provides a low impact approach to control ants in environmentally sensitive habitats. It excluded all insects except ants, required only milligram quantities of toxicant, and eliminated the problem of formulating toxicants into aqueous sugar baits.

  17. Foraging modality and plasticity in foraging traits determine the strength of competitive interactions among carnivorous plants, spiders and toads.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jennings, David E; Krupa, James J; Rohr, Jason R

    2016-07-01

    Foraging modalities (e.g. passive, sit-and-wait, active) and traits are plastic in some species, but the extent to which this plasticity affects interspecific competition remains unclear. Using a long-term laboratory mesocosm experiment, we quantified competition strength and the plasticity of foraging traits in a guild of generalist predators of arthropods with a range of foraging modalities. Each mesocosm contained eight passively foraging pink sundews, and we employed an experimental design where treatments were the presence or absence of a sit-and-wait foraging spider and actively foraging toad crossed with five levels of prey abundance. We hypothesized that actively foraging toads would outcompete the other species at low prey abundance, but that spiders and sundews would exhibit plasticity in foraging traits to compensate for strong competition when prey were limited. Results generally supported our hypotheses. Toads had a greater effect on sundews at low prey abundances, and toad presence caused spiders to locate webs higher above the ground. Additionally, the closer large spider webs were to the ground, the greater the trichome densities produced by sundews. Also, spider webs were larger with than without toads and as sundew numbers increased, and these effects were more prominent as resources became limited. Finally, spiders negatively affected toad growth only at low prey abundance. These findings highlight the long-term importance of foraging modality and plasticity of foraging traits in determining the strength of competition within and across taxonomic kingdoms. Future research should assess whether plasticity in foraging traits helps to maintain coexistence within this guild and whether foraging modality can be used as a trait to reliably predict the strength of competitive interactions. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-10-01

    Signalling is necessary for the maintenance of interspecific mutualisms but is vulnerable to exploitation by eavesdropping. While eavesdropping of intraspecific signals has been studied extensively, such exploitation of interspecific signals has not been widely documented. The juvenile stages of the Australian lycaenid butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras, form an obligate association with several species of attendant ants, including Iridomyrmex mayri. Ants protect the caterpillars and pupae, and in return are rewarded with nutritious secretions. Female and male adult butterflies use ants as signals for oviposition and mate searching, respectively. Our experiments reveal that two natural enemies of J. evagoras, araneid spiders and braconid parasitoid wasps, exploit ant signals as cues for increasing their foraging and oviposition success, respectively. Intriguingly, selection through eavesdropping is unlikely to modify the ant signal.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    One of the most conspicuous and stereotyped activities of social insects such as ants and honey bees is necrophoresis, the removal of dead colony members from the nest. Previous researchers suggested that decomposition products such as fatty acids trigger necrophoric behavior by ant workers. However, fatty acids elicit both foraging and necrophoric responses, depending on the current nest activities (e.g., feeding or nest maintenance). Furthermore, workers often carry even freshly killed workers (dead for Linepithema humile, undergoes rapid changes after death. When the workers are alive or freshly killed, relatively large amounts of 2 characteristic ant-produced compounds, dolichodial and iridomyrmecin, are present on the ants' cuticle. However, these compounds disappear from the cuticle within about 1 h after death. We demonstrate how this phenomenon supports an alternative mechanism of ant necrophoresis in which the precise recognition and rapid removal of dead nestmates are elicited by the disappearance of these chemical signals associated with life. PMID:19416815

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-11-01

    We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in Central Texas. Microfungal prevalence was higher in gardens of C. wheeleri (57%) than in the gardens of T. septentrionalis (46%) and A. texana (35%). Culture-dependent methods coupled with a polyphasic approach of species identification revealed diverse and changing microfungal communities in all the sampling periods. Diversity analyses showed no obvious correlations between the number of observed microfungal species, ant species, or the ants' changing foraging behavior across the seasons. However, both correspondence analysis and 5.8S-rRNA gene unifrac analyses suggested structuring of microfungal communities by ant host. These host-specific differences may reflect in part the three different environments where ants were collected. Most interestingly, the specialized fungal parasite Escovopsis was not isolated from any attine garden in this study near the northernmost limit of the range of attine ants, contrasting with previous studies that indicated a significant incidence of this parasite in ant gardens from Central and South America. The observed differences of microfungal communities in attine gardens suggest that the ants are continuously in contact with a diverse microfungal species assemblage. © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Predacious activity of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae in conventional and in No-till agriculture systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise Lange

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available This study had the objective of assessing the differences in foraging activity of the predacious ants between two areas, one conventional and other with no-till agriculture systems. The research was conducted in two contiguous 1.5 ha plots in Dourados MS, Brazil, from February 2001 to December 2003. Each plot received 750 baits (Nasutitermes termites, 425 at daylight and 325 at night. The termites were placed on the filter paper, on the ground, and ant attack was monitored for 15 min, until removed. Sixteen ant species were found in the no-till system and nine in the conventional system. Baits removed from no-till were significantly higher than the conventional plots and were influenced by the sampling time, at day or night. The seasons of the year did not significantly explain the variations in the structure of the predacious ant communities in neither of the systems. The significant differences at foraging activity and ant richness between the areas indicated that the no-tillage system could improve environmental quality of the cropping and therefore, became an important tool for the integrated pest management programs.O objetivo do trabalho foi avaliar se a atividade de forrageamento de formigas predadoras em agroecossistemas varia entre duas áreas, uma com sistema de cultivo direto e outra com cultivo convencional. A pesquisa foi realizada em Dourados, MS, de fevereiro de 2001 a dezembro de 2003 em duas áreas contíguas de 1,5 ha cada. Como isca utilizou-se cupins do gênero Nasutitermes. Em cada área foram colocadas 750 iscas, sendo 425 durante o dia e 325 à noite. Cada cupim permanecia exposto sobre o solo por 15 minutos, ou até ser atacado. Foram encontradas 16 espécies de formigas no plantio direto e nove no convencional. A proporção de iscas retiradas por formigas no plantio direto (167 de 750 e convencional (97 de 750 dependeu do turno de amostragem. Nos dois turnos a proporção de iscas removidas por formigas foi

  2. 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).

  3. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliveira, Paulo S.; Freitas, André V. L.

    2004-12-01

    The Brazilian cerrado savanna covers nearly 2 million km2 and has a high incidence on foliage of various liquid food sources such as extrafloral nectar and insect exudates. These liquid rewards generate intense ant activity on cerrado foliage, making ant plant herbivore interactions especially prevalent in this biome. We present data on the distribution and abundance of extrafloral nectaries in the woody flora of cerrado communities and in the flora of other habitats worldwide, and stress the relevance of liquid food sources (including hemipteran honeydew) for the ant fauna. Consumption by ants of plant and insect exudates significantly affects the activity of the associated herbivores of cerrado plant species, with varying impacts on the reproductive output of the plants. Experiments with an ant plant butterfly system unequivocally demonstrate that the behavior of both immature and adult lepidopterans is closely related to the use of a risky host plant, where intensive visitation by ants can have a severe impact on caterpillar survival. We discuss recent evidence suggesting that the occurrence of liquid rewards on leaves plays a key role in mediating the foraging ecology of foliage-dwelling ants, and that facultative ant plant mutualisms are important in structuring the community of canopy arthropods. Ant-mediated effects on cerrado herbivore communities can be revealed by experiments performed on wide spatial scales, including many environmental factors such as soil fertility and vegetation structure. We also present some research questions that could be rewarding to investigate in this major neotropical savanna.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeil, Jochen; Narendra, Ajay; Stürzl, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    We caught solitary foragers of the Australian Jack Jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi, and released them in three compass directions at distances of 10 and 15 m from the nest at locations they have never been before. We recorded the head orientation and the movements of ants within a radius of 20 cm from the release point and, in some cases, tracked their subsequent paths with a differential GPS. We find that upon surfacing from their transport vials onto a release platform, most ants move into the home direction after looking around briefly. The ants use a systematic scanning procedure, consisting of saccadic head and body rotations that sweep gaze across the scene with an average angular velocity of 90° s(-1) and intermittent changes in turning direction. By mapping the ants' gaze directions onto the local panorama, we find that neither the ants' gaze nor their decisions to change turning direction are clearly associated with salient or significant features in the scene. Instead, the ants look most frequently in the home direction and start walking fast when doing so. Displaced ants can thus identify home direction with little translation, but exclusively through rotational scanning. We discuss the navigational information content of the ants' habitat and how the insects' behaviour informs us about how they may acquire and retrieve that information.

  5. Variation of ant community structure on Ficus benguetensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shang-Yang Lin

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Although ants are commonly found on Ficus trees, information remains lacking on the pattern and diversity of the ant community visiting these trees. We hypothesize that dynamic changes in the availability and types of food can affect the composition as well as abundance of ant communities occurring on fig trees. To investigate the impact of resource availability, diversity, and variability on the ant community structure, we surveyed and recorded the fig phenology and ant abundance on 17 trees (11 male and six female trees of Ficus benguetensis in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan from 2011 to 2013. A total of 13 ant species were found on these fig trees, with 6 species more abundant than the others. The composition and relative abundance of the ant species occurring on F. benguetensis trees showed significant variations associated with tree sex, fig abundance, fig developmental phase, as well as temperature. A degree of dietary niche partitioning was also observed. We suggest that sexual differentiation in fig phenology plays a major role in controlling the availability and variance in food resources for ants, thereby shaping the complex ant communities foraging on F. benguetensis.

  6. Effect of intercropping wheat with forage legumes on wheat production and ground cover Efeito do consórcio entre trigo e leguminosas forrageiras na produção de trigo e na cobertura de solo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gilberto Omar Tomm

    2001-03-01

    Full Text Available The use of winter legumes in southern Brazil is hindered by the slow growth of these species during establishment exposing soil surface to erosion. Introduction of these species along with spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. was studied as a means of increasing ground cover during their initial establishment period, without reducing wheat grain yield. Two experiments were conducted in nearby areas, one in each year. Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L., red clover (Trifolium pratense L. cultivar Quiñequelli, white clover (T. repens L., and arrowleaf clover (T. vesiculosum Savi did not reduce cereal yield in either year. Wheat yield was reduced by intercropped red clover cultivar Kenland and by subclover (T. subterraneum L. in the first year. No grain yield differences due to intercropping with any legume were detected in the second year, when rainfall was below normal. Intercropping with wheat showed to be a practical alternative to enhance ground cover at establishing forage legumes.O uso de leguminosas forrageiras no sul do Brasil é dificultado pelo lento crescimento dessas espécies no ano de estabelecimento, o que expõe o solo à erosão. Estudou-se a introdução dessas leguminosas concomitantemente ao trigo (Triticum aestivum L. com o objetivo de aumentar a cobertura de solo durante o seu desenvolvimento inicial, sem reduzir o rendimento de grãos de trigo. Foram realizados dois experimentos em áreas próximas, um em cada ano. O cornichão (Lotus corniculatus L., o trevo-vermelho (Trifolium pratense L., cultivar Quiñequelli, o trevo-branco (T. repens L. e o trevo-vesiculoso (T. vesiculosum Savi não reduziram o rendimento de trigo em nenhum dos anos. O rendimento de grãos de trigo foi reduzido pelo trevo-vermelho, cultivar Kenland, e pelo trevo subterrâneo (T. subterraneum L., no primeiro ano. No segundo ano, em que, durante o período de desenvolvimento de trigo, a precipitação pluvial foi inferior à normal, não se

  7. Acquisition and expression of memories of distance and direction in navigating wood ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandes, A Sofia D; Philippides, Andrew; Collett, Tom S; Niven, Jeremy E

    2015-11-01

    Wood ants, like other central place foragers, rely on route memories to guide them to and from a reliable food source. They use visual memories of the surrounding scene and probably compass information to control their direction. Do they also remember the length of their route and do they link memories of direction and distance? To answer these questions, we trained wood ant (Formica rufa) foragers in a channel to perform either a single short foraging route or two foraging routes in opposite directions. By shifting the starting position of the route within the channel, but keeping the direction and distance fixed, we tried to ensure that the ants would rely upon vector memories rather than visual memories to decide when to stop. The homeward memories that the ants formed were revealed by placing fed or unfed ants directly into a channel and assessing the direction and distance that they walked without prior performance of the food-ward leg of the journey. This procedure prevented the distance and direction walked being affected by a home vector derived from path integration. Ants that were unfed walked in the feeder direction. Fed ants walked in the opposite direction for a distance related to the separation between start and feeder. Vector memories of a return route can thus be primed by the ants' feeding state and expressed even when the ants have not performed the food-ward route. Tests on ants that have acquired two routes indicate that memories of the direction and distance of the return routes are linked, suggesting that they may be encoded by a common neural population within the ant brain. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  8. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-11-07

    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 desert of northwestern Argentina, we surveyed the richness and phenology of EFN plants and their associated ants and examined the patterns in ant-plant interaction networks. We found that 25 ant species and 11 EFN-bearing plant species were linked together through 96 pairs of associations. Plants bearing EFNs were abundant, representing ca. 19 % of the species encountered in transects and 24 % of the plant cover. Most ant species sampled (ca. 77 %) fed on EF nectar. Interactions showed a marked seasonal pattern: EFN secretion was directly related to plant phenology and correlated with the time of highest ant ground activity. Our results reveal that EFN-mediated interactions are ecologically relevant components of deserts, and that EFN-bearing plants are crucial for the survival of desert ant communities. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.

  9. Molecular phylogenetics of ponerine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Chris

    2013-01-01

    Recent molecular phylogenetic studies of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) have revolutionized our understanding of how these ecologically dominant organisms diversified, but detailed phylogenies are lacking for most major ant subfamilies. I report the results of the first detailed phylogenetic study of the ant subfamily Ponerinae, a diverse cosmopolitan lineage whose properties make it an attractive model system for investigating social and ecological evolution in ants. Molecular sequence data were obtained from four nuclear genes (wingless, long-wavelength rhodopsin, rudimentary [CAD], 28S rDNA; total of ~3.3 kb) for 86 ponerine taxa, representing all three ponerine tribes, 22 of the 28 currently recognized genera, and 14 of the 18 informal subgenera of Pachycondyla, a heterogeneous grouping whose monophyly is doubtful on morphological grounds. Phylogenetic reconstructions using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference support the monophyly of Ponerinae and tribe Platythyreini, but fail to support the monophyly of the large tribe Ponerini due to its inclusion of the unusual genus Thaumatomyrmex. Pachycondyla is inferred to be broadly non-monophyletic. Numerous novel generic and suprageneric relationships are inferred within Ponerini, which was found to consist of four major multi-generic clades (the Ponera, Pachycondyla, Plectroctena and Odontomachus genus groups) plus the single genera Hypoponera and Harpegnathos. Uncertainty remains in some regions of the phylogeny, including at the base of Ponerini, possibly reflecting rapid radiation. Divergence dating using a Bayesian relaxed clock method estimates an origin for stem Ponerinae in the upper Cretaceous, a major burst of diversification near the K/T boundary, and a rich and continual history of diversification during the Cenozoic. These results fail to support the predictions of the "dynastic-succession hypothesis" previously developed to explain the high species diversity of Ponerinae. Though model

  10. The influence of forage diets and aging on beef palatability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, T; Busboom, J R; Nelson, M L; O'Fallon, J; Ringkob, T P; Rogers-Klette, K R; Joos, D; Piper, K

    2010-11-01

    To investigate the influence of diet and aging on beef palatability, lipid oxidative stability, and fatty acid composition, crossbred steers were assigned to Feedlot S (alfalfa and grain), Forage TR (triticale and annual ryegrass), Forage TK (triticale and kale), or Forage+Feedlot (grazing ryegrass, fescue and orchardgrass, finished on alfalfa and grain) dietary treatments. Heifers were finished on Feedlot H (alfalfa and grain). Longissimus and tricep muscles were sampled from these animals for steaks and ground beef, respectively. Steaks were either dry- or wet-aged for 14 d. Ground beef was dry-aged, wet-aged for 14 d, or not aged. Trained sensory panelists evaluated palatability attributes of steaks and ground beef. Diet did not influence sensory attributes of steaks or ground beef. Aging impacted (Pbeef. Diet and aging had no impact on lipid oxidative stability but affected fatty acid composition of raw ground beef.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Ants adjust their pheromone deposition to a changing environment and their probability of making errors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-07-07

    Animals must contend with an ever-changing environment. Social animals, especially eusocial insects such as ants and bees, rely heavily on communication for their success. However, in a changing environment, communicated information can become rapidly outdated. This is a particular problem for pheromone trail using ants, as once deposited pheromones cannot be removed. Here, we study the response of ant foragers to an environmental change. Ants were trained to one feeder location, and the feeder was then moved to a different location. We found that ants responded to an environmental change by strongly upregulating pheromone deposition immediately after experiencing the change. This may help maintain the colony's foraging flexibility, and allow multiple food locations to be exploited simultaneously. Our treatment also caused uncertainty in the foragers, by making their memories less reliable. Ants which had made an error but eventually found the food source upregulated pheromone deposition when returning to the nest. Intriguingly, ants on their way towards the food source downregulated pheromone deposition if they were going to make an error. This may suggest that individual ants can measure the reliability of their own memories and respond appropriately.

  14. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Fuminori; Hashim, Rosli; Huei, Yek Sze; Kaufmann, Eva; Akino, Toshiharu; Billen, Johan

    2004-10-01

    The mechanism by which palatable species take advantage of their similarity in appearance to those that are unpalatable, in order to avoid predation, is called Batesian mimicry. Several arthropods are thought to be Batesian mimics of social insects; however, social insects that are Batesian mimics among themselves are rare. In Malaysia we found a possible Batesian mimic in an arboreal ant species, Camponotus sp., which was exclusively observed on foraging trails of the myrmicine ant Crematogaster inflata. The bright yellow and black colouring pattern, as well as the walking behaviour, were very similar in both species. We observed general interactions between the two species, and tested their palatability and the significance of the remarkably similar visual colour patterns for predator avoidance. Prey offered to C. inflata was also eaten by Camponotus workers in spite of their being attacked by C. inflata, indicating that Camponotus sp. is a commensal of C. inflata. An experiment with chicks as potential predators suggests that Camponotus sp. is palatable whereas C. inflata is unpalatable. After tasting C. inflata, the chicks no longer attacked Camponotus sp., indicating that Camponotus sp. is a Batesian mimic of Crematogaster inflata.

  15. Foraging Experiences with Children

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russell, Helen Ross

    1976-01-01

    Provided are foraging experiences and wild foods information for utilization in the urban school curriculum. Food uses are detailed for roses, dandelions, wild onions, acorns, cattails, violets and mints. (BT)

  16. SEASONAL AND DIURNAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS IN ANT (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) COMMUNITIES IN A VEGETATION TRANSITION REGION OF SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO

    Science.gov (United States)

    The densities of active ant colonies were estimated in three habitats: creosotebush shrubland, grassland, and shinnery-oak mesquite dunes. Diurnal foraging patterns were studied at bait boards. Species richness of ant communities in this transitional region (8-12 species) was co...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-06-01

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

  18. Rescue of newborn ants by older Cataglyphis cursor adult workers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nowbahari, Elise; Amirault, Céline; Hollis, Karen L

    2016-05-01

    Cataglyphis cursor worker ants are capable of highly sophisticated rescue behaviour in which individuals are able to identify what has trapped a nestmate and to direct their behaviour towards that obstacle. Nonetheless, rescue behaviour is constrained by workers' subcaste: whereas foragers, the oldest workers, are able both to give and to receive the most help, the youngest workers, inactives, neither give nor receive any help whatsoever; nurses give and receive intermediate levels of aid, reflecting their intermediate age. Such differences in rescue behaviour across subcastes suggest that age and experience play a critical role. In this species, as in many others in which a sensitive period for nestmate recognition exists, newly enclosed ants, called callows, are adopted by ants belonging not only to different colonies but also to different species; foreign callows receive nearly the same special care provided to resident newborns. Because callows are younger than inactives, which are incapable of soliciting rescue, we wondered whether entrapped callows would receive such aid. In the present study, we artificially ensnared individual callows from their own colony (homocolonial), from a different colony (heterocolonial), and from a different species (heterospecific), and tested each one with groups of five potential C. cursor rescuers, either all foragers or all nurses. Our results show that all three types of callows are able to elicit rescue behaviour from both foragers and nurses. Nonetheless, nurse rescuers are better able to discriminate between the three types of callow victims than are foragers.

  19. 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

    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......The postpharyngeal gland (PPG) is unique to ants and is the largest exocrine gland in their head. In queens of the pharaoh's ant, Monomorium pharaonis, the gland contains approximately 15 finger-like epithelial extensions on each side and opens dorsolaterally in the posterior pharynx. In these ants...

  20. How to be an ant on figs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bain, Anthony; Harrison, Rhett D.; Schatz, Bertrand

    2014-05-01

    Mutualistic interactions are open to exploitation by one or other of the partners and a diversity of other organisms, and hence are best understood as being embedded in a complex network of biotic interactions. Figs participate in an obligate mutualism in that figs are dependent on agaonid fig wasps for pollination and the wasps are dependent on fig ovules for brood sites. Ants are common insect predators and abundant in tropical forests. Ants have been recorded on approximately 11% of fig species, including all six subgenera, and often affect the fig-fig pollinator interaction through their predation of either pollinating and parasitic wasps. On monoecious figs, ants are often associated with hemipterans, whereas in dioecious figs ants predominantly prey on fig wasps. A few fig species are true myrmecophytes, with domatia or food rewards for ants, and in at least one species this is linked to predation of parasitic fig wasps. Ants also play a role in dispersal of fig seeds and may be particularly important for hemi-epiphytic species, which require high quality establishment microsites in the canopy. The intersection between the fig-fig pollinator and ant-plant systems promises to provide fertile ground for understanding mutualistic interactions within the context of complex interaction networks.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ant colony search algorithm for optimal reactive power optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lenin K.

    2006-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Huszár, Dóra Borbála

    Ants, like other social insects, have evolved cooperative societies based on kinship. Colonies headed by a single breeding queen (monogyny) was the ancestral state but today ca. half of the ant species live in multi-queen societies (polygyny), which can sometimes reach extreme sizes (supercolony...... that only ants, not the other obligatorily social insects were able to decrease social and sexual conflicts sufficiently to make polygyny reach obligate form in some species. This can be explained by general ant biology, such as perennial lifehistories, foraging on foot instead of wings and having one...... nest types. High inbreeding also resulted in high genetic relatedness, which could imply substantial indirect fitness benefits since obviously negative fitness effects were not produced such as suboptimal body size, significant fluctuating asymmetry in reproductively relevant traits, or diploid male...

  5. Optic disc detection using ant colony optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dias, Marcy A.; Monteiro, Fernando C.

    2012-09-01

    The retinal fundus images are used in the treatment and diagnosis of several eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. This paper proposes a new method to detect the optic disc (OD) automatically, due to the fact that the knowledge of the OD location is essential to the automatic analysis of retinal images. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is an optimization algorithm inspired by the foraging behaviour of some ant species that has been applied in image processing for edge detection. Recently, the ACO was used in fundus images to detect edges, and therefore, to segment the OD and other anatomical retinal structures. We present an algorithm for the detection of OD in the retina which takes advantage of the Gabor wavelet transform, entropy and ACO algorithm. Forty images of the retina from DRIVE database were used to evaluate the performance of our method.

  6. Nutrient compensatory foraging in a free-living social insect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, Keri L.; Gallacher, Anthony P.; Martin, Lizzie; Tong, Desmond; Elgar, Mark A.

    2010-10-01

    The geometric framework model predicts that animal foraging decisions are influenced by their dietary history, with animals targeting a combination of essential nutrients through compensatory foraging. We provide experimental confirmation of nutrient-specific compensatory foraging in a natural, free-living population of social insects by supplementing their diet with sources of protein- or carbohydrate-rich food. Colonies of the ant Iridomyrmex suchieri were provided with feeders containing food rich in either carbohydrate or protein for 6 days, and were then provided with a feeder containing the same or different diet. The patterns of recruitment were consistent with the geometric framework: while feeders with a carbohydrate diet typically attracted more workers than did feeders with protein diet, the difference in recruitment between the two nutrients was smaller if the colonies had had prior access to carbohydrate than protein. Further, fewer ants visited feeders if the colony had had prior access to protein than to carbohydrates, suggesting that the larvae play a role in worker foraging behaviour.

  7. Ants contribute significantly to the pollination of a biodiesel plant, Jatropha curcas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Chang W; Li, Kun; Chen, Xiao M; Huang, Zachary Y

    2012-10-01

    Ants are the most abundant visitors to the flowers of Jatropha curcas L., but it is not clear how much they contribute to the pollination of this plant. In this study, we observed floral visitor assemblage and foraging behavior of ants, measured pollen loads carried by ants and deposited on stigmas, and determined the contribution of ants to the female reproductive success of J. curcas through exclusion experiments. Ants were the most abundant pollinators, accounting for 71.03 and 78.17% of total visits at two study sites. Among different ant species, Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.) is always the most abundant and the only common ant species at two study sites, which might suggest its important role in the pollination of J. curcas. Pollen loads carried by ants were significantly different among different species at two study sites. Pollen loads carried by ants increased with increased body length. Although the flowers exposed only to the ants produced less fruit than those exposed only to the winged visitors, ants alone resulted in almost 60% fruit set. Thus, ants could play a major role in the pollination of J. curcas if winged insects are absent.

  8. Nest site and weather affect the personality of harvester ant colonies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Gordon, Deborah M; Holmes, Susan

    2012-09-01

    Environmental conditions and physical constraints both influence an animal's behavior. We investigate whether behavioral variation among colonies of the black harvester ant, Messor andrei, remains consistent across foraging and disturbance situations and ask whether consistent colony behavior is affected by nest site and weather. We examined variation among colonies in responsiveness to food baits and to disturbance, measured as a change in numbers of active ants, and in the speed with which colonies retrieved food and removed debris. Colonies differed consistently, across foraging and disturbance situations, in both responsiveness and speed. Increased activity in response to food was associated with a smaller decrease in response to alarm. Speed of retrieving food was correlated with speed of removing debris. In all colonies, speed was greater in dry conditions, reducing the amount of time ants spent outside the nest. While a colony occupied a certain nest site, its responsiveness was consistent in both foraging and disturbance situations, suggesting that nest structure influences colony personality.

  9. Adaptive Bacterial Foraging Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanning Chen

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO is a recently developed nature-inspired optimization algorithm, which is based on the foraging behavior of E. coli bacteria. Up to now, BFO has been applied successfully to some engineering problems due to its simplicity and ease of implementation. However, BFO possesses a poor convergence behavior over complex optimization problems as compared to other nature-inspired optimization techniques. This paper first analyzes how the run-length unit parameter of BFO controls the exploration of the whole search space and the exploitation of the promising areas. Then it presents a variation on the original BFO, called the adaptive bacterial foraging optimization (ABFO, employing the adaptive foraging strategies to improve the performance of the original BFO. This improvement is achieved by enabling the bacterial foraging algorithm to adjust the run-length unit parameter dynamically during algorithm execution in order to balance the exploration/exploitation tradeoff. The experiments compare the performance of two versions of ABFO with the original BFO, the standard particle swarm optimization (PSO and a real-coded genetic algorithm (GA on four widely-used benchmark functions. The proposed ABFO shows a marked improvement in performance over the original BFO and appears to be comparable with the PSO and GA.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-08-31

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

  11. Negative feedback enables fast and flexible collective decision-making in ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christoph Grüter

    Full Text Available Positive feedback plays a major role in the emergence of many collective animal behaviours. In many ants pheromone trails recruit and direct nestmate foragers to food sources. The strong positive feedback caused by trail pheromones allows fast collective responses but can compromise flexibility. Previous laboratory experiments have shown that when the environment changes, colonies are often unable to reallocate their foragers to a more rewarding food source. Here we show both experimentally, using colonies of Lasius niger, and with an agent-based simulation model, that negative feedback caused by crowding at feeding sites allows ant colonies to maintain foraging flexibility even with strong recruitment to food sources. In a constant environment, negative feedback prevents the frequently found bias towards one feeder (symmetry breaking and leads to equal distribution of foragers. In a changing environment, negative feedback allows a colony to quickly reallocate the majority of its foragers to a superior food patch that becomes available when foraging at an inferior patch is already well underway. The model confirms these experimental findings and shows that the ability of colonies to switch to a superior food source does not require the decay of trail pheromones. Our results help to resolve inconsistencies between collective foraging patterns seen in laboratory studies and observations in the wild, and show that the simultaneous action of negative and positive feedback is important for efficient foraging in mass-recruiting insect colonies.

  12. Negative feedback enables fast and flexible collective decision-making in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grüter, Christoph; Schürch, Roger; Czaczkes, Tomer J; Taylor, Keeley; Durance, Thomas; Jones, Sam M; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2012-01-01

    Positive feedback plays a major role in the emergence of many collective animal behaviours. In many ants pheromone trails recruit and direct nestmate foragers to food sources. The strong positive feedback caused by trail pheromones allows fast collective responses but can compromise flexibility. Previous laboratory experiments have shown that when the environment changes, colonies are often unable to reallocate their foragers to a more rewarding food source. Here we show both experimentally, using colonies of Lasius niger, and with an agent-based simulation model, that negative feedback caused by crowding at feeding sites allows ant colonies to maintain foraging flexibility even with strong recruitment to food sources. In a constant environment, negative feedback prevents the frequently found bias towards one feeder (symmetry breaking) and leads to equal distribution of foragers. In a changing environment, negative feedback allows a colony to quickly reallocate the majority of its foragers to a superior food patch that becomes available when foraging at an inferior patch is already well underway. The model confirms these experimental findings and shows that the ability of colonies to switch to a superior food source does not require the decay of trail pheromones. Our results help to resolve inconsistencies between collective foraging patterns seen in laboratory studies and observations in the wild, and show that the simultaneous action of negative and positive feedback is important for efficient foraging in mass-recruiting insect colonies.

  13. Cooperative Bacterial Foraging Optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanning Chen

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO is a novel optimization algorithm based on the social foraging behavior of E. coli bacteria. This paper presents a variation on the original BFO algorithm, namely, the Cooperative Bacterial Foraging Optimization (CBFO, which significantly improve the original BFO in solving complex optimization problems. This significant improvement is achieved by applying two cooperative approaches to the original BFO, namely, the serial heterogeneous cooperation on the implicit space decomposition level and the serial heterogeneous cooperation on the hybrid space decomposition level. The experiments compare the performance of two CBFO variants with the original BFO, the standard PSO and a real-coded GA on four widely used benchmark functions. The new method shows a marked improvement in performance over the original BFO and appears to be comparable with the PSO and GA.

  14. Redesigning forages with condensed tannins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maximizing protein content in forages and minimizing protein loss during silage fermentation and rumen digestion are concerns for livestock and dairy producers. Substantial amounts of forage protein undergo proteolysis (breakdown) during the ensiling process and during rumen fermentation, transforme...

  15. Trade-offs in an ant-plant-fungus mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orivel, Jérôme; Malé, Pierre-Jean; Lauth, Jérémie; Roux, Olivier; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline

    2017-03-15

    Species engaged in multiple, simultaneous mutualisms are subject to trade-offs in their mutualistic investment if the traits involved in each interaction are overlapping, which can lead to conflicts and affect the longevity of these associations. We investigate this issue via a tripartite mutualism involving an ant plant, two competing ant species and a fungus the ants cultivate to build galleries under the stems of their host plant to capture insect prey. The use of the galleries represents an innovative prey capture strategy compared with the more typical strategy of foraging on leaves. However, because of a limited worker force in their colonies, the prey capture behaviour of the ants results in a trade-off between plant protection (i.e. the ants patrol the foliage and attack intruders including herbivores) and ambushing prey in the galleries, which has a cascading effect on the fitness of all of the partners. The quantification of partners' traits and effects showed that the two ant species differed in their mutualistic investment. Less investment in the galleries (i.e. in fungal cultivation) translated into more benefits for the plant in terms of less herbivory and higher growth rates and vice versa. However, the greater vegetative growth of the plants did not produce a positive fitness effect for the better mutualistic ant species in terms of colony size and production of sexuals nor was the mutualist compensated by the wider dispersal of its queens. As a consequence, although the better ant mutualist is the one that provides more benefits to its host plant, its lower host-plant exploitation does not give this ant species a competitive advantage. The local coexistence of the ant species is thus fleeting and should eventually lead to the exclusion of the less competitive species. © 2017 The Author(s).

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danon C. Cardoso

    2009-01-01

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

  17. Edge Detection of Medical Images Using Modified Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm based on Weighted Heuristics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Puneet Rai

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Ant Colony Optimization (ACO is nature inspired algorithm based on foraging behavior of ants. The algorithm is based on the fact how ants deposit pheromone while searching for food. ACO generates a pheromone matrix which gives the edge information present at each pixel position of image, formed by ants dispatched on image. The movement of ants depends on local variance of image's intensity value. This paper proposes an improved method based on heuristic which assigns weight to the neighborhood. Thus by assigning the weights or priority to the neighboring pixels, the ant decides in which direction it can move. The method is applied on Medical images and experimental results are provided to support the superior performance of the proposed approach and the existing method.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard; Boomsma, Jacobus Jan

    range, and a paraphyletic assembly of Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species that cultivate more genetically diverse fungal symbionts. Leaf-decomposition productivity of colonies depends on the combined efforts of ant foragers collecting and macerating plant material and fungal enzymes excreted directly...... partners vary in metabolic performance, division of labour may not always be optimized and co-evolutionary trajectories become less predictable. The higher fungus-growing (attine) ants consist of the leafcutter ants (Acromyrmex and Atta), which rear a single fungal species throughout their Latin American...... or indirectly via ant fecal fluid. We determined the interaction specificity between ant species and fungal strains across sympatric populations of six Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex species in Panama, and established that these ants jointly reared eight fungal haplotype groups that differed significantly...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  20. Size-dependent foraging gene expression and behavioral caste differentiation in Bombus ignitus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yokoyama Jun

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In eusocial hymenopteran insects, foraging genes, members of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase family, are considered to contribute to division of labor through behavioral caste differentiation. However, the relationship between foraging gene expression and behavioral caste in honeybees is opposite to that observed in ants and wasps. In the previously examined eusocial Hymenoptera, workers behave as foragers or nurses depending on age. We reasoned that examination of a different system of behavioral caste determination might provide new insights into the relationship between foraging genes and division of labor, and accordingly focused on bumblebees, which exhibit size-dependent behavioral caste differentiation. We characterized a foraging gene (Bifor in bumblebees (Bombus ignitus and examined the relationship between Bifor expression and size-dependent behavioral caste differentiation. Findings A putative open reading frame of the Bifor gene was 2004 bp in length. It encoded 668 aa residues and showed high identity to orthologous genes in other hymenopterans (85.3-99.0%. As in ants and wasps, Bifor expression levels were higher in nurses than in foragers. Bifor expression was negatively correlated with individual body size even within the same behavioral castes (regression coefficient = -0.376, P P = 0.018, within foragers. Conclusion These findings indicate that Bifor expression is size dependent and support the idea that Bifor expression levels are related to behavioral caste differentiation in B. ignitus. Thus, the relationship between foraging gene expression and behavioral caste differentiation found in ants and wasps was identified in a different system of labor determination.

  1. Optimal Foraging in Semantic Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hills, Thomas T.; Jones, Michael N.; Todd, Peter M.

    2012-01-01

    Do humans search in memory using dynamic local-to-global search strategies similar to those that animals use to forage between patches in space? If so, do their dynamic memory search policies correspond to optimal foraging strategies seen for spatial foraging? Results from a number of fields suggest these possibilities, including the shared…

  2. 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.

  3. Fermat’s Principle of Least Time Predicts Refraction of Ant Trails at Substrate Borders

    OpenAIRE

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

    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' wa...

  4. Insect prey foraging strategies in Callicebus oenanthe in northern Peru.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deluycker, Anneke M

    2012-05-01

    Titi monkeys (genus Callicebus) are small-bodied platyrrhines that supplement their predominantly frugivorous diet with variable amounts of leaves, seeds, and/or arthropod prey. Notable interspecific variation in the amount of insect prey in the diet has been observed in Callicebus, ranging from 0% to 20%. In this study, I investigate the degree and type of prey foraging in a little-known species, Callicebus oenanthe inhabiting a fragmented, secondary forest on the foothills of the Andes in northern Peru. I present data on prey type, prey search and capture techniques, substrate/vegetation use, foraging height, prey capture efficiency, and seasonal variation of insect prey foraging in one group of C. oenanthe observed from January to August 2005. Insect prey accounted for 22% of the diet, the highest amount reported for any Callicebus species to date, and insects from at least six different orders were included. C. oenanthe was mainly an investigative forager of hidden prey, manipulating easy-to-open substrates such as rolled up leaves, and hunted ant swarms and larger insects opportunistically. Insect foraging was predominant during the dry season (26%) and decreased during the wet season (13%). The study group foraged mostly in the understory (2-6 m) within vine-laden shrubs and trees, which may conform to an anti-predator strategy of crypticity. Overall the group had an 83% insect capture success rate. These data suggest that insect prey is an important part of the diet of C. oenanthe and may be especially notable during periods of resource scarcity. This study adds to the knowledge concerning insect prey foraging in Callicebus, which can have an important role in defining ecological strategies in the selection of secondary protein food resources within a given ecosystem.

  5. Loss of functional diversity of ant assemblages in secondary tropical forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bihn, Jochen H; Gebauer, Gerhard; Brandl, Roland

    2010-03-01

    Secondary forests and plantations increasingly dominate the tropical wooded landscape in place of primary forests. The expected reduction of biodiversity and its impact on ecological functions provided by these secondary forests are of major concern to society and ecologists. The potential effect of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning depends largely on the associated loss in the functional diversity of animal and plant assemblages, i.e., the degree of functional redundancy among species. However, the relationship between species and functional diversity is still poorly documented for most ecosystems. Here, we analyze how changes in the species diversity of ground-foraging ant assemblages translate into changes of functional diversity along a successional gradient of secondary forests in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Our analysis uses continuous measures of functional diversity and is based on four functional traits related to resource use of ants: body size, relative eye size, relative leg length, and trophic position. We find a strong relationship between species and functional diversity, independent of the functional traits used, with no evidence for saturation in this relationship. Recovery of species richness and diversity of ant assemblages in tropical secondary forests was accompanied by a proportional increase of functional richness and diversity of assemblages. Moreover, our results indicate that the increase in functional diversity along the successional gradient of secondary forests is primarily driven by rare species, which are functionally unique. The observed loss of both species and functional diversity in secondary forests offers no reason to believe that the ecological functions provided by secondary forests are buffered against species loss through functional redundancy.

  6. How do groups of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) feed on a droplet of sugar water?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Cai; Chen, Xuan; Hooper-Bùi, Linda M; Strecker, Rachel; Wen, Yu-Zhen; Qin, Wen-Quan; Ma, Tao; Sun, Zhao-Hui; Chen, Xiao-Yang; Wen, Xiu-Jun

    2016-12-28

    Many previous studies have focused on the foraging behaviors and strategies of the red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren on solid food or granular bait; little attention has been paid to how liquid sugar is fed upon. In the present study, behavioral responses of S. invicta to 25% sucrose water droplets were observed. Five foraging patterns were identified in S. invicta colonies under laboratory conditions: (i) no feeding, no sucrose water feeding was observed; (ii) surround feeding, ants surrounded and fed along the edge of the sucrose droplet; (iii) stacked feeding, ants stacked and fed along the edge of the sucrose droplet; (iv) droplet-break feeding, ants broke the liquid droplet and sucked sucrose water that spread on surface of the substance or soil particles previously transported by ants; and (v) cover feeding, whole surface of the sucrose droplet was covered by layers of feeding ants. This is the first time cover feeding in S. invicta has been reported, which obviously requires more ants compared to the other patterns. In addition, individual ants were tracked in videos under laboratory conditions, and behavioral repertoires that led to stacking, covering and droplet-breaking were identified and described. The field investigation showed that surround feeding was most frequently performed by S. invicta foragers; however, cover feeding was not observed under field conditions during this study. Both laboratory and field studies showed colony-level variations in sugar-water feeding. © 2016 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  7. Imidacloprid seed treatments affect individual ant behavior and community structure but not egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penn, Hannah J; Dale, Andrew M

    2017-08-01

    Neonicotinoid seed treatments are under scrutiny because of their variable efficacy against crop pests and for their potential negative impacts on non-target organisms. Ants provide important biocontrol services in agroecosystems and can be indicators of ecosystem health. This study tested for effects of exposure to imidacloprid plus fungicide or fungicide-treated seeds on individual ant survival, locomotion and foraging capabilities and on field ant community structure, pest abundance, ant predation and yield. Cohorts of ants exposed to either type of treated seed had impaired locomotion and a higher incidence of morbidity and mortality but no loss of foraging capacity. In the field, we saw no difference in ant species richness, regardless of seed treatment. Blocks with imidacloprid did have higher species evenness and diversity, probably owing to variable effects of the insecticide on different ant species, particularly Tetramorium caespitum. Ant predation on sentinel eggs, pest abundance and soybean growth and yield were similar in the two treatments. Both seed treatments had lethal and sublethal effects on ant individuals, and the influence of imidacloprid seed coating in the field was manifested in altered ant community composition. Those effects, however, were not strong enough to affect egg predation, pest abundance or soybean yield in field blocks. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Chimpanzees prey on army ants at Seringbara, Nimba Mountains, Guinea: predation patterns and tool use characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koops, Kathelijne; Schöning, Caspar; McGrew, William C; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2015-03-01

    Chimpanzees are renowned for their use of foraging tools in harvesting social insects and some populations use tools to prey on aggressive army ants (Dorylus spp.). Tool use in army ant predation varies across chimpanzee study sites with differences in tool length, harvesting technique, and army ant species targeted. However, surprisingly little is known about the detailed ecology of army ant predation. We studied army ant predation by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at the Seringbara study site in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea (West Africa), over 10 years (2003-2013). We investigated chimpanzee selectivity with regards to army ant prey species. We assessed the temporal variation in army ant-feeding and examined whether army ant predation was related to rainfall or ripe fruit availability. Moreover, we examined whether chimpanzees showed selectivity regarding plant species used for tool manufacture, as well as the relationship between tool species preference and tool collection distance. Lastly, we measured tool properties and investigated the use of tool sets and composite tools in army ant predation. Seringbara chimpanzees preyed on one army ant species (D. nigricans) more often than expected based on encounter rates, which may be explained by the overlap in altitudinal distribution between chimpanzees and D. nigricans. Army ant predation was not related to rainfall or fruit availability. Chimpanzees were selective in their choice of tool materials and collected their preferred tool species (Alchornea hirtella) from greater distances than they did other species. Lastly, Seringbara chimpanzees used both tool sets and composite tools (tree perch) in army ant predation. Tool types (dig vs. dip) differed in width and strength, but not length. Tool composites were found at 40% of ant-feeding sites. Our study sheds new light on the ecology of army ant predation and provides novel insights into chimpanzee selection of army ant prey and tool species.

  10. Walking on inclines: how do desert ants monitor slope and step length

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seidl Tobias

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background During long-distance foraging in almost featureless habitats desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis employ path-integrating mechanisms (vector navigation. This navigational strategy requires an egocentric monitoring of the foraging path by incrementally integrating direction, distance, and inclination of the path. Monitoring the latter two parameters involves idiothetic cues and hence is tightly coupled to the ant's locomotor behavior. Results In a kinematic study of desert ant locomotion performed on differently inclined surfaces we aimed at pinpointing the relevant mechanisms of estimating step length and inclination. In a behavioral experiment with ants foraging on slippery surfaces we broke the otherwise tightly coupled relationship between stepping frequency and step length and examined the animals' ability to monitor distances covered even under those adverse conditions. We show that the ants' locomotor system is not influenced by inclined paths. After removing the effect of speed, slope had only marginal influence on kinematic parameters. Conclusion From the obtained data we infer that the previously proposed monitoring of angles of the thorax-coxa joint is not involved in inclinometry. Due to the tiny variations in cycle period, we also argue that an efference copy of the central pattern generator coding the step length in its output frequency will most likely not suffice for estimating step length and complementing the pedometer. Finally we propose that sensing forces acting on the ant's legs could provide the desired neuronal correlate employed in monitoring inclination and step length.

  11. Resource redistribution in polydomous ant nest networks: local or global?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franks, Daniel W.; Robinson, Elva J.H.

    2014-01-01

    An important problem facing organisms in a heterogeneous environment is how to redistribute resources to where they are required. This is particularly complex in social insect societies as resources have to be moved both from the environment into the nest and between individuals within the nest. Polydomous ant colonies are split between multiple spatially separated, but socially connected, nests. Whether, and how, resources are redistributed between nests in polydomous colonies is unknown. We analyzed the nest networks of the facultatively polydomous wood ant Formica lugubris. Our results indicate that resource redistribution in polydomous F. lugubris colonies is organized at the local level between neighboring nests and not at the colony level. We found that internest trails connecting nests that differed more in their amount of foraging were stronger than trails between nests with more equal foraging activity. This indicates that resources are being exchanged directly from nests with a foraging excess to nests that require resources. In contrast, we found no significant relationships between nest properties, such as size and amount of foraging, and network measures such as centrality and connectedness. This indicates an absence of a colony-level resource exchange. This is a clear example of a complex behavior emerging as a result of local interactions between parts of a system. PMID:25214755

  12. 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

  13. Riding with the ants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  14. 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.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. [Pathogenic bacteria dissemination by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in two hospitals in northeast Brazil].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fontana, Renato; Wetler, Rita M da C; Aquino, Renata S S; Andrioli, João L; Queiroz, Guilherme R G; Ferreira, Sônia L; Nascimento, Ivan C do; Delabie, Jacques H C

    2010-01-01

    Nosocomial infections bring a high risk to the health of hospital patients and employees. Ants are common organisms in Brazilian hospitals, where they can act as dispersers of opportunistic microorganisms in places they forage. The occurrence of multi-resistant bacteria carried by ants was analyzed in two public hospitals (HA and HB) in southeastern Bahia, Brazil. In these two hospitals 132 workers belonging to three ant species were collected. The bacteria associated to these ants were identified and their susceptibility to antibiotics was evaluated. More than half (57.3%) of ants collected in HA were associated with some kind of bacteria, with 26.7% of them being opportunist bacteria, while 84,2% of the ants from HB presented associated bacteria growth, with 61.4% of them being opportunist bacteria. Twenty four species of bacteria were isolated. The Gram-positive bacilli of the genus Bacillus were the most frequent, followed by the Gram-positive cocci, Gram-negative bacilli (family Enterobacteriaceae) and Gram-negative non-fermenters bacilli. The profile of sensitivity of the bacterial isolates to drugs pointed out the existence of multi-resistant isolates carried by ants. For the first time, are reported cases of the same bacterial resistant isolates taken form homospecific ant workers that point out the importance of ants to bacteria dissemination and proliferation in a hospital. Our results suggest that the risk of contamination presented by these ants is similar to the one of any other mechanical vector of bacterial dissemination.

  17. Filamentous fungi vectored by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a public hospital in North-Eastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aquino, R S S; Silveira, S S; Pessoa, W F B; Rodrigues, A; Andrioli, J L; Delabie, J H C; Fontana, R

    2013-03-01

    The increase in opportunistic fungal infections has led to the search for putative sources of contamination in hospital environments. Ants in a public hospital in Itabuna, north-eastern Brazil were examined for carriage of filamentous fungi. During a year-long survey, ants from different hospital areas were sampled. Preference was given to locations where it was possible to observe ants actively foraging. The fungi found on the ants' integument were cultured and identified. A total of 106 ant workers belonging to 12 species in 11 genera were collected. A total of 47 fungal strains was isolated from 40% of the ants (N = 42). We found 16 fungal species in 13 genera associated with the ant workers. The prevalent fungal genera were Aspergillus, Purpureocillium and Fusarium. The ants Tapinoma melanocephalum, Paratrechina longicornis and Pheidole megacephala were associated with six fungal genera; and four genera of fungi were associated with Solenopsis saevissima workers. Fungal diversity was higher in the following hospital areas: nursery, hospital beds, breastmilk bank and paediatrics. Ants act as carriers of soil and airborne fungal species, and ant control in hospital areas is necessary to prevent the dissemination of such micro-organisms. Copyright © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. 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.

  19. Ant colony optimization approach to estimate energy demand of Turkey

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Duran Toksari, M. [Erciyes University, Kayseri (Turkey). Engineering Faculty, Industrial Engineering Department

    2007-08-15

    This paper attempts to shed light on the determinants of energy demand in Turkey. Energy demand model is first proposed using the ant colony optimization (ACO) approach. It is multi-agent systems in which the behavior of each ant is inspired by the foraging behavior of real ants to solve optimization problem. ACO energy demand estimation (ACOEDE) model is developed using population, gross domestic product (GDP), import and export. All equations proposed here are linear and quadratic. Quadratic{sub A}COEDE provided better-fit solution due to fluctuations of the economic indicators. The ACOEDE model plans the energy demand of Turkey until 2025 according to three scenarios. The relative estimation errors of the ACOEDE model are the lowest when they are compared with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR) projection. (author)

  20. Application of chaotic ant swarm optimization in electric load forecasting

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hong, Wei-Chiang [Department of Information Management, Oriental Institute of Technology, 58, Section 2, Sichuan Rd., Panchiao, Taipei County 220 (China)

    2010-10-15

    Support vector regression (SVR) had revealed strong potential in accurate electric load forecasting, particularly by employing effective evolutionary algorithms to determine suitable values of its three parameters. Based on previous research results, however, these employed evolutionary algorithms themselves have several drawbacks, such as converging prematurely, reaching slowly the global optimal solution, and trapping into a local optimum. This investigation presents an SVR-based electric load forecasting model that applied a novel algorithm, namely chaotic ant swarm optimization (CAS), to improve the forecasting performance by searching its suitable parameters combination. The proposed CAS combines with the chaotic behavior of single ant and self-organization behavior of ant colony in the foraging process to overcome premature local optimum. The empirical results indicate that the SVR model with CAS (SVRCAS) results in better forecasting performance than the other alternative methods, namely SVRCPSO (SVR with chaotic PSO), SVRCGA (SVR with chaotic GA), regression model, and ANN model. (author)

  1. Foraging activity rhythms of Dinoponera quadriceps (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in its natural environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medeiros, Jeniffer; Azevedo, Dina L O; Santana, Melquisedec A D; Lopes, Talita R P; Araújo, Arrilton

    2014-01-01

    This study characterizes the foraging activity of the queenless ant Dinoponera quadriceps (Kempf) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in its natural environment by testing the hypotheses that foraging activity presents both daily and seasonal rhythmic variations, and that these rhythms are related to environmental variables. Four colonies of D. quadriceps were observed in an area of secondary Atlantic forest in northeastern Brazil. Data collection was performed over 72 h every three months during an annual cycle. Both daily and seasonal foraging activity rhythms of D. quadriceps colonies were related to environmental factors, but colony differences also explained part of foraging variations. Foraging activity of D. quadriceps colonies was predominantly diurnal independently of season. In the early dry season, the colonies had two activity peaks, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a decrease in foraging at midday; however, during the rest of the year, foraging activity was distributed more evenly throughout the daylight hours. The daily rhythm of foraging activity was likely determined by an endogenous circadian rhythm year-round, but in the dry season, temperature and relative humidity also influenced daily foraging activity, with a negative effect of temperature and a positive effect of relative humidity. On a seasonal scale, foraging activity peaked in the early dry season and suddenly declined at the end of this season, increasing again at the late rainy season. The seasonal rhythm of foraging was negatively related to relative humidity and positively related to prey availability. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.

  2. Ants Can Expect the Time of an Event on Basis of Previous Experiences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cammaerts, Roger

    2016-01-01

    Working on three ant species of the genus Myrmica, M. ruginodis, M. rubra, and M. sabuleti, we showed that foragers can expect the subsequent time at which food will be available on the basis of the previous times at which food was present. The ants acquired this expectative ability right after having experienced two time shifts of food delivery. Moreover, the ants' learning score appeared to be a logarithmic function of time (i.e., of the number of training days). This ability to expect subsequent times at which an event will occur may be an advantageous ethological trait. PMID:27403457

  3. Track initiation of bearings-only tracking based on ant navigation concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Jihong; Xu, Benlian; Wang, Zhiquan

    2010-11-01

    A novel heuristic track initiation method is developed for the bearing-only multi-sensor-multi-target tracking system, in which each target is assumed to move with a straight line. The key idea of the proposed method is derived from the ant navigation concept in its foraging life, which differs from the traditional ant colony optimization algorithm, and it utilizes the concept of path integration and visual landmarks in ants' navigation toolkit to find the exact positions of each target. Numerous numerical simulations are conducted and the effectiveness of the proposed track initiation method is verified according to the probability of correct track initiation.

  4. 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

    AbstractIn insect societies, workers cooperate but may also pursue their individual interests, such as laying viable male eggs. The case of obligatory slave-making ants is of particular interest because workers do not engage in maintenance activities and foraging. Therefore, worker egg laying...... 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...... presents the first direct evidence of an almost complete takeover of male reproduction by workers in ants....

  5. Nutrition modifies critical thermal maximum of a dominant canopy ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bujan, Jelena; Kaspari, Michael

    2017-10-01

    While adaptive responses to climate gradients are increasingly documented, little is known about how individuals alter their upper thermal tolerances. Long-term increases in dietary carbohydrates can elevate upper thermal tolerances in insects. We explored how the nutritional state of a Neotropical canopy ant governs its CTmax - the temperature at which individuals lose muscle control. We predicted that Azteca chartifex workers recently fed a carbohydrate-rich diet, such as honeydew and extrafloral nectar, would use that energy to increase their CTmax. Moreover, if a carbohydrate-rich diet increases CTmax, then we predicted that ants from colonies with high CTmaxs feed at a lower trophic level, and thus have a higher carbon:nitrogen ratio. We used A. chartifex colonies from a long-term fertilization experiment where phosphorus addition increased A. chartifex foraging activity with respect to controls. As foraging activity can be governed by resource availability, we first measured CTmax of field collected colonies. In freshly collected field colonies, CTmax was 2°C higher in control plots. This difference disappeared when ants were provided with only water for 10h. Ants were then provided with a 10% sucrose solution ad lib which increased CTmax by 5°C. We thus support the hypothesis that enhanced carbohydrate nutrition enables higher thermal tolerance, but this does not appear to be linked to colony trophic status, higher carbon:nitrogen ratios, or higher total body phosphorus. This short-term thermal plasticity linked to carbohydrate nutrition demonstrates the importance of ant diet in shaping their physiological traits. It is especially relevant to ant species that maintain high abundance by feeding on plant exudates. In a rapidly warming world, carbohydrate availability and use may represent a new element for predicting population and community responses of herbivorous insects. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. Ant behaviour and seed morphology: a missing link of myrmecochory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Espadaler, Xavier; Bas, Josep M

    2005-12-01

    Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is mediated by the presence of a lipid-rich appendage (elaiosome) on the seed that induces a variety of ants to collect the diaspores. When seeds mature or fall onto the ground, these ant species transport them to their nest. After eating the elaiosome, the seed is discarded in nest galleries or outside, in the midden or farther away, where seeds can potentially germinate. The final location of seeds with their elaiosomes removed was evaluated to assess the importance of possible handles (structures that ants can grasp to carry) in transporting ants during re-dispersal experiments of seeds from nests of six species of ants. The results indicate that seeds remained within the nest because the ants were not able to transport them out of the nest. As a consequence of the elaiosome being removed, small ant species could not take Euphorbia characias seeds out of their nests. Only large ant species could remove E. characias seeds from their nests. Attaching an artificial handle to E. characias seeds allowed small ant species to redistribute the seeds from their nests. On the other hand, Rhamnus alaternus seeds that have a natural handle after the elaiosome removal were removed from the nests by both groups of ant species. If a seed has an element that acts as a handle, it will eventually get taken out of the nest. The ants' size and their mandible gap can determine the outcome of the interaction (i.e. the pattern of the final seed shadow) and as a consequence, could influence the events that take place after the dispersal process.

  7. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-02-01

    Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.

  8. The first mesozoic ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, E O; Carpenter, F M; Brown, W L

    1967-09-01

    Two worker ants preserved in amber of Upper Cretaceous age have been found in New Jersey. They are the first undisputed remains of social insects of Mesozoic age, extending the existence of social life in insects back to approximately 100 million years. They are also the earliest known fossils that can be assigned with certainty to aculeate Hymenoptera. The species, Sphecomyrma freyi, is considered to represent a new subfamily (Sphecomyrminae), more primitive than any previously known ant group. It forms a near-perfect link between certain nonsocial tiphiid wasps and the most primitive myrmecioid ants.

  9. cGMP-dependent protein kinase: linking foraging to energy homeostasis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaun, Karla R; Sokolowski, Marla B

    2009-01-01

    Successful foraging is necessary for procurement of nutritional resources essential for an animal's survival. Maintenance of foraging and food acquisition is dependent on the ability to balance food intake and energy expenditure. This review examines the role of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) as a regulator of foraging behaviour, food acquisition, and energy balance. The role of PKG in food-related behaviours is highly conserved among worms, flies, bees, ants, and mammals. A growing body of literature suggests that PKG plays an integral role in the component behaviours and physiologies underlying foraging behaviour. These include energy acquisition, nutrient absorption, nutrient allocation, nutrient storage, and energy use. New evidence suggests that PKG mediates both neural and physiological mechanisms underlying these processes. This review illustrates how investigating the role of PKG in energy homeostasis in a diversity of organisms can offer a broad perspective on the mechanisms mediating energy balance.

  10. Honeydew-producing hemipterans in Florida associated with Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an invasive crazy ant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Formicidae) is an invasive pest ant that has been reported in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Workers tend various honeydew producing hemipterans in Florida landscapes and natural areas. We sought to understand the seasonal foraging activities of N. fulva and its ...

  11. Effect of an invasive and native ant on a field population of the black citrus aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Powell, B E; Brightwell, R J; Silverman, J

    2009-12-01

    Invasive ants often enter into facultative mutualisms that frequently lead to outbreaks of the hemipteran partner. Native ants may also enter into similar mutualisms but often these do not lead to outbreaks. However, field studies comparing the impact of an invasive and native ant on a honeydew-producing hemipteran are lacking. We monitored numerical changes of the black citrus aphid, Toxoptera aurantii, tended by adjacent colonies of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and the endemic odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile, during 2005, 2006, and 2007. Ant-tended aphid numbers were higher than those of untended aphids, with L. humile-tended and T. sessile-tended T. aurantii populations being comparable in 2005 and 2007. However, in 2006, a severe storm, with heavy rainfall, reduced T. sessile and aphid populations in areas occupied by T. sessile, whereas L. humile and aphids tended by L. humile were not reduced. This suggested that T. sessile foraging activity and hemipteran-tending was negatively impacted by severe weather. A laboratory experiment simulating rainfall striking the surface of a leaf showed that T. sessile foraging activity declined sharply under severe simulated rainfall conditions, whereas foraging activity of L. humile did not. Maintaining populations of honeydew-producing Hemiptera across broad climatic conditions may be one mechanism by which L. humile gains a competitive advantage over native ants occupying overlapping niches.

  12. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants occur in most environments and ecologists ask a diverse array of questions involving ants. Thus, a key consideration in ant studies is to match the environment and question (and associated environmental variables) to the ant sampling technique. Since each technique has distinct limitations, usi...

  13. Collective foraging in heterogeneous landscapes

    CERN Document Server

    Bhattacharya, Kunal

    2013-01-01

    Animals foraging alone are hypothesized to optimize the encounter rates with resources through L\\'evy walks. However, the issue of how the interactions between multiple foragers influence their search efficiency is still not completely understood. To address this, we consider a model to study the optimal strategy for a group of foragers searching for targets distributed heterogeneously. In our model foragers move on a square lattice containing immobile but regenerative targets. At any instant a forager is able to detect only those targets that happen to be in the same site. However, we allow the foragers to have information about the state of other foragers. A forager who has not detected any target walks towards the nearest location, where another forager has detected a target, with probability $\\exp{\\left(-\\alpha d\\right)}$, where $d$ is the distance and $\\alpha$ is a parameter. The model reveals that neither overcrowding ($\\alpha\\to 0$) nor independent searching ($\\alpha\\to\\infty$) is beneficial for the gr...

  14. Study on MAX-MIN Ant System with Random Selection in Quadratic Assignment Problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iimura, Ichiro; Yoshida, Kenji; Ishibashi, Ken; Nakayama, Shigeru

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO), which is a type of swarm intelligence inspired by ants' foraging behavior, has been studied extensively and its effectiveness has been shown by many researchers. The previous studies have reported that MAX-MIN Ant System (MMAS) is one of effective ACO algorithms. The MMAS maintains the balance of intensification and diversification concerning pheromone by limiting the quantity of pheromone to the range of minimum and maximum values. In this paper, we propose MAX-MIN Ant System with Random Selection (MMASRS) for improving the search performance even further. The MMASRS is a new ACO algorithm that is MMAS into which random selection was newly introduced. The random selection is one of the edgechoosing methods by agents (ants). In our experimental evaluation using ten quadratic assignment problems, we have proved that the proposed MMASRS with the random selection is superior to the conventional MMAS without the random selection in the viewpoint of the search performance.

  15. Optic flow odometry operates independently of stride integration in carried ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeffer, Sarah E; Wittlinger, Matthias

    2016-09-09

    Cataglyphis desert ants are impressive navigators. When the foragers roam the desert, they employ path integration. For these ants, distance estimation is one key challenge. Distance information was thought to be provided by optic flow (OF)-that is, image motion experienced during travel-but this idea was abandoned when stride integration was discovered as an odometer mechanism in ants. We show that ants transported by nest mates are capable of measuring travel distance exclusively by the use of OF cues. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the information gained from the optic flowmeter cannot be transferred to the stride integrator. Our results suggest a dual information channel that allows the ants to measure distances by strides and OF cues, although both systems operate independently and in a redundant manner. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  16. Do Invasive Fire Ants Affect Habitat Selection within a Small Mammal Community?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wendee N. Holtcamp

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Animals must balance foraging with the need to avoid predators and risky habitats that decrease their fitness, and at the same time they must cope with competitors vying for habitat and resources. We examined how habitat selection and population density of four native small mammals were altered by the presence of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta. When population size was low, hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus and pigmy mice (Baiomys taylori as well as white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus used the “safe”, low fire ant habitat, as predicted by theories of density-dependent habitat selection. However, as fire ant population sizes expanded, cotton rats appeared to displace pigmy mice into the fire ant-dense grassland drainage while white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus displaced all the other small mammals from low fire ant forest/brushland habitat.

  17. Changes in canopy structure and ant assemblages affect soil ecosystem variables as a foundation species declines

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kendrick, Joseph A.; Ribbons, Relena Rose; Classen, Aimee Taylor

    2015-01-01

    (richness and abundance) of ants increases rapidly as T. canadensis is lost from the stands. Because ants live and forage at the litter-soil interface, we hypothesized that environmental changes caused by hemlock loss (e.g., increased light and warmth at the forest floor, increased soil pH) and shifts...... in ant species composition would interact to alter soil ecosystem variables. In the Harvard Forest Hemlock Removal Experiment (HF-HeRE), established in 2003, T. canadensis in large plots were killed in place or logged and removed to mimic adelgid infestation or salvage harvesting, respectively. In 2006......, we built ant exclosure subplots within all of the canopy manipulation plots to examine direct and interactive effects of canopy change and ant assemblage composition on soil and litter variables. Throughout HF-HeRE, T. canadensis was colonized by the adelgid in 2009, and the infested trees are now...

  18. Sick ants become unsociable.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, N; Lefèvre, T; Jensen, A B; d'Ettorre, P

    2012-02-01

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

  19. Desert ants locate food by combining high sensitivity to food odors with extensive crosswind runs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buehlmann, Cornelia; Graham, Paul; Hansson, Bill S; Knaden, Markus

    2014-05-05

    Desert ants feeding on dead arthropods forage for food items that are distributed unpredictably in space and time in the food-scarce terrain of the Saharan salt pans [1]. Scavengers of the genus Cataglyphis forage individually and do not lay pheromone trails [2]. They rely primarily on path integration [3] for navigation and, in addition, use visual [4] and olfactory cues [5-7]. While most studies have focused on the navigational mechanisms of ants targeting a familiar place like the nest or a learned feeding site, little is known about how ants locate food in their natural environment. Here we show that Cataglyphis fortis is highly sensitive to and attracted by food odors, especially the necromone linoleic acid, enabling them to locate tiny arthropods over several meters in distance. Furthermore, during the search for food, ants use extensive crosswind walks that increase the chances of localizing food plumes. By combining high sensitivity toward food odors with crosswind runs, the ants efficiently screen the desert for food and hence reduce the time spent foraging in their harsh desert environment.

  20. Thermal ecology of the neotropical army ant Eciton burchellii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meisel, Joe E

    2006-06-01

    I explored the thermal ecology of Eciton burchellii, a New World army ant, in primary forest and forest fragments in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica in 2002 and 2003. My primary objective was to determine whether high surface temperatures in pastures surrounding forest fragments posed a thermal barrier to ant colonies within those fragments; secondarily, I assessed whether thermal gradients within continuous moist forest were sufficient to elicit avoidance reactions from foraging colonies. E. burchellii colonies in forest fragments avoided entering open pasture in full sun (51.3 degrees C) on 100% of all edge interactions; however, edges were readily crossed where artificial shaded areas had previously been installed. Ant raids in primary forest avoided artificially established temperatures >43 degrees C but tolerated 45.5 degrees C in the presence of prey baits. Captive ants held at 43 degrees C survived 18.5 min; at temperatures of 51.3 degrees C survival time was only 2.8 min. Ants running on established foraging trails increased running velocity by 18% when substrate temperature was raised from 28.4 degrees to 38.0 degrees C, and they abandoned trails at temperatures >43 degrees C. The standard deviation (s) of temperatures on active raid trails in continuous forest was 2.13 degrees C, while nearby systematic sampling revealed a greater background standard deviation of 4.13 degrees C. E. burchellii colonies in this region appear to be living surprisingly near their upper limits of thermal tolerance. The heat of open pastures alone is sufficient to prevent their exiting forest fragments, or entering similarly hot areas within continuous forest. Shaded vegetative corridors are sufficient to permit mobility between isolated fragments, and their preservation should be encouraged. Despite views that tropical lowland moist forests have an essentially homogenous microclimate, army ants appear to avoid local hot spots on the forest floor, steering daily foraging

  1. Breeding tropical forages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L Jank

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Brazil has the largest commercial beef cattle herd and is the main beef exporter in the world. Cultivated pastures arethe basis for the Brazilian beef production, and occupy an area of 101.4 million hectares. However, very few forage cultivars arecommercially available, and the majority of these are of apomictic reproduction, thus genetically homogeneous. Tropical foragebreeding is at its infancy, but much investment and efforts have been applied in the last three decades and some new cultivars havebeen released. In this paper, origin of different species, modes of reproduction, breeding programs and targets are discussed andthe resulting new cultivars released are presented.

  2. Stochastic recruitment leads to symmetry breaking in foraging populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biancalani, Tommaso; Dyson, Louise; McKane, Alan

    2014-03-01

    When an ant colony is faced with two identical equidistant food sources, the foraging ants are found to concentrate more on one source than the other. Analogous symmetry-breaking behaviours have been reported in various population systems, (such as queueing or stock market trading) suggesting the existence of a simple universal mechanism. Past studies have neglected the effect of demographic noise and required rather complicated models to qualitatively reproduce this behaviour. I will show how including the effects of demographic noise leads to a radically different conclusion. The symmetry-breaking arises solely due to the process of recruitment and ceases to occur for large population sizes. The latter fact provides a testable prediction for a real system.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wesley Dáttilo

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Fagundes, Roberth; Gurka, Carlos A Q; Silva, Mara S A; Vieira, Marisa C L; Izzo, Thiago J; Díaz-Castelazo, Cecília; Del-Claro, Kleber; Rico-Gray, Victor

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Contrasting Foraging Patterns: Testing Resource-Concentration and Dilution Effects with Pollinators and Seed Predators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandria Wenninger

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Resource concentration effects occur when high resource density patches attract and support more foragers than low density patches. In contrast, resource dilution effects can occur if high density patches support fewer consumers. In this study, we examined the foraging rates of pollinators and seed predators on two perennial plant species (Rudbeckia triloba and Verbena stricta as functions of resource density. Specifically, we examined whether resource-dense patches (densities of flower and seeds on individual plants resulted in greater visitation and seed removal rates, respectively. We also examined whether foraging rates were context-dependent by conducting the study in two sites that varied in resource densities. For pollinators, we found negative relationships between the density of flowers per plant and visitation rates, suggesting dilution effects. For seed predators, we found positive relationships consistent with concentration effects. Saturation effects and differences in foraging behaviors might explain the opposite relationships; most of the seed predators were ants (recruitment-based foragers, and pollinators were mostly solitary foragers. We also found that foraging rates were site-dependent, possibly due to site-level differences in resource abundance and consumer densities. These results suggest that these two plant species may benefit from producing as many flowers as possible, given high levels of pollination and low seed predation.

  6. Invasive fire ants reduce reproductive success and alter the reproductive strategies of a native vertebrate insectivore.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Russell A Ligon

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Introduced organisms can alter ecosystems by disrupting natural ecological relationships. For example, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta have disrupted native arthropod communities throughout much of their introduced range. By competing for many of the same food resources as insectivorous vertebrates, fire ants also have the potential to disrupt vertebrate communities. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To explore the effects of fire ants on a native insectivorous vertebrate, we compared the reproductive success and strategies of eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis inhabiting territories with different abundances of fire ants. We also created experimental dyads of adjacent territories comprised of one territory with artificially reduced fire ant abundance (treated and one territory that was unmanipulated (control. We found that more bluebird young fledged from treated territories than from adjacent control territories. Fire ant abundance also explained significant variation in two measures of reproductive success across the study population: number of fledglings and hatching success of second clutches. Furthermore, the likelihood of bluebird parents re-nesting in the same territory was negatively influenced by the abundance of foraging fire ants, and parents nesting in territories with experimentally reduced abundances of fire ants produced male-biased broods relative to pairs in adjacent control territories. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Introduced fire ants altered both the reproductive success (number of fledglings, hatching success and strategies (decision to renest, offspring sex-ratio of eastern bluebirds. These results illustrate the negative effects that invasive species can have on native biota, including species from taxonomically distant groups.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, Sandra B; Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-02-25

    The obligate mutualism between fungus-growing ants and microbial symbionts offers excellent opportunities to study the specificity and stability of multi-species interactions. In addition to cultivating fungus gardens, these ants have domesticated actinomycete bacteria to defend gardens against the fungal parasite Escovopsis and possibly other pathogens. Panamanian Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants primarily associate with actinomycetes of the genus Pseudonocardia. Colonies are inoculated with one of two vertically transmitted phylotypes (Ps1 or Ps2), and maintain the same phylotype over their lifetime. We performed a cross-fostering experiment to test whether co-adaptations between ants and bacterial phylotypes have evolved, and how this affects bacterial growth and ant prophylactic behavior after infection with Escovopsis. We show that Pseudonocardia readily colonized ants irrespective of their colony of origin, but that the Ps2 phylotype, which was previously shown to be better able to maintain its monocultural integrity after workers became foragers than Ps1, reached a higher final cover when grown on its native host than on alternative hosts. The frequencies of major grooming and weeding behaviors co-varied with symbiont/host combinations, showing that ant behavior also was affected when cuticular actinomycete phylotypes were swapped. These results show that the interactions between leaf-cutting ants and Pseudonocardia bear signatures of mutual co-adaptation within a single ant population.

  8. Effects of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem on ground-dwelling ant diversity and functional groups%紫胶玉米混农林模式对地表蚂蚁多样性及功能群的影响

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    卢志兴; 李可力; 张念念; 陈又清

    2016-01-01

    survival and higher biodiversity. Lac insects (Kerria spp.) as well as their excrement are important resource insects widely used in many fields including food, medicine and military industry. Lac-corn agroforestry ecosystem is popular pattern of lac production in mountain areas of Southwest China where lac production accounts for a good fraction of the income of farmers’ households. However, there is less research on the functional groups of arthropods in lac-corn agroforestry. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are widely distributed in many terrestrial ecosystems. They can be used as indicator for evaluating environmental changes and ecosystem health because they are sensitive to disturbances in important functions of ecosystem. Studies have shown that functional groups constitute a useful method of predicting the response of ant communities to disturbances and environmental changes. This study determined the effects of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem on the diversity and functional groups of ground-dwelling ant communities and the role of lac-corn agroforestry ecosystem in ant diversity and ecosystem function protection. A research was conducted using pitfall traps on ground-dwelling ant communities in lac plantation, lac-corn agroforest ecosystem and cornfield in Lüchun County. A total of 11 781 individual ants were collected, belonging to 78 species, 37 genera and 7 sub-families. Lac-corn agroforest ecosystem had higher species and rare species numbers of ground-dwelling ant communities. In lac-corn agroforest ecosystem, the numbers species and rare species increased by 41% and 85%, respectively, compared with cornfield. Ant abundance in lac-corn agroforest ecosystem was significantly higher than that in lac plantation and cornfield. Ant abundance, ACE of ant in lac-corn agroforest ecosystem and lac plantation were significantly higher those of cornfield. Ant community structure of lac-corn agroforest ecosystem was similar to that of lac plantation, but dissimilar

  9. Spatial memory in foraging games.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerster, Bryan E; Rhodes, Theo; Kello, Christopher T

    2016-03-01

    Foraging and foraging-like processes are found in spatial navigation, memory, visual search, and many other search functions in human cognition and behavior. Foraging is commonly theorized using either random or correlated movements based on Lévy walks, or a series of decisions to remain or leave proximal areas known as "patches". Neither class of model makes use of spatial memory, but search performance may be enhanced when information about searched and unsearched locations is encoded. A video game was developed to test the role of human spatial memory in a canonical foraging task. Analyses of search trajectories from over 2000 human players yielded evidence that foraging movements were inherently clustered, and that clustering was facilitated by spatial memory cues and influenced by memory for spatial locations of targets found. A simple foraging model is presented in which spatial memory is used to integrate aspects of Lévy-based and patch-based foraging theories to perform a kind of area-restricted search, and thereby enhance performance as search unfolds. Using only two free parameters, the model accounts for a variety of findings that individually support competing theories, but together they argue for the integration of spatial memory into theories of foraging.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    is differentially expressed in the modified hyphal tips (gongylidia) that the fungal symbiont produces. We can also show that this laccase enzyme passes through the ant gut to be expressed in the fecal droplets that the ants mix with their chewed-up fresh leaf forage, providing strong indications for an adaptive......Fungus garden enzyme activity is crucial for sustaining societies of attine ants. The evolutionary diversification of this clade has likely been influenced by enzymatic specialization in connection to changes in foraging niche, particularly when the ancestral leaf-cutting ants shifted from a diet...... generalist functional herbivores. Laccases are polyphenol oxidase enzymes (PPOs) that are best known for their ability to degrade lignin in saprophytic and wood-pathogenic fungi. We found that laccase activity was primarily expressed in newly constructed garden sections where secondary leaf compounds...

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WEN Zhi-qiang; CAI Zi-xing

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-07

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

  13. The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Dong-Dong; Michaud, J.P.; Li, Pan; Zhou, Zhong-Shi; Xu, Zai-Fu

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic ants can protect their partners from natural enemies in nature. Aenasius bambawalei is an important parasitoid of the the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. We hypothesized that mutualism between native ants and mealybugs would favor survival of mealybugs. To test this, we examined effects of tending by the native mutualistic ant Tapinoma melanocephalum on growth of P. solenopsis colonies on Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in a field setting. Ant workers with access to honeydew of mealybugs lived much longer than those provisioned only with water in the laboratory, and number of ant workers foraging increased significantly with growth of mealybug colonies in the field. In later observations, there were significant differences in densities of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded treatments. Survival rate of mealybugs experiencing parasitoid attack was significantly higher on ant-tended plants than on ant-excluded plants. When the parasitoid was excluded, there was no difference in survival rate of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded plants. In most cases, ants directly attacked the parasitoid, causing the parasitoid to take evasive action. We conclude that native ants such as T. melanocephalum have the potential to facilitate invasion and spread of P. solenopsis in China by providing them with protection from parasitoids. PMID:26503138

  14. Chemical defense by the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis against the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Trevor R Sorrells

    Full Text Available The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufour's gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile.

  15. Chemical defense by the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) against the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorrells, Trevor R; Kuritzky, Leah Y; Kauhanen, Peter G; Fitzgerald, Katherine; Sturgis, Shelby J; Chen, Jimmy; Dijamco, Cheri A; Basurto, Kimberly N; Gordon, Deborah M

    2011-04-19

    The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufour's gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile.

  16. Epstein on Anchors and Grounds

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guala Francesco

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The distinction between anchors and grounds is one of the most innovative contributions of The Ant Trap. In this commentary I will argue that the distinction suffers from an ambiguity between tokens and types. This leads Epstein to endorse pluralism about anchors and grounds, a position that is not justified in the book and to which there are plausible alternatives.

  17. Meta-heuristic ant colony optimization technique to forecast the amount of summer monsoon rainfall: skill comparison with Markov chain model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaudhuri, Sutapa; Goswami, Sayantika; Das, Debanjana; Middey, Anirban

    2014-05-01

    Forecasting summer monsoon rainfall with precision becomes crucial for the farmers to plan for harvesting in a country like India where the national economy is mostly based on regional agriculture. The forecast of monsoon rainfall based on artificial neural network is a well-researched problem. In the present study, the meta-heuristic ant colony optimization (ACO) technique is implemented to forecast the amount of summer monsoon rainfall for the next day over Kolkata (22.6°N, 88.4°E), India. The ACO technique belongs to swarm intelligence and simulates the decision-making processes of ant colony similar to other adaptive learning techniques. ACO technique takes inspiration from the foraging behaviour of some ant species. The ants deposit pheromone on the ground in order to mark a favourable path that should be followed by other members of the colony. A range of rainfall amount replicating the pheromone concentration is evaluated during the summer monsoon season. The maximum amount of rainfall during summer monsoon season (June—September) is observed to be within the range of 7.5-35 mm during the period from 1998 to 2007, which is in the range 4 category set by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The result reveals that the accuracy in forecasting the amount of rainfall for the next day during the summer monsoon season using ACO technique is 95 % where as the forecast accuracy is 83 % with Markov chain model (MCM). The forecast through ACO and MCM are compared with other existing models and validated with IMD observations from 2008 to 2012.

  18. Ant navigation: fractional use of the home vector.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Allen Cheung

    Full Text Available Home is a special location for many animals, offering shelter from the elements, protection from predation, and a common place for gathering of the same species. Not surprisingly, many species have evolved efficient, robust homing strategies, which are used as part of each and every foraging journey. A basic strategy used by most animals is to take the shortest possible route home by accruing the net distances and directions travelled during foraging, a strategy well known as path integration. This strategy is part of the navigation toolbox of ants occupying different landscapes. However, when there is a visual discrepancy between test and training conditions, the distance travelled by animals relying on the path integrator varies dramatically between species: from 90% of the home vector to an absolute distance of only 50 cm. We here ask what the theoretically optimal balance between PI-driven and landmark-driven navigation should be. In combination with well-established results from optimal search theory, we show analytically that this fractional use of the home vector is an optimal homing strategy under a variety of circumstances. Assuming there is a familiar route that an ant recognizes, theoretically optimal search should always begin at some fraction of the home vector, depending on the region of familiarity. These results are shown to be largely independent of the search algorithm used. Ant species from different habitats appear to have optimized their navigation strategy based on the availability and nature of navigational information content in their environment.

  19. 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.

  20. Vinasse and Its Influence on Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Communities in Sugarcane Crops

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saad, L. P.; Souza-Campana, D. R.; Bueno, O. C.

    2017-01-01

    Sugarcane is an important crop within the Brazilian socioeconomic landscape. There is a constant need for approaches to increase sustainability at all steps of the production chain. Irrigating sugarcane crops with vinasse is one of these approaches, because vinasse is a residue of sugarcane processing that can be used to fertilize these same crops. However, due to its chemical properties, vinasse may be harmful to soil fauna. Analyzing the structure and functional organization of ant communities is a fast and practical way to monitor sites affected by the addition of chemicals. This study compared the structure of soil ant communities in vinasse-irrigated sugarcane crops to those in secondary forests adjacent to the crops. In total, 32 genera and 107 species of ants were observed; of these, 30 species foraged in crop fields and 102 foraged in forests. Twenty-five percent of the species were present in both crops and forests. Ant communities in crop soil had poorer taxonomic composition and lower richness in each functional group compared to communities in forest remnants. However, regardless of vegetation type, epigeic ants were more diverse, and Dorymyrmex brunneus (crop) and Pachycondyla striata (forest) were very frequent. Vinasse did not increase the diversity of epigeic and hypogeic ants, but it may affect the community composition. PMID:28130455

  1. 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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Vivek Mohan AGARWAL; Neelkamal RASTOGI

    2009-01-01

    Prey diversity and temporal foraging patterns of six abundant, predatory ant species were investigated seasonally in an ngroeeosystem 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 Phe/do/e sp. is active. In the sponge gourd agroecosystem, the ants captured predominantly hymenopteran, orthopteran and eoleopteran insects. While Pheidole sp. hunted mainly the large orthopteran prey, other ant species captured worker ants in the sponge gourd ngroeeosystem. In the cauliflower ngroecosystem, while other species captured prey chiefly belonging to six orders, i. e., Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Isoptera and Diptera, Pheidole sp. and P. tesserinoda were the only species to also hunt many orthopteran

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Individual-Based Ant-Plant Networks: Diurnal-Nocturnal Structure and Species-Area Relationship

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Fagundes, Roberth; Gurka, Carlos A. Q.; Silva, Mara S. A.; Vieira, Marisa C. L.; Izzo, Thiago J.; Díaz-Castelazo, Cecília; Del-Claro, Kleber; Rico-Gray, Victor

    2014-01-01

    Despite the importance and increasing knowledge of ecological networks, sampling effort and intrapopulation variation has been widely overlooked. Using continuous daily sampling of ants visiting three plant species in the Brazilian Neotropical savanna, we evaluated for the first time the topological structure over 24 h and species-area relationships (based on the number of extrafloral nectaries available) in individual-based ant-plant networks. We observed that diurnal and nocturnal ant-plant networks exhibited the same pattern of interactions: a nested and non-modular pattern and an average level of network specialization. Despite the high similarity in the ants’ composition between the two collection periods, ant species found in the central core of highly interacting species totally changed between diurnal and nocturnal sampling for all plant species. In other words, this “night-turnover” suggests that the ecological dynamics of these ant-plant interactions can be temporally partitioned (day and night) at a small spatial scale. Thus, it is possible that in some cases processes shaping mutualistic networks formed by protective ants and plants may be underestimated by diurnal sampling alone. Moreover, we did not observe any effect of the number of extrafloral nectaries on ant richness and their foraging on such plants in any of the studied ant-plant networks. We hypothesize that competitively superior ants could monopolize individual plants and allow the coexistence of only a few other ant species, however, other alternative hypotheses are also discussed. Thus, sampling period and species-area relationship produces basic information that increases our confidence in how individual-based ant-plant networks are structured, and the need to consider nocturnal records in ant-plant network sampling design so as to decrease inappropriate inferences. PMID:24918750

  5. Steep Decline and Cessation in Seed Dispersal by Myrmica rubra Ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bologna, Audrey; Detrain, Claire

    2015-01-01

    Myrmecochorous diaspores bear a nutrient-rich appendage, the elaiosome, attractive to ant workers that retrieve them into the nest, detach the elaiosome and reject the seed intact. While this interaction is beneficial for the plant partner by ensuring its seed dispersal, elaiosome consumption has various effects -positive, negative or none - on ants' demography and survival, depending on both the ant/plant species involved. In this context, the contribution of ants to seed dispersal strongly varies according to the ant/plant pairs considered. In this paper, we investigate whether the dynamics of myrmecochory also vary on a temporal scale, for a given pair of partners: Myrmica rubra ants and Viola odorata seeds. During their first encounter with seeds, ants collect all the diaspores and eat the majority of elaiosomes. Both the harvesting effort and the elaiosome consumption decline when seeds are offered on the next week and completely cease for the following weeks. This is related to a decrease in the number of foragers reaching the food source, as well as to a reduced probability for an ant contacting a seed to retrieve it. Seed retrieval is not reactivated after seven weeks without any encounter with V. odorata seeds. By contrast, naive ant colonies only fed with fruit flies do not show a decline of prey harvesting of which the speed of retrieval even increases over the successive weeks. Myrmecochory may thus be labile at the scale of a fruiting season due to the ability of ants to steeply tune and cease for several months the harvesting of these seemingly poorly rewarding items and to maintain cessation of seed exploitation. The present study emphasizes the importance of a long-lasting follow up of the myrmecochory process, to assess the stability of this ant-plant partnership and to identify mechanisms of adaptive harvesting in ants.

  6. Steep Decline and Cessation in Seed Dispersal by Myrmica rubra Ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Audrey Bologna

    Full Text Available Myrmecochorous diaspores bear a nutrient-rich appendage, the elaiosome, attractive to ant workers that retrieve them into the nest, detach the elaiosome and reject the seed intact. While this interaction is beneficial for the plant partner by ensuring its seed dispersal, elaiosome consumption has various effects -positive, negative or none - on ants' demography and survival, depending on both the ant/plant species involved. In this context, the contribution of ants to seed dispersal strongly varies according to the ant/plant pairs considered. In this paper, we investigate whether the dynamics of myrmecochory also vary on a temporal scale, for a given pair of partners: Myrmica rubra ants and Viola odorata seeds. During their first encounter with seeds, ants collect all the diaspores and eat the majority of elaiosomes. Both the harvesting effort and the elaiosome consumption decline when seeds are offered on the next week and completely cease for the following weeks. This is related to a decrease in the number of foragers reaching the food source, as well as to a reduced probability for an ant contacting a seed to retrieve it. Seed retrieval is not reactivated after seven weeks without any encounter with V. odorata seeds. By contrast, naive ant colonies only fed with fruit flies do not show a decline of prey harvesting of which the speed of retrieval even increases over the successive weeks. Myrmecochory may thus be labile at the scale of a fruiting season due to the ability of ants to steeply tune and cease for several months the harvesting of these seemingly poorly rewarding items and to maintain cessation of seed exploitation. The present study emphasizes the importance of a long-lasting follow up of the myrmecochory process, to assess the stability of this ant-plant partnership and to identify mechanisms of adaptive harvesting in ants.

  7. Attention in Urban Foraging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Malcolm McCullough

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available This position paper argues how there has to be much more to smart city learning than just wayshowing, and something better as augmented reality than covering the world with instructions. Attention has become something for many people to know better in an age of information superabundance. Embodied cognition explains how the work-ings of attention are not solely a foreground task, as if attention is something to pay. As digital media appear in ever more formats and contexts, their hybrids with physical form increasing influence how habitual engagement with persistent situations creates learning. Ambient information can just add to the distraction by multitasking, or it can support more favorable processes of shifting among different kinds of information with a particular intent. As one word for this latter process, foraging deserves more consideration in smart city learning

  8. Natal foraging philopatry in eastern Pacific hawksbill turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaos, Alexander R; Lewison, Rebecca L; Jensen, Michael P; Liles, Michael J; Henriquez, Ana; Chavarria, Sofia; Pacheco, Carlos Mario; Valle, Melissa; Melero, David; Gadea, Velkiss; Altamirano, Eduardo; Torres, Perla; Vallejo, Felipe; Miranda, Cristina; LeMarie, Carolina; Lucero, Jesus; Oceguera, Karen; Chácon, Didiher; Fonseca, Luis; Abrego, Marino; Seminoff, Jeffrey A; Flores, Eric E; Llamas, Israel; Donadi, Rodrigo; Peña, Bernardo; Muñoz, Juan Pablo; Ruales, Daniela Alarcòn; Chaves, Jaime A; Otterstrom, Sarah; Zavala, Alan; Hart, Catherine E; Brittain, Rachel; Alfaro-Shigueto, Joanna; Mangel, Jeffrey; Yañez, Ingrid L; Dutton, Peter H

    2017-08-01

    The complex processes involved with animal migration have long been a subject of biological interest, and broad-scale movement patterns of many marine turtle populations still remain unresolved. While it is widely accepted that once marine turtles reach sexual maturity they home to natal areas for nesting or reproduction, the role of philopatry to natal areas during other life stages has received less scrutiny, despite widespread evidence across the taxa. Here we report on genetic research that indicates that juvenile hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the eastern Pacific Ocean use foraging grounds in the region of their natal beaches, a pattern we term natal foraging philopatry. Our findings confirm that traditional views of natal homing solely for reproduction are incomplete and that many marine turtle species exhibit philopatry to natal areas to forage. Our results have important implications for life-history research and conservation of marine turtles and may extend to other wide-ranging marine vertebrates that demonstrate natal philopatry.

  9. Differential host use in two highly specialized ant-plant associations: evidence from stable isotopes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trimble, S T; Sagers, C L

    2004-01-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes were used to examine variation in ant use of plant resources in the Cecropia obtusifolia / Azteca spp. association in Costa Rica. Tissue of ants, host plants and symbiotic pseudococcids were collected along three elevation transects on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica's Cordillera Central, and were analyzed for carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. Worker carbon and nitrogen signatures were found to vary with elevation and ant colony size, and between Azteca species groups. Ants in the A. constructor species group appear to be opportunistic foragers at low elevations, but rely more heavily on their host plants at high elevations, whereas ants in the A. alfari species group consume a more consistent diet across their distribution. Further, isotope values indicate that both ant species groups acquire more nitrogen from higher trophic levels at low elevation and when ant colonies are small. Provisioning by the host is a substantial ecological cost to the interaction, and it may vary, even in a highly specialized association. Nonetheless, not all specialized interactions are equivalent; where interaction with one ant species group appears conditional upon the environment, the other is not. Differential host use within the Cecropia-Azteca association suggests that the ecological and evolutionary benefits and costs of association may vary among species pairs.

  10. Pollen viability reduction as a potential cost of ant association for Acacia constricta (Fabaceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, D

    2000-05-01

    Field studies investigating the impact of ants on the reproduction of plants bearing extrafloral nectaries have traditionally focused on seed production, a component of female fitness. The purpose of this study was to test whether ants can affect the pollen viability, a component of male fitness, when they visit flowers of the shrub Acacia constricta. Acacia constricta inflorescences hand-pollinated with flowers over which Formica perpilosa ants had crawled set significantly fewer seed pods than inflorescences hand-pollinated by control flowers that had no contact with ants. Many ant species secrete antibiotic substances onto the integument that render pollen inviable, and these secretions are probably the mechanism for reduced pollen viability in this study. The ratio of seed pods produced by self-pollinated inflorescences to those produced by cross-pollinated inflorescences was 0.16, indicating that A. constricta is largely self-incompatible. Because F. perpilosa workers forage primarily on the acacia tree under which they nest, they are unlikely to serve as efficient vectors of outcrossing. Previous work showed that A. constricta shrubs with F. perpilosa ants produce approximately twice as many seeds as similarly sized plants not so associated. The results indicate that association with F. perpilosa could cause a reproductive trade-off for A. constricta: benefits to female function may be accompanied by costs to male function. Selection to discourage ant visitation to flowers may have affected the pollination biology of this and other ant-associated plant species.

  11. Predation by ants controls swallow bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Oeciacus vicarius) infestations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Charles R; Page, Catherine E; Robison, Grant A; O'Brien, Valerie A; Booth, Warren

    2015-06-01

    The swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) is the only known vector for Buggy Creek virus (BCRV), an alphavirus that circulates in cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in North America. We discovered ants (Crematogaster lineolata and Formica spp.) preying on swallow bugs at cliff swallow colonies in western Nebraska, U.S.A. Ants reduced the numbers of visible bugs on active swallow nests by 74-90%, relative to nests in the same colony without ants. Ant predation on bugs had no effect on the reproductive success of cliff swallows inhabiting the nests where ants foraged. Ants represent an effective and presumably benign way of controlling swallow bugs at nests in some colonies. They may constitute an alternative to insecticide use at sites where ecologists wish to remove the effects of swallow bugs on cliff swallows or house sparrows. By reducing bug numbers, ant presence may also lessen BCRV transmission at the spatial foci (bird colony sites) where epizootics occur. The effect of ants on swallow bugs should be accounted for in studying variation among sites in vector abundance. © 2015 The Society for Vector Ecology.

  12. Specialization and group size: brain and behavioural correlates of colony size in ants lacking morphological castes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amador-Vargas, Sabrina; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Wcislo, William T; Mueller, Ulrich

    2015-02-22

    Group size in both multicellular organisms and animal societies can correlate with the degree of division of labour. For ants, the task specialization hypothesis (TSH) proposes that increased behavioural specialization enabled by larger group size corresponds to anatomical specialization of worker brains. Alternatively, the social brain hypothesis proposes that increased levels of social stimuli in larger colonies lead to enlarged brain regions in all workers, regardless of their task specialization. We tested these hypotheses in acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex spinicola), which exhibit behavioural but not morphological task specialization. In wild colonies, we marked, followed and tested ant workers involved in foraging tasks on the leaves (leaf-ants) and in defensive tasks on the host tree trunk (trunk-ants). Task specialization increased with colony size, especially in defensive tasks. The relationship between colony size and brain region volume was task-dependent, supporting the TSH. Specifically, as colony size increased, the relative size of regions within the mushroom bodies of the brain decreased in trunk-ants but increased in leaf-ants; those regions play important roles in learning and memory. Our findings suggest that workers specialized in defence may have reduced learning abilities relative to leaf-ants; these inferences remain to be tested. In societies with monomorphic workers, brain polymorphism enhanced by group size could be a mechanism by which division of labour is achieved. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  13. Optimisation in a natural system: Argentine ants solve the Towers of Hanoi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reid, Chris R; Sumpter, David J T; Beekman, Madeleine

    2011-01-01

    Natural systems are a source of inspiration for computer algorithms designed to solve optimisation problems. Yet most 'nature-inspired' algorithms take only superficial inspiration from biology, and little is known about how real biological systems solve difficult problems. Moreover, ant algorithms, neural networks and similar methods are usually applied to static problems, whereas most biological systems have evolved to perform under dynamically changing conditions. We used the Towers of Hanoi puzzle to test whether Argentine ants can solve a potentially difficult optimisation problem. We also tested whether the ants can adapt to dynamic changes in the problem. We mapped all possible solutions to the Towers of Hanoi on a single graph and converted this into a maze for the ants to solve. We show that the ants are capable of solving the Towers of Hanoi, and are able to adapt when sections of the maze are blocked off and new sections installed. The presence of exploration pheromone increased the efficiency of the resulting network and increased the ants' ability to adapt to changing conditions. Contrary to previous studies, our study shows that mass-recruiting ant species such as the Argentine ant can forage effectively in a dynamic environment. Our results also suggest that novel optimisation algorithms can benefit from stronger biological mimicry.

  14. Using Ant Communities For Rapid Assessment Of Terrestrial Ecosystem Health

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wike, L

    2005-06-01

    conditions. Also, as with the aquatic RBAs using macroinvertebrates, ants have a wide variety of functional foraging or feeding groups, by whose abundance or scarcity an evaluation of the system health may be made. Much of the ground work has been done for useful ant RBAs, but it has primarily been in Australia, Europe, the US desert Southwest, and South America. However, the work already done will transport well to other ecoregions and as has been done with the IBI, it could be adapted with an appropriate investment of time and resources. It would be necessary to establish taxonomic expertise, allocate the local ant fauna to functional groups, and evaluation and modification of metrics and characteristics used to develop indices in the existing methods. Successful adaptation and application of an ant RBA would provide a cost effective, useful, and robust tool for evaluating the health of terrestrial ecosystems anywhere in the region.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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), w...

  18. ANT i arbejdslivsforskningen

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Factors affecting forage stand establishment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sulc R.M.

    1998-01-01

    Full Text Available Significant advances have been made in our knowledge of forage seed physiology, technology, and stand establishment practices; however, stand establishment continues to be one of the most common production problems affecting forage crops in the USA. There is a need for research on stand establishment of forage crops under abiotic and biotic stress. Although the forage seed industry produces and markets seed of high quality, new methods of assessing seed vigor are needed and their use should be expanded in the industry to enable matching seed lot performance to specific environmental conditions where performance can be maximized. Seed treatment and seed coating are used in the forage seed industry, and studies have shown they are of benefit in some environments. There is an increase in no-tillage seeding of forage crops, but improvements in the no-tillage planting equipment are needed to make them better suited to small seeds. Other recent developments in seeding techniques include broadcasting seed with dry granular and fluid fertilizers, which improves the efficiency of the seeding operation.

  3. 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

    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...

  4. Thermal physiology. Keeping cool: Enhanced optical reflection and radiative heat dissipation in Saharan silver ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shi, Norman Nan; Tsai, Cheng-Chia; Camino, Fernando; Bernard, Gary D; Yu, Nanfang; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2015-07-17

    Saharan silver ants, Cataglyphis bombycina, forage under extreme temperature conditions in the African desert. We show that the ants' conspicuous silvery appearance is created by a dense array of triangular hairs with two thermoregulatory effects. They enhance not only the reflectivity of the ant's body surface in the visible and near-infrared range of the spectrum, where solar radiation culminates, but also the emissivity of the ant in the mid-infrared. The latter effect enables the animals to efficiently dissipate heat back to the surroundings via blackbody radiation under full daylight conditions. This biological solution for a thermoregulatory problem may lead to the development of biomimetic coatings for passive radiative cooling of objects.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin O. Willis

    1984-01-01

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

  6. Behavioral Strategies of Phorid Parasitoids and Responses of Their Hosts, the Leaf-Cutting Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elizalde, Luciana; Folgarait, Patricia Julia

    2012-01-01

    Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Attini), host-related behavioral strategies (i.e., host searching and oviposition) for 13 phorid species, and host defensive responses (i.e., hitchhikers and particular body postures) for 11 ant species, were studied. Data was collected at 14 localities, one of them characterized by its high species richness for this host-parasitoid system. Phorid species showed both great variation and specificity in attacking behaviors. Some chose their hosts using either an ambush or an actively searching strategy, while some species attacked ants on different body parts, and specialized on ants performing different tasks, such as when ants were foraging, removing wastes to refuse piles, or repairing the nest. Combining all the behaviors recorded, most phorid species differed in performance in at least one, making it possible to recognize species in the field through their behavior. Phorid species that attacked hosts with greater activity levels showed overall higher attack rates, although there was no significant correlation between attack rates by most phorid species and ant activity outside the nest while parasitoids were attacking. The presence of phorids was a significant determinant for the presence of defensive behaviors by the ants. Although ant species varied in the incidence levels of these defensive behaviors, most ant species reacted against different phorids by utilizing similar behaviors, in contrast to what parasitoids do. General features of the observed phorid-ant interactions were parasitoid specialization and corresponding high interspecific variation in their behaviors, while their hosts showed generalized responses to attacks

  7. Generating and prioritizing optimal paths using ant colony optimization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mukesh Mann

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The assurance of software reliability partially depends on testing. Numbers of approaches for software testing are available with their proclaimed advantages and limitations, but accessibility of any one of them is a subject dependent. Time is a critical factor in deciding cost of any project. A deep insight has shown that executing test cases are time consuming and tedious activity. Thus stress has been given to develop algorithms which can suggest better pathways for testing. One such algorithm called Path Prioritization -Ant Colony Optimization (PP-ACO has been suggested in this paper which is inspired by real Ant's foraging behavior to generate optimal paths sequence of a decision to decision (DD path of a graph. The algorithm does full path coverage and suggests the best optimal sequences of path in path testing and prioritizes them according to path strength.

  8. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

    PURPOSE: Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X......-ray scans and electron microscopy. The purpose of this study was to further characterize "ant-egg" cataract using modern technology and display the history of the "ant-eggs" after cataract extraction. METHODS: "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT......-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location....

  9. Division of labor is associated with age-independent changes in ovarian activity in Pogonomyrmex californicus harvester ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dolezal, Adam G; Johnson, Joshua; Hölldobler, Bert; Amdam, Gro V

    2013-04-01

    An age-independent division of labor can develop in both the reproductive (queen) and non-reproductive (worker) castes of Pogonomyrmex californicus harvester ants, and individuals develop biases for in-nest activities or external foraging. Additionally, ant ovaries normally atrophy in foragers compared to nest-biased workers (nurses). However, it is not clear whether these ovarian changes are due to changes in behavior or age, since foragers are typically older individuals. Here, we clarify this relationship in P. californicus queens and workers by comparing ovarian activity in same-aged ants that exhibit divergent behavioral biases. We found that foraging individuals had significantly reduced ovarian activity compared to their nest-biased counterparts, thereby linking changes in the ants' reproductive system to social task performance rather than to age. The general finding that ovarian physiology is associated with social insect behaviors is consistent with the hypothesis that reproductive physiology may have played an important role in the evolution of social insect behavior.

  10. Chemical structure of odorants and perceptual similarity in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Guerrieri, Fernando J

    2013-09-01

    Animals are often immersed in a chemical world consisting of mixtures of many compounds rather than of single substances, and they constantly face the challenge of extracting relevant information out of the chemical landscape. To this purpose, the ability to discriminate among different stimuli with different valence is essential, but it is also important to be able to generalise, i.e. to treat different but similar stimuli as equivalent, as natural variation does not necessarily affect stimulus valence. Animals can thus extract regularities in their environment and make predictions, for instance about distribution of food resources. We studied perceptual similarity of different plant odours by conditioning individual carpenter ants to one odour, and subsequently testing their response to another, structurally different odour. We found that asymmetry in generalisation, where ants generalise from odour A to B, but not from B to A, is dependent on both chain length and functional group. By conditioning ants to a binary mixture, and testing their reaction to the individual components of the mixture, we show that overshadowing, where parts of a mixture are learned better than others, is rare. Additionally, generalisation is dependent not only on the structural similarity of odorants, but also on their functional value, which might play a crucial role. Our results provide insight into how ants make sense of the complex chemical world around them, for example in a foraging context, and provide a basis with which to investigate the neural mechanisms behind perceptual similarity.

  11. Inferring foraging areas of nesting loggerhead turtles using satellite telemetry and stable isotopes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simona A Ceriani

    Full Text Available In recent years, the use of intrinsic markers such as stable isotopes to link breeding and foraging grounds of migratory species has increased. Nevertheless, several assumptions still must be tested to interpret isotopic patterns found in the marine realm. We used a combination of satellite telemetry and stable isotope analysis to (i identify key foraging grounds used by female loggerheads nesting in Florida and (ii examine the relationship between stable isotope ratios and post-nesting migration destinations. We collected tissue samples for stable isotope analysis from 14 females equipped with satellite tags and an additional 57 untracked nesting females. Telemetry identified three post-nesting migratory pathways and associated non-breeding foraging grounds: (1 a seasonal continental shelf-constrained migratory pattern along the northeast U.S. coastline, (2 a non-breeding residency in southern foraging areas and (3 a residency in the waters adjacent to the breeding area. Isotopic variability in both δ(13C and δ(15N among individuals allowed identification of three distinct foraging aggregations. We used discriminant function analysis to examine how well δ(13C and δ(15N predict female post-nesting migration destination. The discriminant analysis classified correctly the foraging ground used for all but one individual and was used to predict putative feeding areas of untracked turtles. We provide the first documentation that the continental shelf of the Mid- and South Atlantic Bights are prime foraging areas for a large number (61% of adult female loggerheads from the largest loggerhead nesting population in the western hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Our findings offer insights for future management efforts and suggest that this technique can be used to infer foraging strategies and residence areas in lieu of more expensive satellite telemetry, enabling sample sizes that are more representative at the population level.

  12. Does greed help a forager survive?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhat, U.; Redner, S.; Bénichou, O.

    2017-06-01

    We investigate the role of greed on the lifetime of a random-walking forager on an initially resource-rich lattice. Whenever the forager lands on a food-containing site, all the food there is eaten and the forager can hop S more steps without food before starving. Upon reaching an empty site, the forager comes one time unit closer to starvation. The forager is also greedy—given a choice to move to an empty or to a food-containing site in its local neighborhood, the forager moves preferentially toward food. Surprisingly, the forager lifetime varies nonmonotonically with greed, with different senses of the nonmonotonicity in one and two dimensions. Also unexpectedly, the forager lifetime in one dimension has a huge peak for very negative greed where the forager is food averse.

  13. The Long-Term Effects of Reduced Competitive Ability on Foraging Success of an Invasive Pest Species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westermann, Fabian Ludwig; Bell, Vaughn Antony; Suckling, David Maxwell; Lester, Philip John

    2016-08-01

    Ant species like Pheidole megacephala (F.), Solenopsis invicta (Buren), and the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), have repeatedly been reported to be strongly associated with honeydew-producing arthropods like aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs, effectively protecting them from biological control agents like parasitoids. Here we report the results of a successful trial using pheromone dispensers to suppress Argentine ant activity over large sections in a commercial vineyard over a period of two months and preventing ant access into and foraging within the vine canopy. We found Argentine ant activity to be significantly reduced in pheromone-treated plots for the duration of the trial period compared with control plots. Our results showed a significant reduction in the numbers of Argentine ant workers recruited to randomly placed food resources within treated plots compared with untreated plots. Furthermore, spatial distribution of Argentine ants alongside transects in untreated plots remained relatively continuous, while increasing sharply beyond the borders of treated plots. Lastly, we measured the body fat content of workers and found a significant reduction in fat among workers from treated plots compared with untreated plots, suggesting an adverse effects on nest fitness. Additionally, we provide an initial assessment of the feasibility of the presented approach. Our results showed that it is possible to control Argentine ant, preventing them access to and foraging within the vine canopy, thereby reducing Argentine ants' access to honeydew. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. 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.

  15. Indirect effects of alternative food resources in an ant-plant interaction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boulay, R; Fedriani, J M; Manzaneda, A J; Cerdá, X

    2005-06-01

    The seeds of many plant species present a food body that is consumed by animal dispersers. In theory, if the animals are polyphagous, the availability of alternative food resource other than the diaspore itself may influence its dispersal and survival. We used the myrmecochore Helleborus foetidus L. (Ranunculaceae), the seeds of which are attached to a lipid-rich elaiosome that is attractive to ants, as a model system to investigate (1) whether alternative foods that are present along with the plant affect ant foraging behavior and diaspore removal and (2) whether food availability in an ant nest affects seed predation and germination. In a field experiment, artificial diaspore depots were offered together with either sugar, insect corpses, seed, or no food (control). Contrary to the prediction that ants would rather concentrate their foraging effort on the highly rewarding alternative foods only, many workers, attracted by the sugar, switched to the hellebore diaspores, which significantly enhanced removal rate. Results obtained in the laboratory further indicated that the larvae of Aphaenogaster iberica (a major seed disperser) predated more on the H. foetidus embryos when no alternative food was available. This, in turn, slightly reduced seed germination. Overall, these results shed light, for the first time, on the potential indirect effects of alternative resources on the fate of diaspores adapted for ant dispersal.

  16. Ante la ley

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kafka Franz

    1999-12-01

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

  17. A "clearcut" case? Brown bear selection of coarse woody debris and carpenter ants on clearcuts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Shane C; Steyaert, Sam M J G; Swenson, Jon E; Storch, Ilse; Kindberg, Jonas; Barck, Hanna; Zedrosser, Andreas

    2015-07-15

    Forest management alters habitat characteristics, resulting in various effects among and within species. It is crucial to understand how habitat alteration through forest management (e.g. clearcutting) affects animal populations, particularly with unknown future conditions (e.g. climate change). In Sweden, brown bears (Ursus arctos) forage on carpenter ants (Camponotus herculeanus) during summer, and may select for this food source within clearcuts. To assess carpenter ant occurrence and brown bear selection of carpenter ants, we sampled 6999 coarse woody debris (CWD) items within 1019 plots, of which 902 were within clearcuts (forests ⩽30 years of age) and 117 plots outside clearcuts (forests >30 years of age). We related various CWD and site characteristics to the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries (nests) and bear foraging sign at three spatial scales: the CWD, plot, and clearcut scale. We tested whether both absolute and relative counts (the latter controlling for the number of CWD items) of galleries and bear sign in plots were higher inside or outside clearcuts. Absolute counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for galleries (mean counts; inside: 1.8, outside: 0.8). CWD was also higher inside (mean: 6.8) than outside clearcuts (mean: 4.0). However, even after controlling for more CWD inside clearcuts, relative counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for both galleries (mean counts; inside: 0.3, outside: 0.2) and bear sign (mean counts; inside: 0.03, outside: 0.01). Variables at the CWD scale best explained gallery and bear sign presence than variables at the plot or clearcut level, but bear selection was influenced by clearcut age. CWD circumference was important for both carpenter ant and bear sign presence. CWD hardness was most important for carpenter ant selection. However, the most important predictor for bear sign was the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries. Bears had a high foraging "success" rate (⩾88%) in

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick Schultheiss

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response.

  20. "Ant-egg" cataract revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemmensen, Kåre; Enghild, Jan J; Ivarsen, Anders; Riise, Ruth; Vorum, Henrik; Heegaard, Steffen

    2017-01-01

    Hereditary congenital cataract varies immensely concerning location and form of the lens opacities. A specific and very rare phenotype is called "ant-egg" cataract first described in 1900. "Ant-eggs" have previously been examined using light microscopy, backscattered electron imaging and X-ray scans and electron microscopy. The purpose of this study was to further characterize "ant-egg" cataract using modern technology and display the history of the "ant-eggs" after cataract extraction. "Ant-eggs" were examined using Heidelberg SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)(Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg, Germany). Ten "ant-eggs" were extracted; four of these as well as control tissue were analyzed by mass spectrometry (AB Sciex). Proteins were identified and their approximate abundances were determined. Immunohistochemical staining was carried out on the remaining "ant-eggs" for cytokeratin and S100. In anterior OCT-images, the "ant-egg" structures are localized on the iris. Comparative pictures showed that they stayed in the same location for more than 45 years. Mass spectrometry of "ant-eggs" yielded a proteome of 56 different proteins. Eighteen of the 56 "ant-egg" proteins (32 %) were neither present in our controls nor in a known fetal lens proteome. Among these were cytokeratin and Matrix-Gla protein. Immunohistochemical reactions were positive for cytokeratin and S100. This study demonstrates the previously unknown protein composition of the "ant-egg" structures in "ant-egg" cataract. Eighteen of these proteins are not natively found in the human lens. Moreover, "ant-eggs" do not vary over time, after cataract extraction, regarding size and location.

  1. Colony-structure variation and interspecific competitive ability in the invasive Argentine ant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V

    2004-01-01

    The success of some invasive species may depend on phenotypic changes that occur following introduction. In Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) introduced populations typically lack intraspecific aggression, but native populations display such behavior commonly. We employ three approaches to examine how this behavioral shift might influence interspecific competitive ability. In a laboratory experiment, we reared colonies of Forelius mccooki with pairs of Argentine ant colonies that either did or did not exhibit intraspecific aggression. F. mccooki reared with intraspecifically non-aggressive pairs of Argentine ants produced fewer eggs, foraged less actively, and supported fewer living workers than those reared with intraspecifically aggressive pairs. At natural contact zones between competing colonies of L. humile and F. mccooki, the introduction of experimental Argentine ant colonies that fought with conspecific field colonies caused L. humile to abandon baits in the presence of F. mccooki, whereas the introduction of colonies that did not fight with field colonies of Argentine ants resulted in L. humile retaining possession of baits. Additional evidence for the potential importance of colony- structure variation comes from the Argentine ant's native range. At a site along the Rio de la Plata in Argentina, we found an inverse relationship between ant richness and density of L. humile (apparently a function of local differences in colony structure) in two different years of sampling.

  2. Relationship of coarse woody debris to arthropod Availability for Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers and other bark-foraging birds on loblolly pine boles.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Horn, Scott; Hanula, James, L.

    2008-04-01

    Abstract This study determined if short-term removal of coarse woody debris would reduce prey available to red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis Vieillot) and other bark-foraging birds at the Savannah River Site in Aiken and Barnwell counties, SC. All coarse woody debris was removed from four 9-ha plots of mature loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) in 1997 and again in 1998. We sampled arthropods in coarse woody debris removal and control stands using crawl traps that captured arthropods crawling up tree boles, burlap bands wrapped around trees, and cardboard panels placed on the ground. We captured 27 orders and 172 families of arthropods in crawl traps whereas 20 arthropod orders were observed under burlap bands and cardboard panels. The most abundant insects collected from crawl traps were aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) and ants (Hymenoptera: Forrnicidae). The greatest biomass was in the wood cockroaches (Blattaria: Blattellidae), caterpillars (Lepidoptera) in the Family Noctuidae, and adult weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The most common group observed underneath cardboard panels was lsoptera (termites), and the most common taxon under burlap bands was wood cockroaches. Overall, arthropod abundance and biomass captured in crawl traps was similar in control and removal plots. In contrast, we observed more arthropods under burlap bands (mean & SE; 3,021.5 k 348.6, P= 0.03) and cardboard panels (3,537.25 k 432.4, P= 0.04) in plots with coarse woody debris compared with burlap bands (2325 + 171.3) and cardboard panels (2439.75 + 288.9) in plots where coarse woody debris was removed. Regression analyses showed that abundance beneath cardboard panels was positively correlated with abundance beneath burlap bands demonstrating the link between abundance on the ground with that on trees. Our results demonstrate that short-term removal of coarse woody debris from pine forests reduced overall arthropod availability to bark-foraging birds.

  3. Graveyards on the move: the spatio-temporal distribution of dead ophiocordyceps-infected ants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maj-Britt Pontoppidan

    Full Text Available Parasites are likely to play an important role in structuring host populations. Many adaptively manipulate host behaviour, so that the extended phenotypes of these parasites and their distributions in space and time are potentially important ecological variables. The fungus Ophiocordyceps 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 m(2 of primary rainforest. We established that high density aggregations exist (up to 26 dead ants/m(2, 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 of dead ants correlated with temperature, humidity and vegetation cover. Remarkably, having found 2243 dead ants inside graveyards we only found 2 live ants of the principal host, ant Camponotus leonardi, suggesting that foraging host ants actively avoid graveyards. We discovered that the principal host ant builds nests in high canopy and its trails only occasionally descend to the forest floor where infection occurs. We advance the hypothesis that rare descents may be a function of limited canopy access to tree crowns and that resource profitability of such trees is potentially traded off against the risk of losing workers due to infection when forest floor trails are the only access routes. Our work underscores the need for an integrative approach that recognises multiple facets of parasitism, such as their extended phenotypes.

  4. Foraging movements of great frigatebirds from Aldabra Island: Relationship with environmental variables and interactions with fisheries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weimerskirch, Henri; Corre, Matthieu Le; Kai, Emilie Tew; Marsac, Francis

    2010-07-01

    Great Frigatebirds ( Fregata minor) are large tropical seabirds that rely primarily on sub-surface predators such as tunas or cetaceans to capture their prey. We studied the foraging movements of 14 Great Frigatebirds breeding on Aldabra Island (9.4°S, 46.4°E), the largest colony in the Indian Ocean. This colony is located at more than 500 km from the main fishing grounds of a very important industrial purse-seine fishery targeting surface-dwelling tunas. Despite their slow flight speeds (16 km h -1), frigatebirds are able to forage at more than 1000 km from the colonies when breeding, using 2500-4750 km long foraging loops over oceanic waters. All trips were directed to the north of the island up to the equator. Foraging bouts, indicated by reduced flight speeds, were rare and located throughout the trips. Foraging spots tended to be more frequent on higher surface chlorophyll concentration and in association with some cyclonic vortices. However, mesoscale activity is relatively weak between Aldabra and the equator and the chlorophyll variability is mostly the result of wind-mixing processes during the southwest monsoon. These results suggest that frigatebirds forage for widely distributed resources to the north of Aldabra. The northernmost foraging bouts were located in the vicinity of the purse-seine fishing grounds, but without a significant overlap between frigatebirds and tuna fleets. The results of the study are compared with those from another population at Europa Island (22.3°S, 40.3°E) where birds were foraging on predictable features, the edge of cyclonic eddies that are marked in the Mozambique Channel. We discuss the consequences of the reliance of populations on contrasted oceanographic conditions on foraging strategies and on the evolution of life histories in these long-lived animals in a changing climate, as well as the possible effects of overfishing on frigatebird populations.

  5. Effect of cattle age, forage level, and corn processing on diet digestibility and feedlot performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gorocica-Buenfil, M A; Loerch, S C

    2005-03-01

    Three experiments were conducted to determine the effects of cattle age and dietary forage level on the utilization of corn fed whole or ground to feedlot cattle. In Exp. 1, 16 steers were used to investigate the effects of cattle age and corn processing on diet digestibility. Two cattle age categories were evaluated (weanling [254 +/- 20 kg BW] and yearling [477 +/- 29 kg BW]; eight steers per group), and corn was fed either ground or whole to each cattle age category. Cattle age and corn processing did not affect (P > 0.10) diet digestibility of DM, OM, starch, CP, NDF or ADF, and no interactions (P > 0.10) between these two factors were detected. In Exp. 2, the effects of forage level and corn processing on feedlot performance and carcass characteristics were evaluated. One hundred eighty steers (310 +/- 40 kg BW) were allotted to 24 pens, and were fed one of the following diets: high-forage (18.2% corn silage) cracked corn (HFCC); high-forage shifting corn (whole corn for the first half of the trial, then cracked corn until harvest; HFSC); high-forage whole corn (HFWC); low-forage (5.2% corn silage) cracked corn (LFCC); low-forage shifting corn (LFSC); and low-forage whole corn (LFWC). For the high-forage diets, steers fed cracked corn had 7% greater DMI than those fed whole corn, whereas for the low-forage diets, grain processing did not affect DMI (interaction; P = 0.02). No interactions (P > 0.10) between forage level and corn processing were found for ADG and G:F. Total trial ADG and G:F, and percentage of carcasses grading USDA Choice, and carcass yield grade were not affected (P > 0.10) by corn processing. Cattle with fewer days on feed grew faster and more efficiently when cracked corn was fed, whereas cattle with longer days on feed had greater ADG and G:F when corn was fed whole (interaction; P 0.10) between forage level and corn processing were detected for starch digestibility. Forage level and corn processing (grinding) did not affect (P > 0

  6. Noise improves collective decision-making by ants in dynamic environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dussutour, A; Beekman, M; Nicolis, S C; Meyer, B

    2009-12-22

    Recruitment via pheromone trails by ants is arguably one of the best-studied examples of self-organization in animal societies. Yet it is still unclear if and how trail recruitment allows a colony to adapt to changes in its foraging environment. We study foraging decisions by colonies of the ant Pheidole megacephala under dynamic conditions. Our experiments show that P. megacephala, unlike many other mass recruiting species, can make a collective decision for the better of two food sources even when the environment changes dynamically. We developed a stochastic differential equation model that explains our data qualitatively and quantitatively. Analysing this model reveals that both deterministic and stochastic effects (noise) work together to allow colonies to efficiently track changes in the environment. Our study thus suggests that a certain level of noise is not a disturbance in self-organized decision-making but rather serves an important functional role.

  7. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walter R. Tschinkel

    2002-07-01

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

  9. Foraging task specialisation and foraging labour allocation in stingless bees

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hofstede, Frouke Elisabeth

    2006-01-01

    Social bees collect nectar and pollen from flowering plants for energy of the adult bees and for feeding the larvae in the colony. The flowering patterns of plants imply that periods of high food availability are often followed by periods of meagre foraging conditions. Being dependent on such a dyna

  10. 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.

  11. Geographic structure of adelie penguin populations: overlap in colony-specific foraging areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainley, D.G.; Ribic, C.A.; Ballard, G.; Heath, S.; Gaffney, I.; Karl, B.J.; Barton, K.J.; Wilson, P.R.; Webb, S.

    2004-01-01

    In an investigation of the factors leading to geographic structuring among Ade??lie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) populations, we studied the size and overlap of colony-specific foraging areas within an isolated cluster of colonies. The study area, in the southwestern Ross Sea, included one large and three smaller colonies, ranging in size from 3900 to 135000 nesting pairs, clustered on Ross and Beaufort Islands. We used triangulation of radio signals from transmitters attached to breeding penguins to determine foraging locations and to define colony-specific foraging areas during the chick-provisioning period of four breeding seasons, 1997-2000. Colony populations (nesting pairs) were determined using aerial photography just after egg-laying; reproductive success was estimated by comparing ground counts of chicks fledged to the number of breeding pairs apparent in aerial photos. Foraging-trip duration, meal size, and adult body mass were estimated using RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and an automated reader and weighbridge. Chick growth was assessed by weekly weighing. We related the following variables to colony size: foraging distance, area, and duration; reproductive success; chick meal size and growth rate; and seasonal variation in adult body mass. We found that penguins foraged closest to their respective colonies, particularly at the smaller colonies. However, as the season progressed, foraging distance, duration, and area increased noticeably, especially at the largest colony. The foraging areas of the smaller colonies overlapped broadly, but very little foraging area overlap existed between the large colony and the smaller colonies, even though the foraging area of the large colony was well within range of the smaller colonies. Instead, the foraging areas of the smaller colonies shifted as that of the large colony grew. Colony size was not related to chick meal size, chick growth, or parental body mass. This differed from the year previous to

  12. Few Ant Species Play a Central Role Linking Different Plant Resources in a Network in Rupestrian Grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costa, Fernanda V; Mello, Marco A R; Bronstein, Judith L; Guerra, Tadeu J; Muylaert, Renata L; Leite, Alice C; Neves, Frederico S

    2016-01-01

    Ant-plant associations are an outstanding model to study the entangled ecological interactions that structure communities. However, most studies of plant-animal networks focus on only one type of resource that mediates these interactions (e.g, nectar or fruits), leading to a biased understanding of community structure. New approaches, however, have made possible to study several interaction types simultaneously through multilayer networks models. Here, we use this approach to ask whether the structural patterns described to date for ant-plant networks hold when multiple interactions with plant-derived food rewards are considered. We tested whether networks characterized by different resource types differ in specialization and resource partitioning among ants, and whether the identity of the core ant species is similar among resource types. We monitored ant interactions with extrafloral nectaries, flowers, and fruits, as well as trophobiont hemipterans feeding on plants, for one year, in seven rupestrian grassland (campo rupestre) sites in southeastern Brazil. We found a highly tangled ant-plant network in which plants offering different resource types are connected by a few central ant species. The multilayer network had low modularity and specialization, but ant specialization and niche overlap differed according to the type of resource used. Beyond detecting structural differences across networks, our study demonstrates empirically that the core of most central ant species is similar across them. We suggest that foraging strategies of ant species, such as massive recruitment, may determine specialization and resource partitioning in ant-plant interactions. As this core of ant species is involved in multiple ecosystem functions, it may drive the diversity and evolution of the entire campo rupestre community.

  13. Few Ant Species Play a Central Role Linking Different Plant Resources in a Network in Rupestrian Grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mello, Marco A. R.; Bronstein, Judith L.; Guerra, Tadeu J.; Muylaert, Renata L.; Leite, Alice C.; Neves, Frederico S.

    2016-01-01

    Ant-plant associations are an outstanding model to study the entangled ecological interactions that structure communities. However, most studies of plant-animal networks focus on only one type of resource that mediates these interactions (e.g, nectar or fruits), leading to a biased understanding of community structure. New approaches, however, have made possible to study several interaction types simultaneously through multilayer networks models. Here, we use this approach to ask whether the structural patterns described to date for ant-plant networks hold when multiple interactions with plant-derived food rewards are considered. We tested whether networks characterized by different resource types differ in specialization and resource partitioning among ants, and whether the identity of the core ant species is similar among resource types. We monitored ant interactions with extrafloral nectaries, flowers, and fruits, as well as trophobiont hemipterans feeding on plants, for one year, in seven rupestrian grassland (campo rupestre) sites in southeastern Brazil. We found a highly tangled ant-plant network in which plants offering different resource types are connected by a few central ant species. The multilayer network had low modularity and specialization, but ant specialization and niche overlap differed according to the type of resource used. Beyond detecting structural differences across networks, our study demonstrates empirically that the core of most central ant species is similar across them. We suggest that foraging strategies of ant species, such as massive recruitment, may determine specialization and resource partitioning in ant-plant interactions. As this core of ant species is involved in multiple ecosystem functions, it may drive the diversity and evolution of the entire campo rupestre community. PMID:27911919

  14. Navigational efficiency of nocturnal Myrmecia ants suffers at low light levels.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ajay Narendra

    Full Text Available Insects face the challenge of navigating to specific goals in both bright sun-lit and dim-lit environments. Both diurnal and nocturnal insects use quite similar navigation strategies. This is despite the signal-to-noise ratio of the navigational cues being poor at low light conditions. To better understand the evolution of nocturnal life, we investigated the navigational efficiency of a nocturnal ant, Myrmecia pyriformis, at different light levels. Workers of M. pyriformis leave the nest individually in a narrow light-window in the evening twilight to forage on nest-specific Eucalyptus trees. The majority of foragers return to the nest in the morning twilight, while few attempt to return to the nest throughout the night. We found that as light levels dropped, ants paused for longer, walked more slowly, the success in finding the nest reduced and their paths became less straight. We found that in both bright and dark conditions ants relied predominantly on visual landmark information for navigation and that landmark guidance became less reliable at low light conditions. It is perhaps due to the poor navigational efficiency at low light levels that the majority of foragers restrict navigational tasks to the twilight periods, where sufficient navigational information is still available.

  15. Patterns of venom production and temporal polyethism in workers of Jerdon's jumping ant, Harpegnathos saltator.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haight, Kevin L

    2012-12-01

    Ants are chemical factories, and among their more noticeable products are their venoms. Though many studies have addressed the properties and activities of ant venoms, basic venom-related physiological questions, such as how venom production and replacement may vary with age, are rarely addressed. The answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding the physiological capabilities of these organisms, as well as the parameters within which potential optimization of their investment in venom production must take place. The only previous investigation into venom production in ants found it to be limited to early life in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Haight and Tschinkel, 2003). Because similar studies have not been conducted for comparison, it is unclear whether or not this is a common physiological pattern in ants. As a parsimonious way to address this question, and, more generally, to increase the currently scant information available regarding the venom-producing capabilities of ants, the longevity, temporal polyethism, age-related venom production, and age-related venom replacement capabilities of workers of Jerdon's jumping ant, Harpegnathos saltator were investigated. Longevity varied from 10 days to nearly 2 years, with a median lifespan of 206 days. Workers remained in the nest when young, transitioned to outside work (foraging) after 50 days of age, and reached a plateau in their tendency to be outside the nest at 74 days of age. They eclosed with empty venom sacs, filled them by about 57 days of age, and were able to replace venom at all three ages tested (though at a higher rate when aged 100 days than 30 and 206). So, venom-production ability is not limited to early life in H. saltator workers, and aspects of venom physiology and exploratory behavior appear to coincide in a manner likely to result in foraging efficiency benefits; venom sacs reach fullness around the age workers begin their foraging careers, and venom replacement

  16. Execution Plans for Cyber Foraging

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kristensen, Mads Darø

    2008-01-01

    Cyber foraging helps small devices perform heavy tasks by opportunistically discovering and utilising available resources (such as computation, storage, bandwidth, etc.) held by larger, nearby peers. This offloading is done in an ad-hoc manner, as larger machines will not always be within reach. ...

  17. Temporal variation in the composition of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae on trees in the Pantanal floodplain, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stela de Almeida Soares

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Temporal variation in the composition of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae on trees in the Pantanal floodplain, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. In this paper we investigate how seasonal flooding influences the composition of assemblages of ants foraging on trees in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul. During the flood in the Pantanal, a large area is covered by floods that are the main forces that regulate the pattern of diversity in these areas. However, the effects of such natural disturbances in the ant communities are poorly known. In this sense, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of temporal variation in assemblages of ants foraging on trees in the Pantanal of Miranda. Samples were collected during a year in two adjacent areas, one who suffered flooding during the wet period and another that did not suffer flooding throughout the year. In 10 sites for each evaluated habitat, five pitfall traps were installed at random in trees 25 m apart from each other. In the habitat with flooding, the highest richness was observed during the flooding period, while there was no significant change in richness in the area that does not suffer flooding. The diversity of species between the two evaluated habitats varied significantly during the two seasons. Most ants sampled belong to species that forage and nest in soil. This suggests that during the flood in flooded habitats, ants that did not migrate to higher areas without flooding adopt the strategy to search for resources in the tree canopy.

  18. Substrate temperature constrains recruitment and trail following behavior in ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oudenhove, Louise; Boulay, Raphaël; Lenoir, Alain; Bernstein, Carlos; Cerda, Xim

    2012-06-01

    In many ant species, foragers use pheromones to communicate the location of resources to nestmates. Mass-recruiting species deposit long-lasting anonymous chemical trails, while group-recruiting species use temporary chemical trails. We studied how high temperature influenced the foraging behavior of a mass-recruiting species (Tapinoma nigerrimum) and a group-recruiting species (Aphaenogaster senilis) through pheromone decay. First, under controlled laboratory conditions, we examined the effect of temperature on the trail pheromone of both species. A substrate, simulating soil, marked with gaster extract was heated for 10 min. at 25°, 35°, 45°, or 55 °C and offered to workers in a choice test. Heating gaster extract reduced the trail following behavior of the mass-recruiters significantly more than that of the group-recruiters. Second, analyses of the chemicals present on the substrate indicated that most T. nigerrimum gaster secretions vanished at 25 °C, and only iridodials persisted up to 55 °C. By contrast, A. senilis secretions were less volatile and resisted better to elevated temperatures to some extent. However, at 55 °C, the only chemicals that persisted were nonadecene and nonadecane. Overall, our results suggest that the foraging behavior of the group-recruiting species A. senilis is less affected by pheromone evaporation than that of the mass-recruiting species T. nigerrimum. This group-recruiting species might, thus, be particularly adapted to environments with fluctuating temperatures.

  19. Epigenetic (re)programming of caste-specific behavior in the ant Camponotus floridanus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brady, Cristina M.; Enzmann, Brittany L.; Desplan, Claude; Ray, Anandasankar; Zwiebel, Laurence J.; Bonasio, Roberto; Reinberg, Danny; Liebig, Jürgen; Berger, Shelley L.

    2016-01-01

    Eusocial insects organize themselves into behavioral castes whose regulation has been proposed to involve epigenetic processes, including histone modification. In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, morphologically distinct worker castes called minors and majors exhibit pronounced differences in foraging and scouting behaviors. We found that these behaviors are regulated by histone acetylation likely catalyzed by the conserved acetyltransferase CBP. Transcriptome and chromatin analysis in brains of scouting minors fed pharmacological inhibitors of CBP and histone deacetylases (HDACs) revealed hundreds of genes linked to hyperacetylated regions targeted by CBP. Majors rarely forage, but injection of a HDAC inhibitor or small interfering RNAs against the HDAC Rpd3 into young major brains induced and sustained foraging in a CBP-dependent manner. Our results suggest that behavioral plasticity in animals may be regulated in an epigenetic manner via histone modification. PMID:26722000

  20. Epigenetic (re)programming of caste-specific behavior in the ant Camponotus floridanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simola, Daniel F; Graham, Riley J; Brady, Cristina M; Enzmann, Brittany L; Desplan, Claude; Ray, Anandasankar; Zwiebel, Laurence J; Bonasio, Roberto; Reinberg, Danny; Liebig, Jürgen; Berger, Shelley L

    2016-01-01

    Eusocial insects organize themselves into behavioral castes whose regulation has been proposed to involve epigenetic processes, including histone modification. In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, morphologically distinct worker castes called minors and majors exhibit pronounced differences in foraging and scouting behaviors. We found that these behaviors are regulated by histone acetylation likely catalyzed by the conserved acetyltransferase CBP. Transcriptome and chromatin analysis in brains of scouting minors fed pharmacological inhibitors of CBP and histone deacetylases (HDACs) revealed hundreds of genes linked to hyperacetylated regions targeted by CBP. Majors rarely forage, but injection of a HDAC inhibitor or small interfering RNAs against the HDAC Rpd3 into young major brains induced and sustained foraging in a CBP-dependent manner. Our results suggest that behavioral plasticity in animals may be regulated in an epigenetic manner via histone modification.

  1. Collective choice in ants: the role of protein and carbohydrates ratios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arganda, S; Nicolis, S C; Perochain, A; Péchabadens, C; Latil, G; Dussutour, A

    2014-10-01

    In a foraging context, social insects make collective decisions from individuals responding to local information. When faced with foods varying in quality, ants are known to be able to select the best food source using pheromone trails. Until now, studies investigating collective decisions have focused on single nutrients, mostly carbohydrates. In the environment, the foods available are a complex mixture and are composed of various nutrients, available in different forms. In this paper, we explore the effect of protein to carbohydrate ratio on ants' ability to detect and choose between foods with different protein characteristics (free amino acids or whole proteins). In a two-choice set up, Argentine ants Linepithema humile were presented with two artificial foods containing either whole protein or amino acids in two different dietary conditions: high protein food or high carbohydrate food. At the collective level, when ants were faced with high carbohydrate foods, they did not show a preference between free amino acids or whole proteins, while a preference for free amino acids emerged when choosing between high protein foods. At the individual level, the probability of feeding was higher for high carbohydrates food and for foods containing free amino acids. Two mathematical models were developed to evaluate the importance of feeding probability in collective food selection. A first model in which a forager deposits pheromone only after feeding, and a second model in which a forager always deposits pheromone, but with greater intensity after feeding. Both models were able to predict free amino acid selection, however the second one was better able to reproduce the experimental results suggesting that modulating trail strength according to feeding probability is likely the mechanism explaining amino acid preference at a collective level in Argentine ants. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Migani, Valentina; Ekesi, Sunday; Merkel, Katharina; Hoffmeister, Thomas

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28146561

  3. Integrating multiple technologies to understand the foraging behaviour of Hawaiian monk seals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Littnan, Charles; Halpin, Patrick; Read, Andrew

    2017-01-01

    The objective of this research was to investigate and describe the foraging behaviour of monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands. Specifically, our goal was to identify a metric to classify foraging behaviour from telemetry instruments. We deployed accelerometers, seal-mounted cameras and GPS tags on six monk seals during 2012–2014 on the islands of Molokai, Kauai and Oahu. We used pitch, calculated from the accelerometer, to identify search events and thus classify foraging dives. A search event and consequent ‘foraging dive’ occurred when the pitch was greater than or equal to 70° at a depth less than or equal to −3 m. By integrating data from the accelerometers with video and GPS, we were able to ground-truth this classification method and identify environmental variables associated with each foraging dive. We used Bayesian logistic regression to identify the variables that influenced search events. Dive depth, body motion (mean overall dynamic body acceleration during the dive) and proximity to the sea floor were the best predictors of search events for these seals. Search events typically occurred on long, deep dives, with more time spent at the bottom (more than 50% bottom time). We can now identify where monk seals are foraging in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) and what covariates influence foraging behaviour in this region. This increased understanding will inform management strategies and supplement outreach and recovery efforts. PMID:28405358

  4. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

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

  5. The metapleural gland of ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yek, Sze Huei; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2011-11-01

    The metapleural gland (MG) is a complex glandular structure unique to ants, suggesting a critical role in their origin and ecological success. We synthesize the current understanding of the adaptive function, morphology, evolutionary history, and chemical properties of the MG. Two functions of the MG, sanitation and chemical defence, have received the strongest empirical support; two additional possible functions, recognition odour and territorial marking, are less well supported. The design of the MG is unusual for insects; glandular secretions are stored in a rigid, non-compressible invagination of the integument and the secretion is thought to ooze out passively through the non-closable opening of the MG or is groomed off by the legs and applied to target surfaces. MG loss has occurred repeatedly among the ants, particularly in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae, and the MG is more commonly absent in males than in workers. MG chemistry has been characterized mostly in derived ant lineages with unique biologies (e.g. leafcutter ants, fire ants), currently precluding any inferences about MG chemistry at the origin of the ants. A synthetic approach integrating functional morphology, phylogenetic transitions and chemical ecology of the MGs of both the derived and the unstudied early-branching (basal) ant lineages is needed to elucidate the evolutionary origin and diversification of the MG of ants.

  6. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Biodiversity loss in Latin American coffee landscapes: review of the evidence on ants, birds, and trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Philpott, Stacy M; Arendt, Wayne J; Armbrecht, Inge; Bichier, Peter; Diestch, Thomas V; Gordon, Caleb; Greenberg, Russell; Perfecto, Ivette; Reynoso-Santos, Roberto; Soto-Pinto, Lorena; Tejeda-Cruz, Cesar; Williams-Linera, Guadalupe; Valenzuela, Jorge; Zolotoff, José Manuel

    2008-10-01

    Studies have documented biodiversity losses due to intensification of coffee management (reduction in canopy richness and complexity). Nevertheless, questions remain regarding relative sensitivity of different taxa, habitat specialists, and functional groups, and whether implications for biodiversity conservation vary across regions.We quantitatively reviewed data from ant, bird, and tree biodiversity studies in coffee agroecosystems to address the following questions: Does species richness decline with intensification or with individual vegetation characteristics? Are there significant losses of species richness in coffee-management systems compared with forests? Is species loss greater for forest species or for particular functional groups?and Are ants or birds more strongly affected by intensification? Across studies, ant and bird richness declined with management intensification and with changes in vegetation. Species richness of all ants and birds and of forest ant and bird species was lower in most coffee agroecosystems than in forests, but rustic coffee (grown under native forest canopies) had equal or greater ant and bird richness than nearby forests. Sun coffee(grown without canopy trees) sustained the highest species losses, and species loss of forest ant, bird, and tree species increased with management intensity. Losses of ant and bird species were similar, although losses of forest ants were more drastic in rustic coffee. Richness of migratory birds and of birds that forage across vegetation strata was less affected by intensification than richness of resident, canopy, and understory bird species. Rustic farms protected more species than other coffee systems, and loss of species depended greatly on habitat specialization and functional traits. We recommend that forest be protected, rustic coffee be promoted,and intensive coffee farms be restored by augmenting native tree density and richness and allowing growth of epiphytes. We also recommend that

  8. Modeling shortest path selection of the ant Linepithema humile using psychophysical theory and realistic parameter values.

    Science.gov (United States)

    von Thienen, Wolfhard; Metzler, Dirk; Witte, Volker

    2015-05-07

    The emergence of self-organizing behavior in ants has been modeled in various theoretical approaches in the past decades. One model explains experimental observations in which Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) selected the shorter of two alternative paths from their nest to a food source (shortest path experiments). This model serves as an important example for the emergence of collective behavior and self-organization in biological systems. In addition, it inspired the development of computer algorithms for optimization problems called ant colony optimization (ACO). In the model, a choice function describing how ants react to different pheromone concentrations is fundamental. However, the parameters of the choice function were not deduced experimentally but freely adapted so that the model fitted the observations of the shortest path experiments. Thus, important knowledge was lacking about crucial model assumptions. A recent study on the Argentine ant provided this information by measuring the response of the ants to varying pheromone concentrations. In said study, the above mentioned choice function was fitted to the experimental data and its parameters were deduced. In addition, a psychometric function was fitted to the data and its parameters deduced. Based on these findings, it is possible to test the shortest path model by applying realistic parameter values. Here we present the results of such tests using Monte Carlo simulations of shortest path experiments with Argentine ants. We compare the choice function and the psychometric function, both with parameter values deduced from the above-mentioned experiments. Our results show that by applying the psychometric function, the shortest path experiments can be explained satisfactorily by the model. The study represents the first example of how psychophysical theory can be used to understand and model collective foraging behavior of ants based on trail pheromones. These findings may be important for other

  9. The cost of being queen: investment across Pogonomyrmex harvester ant gynes that differ in degree of claustrality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enzmann, Brittany L; Gibbs, Allen G; Nonacs, Peter

    2014-11-01

    The role of the ant colony largely consists of non-reproductive tasks, such as foraging, tending brood, and defense. However, workers are vitally linked to reproduction through their provisioning of sexual offspring, which are produced annually to mate and initiate new colonies. Gynes (future queens) have size-associated variation in colony founding strategy (claustrality), with each strategy requiring different energetic investments from their natal colony. We compared the per capita production cost required for semi-claustral, facultative, and claustral gynes across four species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. We found that the claustral founding strategy is markedly expensive, costing approximately 70% more energy than that of the semi-claustral strategy. Relative to males, claustral gynes also had the largest differential investment and smallest size variation. We applied these investment costs to a model by Brown and Bonhoeffer (2003) that predicts founding strategy based on investment cost and foraging survivorship. The model predicts that non-claustral foundresses must survive the foraging period with a probability of 30-36% in order for a foraging strategy to be selectively favored. These results highlight the importance of incorporating resource investment at the colony level when investigating the evolution of colony founding strategies in ants.

  10. Invasive ants of Bermuda revisited

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James K. Wetterer

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available For 60+ years, two of the world’s most widespread and destructive invasive ant species, the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala from tropical Africa and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile from subtropical South America, have been engaged in an epic battle on the islands of Bermuda. Both species are completely intolerant of the other and are also well-known for killing off native invertebrates, particularly other ants. Here I surveyed sites across Bermuda in 2016, including resurveys of the locations previously surveyed in 1963, 1966, 1973, 1986, and 2002, to provide an update on this conflict. The status of all other ant species present in the islands, including previous records from literature, is also provided. In addition, I surveyed ants nesting in red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle trees to evaluate whether this arboreal habitat may serve as a refuge for previously overlooked ant species. In 2016, L. humile occurred at most surveyed sites in Bermuda, including all ten resurveyed sites. Pheidole megacephala was present at only two resurveyed sites, a lower proportion of sites than any of the five earlier surveys. Still, P. megacephala occupied substantial areas, particularly in and around Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. This survey increased the number of ant species with verified records from Bermuda to 25, including four exotic species recorded for the first time: Cardiocondyla minutior, Pheidole navigans, Strumigenys emmae, and Strumigenys membranifera. I found five ant species nesting in mangroves: L. humile plus four Old World exotics, C. minutior, Cardiocondyla obscurior, Monomorium floricola, and Plagiolepis alluaudi. It appears that L. humile may be better suited to the subtropical climate of Bermuda than P. megacephala, except perhaps in warmer and sunnier habitats, such as plantings along urban streets and in open parks, where P. megacephala may hold the advantage. The dataset on the new ant records from 2016 is

  11. Protecting rain forests and forager's rights using LANDSAT imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkie, David S.

    1991-01-01

    Creating rain forest reserves is vital given the global decline in biodiversity. Yet, the plants and animals that will be protected from untrammeled commercial exploitation within such reserves constitute essential resources for indigenous foragers and farmers. Balancing the needs of local subsistence level populations with the goals of national and international conservation agencies requires a thorough understanding of the mutual impacts that arise from the interaction of park and people. In the Ituri forest of Zaire, LANDSAT TM image analysis and GPS ground truth data were used to locate human settlements so that boundaries of the proposed Okapi Reserve could be chosen to minimize its impact on the subsistence practices of the local foragers and farmers. Using satellite imagery in conjunction with cultural information should help to ensure traditional resource exploitation rights of indigenous peoples whilst simultaneously protecting the largest contiguous area of undisturbed forest.

  12. Protecting rain forests and forager's rights using LANDSAT imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkie, David S.

    1991-01-01

    Creating rain forest reserves is vital given the global decline in biodiversity. Yet, the plants and animals that will be protected from untrammeled commercial exploitation within such reserves constitute essential resources for indigenous foragers and farmers. Balancing the needs of local subsistence level populations with the goals of national and international conservation agencies requires a thorough understanding of the mutual impacts that arise from the interaction of park and people. In the Ituri forest of Zaire, LANDSAT TM image analysis and GPS ground truth data were used to locate human settlements so that boundaries of the proposed Okapi Reserve could be chosen to minimize its impact on the subsistence practices of the local foragers and farmers. Using satellite imagery in conjunction with cultural information should help to ensure traditional resource exploitation rights of indigenous peoples whilst simultaneously protecting the largest contiguous area of undisturbed forest.

  13. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aylward, Frank O; Burnum, Kristin E; Scott, Jarrod J; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G; Adams, Sandra M; Barry, Kerrie W; Nicora, Carrie D; Piehowski, Paul D; Purvine, Samuel O; Starrett, Gabriel J; Goodwin, Lynne A; Smith, Richard D; Lipton, Mary S; Currie, Cameron R

    2012-09-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on large quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers. Using metagenomic and metaproteomic techniques, we characterize the bacterial diversity and physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes associated with lignocellulose degradation and diverse biosynthetic pathways, suggesting that they play a role in nutrient cycling by converting the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants into B-vitamins, amino acids and other cellular components. Our metaproteomic analysis confirms that bacterial glycosyl hydrolases and proteins with putative biosynthetic functions are produced in both field-collected and laboratory-reared colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are specialized fungus-bacteria communities that convert plant material into energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities in the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans.

  14. Metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into bacterial communities in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aylward, Frank O.; Burnum, Kristin E.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Suen, Garret; Tringe, Susannah G.; Adams, Sandra M.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Nicora, Carrie D.; Piehowski, Paul D.; Purvine, Samuel O.; Starrett, Gabriel J.; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Smith, Richard D.; Lipton, Mary S.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2012-09-01

    Herbivores gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass largely by harnessing the metabolic activities of microbes. Leaf-cutter ants of the genus Atta are a hallmark example; these dominant Neotropical herbivores cultivate symbiotic fungus gardens on massive quantities of fresh plant forage. As the external digestive system of the ants, fungus gardens facilitate the production and sustenance of millions of workers in mature Atta colonies. Here we use metagenomic, and metaproteomic techniques to characterize the bacterial diversity and overall physiological potential of fungus gardens from two species of Atta. Our analysis of over 1.2 Gbp of community metagenomic sequence and three 16S pyrotag libraries reveals that, in addition to harboring the dominant fungal crop, these ecosystems contain abundant populations of Enterobacteriaceae, including the genera Enterobacter, Pantoea, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Escherichia. We show that these bacterial communities possess genes commonly associated with lignocellulose degradation, and likely participate in the processing of plant biomass. Additionally, we demonstrate that bacteria in these environments encode a diverse suite of biosynthetic pathways, and that they may enrich the nitrogen-poor forage of the ants with B-vitamins, amino acids, and proteins. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fungus gardens are highly-specialized fungus-bacteria communities that efficiently convert plant material into usable energy for their ant hosts. Together with recent investigations into the microbial symbionts of vertebrates, our work underscores the importance of microbial communities to the ecology and evolution of herbivorous metazoans.

  15. A neurotoxic pesticide changes the outcome of aggressive interactions between native and invasive ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barbieri, Rafael F.; Lester, Philip J.; Miller, Alexander S.; Ryan, Ken G.

    2013-01-01

    Neurotoxic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, negatively affect the cognitive capacity and fitness of non-target species, and could also modify interspecific interactions. We tested whether sublethal contamination with neonicotinoid could affect foraging, colony fitness and the outcome of behavioural interactions between a native (Monomorium antarcticum) and an invasive ant species (Linepithema humile). The foraging behaviour of both ants was not affected by neonicotinoid exposure. Colonies of the invasive species exposed to the neonicotinoid produced significantly fewer brood. In interspecific confrontations, individuals of the native species exposed to the neonicotinoid lowered their aggression towards the invasive species, although their survival probability was not affected. Exposed individuals of the invasive species interacting with non-exposed native ants displayed increased aggression and had their survival probability reduced. Non-exposed individuals of the invasive species were less aggressive but more likely to survive when interacting with exposed native ants. These results suggest that non-target exposure of invaders to neonicotinoids could either increase or decrease the probability of survival according to the exposure status of the native species. Given that, in any community, different species have different food preferences, and thus different exposure to pesticides, non-target exposure could potentially change the dynamics of communities and influence invasion success. PMID:24266038

  16. Negative feedback in ants: crowding results in less trail pheromone deposition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Grüter, Christoph; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2013-04-06

    Crowding in human transport networks reduces efficiency. Efficiency can be increased by appropriate control mechanisms, which are often imposed externally. Ant colonies also have distribution networks to feeding sites outside the nest and can experience crowding. However, ants do not have external controllers or leaders. Here, we report a self-organized negative feedback mechanism, based on local information, which downregulates the production of recruitment signals in crowded parts of a network by Lasius niger ants. We controlled crowding by manipulating trail width and the number of ants on a trail, and observed a 5.6-fold reduction in the number of ants depositing trail pheromone from least to most crowded conditions. We also simulated crowding by placing glass beads covered in nest-mate cuticular hydrocarbons on the trail. After 10 bead encounters over 20 cm, forager ants were 45 per cent less likely to deposit pheromone. The mechanism of negative feedback reported here is unusual in that it acts by downregulating the production of a positive feedback signal, rather than by direct inhibition or the production of an inhibitory signal.

  17. Negative feedback in ants: crowding results in less trail pheromone deposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czaczkes, Tomer J.; Grüter, Christoph; Ratnieks, Francis L. W.

    2013-01-01

    Crowding in human transport networks reduces efficiency. Efficiency can be increased by appropriate control mechanisms, which are often imposed externally. Ant colonies also have distribution networks to feeding sites outside the nest and can experience crowding. However, ants do not have external controllers or leaders. Here, we report a self-organized negative feedback mechanism, based on local information, which downregulates the production of recruitment signals in crowded parts of a network by Lasius niger ants. We controlled crowding by manipulating trail width and the number of ants on a trail, and observed a 5.6-fold reduction in the number of ants depositing trail pheromone from least to most crowded conditions. We also simulated crowding by placing glass beads covered in nest-mate cuticular hydrocarbons on the trail. After 10 bead encounters over 20 cm, forager ants were 45 per cent less likely to deposit pheromone. The mechanism of negative feedback reported here is unusual in that it acts by downregulating the production of a positive feedback signal, rather than by direct inhibition or the production of an inhibitory signal. PMID:23365196

  18. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alok Bajpai

    2015-08-01

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

  20. Flight dynamics of Cory's shearwater foraging in a coastal environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paiva, Vitor H; Guilford, Tim; Meade, Jessica; Geraldes, Pedro; Ramos, Jaime A; Garthe, Stefan

    2010-01-01

    Flight dynamics theories are influenced by two major topics: how birds adapt their flight to cope with heterogeneous habitats, and whether birds plan to use the wind field or simply experience it. The aim of this study was to understand the flight dynamics of free-flying Cory's shearwaters in relation to the wind characteristics on the coastal upwelling region of continental Portugal. We deployed recently miniaturised devices-global positioning system loggers to collect precise and detailed information on birds' positions and motions. Prevalent winds were blowing from the north-east and adults used those winds by adjusting their flight directions mainly towards north-west and south-west, flying with cross and tail winds, respectively, and avoiding head winds. This is confirmation that Cory's shearwaters use a shear soaring flying strategy while exploiting the environment for food: adults foraged mainly with cross winds and their ground speed was not constant during all foraging trips as it changed dynamically as a result of the ocean surface shear winds. During travelling phases, ground speed was strongly influenced by the position of the bird with regard to the wind direction, as ground speed increased significantly with increasing tail wind component (TWC) values. Adults appear to choose foraging directions to exploit ambient wind, in order to improve shear soaring efficiency (cross winding) and exploit diurnal changes in tail wind strength to maximise commuting efficiency. We report, for the first time, precise ground speed values (GPS-derived data) and computed actual flight speed values (using TWC analysis) for Cory's shearwater.

  1. Corn in consortium with forages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cássia Maria de Paula Garcia

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The basic premises for sustainable agricultural development with focus on rural producers are reducing the costs of production and aggregation of values through the use crop-livestock system (CLS throughout the year. The CLS is based on the consortium of grain crops, especially corn with tropical forages, mainly of the genus Panicum and Urochloa. The study aimed to evaluate the grain yield of irrigated corn crop intercropped with forage of the genus Panicum and Urochloa. The experiment was conducted at the Fazenda de Ensino, Pesquisa e Extensão – FEPE  of the Faculdade de Engenharia - UNESP, Ilha Solteira in an Oxisol in savannah conditions and in the autumn winter of 2009. The experimental area was irrigated by a center pivot and had a history of no-tillage system for 8 years. The corn hybrid used was simple DKB 390 YG at distances of 0.90 m. The seeds of grasses were sown in 0.34 m spacing in the amount of 5 kg ha-1, they were mixed with fertilizer minutes before sowing  and placed in a compartment fertilizer seeder and fertilizers were mechanically deposited in the soil at a depth of 0.03 m. The experimental design used was a randomized block with four replications and five treatments: Panicum maximum cv. Tanzania sown during the nitrogen fertilization (CTD of the corn; Panicum maximum cv. Mombaça sown during the nitrogen fertilization (CMD of the corn; Urochloa brizantha cv. Xaraés sown during the occasion of nitrogen fertilization (CBD of the corn; Urochloa ruziziensis cv. Comumsown during the nitrogen fertilization (CRD of the corn and single corn (control. The production components of corn: plant population per hectare (PlPo, number of ears per hectare (NE ha-1, number of rows per ear (NRE, number of kernels per row on the cob (NKR, number of grain in the ear (NGE and mass of 100 grains (M100G were not influenced by consortium with forage. Comparing grain yield (GY single corn and maize intercropped with forage of the genus Panicum

  2. Ants visit nectaries of Epidendrum denticulatum (Orchidaceae in a Brazilian rainforest: effects on herbivory and pollination

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. M. Almeida

    Full Text Available Epidendrum denticulatum (Orchidaceae produces nectar on the petioles of buds, flowers, and fruits (extrafloral nectaries but no nectar is found on its flowers, and it is probably a deceptive species. In the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, some aspects of both the ecology and behavior of Camponotus sericeiventris (Formicinae and Ectatomma tuberculatum (Ponerinae, two ant species foraging on E. denticulatum extrafloral nectaries, were investigated. Both experiments, using termites as baits and field observations, suggest that these ant species are able to prevent reproductive organ herbivory, without affecting pollinator behaviour. Since a low fruit set is often cited as a characteristic of the family, especially for deceptive species, ants attracted to orchid inflorescences protect reproductive structures and increase the probability of pollination success. Epidendrum denticulatum flowers were visited and probably pollinated by Heliconius erato (Nymphalidae and Euphyes leptosema (Hesperiidae.

  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. Ants visit nectaries of Epidendrum denticulatum (Orchidaceae in a Brazilian rainforest: effects on herbivory and pollination

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Almeida A. M.

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available Epidendrum denticulatum (Orchidaceae produces nectar on the petioles of buds, flowers, and fruits (extrafloral nectaries but no nectar is found on its flowers, and it is probably a deceptive species. In the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, some aspects of both the ecology and behavior of Camponotus sericeiventris (Formicinae and Ectatomma tuberculatum (Ponerinae, two ant species foraging on E. denticulatum extrafloral nectaries, were investigated. Both experiments, using termites as baits and field observations, suggest that these ant species are able to prevent reproductive organ herbivory, without affecting pollinator behaviour. Since a low fruit set is often cited as a characteristic of the family, especially for deceptive species, ants attracted to orchid inflorescences protect reproductive structures and increase the probability of pollination success. Epidendrum denticulatum flowers were visited and probably pollinated by Heliconius erato (Nymphalidae and Euphyes leptosema (Hesperiidae.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2006-01-01

    of this study was to examine whether afrotropical army ants are affected by forest fragmentation in the same way. Surveys of Dorylus (Anomma) molestus colonies were carried out in forest fragments of different sizes and in the matrix habitat at two sites in Eastern Kenya, along the Lower Tana River...... as far as 2 km away. We conclude that populations of this army ant species are less vulnerable to fragmentation than those of the neotropical E. burchellii, and that D. molestus can survive better in matrix habitat between forests because of several key differences in the foraging and nesting behaviour...... or facultatively associated with them. Field observations and mathematical modelling suggest that deforestation and accompanying forest fragmentation cause local extinctions of the neotropical swarm-raiding army ant Eciton burchellii which in turn have negative effects on its associated fauna. The aim...

  6. 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.

  7. Seed Selection by the Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex rugosus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Coastal Sage Scrub: Interactions With Invasive Plant Species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briggs, C M; Redak, R A

    2016-08-01

    Harvest