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Sample records for ant workers food

  1. Worker division of labor and endocrine physiology are associated in the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In Pogonomyrmex californicus harvester ants, an age-based division of labor occurs in the worker caste, in which young workers perform nest tasks and older workers forage for food. While the behavioral aspects of worker division of labor are well characterized in numerous social species, the physio...

  2. Food Service Worker.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barker, Ellen; And Others

    This curriculum guide provides instructional materials designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs such as dietetic aide or food service worker in a health care facility. It serves as the basic core of the occupationally sequenced Dietetic Support Personnel Training Program. Five sections and 13 instructional units are included. Each unit of…

  3. Sugary food robbing in ants: a case of temporal cleptobiosis.

    PubMed

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Dejean, Alain; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2004-05-01

    This study reports new information on interactions between Ectatomma tuberculatum (Ponerinae) and Crematogaster limata parabiotica (Myrmicinae). Workers of these sympatric arboreal ant species forage on the same pioneer trees. Diurnally, Ectatomma preyed on Crematogaster workers that avoided overt aggression by respecting a 'safe distance'. At night, Crematogaster initiated raids within the Ectatomma nests that they apparently left with their abdomen empty, then remained near the nest entrances where they successfully intercepted 75.2% of the returning Ectatomma foragers (N = 322). Certain intercepted workers rapidly resumed their return trip. Others (39.1%) were stopped, explored and licked during a long time by the Crematogaster. Most of them were carrying between their mandibles a droplet of liquid food that was stolen. This relationship, that appears to be a typical case of interspecific cleptobiosis, whose expression varies during the daytime, demonstrates for the first time sugary-food robbing, instead of prey robbing, in ants. PMID:15255481

  4. Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive neighbors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassill, Deby L.; Vo, Kim; Becker, Brandie

    2008-07-01

    Feigning death is a method of self-defense employed among a wide range of prey species when threatened by predator species. This paper reports on death-feigning behavior by the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, during intraspecific aggression among neighboring fire ant workers. Days-old workers responded to aggression by death feigning, weeks-old workers responded by fleeing and months-old workers responded by fighting back. By feigning death, days-old workers were four times more likely to survive aggression than older workers. From a proximate perspective, retaliation by young workers against aggressive older workers is certain to fail. With their relatively soft exoskeleton, young workers would be prone to injury and death and unable to execute an effective attack of biting or stinging older workers with harder exoskeletons. From an ultimate perspective, death feigning allows young workers to survive and contribute to brood care and colony growth, both of which are essential to queen survival and fitness.

  5. Reactions by army ant workers to nestmates having had contact with sympatric ant species.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

    It was recently shown that Pheidole megacephala colonies (an invasive species originating from Africa) counterattack when raided by the army ant, Eciton burchellii. The subsequent contact permits Pheidole cuticular compounds (that constitute the "colony odour") to be transferred onto the raiding Eciton, which are then not recognised by their colony-mates and killed. Using a simple method for transferring cuticular compounds, we tested if this phenomenon occurs for Neotropical ants. Eciton workers rubbed with ants from four sympatric species were released among their colony-mates. Individuals rubbed with Solenopsis saevissima or Camponotus blandus workers were attacked, but not those rubbed with Atta sexdens, Pheidole fallax or with colony-mates (control lot). So, the chemicals of certain sympatric ant species, but not others, trigger intra-colonial aggressiveness in Eciton. We conclude that prey-ant chemicals might have played a role in the evolution of army ant predatory behaviour, likely influencing prey specialization in certain cases. PMID:25444708

  6. Worker senescence and the sociobiology of aging in ants

    PubMed Central

    Giraldo, Ysabel Milton; Traniello, James F. A.

    2014-01-01

    Senescence, the decline in physiological and behavioral function with increasing age, has been the focus of significant theoretical and empirical research in a broad array of animal taxa. Preeminent among invertebrate social models of aging are ants, a diverse and ecologically dominant clade of eusocial insects characterized by reproductive and sterile phenotypes. In this review, we critically examine selection for worker lifespan in ants and discuss the relationship between functional senescence, longevity, task performance, and colony fitness. We did not find strong or consistent support for the hypothesis that demographic senescence in ants is programmed, or its corollary prediction that workers that do not experience extrinsic mortality die at an age approximating their lifespan in nature. We present seven hypotheses concerning how selection could favor extended worker lifespan through its positive relationship to colony size and predict that large colony size, under some conditions, should confer multiple and significant fitness advantages. Fitness benefits derived from long worker lifespan could be mediated by increased resource acquisition, efficient division of labor, accuracy of collective decision-making, enhanced allomaternal care and colony defense, lower infection risk, and decreased energetic costs of workforce maintenance. We suggest future avenues of research to examine the evolution of worker lifespan and its relationship to colony fitness, and conclude that an innovative fusion of sociobiology, senescence theory, and mechanistic studies of aging can improve our understanding of the adaptive nature of worker lifespan in ants. PMID:25530660

  7. Ant Genetics: Reproductive Physiology, Worker Morphology, and Behavior.

    PubMed

    Friedman, D A; Gordon, D M

    2016-07-01

    Many exciting studies have begun to elucidate the genetics of the morphological and physiological diversity of ants, but as yet few studies have investigated the genetics of ant behavior directly. Ant genomes are marked by extreme rates of gene turnover, especially in gene families related to olfactory communication, such as the synthesis of cuticular hydrocarbons and the perception of environmental semiochemicals. Transcriptomic and epigenetic differences are apparent between reproductive and sterile females, males and females, and workers that differ in body size. Quantitative genetic approaches suggest heritability of task performance, and population genetic studies indicate a genetic association with reproductive status in some species. Gene expression is associated with behavior including foraging, response to queens attempting to join a colony, circadian patterns of task performance, and age-related changes of task. Ant behavioral genetics needs further investigation of the feedback between individual-level physiological changes and socially mediated responses to environmental conditions. PMID:27050321

  8. Identification of an ant queen pheromone regulating worker sterility.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Jørgensen, Charlotte G; Nielsen, John; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2010-12-22

    The selective forces that shape and maintain eusocial societies are an enduring puzzle in evolutionary biology. Ordinarily sterile workers can usually reproduce given the right conditions, so the factors regulating reproductive division of labour may provide insight into why eusociality has persisted over evolutionary time. Queen-produced pheromones that affect worker reproduction have been implicated in diverse taxa, including ants, termites, wasps and possibly mole rats, but to date have only been definitively identified in the honeybee. Using the black garden ant Lasius niger, we isolate the first sterility-regulating ant queen pheromone. The pheromone is a cuticular hydrocarbon that comprises the majority of the chemical profile of queens and their eggs, and also affects worker behaviour, by reducing aggression towards objects bearing the pheromone. We further show that the pheromone elicits a strong response in worker antennae and that its production by queens is selectively reduced following an immune challenge. These results suggest that the pheromone has a central role in colony organization and support the hypothesis that worker sterility represents altruistic self-restraint in response to an honest quality signal. PMID:20591861

  9. Interspecific and temporal variation of ant species within Acacia drepanolobium ant domatia, a staple food of patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) in Laikipia, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Isbell, Lynne A; Young, Truman P

    2007-12-01

    The ants that live in the swollen thorns (domatia) of Acacia drepanolobium are staple foods for patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas). To obtain a better understanding of these insects as resources for patas monkeys, we sampled the contents of 1,051 swollen thorns (ant domatia) over a 22-month period from December 1999 to September 2001, in Laikipia, Kenya. First, we confirmed that of the four species of ants that live on A. drepanolobium, Crematogaster sjostedti, the competitively dominant ant in this system, does not rear significant brood in the swollen thorns and is therefore not a major food item of patas monkeys. Second, across the other three species that do use swollen thorns for rearing their brood, C. nigriceps, C. mimosae, and Tetraponera penzigi, the number of worker ants per swollen thorn increased with increasing competitive dominance. Third, although there was considerable month-to-month variation in the number of workers, immatures, and especially alates (winged reproductives) within species, there was less variation across species because ant production was asynchronous. Variation in domatia contents was poorly related to rainfall for each of the three species. Finally, distal thorns held more alates and fewer workers than interior thorns, and branches higher off the ground held more alates and more workers than lower branches. For the numerically dominant C. mimosae, higher branches held significantly more immature ants than did lower branches. Ants are reliable food resources for patas monkeys, and are probably more reliable than many plant resources in this highly seasonal environment. We estimate that patas monkeys may get as much as a third of their daily caloric needs from these ants year-round. As ants and other insects are widely consumed by primates, we suggest that greater consideration be given to species differences in animal food choices and that further studies be conducted to examine the degree to which ants influence energy intake and

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26846232

  11. Mating system evolution and worker caste diversity in Pheidole ants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Ming H; Wheeler, Diana E; Fjerdingstad, Else J

    2013-04-01

    The efficiency of social groups is generally optimized by a division of labour, achieved through behavioural or morphological diversity of members. In social insects, colonies may increase the morphological diversity of workers by recruiting standing genetic variance for size and shape via multiply mated queens (polyandry) or multiple-breeding queens (polygyny). However, greater worker diversity in multi-lineage species may also have evolved due to mutual worker policing if there is worker reproduction. Such policing reduces the pressure on workers to maintain reproductive morphologies, allowing the evolution of greater developmental plasticity and the maintenance of more genetic variance for worker size and shape in populations. Pheidole ants vary greatly in the diversity of worker castes. Also, their workers lack ovaries and are thus invariably sterile regardless of the queen mating frequency and numbers of queens per colony. This allowed us to perform an across-species study examining the genetic effects of recruiting more patrilines on the developmental diversity of workers in the absence of confounding effects from worker policing. Using highly variable microsatellite markers, we found that the effective mating frequency of the soldier-polymorphic P. rhea (avg. meN = 2.65) was significantly higher than that of the dimorphic P. spadonia (avg. meN = 1.06), despite a significant paternity skew in P. rhea (avg. B = 0.10). Our findings support the idea that mating strategies of queens may co-evolve with selection to increase the diversity of workers. We also detected patriline bias in the production of different worker sizes, which provides direct evidence for a genetic component to worker polymorphism. PMID:23379584

  12. Size and shape in the evolution of ant worker morphology

    PubMed Central

    Tschá, Marcel K.

    2013-01-01

    Morphological evolution in ants has been traditionally thought as being strongly influenced by selection for colony ergonomic efficiency. Although many studies have focused on the evolution of social characteristics in ants, little is known about the evolution of worker morphology at a macroevolutionary scale. In this study, we investigate the tempo and mode of the evolution of worker morphology, focusing on changes in size and shape. Our datasets included a large sample of species from different ant genera, as well as variation within the hyperdiverse genus Pheidole, for a total of 1650 measurements. The rate of size evolution was at least five times faster than the rate of shape evolution. The fit of alternative models of morphological evolution indicated statistically significant phylogenetic signal in both size and shape and in all datasets. Finally, tests of rate heterogeneity in phenotypic evolution among lineages identified several shifts in rates of evolution in both datasets, although the timing of shifts in size and shape was usually not concordant. PMID:24255818

  13. Direct and indirect effects of ants on a forest-floor food web.

    PubMed

    Moya-Laraño, Jordi; Wise, David H

    2007-06-01

    Interactions among predators that prey on each other and are potential competitors for shared prey (intraguild [IG] predators) are widespread in terrestrial ecosystems and have the potential to strongly influence the dynamics of terrestrial food webs. Ants and spiders are abundant and ubiquitous terrestrial IG predators, yet the strength and consequences of interactions between them are largely unknown. In the leaf-litter food web of a deciduous forest in Kentucky (USA), we tested the direct and indirect effects of ants on spiders and a category of shared prey (Collembola) by experimentally subsidizing ants in open plots in two field experiments. In the first experiment, ant activity was increased, and the density of ants in the litter was doubled, by placing carbohydrate and protein baits in the center of each plot. Gnaphosa spiders were almost twice as abundant and Schizocosa spiders were half as abundant in baited plots relative to controls. There were more tomocerid Collembola in baited plots, suggesting possible indirect effects on Collembola caused by ant-spider interactions. The second experiment, in which screening of two mesh sizes selectively excluded large and small worker ants from a sugar bait, revealed that the large ants, primarily Camponotus, could alone induce similar effects on spiders. Gnaphosa biomass density was almost twice as high in the plots where large ants were more active, whereas Schizocosa biomass density was reduced by half in these plots. Although tomocerid densities did not differ between treatments, tomocerid numbers were negatively correlated with the activity of Formica, another large ant species. Path analysis failed to support the hypothesis that the ant Camponotus indirectly affected tomocerid Collembola through effects on densities of spiders. However, path analysis also revealed other indirect effects of Camponotus affecting tomocerids. These results illustrate the complexity of interactions between and within two major IG

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

    We used the ant species Myrmica sabuleti as a model to study the impact of electromagnetic waves on social insects' response to their pheromones and their food collection. We quantified M. sabuleti workers' response to their trail, area marking and alarm pheromone under normal conditions. Then, we quantified the same responses while under the influence of electromagnetic waves. Under such an influence, ants followed trails for only short distances, no longer arrived at marked areas and no longer orientated themselves to a source of alarm pheromone. Also when exposed to electromagnetic waves, ants became unable to return to their nest and recruit congeners; therefore, the number of ants collecting food increases only slightly and slowly. After 180 h of exposure, their colonies deteriorated. Electromagnetic radiation obviously affects social insects' behavior and physiology. PMID:23320633

  15. Ant workers exhibit specialization and memory during raft formation.

    PubMed

    Avril, Amaury; Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2016-06-01

    By working together, social insects achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example of collective behaviour is self-assembly, a process in which individuals link their bodies together to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts. To get insight into how individual behavioural variation affects the formation of self-assemblages, we investigated the presence of task specialization and the role of past experience in the construction of ant rafts. We subjected groups of Formica selysi workers to two consecutive floods and monitored the position of individuals in rafts. Workers showed specialization in their positions when rafting, with the same individuals consistently occupying the top, middle, base or side position in the raft. The presence of brood modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behaviour and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood. Overall, this study sheds light on the importance of workers' specialization and memory in the formation of self-assemblages. PMID:27056046

  16. Ant workers exhibit specialization and memory during raft formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avril, Amaury; Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2016-06-01

    By working together, social insects achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example of collective behaviour is self-assembly, a process in which individuals link their bodies together to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts. To get insight into how individual behavioural variation affects the formation of self-assemblages, we investigated the presence of task specialization and the role of past experience in the construction of ant rafts. We subjected groups of Formica selysi workers to two consecutive floods and monitored the position of individuals in rafts. Workers showed specialization in their positions when rafting, with the same individuals consistently occupying the top, middle, base or side position in the raft. The presence of brood modified workers' position and raft shape. Surprisingly, workers' experience in the first rafting trial with brood influenced their behaviour and raft shape in the subsequent trial without brood. Overall, this study sheds light on the importance of workers' specialization and memory in the formation of self-assemblages.

  17. Global network structure of dominance hierarchy of ant workers

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Dominance hierarchy among animals is widespread in various species and believed to serve to regulate resource allocation within an animal group. Unlike small groups, however, detection and quantification of linear hierarchy in large groups of animals are a difficult task. Here, we analyse aggression-based dominance hierarchies formed by worker ants in Diacamma sp. as large directed networks. We show that the observed dominance networks are perfect or approximate directed acyclic graphs, which are consistent with perfect linear hierarchy. The observed networks are also sparse and random but significantly different from networks generated through thinning of the perfect linear tournament (i.e. all individuals are linearly ranked and dominance relationship exists between every pair of individuals). These results pertain to global structure of the networks, which contrasts with the previous studies inspecting frequencies of different types of triads. In addition, the distribution of the out-degree (i.e. number of workers that the focal worker attacks), not in-degree (i.e. number of workers that attack the focal worker), of each observed network is right-skewed. Those having excessively large out-degrees are located near the top, but not the top, of the hierarchy. We also discuss evolutionary implications of the discovered properties of dominance networks. PMID:25100318

  18. Wasps robbing food from ants: a frequent behavior?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lapierre, Louis; Hespenheide, Henry; Dejean, Alain

    2007-12-01

    Food robbing, or cleptobiosis, has been well documented throughout the animal kingdom. For insects, intrafamilial food robbing is known among ants, but social wasps (Vespidae; Polistinae) taking food from ants has, to the best of our knowledge, never been reported. In this paper, we present two cases involving social wasps robbing food from ants associated with myrmecophytes. (1) Polybioides tabida F. (Ropalidiini) rob pieces of prey from Tetraponera aethiops Smith (Formicidae; Pseudomyrmecinae) specifically associated with Barteria fistulosa Mast. (Passifloraceae). (2) Charterginus spp. (Epiponini) rob food bodies from myrmecophytic Cecropia (Cecropiaceae) exploited by their Azteca mutualists (Formicidae; Dolichoderinae) or by opportunistic ants (that also attack cleptobiotic wasps). We note here that wasps gather food bodies (1) when ants are not yet active; (2) when ants are active, but avoiding any contact with them by flying off when attacked; and (3) through the coordinated efforts of two to five wasps, wherein one of them prevents the ants from leaving their nest, while the other wasps freely gather the food bodies. We suggest that these interactions are more common than previously thought.

  19. Summer and fall ants have different physiological responses to food macronutrient content.

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

    Seasonally, long-lived animals exhibit changes in behavior and physiology in response to shifts in environmental conditions, including food abundance and nutritional quality. Ants are long-lived arthropods that, at the colony level, experience such seasonal shifts in their food resources. Previously we reported summer- and fall-collected ants practiced distinct food collection behavior and nutrient intake regulation strategies in response to variable food protein and carbohydrate content, despite being reared in the lab under identical environmental conditions and dietary regimes. Seasonally distinct responses were observed for both no-choice and choice dietary experiments. Using data from these same experiments, our objective here is to examine colony and individual-level physiological traits, colony mortality and growth, food processing, and worker lipid mass, and how these traits change in response to variable food protein-carbohydrate content. For both experiments we found that seasonality per se exerted strong effects on colony and individual level traits. Colonies collected in the summer maintained total worker mass despite high mortality. In contrast, colonies collected in the fall lived longer, and accumulated lipids, including when reared on protein-biased diets. Food macronutrient content had mainly transient effects on physiological responses. Extremes in food carbohydrate content however, elicited a compensatory response in summer worker ants, which processed more protein-biased foods and contained elevated lipid levels. Our study, combined with our previously published work, strongly suggests that underlying physiological phenotypes driving behaviors of summer and fall ants are likely fixed seasonally, and change circannually. PMID:26860359

  20. Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies.

    PubMed

    Jongepier, Evelien; Foitzik, Susanne

    2016-01-13

    Division of labour is of fundamental importance for the success of societies, yet little is known about how individual specialization affects the fitness of the group as a whole. While specialized workers may be more efficient in the tasks they perform than generalists, they may also lack the flexibility to respond to rapid shifts in task needs. Such rigidity could impose fitness costs when societies face dynamic and unpredictable events, such as an attack by socially parasitic slavemakers. Here, we experimentally assess the colony-level fitness consequences of behavioural specialization in Temnothorax longispinosus ants that are attacked by the slavemaker ant T. americanus. We manipulated the social organization of 102 T. longispinosus colonies, based on the behavioural responses of all 3842 workers. We find that strict specialization is disadvantageous for a colony's annual reproduction and growth during slave raids. These fitness costs may favour generalist strategies in dynamic environments, as we also demonstrate that societies exposed to slavemakers in the field show a lower degree of specialization than those originating from slavemaker-free populations. Our findings provide an explanation for the ubiquity of generalists and highlight their importance for the flexibility and functional robustness of entire societies. PMID:26763706

  1. Intraguild interactions between spiders and ants and top-down control in a grassland food web.

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; Platner, Christian

    2007-01-01

    In most terrestrial ecosystems ants (Formicidae) as eusocial insects and spiders (Araneida) as solitary trappers and hunters are key predators. To study the role of predation by these generalist predators in a dry grassland, we manipulated densities of ants and spiders (natural and low density) in a two-factorial field experiment using fenced plots. The experiment revealed strong intraguild interactions between ants and spiders. Higher densities of ants negatively affected the abundance and biomass of web-building spiders. The density of Linyphiidae was threefold higher in plots without ant colonies. The abundance of Formica cunicularia workers was significantly higher in spider-removal plots. Also, population size of springtails (Collembola) was negatively affected by the presence of wandering spiders. Ants reduced the density of Lepidoptera larvae. In contrast, the abundance of coccids (Ortheziidae) was positively correlated with densities of ants. To gain a better understanding of the position of spiders, ants and other dominant invertebrate groups in the studied food web and important trophic links, we used a stable isotope analysis ((15)N and (13)C). Adult wandering spiders were more enriched in (15)N relative to (14)N than juveniles, indicating a shift to predatory prey groups. Juvenile wandering and web-building spiders showed delta(15)N ratios just one trophic level above those of Collembola, and they had similar delta(13)C values, indicating that Collembola are an important prey group for ground living spiders. The effects of spiders demonstrated in the field experiment support this result. We conclude that the food resource of spiders in our study system is largely based on the detrital food web and that their effects on herbivores are weak. The effects of ants are not clear-cut and include predation as well as mutualism with herbivores. Within this diverse predator guild, intraguild interactions are important structuring forces. PMID:17091284

  2. Chemical profiles of mated and virgin queens, egg-laying intermorphs and workers of the ant Crematogaster smithi.

    PubMed

    Oettler, Jan; Schmitt, Thomas; Herzner, Gudrun; Heinze, Jürgen

    2008-04-01

    Many colonies of the North American ant Crematogaster smithi contain a "third female caste" in addition to queens and workers. These "intermorphs" are morphological intermediate of queens and workers and have well-developed ovaries but lack a spermatheca for the storage of sperm. They are specialised for laying large numbers of unfertilised, viable eggs, most of which serve as food for larvae and adults, though a few may eventually develop into males. Based on the assumption that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in social insects honestly signal the reproductive status of an individual we investigated the CHC of mated mature queens, virgin queens, intermorphs and workers. We expected intermorphs to show chemical profiles intermediate between those of mated queens and non-reproductive workers. A discriminant analysis of the chemical profiles reliably separated queens, virgin queens, and workers, but failed to distinguish between queens and intermorphs even though workers were apparently capable of doing so. PMID:18321526

  3. Reproductive conflict in social insects: male production by workers in a slave-making ant.

    PubMed

    Brunner, Elisabeth; Trindl, Andreas; Falk, Karl H; Heinze, Juergen; D'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2005-11-01

    In 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 is expected to be less detrimental for colony efficiency than in related, nonparasitic species. Furthermore, as slave-making workers usually do not perform brood care and thus might have little power in manipulating sex allocation, they might be more strongly selected to increase their direct fitness 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. PMID:16396188

  4. Larval regulation of worker reproduction in the polydomous ant Novomessor cockerelli

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ebie, Jessica D.; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen

    2015-12-01

    Although workers in many ant species are capable of producing their own offspring, they generally rear the queen's offspring instead. There are various mechanisms that regulate worker reproduction including inhibitory effects of ant brood. Colonies of the ant Novomessor cockerelli are monogynous and polydomous resulting in a large portion of nest workers being physically isolated from the queen for extended periods of time. Some workers experimentally isolated from the queen in laboratory nests lay viable eggs, which develop into males. We investigate the mechanism that regulates worker fertility in subnests separated from the queen by giving queenless worker groups queen-produced larvae, queen-produced eggs, or no brood. Our findings show that larvae delay the time to worker egg-laying, but eggs have no effect. Larval inhibition is a likely mechanism that contributes to the regulation of worker reproduction in N. cockerellli because larvae are easily transported to subnests that do not contain a queen.

  5. The role of multiple pheromones in food recruitment by ants.

    PubMed

    Dussutour, A; Nicolis, S C; Shephard, G; Beekman, M; Sumpter, D J T

    2009-08-01

    In this paper we investigate the foraging activity of an invasive ant species, the big headed ant Pheidole megacephala. We establish that the ants' behavior is consistent with the use of two different pheromone signals, both of which recruit nestmates. Our experiments suggest that during exploration the ants deposit a long-lasting pheromone that elicits a weak recruitment of nestmates, while when exploiting food the ants deposit a shorter lasting pheromone eliciting a much stronger recruitment. We further investigate experimentally the role of these pheromones under both static and dynamic conditions and develop a mathematical model based on the hypothesis that exploration locally enhances exploitation, while exploitation locally suppresses exploration. The model and the experiments indicate that exploratory pheromone allows the colony to more quickly mobilize foragers when food is discovered. Furthermore, the combination of two pheromones allows colonies to track changing foraging conditions more effectively than would a single pheromone. In addition to the already known causes for the ecological success of invasive ant species, our study suggests that their opportunistic strategy of rapid food discovery and ability to react to changes in the environment may have strongly contributed to their dominance over native species. PMID:19617426

  6. Internest food sharing within wood ant colonies: resource redistribution behavior in a complex system

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Elva J.H.

    2016-01-01

    Resource sharing is an important cooperative behavior in many animals. Sharing resources is particularly important in social insect societies, as division of labor often results in most individuals including, importantly, the reproductives, relying on other members of the colony to provide resources. Sharing resources between individuals is therefore fundamental to the success of social insects. Resource sharing is complicated if a colony inhabits several spatially separated nests, a nesting strategy common in many ant species. Resources must be shared not only between individuals in a single nest but also between nests. We investigated the behaviors facilitating resource redistribution between nests in a dispersed-nesting population of wood ant Formica lugubris. We marked ants, in the field, as they transported resources along the trails between nests of a colony, to investigate how the behavior of individual workers relates to colony-level resource exchange. We found that workers from a particular nest “forage” to other nests in the colony, treating them as food sources. Workers treating other nests as food sources means that simple, pre-existing foraging behaviors are used to move resources through a distributed system. It may be that this simple behavioral mechanism facilitates the evolution of this complex life-history strategy. PMID:27004016

  7. Food Service Worker. Supplemental Individualized Student Modules.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hasty, Liswa E.; Bridwell, Terry B.

    Developed to supplement the food service worker modules published in 1977, this handbook provides fourteen additional individualized student modules. The topics included are as follow: (1) personal grooming; (2) safe handling of food and eating utensils; (3) setting up tables; (4) handling customers; (5) menus; (6) taking and placing the order;…

  8. Nutrition Comes Alive. Food Service Worker Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    New York State Education Dept., Albany. Bureau of Health and Drug Education and Services.

    This handbook provides nutrition activities and resource material that the food service worker can use in cooperation with the teacher to promote an understanding of major nutrition concepts and concerns. It focuses on the concept that a school's food service program serves as an extension of the classroom. The classroom and the cafeteria…

  9. Study on the Repellency of Callicarpenal and Intermedeol against Workers of Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Repellency of callicarpenal and intermedeol, two terpenoids isolated from American beautyberry and Japanese beautyberry, were tested against workers of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, black imported fire ants, Solenopsis richteri Forel, and a hybrid of these two species using diggi...

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

    Usually studied as pairwise interactions, mutualisms often involve networks of interacting species. Numerous tropical arboreal ants are specialist inhabitants of myrmecophytes (plants bearing domatia, i.e. hollow structures specialized to host ants) and are thought to rely almost exclusively on resources derived from the host plant. Recent studies, following up on century-old reports, have shown that fungi of the ascomycete order Chaetothyriales live in symbiosis with plant-ants within domatia. We tested the hypothesis that ants use domatia-inhabiting fungi as food in three ant-plant symbioses: Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana, Tetraponera aethiops/Barteria fistulosa and Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. Labelling domatia fungal patches in the field with either a fluorescent dye or (15)N showed that larvae ingested domatia fungi. Furthermore, when the natural fungal patch was replaced with a piece of a (15)N-labelled pure culture of either of two Chaetothyriales strains isolated from T. aethiops colonies, these fungi were also consumed. These two fungi often co-occur in the same ant colony. Interestingly, T. aethiops workers and larvae ingested preferentially one of the two strains. Our results add a new piece in the puzzle of the nutritional ecology of plant-ants. PMID:22859596

  11. Regulation of host workers' oviposition by the social parasite ant Polyergus samurai.

    PubMed

    Tsuneoka, Yousuke

    2014-07-01

    Polyergus samurai, an obligatory social parasite ant, lacks the ability to perform usual colony tasks. It depends completely on host Formica japonica workers. In the mixed colony, arrhenotokous reproduction by host workers must be detrimental to the parasites. This study, conducted under artificial rearing conditions, investigated the behavioral influence by P. samurai worker on the production of host workers' male eggs. Host workers started laying eggs when the P. samurai queen was removed, but most eggs were destroyed by P. samurai workers. In a queenless condition, P. samurai workers showed frequent intraspecific dominance interactions, but few interspecific ones. After a short while the P. samurai worker started laying eggs, the F. japonica worker stopped laying eggs. The ovary had no mature oocyte. These results suggest that both the P. samurai queen and dominant workers can inhibit host workers' oviposition. A mesh experiment revealed that the dominant P. samurai workers were able to inhibit host workers' oviposition without contacts. The dominant workers and queens of P. samurai frequently received grooming and trophallaxis from host workers just as a host queen does, suggesting that the parasites secreted similar products to those of the host queen to inhibit the host workers' oviposition. PMID:25001911

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

    PubMed

    Sousa-Souto, L; Souza, D J

    2006-05-01

    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. Ants 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. PMID:16862305

  13. Serotonin modulates worker responsiveness to trail pheromone in the ant Pheidole dentata.

    PubMed

    Muscedere, Mario L; Johnson, Natalie; Gillis, Brendan C; Kamhi, J Frances; Traniello, James F A

    2012-03-01

    As social insect workers mature, outside-nest tasks associated with foraging and defense are typically performed at higher frequencies. Foraging in ants is often a pheromonally mediated collective action performed by mature workers; age-dependent differences in olfactory response thresholds may therefore proximately regulate task repertoire development. In the ant Pheidole dentata, foraging activity increases with chronological age in minor workers, and is chemically controlled. The onset of foraging in minor workers is accompanied by marked neuroanatomical and neurochemical changes, including synaptic remodeling in olfactory regions of the brain, proliferation of serotonergic neurons, and increased brain titers of monoamines, notably serotonin. We examined the linkage of serotonin and olfactory responsiveness by assaying trail-following performance in mature P. dentata minor workers with normal serotonin levels, or serotonin levels experimentally lowered by oral administration of the serotonin synthesis inhibitor α-methyltryptophan (AMTP). By assessing responsiveness to standardized pheromone trails, we demonstrate that trail-following behaviors are significantly reduced in serotonin-depleted workers. AMTP-treated individuals were less likely to initiate trail following, and oriented along pheromone trails for significantly shorter distances than untreated, similar-age workers. These results demonstrate for the first time that serotonin modulates olfactory processes and/or motor functions associated with cooperative foraging in ants. PMID:22134381

  14. Molecular and social regulation of worker division of labour in fire ants.

    PubMed

    Manfredini, Fabio; Lucas, Christophe; Nicolas, Michael; Keller, Laurent; Shoemaker, Dewayne; Grozinger, Christina M

    2014-02-01

    Reproductive and worker division of labour (DOL) is a hallmark of social insect societies. Despite a long-standing interest in worker DOL, the molecular mechanisms regulating this process have only been investigated in detail in honey bees, and little is known about the regulatory mechanisms operating in other social insects. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, one of the most studied ant species, workers are permanently sterile and the tasks performed are modulated by the worker's internal state (age and size) and the outside environment (social environment), which potentially includes the effect of the queen presence through chemical communication via pheromones. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning these processes are unknown. Using a whole-genome microarray platform, we characterized the molecular basis for worker DOL and we explored how a drastic change in the social environment (i.e. the sudden loss of the queen) affects global gene expression patterns of worker ants. We identified numerous genes differentially expressed between foraging and nonforaging workers in queenright colonies. With a few exceptions, these genes appear to be distinct from those involved in DOL in bees and wasps. Interestingly, after the queen was removed, foraging workers were no longer distinct from nonforaging workers at the transcriptomic level. Furthermore, few expression differences were detected between queenright and queenless workers when we did not consider the task performed. Thus, the social condition of the colony (queenless vs. queenright) appears to impact the molecular pathways underlying worker task performance, providing strong evidence for social regulation of DOL in S. invicta. PMID:24329612

  15. Worker policing by egg eating in the ponerine ant Pachycondyla inversa.

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

    We investigated worker policing by egg eating in the ponerine ant Pachycondyla inversa, a species with morphologically distinct queens and workers. Colonies were split into one half with the queen and one half without. Workers in queenless colony fragments started laying unfertilized male eggs after three weeks. Worker-laid eggs and queen-laid eggs were introduced into five other queenright colonies with a single queen and three colonies with multiple queens, and their fate was observed for 30 min. Significantly more worker-laid eggs (range of 35-62%, mean of 46%) than queen-laid eggs (range of 5-31%, mean of 15%) were eaten by workers in single-queen colonies, and the same trend was seen in multiple-queen colonies. This seems to be the first well-documented study of ants with a distinct caste polymorphism to show that workers kill worker-laid eggs in preference to queen-laid eggs. Chemical analyses showed that the surfaces of queen-laid and worker-laid eggs have different chemical profiles as a result of different relative proportions of several hydrocarbons. Such differences might provide the information necessary for differential treatment of eggs. One particular alkane, 3,11-dimeC27, was significantly more abundant on the surfaces of queen-laid eggs. This substance is also the most abundant compound on the cuticles of egg layers. PMID:15306343

  16. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vander Meer, Robert K.; Preston, Catherine A.; Hefetz, Abraham

    2008-12-01

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, worker ability to recognize conspecific nonnestmates decreases if the colony queen is removed, such that they do not recognize conspecific nonnestmates as different. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the presence of the colony queen influences the concentration of octopamine, a neuromodulator, in worker ants, which in turn has an effect on nestmate recognition acuity in workers. We demonstrate that queenless workers exhibit reduced brain octopamine levels and reduced discriminatory acuteness; however, feeding queenless workers octopamine restored both. Dopamine levels are influenced by honeybee queen pheromones; however, levels of this biogenic amine were unchanged in our experiments. This is the first demonstration of a link between the presence of the colony queen, a worker biogenic amine, and conspecific nestmate recognition, a powerful expression of colony cohesion and territoriality.

  17. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, Robert K; Preston, Catherine A; Hefetz, Abraham

    2008-12-01

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. In the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, worker ability to recognize conspecific nonnestmates decreases if the colony queen is removed, such that they do not recognize conspecific nonnestmates as different. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the presence of the colony queen influences the concentration of octopamine, a neuromodulator, in worker ants, which in turn has an effect on nestmate recognition acuity in workers. We demonstrate that queenless workers exhibit reduced brain octopamine levels and reduced discriminatory acuteness; however, feeding queenless workers octopamine restored both. Dopamine levels are influenced by honeybee queen pheromones; however, levels of this biogenic amine were unchanged in our experiments. This is the first demonstration of a link between the presence of the colony queen, a worker biogenic amine, and conspecific nestmate recognition, a powerful expression of colony cohesion and territoriality. PMID:18704354

  18. Variation in nestmate recognition ability among polymorphic leaf-cutting ant workers.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Janni; Fouks, Bertrand; Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Nehring, Volker

    2014-11-01

    A key feature for the success of social insects is division of labour, allowing colony members to specialize on different tasks. Nest defence is a defining task for social insects since it is crucial for colony integrity. A particularly impressive and well-known case of worker specialization in complex hymenopteran societies is found in leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. We hypothesized that three morphological worker castes of Acromyrmex echinatior differ in their likelihood to attack intruders, and show that major workers are more aggressive towards non-nestmate workers than medium and minor workers. Moreover, minors do not discriminate between nestmate and non-nestmate brood, while larger workers do. We further show that A. echinatior ants use cuticular chemical compounds for nestmate recognition. We took advantage of the natural variation in the cuticular compounds between colonies to investigate the proximate factors that may have led to the observed caste differences in aggression. We infer that major workers differ from medium workers in their general propensity to attack intruders (the "action component" of the nestmate recognition system), while minors seem to be less sensitive to foreign odours ("perception component"). Our results highlight the importance of proximate mechanisms underlying social insect behaviour, and encourage an appreciation of intra-colony variation when analysing colony-level traits such as nest defence. PMID:25205477

  19. Effects of worker size on the dynamics of fire ant tunnel construction

    PubMed Central

    Gravish, Nick; Garcia, Mateo; Mazouchova, Nicole; Levy, Laura; Umbanhowar, Paul B.; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Goldman, Daniel I.

    2012-01-01

    Social insects work together to complete tasks. However, different individuals within a colony may vary in task proficiency. We investigated if fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) worker body size influenced the ability to construct tunnels—a key component of subterranean nests. We monitored excavation by worker groups in a substrate of small wetted glass particles in quasi-two-dimensional arenas. Morphological and network features of the tunnel system were measured. Total tunnel area did not differ significantly between groups of large and small workers, although the tunnel area of control sized workers was significantly larger than that of large workers. Moreover, large workers created wider but shorter tunnels, with slower growth rate of tunnel number. However, edge–vertex scaling and degree distribution of the tunnel network were similar across all treatments. In all cases, the amount of excavated material was correlated with the number of active workers. Our study reveals that morphological features of excavated tunnels show modest variation when constructed by workers of varying sizes, but topological features associated with the tunnel network are conserved. These results suggest that important behavioural aspects of tunnel construction—and thus nest building—are similar among morphologically distinct members of fire ant societies. PMID:22915634

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-11-01

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

  1. Aggressions and size-related fecundity of queenless workers in the ant Cataglyphis cursor.

    PubMed

    Clémencet, Johanna; Rome, Quentin; Fédérici, Pierre; Doums, Claudie

    2008-02-01

    In social hymenoptera, the reproductive division of labor is often linked to differences in individual body size with the reproductive caste (the queen) being larger than the workers. Likewise, the reproductive potential may vary with size within the worker caste and could affect the evolution of worker size in social insects. Here, we tested the relationship between worker size and reproductive potential in the facultative parthenogenetic ant Cataglyphis cursor. Colonies are headed by a multiply mated queen, but workers can produce gynes (virgin queens) and workers by thelytokous parthenogenesis after the queen's death. We observed the behaviour of workers (n = 357) until the production of gynes (212 h over 3 months) in an orphaned colony (mated queen not present). The size of workers was measured, and their paternal lineage determined using six microsatellite markers, to control for an effect of patriline. Larger workers were more likely to reproduce and lay more eggs indicating that individual level selection could take place. However, paternal lineage had no effect on the reproductive potential and worker size. From the behavioural and genetic data, we also show for the first time in this species, evidence of aggressive interactions among workers and a potential for nepotism to occur in orphaned colonies, as the five gynes produced belonged to a single paternal lineage. PMID:17912494

  2. Aggressions and size-related fecundity of queenless workers in the ant Cataglyphis cursor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clémencet, Johanna; Rome, Quentin; Fédérici, Pierre; Doums, Claudie

    2008-02-01

    In social hymenoptera, the reproductive division of labor is often linked to differences in individual body size with the reproductive caste (the queen) being larger than the workers. Likewise, the reproductive potential may vary with size within the worker caste and could affect the evolution of worker size in social insects. Here, we tested the relationship between worker size and reproductive potential in the facultative parthenogenetic ant Cataglyphis cursor. Colonies are headed by a multiply mated queen, but workers can produce gynes (virgin queens) and workers by thelytokous parthenogenesis after the queen’s death. We observed the behaviour of workers ( n = 357) until the production of gynes (212 h over 3 months) in an orphaned colony (mated queen not present). The size of workers was measured, and their paternal lineage determined using six microsatellite markers, to control for an effect of patriline. Larger workers were more likely to reproduce and lay more eggs indicating that individual level selection could take place. However, paternal lineage had no effect on the reproductive potential and worker size. From the behavioural and genetic data, we also show for the first time in this species, evidence of aggressive interactions among workers and a potential for nepotism to occur in orphaned colonies, as the five gynes produced belonged to a single paternal lineage.

  3. Queen pheromones modulate DNA methyltransferase activity in bee and ant workers.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

    DNA methylation is emerging as an important regulator of polyphenism in the social insects. Research has concentrated on differences in methylation between queens and workers, though we hypothesized that methylation is involved in mediating other flexible phenotypes, including pheromone-dependent changes in worker behaviour and physiology. Here, we find that exposure to queen pheromone affects the expression of two DNA methyltransferase genes in Apis mellifera honeybees and in two species of Lasius ants, but not in Bombus terrestris bumblebees. These results suggest that queen pheromones influence the worker methylome, pointing to a novel proximate mechanism for these key social signals. PMID:26814223

  4. Hydrocarbon signals explain the pattern of worker and egg policing in the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli.

    PubMed

    Smith, Adrian A; Hölldobler, Bert; Liebig, Jürgen

    2008-10-01

    In ant societies, worker reproduction is regulated through policing behaviors, such as physical aggression or egg eating. The information used by policing individuals is thought to be in blends of hydrocarbons present on the cuticle and the surface of eggs. These fertility signals have been studied in numerous genera. However, signaling patterns that emerge across distinct subfamilies of ants have yet to be explained. We investigated policing behavior and the chemical signaling upon which policing behaviors are informed in the ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli. We found that worker-produced eggs are not policed, and we showed that there is a lack of chemical signaling for effective egg policing to occur in this species. Furthermore, we identified the available signals that demarcate workers to be policed physically. We showed that in A. cockerelli, a species with derived social organization, workers produce fertility signals identical to the queen. This queen-like signaling may be due to workers maintaining a high level of ovarian activity, linked to trophic egg production, in the presence of the queen. PMID:18709507

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gronenberg, Wulfila; Liebig, Jürgen

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

  6. Niemann–Pick type C2 protein mediating chemical communication in the worker ant

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Yuko; Tsuchiya, Wataru; Fujii, Takeshi; Fujimoto, Zui; Miyazawa, Mitsuhiro; Ishibashi, Jun; Matsuyama, Shigeru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Yamazaki, Toshimasa

    2014-01-01

    Ants are eusocial insects that are found in most regions of the world. Within its caste, worker ants are responsible for various tasks that are required for colony maintenance. In their chemical communication, α-helical carrier proteins, odorant-binding proteins, and chemosensory proteins, which accumulate in the sensillum lymph in the antennae, play essential roles in transferring hydrophobic semiochemicals to chemosensory receptors. It has been hypothesized that semiochemicals are recognized by α-helical carrier proteins. The number of these proteins, however, is not sufficient to interact with a large number of semiochemicals estimated from chemosensory receptor genes. Here we shed light on this conundrum by identifying a Niemann–Pick type C2 (NPC2) protein from the antenna of the worker Japanese carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus (CjapNPC2). CjapNPC2 accumulated in the sensillum cavity in the basiconic sensillum. The ligand-binding pocket of CjapNPC2 was composed of a flexible β-structure that allowed it to bind to a wide range of potential semiochemicals. Some of the semiochemicals elicited electrophysiolgical responses in the worker antenna. In vertebrates, NPC2 acts as an essential carrier protein for cholesterol from late endosomes and lysosomes to other cellular organelles. However, the ants have evolved an NPC2 with a malleable ligand-binding pocket as a moderately selective carrier protein in the sensillum cavity of the basiconic sensillum. CjapNPC2 might be able to deliver various hydrophobic semiochemicals to chemosensory receptor neurons and plays crucial roles in chemical communication required to perform the worker ant tasks. PMID:24567405

  7. Niemann-Pick type C2 protein mediating chemical communication in the worker ant.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yuko; Tsuchiya, Wataru; Fujii, Takeshi; Fujimoto, Zui; Miyazawa, Mitsuhiro; Ishibashi, Jun; Matsuyama, Shigeru; Ishikawa, Yukio; Yamazaki, Toshimasa

    2014-03-11

    Ants are eusocial insects that are found in most regions of the world. Within its caste, worker ants are responsible for various tasks that are required for colony maintenance. In their chemical communication, α-helical carrier proteins, odorant-binding proteins, and chemosensory proteins, which accumulate in the sensillum lymph in the antennae, play essential roles in transferring hydrophobic semiochemicals to chemosensory receptors. It has been hypothesized that semiochemicals are recognized by α-helical carrier proteins. The number of these proteins, however, is not sufficient to interact with a large number of semiochemicals estimated from chemosensory receptor genes. Here we shed light on this conundrum by identifying a Niemann-Pick type C2 (NPC2) protein from the antenna of the worker Japanese carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus (CjapNPC2). CjapNPC2 accumulated in the sensillum cavity in the basiconic sensillum. The ligand-binding pocket of CjapNPC2 was composed of a flexible β-structure that allowed it to bind to a wide range of potential semiochemicals. Some of the semiochemicals elicited electrophysiolgical responses in the worker antenna. In vertebrates, NPC2 acts as an essential carrier protein for cholesterol from late endosomes and lysosomes to other cellular organelles. However, the ants have evolved an NPC2 with a malleable ligand-binding pocket as a moderately selective carrier protein in the sensillum cavity of the basiconic sensillum. CjapNPC2 might be able to deliver various hydrophobic semiochemicals to chemosensory receptor neurons and plays crucial roles in chemical communication required to perform the worker ant tasks. PMID:24567405

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

    The efficacy of toxic baits should be judged by their ability to kill entire ant colonies, including the colony queen or queens. We studied the efficacy of four toxic baits to the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). These baits were Xstinguish that has the toxicant fipronil, Exterm-an-Ant that contains both boric acid and sodium borate, and Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena that both have indoxacarb. Experimental nests contained 300 workers and 10 queen ants that were starved for either 24 or 48 h before toxic bait exposure. The efficacy of the toxic baits was strongly influenced by starvation. In no treatment with 24-h starvation did we observe 100% worker death. After 24-h starvation three of the baits did not result in any queen deaths, with only Exterm-an-Ant producing an average of 25% mortality. In contrast, 100% queen and worker mortality was observed in colonies starved for 48 h and given Xstinguish or Exterm-an-Ant. The baits Advion ant gel and Advion ant bait arena were not effective against Argentine ants in these trials, resulting in <60% mortality in all treatments. Because of the strong influence of starvation on bait uptake, control efficacy may be maximized by applying bait when ants are likely to be starved. Our results suggest queen mortality must be assessed in tests for toxic bait efficacy. Our data indicate that of these four baits, Xstinguish and Exterm-an-Ant are the best options for control of Argentine ants in New Zealand. PMID:22928290

  9. Winged queens replaced by reproductives smaller than workers in Mystrium ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molet, Mathieu; Peeters, Christian; Fisher, Brian L.

    2007-04-01

    In ants, winged queens that are specialized for independent colony foundation can be replaced by wingless reproductives better adapted for colony fission. We studied this shift in reproductive strategy by comparing two Mystrium species from Madagascar using morphometry, allometry and dissections. Mystrium rogeri has a single dealate queen in each colony with a larger thorax than workers and similar mandibles that allow these queens to hunt during non-claustral foundation. In contrast, Mystrium ‘red’ lacks winged queens and half of the female adults belong to a wingless ‘intermorph’ caste smaller and allometrically distinct from the workers. Intermorphs have functional ovaries and spermatheca while those of workers are degenerate. Intermorphs care for brood and a few mate and reproduce making them an all-purpose caste that takes charge of both work and reproduction. However, their mandibles are reduced and inappropriate for hunting centipedes, unlike the workers’ mandibles. This together with their small thorax disallow them to perform independent colony foundation, and colonies reproduce by fission. M. rogeri workers have mandibles polymorphic in size and shape, which allow for all tasks from brood care to hunting. In M. ‘red’, colonial investment in reproduction has shifted from producing expensive winged queens to more numerous helpers. M. ‘red’ intermorphs are the first case of reproductives smaller than workers in ants and illustrate their potential to diversify their caste system for better colonial economy.

  10. Preference of food particle size among several urban ant species.

    PubMed

    Hooper-Bùi, Linda M; Appel, Arthur G; Rust, Michael K

    2002-12-01

    Appropriate particle size may be a critical characteristic for effective granular ant baits. We examined the particle size preference of six species of pest ants to an anchovy-based bait. We also examined head capsule widths of Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (mean = 0.54 mm), California harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex californicus (Buckley) (mean = 1.63 mm), red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (mean = 0.9 mm), and southern fire ants, Solenopsis xyloni McCook (mean = 0.76 mm) and compared them with the first and second most preferred particle size. There were differences between particle size of which the most mass was removed and of which there were more particles removed by ants. California Argentine ants, southern fire ants, and Alabama Argentine ants removed more 840 to 1,000-microm particle mass of the anchovy diet but had more visits to dishes containing 420 to 590 microm particles. California harvester ants and Allegheny mound ants, Formica spp., removed more >2,000 microm particle mass but visited dishes containing 1,000 to 2,000 microm particles more often. Red imported fire ants also removed more >2,000 microm particle mass but visited dishes with 590 to 840-microm particles most often. Pharaoh ants, Monomorium pharaonis (L.), removed and visited 420 to 590-microm particles more than any other size. A linear regression model determined that particle size preferred by each ant species relates to forager head width. The majority of particles of commercial ant bait, including Amdro, Ascend, Award, Bushwhacker, Max Force with fipronil, and old and new formulations of Max Force with hydramethylnon, were 1,000 to 2,000 microm, but the majority of Niban particles were <420 microm. Altering the size of particles of toxic ant baits to fit the particle size preference of each pest ant species may increase the efficacy of ant baits. PMID:12539835

  11. Interaction between workers during a short time window is required for bacterial symbiont transmission in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Currie, Cameron R

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudonocardia Actinobacteria exosymbiont on their bodies that produces antifungal compounds that help inhibit specialized parasites of the ants' fungal garden. Major workers emerge from their pupal cases (eclose) symbiont-free, but exhibit visible Actinobacterial coverage within 14 days post-eclosion. Using subcolony experiments, we investigate exosymbiont transmission within Acromyrmex colonies. We found successful transmission to newly eclosed major workers fostered by major workers with visible Actinobacteria in all cases (100% acquiring, n = 19). In contrast, newly eclosed major workers reared without exosymbiont-carrying major workers did not acquire visible Actinobacteria (0% acquiring, n = 73). We further show that the majority of ants exposed to major workers with exosymbionts within 2 hours of eclosion acquired bacteria (60.7% acquiring, n = 28), while normal acquisition did not occur when exposure occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure the defensive function within colonies, as well as specificity and partner fidelity in the ant-bacterium association. PMID:25058579

  12. Interaction between Workers during a Short Time Window Is Required for Bacterial Symbiont Transmission in Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Poulsen, Michael; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Currie, Cameron R.

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudonocardia Actinobacteria exosymbiont on their bodies that produces antifungal compounds that help inhibit specialized parasites of the ants' fungal garden. Major workers emerge from their pupal cases (eclose) symbiont-free, but exhibit visible Actinobacterial coverage within 14 days post-eclosion. Using subcolony experiments, we investigate exosymbiont transmission within Acromyrmex colonies. We found successful transmission to newly eclosed major workers fostered by major workers with visible Actinobacteria in all cases (100% acquiring, n = 19). In contrast, newly eclosed major workers reared without exosymbiont-carrying major workers did not acquire visible Actinobacteria (0% acquiring, n = 73). We further show that the majority of ants exposed to major workers with exosymbionts within 2 hours of eclosion acquired bacteria (60.7% acquiring, n = 28), while normal acquisition did not occur when exposure occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure the defensive function within colonies, as well as specificity and partner fidelity in the ant-bacterium association. PMID:25058579

  13. Bigger Helpers in the Ant Cataglyphis bombycina: Increased Worker Polymorphism or Novel Soldier Caste?

    PubMed Central

    Molet, Mathieu; Maicher, Vincent; Peeters, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Introduction The mechanisms by which development favors or constrains the evolution of new phenotypes are incompletely understood. Polyphenic species may benefit from developmental plasticity not only regarding ecological advantages, but also potential for evolutionary diversification. For instance, the repeated evolution of novel castes in ants may have been facilitated by the existence of alternative queen and worker castes and their respective developmental programs. Material and Methods Cataglyphis bombycina is exceptional in its genus because winged queens and size-polymorphic workers occur together with bigger individuals having saber-shaped mandibles. We measured seven body parts in more than 150 individuals to perform a morphometric analysis and assess the developmental origin of this novel phenotype. Results Adults with saber-shaped mandibles differ from both workers and queens regarding the size of most body parts. Their relative growth rates are identical to workers for some pairs of body parts, and identical to queens for other pairs of body parts; critical sizes differ in all cases. Conclusions Big individuals are a third caste, i.e. soldiers, not major workers. Novel traits such as elongated mandibles are combined with a mix of queen and worker growth rates. We also reveal the existence of a dimorphism in the queen caste (microgynes and macrogynes). We discuss how novel phenotypes can evolve more readily in the context of an existing polyphenism. Both morphological traits and growth rules from existing queen and worker castes can be recombined, hence mosaic phenotypes are more likely to be viable. In C. bombycina, such a mosaic phenotype appears to function both for defense (saber-shaped mandibles) and fat storage (big abdomen). Recycling of developmental programs may have contributed to the morphological diversity and ecological success of ants. PMID:24404196

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-05-01

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

  15. Higher brain centers for social tasks in worker ants, Camponotus japonicus.

    PubMed

    Nishikawa, Michiko; Watanabe, Hidehiro; Yokohari, Fumio

    2012-05-01

    Ants, eusocial insects, have highly elaborate chemical communication systems using a wide variety of pheromones. In the carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus, workers and queens have the female-specific basiconic sensilla on antennae. The antennal lobe, the primary processing center, in female carpenter ants contains about 480 glomeruli, which are divided into seven groups (T1–T7 glomeruli) based on sensory afferent tracts. The axons of sensory neurons in basiconic sensilla are thought to project to female-specific T6 glomeruli. Therefore, these sensilla and glomeruli are thought to relate to female-specific social tasks in the ants. By using dye filling into local neurons (LNs) and projection neurons (PNs) in the antennal lobe, we neuroanatomically revealed the existence of an isolated processing system for signals probably relating to social tasks in the worker ant. In the antennal lobe, two categories of glomeruli, T6 glomeruli and non-T6 glomeruli, are clearly segregated by LNs. Furthermore, axon terminals of uniglomerular PNs from the respective categories of glomeruli (T6 uni-PNs and non-T6 uni-PNs) are also segregated in the secondary olfactory centers, the calyces of the mushroom body and the lateral horn: T6 uni-PNs terminate in the outer layers of the basal ring and lip of mushroom body calyces and in the posterior region of the lateral horn, whereas non-T6 uni-PNs terminate in the middle and inner layers of the basal ring and lip and in the anterior region of the lateral horn. These findings suggest that information probably relating to social tasks might be isolated from other olfactory information and processed in a separate subsystem. PMID:22102363

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barndt, Deborah

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Leclerc, Jean-Baptiste; Detrain, Claire

    2016-08-01

    Social insects have evolved an array of individual and social behaviours that limit pathogen entrance and spread within the colony. The detection of ectoparasites or of fungal spores on a nestmate body triggers their removal by allogrooming and appears as a primary component of social prophylaxis. However, in the case of fungal infection, one may wonder whether ant workers are able to detect, discriminate and keep at bay diseased nestmates that have no spores over their cuticle but which constitute a latent sanitary risk due to post-mortem corpse sporulation. Here, we investigate the ability of Myrmica rubra workers to detect and discriminate a healthy from a diseased nestmate infected by the entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. During dyadic encounters in a neutral location, workers were more aggressive towards isolated sick nestmates on the 3rd post-infection day. However, no such detection or discrimination of fungus-infected nestmates occurred in a social context inside the nest or at the nest entrance. Gatekeepers never actively rejected incoming diseased nestmates that rather spontaneously isolated themselves outside the nest. Our study reveals that ant workers may detect health-dependent cues and that their 'acceptance level' of sick nestmates is tunable depending on the social context. This raises questions about possible trade-offs between a social closure to pathogens and risks of erroneous rejection of healthy nestmates. Social isolation of moribund ants also appears as a widespread prophylactic strategy of social insects allowing them to reduce exposure to pathogens and to spare costs associated with the management of infected individuals. PMID:27475810

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leclerc, Jean-Baptiste; Detrain, Claire

    2016-08-01

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

  19. Food Production Worker. Dietetic Support Personnel Training Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barker, Ellen; And Others

    This curriculum guide, part of a multi-volume dietetic support personnel training program, consists of materials (15 units) for use in training future food production workers. Covered in the first part of the guide are nutrition in food production and diet therapy. The second part of the guide deals with sanitation and safety in food production.…

  20. Dominance Hierarchies in Leptothorax Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Blaine J.

    1981-04-01

    The social organization of Leptothorax allardycei is unique among ant species thus far studied. The workers form linear dominance hierarchies characterized by routine displays of dominance, avoidance behavior, and even fighting. The high-ranking ants are favored in liquid food exchange, have greater ovarian development, and produce 20 percent of the eggs.

  1. Performance of the species-typical alarm response in young workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is induced by interactions with mature workers.

    PubMed

    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire

    2014-01-01

    Young workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Meinert 1861 perceived nestmate alarm pheromone but did not display normal alarm behavior (orientation toward the source of emission, increased running speed). They changed their initial behavior when in the presence of older nestmates exhibiting normal alarm behavior. Four days later, the young ants exhibited an imperfect version of normal alarm behavior. This change of behavior did not occur in young ants, which were not exposed to older ants reacting to alarm pheromone. Queen ants perceived the alarm pheromone and, after a few seconds, moved toward its source. Thus, the ants' ability to sense the alarm pheromone and to identify it as an alarm signal is native, while the adult alarm reaction is acquired over time (= age based polyethism) by young ants. It is possible that the change in behavior observed in young ants could be initiated and/or enhanced (via experience-induced developmental plasticity, learning, and/or other mechanisms) by older ants exhibiting alarm behavior. PMID:25525102

  2. Non-Enzymatic Hydrolysis of RNA in Workers of the Ant Nylanderia pubens

    PubMed Central

    Valles, Steven M.; Strong, Charles A.; Buss, Eileen A.; Oi, David H.

    2012-01-01

    During preparation of total RNA from Nylanderia pubens (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) workers for use in expression library construction, severe RNA degradation consistently occurred. This degradation was masked by spectrophotometric analysis but clearly evident by microfluidic-based assay. Although not specifically identified, the degrading entity was endogenous and localized to the abdomen (terminal abdominal segments) of adult ants. RNA degradation was not observed in preparations of larvae, non-melanized pupae, or eggs. Various RNase and protease inhibitors had no protective effect. However, the metal chelating agent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid prevented RNA degradation and provides insight into the occurrence. PMID:23461820

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

    PubMed

    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 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. PMID:25373195

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

    PubMed Central

    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 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. PMID:25373195

  5. Performance of the Species-Typical Alarm Response in Young Workers of the Ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Is Induced by Interactions with Mature Workers

    PubMed Central

    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire

    2014-01-01

    Young workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Meinert 1861 perceived nestmate alarm pheromone but did not display normal alarm behavior (orientation toward the source of emission, increased running speed). They changed their initial behavior when in the presence of older nestmates exhibiting normal alarm behavior. Four days later, the young ants exhibited an imperfect version of normal alarm behavior. This change of behavior did not occur in young ants, which were not exposed to older ants reacting to alarm pheromone. Queen ants perceived the alarm pheromone and, after a few seconds, moved toward its source. Thus, the ants’ ability to sense the alarm pheromone and to identify it as an alarm signal is native, while the adult alarm reaction is acquired over time (= age based polyethism) by young ants. It is possible that the change in behavior observed in young ants could be initiated and/or enhanced (via experience-induced developmental plasticity, learning, and/or other mechanisms) by older ants exhibiting alarm behavior. PMID:25525102

  6. Ant trophallactic networks: simultaneous measurement of interaction patterns and food dissemination.

    PubMed

    Greenwald, Efrat; Segre, Enrico; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial societies and ants, in particular, maintain tight nutritional regulation at both individual and collective levels. The mechanisms that underlie this control are far from trivial since, in these distributed systems, information about the global supply and demand is not available to any single individual. Here we present a novel technique for non-intervening frequent measurement of the food load of all individuals in an ant colony, including during trophallactic events in which food is transferred by mouth-to-mouth feeding. Ants are imaged using a dual camera setup that produces both barcode-based identification and fluorescence measurement of labeled food. This system provides detailed measurements that enable one to quantitatively study the adaptive food distribution network. To demonstrate the capabilities of our method, we present sample observations that were unattainable using previous techniques, and could provide insight into the mechanisms underlying food exchange. PMID:26224025

  7. Ant trophallactic networks: simultaneous measurement of interaction patterns and food dissemination

    PubMed Central

    Greenwald, Efrat; Segre, Enrico; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial societies and ants, in particular, maintain tight nutritional regulation at both individual and collective levels. The mechanisms that underlie this control are far from trivial since, in these distributed systems, information about the global supply and demand is not available to any single individual. Here we present a novel technique for non-intervening frequent measurement of the food load of all individuals in an ant colony, including during trophallactic events in which food is transferred by mouth-to-mouth feeding. Ants are imaged using a dual camera setup that produces both barcode-based identification and fluorescence measurement of labeled food. This system provides detailed measurements that enable one to quantitatively study the adaptive food distribution network. To demonstrate the capabilities of our method, we present sample observations that were unattainable using previous techniques, and could provide insight into the mechanisms underlying food exchange. PMID:26224025

  8. Ant trophallactic networks: simultaneous measurement of interaction patterns and food dissemination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenwald, Efrat; Segre, Enrico; Feinerman, Ofer

    2015-07-01

    Eusocial societies and ants, in particular, maintain tight nutritional regulation at both individual and collective levels. The mechanisms that underlie this control are far from trivial since, in these distributed systems, information about the global supply and demand is not available to any single individual. Here we present a novel technique for non-intervening frequent measurement of the food load of all individuals in an ant colony, including during trophallactic events in which food is transferred by mouth-to-mouth feeding. Ants are imaged using a dual camera setup that produces both barcode-based identification and fluorescence measurement of labeled food. This system provides detailed measurements that enable one to quantitatively study the adaptive food distribution network. To demonstrate the capabilities of our method, we present sample observations that were unattainable using previous techniques, and could provide insight into the mechanisms underlying food exchange.

  9. Food service workers' self-reported food preparation practices: an EHS-Net study.

    PubMed

    Green, Laura; Selman, Carol; Banerjee, Anyana; Marcus, Ruthanne; Medus, Carlota; Angulo, Frederick J; Radke, Vince; Buchanan, Sharunda

    2005-01-01

    This study was conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net), a network of environmental health specialists and epidemiologists at federal and state health agencies, whose mission is to improve environmental health practice. One of EHS-Net's primary goals is to improve the understanding of the underlying causes of foodborne illness using a system-based approach. As part of this ongoing effort, EHS-Net analyzed data from a telephone survey of food service workers designed to increase our understanding of food preparation practices (a cause of foodborne illness) in restaurants. Results indicated that risky food preparation practices were commonly reported. Respondents said that at work they did not always wear gloves while touching ready-to-eat (RTE) food (60%), did not always wash their hands or change their gloves between handling raw meat and RTE food (23% and 33%), did not use a thermometer to check food temperatures (53%), and had worked while sick with vomiting or diarrhea (5%). Several factors were associated with safer food preparation practices. Workers responsible for food preparation reported washing their hands and wearing gloves when handling RTE food more often than workers not responsible for food preparation. Workers who cooked reported changing their gloves more often than workers who did not cook. Older workers and managers reported washing their hands more often than younger workers and non-managers. Workers in chain restaurants more frequently reported using thermometers than workers in independently owned restaurants. This study provides valuable information concerning the prevalence of food preparation practices and factors that may impact those practices. Additional research is needed to better understand those factors. PMID:15881976

  10. Stable isotopes reveal links between human food inputs and urban ant diets.

    PubMed

    Penick, Clint A; Savage, Amy M; Dunn, Robert R

    2015-05-01

    The amount of energy consumed within an average city block is an order of magnitude higher than that consumed in any other ecosystem over a similar area. This is driven by human food inputs, but the consequence of these resources for urban animal populations is poorly understood. We investigated the role of human foods in ant diets across an urbanization gradient in Manhattan using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. We found that some-but not all-ant species living in Manhattan's most urbanized habitats had δ(13)C signatures associated with processed human foods. In particular, pavement ants (Tetramorium sp. E) had increased levels of δ(13)C similar to δ(13)C levels in human fast foods. The magnitude of this effect was positively correlated with urbanization. By contrast, we detected no differences in δ(15)N, suggesting Tetramorium feeds at the same trophic level despite shifting to human foods. This pattern persisted across the broader ant community; species in traffic islands used human resources more than park species. Our results demonstrate that the degree urban ants exploit human resources changes across the city and among species, and this variation could play a key role in community structure and ecosystem processes where human and animal food webs intersect. PMID:25833850

  11. Stable isotopes reveal links between human food inputs and urban ant diets

    PubMed Central

    Penick, Clint A.; Savage, Amy M.; Dunn, Robert R.

    2015-01-01

    The amount of energy consumed within an average city block is an order of magnitude higher than that consumed in any other ecosystem over a similar area. This is driven by human food inputs, but the consequence of these resources for urban animal populations is poorly understood. We investigated the role of human foods in ant diets across an urbanization gradient in Manhattan using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. We found that some—but not all—ant species living in Manhattan's most urbanized habitats had δ13C signatures associated with processed human foods. In particular, pavement ants (Tetramorium sp. E) had increased levels of δ13C similar to δ13C levels in human fast foods. The magnitude of this effect was positively correlated with urbanization. By contrast, we detected no differences in δ15N, suggesting Tetramorium feeds at the same trophic level despite shifting to human foods. This pattern persisted across the broader ant community; species in traffic islands used human resources more than park species. Our results demonstrate that the degree urban ants exploit human resources changes across the city and among species, and this variation could play a key role in community structure and ecosystem processes where human and animal food webs intersect. PMID:25833850

  12. Nest and food search behaviour in desert ants, Cataglyphis: a critical comparison.

    PubMed

    Pfeffer, Sarah E; Bolek, Siegfried; Wolf, Harald; Wittlinger, Matthias

    2015-07-01

    North African desert ants, Cataglyphis, use path integration to calculate a home vector during their foraging trips, constantly informing them about their position relative to the nest. This home vector is also used to find the way back to a productive feeding site the ant has encountered and thus memorized. When the animal fails to arrive at its goal after having run off the home or food vector, a systematic search is initiated. The basic search strategies are identical for nest and food searches, consisting of a search spiral superimposed by a random walk. While nest searches have been investigated in much detail, food site searches have received comparatively little attention. Here, we quantify and compare nest and food site searches recorded under similar conditions, particularly constant nest-feeder distance, and we observe notable differences in nest and food search performances. The parameters of nest searches are relatively constant and improve little with experience, although those small improvements had not been recognized previously. Food searches, by contrast, are more flexible and cover smaller or larger areas, mainly depending on the reliability of food encounter over several visits. Intriguingly, food site searches may be significantly more focussed than nest searches, although the nest should be the most important goal in an ant's life. These results demonstrate both adaptability and high accuracy of the ants' search programme. PMID:25805650

  13. Interactions with Combined Chemical Cues Inform Harvester Ant Foragers' Decisions to Leave the Nest in Search of Food

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23308106

  14. A macroglomerulus in the antennal lobe of leaf-cutting ant workers and its possible functional significance.

    PubMed

    Kleineidam, C J; Obermayer, M; Halbich, W; Rössler, W

    2005-06-01

    Ants have a well-developed olfactory system, and pheromone communication is essential for regulating social life within their colonies. We compared the organization of primary olfactory centers (antennal lobes, ALs) in the brain of two closely related species of leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri, Atta sexdens). Both species express a striking size polymorphism associated with polyethism. We discovered that the ALs of large workers contain a substantially enlarged glomerulus (macroglomerulus, MG) at the entrance of the antennal nerve. This is the first description of an MG in non-sexual individuals of an insect. The location of the MG is laterally reversed in the two species, and workers of different size express a disproportional allometry of glomerular volumes. While ALs of large workers contain an MG, glomeruli in small workers are all similar in size. We further compared electroantennogram (EAG) responses to two common trail pheromone components of leaf-cutting ants: 4-methylpyrrol-2-carboxylate and 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine. At high concentrations the ratio of the EAG signals to 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine versus 4-methylpyrrol-2-carboxylate was significantly smaller in A. vollenweideri compared with the ratio of EAG signals to the same two components in A. sexdens. The differences in EAG signals and the species specific MG location in large workers provide correlative evidence that the MG may be involved in the detection of the trail pheromone. PMID:15843501

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:11354970

  16. Queens defense by workers in the highly polygynous ant Crematogaster pygmaea (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae).

    PubMed

    Martins Segundo, Glauco Bezerra; de Biseau, Jean-Christophe; Quinet, Yves

    2012-11-01

    Some aspects of the biology of Crematogaster pygmaea, a highly polydomous and polygynous ant, are more commonly found in monogynous species. One such characteristic is the high attractiveness of its queens. In this study, this attractiveness was assessed under varying experimental conditions to investigate the factors responsible for its expression and variation, and to identify the nature of queen attractiveness. It was shown (1) that C. pygmaea queens are highly attractive to the workers that cluster on and around them (retinue), (2) that the attractiveness of C. pygmaea queens is context-dependent, i.e., it increases with increasing degree of potential danger to the queen, (3) that the attractiveness signal of C. pygmaea queens is chemically based, and (4) that this signal is persistent and apparently not colony-specific. The proposed hypothesis is that the C. pygmaea queens constantly release an attractiveness signal that is "read" by the workers, in a dependent way linked to the context, and that the main function of this attractiveness is to protect queens. This protection would have a high adaptive value in the context of the social structure and the reproductive strategies in C. pygmaea. PMID:23026145

  17. Ant Species Differences Determined by Epistasis between Brood and Worker Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Linksvayer, Timothy A.

    2007-01-01

    Epistasis arising from physiological interactions between gene products often contributes to species differences, particularly those involved in reproductive isolation. In social organisms, phenotypes are influenced by the genotypes of multiple interacting individuals. In theory, social interactions can give rise to an additional type of epistasis between the genomes of social partners that can contribute to species differences. Using a full-factorial cross-fostering design with three species of closely related Temnothorax ants, I found that adult worker size was determined by an interaction between the genotypes of developing brood and care-giving workers, i.e. intergenomic epistasis. Such intergenomic social epistasis provides a strong signature of coevolution between social partners. These results demonstrate that just as physiologically interacting genes coevolve, diverge, and contribute to species differences, so do socially interacting genes. Coevolution and conflict between social partners, especially relatives such as parents and offspring, has long been recognized as having widespread evolutionary effects. This coevolutionary process may often result in coevolved socially-interacting gene complexes that contribute to species differences. PMID:17912371

  18. Food Service Worker. Dietetic Support Personnel Achievement Test.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oklahoma State Dept. of Vocational and Technical Education, Stillwater.

    This guide contains a series of multiple-choice items and guidelines to assist instructors in composing criterion-referenced tests for use in the food service worker component of Oklahoma's Dietetic Support Personnel training program. Test items addressing each of the following occupational duty areas are provided: human relations; personal…

  19. Food Production Worker. Dietetic Support Personnel Achievement Test.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oklahoma State Dept. of Vocational and Technical Education, Stillwater.

    This guide contains a series of multiple-choice items and guidelines to assist instructors in composing criterion-referenced tests for use in the food production worker component of Oklahoma's Dietetic Support Personnel training program. Test items addressing each of the following occupational duty areas are provided: human relations; hygiene and…

  20. Maricopa County, Arizona, Modifies Sanitation Course for Food Service Workers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henning, Richard L.

    1972-01-01

    Description of new educational program developed by the Maricopa County Health Department, in Phoenix, Arizona, for the training of food service workers in sanitary practices. Impact of course is yet to be objectively measured, but persons attending have shown much greater participation and interest. (LK)

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) are used commercially to control pest insects and for protein production. In this respect fast colony growth is desirable for managed colonies. Transplantation of non-nestmate pupae to incipient colonies has been shown to boost colony growth. Our objectives were to find the maximum number of pupae a founding queen can handle, and to measure the associated colony growth. Secondly, we tested if transplantation of pupae led to production of larger nanitic workers (defined as unusually small worker ants produced by founding queens in their first batch of offspring). Forty-five fertilized queens were divided into three treatments: 0 (control), 100 or 300 non-nestmate pupae transplanted to each colony. Pupae transplantation resulted in highly increased growth rates, as pupae were readily adopted by the queens and showed high proportions of surviving (mean = 76%). However, survival was significantly higher when 100 pupae were transplanted compared to transplantation of 300 pupae, indicating that queens were unable to handle 300 pupae adequately and that pupae require some amount of nursing. Nevertheless, within the 60-day experiment the transplantation of 300 pupae increased total colony size more than 10-fold whereas 100 pupae increased the size 5.6 fold, compared to control. This increase was due not only to the individuals added in the form of pupae but also to an increased per capita brood production by the resident queen, triggered by the adopted pupae. The size of hatching pupae produced by the resident queen also increased with the number of pupae transplanted, leading to larger nanitic workers in colonies adopting pupae. In conclusion, pupae transplantation may be used to produce larger colonies with larger worker ants and may thus reduce the time to produce weaver ant colonies for commercial purposes. This in turn may facilitate the implementation of the use of weaver ants. PMID:25995983

  2. Use of Seeds as Fungus Garden Substrate Changes the Organization of Labor Among Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers.

    PubMed

    Hastenreiter, I N; Sales, T A; Camargo, R S; Forti, L C; Lopes, J F S

    2015-08-01

    Seeds of different plant species constitute an alternative but also significant substrate that leaf-cutting ants use to cultivate their fungus garden. However, how they are processed inside the nest and if their use implies differential allocation of worker size classes are still poorly known. Using laboratory colonies of Acromyrmex subterraneus (Forel) as a model, the behaviors related to the processing of three different seeds (sesame, guava, and grape) as fungus substrate were listed. At the same time, we measured how each worker size class contributed to the execution of these behaviors by registering their respective frequency. It was found that medium-sized (1.2 > head width < 1.6 mm) and minimum-sized (head width <1.1 mm) workers assumed the role of incorporation for sesame and grape seeds, respectively. Major-sized workers (head width >1.7 mm) were concentrated on licking and holding guava seeds. Tegument removal was the only task observed that differs between treatment of seeds and treatment of leaves before their incorporation, as described in the literature. It was verified that different species of seeds imply a differential allocation of worker size classes and the inclusion or exclusion of some tasks from the behavioral repertoire. Regardless of the substrate type, leaf-cutting ant workers follow a coordinated and specialized procedure to cultivate the fungus garden but always maintain a high degree of cooperation. PMID:26050554

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    Intraspecific variation in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known. An exception is the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in which the existence of two distinct forms of social colony organization is under the control of the two variants of a pair of social chromosomes, SB and Sb. Colonies containing exclusively SB/SB workers accept only one single queen and she must be SB/SB. By contrast, when colonies contain more than 10% of SB/Sb workers, they accept several queens but only SB/Sb queens. The variants of the social chromosome are associated with several additional important phenotypic differences, including the size, fecundity and dispersal strategies of queens, aggressiveness of workers, and sperm count in males. However, little is known about whether social chromosome variants affect fitness in other life stages. Here, we perform experiments to determine whether differential selection occurs during development and in adult workers. We find evidence that the Sb variant of the social chromosome increases the likelihood of female brood to develop into queens and that adult SB/Sb workers, the workers that cull SB/SB queens, are overrepresented in comparison to SB/SB workers. This demonstrates that supergenes such as the social chromosome can have complex effects on phenotypes at various stages of development. PMID:25211290

  4. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 7. Barriers to reduce contamination of food by workers.

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

    Contamination of food and individuals by food workers has been identified as an important contributing factor during foodborne illness investigations. Physical and chemical barriers to prevent microbial contamination of food are hurdles that block or reduce the transfer of pathogens to the food surface from the hands of a food worker, from other foods, or from the environment. In food service operations, direct contact of food by hands should be prevented by the use of barriers, especially when gloves are not worn. Although these barriers have been used for decades in food processing and food service operations, their effectiveness is sometimes questioned or their use may be ignored. Physical barriers include properly engineered building walls and doors to minimize the flow of outside particles and pests to food storage and food preparation areas; food shields to prevent aerosol contamination of displayed food by customers and workers; work clothing designated strictly for work (clothing worn outdoors can carry undesirable microorganisms, including pathogens from infected family members, into the work environment); and utensils such as spoons, tongs, and deli papers to prevent direct contact between hands and the food being prepared or served. Money and ready-to-eat foods should be handled as two separate operations, preferably by two workers. Chemical barriers include sanitizing solutions used to remove microorganisms (including pathogens) from objects or materials used during food production and preparation and to launder uniforms, work clothes, and soiled linens. However, laundering as normally practiced may not effectively eliminate viral pathogens. PMID:20819372

  5. How Do Genomes Create Novel Phenotypes? Insights from the Loss of the Worker Caste in Ant Social Parasites.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Helms Cahan, Sara; Kemena, Carsten; Brady, Seán G; Yang, Wei; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Eriksson, Ti; Gadau, Juergen; Helmkampf, Martin; Gotzek, Dietrich; Okamoto Miyakawa, Misato; Suarez, Andrew V; Mikheyev, Alexander

    2015-11-01

    A central goal of biology is to uncover the genetic basis for the origin of new phenotypes. A particularly effective approach is to examine the genomic architecture of species that have secondarily lost a phenotype with respect to their close relatives. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, queens and workers have divergent phenotypes that may be produced via either expression of alternative sets of caste-specific genes and pathways or differences in expression patterns of a shared set of multifunctional genes. To distinguish between these two hypotheses, we investigated how secondary loss of the worker phenotype in workerless ant social parasites impacted genome evolution across two independent origins of social parasitism in the ant genera Pogonomyrmex and Vollenhovia. We sequenced the genomes of three social parasites and their most-closely related eusocial host species and compared gene losses in social parasites with gene expression differences between host queens and workers. Virtually all annotated genes were expressed to some degree in both castes of the host, with most shifting in queen-worker bias across developmental stages. As a result, despite >1 My of divergence from the last common ancestor that had workers, the social parasites showed strikingly little evidence of gene loss, damaging mutations, or shifts in selection regime resulting from loss of the worker caste. This suggests that regulatory changes within a multifunctional genome, rather than sequence differences, have played a predominant role in the evolution of social parasitism, and perhaps also in the many gains and losses of phenotypes in the social insects. PMID:26226984

  6. Density of mushroom body synaptic complexes limits intraspecies brain miniaturization in highly polymorphic leaf-cutting ant workers

    PubMed Central

    Groh, Claudia; Kelber, Christina; Grübel, Kornelia; Rössler, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    Hymenoptera possess voluminous mushroom bodies (MBs), brain centres associated with sensory integration, learning and memory. The mushroom body input region (calyx) is organized in distinct synaptic complexes (microglomeruli, MG) that can be quantified to analyse body size-related phenotypic plasticity of synaptic microcircuits in these small brains. Leaf-cutting ant workers (Atta vollenweideri) exhibit an enormous size polymorphism, which makes them outstanding to investigate neuronal adaptations underlying division of labour and brain miniaturization. We particularly asked how size-related division of labour in polymorphic workers is reflected in volume and total numbers of MG in olfactory calyx subregions. Whole brains of mini, media and large workers were immunolabelled with anti-synapsin antibodies, and mushroom body volumes as well as densities and absolute numbers of MG were determined by confocal imaging and three-dimensional analyses. The total brain volume and absolute volumes of olfactory mushroom body subdivisions were positively correlated with head widths, but mini workers had significantly larger MB to total brain ratios. Interestingly, the density of olfactory MG was remarkably independent from worker size. Consequently, absolute numbers of olfactory MG still were approximately three times higher in large compared with mini workers. The results show that the maximum packing density of synaptic microcircuits may represent a species-specific limit to brain miniaturization. PMID:24807257

  7. Missed opportunities for improving nutrition through institutional food: the case for food worker training.

    PubMed

    Tsui, Emma K; Deutsch, Jonathan; Patinella, Stefania; Freudenberg, Nicholas

    2013-09-01

    The institutional food sector-including food served in schools, child care settings, hospitals, and senior centers-is a largely untapped resource for public health that may help to arrest increasing rates of obesity and diet-related health problems. To make this case, we estimated the reach of a diverse institutional food sector in 1 large municipality, New York City, in 2012, and explored the potential for improving institutional food by building the skills and nutritional knowledge of foodservice workers through training. Drawing on the research literature and preliminary data collected in New York City, we discuss the dynamics of nutritional decision-making in these settings. Finally, we identify opportunities and challenges associated with training the institutional food workforce to enhance nutrition and health. PMID:23865653

  8. Missed Opportunities for Improving Nutrition Through Institutional Food: The Case for Food Worker Training

    PubMed Central

    Deutsch, Jonathan; Patinella, Stefania; Freudenberg, Nicholas

    2013-01-01

    The institutional food sector—including food served in schools, child care settings, hospitals, and senior centers—is a largely untapped resource for public health that may help to arrest increasing rates of obesity and diet-related health problems. To make this case, we estimated the reach of a diverse institutional food sector in 1 large municipality, New York City, in 2012, and explored the potential for improving institutional food by building the skills and nutritional knowledge of foodservice workers through training. Drawing on the research literature and preliminary data collected in New York City, we discuss the dynamics of nutritional decision-making in these settings. Finally, we identify opportunities and challenges associated with training the institutional food workforce to enhance nutrition and health. PMID:23865653

  9. Symbiotic bacteria on the cuticle of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus protect workers from attack by entomopathogenic fungi.

    PubMed

    Mattoso, Thalles C; Moreira, Denise D O; Samuels, Richard I

    2012-06-23

    Although only discovered in 1999, the symbiotic filamentous actinobacteria present on the integument of certain species of leaf-cutting ants have been the subject of intense research. These bacteria have been shown to specifically suppress fungal garden parasites by secretion of antibiotics. However, more recently, a wider role for these bacteria has been suggested from research revealing their generalist anti-fungal activity. Here we show, for the first time, evidence for a role of these bacteria in the defence of young worker ants against a fungal entomopathogen. Experimental removal of the bacterial bio-film using an antibiotic resulted in a significant increase in susceptibility of worker ants to infection by the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. This is the first direct evidence for the advantage of maintaining a bacterial bio-film on the cuticle as a defensive strategy of the ants themselves and not exclusively for protection of the fungus garden. PMID:22130174

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

    PubMed

    Klobuchar, Emily A; Deslippe, Richard J

    2002-07-01

    We conducted five bioassays to study how queens control the execution of sexual larvae by workers in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In each assay, subset colonies were made from many large polygyne colonies, and the 20 sexual larvae they contained were monitored over time. Sexual larvae mostly survived in queenless colonies, but were mostly killed in colonies with a single dealated queen, regardless of whether or not the queen was fertilized. The larvae were also killed when fresh corpses of queens were added to queenless colonies. Whereas acetone extracts of queens did not produce a significant increase in killings, extracts in buffered saline induced workers to execute most sexual larvae, indicating successful extraction of an execution pheromone. We identified the probable storage location of the chemical as the poison sac, and found both fresh (1 day) and old (21 day) extracts of poison sacs to be equally effective in inducing executions. The pheromone is stable at room temperature, perhaps because venom alkaloids also present in the extracts keep the pheromone from degrading. It is apparently either proteinaceous or associated with a proteinaceous molecule, a novel finding, as no queen pheromone of a proteinaceous nature has been previously demonstrated in ants. PMID:12216859

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klobuchar, Emily; Deslippe, Richard

    2002-05-01

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

  12. Effect of gland extracts on digging and residing preferences of red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Zhang, Guangmei

    2013-08-01

    There is evidence that ant-derived chemical stimuli are involved in regulating the digging behavior in Solenopsis invicta Buren. However, the source gland(s) and chemistry of such stimuli have never been revealed. In this study, extracts of mandibular, Dufour's, postpharyngeal, and poison glands were evaluated for their effect on ant digging and residing preferences of S. invicta workers from three colonies. In the intracolonial bioassays, workers showed significant digging preferences to mandibular gland extracts in 2 of 3 colonies and significant residing preferences in 1 of 3 colonies; significant digging preferences to Dufour's gland extracts in 1 of 3 colonies and significant residing preferences in 2 of 3 colonies. No digging and residing preferences were found for postpharyngeal and poison gland extracts. In intercolonial bioassays, significant digging and residing preferences were found for mandibular gland extracts in 3 of 6 colony combinations. Significant digging preferences to Dufour's gland extracts were found in 4 of 6 colony combinations and significant residing preferences in all 6 colony combinations. For postpharyngeal gland extracts, significant digging preferences were found only in 1 of 6 colonial combinations and no significant residing preferences were found. For poison gland extracts, no significant digging preferences were found; significant residing preferences were found in 1 of 6 colony combinations. However, a significant residing deterrence (negative residing preference index) was found for 2 of 6 colony combinations. Statistical analyses using data pooled from all colonies showed that mandibular and Dufour's gland extracts caused significant digging and residing preferences in both intracolonial and intercolonial bioassays but not postpharyngeal and poison gland extracts. By analyzing the data pooled from the same three colonies used for gland extract bioassays, it was found that, in no cases, workers showed significant digging and

  13. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, workers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nestmate recognition is a critical element in social insect organization, providing a means to maintain territoriality and close the colony to parasites and predators. Ants detect the colony chemical label via their antennae and respond to the label mismatch of an intruder with aggressive behavior. ...

  14. Non-enzymatic hydrolysis of RNA in workers of the ant Nylanderia pubens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During preparation of total RNA from Nylanderia pubens (Forel) workers for use in expression library construction, severe RNA degradation consistently occurred that was masked by spectrophotometric analysis but clearly evident by microfluidic-based assay. Although not specifically identified, the ...

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Semiochemicals released by electrically stimulated red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Vander Meer, R K; Slowik, T J; Thorvilson, H G

    2002-12-01

    The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren, has evolved sophisticated chemical communication systems that regulate the activities of the colony. Among these are recruitment pheromones that effectively attract and stimulate workers to follow a trail to food or alternative nesting sites. Alarm pheromones alert, activate, and attract workers to intruders or other disturbances. The attraction and accumulation of fire ant workers in electrical equipment may be explained by their release of pheromones that draw additional worker ants into the electrical contacts. We used chemical analysis and behavioral bioassays to investigate if semiochemicals were released by electrically shocked fire ants. Workers were subjected to a 120 V, alternating-current power source. In all cases, electrically stimulated workers released venom alkaloids as revealed by gas chromatography. We also demonstrated the release of alarm pheromones and recruitment pheromones that elicited attraction and orientation. Arrestant behavior was observed with the workers not electrically stimulated but near those that were, indicating release of unkown behavior-modifying substances from the electrically stimulated ants. It appears that fire ants respond to electrical stimulus by generally releasing exocrine gland products. The behaviors associated with these products support the hypothesis that the accumulation of fire ants in electrical equipment is the result of a foraging worker finding and closing electrical contacts, then releasing exocrine gland products that attract other workers to the site, who in turn are electrically stimulated. PMID:12564802

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-01

    The role played by food workers and other individuals in the contamination of food has been identified as an important contributing factor leading to foodborne outbreaks. To prevent direct bare hand contact with food and food surfaces, many jurisdictions have made glove use compulsory for food production and preparation. When properly used, gloves can substantially reduce opportunities for food contamination. However, gloves have limitations and may become a source of contamination if they are punctured or improperly used. Experiments conducted in clinical and dental settings have revealed pinhole leaks in gloves. Although such loss of glove integrity can lead to contamination of foods and surfaces, in the food industry improper use of gloves is more likely than leakage to lead to food contamination and outbreaks. Wearing jewelry (e.g., rings) and artificial nails is discouraged because these items can puncture gloves and allow accumulation of microbial populations under them. Occlusion of the skin during long-term glove use in food operations creates the warm, moist conditions necessary for microbial proliferation and can increase pathogen transfer onto foods through leaks or exposed skin or during glove removal. The most important issue is that glove use can create a false sense of security, resulting in more high-risk behaviors that can lead to cross-contamination when employees are not adequately trained. PMID:20828485

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25233585

  1. Lycaenid Caterpillar Secretions Manipulate Attendant Ant Behavior.

    PubMed

    Hojo, Masaru K; Pierce, Naomi E; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2015-08-31

    Mutualistic interactions typically involve the exchange of different commodities between species. Nutritious secretions are produced by a number of insects and plants in exchange for services such as defense. These rewards are valuable metabolically and can be used to reinforce the behavior of symbiotic partners that can learn and remember them effectively. We show here novel effects of insect exocrine secretions produced by caterpillars in modulating the behavior of attendant ants in the food-for-defense interaction between lycaenid butterflies and ants. Reward secretions from the dorsal nectary organ (DNO) of Narathura japonica caterpillars function to reduce the locomotory activities of their attendant ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus workers. Moreover, workers that feed from caterpillar secretions are significantly more likely to show aggressive responses to eversion of the tentacle organs of the caterpillars. Analysis of the neurogenic amines in the brains of workers that consumed caterpillar secretions showed a significant decrease in levels of dopamine compared with controls. Experimental treatments in which reserpine, a known inhibitor of dopamine in Drosophila, was fed to workers similarly reduced their locomotory activity. We conclude that DNO secretions of lycaenid caterpillars can manipulate attendant ant behavior by altering dopaminergic regulation and increasing partner fidelity. Unless manipulated ants also receive a net nutritional benefit from DNO secretions, this suggests that similar reward-for-defense interactions that have been traditionally considered to be mutualisms may in fact be parasitic in nature. PMID:26234210

  2. A novel interference behaviour: invasive wasps remove ants from resources and drop them from a height

    PubMed Central

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J.

    2011-01-01

    This study reports a novel form of interference behaviour between the invasive wasp Vespula vulgaris and the New Zealand native ant Prolasius advenus. By videotaping interactions at bait stations, we found that wasps commonly remove ant competitors from food resources by picking up the workers in their mandibles, flying backward and dropping them unharmed some distance from the food. Both the frequency and the efficiency of the wasp behaviour significantly increased with the abundance of ant competitors. Ant removals were the most common interference events initiated by wasps when ants were numerous, while intraspecific conflicts among wasps were prominent when few ants were present. The ‘ant-dropping’ behaviour emphasizes how asymmetry in body sizes between competitors can lead to a pronounced form of interference, related to asymmetric locomotion modes. PMID:21450726

  3. A novel interference behaviour: invasive wasps remove ants from resources and drop them from a height.

    PubMed

    Grangier, Julien; Lester, Philip J

    2011-10-23

    This study reports a novel form of interference behaviour between the invasive wasp Vespula vulgaris and the New Zealand native ant Prolasius advenus. By videotaping interactions at bait stations, we found that wasps commonly remove ant competitors from food resources by picking up the workers in their mandibles, flying backward and dropping them unharmed some distance from the food. Both the frequency and the efficiency of the wasp behaviour significantly increased with the abundance of ant competitors. Ant removals were the most common interference events initiated by wasps when ants were numerous, while intraspecific conflicts among wasps were prominent when few ants were present. The 'ant-dropping' behaviour emphasizes how asymmetry in body sizes between competitors can lead to a pronounced form of interference, related to asymmetric locomotion modes. PMID:21450726

  4. The Association between Socioeconomic Characteristics and Consumption of Food Items among Brazilian Industry Workers

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Background. Dietary pattern plays a causative role in the rising of noncommunicable diseases. The SESI (Serviço Social da Indústria) study was designed to evaluate risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. We aimed to describe food items consumed by Brazilian workers and to assess their association with socioeconomic status. Methods. Cross-sectional study was carried out among Brazilian industrial workers, selected by multistage sampling, from 157 companies. Interviews were conducted at the work place using standardized forms. Results. 4818 workers were interviewed, aged 35.4 ± 10.7 years, 76.5% were men. The workers had an average of 8.7 ± 4.1 years of schooling and 25.4 ± 4.1 kg/m2 of BMI. Men and individuals with less than high school education were less likely to consume dairy products, fruits, and vegetables daily, even after control for confounding factors. Men consumed rice and beans daily more often than women. In comparison to workers aged 50–76 years, those under 30 years old consumed less fruits and green leafy vegetables daily. Conclusion. The food items consumed by Brazilian workers show that there are insufficient consumption according to the guidelines of healthy foods, particularly of dairy products, vegetables, and fruits. PMID:22701097

  5. Multilocus genetic characterization of two ant vectors (Group II "Dirty 22" species) known to contaminate food and food products and spread foodborne pathogens.

    PubMed

    Sulaiman, Irshad M; Anderson, Mickey; Oi, David H; Simpson, Steven; Kerdahi, Khalil

    2012-08-01

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration utilizes the presence of filth and extraneous materials as one of the criteria for implementing regulatory actions and assessing adulteration of food products of public health importance. Twenty-two prevalent pest species (also known as the ''Dirty 22'' species) have been considered by this agency as possible vehicles for the spread of foodborne diseases, and the presence of these species is considered an indicator of unsanitary conditions in food processing and storage facilities. In a previous study, we further categorized the Dirty 22 species into four groups: group I includes four cockroach species, group II includes two ant species, group III includes 12 fly species, and group IV includes four rodent species. Here, we describe the development of three nested PCR primer sets and multilocus genetic characterization by amplifying the small subunit rRNA, elongation factor 1-alpha, and wingless (WNT-1) genes of group II Dirty 22 ant species Monomorium pharaonis and Solenopsis molesta. These novel group II Dirty 22 species-specific nested PCR primer sets can be used when the specimens cannot be identified using conventional microscopic methods. These newly developed assays will provide correct identification of group II Dirty 22 ant species, and the information can be used in the control of foodborne pathogens. PMID:22856568

  6. Mandibular gland secretions of meliponine worker bees: further evidence for their role in interspecific and intraspecific defence and aggression and against their role in food source signalling.

    PubMed

    Schorkopf, Dirk Louis P; Hrncir, Michael; Mateus, Sidnei; Zucchi, Ronaldo; Schmidt, Veronika M; Barth, Friedrich G

    2009-04-01

    Like ants and termites some species of stingless bees (Meliponini), which are very important pollinators in the tropics, use pheromone trails to communicate the location of a food source. We present data on the communicative role of mandibular gland secretions of Meliponini that resolve a recent controversy about their importance in the laying of such trails. Volatile constituents of the mandibular glands have been erroneously thought both to elicit aggressive/defensive behaviour and to signal food source location. We studied Trigona spinipes and Scaptotrigona aff. depilis ('postica'), two sympatric species to which this hypothesis was applied. Using extracts of carefully dissected glands instead of crude cephalic extracts we analysed the substances contained in the mandibular glands of worker bees. Major components of the extracts were 2-heptanol (both species), nonanal (T. spinipes), benzaldehyde and 2-tridecanone (S. aff. depilis). The effect of mandibular gland extracts and of individual components thereof on the behaviour of worker bees near their nest and at highly profitable food sources was consistent. Independent of the amount of mandibular gland extract applied, the bees overwhelmingly reacted with defensive behaviour and were never attracted to feeders scented with mandibular gland extract or any of the synthetic chemicals tested. Both bee species are capable of using mandibular gland secretions for intra- and interspecific communication of defence and aggression and share 2-heptanol as a major pheromone compound. While confirming the role of the mandibular glands in nest defence, our experiments provide strong evidence against their role in food source signalling. PMID:19329748

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

    PubMed

    Ball, Brita; Wilcock, Anne; Aung, May

    2009-06-01

    Small and medium sized food businesses have been slow to adopt food safety management systems (FSMSs) such as good manufacturing practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). This study identifies factors influencing workers in their implementation of food safety practices in small and medium meat processing establishments in Ontario, Canada. A qualitative approach was used to explore in-plant factors that influence the implementation of FSMSs. Thirteen in-depth interviews in five meat plants and two focus group interviews were conducted. These generated 219 pages of verbatim transcripts which were analysed using NVivo 7 software. Main themes identified in the data related to production systems, organisational characteristics and employee characteristics. A socio-psychological model based on the theory of planned behaviour is proposed to describe how these themes and underlying sub-themes relate to FSMS implementation. Addressing the various factors that influence production workers is expected to enhance FSMS implementation and increase food safety. PMID:20183193

  8. Influence of interspecific competition on the recruitment behavior and liquid food transport in the tramp ant species Pheidole megacephala

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dejean, Alain; Breton, Julien; Suzzoni, Jean Pierre; Orivel, Jérôme; Saux-Moreau, Corrie

    2005-07-01

    This study was conducted on the reactions of Pheidole megacephala scouts when finding liquid food sources situated on territories marked by competing dominant ant species or on unmarked, control areas to see if the number of recruited nestmates is affected and if soldiers behave in ways adapted to the situation. We show that scouts recruit more nestmates, particularly soldiers, on marked rather than on unmarked areas. This recruitment allows P. megacephala to organize the defence and rapid depletion of these food sources prior to any contact with competitors. Soldiers can carry liquid foods both (1) in their crops like other Myrmicinae and (2), in a new finding concerning myrmicine ants, under their heads and thoraxes like certain poneromorph genera because the droplets adhere through surface tension strengths. Later, the liquids stored in the crop are distributed to nestmates through regurgitations during trophallaxis and the external droplets are distributed through “social buckets”, or the mode of liquid food transfer common in poneromorphs. Their flexibility to use or not use the latter technique, based on the situation, corroborates other reports that Pheidole soldiers have a relatively large behavioral repertoire.

  9. Cloning and Expression of Multiple Cytochrome P450 Genes: Induction by Fipronil in Workers of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Baizhong; Zhang, Lei; Cui, Rukun; Zeng, Xinnian; Gao, Xiwu

    2016-01-01

    Both exogenous and endogenous compounds can induce the expression of cytochrome P450 genes. The insect cytochrome P450 genes related to insecticide resistance are likely to be expressed as the "first line of defense" when challenged with insecticides. In this study, four cytochrome P450 genes, SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, SinvCYP4C1, and SinvCYP4G15, were firstly isolated from workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) through rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and sequenced. The fipronil induction profiles of the four cytochrome P450 genes and the two previously isolated CYP4AB1 and CYP4AB2 were characterized in workers. The results revealed that the expression of SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, CYP4AB2, and SinvCYP4G15, increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold more than those of acetone control, respectively, after 24 h exposure to fipronil at concentrations of 0.25 μg mL-1 (median lethal dose) and 0.56 μg mL-1 (90% lethal dose), while no significant induction of the expression of CYP4AB1 and SinvCYP4C1 was detected. Among these genes, SinvCYP6B1 was the most significantly induced, and its maximum expression was 3.6-fold higher than that in acetone control. These results might suggest that multiple cytochrome P450 genes are co-up-regulated in workers of the fire ant through induction mechanism when challenged with fipronil. These findings indicated that cytochrome P450 genes play an important role in the detoxification of insecticides and provide a theoretical basis for the mechanisms of insecticide metabolism in the fire ant. PMID:26982576

  10. Cloning and Expression of Multiple Cytochrome P450 Genes: Induction by Fipronil in Workers of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Baizhong; Zhang, Lei; Cui, Rukun; Zeng, Xinnian; Gao, Xiwu

    2016-01-01

    Both exogenous and endogenous compounds can induce the expression of cytochrome P450 genes. The insect cytochrome P450 genes related to insecticide resistance are likely to be expressed as the “first line of defense” when challenged with insecticides. In this study, four cytochrome P450 genes, SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, SinvCYP4C1, and SinvCYP4G15, were firstly isolated from workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) through rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and sequenced. The fipronil induction profiles of the four cytochrome P450 genes and the two previously isolated CYP4AB1 and CYP4AB2 were characterized in workers. The results revealed that the expression of SinvCYP6B1, SinvCYP6A1, CYP4AB2, and SinvCYP4G15, increased 1.4-fold and 1.3-fold more than those of acetone control, respectively, after 24 h exposure to fipronil at concentrations of 0.25 μg mL−1 (median lethal dose) and 0.56 μg mL−1 (90% lethal dose), while no significant induction of the expression of CYP4AB1 and SinvCYP4C1 was detected. Among these genes, SinvCYP6B1 was the most significantly induced, and its maximum expression was 3.6-fold higher than that in acetone control. These results might suggest that multiple cytochrome P450 genes are co-up-regulated in workers of the fire ant through induction mechanism when challenged with fipronil. These findings indicated that cytochrome P450 genes play an important role in the detoxification of insecticides and provide a theoretical basis for the mechanisms of insecticide metabolism in the fire ant. PMID:26982576

  11. GUIDE FOR COURSE OF STUDY FOR WAITER, WAITRESS, INFORMAL, WAITER, WAITRESS, COUNTER ATTENDANT, FOOD SERVICE WORKER.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    MCDONOUGH, FRANCES S.

    MATERIAL IN THIS GUIDE IS FOR TEACHER USE IN TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR FOOD SERVICE WORKERS. IT WAS ORGANIZED AND WRITTEN BY A CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST FOR MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT TRAINING (MDT) ASSISTED BY INSTRUCTORS IN THE FIELD. THE GENERAL OBJECTIVE IS TO DEVELOP ABILITIES, UNDERSTANDINGS, ATTITUDES, AND INTERESTS NEEDED FOR ENTRY LEVEL…

  12. Factors affecting the musculoskeletal disorders of workers in the frozen food manufacturing factories in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Thetkathuek, Anamai; Meepradit, Parvena; Jaidee, Wanlop

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this research was to study factors affecting musculoskeletal disorders. The sample population of the study was 528 factory workers from the frozen food industry, as well as a controlled group of 255 office workers. The samples were collected during interviews using the Nordic questionnaire to assess musculoskeletal disorders, and to assess the risk by the rapid upper limb assessment and rapid entire body assessment techniques. The findings of the study were that most symptoms were found in the dissecting department, higher than in the controlled group. The details of the symptoms were, accordingly: elbow pain (adjusted odds ratio, 35.1; 95% CI [17.4, 70.9]). Regarding the risk of alcohol drinking, workers were exposed to more risks when alcohol was consumed. It is suggested that workers' health should be monitored regularly. People who work in a cold environment should be encouraged to wear body protection and to avoid drinking. PMID:26653116

  13. Frequent summer nuptial flights of ants provide a primary food source for bats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Eran; Yom-Tov, Yoram; Barnea, Anat

    2009-04-01

    In many ant species, nuptial flight tends to be short in time and assumed to be synchronous across a large area. Here, we report that, in the upper Jordan Valley, northern Israel, massive nuptial flights of Carpenter ants ( Camponotus sp.) occur frequently throughout the summer, and their alates form up to 90% of the diet of the greater mouse-tailed bat ( Rhinopoma microphyllum) during this period. This fat and protein-rich diet enables female bats to lactate during summer, and the large amount of fat that both sexes accumulate may serve as an energy source for their following winter hibernation and posthibernation mating in early spring (March-April). We suggest that the annual movement of these bats to the Mediterranean region of Israel may have evolved in order to enable them to exploit the extremely nutritious forms of ant alates when the bats’ energetic demands are highest.

  14. Usefulness of fire ant genetics in insecticide efficacy trials

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mature fire ant colonies contain an average of 80,000 worker ants. For this study, eight fire ant workers were randomly sampled from each colony. DNA fingerprints for each individual ant were generated using 21 simple sequence repeats (SSR) markers that were developed from fire ant DNA by other lab...

  15. Respiratory function in female workers occupationally exposed to organic dusts in food processing industries.

    PubMed

    Zuskin, E; Mustajbegović, J; Schachter, E N; Kern, J; Ivanković, D; Heimer, S

    2000-01-01

    Respiratory consequences of work in food processing industry were studied in 764 female workers exposed to organic dusts associated with the processing of green and roasted coffee, tea, spices, dried fruits, cocoa and flour. A group of 387 female workers not exposed to respiratory irritants served as controls for the prevalence of acute (during work shift) and chronic respiratory symptoms. A greater prevalence of all acute and chronic respiratory symptoms was consistently found among exposed workers than among control workers. The highest prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms was recorded for chronic cough (40%), followed by acute symptoms of dry cough (58.7%). The difference in the prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms between the exposed and control workers was in general significant (p < 0.01 or p < 0.05). Mean acute reductions of lung function over the work shift were recorded in all of the studied groups; the mean across-shift decrease as a percentage of preshift values was particularly marked in FEF25 (-26.7%), FEF50 (-21.6%), followed by FEV1 (-9.9%) and FVC (-3.7%). The preshift (baseline) values of ventilatory capacity were decreased in comparison to the predicted ones, and were lowest for FEF50 and FEF25. This finding indicated an effect of organic dust on small airways. Our analysis suggested that both dust exposure and smoking history contributed independently to these respiratory findings. Disodium cromoglycate (DSCG) significantly diminished across-shift reductions for FEF50 and FEF25 in a subgroup of the examined workers. Our data suggested the female workers employed in food processing industry to be at risk of developing both acute and chronic respiratory symptoms as well as ventilatory capacity impairment as the result of occupational exposures. PMID:11379483

  16. Prey Capture Behavior in an Arboreal African Ponerine Ant

    PubMed Central

    Dejean, Alain

    2011-01-01

    I studied the predatory behavior of Platythyrea conradti, an arboreal ponerine ant, whereas most species in this subfamily are ground-dwelling. The workers, which hunt solitarily only around dusk, are able to capture a wide range of prey, including termites and agile, nocturnal insects as well as diurnal insects that are inactive at that moment of the Nyctemeron, resting on tree branches or under leaves. Prey are captured very rapidly, and the antennal palpation used by ground-dwelling ponerine species is reduced to a simple contact; stinging occurs immediately thereafter. The venom has an instant, violent effect as even large prey (up to 30 times the weight of a worker) never struggled after being stung. Only small prey are not stung. Workers retrieve their prey, even large items, singly. To capture termite workers and soldiers defending their nest entrances, ant workers crouch and fold their antennae backward. In their role as guards, the termites face the crouching ants and end up by rolling onto their backs, their legs batting the air. This is likely due to volatile secretions produced by the ants' mandibular gland. The same behavior is used against competing ants, including territorially-dominant arboreal species that retreat further and further away, so that the P. conradti finally drive them from large, sugary food sources. PMID:21589941

  17. Prey capture behavior in an arboreal African ponerine ant.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain

    2011-01-01

    I studied the predatory behavior of Platythyrea conradti, an arboreal ponerine ant, whereas most species in this subfamily are ground-dwelling. The workers, which hunt solitarily only around dusk, are able to capture a wide range of prey, including termites and agile, nocturnal insects as well as diurnal insects that are inactive at that moment of the Nyctemeron, resting on tree branches or under leaves. Prey are captured very rapidly, and the antennal palpation used by ground-dwelling ponerine species is reduced to a simple contact; stinging occurs immediately thereafter. The venom has an instant, violent effect as even large prey (up to 30 times the weight of a worker) never struggled after being stung. Only small prey are not stung. Workers retrieve their prey, even large items, singly. To capture termite workers and soldiers defending their nest entrances, ant workers crouch and fold their antennae backward. In their role as guards, the termites face the crouching ants and end up by rolling onto their backs, their legs batting the air. This is likely due to volatile secretions produced by the ants' mandibular gland. The same behavior is used against competing ants, including territorially-dominant arboreal species that retreat further and further away, so that the P. conradti finally drive them from large, sugary food sources. PMID:21589941

  18. Differential necrophoric behaviour of the ant Solenopsis invicta towards fungal-infected corpses of workers and pupae.

    PubMed

    Qiu, H-L; Lu, L-H; Shi, Q-X; Tu, C-C; Lin, T; He, Y-R

    2015-10-01

    Necrophoric behaviour is critical sanitation behaviour in social insects. However, little is known about the necrophoric responses of workers towards different developmental stages in a colony as well as its underlying mechanism. Here, we show that Solenopsis invicta workers display distinct necrophoric responses to corpses of workers and pupae. Corpses of workers killed by freezing (dead for <1 h) were carried to a refuse pile, but pupal corpses would take at least 1 day to elicit workers' necrophoric response. Metarhizium anisopliae-infected pupal corpses accelerated the necrophoric behaviour of resident workers, with 47.5% of unaffected corpses and 73.8% infected corpses discarded by 1 day post-treatment). We found that fungus-infected pupal corpses had a higher concentration of fatty acids (palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid) on their surface. We experimentally confirmed that linoleic and oleic acids would elicit a necrophoric response in workers. The appearance of linoleic and oleic acids appeared to be chemical signals involved in recognition of pupal corpses, and M. anisopliae infection could promote the accumulation of fatty acids on surface of pupal corpses resulting in accelerated necrophoric responses of workers. PMID:26082426

  19. Effect of gland extracts on digging and residing preferences of red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    There was evidence that ant-derived chemical stimuli were involved in regulating the digging behavior in Solenopsis invicta Buren. Unfortunately however, the source gland(s) and chemistry of such stimuli have never been revealed. In this study, extracts of mandibular, Dufour, postpharyngeal and po...

  20. Detection and quantitation of Solenopsis invicta virus-2 genomic and intermediary replicating viral RNA in fire ant workers and larvae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A quantitative real-time PCR (QPCR) method was developed to detect and quantify Solenopsis invicta virus-2 (SINV-2) infecting individual ants of Solenopsis invicta. The two-step method utilized a gene-specific oligonucleotide primer targeting an upstream region of the SINV-2 conserved domain of RNA...

  1. Food Safety Training Is Associated with Improved Knowledge and Behaviours among Foodservice Establishments' Workers

    PubMed Central

    Adesokan, Hezekiah Kehinde; Akinseye, Victor Oluwatoyin; Adesokan, Grace Abiodun

    2015-01-01

    Though several studies have evaluated the association between food safety training and behavior, little has investigated different training components in association with food handlers' performance. Foodservice workers (N = 211) with at least two years' experience were willing to participate and were selected from major foodservice establishments in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria, and completed a survey to evaluate the association between training, training area, duration, and refresher training and food safety knowledge and practices. We observed an association between training and knowledge (P = 0.000) as well as practices (P = 0.05) of food safety while different training areas contributed similarly to food handlers' knowledge (P = 0.17) and practices (P = 0.08). However, there was a significant decline in knowledge (P = 0.01) and practices (P = 0.001) with an increase in training duration. Furthermore, foodservice employees with refresher training demonstrated significantly higher knowledge (P = 0.000) and practice (P = 0.003) levels than those without, being about 45 and 14 times more likely to, respectively, improve their knowledge (OR = 45; 95% CI: 3.47–584.34) and practice (OR = 13.5; 95% CI: 2.01–90.69). Researchers should always consider varying training components before making assertions regarding effectiveness of training on foodservice workers' behaviour. PMID:26904658

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

    Frozen food processing workers work under a cold environment which can cause several adverse health effects.This study explored factors affecting workers' health in the frozen food industry in Thailand. Participants comprised 497 workers exposed to a cold working environment and 255 office workers who served as the controls. Data were collected by a survey on the work environment, and the interview of workers for abnormal symptoms. The exposed group had the following characteristics: 52.7% male, overall average age of 27 (SD 6.6) years old, attained elementary education (Grade 4 and Grade 6) (54.1%), married (48.9%), smokers (21.3%), alcohol consumption (31.0%), duration of work was between 1 and 5 years (65.2%), working 6 days a week (82.7%), 1-5 hours of overtime per week (33.8%), office workers (33.9%); work category: sizing (6.9%), peeling (28.3%) dissecting (22.2%), and in the warehouse (8.6%). The temperature in the work environment ranged from 17.2°C to 19.2°C in most sections, -18.0°C in the warehouse, and 25°C in the office areas. Warehouse workers had more abnormal symptoms than controls including repeated pain in the musculoskeletal system (OR 11.9; 95% CI 6.12-23.45), disturbance throughout the body (OR 4.60; 95% CI 2.00-10.56), respiratory symptoms (OR 9.73; 95% CI 3.53-26.80), episodic finger symptoms (OR 13.51; 95% CI 5.17-35.33). The study results suggest that workers' health should be monitored especially with regard to back and muscle pain, respiratory symptoms, episodic finger symptoms, and cardiovascular symptoms. Health promotion campaigns such as antismoking and reduction of alcohol consumption should be established because smoking and alcohol consumption are contributing factors to the pathogenesis of Raynaud's phenomenon and peripheral vascular disorders such as hypertension and heart disease. PMID:25830071

  3. Alate susceptibility in ants.

    PubMed

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-11-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  4. Alate susceptibility in ants

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Eddie K H; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Pathogens are predicted to pose a particular threat to eusocial insects because infections can spread rapidly in colonies with high densities of closely related individuals. In ants, there are two major castes: workers and reproductives. Sterile workers receive no direct benefit from investing in immunity, but can gain indirect fitness benefits if their immunity aids the survival of their fertile siblings. Virgin reproductives (alates), on the other hand, may be able to increase their investment in reproduction, rather than in immunity, because of the protection they receive from workers. Thus, we expect colonies to have highly immune workers, but relatively more susceptible alates. We examined the survival of workers, gynes, and males of nine ant species collected in Peru and Canada when exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the seven species in which treatment with B. bassiana increased ant mortality relative to controls, we found workers were significantly less susceptible compared with both alate sexes. Female and male alates did not differ significantly in their immunocompetence. Our results suggest that, as with other nonreproductive tasks in ant colonies like foraging and nest maintenance, workers have primary responsibility for colony immunity, allowing alates to specialize on reproduction. We highlight the importance of colony-level selection on individual immunity in ants and other eusocial organisms. PMID:25540683

  5. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is considered one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world. Toxic bait systems are used widely for control, but they also affect non-target ant species and cannot be used in sensitive ecosystems such as organic farms and national parks. The fire ant uses recruitment pheromones to organize the retrieval of large food resources back to the colony, with Z,E-alpha-farnesene responsible for the orientation of workers along trails. We prepared Z,E-alpha-farnesene, (91% purity) from extracted E,E-alpha-farnesene and demonstrated disruption of worker trail orientation after presentation of an oversupply of this compound from filter paper point sources (30 microg). Trails were established between queen-right colony cells and food sources in plastic tubs. Trail-following behavior was recorded by overhead webcam, and ants were digitized before and after presentation of the treatment, using two software approaches. The linear regression statistic, r(2) was calculated. Ants initially showed high linear trail integrity (r(2) = 0.75). Within seconds of presentation of the Z,E-alpha-farnesene treatment, the trailing ants showed little or no further evidence of trail following behavior in the vicinity of the pheromone source. These results show that trailing fire ants become disorientated in the presence of large amounts of Z,E-alpha-farnesene. Disrupting fire ant recruitment to resources may have a negative effect on colony size or other effects yet to be determined. This phenomenon was demonstrated recently for the Argentine ant, where trails were disrupted for two weeks by using their formulated trail pheromone, Z-9-hexadecenal. Further research is needed to establish the long term effects and control potential for trail disruption in S. invicta. PMID:20549330

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

    PubMed

    Colares, Luciléia Granhen Tavares; Freitas, Carlos Machado de

    2007-12-01

    This study focuses on the relationship between the work process in a food and nutrition unit and workers' health, in the words of the participants themselves. Direct observation, a semi-structured interview, and focus groups were used to collect the data. The reference was the dialogue between human ergonomics and work psychodynamics. The results showed that work organization in the study unit represents a routine activity, the requirements of which in terms of the work situation are based on criteria set by the institution. Variability in the activities is influenced mainly by the available equipment, instruments, and materials, thereby generating improvisation in meal production that produces both a physical and psychological cost for workers. Dissatisfaction during the performance of tasks results mainly from the supervisory style and relationship to immediate superiors. Workers themselves proposed changes in the work organization, based on greater dialogue and trust between supervisors and the workforce. Finally, the study identifies the need for an intervention that encourages workers' participation as agents of change. PMID:18157343

  7. The infrabuccal pellet piles of fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Little, Ainslie E F; Murakami, Takahiro; Mueller, Ulrich G; Currie, Cameron R

    2003-12-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) live in an obligate mutualism with the fungi they cultivate for food. Because of the obligate nature of this relationship, the success of the ants is directly dependent on their ability to grow healthy fungus gardens. Attine ants have evolved complex disease management strategies to reduce their garden's exposure to potential parasitic microbes, to prevent the establishment of infection in their gardens, and to remove infected garden sections. The infrabuccal pocket, a filtering device located in the oral cavity of all ants, is an integral part of the mechanisms that leaf-cutter ants use to prevent the invasion and spread of general microbial parasites and the specific fungal-garden parasite Escovopsis. Fungus-growing ants carefully groom their garden, collecting general debris and pathogenic spores of Escovopsis in their infrabuccal pocket, the contents of which are later expelled in dump chambers inside the nest or externally. In this study we examined how a phylogenetically diverse collection of attine ants treat their infrabuccal pellets. Unlike leaf-cutters that deposit their infrabuccal pellets directly in refuse piles, ants of the more basal attine lineages stack their infrabuccal pellets in piles located close to their gardens, and a separate caste of workers is devoted to the construction, management, and eventual disposal of these piles. PMID:14676952

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rajagopal, Lakshman

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Seasonal effects of food macronutrient content on ants: Colony and individual responses

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Long-lived animals experience different conditions as seasons change. Associated with seasonality are shifts in food quality and abundance. Animals can respond to seasonality by modifying their foraging behavior and adjusting the manner in which they utilize and process ingested nutrients. This allo...

  10. Evolution of gene expression in fire ants: the effects of developmental stage, caste, and species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ants provide remarkable examples of equivalent genotypes developing into divergent and discrete phenotypes. Diploid eggs can develop either into queens, which specialize in reproduction, or workers, which participate in cooperative tasks such as building the nest, collecting food, and rearing the yo...

  11. Coming out of the woods: do termites need a specialized worker caste to search for new food sources?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rupf, Thomas; Roisin, Yves

    2008-09-01

    Most small-colony termites live confined within a single piece of wood on which they feed and do not possess permanent workers: Tasks are done by developmentally flexible immatures (pseudergates). By contrast, large-colony termites possess a specialized (true) worker caste and forage outside their nest for food. To shed light on possible transitional steps between these contrasting patterns of social organization, we studied an atypical Rhinotermitidae, Prorhinotermes inopinatus. In this species, despite the absence of a true worker caste, soldiers, pseudergates, and neotenic reproductives may leave the nest and explore their surroundings. Although evidence presented in this study indicates that termites recognize unknown areas, there is no directional recruitment toward them. The discovery of a food source, i.e., a piece of wood, is followed by the establishment of a long-lasting trail between the nest and the food source. A large fraction of the colony, including neotenic reproductives, ultimately migrates into the piece of wood. Our results thus demonstrate that multiple features of external foraging behavior can evolve independently of the existence of a true worker caste in termites. We suggest that large colonies with true workers, like those of most Rhinotermitidae, may easily have evolved from a Prorhinotermes-like pattern if submitted to increasing selective pressures for worker efficiency in a stable environment.

  12. Disentangling a rainforest food web using stable isotopes: dietary diversity in a species-rich ant community.

    PubMed

    Blüthgen, Nico; Gebauer, Gerhard; Fiedler, Konrad

    2003-11-01

    For diverse communities of omnivorous insects such as ants, the extent of direct consumption of plant-derived resources vs. predation is largely unknown. However, determination of the extent of "herbivory" among ants may be crucial to understand the hyper-dominance of ants in tropical tree crowns, where prey organisms tend to occur scarcely and unpredictably. We therefore examined N and C stable isotope ratios (delta(15)N and delta(13)C) in 50 ant species and associated insects and plants from a tropical rainforest in North Queensland, Australia. Variation between ant species was pronounced (range of species means: 7.1 per thousand in delta(15)N and 6.8 per thousand in delta(13)C). Isotope signatures of the entire ant community overlapped with those of several herbivorous as well as predacious arthropods. Variability in delta(15)N between ants was not correlated with plant delta(15)N from which they were collected. Ant species spread out in a continuum between largely herbivorous and purely predacious taxa, with a high degree of omnivory. Ant species' delta(15)N were consistent with the trophic level predicted by natural feeding observations, but not their delta(13)C. Low delta(15)N levels were recorded for ant species that commonly forage for nectar on understorey or canopy plants, intermediate levels for species with large colonies that were highly abundant on nectar and honeydew sources and were predacious, and the highest levels for predominantly predatory ground-foraging species. Colonies of the dominant weaver-ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) had significantly lower delta(15)N in mature forests (where preferred honeydew and nectar sources are abundant) than in open secondary vegetation. N concentration of ant dry mass showed only very limited variability across species and no correlation with trophic levels. This study demonstrates that stable isotopes provide a powerful tool for quantitative analyses of trophic niche partitioning and plasticity in complex and

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

    PubMed

    Choe, Dong-Hwan; Villafuerte, David B; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2012-01-01

    The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is recognized as one of the world's most damaging invasive species. One reason for the ecological dominance of introduced Argentine ant populations is their ability to dominate food and habitat resources through the rapid mobilization and recruitment of thousands of workers. More than 30 years ago, studies showed that (Z)-9-hexadecenal strongly attracted Argentine ant workers in a multi-choice olfactometer, suggesting that (Z)-9-hexadecenal might be the trail pheromone, or a component of a trail pheromone mixture. Since then, numerous studies have considered (Z)-9-hexadecenal as the key component of the Argentine ant trails. Here, we report the first chemical analyses of the trails laid by living Argentine ants and find that (Z)-9-hexadecenal is not present in a detectible quantity. Instead, two iridoids, dolichodial and iridomyrmecin, appear to be the primary chemical constituents of the trails. Laboratory choice tests confirmed that Argentine ants were attracted to artificial trails comprised of these two chemicals significantly more often than control trails. Although (Z)-9-hexadecenal was not detected in natural trails, supplementation of artificial dolichodial+iridomyrmecin trails with an extremely low concentraion of (Z)-9-hexadecenal did increase the efficacy of the trail-following behavior. In stark contrast with previous dogma, our study suggests that dolichodial and iridomyrmecin are major components of the Argentine ant trail pheromone. (Z)-9-hexadecenal may act in an additive manner with these iridoids, but it does not occur in detectable quantities in Argentine ant recruitment trails. PMID:23028739

  14. Insecticidal, fumigant, and repellent activities of sweet wormwood oil and its individual components against red imported fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ning; Tang, Liang; Hu, Wei; Wang, Kun; Zhou, You; Li, Hong; Huang, Congling; Chun, Jiong; Zhang, Zhixiang

    2014-01-01

    In total, 29 compounds from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) oil were identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The five active components were D-camphor, linalool, cineole, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol. The effectiveness of A. annua oil, as well as d-camphor, linalool, cineole, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol, as fumigants, contact insecticides, and repellents, were tested on the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren. The results indicated that A. annua oil has no significant topical toxicity; however, the spray contact test revealed that it has strong insecticidal activity and the inhibitory effect is stronger during closed exposure than during open exposure. In the fumigant test, cineole and D-camphor exhibited strong fumigant toxicity on minor and major S. invicta workers. They also caused 100% mortality at 5, 3, 2, and 1 mg/centrifuge tube but not at 0.5 mg/centrifuge tube. The mortality rates of linalool, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol exceeded 80% at 5, 3, and 2 mg/centrifuge tube. In the repellent test, cineole and d-camphor showed significant repellency at 100, 10, and 1 mg/kg. However, linalool, α-terpineol, and L(-)-borneol significantly facilitated digging at 10 and 1 mg/kg. PMID:25525106

  15. [Prevalence of intestinal parasites among workers in food sector in Van region].

    PubMed

    Kurtoğlu, Muhammet Güzel; Körkoca, Hanifi; Ciçek, Mutalip; Cengiz, Zeynep Taş

    2007-01-01

    Stool and cellophane tape specimens were taken for parasitological examination from 739 people who work in food sector and applied to the public health lab of the Van Health Administration for porter examination. Parasites were determined at 131 people (17.71%) of 739 worker whom samples were investigated. Ninety-five people had one, 30 people had two, 5 people had three and one person had four parasite species. Parasites determined in the study were 19.08% helminthes and 80.91% protozoon. In this study, 1.21% Ascaris lumbricoides, 0.81% Enterobius vermicularis, 0.67% Hymenolepis nana, 0.40% Trichuris trichiura, 0.27% Taenia saginata, 4.87% Blastocystis hominis, 3.24% Entamoeba coli, 2.84% Giardia intestinalis, 2.02% Iodamoeba bütschlii, 0.67% Endolimax nana, 0.27% Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar, 0.27% Chilomastix mesnili, 0.13% Entamoeba hartmanni were found. PMID:18224624

  16. Honey Ants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  17. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 5. Sources of contamination and pathogen excretion from infected persons.

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-01

    In this article, the fifth in a series reviewing the role of food workers in foodborne outbreaks, background information on the routes of infection for food workers is considered. Contamination most frequently occurs via the fecal-oral route, when pathogens are present in the feces of ill, convalescent, or otherwise colonized persons. It is difficult for managers of food operations to identify food workers who may be excreting pathogens, even when these workers report their illnesses, because workers can shed pathogens during the prodrome phase of illness or can be long-term excretors or asymptomatic carriers. Some convalescing individuals excreted Salmonella for 102 days. Exclusion policies based on stool testing have been evaluated but currently are not considered effective for reducing the risk of enteric disease. A worker may exhibit obvious signs of illness, such as vomiting, but even if the ill worker immediately leaves the work environment, residual vomitus can contaminate food, contact surfaces, and fellow workers unless the clean-up process is meticulous. Skin infections and nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal staphylococcal or streptococcal secretions also have been linked frequently to worker-associated outbreaks. Dermatitis, rashes, and painful hand lesions may cause workers to reduce or avoid hand washing. Regardless of the origin of the contamination, pathogens are most likely to be transmitted through the hands touching a variety of surfaces, highlighting the need for effective hand hygiene and the use of barriers throughout the work shift. PMID:19244919

  18. Specificity in the symbiotic association between fungus-growing ants and protective Pseudonocardia bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Cafaro, Matías J.; Poulsen, Michael; Little, Ainslie E. F.; Price, Shauna L.; Gerardo, Nicole M.; Wong, Bess; Stuart, Alison E.; Larget, Bret; Abbot, Patrick; Currie, Cameron R.

    2011-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) engage in a mutualism with a fungus that serves as the ants' primary food source, but successful fungus cultivation is threatened by microfungal parasites (genus Escovopsis). Actinobacteria (genus Pseudonocardia) associate with most of the phylogenetic diversity of fungus-growing ants; are typically maintained on the cuticle of workers; and infection experiments, bioassay challenges and chemical analyses support a role of Pseudonocardia in defence against Escovopsis through antibiotic production. Here we generate a two-gene phylogeny for Pseudonocardia associated with 124 fungus-growing ant colonies, evaluate patterns of ant–Pseudonocardia specificity and test Pseudonocardia antibiotic activity towards Escovopsis. We show that Pseudonocardia associated with fungus-growing ants are not monophyletic: the ants have acquired free-living strains over the evolutionary history of the association. Nevertheless, our analysis reveals a significant pattern of specificity between clades of Pseudonocardia and groups of related fungus-growing ants. Furthermore, antibiotic assays suggest that despite Escovopsis being generally susceptible to inhibition by diverse Actinobacteria, the ant-derived Pseudonocardia inhibit Escovopsis more strongly than they inhibit other fungi, and are better at inhibiting this pathogen than most environmental Pseudonocardia strains tested. Our findings support a model that many fungus-growing ants maintain specialized Pseudonocardia symbionts that help with garden defence. PMID:21106596

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Roper, Elray; Chin, Darren

    2014-04-01

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

  1. Ant allergens and hypersensitivity reactions in response to ant stings.

    PubMed

    Potiwat, Rutcharin; Sitcharungsi, Raweerat

    2015-12-01

    Hypersensitivity reactions caused by ant stings are increasingly recognized as an important cause of death by anaphylaxis. Only some species of ants ( e.g. Solenopsis spp., Myrmecia spp., and Pachycondyla spp.) cause allergic reactions. Ant species are identified by evaluating the morphologic structures of worker ants or by molecular techniques. Ant venom contains substances, including acids and alkaloids, that cause toxic reactions, and those from Solenopsis invicta or the imported fire ant have been widely studied. Piperidine alkaloids and low protein contents can cause local reactions (sterile pustules) and systemic reactions (anaphylaxis). Imported fire ant venoms are cross-reactive; for example, the Sol i 1 allergen from S. invicta has cross-reactivity with yellow jacket phospholipase. The Sol i 3 allergen is a member of the antigen 5 family that has amino acid sequence identity with vespid antigen 5. The clinical presentations of ant hypersensitivity are categorized into immediate and delayed reactions: immediate reactions, such as small local reactions, large local reactions, and systemic reactions, occur within 1-4 hours after the ant stings, whereas delayed reactions, such as serum sickness and vasculitis, usually occur more than 4 hours after the stings. Tools for the diagnosis of ant hypersensitivity are skin testing, serum specific IgE, and sting challenge tests. Management of ant hypersensitivity can be divided into immediate (epinephrine, corticosteroids), symptomatic (antihistamines, bronchodilators), supportive (fluid resuscitation, oxygen therapy), and preventive (re-sting avoidance and immunotherapy) treatments. PMID:26708389

  2. Parasitoid secretions provoke ant warfare.

    PubMed

    Thomas, J A; Knapp, J J; Akino, T; Gerty, S; Wakamura, S; Simcox, D J; Wardlaw, J C; Elmes, G W

    2002-05-30

    Insect social parasites are extreme specialists that typically use mimicry or stealth to enter ant colonies to exploit the rich, but fiercely protected, resources within their nests. Here we show how a parasitic wasp (parasitoid) contrives to reach its host, itself an endangered species of social parasite that lives inside the brood chambers of ant nests, by releasing semiochemicals to induce in-fighting between worker ants, locking the colony in combat and leaving it underprotected. Four of these chemicals are new to biology and have the potential to control pest species by inducing different agonistic behaviours in ants. PMID:12037556

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-22

    Asexual reproduction imposes evolutionary handicaps on asexual species, rendering them prone to extinction, because asexual reproduction generates novel genotypes and purges deleterious mutations at lower rates than sexual reproduction. Here, we report the first case of complete asexuality in ants, the fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus smithii, where queens reproduce asexually but workers are sterile, which is doubly enigmatic because the clonal colonies of M. smithii also depend on clonal fungi for food. Degenerate female mating anatomy, extensive field and laboratory surveys, and DNA fingerprinting implicate complete asexuality in this widespread ant species. Maternally inherited bacteria (e.g. Wolbachia, Cardinium) and the fungal cultivars can be ruled out as agents inducing asexuality. M. smithii societies of clonal females provide a unique system to test theories of parent-offspring conflict and reproductive policing in social insects. Asexuality of both ant farmer and fungal crop challenges traditional views proposing that sexual farmer ants outpace coevolving sexual crop pathogens, and thus compensate for vulnerabilities of their asexual crops. Either the double asexuality of both farmer and crop may permit the host to fully exploit advantages of asexuality for unknown reasons or frequent switching between crops (symbiont reassociation) generates novel ant-fungus combinations, which may compensate for any evolutionary handicaps of asexuality in M. smithii. PMID:19369264

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

    PubMed Central

    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. GLYCEROL IN NEST MATERIAL OF RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Red imported fire ant is a nest-building ant species. Workers build the nest by excavating soils. It was reported that red imported fire ants incorporated ant-derived compounds in their nest soil, such as cuticular hydrocarbons (Vander Meer R. K. unpublished data) and venom alkaloids (Blum, M. S. ...

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26414161

  7. Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta, Dry and Store Insect Pieces for Later Use

    PubMed Central

    Gayahan, Glivery G.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2008-01-01

    Whereas long-term storage of liquid food in the crops of worker ants and storage of dry seeds are well-known, widespread, and sometimes spectacular phenomena, there have been no previous reports documenting the storage of dead insect prey. Predacious ants typically devour their insect prey within a short time. Given a bonanza of insect prey, the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, desiccates small pieces of these insects (creating insect “jerky”) and stockpiles these pieces in its mound, immediately below the mound surface, the driest and warmest location in the nest. Feeding colonies fluorescently dyed beetle larvae, and searching for fluorescence at night under ultraviolet light illumination verified such stockpiling. Stockpiles ranged from a few pieces to hundreds. Ant larvae in field colonies fed a single dose of dyed beetle larvae remained fluorescent for about two weeks. Laboratory colonies were fed a single dose of dyed larvae and then either starved of insect food, or fed on undyed larvae. All larvae in starved colonies remained strongly fluorescent for four weeks, whereas those in fed colonies gradually declined in fluorescence, showing that in the absence of an inflow of insect prey, workers in the starved colonies fed the dried insect fragments to larvae. Storage of dried food is easily overlooked, and it is possible that it is not limited to fire ants.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Introduction Indoor air pollution from biomass fuel use has been found to be responsible for more than 1.6 million annual deaths and 2.7% of the global burden of disease. This makes it the second biggest environmental contributor to ill health, behind unsafe water and sanitation. Methods The main objective of this study was to investigate if there was any association between use of bio-fuels in food catering enterprises and respiratory health of the workers. A cross-sectional design was employed, and data collected using Qualitative and quantitative techniques. Results The study found significantly higher prevalence of respiratory health outcomes among respondents in enterprises using biomass fuels compared to those using processed fuels. Biomass fuels are thus a major public health threat to workers in this sub-sector, and urgent intervention is required. Conclusion The study recommends a switch from biomass fuels to processed fuels to protect the health of the workers. PMID:23898361

  9. Ants can learn to forage on one-way trails.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, Pedro Leite; Helene, André Frazão; Xavier, Gilberto; Navas, Carlos; Ribeiro, Fernando Leite

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19337369

  10. Metarhizium anisopliae infection alters feeding and trophallactic behavior in the ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Hua-Long; Lu, Li-Hua; Zalucki, M P; He, Yu-Rong

    2016-07-01

    In social insects, social behavior may be changed in a way that preventing the spread of pathogens. We infected workers of the ant Solenopsis invicta with an entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae and then videotaped and/or measured worker feeding and trophallactic behavior. Results showed that fungal infected S. invicta enhanced their preference for bitter alkaloid chemical quinine on 3days after inoculation, which might be self-medication of S. invicta by ingesting more alkaloid substances in response to pathogenic infection. Furthermore, infected ants devoted more time to trophallactic behavior with their nestmates on 3days post inoculation, in return receiving more food. Increased interactions between exposed ants and their naive nestmates suggest the existence of social immunity in S. invicta. Overall, our study indicates that S. invicta may use behavioral defenses such as self-medication and social immunity in response to a M. anisopliae infection. PMID:27234423

  11. Food Production, Management, and Services Programs. Food Service Worker. Performance Objectives and Criterion-Referenced Test Items.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Missouri Univ., Columbia. Instructional Materials Lab.

    To assist instructors in implementing Missouri's Vocational Instructional Management System into the Food Production, Management, and Services Programs, this guide sets forth the competencies identified and validated by occupational food service instructors and personnel from the food service industry. A minimum of two performance objectives per…

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26414161

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

    PubMed

    Horn, Katherine C; Eubanks, Micky D; Siemann, Evan

    2013-01-01

    Biotic interactions are often important in the establishment and spread of invasive species. In particular, competition between introduced and native species can strongly influence the distribution and spread of exotic species and in some cases competition among introduced species can be important. The Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was recently introduced to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and appears to be spreading inland. It has been hypothesized that competition with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, may be an important factor in the spread of crazy ants. We investigated the potential of interspecific competition among these two introduced ants by measuring interspecific aggression between Caribbean crazy ant workers and workers of Solenopsis invicta. Specifically, we examined the effect of body size and diet on individual-level aggressive interactions among crazy ant workers and fire ants. We found that differences in diet did not alter interactions between crazy ant workers from different nests, but carbohydrate level did play an important role in antagonistic interactions with fire ants: crazy ants on low sugar diets were more aggressive and less likely to be killed in aggressive encounters with fire ants. We found that large fire ants engaged in fewer fights with crazy ants than small fire ants, but fire ant size affected neither fire ant nor crazy ant mortality. Overall, crazy ants experienced higher mortality than fire ants after aggressive encounters. Our findings suggest that fire ant workers might outcompete crazy ant workers on an individual level, providing some biotic resistance to crazy ant range expansion. However, this resistance may be overcome by crazy ants that have a restricted sugar intake, which may occur when crazy ants are excluded from resources by fire ants. PMID:23776702

  14. Ant benefits in a seed dispersal mutualism.

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-01

    Myrmecochorous plant seeds have nutrient rich appendages, elaiosomes, which induce some ant species to carry the seeds back to their nest where the elaiosome is consumed and the seed is discarded unharmed. The benefits to plants of dispersal of their seeds in this way have been well documented, but the benefits to the ants from consuming the elaiosomes have rarely been measured and are less clear. Ant benefits from myrmecochory were investigated in a laboratory experiment using the ant Myrmica ruginodis and seeds of Ulex species. To separate the effects of elaiosome consumption on the development of newly produced larvae versus existing larvae, ten 'Queenright' colonies containing a queen were compared to ten 'Queenless' colonies. Six measures of colony fitness over a complete annual cycle were taken: sexual production, larval weight and number, pupal weight and number, and worker survival. Queenless colonies fed with elaiosomes produced 100.0+/-29.3 (mean +/- SE) of larvae compared to non-elaiosome fed colonies which produced 49.6+/-19.0; an increase of 102%. Larval weight increased in both Queenright and Queenless colonies. In colonies fed with elaiosomes, larvae weighed 1.02+/-0.1 mg, but in non-elaiosome fed colonies larvae weighed 0.69+/-0.1 mg; an increase of 48%. The food supplement provided by Ulex elaiosomes was trivial in energetic terms, under the conditions of an ample diet, suggesting that these effects might be due to the presence of essential nutrients. Chemical analysis of Ulex elaiosomes showed the presence of four essential fatty acids and four essential sterols for ants. PMID:16049717

  15. Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione exposures associated with cigarette smoking: implications for risk assessment of food and flavoring workers.

    PubMed

    Pierce, Jennifer S; Abelmann, Anders; Spicer, Lauren J; Adams, Rebecca E; Finley, Brent L

    2014-05-01

    Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione inhalation have been suggested as causes of severe respiratory disease, including bronchiolitis obliterans, in food/flavoring manufacturing workers. Both compounds are present in many food items, tobacco, and other consumer products, but estimates of exposures associated with the use of these goods are scant. A study was conducted to characterize exposures to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione associated with cigarette smoking. The yields (μg/cigarette) of diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione in mainstream (MS) cigarette smoke were evaluated for six tobacco products under three smoking regimens (ISO, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Health Canada Intense) using a standard smoking machine. Mean diacetyl concentrations in MS smoke ranged from 250 to 361 ppm for all tobacco products and smoking regimens, and mean cumulative exposures associated with 1 pack-year ranged from 1.1 to 1.9 ppm-years. Mean 2,3-pentanedione concentrations in MS smoke ranged from 32.2 to 50.1 ppm, and mean cumulative exposures associated with 1 pack-year ranged from 0.14 to 0.26 ppm-years. We found that diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione exposures from cigarette smoking far exceed occupational exposures for most food/flavoring workers who smoke. This suggests that previous claims of a significant exposure-response relationship between diacetyl inhalation and respiratory disease in food/flavoring workers were confounded, because none of the investigations considered or quantified the non-occupational diacetyl exposure from cigarette smoke, yet all of the cohorts evaluated had considerable smoking histories. Further, because smoking has not been shown to be a risk factor for bronchiolitis obliterans, our findings are inconsistent with claims that diacetyl and/or 2,3-pentanedione exposure are risk factors for this disease. PMID:24635357

  16. A temporary social parasite of tropical plant-ants improves the fitness of a myrmecophyte

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dejean, Alain; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Céréghino, Régis; Roux, Olivier; Hérault, Bruno; Rossi, Vivien; Guerrero, Roberto J.; Delabie, Jacques H. C.; Orivel, Jérôme; Boulay, Raphaël

    2010-10-01

    Myrmecophytes offer plant-ants a nesting place in exchange for protection from their enemies, particularly defoliators. These obligate ant-plant mutualisms are common model systems for studying factors that allow horizontally transmitted mutualisms to persist since parasites of ant-myrmecophyte mutualisms exploit the rewards provided by host plants whilst providing no protection in return. In pioneer formations in French Guiana, Azteca alfari and Azteca ovaticeps are known to be mutualists of myrmecophytic Cecropia ( Cecropia ants). Here, we show that Azteca andreae, whose colonies build carton nests on myrmecophytic Cecropia, is not a parasite of Azteca- Cecropia mutualisms nor is it a temporary social parasite of A. alfari; it is, however, a temporary social parasite of A. ovaticeps. Contrarily to the two mutualistic Azteca species that are only occasional predators feeding mostly on hemipteran honeydew and food bodies provided by the host trees, A. andreae workers, which also attend hemipterans, do not exploit the food bodies. Rather, they employ an effective hunting technique where the leaf margins are fringed with ambushing workers, waiting for insects to alight. As a result, the host trees’ fitness is not affected as A. andreae colonies protect their foliage better than do mutualistic Azteca species resulting in greater fruit production. Yet, contrarily to mutualistic Azteca, when host tree development does not keep pace with colony growth, A. andreae workers forage on surrounding plants; the colonies can even move to a non- Cecropia tree.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krieger, Michael J. B.; Billeter, Jean-Bernard; Keller, Laurent

    2000-08-01

    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.

  18. Tournaments and slavery in a desert ant.

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, B

    1976-05-28

    Many species of ants engage in physical fighting when territorial borders are challenged. In contrast, colonies of the honeypot ant species Myrmecocystus mimicus conduct ritualized tournaments, in which hundreds of ants perform highly stereotyped display fights. Opposing colonies summon their worker forces to the tournament area by means of an alarm-recruitment system. When one colony is considerably stronger than the other, the tournament quickly ends, and the weaker colony is raided and its ants "enslaved." This is the first example of intraspecific slavery recorded in ants. PMID:17817765

  19. Food Service Worker. Instructional Modules for Food Management, Production and Services. Modules 1-17. Competency Based Curriculum.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tennessee Univ., Knoxville. Dept. of Vocational-Technical Education.

    These 17 teacher modules are part of a curriculum dealing with food management, production, and services that was developed for use in secondary and postsecondary vocational programs in Tennessee. Covered in the individual modules are food service careers, math skills, reading and converting recipes, work simplification, self-development,…

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

    PubMed

    Tanga, Chrysantus M; Ekesi, Sunday; Govender, Prem; Nderitu, Peterson W; Mohamed, Samira A

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26703741

  1. The Effects of industrial workers' food choice attribute on sugar intake pattern and job satisfaction with Structural Equcation Model

    PubMed Central

    Park, Young Il

    2016-01-01

    BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES This research analyzes the effects of the food choices of industrial workers according to their sugar intake pattern on their job satisfaction through the construction of a model on the relationship between sugar intake pattern and job satisfaction. SUBJECTS/METHODS Surveys were collected from May to July 2015. A statistical analysis of the 775 surveys from Kyungsangnam-do was conducted using SPSS13.0 for Windows and SEM was performed using the AMOS 5.0 statistics package. RESULTS The reliability of the data was confirmed by an exploratory factor analysis through a Cronbach's alpha coefficient, and the measurement model was proven to be appropriate by a confirmatory factor analysis in conjunction with AMOS. The results of factor analysis on food choice, sugar intake pattern and job satisfaction were categorized into five categories. The reliability of these findings was supported by a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.6 and higher for all factors except confection (0.516) and dairy products (0.570). The multicollinearity results did not indicate a problem between the variables since the highest correlation coefficient was 0.494 (P < 0.01). In an attempt to study the sugar intake pattern in accordance with the food choices and job satisfaction of industrial workers, a structural equation model was constructed and analyzed. CONCLUSIONS All tests confirmed that the model satisfied the recommended levels for the goodness of fit index, and thus, the overall research model was proven to be appropriate. PMID:27478555

  2. How plants shape the ant community in the Amazonian rainforest canopy: the key role of extrafloral nectaries and homopteran honeydew.

    PubMed

    Blüthgen, N; Verhaagh, M; Goitía, W; Jaffé, K; Morawetz, W; Barthlott, W

    2000-10-01

    Ant-plant interactions in the canopy of a lowland Amazonian rainforest of the upper Orinoco, Venezuela, were studied using a modified commercial crane on rails (Surumoni project). Our observations show a strong correlation between plant sap exudates and both abundance of ants and co-occurrence of ant species in tree canopies. Two types of plant sap sources were compared: extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and honeydew secretions by homopterans. EFNs were a frequent food source for ants on epiphytes (Philodendron spp., Araceae) and lianas (Dioclea, Fabaceae), but rare on canopy trees in the study area, whereas the majority of trees were host to aggregations of homopterans tended by honeydew-seeking ants (on 62% of the trees examined). These aggregations rarely occurred on epiphytes. Baited ant traps were installed on plants with EFNs and in the crowns of trees from three common genera, including trees with and without ant-tended homopterans: Goupia glabra (Celastraceae), Vochysia spp. (Vochysiaceae), and Xylopia spp. (Annonaceae). The number of ant workers per trap was significantly higher on plants offering one of the two plant sap sources than on trees without such resources. Extrafloral nectaries were used by a much broader spectrum of ant species and genera than honeydew, and co-occurrence of ant species (in traps) was significantly higher on plants bearing EFNs than on trees. Homopteran honeydew (Coccidae and Membracidae), on the other hand, was mostly monopolised by a single ant colony per tree. Homopteran-tending ants were generally among the most dominant ants in the canopy. The most prominent genera were Azteca, Dolichoderus (both Dolichoderinae), Cephalotes, Pheidole, Crematogaster (all Myrmicinae), and Ectatomma (Ponerinae). Potential preferences were recorded between ant and homopteran species, and also between ant-homopteran associations and tree genera. We hypothesize that the high availability of homopteran honeydew provides a key resource for ant mosaics

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  4. Routing Vehicles with Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tan, Wen Fang; Lee, Lai Soon; Majid, Zanariah Abdul; Seow, Hsin Vonn

    Routing vehicles involve the design of an optimal set of routes for a fleet of vehicles to serve a number of customers with known demands. This research develops an Ant Colony Optimization for the vehicle routing with one central depot and identical vehicles. The procedure simulates the behavior of real ants that always find the shortest path between their nest and a food source through a form of communication, pheromone trail. Finally, preliminary results on the learning of the algorithm testing on benchmark data set will be presented in this paper.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cunningham, Shea

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

  6. Host Plant Use by Competing Acacia-Ants: Mutualists Monopolize While Parasites Share Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Kautz, Stefanie; Ballhorn, Daniel J.; Kroiss, Johannes; Pauls, Steffen U.; Moreau, Corrie S.; Eilmus, Sascha; Strohm, Erhard; Heil, Martin

    2012-01-01

    Protective ant-plant mutualisms that are exploited by non-defending parasitic ants represent prominent model systems for ecology and evolutionary biology. The mutualist Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus is an obligate plant-ant and fully depends on acacias for nesting space and food. The parasite Pseudomyrmex gracilis facultatively nests on acacias and uses host-derived food rewards but also external food sources. Integrative analyses of genetic microsatellite data, cuticular hydrocarbons and behavioral assays showed that an individual acacia might be inhabited by the workers of several P. gracilis queens, whereas one P. ferrugineus colony monopolizes one or more host trees. Despite these differences in social organization, neither of the species exhibited aggressive behavior among conspecific workers sharing a tree regardless of their relatedness. This lack of aggression corresponds to the high similarity of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles among ants living on the same tree. Host sharing by unrelated colonies, or the presence of several queens in a single colony are discussed as strategies by which parasite colonies could achieve the observed social organization. We argue that in ecological terms, the non-aggressive behavior of non-sibling P. gracilis workers — regardless of the route to achieve this social structure — enables this species to efficiently occupy and exploit a host plant. By contrast, single large and long-lived colonies of the mutualist P. ferrugineus monopolize individual host plants and defend them aggressively against invaders from other trees. Our findings highlight the necessity for using several methods in combination to fully understand how differing life history strategies affect social organization in ants. PMID:22662191

  7. Food Service Worker. Instructional Modules for Food Management, Production and Services. Modules 18-34. Competency Based Curriculum.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tennessee Univ., Knoxville. Dept. of Vocational-Technical Education.

    These 17 teacher modules are part of a curriculum dealing with food management, production, and services that was developed for use in secondary and postsecondary vocational programs in Tennessee. Covered in the individual modules are hand cutlery, breakfast items, grain products, vegetables, salad dressing, meats, stock, soups, sauces, garnishes,…

  8. Food Service Worker. Instructional Modules for Food Management, Production and Services. Modules 35-52. Competency Based Curriculum.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tennessee Univ., Knoxville. Dept. of Vocational-Technical Education.

    These 18 teacher modules are part of a curriculum dealing with food management, production, and services that was developed for use in secondary and postsecondary vocational programs in Tennessee. Covered in the individual modules are quickbreads, pies, icings and toppings, specialty cakes, specialty desserts, yeast products, cream puff and puff…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tanga, Chrysantus M.; Ekesi, Sunday; Govender, Prem; Nderitu, Peterson W.; Mohamed, Samira A.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26703741

  11. Mimicry and eavesdropping enable a new form of social parasitism in ants.

    PubMed

    Powell, Scott; Del-Claro, Kleber; Feitosa, Rodrigo M; Brandão, Carlos Roberto F

    2014-10-01

    Social parasitism is defined by the exploitation of the social mechanisms of one society by another whole society. Here, we use quantitative ecological data and experiments to identify the components of a new form of social parasitism by the recently discovered "mirror turtle ant," Cephalotes specularis. We show that C. specularis workers visually mimic and actively avoid contact with foragers of the hyperaggressive host ant Crematogaster ampla, allowing them to move freely in the extensive and otherwise defended foraging networks of host colonies. Workers from parasite colonies have immediate access to these networks by nesting exclusively within host territories, and 89% of all potential host territories were parasitized. Inside the network, parasite workers eavesdrop on the host's trail pheromones to locate and exploit food resources that are defended by the host to the exclusion of all other ants. Experiments demonstrated the unprecedented capacity of the parasite for superior foraging performance on its host's pheromone trails than on trails of its own. Considered together, the apparent Batesian-Wallacian mimicry, pheromone-based interceptive eavesdropping, kleptoparasitism, and xenobiotic nesting ecology displayed by C. specularis within the territory and foraging network of a host ant represents a novel adaptive syndrome for social exploitation. PMID:25226185

  12. Ants, Wasps, and Bees (Hymenoptera)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Stinging wasps, bees, and ants are a problem for farm workers, particularly at harvest when these insects are attracted to ripe fruits. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA, together with personnel at Oral Roberts University compiled available information o...

  13. Public Health Implication of Artificial Finger Nails Used by Health Workers and Food Handlers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wachukwu, C. K.; Abbey, S. D.; Ollor, A. O.; Obilor, N. L.

    This study was undertaken to determine if artificial fingernails could contribute or serve as vehicles for transmission of food poisoning and nosocomial pathogens. Three hundred and fifty apparently healthy individuals were used. Of this number, 150 subjects were health care workers, while 200 subjects were unprofessional food handlers. Both groups were randomly selected for this study. Their artificial fingernails were swabbed and examined microbiologically by culturing them on different media. Oral interviews were also used to assess the social and educational status of subjects. Four genera of bacteria were isolated and identified, such as Staphylococcus sp., Escherichia coli, Proteus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. Among the organism identified, Staph aureus (41.7%) was predominant and frequently occurring, followed by E. coli (7.4%). From this study, it could be deduced that artificial fingernails could serve as means for transmission of pathogens to foods and causing nosocomial infections on patients. Hence, use of artificial or overgrown fingernails should be discouraged to avoid disease epidemics.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Fermat's principle of least time states that light rays passing through different media follow the fastest (and not the most direct) path between two points, leading to refraction at medium borders. Humans intuitively employ this rule, e.g., when a lifeguard has to infer the fastest way to traverse both beach and water to reach a swimmer in need. Here, we tested whether foraging ants also follow Fermat's principle when forced to travel on two surfaces that differentially affected the ants' walking speed. Workers of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, established "refracted" pheromone trails to a food source. These trails deviated from the most direct path, but were not different to paths predicted by Fermat's principle. Our results demonstrate a new aspect of decentralized optimization and underline the versatility of the simple yet robust rules governing the self-organization of group-living animals. PMID:23527263

  15. Fast and Flexible: Argentine Ants Recruit from Nearby Trails

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) live in groups of nests connected by trails to each other and to stable food sources. In a field study, we investigated whether some ants recruit directly from established, persistent trails to food sources, thus accelerating food collection. Our results indicate that Argentine ants recruit nestmates to food directly from persistent trails, and that the exponential increase in the arrival rate of ants at baits is faster than would be possible if recruited ants traveled from distant nests. Once ants find a new food source, they walk back and forth between the bait and sometimes share food by trophallaxis with nestmates on the trail. Recruiting ants from nearby persistent trails creates a dynamic circuit, like those found in other distributed systems, which facilitates a quick response to changes in available resources. PMID:23967129

  16. More than royal food - Major royal jelly protein genes in sexuals and workers of the honeybee Apis mellifera

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background In the honeybee Apis mellifera, female larvae destined to become a queen are fed with royal jelly, a secretion of the hypopharyngeal glands of young nurse bees that rear the brood. The protein moiety of royal jelly comprises mostly major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) of which the coding genes (mrjp1-9) have been identified on chromosome 11 in the honeybee’s genome. Results We determined the expression of mrjp1-9 among the honeybee worker caste (nurses, foragers) and the sexuals (queens (unmated, mated) and drones) in various body parts (head, thorax, abdomen). Specific mrjp expression was not only found in brood rearing nurse bees, but also in foragers and the sexuals. Conclusions The expression of mrjp1 to 7 is characteristic for the heads of worker bees, with an elevated expression of mrjp1-4 and 7 in nurse bees compared to foragers. Mrjp5 and 6 were higher in foragers compared to nurses suggesting functions in addition to those of brood food proteins. Furthermore, the expression of mrjp9 was high in the heads, thoraces and abdomen of almost all female bees, suggesting a function irrespective of body section. This completely different expression profile suggests mrjp9 to code for the most ancestral major royal jelly protein of the honeybee. PMID:24279675

  17. Chemical basis of the synergism and antagonism in microbial communities in the nests of leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Schoenian, Ilka; Spiteller, Michael; Ghaste, Manoj; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2011-02-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which serves as a major food source. This symbiosis is threatened by microbial pathogens that can severely infect L. gongylophorus. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants, mainly Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, support the ants in defending their fungus gardens against infections by supplying antimicrobial and antifungal compounds. The ecological role of microorganisms in the nests of leaf-cutting ants can only be addressed in detail if their secondary metabolites are known. Here, we use an approach for the rapid identification of established bioactive compounds from microorganisms in ecological contexts by combining phylogenetic data, database searches, and liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-HR-MS) screening. Antimycins A(1)-A(4), valinomycins, and actinomycins were identified in this manner from Streptomyces symbionts of leaf-cutting ants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging revealed the distribution of valinomycin directly on the integument of Acromyrmex echinatior workers. Valinomycins and actinomycins were also directly identified in samples from the waste of A. echinatior and A. niger leaf-cutting ants, suggesting that the compounds exert their antimicrobial and antifungal potential in the nests of leaf-cutting ants. Strong synergistic effects of the secondary meta-bolites produced by ant-associated Streptomyces were observed in the agar diffusion assay against Escovopsis weberi. Actinomycins strongly inhibit soil bacteria as well as other Streptomyces and Pseudonocardia symbionts. The antifungal antimycins are not only active against pathogenic fungi but also the garden fungus L. gongylophorus itself. In conclusion, secondary metabolites of microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants contribute to shaping the microbial communities within the nests of leaf-cutting ants. PMID:21245311

  18. Selective isolation of dematiaceous fungi from the workers of Atta laevigata (Formicidae: Attini).

    PubMed

    Guedes, F L A; Attili-Angelis, D; Pagnocca, F C

    2012-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (Formicidae: Attini) are considered pests in agriculture for their impact in human crops, as they utilize leaf fragments to raise their fungal mutualist (Agaricales: Lepiotaceae). Basically, the basidiomycetous fungus is cultivated to supply food to adult workers and broads; in return, the ants protect it against natural enemies. However, recent studies have claimed that other microorganisms are associated to ant nests where a wide range of interactions may take place. To investigate the occurrence of dematiaceous fungi on the cuticle of Atta laevigata ants, 30 workers were sampled from an adult nest located in the surroundings of the Center for the Studies of Social Insects, UNESP-Rio Claro, SP, Brazil. The use of selective techniques to avoid high-sporulation fungi has been recommended and was tested in this study. To favor the isolation of the desired fungi, heads and cuticle scrapings of ant bodies were inoculated on Mycosel agar and incubated for 3 weeks at 35°C. Morphological and molecular methods were used to identify the filamentous fungi recovered. From 56 isolates, 19 were hyaline filamentous species, and among the remaining 37, some are mentioned as phyto-associated fungi like Alternaria arborescens, Bipolaris sorokiniana, Bipolaris eleusines, Bipolaris zeae, Curvularia trifolii, and Paraphaeosphaeria michotii. These species are reported from A. laevigata bodies for the first time. None of the isolation trials revealed the presence of the parasite Escovopsis or entomopathogenic fungi. The possible spread of the fungi in nature by the ants is discussed. PMID:22160859

  19. Insecticide transfer efficiency and lethal load in Argentine ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  20. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-07-03

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

  1. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGESBeta

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

    2015-07-03

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

  2. Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Hölldobler, Bert

    2004-09-01

    Ant workers can mate and reproduce in a few hundreds of species belonging to the phylogenetically basal poneromorph subfamilies (sensu Bolton 2003). We report the first occurrence of gamergates (i.e. mated reproductive workers) in a myrmeciomorph subfamily. In a colony of Myrmecia pyriformis that was collected without a queen, workers continued to be produced over a period of 3 years in the laboratory. Behavioural observations and ovarian dissections indicated that three workers were mated and produced the diploid offspring. The Myrmeciinae are thus another taxon in which the selective benefits of sexual reproduction by workers can be investigated.

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

    PubMed Central

    Fayle, Tom Maurice

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Flies in the family Milichiidae are often myrmecophilic. We document the first record of a fly from this family interacting with an ant of the genus Polyrhachis. In lowland riparian rainforest in Sabah, Malaysia, we observed a female of the genus Milichia following an ant of the species of P. illaudata, and repeatedly attempting to make close contact. Our observation suggests that the dipteran may have been attempting to feed kleptoparasitically from the Polyrhachis worker, since members of this ant genus often feed on liquid carbohydrate-rich food resources. This is the first time an interaction has been observed between a fly of this family and an ant of this widespread old world tropical genus. PMID:25425942

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  5. An ant's-eye view of an ant-plant protection mutualism.

    PubMed

    Lanan, M C; Bronstein, J L

    2013-07-01

    Ant protection of extrafloral nectar (EFN)-secreting 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 EFN-secreting cactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Englem) is not independent between plants up to 5 m apart. Colony territories of C. opuntiae are large, covering areas of up to 5,000 m(2), and workers visit between five and 34 EFN-secreting barrel cacti within the territories. These ants are highly polydomous, with up to 20 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    A new invader, the "tawny crazy ant", Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae; Formicinae), is displacing the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Formicidae: Myrmicinae), in the southern U.S., likely through its superior chemical arsenal and communication. Alone, formic acid is unattractive, but this venom (= poison) acid powerfully synergizes attraction of tawny crazy ants to volatiles from the Dufour's gland secretion of N. fulva workers, including the two major components, undecane and 2-tridecanone. The unexpected pheromonal synergism between the Dufour's gland and the venom gland appears to be another key factor, in addition to previously known defensive and detoxification semiochemical features, for the successful invasion and domination of N. fulva in the southern U.S. This synergism is an efficient mechanism enabling N. fulva workers to outcompete Solenopsis and other ant species for food and territory. From a practical standpoint, judicious point-source release formulation of tawny crazy ant volatiles may be pivotal for enhanced attract-and-kill management of this pest. PMID:26315627

  7. Hygienic Behavior, Liquid-Foraging, and Trophallaxis in the Leaf-Cutting Ants, Acromyrmex subterraneus and Acromyrmex octospinosus

    PubMed Central

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Errard, Christine

    2009-01-01

    Neotropical leaf-cutting ants (tribe Attini) live in obligate symbiosis with fungus they culture for food. To protect themselves and their fungus garden from pathogens, they minimize the entry of microorganisms through mechanical and chemical means. In this study, focusing on the species Acromyrmex subterraneus and A. octospinosus, (Hymeoptera: Formicidae). Self- and allo-grooming behavior were quantified and it was found that A. octospinosus workers spend less time in self-grooming than A. subterraneus. In the experimental absence of fungus in A. subterraneus, the times spent in these two behaviors are not affected; however workers spend significantly more time immobile. Hygienic and trophallaxis behaviors were examined as well as the possibility that workers exchange food, and the grooming behavior of foraging and non-foraging workers were compared. Behavioral observations revealed that large workers spent more time grooming than small workers, and more than 62% of replete foragers passed collected liquid food via trophallaxis to a nestmate. However, trophallaxis was rarely observed between non-forager workers. These results suggest that trophallaxis permits the exchange of alimentary liquid between colony members, but it is not important for spreading the colony odor signature. PMID:20053118

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  9. Paralyzing Action from a Distance in an Arboreal African Ant Species

    PubMed Central

    Rifflet, Aline; Tene, Nathan; Orivel, Jerome; Treilhou, Michel; Dejean, Alain; Vetillard, Angelique

    2011-01-01

    Due to their prowess in interspecific competition and ability to catch a wide range of arthropod prey (mostly termites with which they are engaged in an evolutionary arms race), ants are recognized as a good model for studying the chemicals involved in defensive and predatory behaviors. Ants' wide diversity of nesting habits and relationships with plants and prey types implies that these chemicals are also very diverse. Using the African myrmicine ant Crematogaster striatula as our focal species, we adopted a three-pronged research approach. We studied the aggressive and predatory behaviors of the ant workers, conducted bioassays on the effect of their Dufour gland contents on termites, and analyzed these contents. (1) The workers defend themselves or eliminate termites by orienting their abdominal tip toward the opponent, stinger protruded. The chemicals emitted, apparently volatile, trigger the recruitment of nestmates situated in the vicinity and act without the stinger having to come into direct contact with the opponent. Whereas alien ants competing with C. striatula for sugary food sources are repelled by this behavior and retreat further and further away, termites defend their nest whatever the danger. They face down C. striatula workers and end up by rolling onto their backs, their legs batting the air. (2) The bioassays showed that the toxicity of the Dufour gland contents acts in a time-dependent manner, leading to the irreversible paralysis, and, ultimately, death of the termites. (3) Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses showed that the Dufour gland contains a mixture of mono- or polyunsaturated long-chain derivatives, bearing functional groups like oxo-alcohols or oxo-acetates. Electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry showed the presence of a molecule of 1584 Da that might be a large, acetylated alkaloid capable of splitting into smaller molecules that could be responsible for the final degree of venom toxicity. PMID:22194854

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

    PubMed

    Rifflet, Aline; Tene, Nathan; Orivel, Jerome; Treilhou, Michel; Dejean, Alain; Vetillard, Angelique

    2011-01-01

    Due to their prowess in interspecific competition and ability to catch a wide range of arthropod prey (mostly termites with which they are engaged in an evolutionary arms race), ants are recognized as a good model for studying the chemicals involved in defensive and predatory behaviors. Ants' wide diversity of nesting habits and relationships with plants and prey types implies that these chemicals are also very diverse. Using the African myrmicine ant Crematogaster striatula as our focal species, we adopted a three-pronged research approach. We studied the aggressive and predatory behaviors of the ant workers, conducted bioassays on the effect of their Dufour gland contents on termites, and analyzed these contents. (1) The workers defend themselves or eliminate termites by orienting their abdominal tip toward the opponent, stinger protruded. The chemicals emitted, apparently volatile, trigger the recruitment of nestmates situated in the vicinity and act without the stinger having to come into direct contact with the opponent. Whereas alien ants competing with C. striatula for sugary food sources are repelled by this behavior and retreat further and further away, termites defend their nest whatever the danger. They face down C. striatula workers and end up by rolling onto their backs, their legs batting the air. (2) The bioassays showed that the toxicity of the Dufour gland contents acts in a time-dependent manner, leading to the irreversible paralysis, and, ultimately, death of the termites. (3) Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses showed that the Dufour gland contains a mixture of mono- or polyunsaturated long-chain derivatives, bearing functional groups like oxo-alcohols or oxo-acetates. Electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry showed the presence of a molecule of 1584 Da that might be a large, acetylated alkaloid capable of splitting into smaller molecules that could be responsible for the final degree of venom toxicity. PMID:22194854

  11. Ants use odour cues to exploit fig-fig wasp interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schatz, Bertrand; Hossaert-McKey, Martine

    2010-01-01

    Fig wasps may constitute a relatively abundant food source for ants associated with the fig-fig wasp nursery pollination mutualism. We found previously that a Mediterranean ant species detects fig wasps by chemical signals. In this paper we want to test the generality of this finding by studying two tropical ants, Oecophylla smaragdina and Crematogaster sp., preying on fig wasps on the dioecious Ficus fistulosa in Brunei (Borneo). Behavioural tests in a Y-tube olfactometer showed that these two ants were attracted both to odours emitted by receptive figs and to those emitted by fig wasps (male and female of the pollinator, and a non-pollinating fig wasp) used here as a kairomone. Naïve workers were not attracted to fig wasps, suggesting that olfactory learning may play a role in prey detection. We also found that O. smaragdina was much more likely to be present on figs of male trees (where fig wasps are more abundant), and that the abundance of this ant species varied strongly with developmental phase of figs on individual trees. Moreover, its aggressiveness was also strongly influenced by the nature of the object presented in our behavioural tests, the site of the test and the developmental phase of the fig tested. Investigation on the chemical and behavioural ecology of the different interacting species provides important insights into the intricate relationships supported by the fig-fig wasp mutualism.

  12. A Novel delivery Method for Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) toxicants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Described here is a new delivery method for ant toxicants consisting of an inert carrier, an attractant, and a toxicant. Unlike baits, this system does not contain a food source, but uses ant to ant contact rather than trophallaxis as the mechanism for horizontal dispersal of the toxicant through th...

  13. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world but toxic bait systems affect non-target ant species and can not be used in sensitive ecosystems. The fire ant uses recruitment pheromones to organize the retrieval of food resources back to the colony....

  14. Detection of Mitochondrial COII DNA Sequences in Ant Guts as a Method for Assessing Termite Predation by Ants

    PubMed Central

    Fayle, Tom M.; Scholtz, Olivia; Dumbrell, Alex J.; Russell, Stephen; Segar, Simon T.; Eggleton, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Termites and ants contribute more to animal biomass in tropical rain forests than any other single group and perform vital ecosystem functions. Although ants prey on termites, at the community level the linkage between these groups is poorly understood. Thus, assessing the distribution and specificity of ant termitophagy is of considerable interest. We describe an approach for quantifying ant-termite food webs by sequencing termite DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit II, COII) from ant guts and apply this to a soil-dwelling ant community from tropical rain forest in Gabon. We extracted DNA from 215 ants from 15 species. Of these, 17.2 % of individuals had termite DNA in their guts, with BLAST analysis confirming the identity of 34.1 % of these termites to family level or better. Although ant species varied in detection of termite DNA, ranging from 63 % (5/7; Camponotus sp. 1) to 0 % (0/7; Ponera sp. 1), there was no evidence (with small sample sizes) for heterogeneity in termite consumption across ant taxa, and no evidence for species-specific ant-termite predation. In all three ant species with identifiable termite DNA in multiple individuals, multiple termite species were represented. Furthermore, the two termite species that were detected on multiple occasions in ant guts were in both cases found in multiple ant species, suggesting that ant-termite food webs are not strongly compartmentalised. However, two ant species were found to consume only Anoplotermes-group termites, indicating possible predatory specialisation at a higher taxonomic level. Using a laboratory feeding test, we were able to detect termite COII sequences in ant guts up to 2 h after feeding, indicating that our method only detects recent feeding events. Our data provide tentative support for the hypothesis that unspecialised termite predation by ants is widespread and highlight the use of molecular approaches for future studies of ant-termite food webs. PMID:25853549

  15. Ants defend aphids against lethal disease.

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-23

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  17. The Ants Have It!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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)

  18. Ant-plant mutualisms should be viewed as symbiotic communities

    PubMed Central

    Bouamer, Salah; Morand, Serge; Selosse, Marc-André

    2009-01-01

    Ant-plants provide food and nesting space (domatia) for ants that protect them against herbivores. These mutualisms are often very specific and are usually considered as bipartite, or tripartite when ants use hemipterans as trophobionts. However, fungi growing inside domatia have been recorded by a few authors. Here we report on their occurrence on additional ant-plants from Africa, Asia and South America. We demonstrated the symbiotic nature of the relationship between the plant, the ant and the fungus in the model plant Leonardoxa africana africana and its mutualistic ant Petalomyrmex phylax. Moreover, data suggest the ant-fungus relationship is mutualistic. Here we discuss the most probable role of the fungus and the potential implications on the understanding of nutritional ecology of ant-plant symbioses. The fungus is also associated with the presence of nematodes and bacteria. Many ant-plant symbioses previously considered to be bipartite will soon likely prove to be multipartite symbiotic communities. PMID:19816123

  19. Spatiotemporal chemotactic model for ant foraging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Di Giulio, Andrea; Maurizi, Emanuela; Barbero, Francesca; Sala, Marco; Fattorini, Simone; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona

    2015-01-01

    Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants' activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus) are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can "speak" three different "languages", each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen). Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants. PMID:26154266

  1. Ant nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    A new Hubble Space Telescope image of a celestial object called the Ant Nebula may shed new light on the future demise of our Sun. The image is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/wfpc .

    The nebula, imaged on July 20, 1997, and June 30, 1998, by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, was observed by Drs. Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Bruce Balick of the University of Washington in Seattle; and Vincent Icke of Leiden University in the Netherlands. JPL designed and built the camera.

    The Ant Nebula, whose technical name is Mz3, resembles the head and thorax of an ant when observed with ground-based telescopes. The new Hubble image, with 10 times the resolution revealing 100 times more detail, shows the 'ant's' body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun- like star. The Ant Nebula is located between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norma.

    The image challenges old ideas about what happens to dying stars. This observation, along with other pictures of various remnants of dying stars called planetary nebulae, shows that our Sun's fate will probably be much more interesting, complex and dramatic than astronomers previously believed.

    Although the ejection of gas from the dying star in the Ant Nebula is violent, it does not show the chaos one might expect from an ordinary explosion, but instead shows symmetrical patterns. One possibility is that the central star has a closely orbiting companion whose gravitational tidal forces shape the outflowing gas. A second possibility is that as the dying star spins, its strong magnetic fields are wound up into complex shapes like spaghetti in an eggbeater. Electrically charged winds, much like those in our Sun's solar wind but millions of times denser and moving at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per second (more than 600 miles per second) from the star, follow the twisted field lines on their way

  2. Effect of Surfactants on Red Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Eleven surfactants were evaluated for their immobilizing and killing effects against the red imported fire ant. Reported here are the data on workers. Research on other castes is in progress. Although fire ants can be immobilized in most aqueous surfactant solutions within minutes, they can recov...

  3. Do Leaf Cutting Ants Cut Undetected? Testing the Effect of Ant-Induced Plant Defences on Foraging Decisions in Atta colombica

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:21799831

  4. Impacts of residual insecticide barriers on perimeter-invading ants, with particular reference to the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile.

    PubMed

    Scharf, Michael E; Ratliff, Catina R; Bennett, Gary W

    2004-04-01

    Three liquid insecticide formulations were evaluated as barrier treatments against perimeter-invading ants at a multifamily housing complex in West Lafayette, IN. Several ant species were present at the study site, including (in order of abundance) pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (L.); honey ant, Prenolepis imparis (Say); odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say); thief ant, Solenopsis molesta (Say); acrobat ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi (Mayr); crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latrielle), field ants, Formica spp.; and carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer). Studies began in May 2001 and concluded 8 wk later in July. Individual replicate treatments were placed 0.61 in (2 feet) up and 0.92 m (3 feet) out from the ends of 46.1 by 10.1-m (151 by 33-foot) apartment buildings. Ant sampling was performed with 10 placements of moist cat food for 1 h within treatment zones, followed by capture and removal of recruited ants for later counting. All treatments led to substantial reductions in ant numbers relative to untreated controls. The most effective treatment was fipronil, where 2% of before-treatment ant numbers were present at 8 wk after treatment. Both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin barrier treatments had efficacy comparative with fipronil, but to 4 and 2 wk, respectively. Odorous house ants were not sampled before treatment. Comparisons of ant species composition between treatments and controls revealed an increase in odorous house ant frequencies at 1-8 wk after treatment in treated locations only. These results demonstrate efficacy for both nonrepellent and repellent liquid insecticides as perimeter treatments for pest ants. In addition, our findings with odorous house ant highlight an apparent invasive-like characteristic of this species that may contribute to its dramatic increase in structural infestation rates in many areas of the United States. PMID:15154488

  5. Abundance of -1,6-piperideine alkaloids in imported fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  6. CHEMISTRY OF THE FECES OF THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS, SOLENOPSIS INVICTA BUREN (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In an ant colony, feces are not just metabolic waste; they often affect colony functions. Knowledge on the chemistry of the feces may be helpful in understanding their effect on the ant behavior. Feces of workers, larvae, alates and queens of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, were...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsuura, Kenji; Yashiro, Toshihisa

    2006-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Zankl, Niko; Rey, Olivier; Dress, Andreas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2013-01-01

    Fermat’s principle of least time states that light rays passing through different media follow the fastest (and not the most direct) path between two points, leading to refraction at medium borders. Humans intuitively employ this rule, e.g., when a lifeguard has to infer the fastest way to traverse both beach and water to reach a swimmer in need. Here, we tested whether foraging ants also follow Fermat’s principle when forced to travel on two surfaces that differentially affected the ants’ walking speed. Workers of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, established “refracted” pheromone trails to a food source. These trails deviated from the most direct path, but were not different to paths predicted by Fermat’s principle. Our results demonstrate a new aspect of decentralized optimization and underline the versatility of the simple yet robust rules governing the self-organization of group-living animals. PMID:23527263

  9. Monoculture of Leafcutter Ant Gardens

    PubMed Central

    Mueller, Ulrich G.; Scott, Jarrod J.; Ishak, Heather D.; Cooper, Michael; Rodrigues, Andre

    2010-01-01

    Background Leafcutter ants depend on the cultivation of symbiotic Attamyces fungi for food, which are thought to be grown by the ants in single-strain, clonal monoculture throughout the hundreds to thousands of gardens within a leafcutter nest. Monoculture eliminates cultivar-cultivar competition that would select for competitive fungal traits that are detrimental to the ants, whereas polyculture of several fungi could increase nutritional diversity and disease resistance of genetically variable gardens. Methodology/Principal Findings Using three experimental approaches, we assessed cultivar diversity within nests of Atta leafcutter ants, which are most likely among all fungus-growing ants to cultivate distinct cultivar genotypes per nest because of the nests' enormous sizes (up to 5000 gardens) and extended lifespans (10–20 years). In Atta texana and in A. cephalotes, we resampled nests over a 5-year period to test for persistence of resident cultivar genotypes within each nest, and we tested for genetic differences between fungi from different nest sectors accessed through excavation. In A. texana, we also determined the number of Attamyces cells carried as a starter inoculum by a dispersing queens (minimally several thousand Attamyces cells), and we tested for genetic differences between Attamyces carried by sister queens dispersing from the same nest. Except for mutational variation arising during clonal Attamyces propagation, DNA fingerprinting revealed no evidence for fungal polyculture and no genotype turnover during the 5-year surveys. Conclusions/Significance Atta leafcutter ants can achieve stable, fungal monoculture over many years. Mutational variation emerging within an Attamyces monoculture could provide genetic diversity for symbiont choice (gardening biases of the ants favoring specific mutational variants), an analog of artificial selection. PMID:20844760

  10. Pseudacteon decapitating fly parasitism rates in fire ant colonies around Gainesville, Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In order to assess the impacts of phorid flies on fire ants in the Gainesville area, we collected 3 g of worker ants from 36 colonies. A total of 672 parasitized workers were recovered from the 36 colony samples. Confirmed parasitism rates ranged from 0-5% with an average of about 0.5%. Including c...

  11. The effects of colony structure and resource abundance on food dispersal in Tapinoma sessile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    VanWeelden, M T; Bennett, G; Buczkowski, G

    2015-01-01

    The odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), exhibits a high degree of variation in colony spatial structure which may have direct and indirect effects on foraging. Protein marking and mark-release-recapture techniques were utilized to examine the effect of colony spatial structure on food dispersal. Sucrose water spiked with rabbit IgG protein was presented to colonies with varying spatial configurations in laboratory and field experiments. In monodomous lab colonies, the rate and extent of food dispersal was rapid due to a decrease in foraging area. In polydomous colonies, food dispersal was slower because conspecifics were forced to forage and share food over longer distances. However, over time, food was present in all extremities of the colony. Experiments conducted in the field produced similar results, with nests in close proximity to food yielding higher percentages of workers scoring positive for the marker. However, the percentage of workers possessing the marker decreased over time. Results from this study provide experimental data on mechanisms of food dispersal in monodomous and polydomous colonies of ants, and may be important for increasing the efficacy of management strategies against T. sessile and other pest ant species. PMID:25688088

  12. The Effects of Colony Structure and Resource Abundance on Food Dispersal in Tapinoma sessile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    VanWeelden, M. T.; Bennett, G.; Buczkowski, G.

    2015-01-01

    The odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), exhibits a high degree of variation in colony spatial structure which may have direct and indirect effects on foraging. Protein marking and mark–release–recapture techniques were utilized to examine the effect of colony spatial structure on food dispersal. Sucrose water spiked with rabbit IgG protein was presented to colonies with varying spatial configurations in laboratory and field experiments. In monodomous lab colonies, the rate and extent of food dispersal was rapid due to a decrease in foraging area. In polydomous colonies, food dispersal was slower because conspecifics were forced to forage and share food over longer distances. However, over time, food was present in all extremities of the colony. Experiments conducted in the field produced similar results, with nests in close proximity to food yielding higher percentages of workers scoring positive for the marker. However, the percentage of workers possessing the marker decreased over time. Results from this study provide experimental data on mechanisms of food dispersal in monodomous and polydomous colonies of ants, and may be important for increasing the efficacy of management strategies against T. sessile and other pest ant species. PMID:25688088

  13. The effects of colony structure and resource abundance on food dispersal in Tapinoma sessile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Van Weelden, M T; Bennett, G; Buczkowski, G

    2015-01-01

    The odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), exhibits a high degree of variation in colony spatial structure, which may have direct and indirect effects on foraging. Protein marking and mark-release-recapture techniques were utilized to examine the effect of colony spatial structure on food dispersal. Sucrose water spiked with rabbit IgG protein was presented to colonies with varying spatial configurations in laboratory and field experiments. In monodomous laboratory colonies, the rate and extent of food dispersal was rapid due to a decrease in foraging area. In polydomous colonies, food dispersal was slower because conspecifics were forced to forage and share food over longer distances. However, over time, food was present in all extremities of the colony. Experiments conducted in the field produced similar results, with nests in close proximity to food yielding higher percentages of workers scoring positive for the marker. However, the percentage of workers possessing the marker decreased over time. Results from this study provide experimental data on mechanisms of food dispersal in monodomous and polydomous colonies of ants and may be important for increasing the efficacy of management strategies against T. sessile and other pest ant species. PMID:25881634

  14. Nest architecture shapes the collective behaviour of harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2015-10-01

    Structures influence how individuals interact and, therefore, shape the collective behaviours that emerge from these interactions. Here I show that the structure of a nest influences the collective behaviour of harvester ant colonies. Using network analysis, I quantify nest architecture and find that as chamber connectivity and redundancy of connections among chambers increase, so does a colony's speed of recruitment to food. Interestingly, the volume of the chambers did not influence speed of recruitment, suggesting that the spatial organization of a nest has a greater impact on collective behaviour than the number of workers it can hold. Thus, by changing spatial constraints on social interactions organisms can modify their behaviour and impact their fitness. PMID:26490416

  15. [The ants: a strategy of population concentration].

    PubMed

    Zakharov, A A

    2011-01-01

    Ants are provided with a balanced system of reactions either to the original paucity of socia or to their secondary depopulation. This system can be defined as a strategy of population concentration. Both a successful reproduction of workers and queen fertilization are necessary conditions for ant communities' survival and development. Thus, the anthills must be large enough to ensure optimal conditions for reproduction. It is the strategy of population concentration that is directed to an accelerated attainment (or rehabilitation) by a socium of a state of stable development by way of concentrating the existent ant staff in an accessible number of viable nests. This strategy is realized throughout the life of ant communities by way of (a) fusing the starting family cells left by founder females, (b) fusing small anthills during artificial ant migrations, (c) uniting smaller socia or their joining other anthills, (d) reintegrating the secondary anthills (fragmentants) after an exogenous fragmentation of formicaries. Pooling and the attraction of deficient demographic resources from outside form the most efficient and quickest ways of reaching or restoring the threshold density levels. By realizing this strategy, the ants solve their paramount problems of anthill or settlement conservation at any particular time, as well as of providing some prospects for ant existence in the future. These problems are so vital for ant socia that they appear to hold priority over such other characteristics of utmost importance as genetic kinship or even species identity. The priority of social basics over genetic ones is unequivocally supported through mixed formicaries. A necessary condition for the realization of the strategy of population concentration is tolerance of highly developed social systems to the diversity of forms and to deviations from the norm. The use of one and the same mechanism at all stages of the life both of an individual socium and large ant settlements is

  16. Uncovering the complexity of ant foraging trails.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22482017

  17. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 2. Description of outbreaks by size, severity, and settings.

    PubMed

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

    2007-08-01

    This article is the second in a series of several by members of the Committee on the Control of Foodborne Illness of the International Association of Food Protection, and it continues the analysis of 816 outbreaks where food workers were implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. In this article, we discuss case morbidity and mortality and the settings where the 816 outbreaks occurred. Some of the outbreaks were very large; 11 involved more than 1,000 persons, 4 with more than 3,000 ill. The larger outbreaks tended to be extended over several days with a continuing source of infections, such as at festivals, resorts, and community events, or the contaminated product had been shipped to a large number of customers, e.g., icing on cakes or exported raspberries. There were five outbreaks with more than 100 persons hospitalized, with rates ranging from 9.9 to 100%. However, overall, the hospitalization rate was low (1.4%), and deaths were rare (0.11% of the 80,682 cases). Many of the deaths were associated with high-risk persons (i.e., those who had underlying diseases, malnutrition, or both, as in a refugee camp, or young children), but a few occurred with apparently healthy adults. An analysis of the settings for the food worker-related events showed that most of the outbreaks came from food service facilities (376 outbreaks [46.1%]), followed by catered events (126 outbreaks [15.4%]), the home (83 outbreaks [10.2%]), schools and day care centers (49 [6.0%]), and health care institutions (43 outbreaks [5.3%]). However, many cases resulted from relatively few outbreaks (< 30 each) associated with community events (9,726), processing plants (8,580), mobile/temporary service (5,367), and camps/ armed forces (5,117). The single most frequently reported setting was restaurants, with 324 outbreaks and 16,938 cases. Improper hygienic practices in homes, on picnics, or at community events accounted for 89 of the 816 outbreaks. There were 18 outbreaks associated with

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

    Phthalates are synthetic contaminants released into the environment notably by plastic waste. Semi-volatile, they adsorb to atmospheric particles and get distributed in all ecosystems. Effects of this major anthropogenic pollution in economical species in aquatic habitats have attracted large interest. On the contrary, very few studies have focused on wild terrestrial species. Yet, these lipophilic molecules are easily trapped by insect cuticle; ants and other insects have been shown to permanently bear among their cuticular components a non-negligible proportion of phthalates, meaning that they suffer from chronic exposure to these pollutants. Oral route could also be an additional way of contamination, as phthalates tend to stick to any organic particle. We show here via a food choice experiment that Lasius niger workers can detect, and avoid feeding on, food contaminated with DEHP (DiEthyl Hexyl Phthalate), the most widespread phthalate found in nature. This suggests that the main source of contamination for ants is atmosphere and that doses measured on the cuticle correspond to the chronic exposure levels for these animals. Such an ecologically relevant dose of DEHP was used to contaminate ants in lab and to investigate their physiological impact. Over a chronic exposure (1 dose per week for 5 weeks), the egg-laying rate of queens was significantly reduced lending credence to endocrine disruptive properties of such a pollutant, as also described for aquatic invertebrates. On the contrary, short term exposure (24h) to a single dose of DEHP does not induce oxidative stress in ant workers as expected, but leads to activation of the immune system. Because of their very large distribution, their presence in virtually all terrestrial ecosystems and their representation at all trophic levels, ants could be useful indicators of contamination by phthalates, especially via monitoring the level of activation of their immune state. PMID:24713390

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-22

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

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22972897

  2. Acoustical mimicry in a predatory social parasite of ants.

    PubMed

    Barbero, F; Bonelli, S; Thomas, J A; Balletto, E; Schönrogge, K

    2009-12-01

    Rapid, effective communication between colony members is a key attribute that enables ants to live in dominant, fiercely protected societies. Their signals, however, may be mimicked by other insects that coexist as commensals with ants or interact with them as mutualists or social parasites. We consider the role of acoustics in ant communication and its exploitation by social parasites. Social parasitism has been studied mainly in the butterfly genus Maculinea, the final instar larvae of which are host-specific parasites of Myrmica ants, preying either on ant grubs (predatory Maculinea) or being fed by trophallaxis (cuckoo Maculinea). We found similar significant differences between the stridulations of model queen and worker ant castes in both Myrmica sabuleti and Myrmica scabrinodis to that previously reported for Myrmica schencki. However, the sounds made by queens of all three Myrmica species were indistinguishable, and among workers, stridulations did not differ significantly in two of three species-pairs tested. Sounds recorded from the predatory caterpillars and pupae of Maculinea arion had similar or closer patterns to the acoustics of their host Myrmica sabuleti than those previously reported for the cuckoo Maculinea rebeli and its host Myrmica schencki, even though Maculinea rebeli caterpillars live more intimately with their host. We conclude that chemical mimicry enables Maculinea larvae to be accepted as colony members by worker ants, but that caterpillars and pupae of both predatory and cuckoo butterflies employ acoustical mimicry of queen ant calls to elevate their status towards the highest attainable position within their host's social hierarchy. PMID:19946088

  3. The ant, Aphaenogaster picea, benefits from plant elaiosomes when insect prey is scarce.

    PubMed

    Clark, Robert E; King, Joshua R

    2012-12-01

    Myrmecochory is a facultative, mutualistic interaction in which ants receive a protein-rich food reward (elaiosome) in return for dispersing plant seeds. In North American northeastern hardwood forests, Aphaenogaster ants are the primary genus dispersing myrmecochorous plants. In these forests, myrmecochores occur in plant guilds of understory spring ephemerals or seasonal greens. This mutualism has been demonstrated for Aphaenogaster rudis (Emery) and individual plant species, but it has not been demonstrated for other Aphaenogaster species or guilds of myrmecochores as they naturally occur. Aphaenogaster picea (Wheeler) colonies were fed three treatments over 5 mo: 1) a mixture of only elaiosomes from an entire plant guild, 2) a diet of only insect protein and 3) a combination diet of both elaiosomes and insect protein. This experiment investigated two potential hypotheses through which elaiosomes can benefit ants: 1) elaiosome proteins can substitute for protein nutritional requirements when ants are prey-limited, and 2) elaiosome nutrition can supplement insect protein when prey is ample. First, a mixture of elaiosomes from four myrmecochorous plant species provided to A. picea colonies was sufficient to maintain worker production, larval growth, and fat stores when no other food was available. A. picea colonies consuming elaiosomes as their only protein source could be sustained for a growing season (5 mo). Second, colonies fed both elaiosomes and protein did not yield more productive colonies than a control diet of just insect protein. These results support the hypothesis that myrmecochory is indeed a facultative mutualism in which ants take advantage of the protein content of elaiosomes when it is favorable, but when they are not limited by insect prey they do not gain any additional benefit from elaiosomes. PMID:23321086

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-19

    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 <1 h) to refuse piles before significant decomposition has a chance to occur. Here, we show that the cuticular chemistry of Argentine ant workers, 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

  5. Coming of age in an ant colony: cephalic muscle maturation accompanies behavioral development in Pheidole dentata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muscedere, Mario L.; Traniello, James F. A.; Gronenberg, Wulfila

    2011-09-01

    Although several neurobiological and genetic correlates of aging and behavioral development have been identified in social insect workers, little is known about how other age-related physiological processes, such as muscle maturation, contribute to task performance. We examined post-eclosion growth of three major muscles of the head capsule in major and minor workers of the ant Pheidole dentata using workers of different ages with distinct task repertoires. Mandible closer muscle fibers, which provide bite force and are thus critical for the use of the mandibles for biting and load carrying, fill the posterio-lateral portions of the head capsule in mature, older workers of both subcastes. Mandible closer fibers of newly eclosed workers, in contrast, are significantly thinner in both subcastes and grow during at least the next 6 days in minor workers, suggesting this muscle has reduced functionality for a substantial period of adult life and thus constrains task performance capability. Fibers of the antennal muscles and the pharynx dilator, which control antennal movements and food intake, respectively, also increase significantly in thickness with age. However, these fibers are only slightly thinner in newly eclosed workers and attain their maximum thickness over a shorter time span in minors. The different growth rates of these functionally distinct muscles likely have consequences for how adult P. dentata workers, particularly minors, develop their full and diverse task repertoire as they age. Workers may be capable of feeding and interacting socially soon after eclosion, but require a longer period of development to effectively use their mandibles, which enable the efficient performance of tasks ranging from nursing to foraging and defense.

  6. How Ants Drop Out: Ant Abundance on Tropical Mountains

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and examined the impact of elevation (as a proxy for temperature) and community species richness. Sites were intentionally chosen to minimize variation in precipitation and seasonality. From sea level to 1500 m ant abundance very gradually declined, community richness declined more rapidly than abundance, and the local frequency of the locally most common species increased. These results suggest that within this elevational zone, density compensation is acting, maintaining high ant abundance as richness declines. In contrast, in sites above 1500 m, ant abundance dropped abruptly to much lower levels. Among these high montane sites, community richness explained much more of the variation in abundance than elevation, and there was no evidence of density compensation. The relative stability of abundance below 1500 m may be caused by opposing effects of temperature on productivity and metabolism. Lower temperatures may decrease productivity and thus the amount of food available for consumers, but slower metabolisms of consumers may allow maintenance of higher biomass at lower resource supply rates. Ant communities at these lower elevations may be highly interactive, the result of continuous habitat presence over geological time. High montane sites may be ephemeral in geological time, resulting in non-interactive communities dominated by historical and stochastic processes. Abundance in these sites may be determined by the number of species that manage to colonize and/or avoid extinction on mountaintops. PMID:25098722

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

    PubMed

    Roux, Olivier; Billen, Johan; Orivel, Jérôme; Dejean, Alain

    2010-01-01

    In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1) use anal spots to mark their territories, (2) drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3) drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then--in a surprising posture--tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment. PMID:20126536

  8. An Overlooked Mandibular-Rubbing Behavior Used during Recruitment by the African Weaver Ant, Oecophylla longinoda

    PubMed Central

    Roux, Olivier; Billen, Johan; Orivel, Jérôme; Dejean, Alain

    2010-01-01

    In Oecophylla, an ant genus comprising two territorially dominant arboreal species, workers are known to (1) use anal spots to mark their territories, (2) drag their gaster along the substrate to deposit short-range recruitment trails, and (3) drag the extruded rectal gland along the substrate to deposit the trails used in long-range recruitment. Here we study an overlooked but important marking behavior in which O. longinoda workers first rub the underside of their mandibles onto the substrate, and then—in a surprising posture—tilt their head and also rub the upper side of their mandibles. We demonstrate that this behavior is used to recruit nestmates. Its frequency varies with the rate at which a new territory, a sugary food source, a prey item, or an alien ant are discovered. Microscopy analyses showed that both the upper side and the underside of the mandibles possess pores linked to secretory glands. So, by rubbing their mandibles onto the substrate, the workers probably spread a secretion from these glands that is involved in nestmate recruitment. PMID:20126536

  9. Workers intake too much salt from dishes of eating out and food service cafeterias; direct chemical analysis of sodium content

    PubMed Central

    Park, Hae-Ryun; Lee, Seung-Lim; Kim, Jin-Young; Kang, Soon-Ah; Park, Kun-Young; Ryou, Hyun-Joo

    2009-01-01

    The average sodium intake of Koreans was reported to be 5,279.9 mg/day, which is one of the highest intake levels worldwide. The average Koreans intake 19.6% of sodium from kimchi, showing kimchi as the main contributor of sodium in this country (Ministry of Health and Welfare, 2005). The sodium content of dishes that are frequently chosen by workers, and which were served by foodservice cafeterias were chemically analyzed. The average sodium content of one meal provided by 10 foodservice cafeterias was 2,777.7 mg. Twenty-one, one-dish-meals, frequently chosen by workers for a lunch menu, were collected at 4 different restaurants for each menu by one male, aged in the twenties and analyzed chemically also. Workers who eat lunch at a workplace cafeteria everyday could intake about 8 g of salt at a one-time meal and those who eat out for a one-dish-meal would intake 3-8 g of salt without counting sodium content from the side dishes. From these study results, one could estimate that over 10 g of salt could be possible for a single meal for workers who eat out everyday. A nationwide nutrition campaign and education for low salt diets for restaurant owners and foodservice providers should be seriously considered. PMID:20098587

  10. [Occupational and lifestyle factors related to musculoskeletal and fatigue symptoms among middle-aged female workers in a frozen food processing factory].

    PubMed

    Mizoue, T; Nishisaka, S; Nishikuma, K; Yoshimura, T

    1996-09-01

    A survey was conducted on musculoskeletal and fatigue symptoms related to individual and work-related risk factors among middle-aged female workers in a frozen food processing factory by using a self-administered questionnaire. Proportions of workers who frequently experienced, during the last one month, stiff muscle or pain in the neck-shoulder, back and lower limbs were 32.9%, 26.8% and 15.9%, respectively. The proportion for fatigue symptom was 30.5%. Factors related to fatigue were: short duration of employment [odds ratio (OR) 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.9], light body weight [OR 0.6, CI 0.3-1.1], long house work [OR 1.7, CI 0.9-3.3], short sleep hours [OR 1.6, CI 1.0-2.5], walking to and from work [OR 0.5, CI 0.2-1.0], those related to back pain were: high body height [OR 2.4, CI 0.8-7.4], light body weight [OR 0.4, CI 0.2-0.9], those related to lower limb symptom were: working height below hip height [OR 2.3, CI 1.2-4.4], working height above shoulder height [OR 3.0, CI 1.5-5.7], high body height [OR 3.4, CI 1.2-10.1] and low body height [OR 2.4, CI 0.8-7.4]. Workers' subjective evaluation of height of work table was significantly related to the body height. These results indicate that it would be necessary to improve ergonomic aspects of work considering individual characteristics as well as to advise workers on their lifestyle. PMID:8936619

  11. Ecological stoichiometry of ants in a New World rain forest.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Diane W

    2005-01-01

    C:N stoichiometry was investigated in relation to diet (delta(15)N), N-deprivation, and worker body size for a diverse assemblage of tropical Amazonian ants. Relative nitrogen (N) deprivation was assayed for 54 species as an exchange ratio (ER), defined as SUCmin/AAmin, or the minimum sucrose concentration, divided by the minimum amino acid concentration, accepted as food by >/=50% of tested workers. On average, N-deprivation (ER) was almost fivefold greater for N-omnivorous and N-herbivorous (N-OH) taxa than for N-carnivores. In two-way ANOVAs at three taxonomic levels (species and species groups, genera, and tribes), higher ER was associated with small body size and (marginally) with less carnivorous diets. ERs did not differ systematically between trophobiont-tending and "leaf-foraging" functional groups, but specialized wound-feeders and coccid-tenders were prominent among high ER taxa. Paradoxically, some high ER taxa were among the most predatory members of their genera or subfamilies. Biomass % N was lower in N-OH taxa than in carnivores and varied inversely with N-deprivation (log ER) in the former taxa only. In an expanded data set, N-content increased allometrically in N-OHs, N-carnivores, and all ants combined, and with carnivory in large-bodied ants only. Exceptional taxa included small-bodied and predaceous Wasmannia, with high % N despite high ER, and Linepithema, with the lowest % N despite high delta(15)N. Patterns in C:N stoichiometry are explained largely at the genus level and above by elemental composition of alarm/defensive/offensive chemical weaponry and, perhaps in some cases, by reduced N investment in cuticle in taxa with high surface:volume ratios. Several consequences of C:N stoichiometry identify Azteca, and possibly Crematogaster, as taxa preadapted for their roles as prominent associates of myrmecophytes. C:N stoichiometry of ants should be incorporated into models of strategic colony design and examined in a phylogenetic context as

  12. Special Issue: Rural Workers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goodson, Elizabeth; And Others

    1995-01-01

    The issue discusses the role of the International Labour Office in the field of workers' education for rural workers and their organizations. Articles discuss labor conditions, child labor in agriculture, gender and equality training, trade unions, fair trade, and changing patterns of food production. Appendixes include information about…

  13. The ant raft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Hu, David; Equabai, Solomon

    2009-11-01

    To survive floods, fire ants link their arms together to assemble a raft with their own bodies. Because ants are nearly as dense as water, this cooperative behavior requires that a portion of the ant colony must sacrifice itself by remaining underwater to support the colony's weight. Surprisingly, few ants drown during this process due to a striking metamorphosis of the raft: as we show using time-lapse photography, the raft morphs from a spherical to a pancake shape. This pancake configuration--a monolayer of floating ants supporting their dry counterparts--allows all ants to both breathe and remain united as a colony. Data is presented in the form of the dimensions and the rates of formation of the ant raft. We use the statics of small floating bodies to account for the equilibrium raft size as a function of the initial mass and density of the ants.

  14. Congestion and communication in confined ant traffic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  15. Insect communication: 'no entry' signal in ant foraging.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Elva J H; Jackson, Duncan E; Holcombe, Mike; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2005-11-24

    Forager ants lay attractive trail pheromones to guide nestmates to food, but the effectiveness of foraging networks might be improved if pheromones could also be used to repel foragers from unrewarding routes. Here we present empirical evidence for such a negative trail pheromone, deployed by Pharaoh's ants (Monomorium pharaonis) as a 'no entry' signal to mark an unrewarding foraging path. This finding constitutes another example of the sophisticated control mechanisms used in self-organized ant colonies. PMID:16306981

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24955402

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-01

    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. PMID:22575583

  18. Fatty Amines from Little Black Ants, Monomorium minimum, and Their Biological Activities Against Red Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Chen, Jian

    2015-08-01

    Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, are significant invasive pests. Certain native ant species can compete with S. invicta, such as the little black ant, Monomorium minimum. Defensive secretions may contribute to the competition capacity of native ants. The chemistry of ant defensive secretions in the genus Monomorium has been subjected to extensive research. The insecticidal alkaloids, 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolidines and 2,5-dialkyl-pyrrolines have been reported to dominate the venom of M. minimum. In this study, analysis of defensive secretions of workers and queens of M. minimum revealed two primary amines, decylamine and dodecylamine. Neither amine has been reported previously from natural sources. Toxicity and digging suppression by these two amines against S. invicta were examined. Decylamine had higher toxicity to S. invicta workers than dodecylamine, a quicker knockdown effect, and suppressed the digging behavior of S. invicta workers at lower concentration. However, the amount of fatty amines in an individual ant was not enough to knockdown a fire ant or suppress its digging behavior. These amines most likely work in concert with other components in the chemical defense of M. minimum. PMID:26254063

  19. Pre-adaptive cadmium tolerance in the black garden ant.

    PubMed

    Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz

    2016-04-01

    The black garden ant Lasius niger is a common component of habitats subjected to anthropological stress. The species can develop very abundant populations in metal-polluted areas. In this study, we raised the question of its tolerance to Cd pollution. Workers of L. niger were collected from 54 colonies, originating from 19 sites located along an increasing gradient of Cd pollution in Poland. Ants were exposed to a range of dietary Cd concentrations in a controlled 14-day laboratory experiment in order to test Cd-sensitivity in the investigated ants. The level of ant mortality was recorded as the endpoint of the experiment. We used much higher concentrations of dietary Cd than those the ants are most likely exposed to in field conditions. The investigated ants were highly Cd-tolerant; even a very high dietary Cd concentration of approx. 1300 mg/kg did not affect mortality of workers when compared to the control. Mortality was unrelated to Cd-pollution along the pollution gradient, meaning that high Cd-tolerance can be found even in ants from unpolluted areas. The results stress the importance of pre-adaptive mechanisms in the development of metal tolerance in ants. PMID:26820778

  20. How to be an ant on figs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    PubMed Central

    Villesen, Palle; Murakami, Takahiro; Schultz, Ted R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2002-01-01

    Obligate mating of females (queens) with multiple males has evolved only rarely in social Hymenoptera (ants, social bees, social wasps) and for reasons that are fundamentally different from those underlying multiple mating in other animals. The monophyletic tribe of ('attine') fungus-growing ants is known to include evolutionarily derived genera with obligate multiple mating (the Acromyrmex and Atta leafcutter ants) as well as phylogenetically basal genera with exclusively single mating (e.g. Apterostigma, Cyphomyrmex, Myrmicocrypta). All attine genera share the unique characteristic of obligate dependence on symbiotic fungus gardens for food, but the sophistication of this symbiosis differs considerably across genera. The lower attine genera generally have small, short-lived colonies and relatively non-specialized fungal symbionts (capable of living independently of their ant hosts), whereas the four evolutionarily derived higher attine genera have highly specialized, long-term clonal symbionts. In this paper, we investigate whether the transition from single to multiple mating occurred relatively recently in the evolution of the attine ants, in conjunction with the novel herbivorous 'leafcutter' niche acquired by the common ancestor of Acromyrmex and Atta, or earlier, at the transition to rearing specialized long-term clonal fungi in the common ancestor of the larger group of higher attines that also includes the genera Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex. We use DNA microsatellite analysis to provide unambiguous evidence for a single, late and abrupt evolutionary transition from exclusively single to obligatory multiple mating. This transition is historically correlated with other evolutionary innovations, including the extensive use of fresh vegetation as substrate for the fungus garden, a massive increase in mature colony size and morphological differentiation of the worker caste. PMID:12184823

  2. Queen sex pheromone of the slave-making ant, Polyergus breviceps.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, Les; Tröger, Armin G; Francke, Wittko; McElfresh, J Steven; Topoff, Howard; Aliabadi, Ali; Millar, Jocelyn G

    2007-05-01

    Workers of the slave-making ant, Polyergus breviceps, raid nests of Formica ants and return with Formica pupae that mature into worker ants in the slave-makers' colony. These Formica workers then tend the Polyergus brood, workers, and reproductives. During raids in the mating season, winged virgin Polyergus queens accompany the workers in the raiding columns. During the raid, the virgin queens release a pheromone that attracts males that quickly mate with the queens. We report the identification, synthesis, and bioassay of the sex attractant pheromone of the queens as an approximately 1:6 ratio of (R)-3-ethyl-4-methylpentan-1-ol and methyl 6-methylsalicylate. The ants produce exclusively the (R)-enantiomer of the alcohol, and the (S)-enantiomer has no biological activity, neither inhibiting nor increasing attraction to blends of methyl 6-methylsalicylate with the (R)-enantiomer. PMID:17393281

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 9. Washing and drying of hands to reduce microbial contamination.

    PubMed

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

    2010-10-01

    During various daily activities at home and work, hands quickly become contaminated. Some activities increase the risk of finger contamination by pathogens more than others, such as the use of toilet paper to clean up following a diarrheal episode, changing the diaper of a sick infant, blowing a nose, or touching raw food materials. Many foodborne outbreak investigation reports have identified the hands of food workers as the source of pathogens in the implicated food. The most convenient and efficient way of removing pathogens from hands is through hand washing. Important components of hand washing are potable water for rinsing and soaps to loosen microbes from the skin. Hand washing should occur after any activity that soils hands and certainly before preparing, serving, or eating food. Antimicrobial soaps are marginally more effective than plain soaps, but constant use results in a buildup of the antimicrobial compound on the skin. The time taken to wash hands and the degree of friction generated during lathering are more important than water temperature for removing soil and microorganisms. However, excessive washing and scrubbing can cause skin damage and infections. Drying hands with a towel removes pathogens first by friction during rubbing with the drying material and then by wicking away the moisture into that material. Paper rather than cloth towels should be encouraged, although single-use cloth towels are present in the washrooms of higher class hotels and restaurants. Warm air dryers remove moisture and any surface microorganisms loosened by washing from hands by evaporation while the hands are rubbed together vigorously; however, these dryers take too long for efficient use. The newer dryers with high-speed air blades can achieve dryness in 10 to 15 s without hand rubbing. PMID:21067683

  5. Electroantennogram and behavioral responses of the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, to an alarm pheromone component and its analogues.

    PubMed

    Guan, Di; Lu, Yong-Yue; Liao, Xiao-Lan; Wang, Lei; Chen, Li

    2014-12-10

    A characteristic behavior in ants is to move rapidly to emission sources of alarm pheromones. The addition of ant alarm pheromones to bait is expected to enhance its attractiveness. To search for candidate compounds for bait enhancement in fire ant control, 13 related alkylpyrazine analogues in addition to synthetic alarm pheromone component were evaluated for electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral activities in Solenopsis invicta. Most compounds elicited dose-dependent EAG and behavioral responses. There exists a correlation between the EAG and behavioral responses. Among the 14 tested alkylpyrazines, three compounds, 2-ethyl-3,6(5)-dimethyl pyrazine (1), 2,3,5-trimethylpyrazine (7), and 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine (12), elicited significant alarm responses at a dose range of 0.1-1000 ng. Further bait discovery bioassay with the three most active alkylpyrazines demonstrated that food bait accompanied by sample-treated filter paper disk attracted significantly more fire ant workers in the first 15 min period. EAG and behavioral bioassays with pure pheromone isomers accumulated by semi-preparative high-performance liquid chromatography demonstrated that 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine was significantly more active than 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine. PMID:25415443

  6. Evolution and ecology of directed aerial descent in arboreal ants.

    PubMed

    Yanoviak, Stephen P; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert

    2011-12-01

    Directed aerial descent (DAD) is used by a variety of arboreal animals to escape predators, to remain in the canopy, and to access resources. Here, we build upon the discovery of DAD in ants of tropical canopies by summarizing its known phylogenetic distribution among ant genera, and within both the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae and the genus Cephalotes. DAD has multiple evolutionary origins in ants, occurring independently in numerous genera in the subfamilies Myrmicinae, Formicinae, and Pseudomyrmecinae. Ablation experiments and video recordings of ants in a vertical wind tunnel showed that DAD in Cephalotes atratus is achieved via postural changes, specifically orientation of the legs and gaster. The occurrence of DAD in Formicinae indicates that the presence of a postpetiole is not essential for the behavior. Evidence to date indicates that gliding behavior is accomplished by visual targeting mediated by the compound eyes, and is restricted to diurnally active ants that nest in trees. Occlusion of ocelli in Pseudomyrmex gracilis workers had no effect on their success or performance in gliding. Experimental assessment of the fate of ants that fall to the understory showed that ants landing in water are 15 times more likely to suffer lethal attacks than are ants landing in leaf litter. Variation in both the aerodynamic mechanisms and selective advantages of DAD merits further study given the broad taxonomic diversity of arboreal ants that engage in this intriguing form of flight. PMID:21562023

  7. 9 CFR 354.123 - Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. 354.123 Section 354.123 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem...

  8. 9 CFR 354.123 - Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. 354.123 Section 354.123 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem...

  9. 9 CFR 354.123 - Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. 354.123 Section 354.123 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem...

  10. 9 CFR 354.123 - Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... 9 Animals and Animal Products 2 2013-01-01 2013-01-01 false Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem inspection. 354.123 Section 354.123 Animals and Animal Products FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE... Inspection Procedures; Ante-Mortem Inspections § 354.123 Segregation of suspects on ante-mortem...

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

    PubMed

    Greenfield, Gary; Machado, Penousal

    2015-01-01

    Ant- and ant-colony-inspired ALife art is characterized by the artistic exploration of the emerging collective behavior of computational agents, developed using ants as a metaphor. We present a chronology that documents the emergence and history of such visual art, contextualize ant- and ant-colony-inspired art within generative art practices, and consider how it relates to other ALife art. We survey many of the algorithms that artists have used in this genre, address some of their aims, and explore the relationships between ant- and ant-colony-inspired art and research on ant and ant colony behavior. PMID:26280070

  12. The effects of fire on ant trophic assemblage and sex allocation

    PubMed Central

    Caut, Stephane; Jowers, Michael J; Arnan, Xavier; Pearce-Duvet, Jessica; Rodrigo, Anselm; Cerda, Xim; Boulay, Raphaël R

    2014-01-01

    Fire plays a key role in ecosystem dynamics worldwide, altering energy flows and species community structure and composition. However, the functional mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. Many ground-dwelling animal species can shelter themselves from exposure to heat and therefore rarely suffer direct mortality. However, fire-induced alterations to the environment may change a species' relative trophic level within a food web and its mode of foraging. We assessed how fire could affect ant resource utilization at different scales in a Mediterranean forest. First, we conducted isotopic analyses on entire ant species assemblages and their potential food resources, which included plants and other arthropods, in burned and unburned plots 1 year postfire. Second, we measured the production of males and females by nests of a fire-resilient species, Aphaenogaster gibbosa, and analyzed the differences in isotopic values among workers, males, and females to test whether fire constrained resource allocation. We found that, in spite of major modifications in biotic and abiotic conditions, fire had little impact on the relative trophic position of ant species. The studied assemblage was composed of species with a wide array of diets. They ranged from being mostly herbivorous to completely omnivorous, and a given species' trophic level was the same in burned and unburned plots. In A. gibbosa nests, sexuals had greater δ15N values than workers in both burned and unburned plots, which suggests that the former had a more protein-rich diet than the latter. Fire also appeared to have a major effect on A. gibbosa sex allocation: The proportion of nests that produced male brood was greater on burned zones, as was the mean number of males produced per nest with the same reproductive investment. Our results show that generalist ants with relatively broad diets maintained a constant trophic position, even following a major disturbance like fire. However, the

  13. Acoustic communication by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickling, Robert

    2002-05-01

    Many ant species communicate acoustically by stridulating, i.e., running a scraper over a washboard-like set of ridges. Ants appear to be insensitive to airborne sound. Consequently, myrmecologists have concluded that the stridulatory signals are transmitted through the substrate. This has tended to diminish the importance of acoustic communication, and it is currently believed that ant communication is based almost exclusively on pheromones, with acoustic communication assigned an almost nonexistent role. However, it can be shown that acoustic communication between ants is effective only if the medium is air and not the substrate. How, then, is it possible for ants to appear deaf to airborne sound and yet communicate through the air? An explanation is provided in a paper [R. Hickling and R. L. Brown, ``Analysis of acoustic communication by ants,'' J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 108, 1920-1929 (2000)]. Ants are small relative to the wavelengths they generate. Hence, they create a near field, which is characterized by a major increase in sound velocity (particle velocity of sound) in the vicinity of the source. Hair sensilla on the ants' antennae respond to sound velocity. Thus, ants are able to detect near-field sound from other ants and to exclude extraneous airborne sound.

  14. Ecological consequences of traffic organisation in ant societies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burd, Martin

    2006-12-01

    Many species of ants engage in social foraging in which traffic develops over pathways defined by pheromones or physical roads cleared through debris. Worker ants from the same colony have a common underlying evolutionary interest in their collective performance. Thus, ant traffic makes an interesting comparison to other kinds of cellular or organismal traffic composed of elements with varying degrees of shared or disparate goals. Recent studies have revealed how small-scale interactions among ants amplify to create large-scale traffic structure, such as segregation of counterflows. However, much less is known about the ecological costs and benefits of different kinds of traffic organization. The common assumption that maximum traffic flux provides maximum ecological benefit needs closer scrutiny. Ant traffic provides a potentially useful model system for experimental study of crowd panics, and for assessing the role of transport networks in creating scaling relationships between the size and activity rates of the entities they serve.

  15. Ant Homing Ability Is Not Diminished When Traveling Backwards.

    PubMed

    Ardin, Paul B; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2016-01-01

    Ants are known to be capable of homing to their nest after displacement to a novel location. This is widely assumed to involve some form of retinotopic matching between their current view and previously experienced views. One simple algorithm proposed to explain this behavior is continuous retinotopic alignment, in which the ant constantly adjusts its heading by rotating to minimize the pixel-wise difference of its current view from all views stored while facing the nest. However, ants with large prey items will often drag them home while facing backwards. We tested whether displaced ants (Myrmecia croslandi) dragging prey could still home despite experiencing an inverted view of their surroundings under these conditions. Ants moving backwards with food took similarly direct paths to the nest as ants moving forward without food, demonstrating that continuous retinotopic alignment is not a critical component of homing. It is possible that ants use initial or intermittent retinotopic alignment, coupled with some other direction stabilizing cue that they can utilize when moving backward. However, though most ants dragging prey would occasionally look toward the nest, we observed that their heading direction was not noticeably improved afterwards. We assume ants must use comparison of current and stored images for corrections of their path, but suggest they are either able to chose the appropriate visual memory for comparison using an additional mechanism; or can make such comparisons without retinotopic alignment. PMID:27147991

  16. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  17. Ant Homing Ability Is Not Diminished When Traveling Backwards

    PubMed Central

    Ardin, Paul B.; Mangan, Michael; Webb, Barbara

    2016-01-01

    Ants are known to be capable of homing to their nest after displacement to a novel location. This is widely assumed to involve some form of retinotopic matching between their current view and previously experienced views. One simple algorithm proposed to explain this behavior is continuous retinotopic alignment, in which the ant constantly adjusts its heading by rotating to minimize the pixel-wise difference of its current view from all views stored while facing the nest. However, ants with large prey items will often drag them home while facing backwards. We tested whether displaced ants (Myrmecia croslandi) dragging prey could still home despite experiencing an inverted view of their surroundings under these conditions. Ants moving backwards with food took similarly direct paths to the nest as ants moving forward without food, demonstrating that continuous retinotopic alignment is not a critical component of homing. It is possible that ants use initial or intermittent retinotopic alignment, coupled with some other direction stabilizing cue that they can utilize when moving backward. However, though most ants dragging prey would occasionally look toward the nest, we observed that their heading direction was not noticeably improved afterwards. We assume ants must use comparison of current and stored images for corrections of their path, but suggest they are either able to chose the appropriate visual memory for comparison using an additional mechanism; or can make such comparisons without retinotopic alignment. PMID:27147991

  18. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants

    PubMed Central

    Nehring, Volker; Evison, Sophie E. F.; Santorelli, Lorenzo A.; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Hughes, William O. H.

    2011-01-01

    Although social groups are characterized by cooperation, they are also often the scene of conflict. In non-clonal systems, the reproductive interests of group members will differ and individuals may benefit by exploiting the cooperative efforts of other group members. However, such selfish behaviour is thought to be rare in one of the classic examples of cooperation—social insect colonies—because the colony-level costs of individual selfishness select against cues that would allow workers to recognize their closest relatives. In accord with this, previous studies of wasps and ants have found little or no kin information in recognition cues. Here, we test the hypothesis that social insects do not have kin-informative recognition cues by investigating the recognition cues and relatedness of workers from four colonies of the ant Acromyrmex octospinosus. Contrary to the theoretical prediction, we show that the cuticular hydrocarbons of ant workers in all four colonies are informative enough to allow full-sisters to be distinguished from half-sisters with a high accuracy. These results contradict the hypothesis of non-heritable recognition cues and suggest that there is more potential for within-colony conflicts in genetically diverse societies than previously thought. PMID:21123270

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

    Information about predation risks is critical for herbivorous insects, and natural selection favors their ability to detect predators before oviposition and to select enemy-free foliage when offspring mortality risk is high. Food plants are selected by ovipositing butterflies, and offspring survival frequently varies among plants because of variation in the presence of predators. Eunica bechina butterflies oviposit on Caryocar brasiliense, an ant-defended plant. Experiments with dried Camponotus and Cephalotes ants pinned to leaves revealed that butterflies use ant size and form as visual cues to avoid ovipositing on plant parts occupied by ants more likely to kill larval offspring. Presence of sap-sucking bugs did not affect butterfly oviposition. This is the first demonstration that visual recognition of predators can mediate egg-laying decisions by an insect herbivore and that an insect will discriminate among different species of potential predators. This unusual behavioral capability permits specialization on a risky, ant-defended food plant. PMID:19456265

  1. A cuckoo-like parasitic moth leads African weaver ant colonies to their ruin.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme; Azémar, Frédéric; Hérault, Bruno; Corbara, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    In myrmecophilous Lepidoptera, mostly lycaenids and riodinids, caterpillars trick ants into transporting them to the ant nest where they feed on the brood or, in the more derived "cuckoo strategy", trigger regurgitations (trophallaxis) from the ants and obtain trophic eggs. We show for the first time that the caterpillars of a moth (Eublemma albifascia; Noctuidae; Acontiinae) also use this strategy to obtain regurgitations and trophic eggs from ants (Oecophylla longinoda). Females short-circuit the adoption process by laying eggs directly on the ant nests, and workers carry just-hatched caterpillars inside. Parasitized colonies sheltered 44 to 359 caterpillars, each receiving more trophallaxis and trophic eggs than control queens. The thus-starved queens lose weight, stop laying eggs (which transport the pheromones that induce infertility in the workers) and die. Consequently, the workers lay male-destined eggs before and after the queen's death, allowing the colony to invest its remaining resources in male production before it vanishes. PMID:27021621

  2. Microfungal "weeds" in the leafcutter ant symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Mueller, U G; Ortiz, A; Pagnocca, F C

    2008-11-01

    Leafcutter ants (Formicidae: tribe Attini) are well-known insects that cultivate basidiomycete fungi (Agaricales: Lepiotaceae) as their principal food. Fungus gardens are monocultures of a single cultivar strain, but they also harbor a diverse assemblage of additional microbes with largely unknown roles in the symbiosis. Cultivar-attacking microfungi in the genus Escovopsis are specialized parasites found only in association with attine gardens. Evolutionary theory predicts that the low genetic diversity in monocultures should render ant gardens susceptible to a wide range of diseases, and additional parasites with roles similar to that of Escovopsis are expected to exist. We profiled the diversity of cultivable microfungi found in 37 nests from ten Acromyrmex species from Southern Brazil and compared this diversity to published surveys. Our study revealed a total of 85 microfungal strains. Fusarium oxysporum and Escovopsis were the predominant species in the surveyed gardens, infecting 40.5% and 27% of the nests, respectively. No specific relationship existed regarding microfungal species and ant-host species, ant substrate preference (dicot versus grass) or nesting habit. Molecular data indicated high genetic diversity among Escovopsis isolates. In contrast to the garden parasite, F. oxysporum strains are not specific parasites of the cultivated fungus because strains isolated from attine gardens have similar counterparts found in the environment. Overall, the survey indicates that saprophytic microfungi are prevalent in South American leafcutter ants. We discuss the antagonistic potential of these microorganisms as "weeds" in the ant-fungus symbiosis. PMID:18369523

  3. Evolution of a soldier caste specialized to lay unfertilized eggs in the ant genus Crematogaster (subgenus Orthocrema).

    PubMed

    Peeters, Christian; Lin, Chung-Chi; Quinet, Yves; Martins Segundo, Glauco; Billen, Johan

    2013-05-01

    Among social Hymenoptera, only some ant genera have more than one morphological kind of non-reproductive adults. Individuals that are bigger than ordinary workers can function for defence and/or food storage. In Crematogaster (Orthocrema) smithi from Arizona, a third caste exists in addition to winged queens and workers; it is intermediate in size, weight and morphology, and individuals lay many unfertilized eggs that are mostly eaten by larvae (Heinze et al., 1995, 1999). We studied another three species belonging to the subgenus Orthocrema: Crematogaster pygmaea from Brazil, Crematogaster biroi and Crematogaster schimmeri from Taiwan. Using scanning electron microscopy and ovarian dissections, we show that 'intermediates' are a patchwork of queen-like and worker-like traits, just as in C. smithi; importantly the combinations differ across species. 'Intermediates' are numerically few in the colonies, and in C. pygmaea they are produced seasonally. Using histology we confirmed the lack of a spermatheca, thus they are not ergatoid queens. Based on the similarity of their mosaic phenotypes with those in other ant lineages, we suggest that Orthocrema 'intermediates' are a soldier caste with a specialized trophic function. This soldier caste has been reported in other Orthocrema species from Madagascar, Guinea and Costa Rica, suggesting that it is widespread in this subgenus. PMID:23459016

  4. [Prevalence of intestinal parasitoses in a sample of Italian and immigrant workers employed in the food sector of Turin].

    PubMed

    Rosso, S; Miotti, T

    1991-06-01

    We studied the prevalence of intestinal parasites in a random sample of immigrants and Italians employed in the food industry. Prevalence ranged from 20.8% among immigrants to 5.6% among Italians. Where helminths are widespread among Indochinese, protozoa are more common among africans. Three cases of Entamoeba histolytica in asymptomatic subjects were identified and successfully treated. We observed high levels of Giardia intestinalis both in Italians (2.2%) and immigrants (3.9%). Prevalence of intestinal protozoa was significantly associated with year of immigration, showing higher levels for new immigrants. The public health implications of parasite screening and treatment among recent immigrants were also discussed. PMID:1838507

  5. A model for collective dynamics in ant raids.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Shawn D

    2016-05-01

    Ant raiding, the process of identifying and returning food to the nest or bivouac, is a fascinating example of collective motion in nature. During such raids ants lay pheromones to form trails for others to find a food source. In this work a coupled PDE/ODE model is introduced to study ant dynamics and pheromone concentration. The key idea is the introduction of two forms of ant dynamics: foraging and returning, each governed by different environmental and social cues. The model accounts for all aspects of the raiding cycle including local collisional interactions, the laying of pheromone along a trail, and the transition from one class of ants to another. Through analysis of an order parameter measuring the orientational order in the system, the model shows self-organization into a collective state consisting of lanes of ants moving in opposite directions as well as the transition back to the individual state once the food source is depleted matching prior experimental results. This indicates that in the absence of direct communication ants naturally form an efficient method for transporting food to the nest/bivouac. The model exhibits a continuous kinetic phase transition in the order parameter as a function of certain system parameters. The associated critical exponents are found, shedding light on the behavior of the system near the transition. PMID:26304617

  6. [Coexistence mechanism of ant community in lac plantation under habitat heterogeneity].

    PubMed

    Wang, Si-ming; Chen, You-qing; Lu, Zhi-xing; Liu, Chun-ju; Guo, Zu-xue

    2010-10-01

    In order to reveal the coexistence mechanism of ant community in lac plantation, an investigation was made on the ant community composition and the ability of ant species in discovering and holding food resources in a lac plantation in Yayi Town of Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, with the relationships between ant body size and its ability of finding food under habitat heterogeneity probed. There were six dominant ant species in the plantation, i. e., Tetraponera allaborans (Walker), Crematogaster macaoensis Wheeler, Crematogasterferrarii Emery, Dolichoderus thoracicus (Smith), Polyrhachis proxima Roger, and Camponotus parius Emery. The hind leg length (y) of the six ant species increased allometrically with their head width (x), and the regression equation was y = 0.56 + 1.02x + 5.97x2 - 10.85x3. Different ant species had significant differences in their actual and relative frequency in discovering food resources in different habitats, but habitat type had no significant effects on the actual frequency in holding food resources by the ant species. The ant species with bigger head width and bigger body size index could discover more food resources in simple habitat. In contrast, the ant species with smaller head width, shorter hind leg length, and smaller body size index could discover more food resources in complex habitat. The heterogeneity of habitat caused the coexistence of ants: the smaller ant species lived in complex habitat, while the larger ones lived in simple habitat. In addition, numerically dominant ant species were unable to possess all resources, and thereby, could provide the opportunity to other ant species for resources acquisition, making the species coexistence come true. PMID:21328961

  7. Multilocus genetic characterization of two ant vectors (Group II ‘‘Dirty 22’’ species) known to contaminate food and food products and spread foodborne pathogens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration utilizes the presence of filth and extraneous materials as one of the criteria for implementing regulatory actions and assessing adulteration of food products of public health importance. Twenty-two prevalent pest species (also known as the ‘‘Dirty 22’’ species)...

  8. Clonal reproduction with androgenesis and somatic recombination: the case of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi.

    PubMed

    Okita, Ichiro; Tsuchida, Koji

    2016-04-01

    In haplodiploid insects such as ants, male sexuals develop from unfertilised haploid eggs, while female sexuals and workers develop from fertilized diploid eggs. However, some ant species do not exchange their gene pool between sexes; both male and female sexuals are clonally produced, while workers are sexually produced. To date, three ant species, Wasmannia auropunctata, Vollenhovia emeryi, and Paratrechina longicornis, have been reported to reproduce using such reproductive systems. In this study, we reveal that in one lineage of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, male and female sexuals are also clonally produced. In contrast to the abovementioned three species, the workers were not only sexually produced but had recombinant sequences in their nuclear internal transcribed spacer regions, although the recombinant sequences were not detected in male or female sexuals. These results suggest that the lineage likely possesses a mechanism to compensate for the reduction in genetic variation due to clonal reproduction with somatic recombination that occurs within the workers. PMID:26922778

  9. Clonal reproduction with androgenesis and somatic recombination: the case of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okita, Ichiro; Tsuchida, Koji

    2016-04-01

    In haplodiploid insects such as ants, male sexuals develop from unfertilised haploid eggs, while female sexuals and workers develop from fertilized diploid eggs. However, some ant species do not exchange their gene pool between sexes; both male and female sexuals are clonally produced, while workers are sexually produced. To date, three ant species, Wasmannia auropunctata, Vollenhovia emeryi, and Paratrechina longicornis, have been reported to reproduce using such reproductive systems. In this study, we reveal that in one lineage of the ant Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, male and female sexuals are also clonally produced. In contrast to the abovementioned three species, the workers were not only sexually produced but had recombinant sequences in their nuclear internal transcribed spacer regions, although the recombinant sequences were not detected in male or female sexuals. These results suggest that the lineage likely possesses a mechanism to compensate for the reduction in genetic variation due to clonal reproduction with somatic recombination that occurs within the workers.

  10. Recruitment strategies and colony size in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    Ants use a great variety of recruitment methods to forage for food or find new nests, including tandem running, group recruitment and scent trails. It has been known for some time that there is a loose correlation across many taxa between species-specific mature colony size and recruitment method. Very small colonies tend to use solitary foraging; small to medium sized colonies use tandem running or group recruitment whereas larger colonies use pheromone recruitment trails. Until now, explanations for this correlation have focused on the ants' ecology, such as food resource distribution. However, many species have colonies with a single queen and workforces that grow over several orders of magnitude, and little is known about how a colony's organization, including recruitment methods, may change during its growth. After all, recruitment involves interactions between ants, and hence the size of the colony itself may influence which recruitment method is used--even if the ants' behavioural repertoire remains unchanged. Here we show using mathematical models that the observed correlation can also be explained by recognizing that failure rates in recruitment depend differently on colony size in various recruitment strategies. Our models focus on the build up of recruiter numbers inside colonies and are not based on optimality arguments, such as maximizing food yield. We predict that ant colonies of a certain size should use only one recruitment method (and always the same one) rather than a mix of two or more. These results highlight the importance of the organization of recruitment and how it is affected by colony size. Hence these results should also expand our understanding of ant ecology. PMID:20694195

  11. Recruitment Strategies and Colony Size in Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Ants use a great variety of recruitment methods to forage for food or find new nests, including tandem running, group recruitment and scent trails. It has been known for some time that there is a loose correlation across many taxa between species-specific mature colony size and recruitment method. Very small colonies tend to use solitary foraging; small to medium sized colonies use tandem running or group recruitment whereas larger colonies use pheromone recruitment trails. Until now, explanations for this correlation have focused on the ants' ecology, such as food resource distribution. However, many species have colonies with a single queen and workforces that grow over several orders of magnitude, and little is known about how a colony's organization, including recruitment methods, may change during its growth. After all, recruitment involves interactions between ants, and hence the size of the colony itself may influence which recruitment method is used—even if the ants' behavioural repertoire remains unchanged. Here we show using mathematical models that the observed correlation can also be explained by recognizing that failure rates in recruitment depend differently on colony size in various recruitment strategies. Our models focus on the build up of recruiter numbers inside colonies and are not based on optimality arguments, such as maximizing food yield. We predict that ant colonies of a certain size should use only one recruitment method (and always the same one) rather than a mix of two or more. These results highlight the importance of the organization of recruitment and how it is affected by colony size. Hence these results should also expand our understanding of ant ecology. PMID:20694195

  12. Can the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) replace native ants in myrmecochory?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, Crisanto; Oliveras, Jordi

    2003-04-01

    We analyse the influence of the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile Mayr) on the seed dispersal process of the myrmecochorous plants Euphorbia characias, E. biumbellata, Genista linifolia, G. triflora, G. monspessulana and Sarothamnus arboreus. The observations were made in two study plots of Mediterranean cork-oak secondary forest (invaded and non-invaded by L. humile). The presence of L. humile implies the displacement of all native ant species that disperse seeds. Seed transports in the non-invaded zone were carried out by eight ant species. In the invaded zone, L. humile workers removed and transported seeds to the nest. In vertebrate exclusion trials, we observed the same level of seed removal in the invaded and non-invaded zones. Two findings could explain this result. Although mean time to seed localization was higher for native ants (431.7 s) than that for L. humile (150.5 s), the mean proportion of seeds transported after being detected was higher (50.1%) in non-invaded than in invaded (16.8%) zones. The proportion of seeds removed and transported into an ant nest after an ant-seed interaction had dramatically reduced from non-invaded (41.9%) to invaded (7.4%) zones. The levels of seed dispersal by ants found prior to invasion are unlikely to be maintained in invaded zones. However, total replacement of seed dispersal function is possible if contact iteration finally offers similar levels or quantities of seeds reaching the nests. The results obtained confirm that the Argentine ant invasion may affect myrmecochory dramatically in the Mediterranean biome.

  13. Ant Colonies Do Not Trade-Off Reproduction against Maintenance

    PubMed Central

    Scheuerlein, Alexander; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-01-01

    The question on how individuals allocate resources into maintenance and reproduction is one of the central questions in life history theory. Yet, resource allocation into maintenance on the organismic level can only be measured indirectly. This is different in a social insect colony, a “superorganism” where workers represent the soma and the queen the germ line of the colony. Here, we investigate whether trade-offs exist between maintenance and reproduction on two levels of biological organization, queens and colonies, by following single-queen colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior throughout the entire lifespan of the queen. Our results show that maintenance and reproduction are positively correlated on the colony level, and we confirm results of an earlier study that found no trade-off on the individual (queen) level. We attribute this unexpected outcome to the existence of a positive feedback loop where investment into maintenance (workers) increases the rate of resource acquisition under laboratory conditions. Even though food was provided ad libitum, variation in productivity among the colonies suggests that resources can only be utilized and invested into additional maintenance and reproduction by the colony if enough workers are available. The resulting relationship between per-capita and colony productivity in our study fits well with other studies conducted in the field, where decreasing per-capita productivity and the leveling off of colony productivity have been linked to density dependent effects due to competition among colonies. This suggests that the absence of trade-offs in our laboratory study might also be prevalent under natural conditions, leading to a positive association of maintenance, (= growth) and reproduction. In this respect, insect colonies resemble indeterminate growing organisms. PMID:26383861

  14. Ant Colonies Do Not Trade-Off Reproduction against Maintenance.

    PubMed

    Kramer, Boris H; Schrempf, Alexandra; Scheuerlein, Alexander; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-01-01

    The question on how individuals allocate resources into maintenance and reproduction is one of the central questions in life history theory. Yet, resource allocation into maintenance on the organismic level can only be measured indirectly. This is different in a social insect colony, a "superorganism" where workers represent the soma and the queen the germ line of the colony. Here, we investigate whether trade-offs exist between maintenance and reproduction on two levels of biological organization, queens and colonies, by following single-queen colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior throughout the entire lifespan of the queen. Our results show that maintenance and reproduction are positively correlated on the colony level, and we confirm results of an earlier study that found no trade-off on the individual (queen) level. We attribute this unexpected outcome to the existence of a positive feedback loop where investment into maintenance (workers) increases the rate of resource acquisition under laboratory conditions. Even though food was provided ad libitum, variation in productivity among the colonies suggests that resources can only be utilized and invested into additional maintenance and reproduction by the colony if enough workers are available. The resulting relationship between per-capita and colony productivity in our study fits well with other studies conducted in the field, where decreasing per-capita productivity and the leveling off of colony productivity have been linked to density dependent effects due to competition among colonies. This suggests that the absence of trade-offs in our laboratory study might also be prevalent under natural conditions, leading to a positive association of maintenance, (= growth) and reproduction. In this respect, insect colonies resemble indeterminate growing organisms. PMID:26383861

  15. Body size, colony size, abundance, and ecological impact of exotic ants in Florida's upland ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    With hundreds of species established in new localities around the world, ants are an important, widely distributed, and growing group of exotic animals. The success of many established exotic ants is hypothesized to be related to competitive advantages associated with smaller workers and larger col...

  16. Characteristics of Eleven Polymorphic Microsatellite Markers in the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We have isolated and characterized an additional 11 polymorphic microsatellite loci in the invasive ant Solenopsis invicta from a population within the United States. Primers were developed for the new microsatellite regions and their variability was tested on 96 worker ants collected from monogyne ...

  17. Release and establishment of the little decapitating fly Pseudacteon cultellatus on imported fire ants in Florida

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The little decapitating fly Pseudacteon cultellatus from Argentina was released as a self-sustaining biological control agent against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in Florida to parasitize small fire ant workers associated with multiple-queen colonies. This fly appears to be establi...

  18. Implications of stridulation behavior in the red and black imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis richteri Forel, and their hybrid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marquess, Jake

    Stridulation elicits a variety of behavioral responses in the Formicidae: distress, alarm and recruitment of nestmates. The intent of my research is to broaden the understanding of stridulation by investigating the morphology, multiple behaviors in which stridulation has been observed, and the behavioral response to the playback of these stridulatory signals in two closely related species, Solenopsis invicta, S. richteri, and their hybrid. A SEM examination of head width and the stridulatory organs of imported fire ant workers found the number of ridges on the "file" ( pars striden) to be positively correlated with body size. The increase in ridge number in relation to body size suggests that the number of pulses in each pulse train of the stridulation signal should increase as body size increases. Stridulation was not correlated with excavation behavior, but grinding, an incidental sound resulting from soil excavation, is a reliable indicator of excavation behavior. Absence of stridulation upon initial discovery of the food source and low amount of stridulation observed with ten or less ants present at the food source indicates that stridulation does not serve as an initial short range recruitment signal to nearby nestmates. Furthermore, over 90% of the total stridulation observed was recorded with 30 or more ants present at the food source. Finally, the time between calls decreased and the number of stridulations increased as more ants arrived at the food source. Stridulation in dyadic encounters between ants occurs almost exclusively during non-nestmate conspecitic interactions. Restrained ants or "defenders" accounted for 92.9% of the total stridulation observed compared to just 3.4% for "attackers." Restraint between the head and thorax or "neck" evoked the highest level of stridulation in majors. Stridulation during non-nestmate interactions is size specific, as trials involving majors had nearly twice as much stridulation (88.3%), than trials with mediums

  19. Commercial agrochemical applications in vineyards do not influence ant communities.

    PubMed

    Chong, Chee Seng; Hoffmann, Ary A; Thomson, Linda J

    2007-12-01

    Ants have been widely used as bioindicators for various terrestrial monitoring and assessment programs but are seldom considered in evaluation of nontarget pesticide effect. Much chemical assessment has been biased toward laboratory and bioassay testing for control of specific pest ant species. Several field studies that did explore the nontarget impacts of pesticides on ants have reported contradictory findings. To address the impact of chemical applications on ants, we tested the response of epigeal ant assemblages and community structure to three pesticide gradients (cumulative International Organization for Biological and Integrated Control toxicity rating, chlorpyrifos use rate, and sulfur use rate) in 19 vineyards. Ordination analyses using nonmetric multidimensional scaling detected community structures at species and genus levels, but the structures were not explained by any pesticide variables. There was no consistent pattern in species and genus percentage complementarities and ant assemblages along pesticide gradients. In contrast, ant community structure was influenced by the presence of shelterbelts near the sampling area. Reasons for the resilience of ants to pesticides are given and assessment at the colony level instead of workers abundance is suggested. The presence of Linepithema humile (Mayr) is emphasized. PMID:18284765

  20. Colony-level impacts of parasitoid flies on fire ants.

    PubMed Central

    Mehdiabadi, Natasha J; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2002-01-01

    The red imported fire ant is becoming a global ecological problem, having invaded the United States, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and, most recently, Australia. In its established areas, this pest is devastating natural biodiversity. Early attempts to halt fire ant expansion with pesticides actually enhanced its spread. Phorid fly parasitoids from South America have now been introduced into the United States as potential biological control agents of the red imported fire ant, but the impact of these flies on fire ant populations is currently unknown. In the laboratory, we show that an average phorid density of as little as one attacking fly per 200 foraging ants decreased colony protein consumption nearly twofold and significantly reduced numbers of large-sized workers 50 days later. The high impact of a single phorid occurred mainly because ants decreased foraging rates in the presence of the flies. Our experiments, the first (to our knowledge) to link indirect and direct effects of phorids on fire ants, demonstrate that colonies can be stressed with surprisingly low parasitoid densities. We interpret our findings with regard to the more complex fire ant-phorid interactions in the field. PMID:12204130

  1. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  2. Spectacular Batesian mimicry in ants.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:15729761

  3. Pheromonal Control of Dealation and Oogenesis in Virgin Queen Fire Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, David J. C.; Blum, Murray S.

    1981-04-01

    In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, sexually mature virgin females are prevented from shedding their wings and becoming functional egg layers by the presence of the mated queen. Experimental data suggest that this inhibitory effect results from the action of a relatively nonvolatile primer pheromone (or pheromones) produced by the mated queen and distributed by the workers. Target ants are both virgin queens and workers.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Social coercion of larval development in an ant species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

    Ants provide one of the best examples of the division of labor in animal societies. While the queens reproduce, workers generally refrain from laying eggs and dedicate themselves exclusively to domestic tasks. In many species, the small diploid larvae are bipotent and can develop either into workers or queens depending mostly on environmental cues. This generates a conflicting situation between the adults that tend to rear a majority of larvae into workers and the larvae whose individual interest may be to develop into reproductive queens. We tested the social regulation of larval caste fate in the fission-performing ant Aphaenogaster senilis. We first observed interactions between resident workers and queen- and worker-destined larvae in presence/absence of the queen. The results show that workers tend to specifically eliminate queen-destined larvae when the queen is present but not when she is absent or imprisoned in a small cage allowing for volatile pheromone exchanges. In addition, we found that the presence of already developed queen-destined larvae does not inhibit the development of younger still bipotent larvae into queens. Finally, we analyzed the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of queen- and worker-destined larvae and found no significant quantitative or qualitative difference. Interestingly, the total amount of hydrocarbons on both larval castes is extremely low, which lends credence on the chemical insignificance hypothesis of larval ants. Overall, our results suggest that workers control larval development and police larvae that would develop into queens instead of workers. Such policing behavior is similar in many aspects to what is known of worker policing among adults. PMID:26874941

  7. The Pied Piper: A Parasitic Beetle’s Melodies Modulate Ant Behaviours

    PubMed Central

    Di Giulio, Andrea; Maurizi, Emanuela; Barbero, Francesca; Sala, Marco; Fattorini, Simone; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona

    2015-01-01

    Ants use various communication channels to regulate their social organisation. The main channel that drives almost all the ants’ activities and behaviours is the chemical one, but it is long acknowledged that the acoustic channel also plays an important role. However, very little is known regarding exploitation of the acoustical channel by myrmecophile parasites to infiltrate the ant society. Among social parasites, the ant nest beetles (Paussus) are obligate myrmecophiles able to move throughout the colony at will and prey on the ants, surprisingly never eliciting aggression from the colonies. It has been recently postulated that stridulatory organs in Paussus might be evolved as an acoustic mechanism to interact with ants. Here, we survey the role of acoustic signals employed in the Paussus beetle-Pheidole ant system. Ants parasitised by Paussus beetles produce caste-specific stridulations. We found that Paussus can “speak” three different “languages”, each similar to sounds produced by different ant castes (workers, soldiers, queen). Playback experiments were used to test how host ants respond to the sounds emitted by Paussus. Our data suggest that, by mimicking the stridulations of the queen, Paussus is able to dupe the workers of its host and to be treated as royalty. This is the first report of acoustic mimicry in a beetle parasite of ants. PMID:26154266

  8. Social prophylaxis through distant corpse removal in ants.

    PubMed

    Diez, Lise; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis; Detrain, Claire

    2012-10-01

    Living in groups raises important issues concerning waste management and related sanitary risks. Social insects such as ants live at high densities with genetically related individuals within confined and humid nests, all these factors being highly favorable for the spread of pathogens. Therefore, in addition to individual immunity, a social prophylaxis takes place, namely, by the removal of risky items such as corpses and their rejection at a distance from the ant nest. In this study, we investigate how Myrmica rubra workers manage to reduce encounters between potentially hazardous corpses and nestmates. Using both field and laboratory experiments, we describe how the spatial distribution and the removal distance of waste items vary as a function of their associated sanitary risks (inert item vs. corpse). In the field, corpse-carrying ants walked in a rather linear way away from the nest entrance and had an equal probability of choosing any direction. Therefore, they did not aggregate corpses in dedicated areas but scattered them in the environment. In both field and laboratory experiments, ants carrying corpses dropped their load in more remote-and less frequented-areas than workers carrying inert items. However, for equidistant areas, ants did not avoid dropping corpses at a location where they perceived area marking as a cue of high occupancy level by nestmates. Our results suggest that ants use distance to the nest rather than other occupancy cues to limit sanitary risks associated with dead nestmates. PMID:22955492

  9. Social prophylaxis through distant corpse removal in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diez, Lise; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis; Detrain, Claire

    2012-10-01

    Living in groups raises important issues concerning waste management and related sanitary risks. Social insects such as ants live at high densities with genetically related individuals within confined and humid nests, all these factors being highly favorable for the spread of pathogens. Therefore, in addition to individual immunity, a social prophylaxis takes place, namely, by the removal of risky items such as corpses and their rejection at a distance from the ant nest. In this study, we investigate how Myrmica rubra workers manage to reduce encounters between potentially hazardous corpses and nestmates. Using both field and laboratory experiments, we describe how the spatial distribution and the removal distance of waste items vary as a function of their associated sanitary risks (inert item vs. corpse). In the field, corpse-carrying ants walked in a rather linear way away from the nest entrance and had an equal probability of choosing any direction. Therefore, they did not aggregate corpses in dedicated areas but scattered them in the environment. In both field and laboratory experiments, ants carrying corpses dropped their load in more remote—and less frequented—areas than workers carrying inert items. However, for equidistant areas, ants did not avoid dropping corpses at a location where they perceived area marking as a cue of high occupancy level by nestmates. Our results suggest that ants use distance to the nest rather than other occupancy cues to limit sanitary risks associated with dead nestmates.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. Polygyny and polyandry in small ant societies.

    PubMed

    Kellner, K; Trindl, A; Heinze, J; D'Ettorre, P

    2007-06-01

    Social insects, ants in particular, show considerable variation in queen number and mating frequency resulting in a wide range of social structures. The dynamics of reproductive conflicts in insect societies are directly connected to the colony kin structure, thus, the study of relatedness patterns is essential in order to understand the evolutionary resolution of these conflicts. We studied colony kin structure and mating frequencies in two closely related Neotropical ant species Pachycondyla inversa and Pachycondyla villosa. These represent interesting model systems because queens found new colonies cooperatively but, unlike many other ant species, they may still co-exist when the colony becomes mature (primary polygyny). By using five specific and highly variable microsatellite markers, we show that in both species queens usually mate with two or more males and that cofounding queens are always unrelated. Polygynous and polyandrous colonies are characterized by a high genetic diversity, with a mean relatedness coefficient among worker nestmates of 0.27 (+/- 0.03 SE) for P. inversa and 0.31 (+/- 0.05 SE) for P. villosa. However, relatedness among workers of the same matriline is high (0.60 +/- 0.03 in P. inversa, 0.62 +/- 0.08 in P. villosa) since males that mated with the same queen are on average closely related. Hence, we have found a new taxon in social Hymenoptera with high queen-mating frequencies and with intriguing mating and dispersal patterns of the sexuals. PMID:17561897

  12. Effect of Trail Bifurcation Asymmetry and Pheromone Presence or Absence on Trail Choice by Lasius niger Ants.

    PubMed

    Forster, Antonia; Czaczkes, Tomer J; Warner, Emma; Woodall, Tom; Martin, Emily; Ratnieks, Francis L W; Herberstein, M

    2014-08-01

    During foraging, ant workers are known to make use of multiple information sources, such as private information (personal memory) and social information (trail pheromones). Environmental effects on foraging, and how these interact with other information sources, have, however, been little studied. One environmental effect is trail bifurcation asymmetry. Ants forage on branching trail networks and must often decide which branch to take at a junction (bifurcation). This is an important decision, as finding food sources relies on making the correct choices at bifurcations. Bifurcation angle may provide important information when making this choice. We used a Y-maze with a pivoting 90° bifurcation to study trail choice of Lasius niger foragers at varying branch asymmetries (0°, [both branches 45° from straight ahead], 30° [branches at 30° and 60° from straight ahead], 45°, 60° and 90° [one branch straight ahead, the other at 90°]). The experiment was carried out either with equal amounts of trail pheromone on both branches of the bifurcation or with pheromone present on only one branch. Our results show that with equal pheromone, trail asymmetry has a significant effect on trail choice. Ants preferentially follow the branch deviating least from straight, and this effect increases as asymmetry increases (47% at 0°, 54% at 30°, 57% at 45°, 66% at 60° and 73% at 90°). However, when pheromone is only present on one branch, the graded effect of asymmetry disappears. Overall, however, there is an effect of asymmetry as the preference of ants for the pheromone-marked branch over the unmarked branch is reduced from 65%, when it is the less deviating branch, to 53%, when it is the more deviating branch. These results demonstrate that trail asymmetry influences ant decision-making at bifurcations and that this information interacts with trail pheromone presence in a non-hierarchical manner. PMID:25400307

  13. Effect of Trail Bifurcation Asymmetry and Pheromone Presence or Absence on Trail Choice by Lasius niger Ants

    PubMed Central

    Forster, Antonia; Czaczkes, Tomer J; Warner, Emma; Woodall, Tom; Martin, Emily; Ratnieks, Francis L W; Herberstein, M

    2014-01-01

    During foraging, ant workers are known to make use of multiple information sources, such as private information (personal memory) and social information (trail pheromones). Environmental effects on foraging, and how these interact with other information sources, have, however, been little studied. One environmental effect is trail bifurcation asymmetry. Ants forage on branching trail networks and must often decide which branch to take at a junction (bifurcation). This is an important decision, as finding food sources relies on making the correct choices at bifurcations. Bifurcation angle may provide important information when making this choice. We used a Y-maze with a pivoting 90° bifurcation to study trail choice of Lasius niger foragers at varying branch asymmetries (0°, [both branches 45° from straight ahead], 30° [branches at 30° and 60° from straight ahead], 45°, 60° and 90° [one branch straight ahead, the other at 90°]). The experiment was carried out either with equal amounts of trail pheromone on both branches of the bifurcation or with pheromone present on only one branch. Our results show that with equal pheromone, trail asymmetry has a significant effect on trail choice. Ants preferentially follow the branch deviating least from straight, and this effect increases as asymmetry increases (47% at 0°, 54% at 30°, 57% at 45°, 66% at 60° and 73% at 90°). However, when pheromone is only present on one branch, the graded effect of asymmetry disappears. Overall, however, there is an effect of asymmetry as the preference of ants for the pheromone-marked branch over the unmarked branch is reduced from 65%, when it is the less deviating branch, to 53%, when it is the more deviating branch. These results demonstrate that trail asymmetry influences ant decision-making at bifurcations and that this information interacts with trail pheromone presence in a non-hierarchical manner. PMID:25400307

  14. Chemical Defense by the Native Winter Ant (Prenolepis imparis) against the Invasive Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)

    PubMed Central

    Kauhanen, Peter G.; Fitzgerald, Katherine; Sturgis, Shelby J.; Chen, Jimmy; Dijamco, Cheri A.; Basurto, Kimberly N.; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21526231

  15. Yellow jackets may be an underestimated component of an ant-seed mutualism

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bale, M.T.; Zettler, J.A.; Robinson, B.A.; Spira, T.P.; Allen, C.R.

    2003-01-01

    Yellow jackets (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) are attracted to the typically ant-dispersed seeds of trilliums and will take seeds from ants in the genus Aphaenogaster. To determine if yellow jacket, Vespula maculifrons (Buysson), presence interferes with seed foraging by ants, we presented seeds of Trillium discolor Wray to three species (A. texana carolinensis Wheeler, Formica schaufussi Mayr, and Solenopsis invicta Buren) of seed-carrying ants in areas where vespids were present or excluded. We found that interspecific aggression between yellow jackets and ants is species specific. Vespid presence decreased average foraging time and increased foraging efficiency of two of the three ant species studied, a situation that might reflect competition for a limited food source. We also found that yellow jackets removed more seeds than ants, suggestive that vespids are important, albeit underestimated, components of ant-seed mutualisms.

  16. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Hybridization can have complex effects on evolutionary dynamics in ants because of the combination of haplodiploid sex-determination and eusociality. While hybrid non-reproductive workers have been found in a range of species, examples of gene-flow via hybrid queens and males are rare. We studied hybridization in East African army ants (Dorylus subgenus Anomma) using morphology, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and nuclear microsatellites. Results While the mitochondrial phylogeny had a strong geographic signal, different species were not recovered as monophyletic. At our main study site at Kakamega Forest, a mitochondrial haplotype was shared between a "Dorylus molestus-like" and a "Dorylus wilverthi-like" form. This pattern is best explained by introgression following hybridization between D. molestus and D. wilverthi. Microsatellite data from workers showed that the two morphological forms correspond to two distinct genetic clusters, with a significant proportion of individuals being classified as hybrids. Conclusions We conclude that hybridization and gene-flow between the two army ant species D. molestus and D. wilverthi has occurred, and that mating between the two forms continues to regularly produce hybrid workers. Hybridization is particularly surprising in army ants because workers have control over which males are allowed to mate with a young virgin queen inside the colony. PMID:21859477

  17. Corruption of ant acoustical signals by mimetic social parasites

    PubMed Central

    Schönrogge, Karsten; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca; Balletto, Emilio

    2010-01-01

    Recent recordings of the stridulations of Myrmica ants revealed that their queens made distinctive sounds from their workers, although the acoustics of queens and workers, respectively, were the same in different species of Myrmica. Queen recordings induced enhanced protective behavior when played to workers in the one species tested. Larvae and pupae of the butterfly genus Maculinea inhabit Myrmica colonies as social parasites, and both stages generate sounds that mimic those of a Myrmica queen, inducing similar superior treatments from workers as their model. We discuss how initial penetration and acceptance as a colony member is achieved by Maculinea through mimicking the species-specific semio-chemicals of their hosts, and how acoustical mimicry is then employed to elevate the parasite’s membership of that society towards the highest attainable level in their host’s hierarchy. We postulate that, if acoustics is as well developed a means of communication in certain ants as these studies suggest, then others among an estimated 10,000 species of ant social parasite may supplement their well-known use of chemical and tactile mimicry to trick host ants with mimicry of host acoustical systems. PMID:20585513

  18. Taxonomy and distribution of the ant Cataglyphis setipes (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Bharti, Himender

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Taxonomy and distribution of the ant species Cataglyphis setipes (Forel, 1894) is herewith detailed. C. setipes is redescribed, based on workers, queens, and males. Photomontage images of all castes are provided. Information on the distribution and ecology of this species is also given. A key to the Indian species of Cataglyphis is presented. PMID:25859129

  19. General Dissection of Female Ant Reproductive System and Brain

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Dissection of the reproductive system of ant workers and queens can be useful for answering many questions. Observations of ovarian status in both female castes can be used to identify relationships between other factors and the ovaries, determine whether an individual has laid eggs, and, with more ...

  20. Fire ant baits and biocontrol with pathogens update

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The insect growth regulator (IGR) methoprene (isopropyl-(2E,4E,7R,S)-11-methoxy-3,7,11-trimethyldodeca-2,4-dienoate) has been shown to have deleterious effects on red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta. It interferes with normal development of worker caste brood and reduces queen egg production...

  1. Water surface locomotion in tropical canopy ants.

    PubMed

    Yanoviak, S P; Frederick, D N

    2014-06-15

    Upon falling onto the water surface, most terrestrial arthropods helplessly struggle and are quickly eaten by aquatic predators. Exceptions to this outcome mostly occur among riparian taxa that escape by walking or swimming at the water surface. Here we document sustained, directional, neustonic locomotion (i.e. surface swimming) in tropical arboreal ants. We dropped 35 species of ants into natural and artificial aquatic settings in Peru and Panama to assess their swimming ability. Ten species showed directed surface swimming at speeds >3 body lengths s(-1), with some swimming at absolute speeds >10 cm s(-1). Ten other species exhibited partial swimming ability characterized by relatively slow but directed movement. The remaining species showed no locomotory control at the surface. The phylogenetic distribution of swimming among ant genera indicates parallel evolution and a trend toward negative association with directed aerial descent behavior. Experiments with workers of Odontomachus bauri showed that they escape from the water by directing their swimming toward dark emergent objects (i.e. skototaxis). Analyses of high-speed video images indicate that Pachycondyla spp. and O. bauri use a modified alternating tripod gait when swimming; they generate thrust at the water surface via synchronized treading and rowing motions of the contralateral fore and mid legs, respectively, while the hind legs provide roll stability. These results expand the list of facultatively neustonic terrestrial taxa to include various species of tropical arboreal ants. PMID:24920838

  2. Cuticular hydrocarbons mediate discrimination of reproductives and nonreproductives in the ant Myrmecia gulosa.

    PubMed

    Dietemann, Vincent; Peeters, Christian; Liebig, Jürgen; Thivet, Virginie; Hölldobler, Bert

    2003-09-01

    In many species of social insects, the cuticular hydrocarbons of adults vary with both colony identity and individual physiology (oogenesis). Such variations have been shown in some ants and social wasps to function in nestmate recognition, but as yet there is no demonstration of their use by workers to recognize egg layers. We report that in the ant Myrmecia gulosa, workers can discriminate queens and fertile workers from infertile individuals based on distinctive blends of long-chained hydrocarbons present both on the cuticle and in the postpharyngeal gland. The purified hydrocarbon fraction of cuticular extracts from queens elicited high interest in workers, unlike the nonhydrocarbon fraction. However, both fractions were necessary to trigger a response of maximal intensity. In contrast, extracts of mandibular and Dufour glands from queens or infertile workers were not treated differentially by workers. We suggest that cuticular hydrocarbons function as pheromones allowing for recognition of the queen as well as egg-laying workers. PMID:12920186

  3. Field techniques for sampling ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  4. Desert ants achieve reliable recruitment across noisy interactions

    PubMed Central

    Razin, Nitzan; Eckmann, Jean-Pierre; Feinerman, Ofer

    2013-01-01

    We study how desert ants, Cataglyphis niger, a species that lacks pheromone-based recruitment mechanisms, inform each other about the presence of food. Our results are based on automated tracking that allows us to collect a large database of ant trajectories and interactions. We find that interactions affect an ant's speed within the nest. Fast ants tend to slow down, whereas slow ones increase their speed when encountering a faster ant. Faster ants tend to exit the nest more frequently than slower ones. So, if an ant gains enough speed through encounters with others, then she tends to leave the nest and look for food. On the other hand, we find that the probability for her to leave the nest depends only on her speed, but not on whether she had recently interacted with a recruiter that has found the food. This suggests a recruitment system in which ants communicate their state by very simple interactions. Based on this assumption, we estimate the information-theoretical channel capacity of the ants’ pairwise interactions. We find that the response to the speed of an interacting nest-mate is very noisy. The question is then how random interactions with ants within the nest can be distinguished from those interactions with a recruiter who has found food. Our measurements and model suggest that this distinction does not depend on reliable communication but on behavioural differences between ants that have found the food and those that have not. Recruiters retain high speeds throughout the experiment, regardless of the ants they interact with; non-recruiters communicate with a limited number of nest-mates and adjust their speed following these interactions. These simple rules lead to the formation of a bistable switch on the level of the group that allows the distinction between recruitment and random noise in the nest. A consequence of the mechanism we propose is a negative effect of ant density on exit rates and recruitment success. This is, indeed, confirmed by

  5. Communal peeing: a new mode of flood control in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maschwitz, Ulrich; Moog, J.

    The behavioral response of the obligate bamboo-nesting ant Cataulacus muticus to nest flooding was studied in a perhumid tropical rainforest in Malaysia and in the laboratory. The hollow internodes of giant bamboo, in which C. muticus exclusively nests, are prone to flooding by heavy rains. The ants showed a two-graded response to flooding. During heavy rain workers block the nest entrances with their heads to reduce water influx. However, rainwater may still intrude into the nest chamber. The ants respond by drinking the water, leaving the nest and excreting water droplets on the outer stem surface. This cooperative 'peeing' behavior is a new survival mechanism adaptive to the ants' nesting ecology. Laboratory experiments conducted with two other Cataulacus species, C. catuvolcus colonizing small dead twigs and C. horridus inhabiting rotten wood, did not reveal any form of water-bailing behavior.

  6. Bait distribution among multiple colonies of Pharaoh ants (hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Oi, D H; Vail, K M; Williams, D F

    2000-08-01

    Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis (L.), infestations often consist of several colonies located at different nest sites. To achieve control, it is desirable to suppress or eliminate the populations of a majority of these colonies. We compared the trophallactic distribution and efficacy of two ant baits, with different modes of action, among groups of four colonies of Pharaoh ants. Baits contained either the metabolic-inhibiting active ingredient hydramethylnon or the insect growth regulator (IGR) pyriproxyfen. Within 3 wk, the hydramethylnon bait reduced worker and brood populations by at least 80%, and queen reductions ranged between 73 and 100%, when nests were in proximity (within 132 cm) to the bait source. However, these nest sites were reoccupied by ants from other colonies located further from the bait source. The pyriproxyfen bait was distributed more thoroughly to all nest locations with worker populations gradually declining by 73% at all nest sites after 8 wk. Average queen reductions ranged from 31 to 49% for all nest sites throughout the study. Even though some queens survived, brood reductions were rapid in the pyriproxyfen treatment, with reductions of 95% at all locations by week 3. Unlike the metabolic inhibitor, the IGR did not kill adult worker ants quickly, thus, more surviving worker ants were available to distribute the bait to all colonies located at different nest sites. Thus, from a single bait source, the slow-acting bait toxicant provided gradual, but long-term control, whereas the fast-acting bait toxicant provided rapid, localized control for a shorter duration. PMID:10985038

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-12-01

    Hand washing with soap is a practice that has long been recognized as a major barrier to the spread of disease in food production, preparation, and service and in health care settings, including hospitals, child care centers, and elder care facilities. Many of these settings present multiple opportunities for spread of pathogens within at-risk populations, and extra vigilance must be applied. Unfortunately, hand hygiene is not always carried out effectively, and both enteric and respiratory diseases are easily spread in these environments. Where water is limited or frequent hand hygiene is required on a daily basis, such as for many patients in hospitals and astronauts in space travel, instant sanitizers or sanitary wipes are thought to be an effective way of preventing contamination and spread of organisms among coworkers and others. Most concerns regarding compliance are associated with the health care field, but the food industry also must be considered. Specific reasons for not washing hands at appropriate times are laziness, time pressure, inadequate facilities and supplies, lack of accountability, and lack of involvement by companies, managers, and workers in supporting proper hand washing. To facilitate improvements in hand hygiene, measurement of compliant and noncompliant actions is necessary before implementing any procedural changes. Training alone is not sufficient for long-lasting improvement. Multiactivity strategies also must include modification of the organization culture to encourage safe hygienic practices, motivation of employees willing to use peer pressure on noncompliant coworkers, a reward and/or penalty system, and an operational design that facilitates regular hand hygiene. PMID:21219754

  8. How to coexist with fire ants: the roles of behaviour and cuticular compounds.

    PubMed

    Roux, Olivier; Rossi, Vivien; Céréghino, Régis; Compin, Arthur; Martin, Jean-Michel; Dejean, Alain

    2013-09-01

    Because territoriality is energetically costly, territorial animals frequently respond less aggressively to neighbours than to strangers, a reaction known as the "dear enemy phenomenon" (DEP). The contrary, the "nasty neighbour effect" (NNE), occurs mainly for group-living species defending resource-based territories. We studied the relationships between supercolonies of the pest fire ant Solenopsis saevissima and eight ant species able to live in the vicinity of its nests plus Eciton burchellii, an army ant predator of other ants. The workers from all of the eight ant species behaved submissively when confronted with S. saevissima (dominant) individuals, whereas the contrary was never true. Yet, S. saevissima were submissive towards E. burchellii workers. Both DEP and NNE were observed for the eight ant species, with submissive behaviours less frequent in the case of DEP. To distinguish what is due to chemical cues from what can be attributed to behaviour, we extracted cuticular compounds from all of the nine ant species compared and transferred them onto a number of S. saevissima workers that were then confronted with untreated conspecifics. The cuticular compounds from three species, particularly E. burchellii, triggered greater aggressiveness by S. saevissima workers, while those from the other species did not. PMID:23644041

  9. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... and the patient will develop difficulty breathing in addition to weakness. Patients who develop anaphylaxis and have a significant history of systemic reactions to fire ant stings should be checked for ...

  10. Interactions Increase Forager Availability and Activity in Harvester Ants

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26539724

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26539724

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

    Alarm pheromones in social insects are an essential part of a complex of pheromone interactions that contribute to the maintenance of colony integrity and sociality. The alarm pheromones of ants were among the first examples of animal pheromones identified, primarily because of the large amount of chemical produced and the distinctive responses of ants to the pheromone. However, the alarm pheromone of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, eluded identification for over four decades. We identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine as an alarm pheromone component of S. invicta. Worker fire ants detect the pyrazine alarm pheromone at 30 pg/ml, which is comparable to alarm pheromone sensitivities reported for other ant species. The source of this alarm pheromone are the mandibular glands, which, in fire ants, are not well developed and contain only about 300 pg of the compound, much less than the microgram quantities of alarm pheromones reported for several other ant species. Female and male sexuals and workers produce the pyrazine, which suggests that it may be involved in fire ant mating flight initiation, as well as the typical worker alarm response. This is the first report of 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine from a Solenopsis species and the first example of this alkaloid functioning as an alarm pheromone. PMID:20145982

  13. Hierarchy length in orphaned colonies of the ant Temnothorax nylanderi

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinze, J.

    2008-08-01

    Workers of the ant Temnothorax nylanderi form dominance orders in orphaned colonies in which only one or a few top-ranking workers begin to produce males from unfertilized eggs. Between one and 11 individuals initiated 80% of all aggression in 14 queenless colonies. As predicted from inclusive fitness models (Molet M, van Baalen M, Monnin T, Insectes Soc 52:247 256, 2005), hierarchy length was found to first increase with colony size and then to level off at larger worker numbers. The frequency and skew of aggression decreased with increasing size, indicating that rank orders are less pronounced in larger colonies.

  14. Taxonomic revision of the Neotropical Myrmicinae ant genus Blepharidatta Wheeler.

    PubMed

    Brandão, Carlos Roberto F; Feitosa, Rodrigo M; Diniz, Jorge L M

    2015-01-01

    We revise the taxonomy of the exclusively Neotropical Myrmicinae ant genus Blepharidatta (Attini), redescribing the known species (B. brasiliensis and B. conops), and describing two new species, B. delabiei sp. n. (Brazil: Bahia) and B. fernandezi sp. n. (Colombia: Amazonas). We also describe worker sting apparatuses, larvae, males, and ergatoid gynes of all species, except for B. fernandezi, known only from few worker specimens; we provide a key for identifying workers, present distribution maps for all species and summarize the knowledge on the biology of Blepharidatta species. PMID:26623844

  15. All-Optical Implementation of the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Wenchao; Wu, Kan; Shum, Perry Ping; Zheludev, Nikolay I.; Soci, Cesare

    2016-05-01

    We report all-optical implementation of the optimization algorithm for the famous “ant colony” problem. Ant colonies progressively optimize pathway to food discovered by one of the ants through identifying the discovered route with volatile chemicals (pheromones) secreted on the way back from the food deposit. Mathematically this is an important example of graph optimization problem with dynamically changing parameters. Using an optical network with nonlinear waveguides to represent the graph and a feedback loop, we experimentally show that photons traveling through the network behave like ants that dynamically modify the environment to find the shortest pathway to any chosen point in the graph. This proof-of-principle demonstration illustrates how transient nonlinearity in the optical system can be exploited to tackle complex optimization problems directly, on the hardware level, which may be used for self-routing of optical signals in transparent communication networks and energy flow in photonic systems.

  16. All-Optical Implementation of the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm.

    PubMed

    Hu, Wenchao; Wu, Kan; Shum, Perry Ping; Zheludev, Nikolay I; Soci, Cesare

    2016-01-01

    We report all-optical implementation of the optimization algorithm for the famous "ant colony" problem. Ant colonies progressively optimize pathway to food discovered by one of the ants through identifying the discovered route with volatile chemicals (pheromones) secreted on the way back from the food deposit. Mathematically this is an important example of graph optimization problem with dynamically changing parameters. Using an optical network with nonlinear waveguides to represent the graph and a feedback loop, we experimentally show that photons traveling through the network behave like ants that dynamically modify the environment to find the shortest pathway to any chosen point in the graph. This proof-of-principle demonstration illustrates how transient nonlinearity in the optical system can be exploited to tackle complex optimization problems directly, on the hardware level, which may be used for self-routing of optical signals in transparent communication networks and energy flow in photonic systems. PMID:27222098

  17. All-Optical Implementation of the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Wenchao; Wu, Kan; Shum, Perry Ping; Zheludev, Nikolay I.; Soci, Cesare

    2016-01-01

    We report all-optical implementation of the optimization algorithm for the famous “ant colony” problem. Ant colonies progressively optimize pathway to food discovered by one of the ants through identifying the discovered route with volatile chemicals (pheromones) secreted on the way back from the food deposit. Mathematically this is an important example of graph optimization problem with dynamically changing parameters. Using an optical network with nonlinear waveguides to represent the graph and a feedback loop, we experimentally show that photons traveling through the network behave like ants that dynamically modify the environment to find the shortest pathway to any chosen point in the graph. This proof-of-principle demonstration illustrates how transient nonlinearity in the optical system can be exploited to tackle complex optimization problems directly, on the hardware level, which may be used for self-routing of optical signals in transparent communication networks and energy flow in photonic systems. PMID:27222098

  18. Ant traffic rules.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-15

    Many animals take part in flow-like collective movements. In most species, however, the flow is unidirectional. Ants are one of the rare group of organisms in which flow-like movements are predominantly bidirectional. This adds to the difficulty of the task of maintaining a smooth, efficient movement. Yet, ants seem to fare well at this task. Do they really? And if so, how do such simple organisms succeed in maintaining a smooth traffic flow, when even humans experience trouble with this task? How does traffic in ants compare with that in human pedestrians or vehicles? The experimental study of ant traffic is only a few years old but it has already provided interesting insights into traffic organization and regulation in animals, showing in particular that an ant colony as a whole can be considered as a typical self-organized adaptive system. In this review we will show that the study of ant traffic can not only uncover basic principles of behavioral ecology and evolution in social insects but also provide new insights into the study of traffic systems in general. PMID:20581264

  19. Ants and ant scent reduce bumblebee pollination of artificial flowers.

    PubMed

    Cembrowski, Adam R; Tan, Marcus G; Thomson, James D; Frederickson, Megan E

    2014-01-01

    Ants on flowers can disrupt pollination by consuming rewards or harassing pollinators, but it is difficult to disentangle the effects of these exploitative and interference forms of competition on pollinator behavior. Using highly rewarding and quickly replenishing artificial flowers that simulate male or female function, we allowed bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) to forage (1) on flowers with or without ants (Myrmica rubra) and (2) on flowers with or without ant scent cues. Bumblebees transferred significantly more pollen analogue both to and from ant-free flowers, demonstrating that interference competition with ants is sufficient to modify pollinator foraging behavior. Bees also removed significantly less pollen analogue from ant-scented flowers than from controls, making this the first study to show that bees can use ant scent to avoid harassment at flowers. Ant effects on pollinator behavior, possibly in addition to their effects on pollen viability, may contribute to the evolution of floral traits minimizing ant visitation. PMID:24334742

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27252407

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

    PubMed Central

    Oh, Dong-Chan; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R.; Clardy, Jon

    2009-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants engage in mutualistic associations with both the fungus they cultivate for food and actinobacteria (Pseudonocardia spp.) that produce selective antibiotics to defend that fungus from specialized fungal parasites. In the first system to be analyzed at the molecular level, the bacterium associated with the ant Apterostigma dentigerum produces dentigerumycin, a cyclic depsipeptide with highly modified amino acids, to selectively inhibit the parasitic fungus (Escovopsis sp.). PMID:19330011

  2. Path efficiency of ant foraging trails in an artificial network.

    PubMed

    Vittori, Karla; Talbot, Grégoire; Gautrais, Jacques; Fourcassié, Vincent; Araújo, Aluizio F R; Theraulaz, Guy

    2006-04-21

    In this paper we present an individual-based model describing the foraging behavior of ants moving in an artificial network of tunnels in which several interconnected paths can be used to reach a single food source. Ants lay a trail pheromone while moving in the network and this pheromone acts as a system of mass recruitment that attracts other ants in the network. The rules implemented in the model are based on measures of the decisions taken by ants at tunnel bifurcations during real experiments. The collective choice of the ants is estimated by measuring their probability to take a given path in the network. Overall, we found a good agreement between the results of the simulations and those of the experiments, showing that simple behavioral rules can lead ants to find the shortest paths in the network. The match between the experiments and the model, however, was better for nestbound than for outbound ants. A sensitivity study of the model suggests that the bias observed in the choice of the ants at asymmetrical bifurcations is a key behavior to reproduce the collective choice observed in the experiments. PMID:16199059

  3. Migrant Workers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Social and Labour Bulletin, 1983

    1983-01-01

    Discusses a new German law to encourage foreign workers to return to their home countries, employment exchanges for young foreigners in Germany, and a training program for migrant workers in India. (SK)

  4. Slowing them down will make them lose: a role for attine ant crop fungus in defending pupae against infections?

    PubMed

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Wcislo, William T

    2016-09-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) have evolved an obligate dependency upon a basidiomycete fungus that they cultivate as their food. Less well known is that the crop fungus is also used by many attine species to cover their eggs, larvae and pupae. The adaptive functional significance of this brood covering is poorly understood. One hypothesis to account for this behaviour is that it is part of the pathogen protection portfolio when many thousands of sister workers live in close proximity and larvae and pupae are not protected by cells, as in bees and wasps, and are immobile. We performed behavioural observations on brood covering in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, and we experimentally manipulated mycelial cover on pupae and exposed them to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum to test for a role in pathogen resistance. Our results show that active mycelial brood covering by workers is a behaviourally plastic trait that varies temporally, and across life stages and castes. The presence of a fungal cover on the pupae reduced the rate at which conidia appeared and the percentage of pupal surface that produced pathogen spores, compared to pupae that had fungal cover experimentally removed or naturally had no mycelial cover. Infected pupae with mycelium had higher survival rates than infected pupae without the cover, although this depended upon the time at which adult sister workers were allowed to interact with pupae. Finally, workers employed higher rates of metapleural gland grooming to infected pupae without mycelium than to infected pupae with mycelium. Our results imply that mycelial brood covering may play a significant role in suppressing the growth and subsequent spread of disease, thus adding a novel layer of protection to their defence portfolio. PMID:27136600

  5. Chemical disguise as particular caste of host ants in the ant inquiline parasite Niphanda fusca (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae).

    PubMed

    Hojo, Masaru K; Wada-Katsumata, Ayako; Akino, Toshiharu; Yamaguchi, Susumu; Ozaki, Mamiko; Yamaoka, Ryohei

    2009-02-01

    The exploitation of parental care is common in avian and insect 'cuckoos' and these species engage in a coevolutionary arms race. Caterpillars of the lycaenid butterfly Niphanda fusca develop as parasites inside the nests of host ants (Camponotus japonicus) where they grow by feeding on the worker trophallaxis. We hypothesized that N. fusca caterpillars chemically mimic host larvae, or some particular castes of the host ant, so that the caterpillars are accepted and cared for by the host workers. Behaviourally, it was observed that the host workers enthusiastically tended glass dummies coated with the cuticular chemicals of larvae or males and those of N. fusca caterpillars living together. Cuticular chemical analyses revealed that N. fusca caterpillars grown in a host ant nest acquired a colony-specific blend of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). Furthermore, the CHC profiles of the N. fusca caterpillars were particularly close to those of the males rather than those of the host larvae and the others. We suggest that N. fusca caterpillars exploit worker care by matching their cuticular profile to that of the host males, since the males are fed by trophallaxis with workers in their natal nests for approximately ten months. PMID:18842547

  6. Worker Participation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shepherd, W. F.

    1973-01-01

    The philosophy and workability of the concept of worker participation in management decisions is discussed in the context of British society. It is recommended that four interests be represented in any kind of Workers' Council: management, workers, shareholders, and consumers. (AG)

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  9. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:23380232

  10. Behavioral plasticity in ant queens: environmental manipulation induces aggression among normally peaceful queens in the socially polymorphic ant Leptothorax acervorum.

    PubMed

    Trettin, Jürgen; Seyferth, Thomas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    The behavioral traits that shape the structure of animal societies vary considerably among species but appear to be less flexible within species or at least within populations. Populations of the ant Leptothorax acervorum differ in how queens interact with other queens. Nestmate queens from extended, homogeneous habitats tolerate each other and contribute quite equally to the offspring of the colony (polygyny: low reproductive skew). In contrast, nestmate queens from patchy habitats establish social hierarchies by biting and antennal boxing, and eventually only the top-ranking queen of the colony lays eggs (functional monogyny: high reproductive skew). Here we investigate whether queen-queen behavior is fixed within populations or whether aggression and high skew can be elicited by manipulation of socio-environmental factors in colonies from low skew populations. An increase of queen/worker ratio and to a lesser extent food limitation elicited queen-queen antagonism in polygynous colonies from Nürnberger Reichswald similar to that underlying social and reproductive hierarchies in high-skew populations from Spain, Japan, and Alaska. In manipulated colonies, queens differed more in ovarian status than in control colonies. This indicates that queens are in principle capable of adapting the magnitude of reproductive skew to environmental changes in behavioral rather than evolutionary time. PMID:24743352

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-02-01

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

  12. Opposable spines facilitate fine and gross object manipulation in fire ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassill, Deby; Greco, Anthony; Silwal, Rajesh; Wang, Xuefeng

    2007-04-01

    Ants inhabit diverse terrestrial biomes from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic tundra. One factor contributing to the ants’ successful colonization of diverse geographical regions is their ability to manipulate objects when excavating nests, capturing, transporting and rendering prey or grooming, feeding and transporting helpless brood. This paper is the first to report the form and function of opposable spines on the foretarsi of queens and workers used during fine motor and gross motor object manipulation in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. In conjunction with their mandibles, queens and workers used their foretarsi to grasp and rotate eggs, push or pull thread-like objects out of their way or push excavated soil pellets behind them for disposal by other workers. Opposable spines were found on the foretarsi of workers from seven of eight other ant species suggesting that they might be a common feature in the Formicidae.

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  15. The origin of the attine ant-fungus mutualism.

    PubMed

    Mueller, U G; Schultz, T R; Currie, C R; Adams, R M; Malloch, D

    2001-06-01

    Cultivation of fungus for food originated about 45-65 million years ago in the ancestor of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae, tribe Attini), representing an evolutionary transition from the life of a hunter-gatherer of arthropod prey, nectar, and other plant juices, to the life of a farmer subsisting on cultivated fungi. Seven hypotheses have been suggested for the origin of attine fungiculture, each differing with respect to the substrate used by the ancestral attine ants for fungal cultivation. Phylogenetic information on the cultivated fungi, in conjunction with information on the nesting biology of extant attine ants and their presumed closest relatives, reveal that the attine ancestors probably did not encounter their cultivars-to-be in seed stores (von Ihering 1894), in rotting wood (Forel 1902), as mycorrhizae (Garling 1979), on arthropod corpses (von Ihering 1894) or ant faeces in nest middens (Wheeler 1907). Rather, the attine ant-fungus mutualism probably arose from adventitious interactions with fungi that grew on walls of nests built in leaf litter (Emery 1899), or from a system of fungal myrmecochory in which specialized fungi relied on ants for dispersal (Bailey 1920) and in which the ants fortuitously vectored these fungi from parent to offspring nests prior to a true fungicultural stage. Reliance on fungi as a dominant food source has evolved only twice in ants: first in the attine ants, and second in some ant species in the solenopsidine genus Megalomyrmex that either coexist as trophic parasites in gardens of attine hosts or aggressively usurp gardens from them. All other known ant-fungus associations are either adventitious or have nonnutritional functions (e.g., strengthening of carton-walls in ant nests). There exist no unambiguous reports of facultative mycophagy in ants, but such trophic ant-fungus interactions would most likely occur underground or in leaf litter and thus escape easy observation. Indirect evidence of fungivory can be deduced

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-10-01

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

  17. Effects of the ant Formica fusca on the transmission of microsporidia infecting gypsy moth larvae.

    PubMed

    Goertz, Dörte; Hoch, Gernot

    2013-06-01

    Transmission plays an integral part in the intimate relationship between a host insect and its pathogen that can be altered by abiotic or biotic factors. The latter include other pathogens, parasitoids, or predators. Ants are important species in food webs that act on various levels in a community structure. Their social behavior allows them to prey on and transport larger prey, or they can dismember the prey where it was found. Thereby they can also influence the horizontal transmission of a pathogen in its host's population. We tested the hypothesis that an ant species like Formica fusca L. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) can affect the horizontal transmission of two microsporidian pathogens, Nosema lymantriae Weiser (Microsporidia: Nosematidae) and Vairimorpha disparis (Timofejeva) (Microsporidia: Burenellidae), infecting the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Lymantriinae). Observational studies showed that uninfected and infected L. dispar larvae are potential prey items for F. fusca. Laboratory choice experiments led to the conclusion that F. fusca did not prefer L. dispar larvae infected with N. lymantriae and avoided L. dispar larvae infected with V. disparis over uninfected larvae when given the choice. Experiments carried out on small potted oak, Quercus petraea (Mattuschka) Liebl. (Fagaceae), saplings showed that predation of F. fusca on infected larvae did not significantly change the transmission of either microsporidian species to L. dispar test larvae. Microscopic examination indicated that F. fusca workers never became infected with N. lymantriae or V. disparis after feeding on infected prey. PMID:23926361

  18. Ant-based computing.

    PubMed

    Michael, Loizos

    2009-01-01

    A biologically and physically plausible model for ants and pheromones is proposed. It is argued that the mechanisms described in this model are sufficiently powerful to reproduce the necessary components of universal computation. The claim is supported by illustrating the feasibility of designing arbitrary logic circuits, showing that the interactions of ants and pheromones lead to the expected behavior, and presenting computer simulation results to verify the circuits' working. The conclusions of this study can be taken as evidence that coherent deterministic and centralized computation can emerge from the collective behavior of simple distributed Markovian processes such as those followed by biological ants, but also, more generally, by artificial agents with limited computational and communication abilities. PMID:19239348

  19. Multiple endosymbionts in populations of the ant Formica cinerea

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Many insects, including ants, are infected by maternally inherited Wolbachia endosymbiotic bacteria though other secondary endosymbionts have not been reported in ants. It has been suggested that the ability of Wolbachia to invade and remain in an ant population depends on the number of coexisting queens in a colony. We study the genetic and social structure of populations in the ant Formica cinerea which is known to have populations with either monogynous or polygynous colonies. We screen populations for several endosymbiotic bacteria to evaluate the presence of different endosymbionts, possible association between their prevalence and the social structure, and the association between endosymbiont prevalence and genetic differentiation of ant populations. Results We found three endosymbiotic bacteria; 19% of the nests were infected by Wolbachia, 3.8% by Cardinium and 33% by Serratia. There was significant variation among the populations regarding the proportion of nests infected by Serratia, Wolbachia and the pooled set of all the endosymbionts. Some individuals and colonies carried two of the bacteria, the frequency of double infections agreeing with the random expectation. The proportion of infected ants (individuals or colonies) did not correlate significantly with the population level relatedness values. The difference in the prevalence of Wolbachia between population pairs correlated significantly with the genetic distance (microsatellites) of the populations. Conclusions The discovery of several endosymbionts and co-infections by Wolbachia and Cardinium demonstrate the importance of screening several endosymbionts when evaluating their possible effects on social life and queen-worker conflicts over sex allocation. The low prevalence of Wolbachia in F. cinerea departs from the pattern observed in many other Formica ants in which all workers have been infected. It is likely that the strain of Wolbachia in F. cinerea differs from those in other

  20. Seasonal Dynamics of Imported Fire Ant Pedoturbation on Soils and Turfgrass in a Mississippi Sod Production Agroecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive mound-building imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) affect soil quality and crop nutrient management efforts at field and landscape scales. Worker ants actively modify the physical and biogeochemical properties of soil; these alterations are the direct result of nest construction, foraging,...

  1. The Ants Go Marching Millions by Millions: Invasive Ant Research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  2. The ants go marching millions by millions: invasive ant research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Invasive ants are a worldwide problem that is expanding both geographically and in intensity. Population explosions of invasive ants can overrun landscapes and inundate structures. Pest management professionals are often the first responders to complaints about invading ants. This session will fo...

  3. The trail pheromone of the venomous samsum ant, Pachycondyla sennaarensis.

    PubMed

    Mashaly, Ashraf Mohamed Ali; Ahmed, Ashraf Mohamed; Al-Abdullah, Mosa Abdullah; Al-Khalifa, Mohamed Saleh

    2011-01-01

    Ant species use branching networks of pheromone trails for orientation between nest and resources. The current study demonstrated that workers of the venomous samsum ant, Pachycondyla sennaarensis (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae), employ recruitment trail pheromones discharged from the Dufour's gland. Secretions of other abdomen complex glands, as well as hindgut gland secretions, did not evoke trail following. The optimum concentration of trail pheromone was found to be 0.1 gland equivalent/40 cm trail. This concentration demonstrated effective longevity for about one hour. This study also showed that P. sennaarensis and Tapinoma simrothi each respond to the trail pheromones of the other species as well as their own. PMID:21529253

  4. Defensive chemicals of tawny crazy ants, Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their toxicity to red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Rashid, Tahir; Feng, Guolei; Zhao, Liming; Oi, David; Drees, Bastiaan Bart M

    2013-12-15

    Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) has been reported as being able to displace Solenopsis invicta Buren, one of the most aggressive invasive ants in the world. Like S. invicta, N. fulva use chemical secretions in their defense/offense, which may contribute to their observed superior competition ability. In this study, the defensive chemicals of N. fulva workers and their toxicity against S. invicta workers were investigated. Like other formicine ants, N. fulva workers produce formic acid in their poison glands and 2-ketones and alkanes in Dufour glands. Of these, undecane and 2-tridecanone are two principal compounds in the Dufour gland. Topical LD50 values of 2-tridecanone and undecane against S. invicta workers ranged from 18.51 to 24.67 μg/ant and 40.39 to 84.82 μg/ant, respectively. Undecane and 2-tridecanone had significantly higher contact toxicity than formic acid, whereas formic acid had significantly higher fumigation toxicity than undecane and 2-tridecanone. The combination of 2-tridecanone as a contact toxin and formic acid as a fumigant significantly decreased KT50 values when compared to those of individual compounds. N. fulva does not seem unique in terms of the chemistry of its defensive secretion as compared to other formicine ants. However, this ant contained more than two orders of magnitude of formic acid (wt/wt) than other formicine ants and one order of magnitude of 2-tridecanone than the common crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille). The quantity, rather than quality, of the chemical secretion may contribute to the superior competition ability of N. fulva. PMID:24080354

  5. Universality in ant behaviour.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Kim; Papavassiliou, Dario; de Figueiredo, Alexandre; Franks, Nigel R; Sendova-Franks, Ana B

    2015-01-01

    Prediction for social systems is a major challenge. Universality at the social level has inspired a unified theory for urban living but individual variation makes predicting relationships within societies difficult. Here, we show that in ant societies individual average speed is higher when event duration is longer. Expressed as a single scaling function, this relationship is universal because for any event duration an ant, on average, moves at the corresponding average speed except for a short acceleration and deceleration at the beginning and end. This establishes cause and effect within a social system and may inform engineering and control of artificial ones. PMID:25411406

  6. The adaptive significance of inquiline parasite workers.

    PubMed Central

    Sumner, Seirian; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2003-01-01

    Social parasites exploit the socially managed resources of their host's society. Inquiline social parasites are dependent on their host throughout their life cycle, and so many of the traits inherited from their free-living ancestor are removed by natural selection. One trait that is commonly lost is the worker caste, the functions of which are adequately fulfilled by host workers. The few inquiline parasites that have retained a worker caste are thought to be at a transitional stage in the evolution of social parasitism, and their worker castes are considered vestigial and non-adaptive. However, this idea has not been tested. Furthermore, whether inquiline workers have an adaptive role outside the usual worker repertoire of foraging, brood care and colony maintenance has not been examined. In this paper, we present data that suggest that workers of the inquiline ant Acromyrmex insinuator play a vital role in ensuring the parasite's fitness. We show that the presence of these parasite workers has a positive effect on the production of parasite sexuals and a negative effect on the production of host sexuals. This suggests that inquiline workers play a vital role in suppressing host queen reproduction, thus promoting the rearing of parasite sexuals. To our knowledge, these are the first experiments on inquiline workers and the first to provide evidence that inquiline workers have an adaptive role. PMID:12816646

  7. Ant colonies prefer infected over uninfected nest sites.

    PubMed

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Linksvayer, Timothy A

    2014-01-01

    During colony relocation, the selection of a new nest involves exploration and assessment of potential sites followed by colony movement on the basis of a collective decision making process. Hygiene and pathogen load of the potential nest sites are factors worker scouts might evaluate, given the high risk of epidemics in group-living animals. Choosing nest sites free of pathogens is hypothesized to be highly efficient in invasive ants as each of their introduced populations is often an open network of nests exchanging individuals (unicolonial) with frequent relocation into new nest sites and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown with sporulating mycelium of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (infected nests), nests containing nestmates killed by freezing (uninfected nests), and empty nests. In contrast to the expectation pharaoh ant colonies preferentially (84%) moved into the infected nest when presented with the choice of an infected and an uninfected nest. The ants had an intermediate preference for empty nests. Pharaoh ants display an overall preference for infected nests during colony relocation. While we cannot rule out that the ants are actually manipulated by the pathogen, we propose that this preference might be an adaptive strategy by the host to "immunize" the colony against future exposure to the same pathogenic fungus. PMID:25372856

  8. Ant Colonies Prefer Infected over Uninfected Nest Sites

    PubMed Central

    Pontieri, Luigi; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Graham, Riley; Pedersen, Jes Søe; Linksvayer, Timothy A.

    2014-01-01

    During colony relocation, the selection of a new nest involves exploration and assessment of potential sites followed by colony movement on the basis of a collective decision making process. Hygiene and pathogen load of the potential nest sites are factors worker scouts might evaluate, given the high risk of epidemics in group-living animals. Choosing nest sites free of pathogens is hypothesized to be highly efficient in invasive ants as each of their introduced populations is often an open network of nests exchanging individuals (unicolonial) with frequent relocation into new nest sites and low genetic diversity, likely making these species particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. We investigated the nest site preference of the invasive pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis, through binary choice tests between three nest types: nests containing dead nestmates overgrown with sporulating mycelium of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (infected nests), nests containing nestmates killed by freezing (uninfected nests), and empty nests. In contrast to the expectation pharaoh ant colonies preferentially (84%) moved into the infected nest when presented with the choice of an infected and an uninfected nest. The ants had an intermediate preference for empty nests. Pharaoh ants display an overall preference for infected nests during colony relocation. While we cannot rule out that the ants are actually manipulated by the pathogen, we propose that this preference might be an adaptive strategy by the host to “immunize” the colony against future exposure to the same pathogenic fungus. PMID:25372856

  9. Metabolism and the rise of fungus cultivation by ants.

    PubMed

    Shik, Jonathan Z; Santos, Juan C; Seal, Jon N; Kay, Adam; Mueller, Ulrich G; Kaspari, Michael

    2014-09-01

    Most ant colonies are comprised of workers that cooperate to harvest resources and feed developing larvae. Around 50 million years ago (MYA), ants of the attine lineage adopted an alternative strategy, harvesting resources used as compost to produce fungal gardens. While fungus cultivation is considered a major breakthrough in ant evolution, the associated ecological consequences remain poorly understood. Here, we compare the energetics of attine colony-farms and ancestral hunter-gatherer colonies using metabolic scaling principles within a phylogenetic context. We find two major energetic transitions. First, the earliest lower-attine farmers transitioned to lower mass-specific metabolic rates while shifting significant fractions of biomass from ant tissue to fungus gardens. Second, a transition 20 MYA to specialized cultivars in the higher-attine clade was associated with increased colony metabolism (without changes in garden fungal content) and with metabolic scaling nearly identical to hypometry observed in hunter-gatherer ants, although only the hunter-gatherer slope was distinguishable from isometry. Based on these evolutionary transitions, we propose that shifting living-tissue storage from ants to fungal mutualists provided energetic storage advantages contributing to attine diversification and outline critical assumptions that, when tested, will help link metabolism, farming efficiency, and colony fitness. PMID:25141145

  10. Colony Fusion in a Parthenogenetic Ant, Pristomyrmex punctatus

    PubMed Central

    Satow, Show; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hirota, Tadao

    2013-01-01

    In the ant Pristomyrmex punctatus Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), all young workers lay a small number of eggs parthenogenetically. Some colonies consist of monoclonal individuals that provide high inclusive fitness, according to the kin selection theory. However, in some populations, a majority of the colonies contain multiple lineages. Intracolonial genetic variation of parthenogenetic ants cannot be explained by the multiple mating of single founderesses or by the foundation of a colony by multiple foundresses, which are the usual causes of genetically diverse colonies in social insects. Here, we hypothesized that the fusion of established colonies might facilitate the formation of multiclonal colonies. Colony fusion decreases indirect benefits because of the reduction in intracolonial relatedness. However, when suitable nesting places for overwintering are scarce, colony fusion provides a strategy for the survival of colonies. Here, ants derived from different colonies were allowed to encounter one another in a container with just one nesting place. Initially, high aggression was observed; however, after several days, no aggression was observed and the ants shared the nest. When the fused colonies were allowed to transfer to two alternative nests, ants from different colonies occupied the same nest. This study highlights the importance of limiting the number of nesting places in order to understand the genetic diversity of parthenogenetic ant colonies. PMID:23895053

  11. Cold resistance depends on acclimation and behavioral caste in a temperate ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Modlmeier, Andreas P.; Pamminger, Tobias; Foitzik, Susanne; Scharf, Inon

    2012-10-01

    Adjusting to low temperatures is important for animals living in cold environments. We studied the chill-coma recovery time in temperate ant workers ( Temnothorax nylanderi) from colonies collected in autumn and spring in Germany. We experimentally acclimated these ant colonies to cold temperatures followed by warm temperatures. As expected, cold-acclimated workers recovered faster from freezing temperatures, but subsequent heat acclimation did not change the short recovery times observed after cold acclimation. Hence, either heat acclimation improves cold tolerance, possibly as a general response to stress, or at least it does not negate enhanced cold tolerance following cold acclimation. Colonies collected in spring showed similar cold tolerance levels to cold-acclimated colonies in the laboratory. Next, we compared the chill-coma recovery time of different worker castes and found that exterior workers recovered faster than interior workers. This difference may be related to their more frequent exposure to cold, higher activity level, or distinct physiology. Interior workers were also heavier and showed a higher gaster-to-head ratio and thorax ratio compared to exterior workers. An obvious difference between exterior and interior workers is activity level, but we found no link between activity and cold tolerance. This suggests that physiology rather than behavioral differences could cause the increased cold tolerance of exterior workers. Our study reveals the importance of acclimation for cold tolerance under natural and standardized conditions and demonstrates differences in cold tolerance and body dimensions in monomorphic behavioral castes of an ant.

  12. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants.

    PubMed

    Helms, Jackson A; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types-claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32-38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55-63% higher wing loading, and 32-33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  13. Dispersal Polymorphisms in Invasive Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Helms, Jackson A.; Godfrey, Aaron

    2016-01-01

    In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types—claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests. Claustral and parasitic queens were similarly sized, but the abdomens of claustral queens weighed twice as much as those of their parasitic counterparts. Their heavier abdomens adversely impacted morphological predictors of flight ability, resulting in 32–38% lower flight muscle ratios, 55–63% higher wing loading, and 32–33% higher abdomen drag. In lab experiments maximum flight durations in claustral S. invicta queens decreased by about 18 minutes for every milligram of abdomen mass. Combining our results into a simple fitness tradeoff model, we calculated that an average parasitic S. invicta queen could produce only 1/3 as many worker offspring as a claustral queen, but could fly 4 times as long and have a 17- to 36-fold larger potential colonization area. Investigations of dispersal polymorphisms and their associated tradeoffs promises to shed light on range expansions in invasive species, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and the selective forces driving the recurrent evolution of parasitism in ants. PMID:27082115

  14. Ants: the supreme soil manipulators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This review focuses on the semiochemical interactions between ants and their soil environment. Ants occupy virtually every ecological niche and have evolved mechanisms to not just cope with, but also manipulate soil organisms. The metapleural gland, specific to ants was thought to be the major sourc...

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

    PubMed

    Cammaerts, Marie-Claire; 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  17. Alkaloid venom weaponry of three Megalomyrmex thief ants and the behavioral response of Cyphomyrmex costatus host ants.

    PubMed

    Adams, Rachelle M M; Jones, Tappey H; Longino, John T; Weatherford, Robert G; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2015-04-01

    Social parasites exploit other societies by invading and stealing resources. Some enter protected nests using offensive chemical weaponry made from alkaloid-based venom. We characterized the venoms of three Megalomyrmex thief ant species (M. mondabora, M. mondaboroides, and M. silvestrii) that parasitize the fungus-growing ants, and developed an ethogram to describe host ant reactions to raiding M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii parasites. We compared piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrolizidine venom alkaloid structures with synthetic samples from previous studies, and describe the novel stereochemistry of trans 2-hexyl-5-[8-oxononyl]-pyrrolidine (3) from M. mondabora. We showed that workers of Cyphomyrmex costatus, the host of M. mondaboroides and M. silvestrii, react to a sting by Megalomyrmex parasites mainly with submissive behavior, playing dead or retreating. Host submission also followed brief antennal contact. The behavior of C. costatus ants observed in this study was similar to that of Cyphomyrmex cornutus, host of M. mondabora, suggesting that the alkaloidal venoms with pyrrolidines from M. mondabora, piperidines from M. mondaboroides, and pyrolizidines from M. silvestrii may function similarly as appeasement and repellent allomones against host ants, despite their different chemical structure. With the use of these chemical weapons, the Megalomyrmex thief ants are met with little host resistance and easily exploit host colony resources. PMID:25833216

  18. Occurrence of antennal glands in ants.

    PubMed

    Renthal, Robert; Velasquez, Daniel; Olmos, David; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2008-11-01

    A previous report of the discovery of exocrine glands in the antennal club of queens and workers of Solenopsis invicta Buren, 1972 left open the question of the extent to which similar glands occur in the Formicidae family. We wanted to know if these antennal glands are unique to Solenopsis, or they are found in a wider taxonomic group. Using scanning electron microscopy, we examined the antennae of 41 ant species. Presence of the antennal glands was indicated by a characteristic circumferential ring of pores in a distal antennal segment of workers. Pores were found in the 9th antennal segment of all 26 species of Solenopsis examined. Pores were absent in the following: Monomorium minimum, M. pharaonis, Pheidole sp., Crematogaster sp., Linepithema humile, Forelius sp., Dorymyrmex sp., Paratrechina sp., Oecophylla smaragdina, Campanotus sp., Ectatomma ruidum, E. tuberlatum, and Pseudomyrmex ferruginea. However, pores were found in the antennal club of Tetramorium bicarinatum workers and queens. After KOH digestion of T. bicarinatum antennae, internal canals were observed in both workers and queens, and the canals are connected to spherical reservoirs in queens. T. bicarinatum was the only non-Solenopsis species examined, which showed evidence for antennal glands in the distal funiculus. PMID:18655135

  19. Thermoregulation strategies in ants in comparison to other social insects, with a focus on red wood ants ( Formica rufa group)

    PubMed Central

    Kadochová, Štěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2014-01-01

    Temperature influences every aspect of ant biology, especially metabolic rate, growth and development. Maintenance of high inner nest temperature increases the rate of sexual brood development and thereby increases the colony fitness. Insect societies can achieve better thermoregulation than solitary insects due to the former’s ability to build large and elaborated nests and display complex behaviour. In ants and termites the upper part of the nest, the mound, often works as a solar collector and can also have an efficient ventilation system. Two thermoregulatory strategies could be applied. Firstly the ants use an increased thermal gradient available in the mound for brood relocation. Nurse workers move the brood according to the thermal gradients to ensure the ideal conditions for development. A precise perception of temperature and evolution of temperature preferences are needed to make the correct choices. A second thermoregulatory strategy used by mound nesting ants is keeping a high temperature inside large nests. The unique thermal and insulation properties of the nest material help to maintain stable conditions, which is the case of the Wood ant genus Formica. Ants can regulate thermal loss by moving nest aggregation and alternating nest ventilation. Metabolic heat produced by ant workers or associated micro organisms is an important additional source of heat which helps to maintain thermal homeostasis in the nest. PMID:24715967

  20. Thermoregulation strategies in ants in comparison to other social insects, with a focus on red wood ants ( Formica rufa group).

    PubMed

    Kadochová, Stěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2013-01-01

    Temperature influences every aspect of ant biology, especially metabolic rate, growth and development. Maintenance of high inner nest temperature increases the rate of sexual brood development and thereby increases the colony fitness. Insect societies can achieve better thermoregulation than solitary insects due to the former's ability to build large and elaborated nests and display complex behaviour. In ants and termites the upper part of the nest, the mound, often works as a solar collector and can also have an efficient ventilation system. Two thermoregulatory strategies could be applied. Firstly the ants use an increased thermal gradient available in the mound for brood relocation. Nurse workers move the brood according to the thermal gradients to ensure the ideal conditions for development. A precise perception of temperature and evolution of temperature preferences are needed to make the correct choices. A second thermoregulatory strategy used by mound nesting ants is keeping a high temperature inside large nests. The unique thermal and insulation properties of the nest material help to maintain stable conditions, which is the case of the Wood ant genus Formica. Ants can regulate thermal loss by moving nest aggregation and alternating nest ventilation. Metabolic heat produced by ant workers or associated micro organisms is an important additional source of heat which helps to maintain thermal homeostasis in the nest. PMID:24715967

  1. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... In extreme cases, a rapid fall in blood pressure may result in shock and loss of consciousness. Symptoms of anaphylaxis require emergency medical treatment. Given the severity of a potential reaction, an accurate diagnosis for fire ant allergy is key to being prepared for ...

  2. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  3. Bat aggregation mediates the functional structure of ant assemblages.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Groc, Sarah; Hérault, Bruno; Rodriguez-Pérez, Héctor; Touchard, Axel; Céréghino, Régis; Delabie, Jacques H C; Corbara, Bruno

    2015-10-01

    In the Guianese rainforest, we examined the impact of the presence of guano in and around a bat roosting site (a cave). We used ant communities as an indicator to evaluate this impact because they occupy a central place in the functioning of tropical rainforest ecosystems and they play different roles in the food web as they can be herbivores, generalists, scavengers or predators. The ant species richness around the cave did not differ from a control sample situated 500m away. Yet, the comparison of functional groups resulted in significantly greater numbers of detritivorous fungus-growing and predatory ant colonies around the cave compared to the control, the contrary being true for nectar and honeydew feeders. The role of bats, through their guano, was shown using stable isotope analyses as we noted significantly greater δ(15)N values for the ant species captured in and around the cave compared to controls. PMID:26302832

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24022667

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

    PubMed

    Bhattacharyya, Nandita; Chakrabarti, Debkumar

    2012-01-01

    Women workers constitute one of the most vulnerable segments of the country's labour force. They often face different workplace health challenges than men do. They are engaged in a range of work that extends from heavy, monotonous, repetitive jobs, which are in many times experienced with low-paid and involves in long hours of work. Women's workplace health problems are frequently compounded by getting more of the same at home--the "double jeopardy" of domestic work. Specific issues to improve the workers motivation leading to enhancement of productivity and improving occupational health and safety were addressed. Context specific application of ergonomics principles were studied in the process of designing of work related equipment of local fruit processing units, as well as in tea industry, covering 180 subjects selected purposively. Ergonomic risk factors prevailed among the workers associates productivity and relevant health issues were quantified using QEC, RULA. NMQ was used to gather data on prevalence of CTDs among the workers. Pineapple peeling, tea leaves plucking were found highly labour intensive, done manually. Postures scores found were very high. WRMSDs were prevalent among the workers. Scope for ergonomic design intervention was observed to improve productivity and occupational health. PMID:23151732

  7. Ants Learn Aphid Species as Mutualistic Partners: Is the Learning Behavior Species-Specific?

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nakamuta, Kiyoshi; Nomura, Masashi

    2015-12-01

    In ant-aphid associations, many aphid species provide ants with honeydew and are tended by ants, whereas others are never tended and are frequently preyed upon by ants. In these relationships, ants must have the ability to discriminate among aphid species, with mutualistic aphids being accepted as partners rather than prey. Although ants reportedly use cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of aphids to differentiate between mutualistic and non-mutualistic species, it is unclear whether the ability to recognize mutualistic aphid species as partners is innate or involves learning. Therefore, we tested whether aphid recognition by ants depends on learning, and whether the learning behavior is species-specific. When workers of the ant Tetramorium tsushimae had previously tended the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, they were less aggressive toward this species. In addition, ants also reduced their aggressiveness toward another mutualistic aphid species, Aphis fabae, after tending A. craccivora, whereas ants remained aggressive toward the non-mutualistic aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, regardless of whether or not they had previous experience in tending A. craccivora. When ants were offered glass dummies treated with CHCs of these aphid species, ants that had tended A. craccivora displayed reduced aggression toward CHCs of A. craccivora and A. fabae. Chemical analyses showed the similarity of the CHC profiles between A. craccivora and A. fabae but not with A. pisum. These results suggest that aphid recognition of ants involves learning, and that the learning behavior may not be species-specific because of the similarity of CHCs between different aphid species with which they form mutualisms. PMID:26590597

  8. Myrmecophily in Hesperiidae. The case of Vettius tertianus in ant gardens.

    PubMed

    Orivel, J; Dejean, A

    2000-08-01

    The larvae of the hesperiid butterfly Vettius tertianus develop by eating the leaves of Aechmea mertensii, a bromeliad epiphyte restricted to ant gardens. The relationships between ants and V. tertianus larvae highlight the preferential association of the caterpillars with Pachycondyla goeldii (Ponerinae), an ant-garden initiator. The oviposition strategy of V. tertianus may thus imply the identification of the inhabiting ant species and not only the identification of the host plant. The caterpillars neither provide secretions to the ants, nor possess defensive devices (i.e. hairs or appendices) against ants. Their activity rhythm does not isolate them from foraging workers of P. goeldii and their shelters are also attainable by the ants. Moreover, as the cuticular lipid profiles of V. tertianus larvae are clearly different from those of the ants and also from the leaf-surface of A. mertensii, acceptance is not due to mimicry between larvae and plants or ants. However, the caterpillars deposit, on the leaf they eat, silk containing a mixture of substances very similar to those found on their own cuticle. No interaction with ants was recorded during observations, even though the ant gardens were patrolled by numerous P. goeldii individuals during their activity period. But when confronted with the caterpillar, none of the tested ant species reacted aggressively. These results suggest the existence of compounds, other than cuticular lipids, responsible for the absence of aggressiveness in the ants. The case of V. tertianus is relatively new as myrmecophily within Hesperiidae has been described only once. Moreover, it preferentially involves a member of the Ponerinae, a subfamily in which interactions with other arthropods are exceptional. PMID:11019365

  9. How patrollers set foraging direction in harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Greene, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2007-12-01

    Recruitment to food or nest sites is well known in ants; the recruiting ants lay a chemical trail that other ants follow to the target site, or they walk with other ants to the target site. Here we report that a different process determines foraging direction in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Each day, the colony chooses from among up to eight distinct foraging trails; colonies use different trails on different days. Here we show that the patrollers regulate the direction taken by foragers each day by depositing Dufour's secretions onto a sector of the nest mound about 20 cm long and leading to the beginning of a foraging trail. The patrollers do not recruit foragers all the way to food sources, which may be up to 20 m away. Fewer foragers traveled along a trail if patrollers had no access to the sector of the nest mound leading to that trail. Adding Dufour's gland extract to patroller-free sectors of the nest mound rescued foraging in that direction, while poison gland extract did not. We also found that in the absence of patrollers, most foragers used the direction they had used on the previous day. Thus, the colony's 30-50 patrollers act as gatekeepers for thousands of foragers and choose a foraging direction, but they do not recruit and lead foragers all the way to a food source. PMID:18171176

  10. GC-MS for characterization and identification of ant semiochemicals.

    PubMed

    Eliyahu, Dorit

    2009-07-01

    Living in a predominantly dark environment, ants rely mostly on chemical signals for communication. Trail and alarm pheromones are the most widely studied and best characterized of all ant semiochemicals, but other such compounds can influence a variety of other behaviors, including reproductive activities, sexual development, nest mate and caste recognition, and defense. A typical worker body contains more than 10 different semiochemical-producing glands, and the surface of the cuticle is covered with lipids that serve as recognition signals. The methods of choice for collection and identification of ant semiochemicals should be determined based on results of behavioral analyses. These can indicate the source (e.g., glandular, cuticular) and the nature (volatile vs. nonvolatile) of the chemical. This protocol presents a number of different methods for collecting lipid semiochemicals. These can be followed by gas chromatography (GC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) to better characterize, and possibly identify, the semiochemical in question. PMID:20147214

  11. Nest- and colony-mate recognition in polydomous colonies of meat ants ( Iridomyrmex purpureus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Wilgenburg, E.; Ryan, D.; Morrison, P.; Marriott, P. J.; Elgar, M. A.

    2006-07-01

    Workers of polydomous colonies of social insects must recognize not only colony-mates residing in the same nest but also those living in other nests. We investigated the impact of a decentralized colony structure on colony- and nestmate recognition in the polydomous Australian meat ant ( Iridomyrmex purpureus). Field experiments showed that ants of colonies with many nests were less aggressive toward alien conspecifics than those of colonies with few nests. In addition, while meat ants were almost never aggressive toward nestmates, they were frequently aggressive when confronted with an individual from a different nest within the same colony. Our chemical analysis of the cuticular hydrocarbons of workers using a novel comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography technique that increases the number of quantifiable compounds revealed both colony- and nest-specific patterns. Combined, these data indicate an incomplete transfer of colony odor between the nests of polydomous meat ant colonies.

  12. Caste-specific RNA editomes in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiye; Wang, Zongji; Lian, Jinmin; Schiøtt, Morten; Jin, Lijun; Zhang, Pei; Zhang, Yanyan; Nygaard, Sanne; Peng, Zhiyu; Zhou, Yang; Deng, Yuan; Zhang, Wenwei; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Zhang, Guojie

    2014-01-01

    Eusocial insects have evolved the capacity to generate adults with distinct morphological, reproductive and behavioural phenotypes from the same genome. Recent studies suggest that RNA editing might enhance the diversity of gene products at the post-transcriptional level, particularly to induce functional changes in the nervous system. Using head samples from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, we compare RNA editomes across eusocial castes, identifying ca. 11,000 RNA editing sites in gynes, large workers and small workers. Those editing sites map to 800 genes functionally enriched for neurotransmission, circadian rhythm, temperature response, RNA splicing and carboxylic acid biosynthesis. Most A. echinatior editing sites are species specific, but 8–23% are conserved across ant subfamilies and likely to have been important for the evolution of eusociality in ants. The level of editing varies for the same site between castes, suggesting that RNA editing might be a general mechanism that shapes caste behaviour in ants. PMID:25266559

  13. A Specialist Herbivore Uses Chemical Camouflage to Overcome the Defenses of an Ant-Plant Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Susan R.; Reid, Ellen; Sapp, Joseph; Poveda, Katja; Royer, Anne M.; Posto, Amanda L.; Kessler, André

    2014-01-01

    Many plants and ants engage in mutualisms where plants provide food and shelter to the ants in exchange for protection against herbivores and competitors. Although several species of herbivores thwart ant defenses and extract resources from the plants, the mechanisms that allow these herbivores to avoid attack are poorly understood. The specialist insect herbivore, Piezogaster reclusus (Hemiptera: Coreidae), feeds on Neotropical bull-horn acacias (Vachellia collinsii) despite the presence of Pseudomyrmex spinicola ants that nest in and aggressively defend the trees. We tested three hypotheses for how P. reclusus feeds on V. collinsii while avoiding ant attack: (1) chemical camouflage via cuticular surface compounds, (2) chemical deterrence via metathoracic defense glands, and (3) behavioral traits that reduce ant detection or attack. Our results showed that compounds from both P. reclusus cuticles and metathoracic glands reduce the number of ant attacks, but only cuticular compounds appear to be essential in allowing P. reclusus to feed on bull-horn acacia trees undisturbed. In addition, we found that ant attack rates to P. reclusus increased significantly when individuals were transferred between P. spinicola ant colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that chemical mimicry of colony-specific ant or host plant odors plays a key role in allowing P. reclusus to circumvent ant defenses and gain access to important resources, including food and possibly enemy-free space. This interaction between ants, acacias, and their herbivores provides an excellent example of the ability of herbivores to adapt to ant defenses of plants and suggests that herbivores may play an important role in the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. PMID:25047551

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22038287

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  16. Caste-specific visual adaptations to distinct daily activity schedules in Australian Myrmecia ants.

    PubMed

    Narendra, Ajay; Reid, Samuel F; Greiner, Birgit; Peters, Richard A; Hemmi, Jan M; Ribi, Willi A; Zeil, Jochen

    2011-04-22

    Animals are active at different times of the day and their activity schedules are shaped by competition, time-limited food resources and predators. Different temporal niches provide different light conditions, which affect the quality of visual information available to animals, in particular for navigation. We analysed caste-specific differences in compound eyes and ocelli in four congeneric sympatric species of Myrmecia ants, with emphasis on within-species adaptive flexibility and daily activity rhythms. Each caste has its own lifestyle: workers are exclusively pedestrian; alate females lead a brief life on the wing before becoming pedestrian; alate males lead a life exclusively on the wing. While workers of the four species range from diurnal, diurnal-crepuscular, crepuscular-nocturnal to nocturnal, the activity times of conspecific alates do not match in all cases. Even within a single species, we found eye area, facet numbers, facet sizes, rhabdom diameters and ocelli size to be tuned to the distinct temporal niche each caste occupies. We discuss these visual adaptations in relation to ambient light levels, visual tasks and mode of locomotion. PMID:20926444

  17. Caste-specific visual adaptations to distinct daily activity schedules in Australian Myrmecia ants

    PubMed Central

    Narendra, Ajay; Reid, Samuel F.; Greiner, Birgit; Peters, Richard A.; Hemmi, Jan M.; Ribi, Willi A.; Zeil, Jochen

    2011-01-01

    Animals are active at different times of the day and their activity schedules are shaped by competition, time-limited food resources and predators. Different temporal niches provide different light conditions, which affect the quality of visual information available to animals, in particular for navigation. We analysed caste-specific differences in compound eyes and ocelli in four congeneric sympatric species of Myrmecia ants, with emphasis on within-species adaptive flexibility and daily activity rhythms. Each caste has its own lifestyle: workers are exclusively pedestrian; alate females lead a brief life on the wing before becoming pedestrian; alate males lead a life exclusively on the wing. While workers of the four species range from diurnal, diurnal-crepuscular, crepuscular-nocturnal to nocturnal, the activity times of conspecific alates do not match in all cases. Even within a single species, we found eye area, facet numbers, facet sizes, rhabdom diameters and ocelli size to be tuned to the distinct temporal niche each caste occupies. We discuss these visual adaptations in relation to ambient light levels, visual tasks and mode of locomotion. PMID:20926444

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23140096

  19. Convergent evolution, superefficient teams and tempo in Old and New World army ants

    PubMed Central

    Franks, N. R.; Sendova-Franks, A. B.; Simmons, J.; Mogie, M.

    1999-01-01

    Swarm raiding army ants, with hundreds of thousands or millions of workers per colony, have evolved convergently in the Old World and New World tropics. Here we demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, superefficient foraging teams in Old World army ants and we compare them quantitatively with such teams in New World army ants. Colonies of Dorylus wilverthi in the Old World and Eciton burchelli in the New World retrieve almost identical sizes of prey item and the overall size range of their workers is very similar. However, 98% of D. wilverthi workers are within the size range of the smallest 25% of E. burchelli workers. In E. burchelli larger workers specialize in prey retrieval, whereas in D. wilverthi workers form many more teams than in E. burchelli. Such teams compensate for the relative rarity of larger workers in Dorylus. The proportions of prey items retrieved by teams in Dorylus and Eciton are 39% and 5%, respectively. The percentages of all prey biomass retrieved by teams in Dorylus and Eciton are 64% and 13%, respectively. Working either as single porters or teams, Dorylus carry more per unit ant weight than do Eciton, but Eciton are swifter. However, these different ergonomic factors counterbalance one another, so that performance at the colony level is remarkably, although by no means completely, similar between the Old and New World species. The remaining differences are attributable to adaptations in worker and colony tempo associated with the recovery dynamics of their prey populations. Our comparative analysis provides a unique perspective on worker-level and colony-level adaptations and is a special test of the theory of worker caste distributions.

  20. Non-transferable signals on ant queen eggs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents. PMID:26986740

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

    PubMed

    Hölldobler, Bert

    2016-01-01

    The colonies of army ants and some other legionary ant species have single, permanently wingless queens with massive post petioles and large gasters. Such highly modified queens are called dichthadiigynes. This paper presents the unusually rich exocrine gland endowment of dichthadiigynes, which is not found in queens of other ant species. It has been suggested these kinds of glands produce secretions that attract and maintain worker retinues around queens, especially during migration. However, large worker retinues also occur in non-legionary species whose queens do not have such an exuberance of exocrine glands. We argue and present evidence in support of our previously proposed hypothesis that the enormous outfit of exocrine glands found in dichthadiigynes is due to sexual selection mediated by workers as the main selecting agents. PMID:26986740

  3. SUMMARY OF RULES, REGULATIONS AND LAWS THAT AFFECT SEASONAL FARM AND FOOD PROCESSING WORKERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS IN NEW YORK STATE.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    New York State Interdepartmental Committee on Farm and Food Processing Labor, Albany.

    NUMEROUS PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY NEW YORK STATE TO ASSIST AND TO PROTECT FARMERS, THEIR WORKERS, AND THE PUBLIC. SPECIAL SERVICES AND LAWS SHOW THE NATURE OF THIS ASSISTANCE WITH REGARD TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION OF MIGRANT CHILD CARE PROGRAMS, EDUCATION OF MIGRANT CHILDREN, SANITARY REGULATIONS FOR FARM LABOR CAMPS, FARM LABOR…

  4. Co-Worker Implemented Job Training: The Use of Coincidental Training and Quality-Control Checking on the Food Preparation Skills of Trainees with Mental Retardation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Likins, Marilyn; And Others

    1989-01-01

    Co-workers of three job trainees with mental retardation used coincidental training procedures while completing their own jobs. Coincidental training resulted in improved accuracy of salad-making skills, but skill acquisition was very slow; subsequently, a model and a quality-control check were added, resulting in higher performance levels. (JDD)

  5. The Frugal Cosmic Ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-09-01

    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its unique ability to see small details, astronomers have uncovered a flat, nearly edge-on disc of silicates in the heart of the magnificent Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape. ESO PR Photo 42/07 ESO PR Photo 42/07 A Disc in the Ant Nebula The Ant Nebula is one of the most striking planetary nebulae known. Planetary nebulae - whose name arises because most are spherical and looked like planets when they were first discovered through older, less powerful telescopes - are glowing structures of gas cast off by solar-like stars at the ends of their lives. The morphology of the Ant Nebula - a bright core, three nested pairs of bipolar lobes and a ring-like outflow - is so unique that it was nicknamed the 'Chamber of Horrors' of planetary nebulae in the late 1950s. But how can a spherical star produce such complex structures? The answer, many astronomers think, requires understanding of the discs surrounding the central star. By their nature, these discs bear witness to the phenomena that lead to the asymmetrical structures of planetary nebulae. "The challenge is to actually detect these discs," explains team leader Olivier Chesneau, from the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France. "Most astronomical instruments do not have a sharp enough view to find, let alone study them. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer however, with its exceptionally high spatial resolution, is a powerful disc-hunter." The disc of the Ant Nebula, which cannot be detected with a single 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescope, was uncovered in the interferometric mode where two 8.2-m Unit Telescopes were used to combine light, through the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI). The observations reveal a flat, nearly edge-on disc whose major axis is perpendicular to the axis of the bipolar lobes. The disc extends from about 9 times the mean distance between the Earth and the

  6. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants

    PubMed Central

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25833853

  7. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    PubMed

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-01

    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. PMID:25833853

  8. Olfactive detection of fig wasps as prey by the ant Crematogaster scutellaris (Formicidae; Myrmicinae).

    PubMed

    Schatz, Bertrand; Anstett, Marie-Charlotte; Out, Welmoed; Hossaert-McKey, Martine

    2003-10-01

    In the species-specific and obligate mutualism between the fig (Ficus carica) and its pollinator (the fig wasps Blastophaga psenes), a third participant, the ant Crematogaster scutellaris, is a predator of the wasps. Here, we ask how ant workers can rapidly localise such prey, whose availability is limited in time and space. Using a Y-tube olfactometer, we tested ant response to odours emitted by different types of figs (receptive female, ripe female or male figs) and by fig wasps (pollinators or non-pollinators). We demonstrate that ants were significantly attracted only to odours emitted by pollinators, either alone or associated with odours of male figs (releasing wasps). Detection of prey odour by ants is an important trait that can explain their observed high rate of predation on pollinators, and could have important implications on the stability of the fig/fig wasp mutualism. PMID:14564404

  9. Nest site selection and induced response in a dominant arboreal ant species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-09-01

    It is well known that arboreal ants, both territorially dominant species and plant ants (e.g., species associated with myrmecophytes or plants housing them in hollow structures), protect their host trees from defoliators. Nevertheless, the presence of an induced defense, suggested by the fact that the workers discovering a leaf wound recruit nestmates, is only known for plant ants. Based on the results from a field study, we show here (1) that colonies of Azteca chartifex, a territorially dominant, neotropical arboreal ant species, mostly selected Goupia glabra (Goupiaceae) trees in which to build their principal carton nests and (2) that plant signals induced workers to recruit nestmates, which patrol the leaves, likely providing the plant with a biotic defense. Furthermore, the number of recruited workers was clearly higher on G. glabra, their most frequently selected host tree species, than on other tree species. These results show that contrary to what was previously believed, induced responses are also found in territorially dominant arboreal ants and so are not limited to the specific associations between myrmecophytes and plant ants.

  10. Polymorphism and division of labour in a socially complex ant: neuromodulation of aggression in the Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina

    PubMed Central

    Kamhi, J. Frances; Nunn, Kelley; Robson, Simon K. A.; Traniello, James F. A.

    2015-01-01

    Complex social structure in eusocial insects can involve worker morphological and behavioural differentiation. Neuroanatomical variation may underscore worker division of labour, but the regulatory mechanisms of size-based task specialization in polymorphic species are unknown. The Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, exhibits worker polyphenism: larger major workers aggressively defend arboreal territories, whereas smaller minors nurse brood. Here, we demonstrate that octopamine (OA) modulates worker size-related aggression in O. smaragdina. We found that the brains of majors had significantly higher titres of OA than those of minors and that OA was positively and specifically correlated with the frequency of aggressive responses to non-nestmates, a key component of territorial defence. Pharmacological manipulations that effectively switched OA action in major and minor worker brains reversed levels of aggression characteristic of each worker size class. Results suggest that altering OA action is sufficient to produce differences in aggression characteristic of size-related social roles. Neuromodulators therefore may generate variation in responsiveness to task-related stimuli associated with worker size differentiation and collateral behavioural specializations, a significant component of division of labour in complex social systems. PMID:26136448

  11. Polymorphism and division of labour in a socially complex ant: neuromodulation of aggression in the Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina.

    PubMed

    Kamhi, J Frances; Nunn, Kelley; Robson, Simon K A; Traniello, James F A

    2015-07-22

    Complex social structure in eusocial insects can involve worker morphological and behavioural differentiation. Neuroanatomical variation may underscore worker division of labour, but the regulatory mechanisms of size-based task specialization in polymorphic species are unknown. The Australian weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, exhibits worker polyphenism: larger major workers aggressively defend arboreal territories, whereas smaller minors nurse brood.Here, we demonstrate that octopamine (OA) modulates worker size-related aggression in O. smaragdina. We found that the brains of majors had significantly higher titres of OA than those of minors and that OA was positively and specifically correlated with the frequency of aggressive responses to non-nestmates, a key component of territorial defence. Pharmacological manipulations that effectively switched OA action in major and minor worker brains reversed levels of aggression characteristic of each worker size class. Results suggest that altering OA action is sufficient to produce differences in aggression characteristic of size-related social roles. Neuromodulators therefore may generate variation in responsiveness to task-related stimuli associated with worker size differentiation and collateral behavioural specializations, a significant component of division of labour in complex social systems. PMID:26136448

  12. Effects of honeydew-producing hemipteran denial on local argentine ant distribution and boric acid bait performance.

    PubMed

    Brightwell, R J; Silverman, J

    2009-06-01

    The Argentine ant is well known for its affinity for honeydew and is often associated with hemipteran outbreaks in agricultural and urban environments. It has been suggested that Argentine ants may be controlled by restricting access to honeydew, thereby forcing the ants to move or by encouraging increased liquid toxicant intake. We tested this possible control strategy by restricting Argentine ant access to the honeydew-producing terrapin scale within the canopy of red maple trees and monitoring ant numbers with pitfall traps and nest counts in the mulch around the tree base. Argentine ant nest numbers fell dramatically in the mulch around ant-excluded trees; however, there was no reduction in Argentine ant numbers caught in pitfalls around trees with or without canopy access. We added 0.5% boric acid bait stations at the base of the red maples and monitored bait consumption. Pitfall and nest counts were not affected by the addition of boric acid, although bait consumption was lower around ant-excluded trees, suggesting that restricting access to honeydew-producing Hemiptera did not enhance bait performance. We attribute this result to the increased distance Argentine ant workers had to trail from nest to bait station when not tending nearby terrapin scale. We suggest an alternative management strategy concentrating direct insecticidal control of Argentine ants around a few host plants infested with honeydew-producing Hemiptera by controlling Hemiptera in nearby host plants. PMID:19610434

  13. Evaluating the role of reproductive constraints in ant social evolution

    PubMed Central

    Khila, Abderrahman; Abouheif, Ehab

    2010-01-01

    The reproductive division of labour is a key feature of eusociality in ants, where queen and worker castes show dramatic differences in the development of their reproductive organs. To understand the developmental and genetic basis underlying this division of labour, we performed a molecular analysis of ovary function and germ cell development in queens and workers. We show that the processes of ovarian development in queens have been highly conserved relative to the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. We also identify specific steps during oogenesis and embryogenesis in which ovarian and germ cell development have been evolutionarily modified in the workers. These modifications, which we call ‘reproductive constraints’, are often assumed to represent neutral degenerations that are a consequence of social evolutionary forces. Based on our developmental and functional analysis of these constraints, however, we propose and discuss the alternative hypothesis that reproductive constraints represent adaptive proximate mechanisms or traits for maintaining social harmony in ants. We apply a multi-level selection framework to help understand the role of these constraints in ant social evolution. A complete understanding of how cooperation, conflict and developmental systems evolve in social groups requires a ‘socio-evo-devo’ approach that integrates social evolutionary and developmental biology. PMID:20083637

  14. Emergency measures: Adaptive response to pathogen intrusion in the ant nest.

    PubMed

    Diez, Lise; Urbain, Laure; Lejeune, Philippe; Detrain, Claire

    2015-07-01

    Ants have developed prophylactic and hygienic behaviours in order to limit risks of pathogenic outbreaks inside their nest, which are often called social immunity. Here, we test whether ants can adapt the "social immune response" to the level of pathogenic risk in the colony. We challenged Myrmica rubra colonies with dead nestmates that had either died from being frozen or from infection by the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. Ant survival was compromised by the presence of the fungus-bearing corpses: workers died faster with a significantly lower survival from the 4th day compared to workers challenged with freeze-killed corpses. When faced with fungus-bearing corpses, workers responded quickly by increasing hygienic behaviours: they spent more time cleaning the nest, moving the corpses, and self-grooming. Ants in fungus-threatened colonies also decreased contact rates with other workers, and moved corpses further in the corners of the nest than in colonies in contact with non-infected corpses. These results show that ant colonies are able to assess the risk level associated with the presence of corpses in the nest, and adjust their investment in terms of hygienic behaviour. PMID:25939763

  15. Range expansion induces variation in a behavioural trait in an ant-plant mutualism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vittecoq, Marion; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2012-01-01

    Climate oscillations produce dramatic changes in species distribution, even in the tropics. The ant-plant Leonardoxa africana africana hosts and feeds the ant Petalomyrmex phylax, which provides protection against herbivores in return. Both partners of this symbiosis present a recent southward range expansion. To test whether the higher investment in sexuals (and thus lower investment in protective workers) previously documented on the colonization front is compensated by a more effective protective behaviour, we compared ant behavioural investment in plant defence between two populations, one in the core of the range and one on the colonization front. We induced ant patrolling activity by artificially damaging leaflets and measured this activity by counting patrolling ants and calculating the increase relative to constitutive patrolling activity measured on control (undamaged) leaflets. Contrary to our expectation, ant behavioural investment in plant defence was lower on the colonization front. Thus, production of fewer workers is not compensated by more protective behaviour of each. Instead, both traits contribute to a phenotype that is less mutualistic as a whole. By favouring increased allocation to dispersal, range expansion can shape ant behavioural traits and potentially the outcome of mutualism.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:20077713

  17. Shaken, not stirred: a serendipitous study of ants and earthquakes.

    PubMed

    Lighton, John R B; Duncan, Frances D

    2005-08-01

    There is anecdotal evidence for profound behavioral changes prior to and during earthquakes in many organisms, including arthropods such as ants. Behavioral or physiological analysis has often, in light of these reports, been proposed as a means of earthquake prediction. We report here a serendipitous study of the effect of the powerful Landers earthquake in the Mojave Desert, USA (Richter magnitude 7.4) on ant trail dynamics and aerobic catabolism in the desert harvester ant Messor pergandei. We monitored trail traffic rates to and from the colony, trail speed, worker mass distributions, rates of aerobic catabolism and temperature at ant height before and during the earthquake, and for 3 days after the earthquake. Contrary to anecdotal reports of earthquake effects on ant behavior, the Landers earthquake had no effect on any measured aspect of the physiology or behavior of M. pergandei. We conclude that anecdotal accounts of the effects of earthquakes or their precursors on insect behavior should be interpreted with caution. PMID:16081608

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

    PubMed Central

    Czaczkes, Tomer J.; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26063845

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-07-01

    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. PMID:26063845

  20. Plant-ants feed their host plant, but above all a fungal symbiont to recycle nitrogen

    PubMed Central

    Defossez, Emmanuel; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; McKey, Doyle; Selosse, Marc-André; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2011-01-01

    In ant–plant symbioses, plants provide symbiotic ants with food and specialized nesting cavities (called domatia). In many ant–plant symbioses, a fungal patch grows within each domatium. The symbiotic nature of the fungal association has been shown in the ant-plant Leonardoxa africana and its protective mutualist ant Petalomyrmex phylax. To decipher trophic fluxes among the three partners, food enriched in 13C and 15N was given to the ants and tracked in the different parts of the symbiosis up to 660 days later. The plant received a small, but significant, amount of nitrogen from the ants. However, the ants fed more intensively the fungus. The pattern of isotope enrichment in the system indicated an ant behaviour that functions specifically to feed the fungus. After 660 days, the introduced nitrogen was still present in the system and homogeneously distributed among ant, plant and fungal compartments, indicating efficient recycling within the symbiosis. Another experiment showed that the plant surface absorbed nutrients (in the form of simple molecules) whether or not it is coated by fungus. Our study provides arguments for a mutualistic status of the fungal associate and a framework for investigating the previously unsuspected complexity of food webs in ant–plant mutualisms. PMID:20980297

  1. Non-specific association between filamentous bacteria and fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Kost, Christian; Lakatos, Tanja; Böttcher, Ingo; Arendholz, Wolf-Rüdiger; Redenbach, Matthias; Wirth, Rainer

    2007-10-01

    Fungus-growing ants and their fungal cultivar form a highly evolved mutualism that is negatively affected by the specialized parasitic fungus Escovopsis. Filamentous Pseudonocardia bacteria occurring on the cuticle of attine ants have been proposed to form a mutualistic interaction with these ants in which they are vertically transmitted (i.e. from parent to offspring colonies). Given a strictly vertical transmission of Pseudonocardia, the evolutionary theory predicts a reduced genetic variability of symbionts among ant lineages. The aim of this study was to verify whether actinomycetes, which occur on Acromyrmex octospinosus leaf-cutting ants, meet this expectation by comparing their genotypic variability with restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Multiple actinomycete strains could be isolated from both individual ant workers and colonies (one to seven strains per colony). The colony specificity of actinomycete communities was high: Only 15% of all strains were isolated from more than one colony, and just 5% were present in both populations investigated. Partial sequencing of 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid of two of the isolated strains assigned both of them to the genus Streptomyces. Actinomycetes could also be isolated from workers of the two non-attine ant species Myrmica rugulosa and Lasius flavus. Sixty-two percent of the strains derived from attine ants and 80% of the strains isolated from non-attine ants inhibited the growth of Escovopsis. Our data suggest that the association between attine ants and their actinomycete symbionts is less specific then previously thought. Soil-dwelling actinomycetes may have been dynamically recruited from the environment (horizontal transmission), probably reflecting an adaptation to a diverse community of microbial pathogens. PMID:17541536

  2. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks.

  3. Mechanics of fire ant aggregations.

    PubMed

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Liu, Zhongyang; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    2016-01-01

    Fire ants link their bodies to form aggregations; these can adopt a variety of structures, they can drip and spread, or withstand applied loads. Here, by using oscillatory rheology, we show that fire ant aggregations are viscoelastic. We find that, at the lowest ant densities probed and in the linear regime, the elastic and viscous moduli are essentially identical over the spanned frequency range, which highlights the absence of a dominant mode of structural relaxation. As ant density increases, the elastic modulus rises, which we interpret by alluding to ant crowding and subsequent jamming. When deformed beyond the linear regime, the aggregation flows, exhibiting shear-thinning behaviour with a stress load that is comparable to the maximum load the aggregation can withstand before individual ants are torn apart. Our findings illustrate the rich, collective mechanical behaviour that can arise in aggregations of active, interacting building blocks. PMID:26501413

  4. Low host-pathogen specificity in the leaf-cutting ant-microbe symbiosis.

    PubMed

    Taerum, Stephen J; Cafaro, Matías J; Little, Ainslie E F; Schultz, Ted R; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-08-22

    Host-parasite associations are shaped by coevolutionary dynamics. One example is the complex fungus-growing ant-microbe symbiosis, which includes ancient host-parasite coevolution. Fungus-growing ants and the fungi they cultivate for food have an antagonistic symbiosis with Escovopsis, a specialized microfungus that infects the ants' fungus gardens. The evolutionary histories of the ant, cultivar and Escovopsis are highly congruent at the deepest phylogenetic levels, with specific parasite lineages exclusively associating with corresponding groups of ants and cultivar. Here, we examine host-parasite specificity at finer phylogenetic levels, within the most derived clade of fungus-growing ants, the leaf-cutters (Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp.). Our molecular phylogeny of Escovopsis isolates from the leaf-cutter ant-microbe symbiosis confirms specificity at the broad phylogenetic level, but reveals frequent host-switching events between species and genera of leaf-cutter ants. Escovopsis strains isolated from Acromyrmex and Atta gardens occur together in the same clades, and very closely related strains can even infect the gardens of both ant genera. Experimental evidence supports low host-parasite specificity, with phylogenetically diverse strains of Escovopsis being capable of overgrowing all leaf-cutter cultivars examined. Thus, our findings indicate that this host-pathogen association is shaped by the farming ants having to protect their cultivated fungus from phylogenetically diverse Escovopsis garden pathogens. PMID:17550881

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22251714

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Gonçalves, Ana Z; Oliveira, Rafael S; Oliveira, Paulo S; Romero, Gustavo Q

    2016-01-01

    Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N) and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites) on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri) improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth). On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments. PMID:27002980

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

    PubMed Central

    Gonçalves, Ana Z.; Oliveira, Rafael S.; Oliveira, Paulo S.; Romero, Gustavo Q.

    2016-01-01

    Predator activities may lead to the accumulation of nutrients in specific areas of terrestrial habitats where they dispose of prey carcasses. In their feeding sites, predators may increase nutrient availability in the soil and favor plant nutrition and growth. However, the translocation of nutrients from one habitat to another may depend on predator identity and diet, as well as on the amount of prey intake. Here we used isotopic (15N) and physiological methods in greenhouse experiments to evaluate the effects of the identity of predatory ants (i.e., the consumption of prey and nest sites) on the nutrition and growth of the bromeliad Quesnelia arvensis. We showed that predatory ants with protein-based nutrition (i.e., Odontomachus hastatus, Gnamptogenys moelleri) improved the performance of their host bromeliads (i.e., increased foliar N, production of soluble proteins and growth). On the other hand, the contribution of Camponotus crassus for the nutritional status of bromeliads did not differ from bromeliads without ants, possibly because this ant does not have arthropod prey as a preferred food source. Our results show, for the first time, that predatory ants can translocate nutrients from one habitat to another within forests, accumulating nutrients in their feeding sites that become available to bromeliads. Additionally, we highlight that ant contribution to plant nutrition may depend on predator identity and its dietary requirements. Nest debris may be especially important for epiphytic and terrestrial bromeliads in nutrient-poor environments. PMID:27002980

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26417013

  10. Ectosymbionts and immunity in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus.

    PubMed

    de Souza, Danival José; Lenoir, Alain; Kasuya, Maria Catarina Megumi; Ribeiro, Myriam Marques Ramos; Devers, Séverine; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Della Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro

    2013-02-01

    Associations with symbiotic organisms can serve as a strategy for social insects to resist pathogens. Antibiotics produced by attine ectosymbionts (Actinobacteria) suppress the growth of Escovopsis spp., the specialized parasite of attine fungus gardens. Our objective was to evaluate whether the presence or absence of symbiotic actinobacteria covering the whole ant cuticle is related to differential immunocompetence, respiratory rate and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs). We evaluated these parameters in three worker groups of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus: External workers (EXT), internal workers with actinobacteria covering the whole body (INB) and internal workers without actinobacteria covering the whole body (INØ). We also eliminated the actinobacteria by antibiotic treatment and examined worker encapsulation response. INB ants showed lower rates of encapsulation and respiration than did the EXT and INØ ants. The lower encapsulation rate did not seem to be a cost imposed by actinomycetes because the elimination of the actinomycetes did not increase the encapsulation rate. Instead, we propose that actinobacteria confer protection to young workers until the maturation of their immune system. Actinobacteria do not seem to change nestmate recognition in these colonies. Although it is known that actinobacteria have a specific action against Escovopsis spp., our studies, along with other independent studies, indicate that actinomycetes may also be important for the individual health of the workers. PMID:23207105

  11. Acceptance and intake of gel and liquid sucrose compositions by the Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Silverman, J; Roulston, T H

    2001-04-01

    Liquids and gels are common delivery forms used in commercial ant baits, but the relative effectiveness of each is unknown. We compared the feeding responses of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), to liquid and gel compositions of sucrose. In choice assays, more workers were counted on gel than liquid; however, substantially more liquid was consumed. Because workers could stand on the gel, more workers could feed simultaneously on the gel. The feeding bouts of individual workers, however, were much less efficient at extracting sucrose in gel form. Workers fed eightfold longer on the gel, yet removed fivefold less sucrose than workers feeding on liquid. This potential bias should be considered during attraction and palatability studies that use physically different bait compositions. When the toxicant fipronil was added to the compositions, a greater proportion of the colony died after workers had fed on liquid than gel baits. This finding suggests that liquid formulations may provide more effective control of Argentine ants due to the greater speed and abundance in which it is ingested. PMID:11332847

  12. Parabiotic associations between tropical ants: equal partnership or parasitic exploitation?

    PubMed

    Menzel, F; Blüthgen, N

    2010-01-01

    1. The huge diversity of symbiotic associations among animals and/or plants comprises both mutualisms and parasitisms. Most symbioses between social insect species, however, involve social parasites, while mutual benefits have been only suspected for some parabiotic associations - two colonies that share a nest. 2. In the rainforest of Borneo, we studied parabiotic associations between the ants Crematogaster modiglianii and Camponotus rufifemur. Parabiotic nests were regularly found inside hollow tree trunks, most likely initiated by Cr. modiglianii. This species frequently nested without its partner, whereas we never found non-parabiotic Ca. rufifemur nests. We experimentally investigated potential benefits, potential interference competition for food (as a probable cost), and foraging niches of both species. 3. The two species never showed aggressive interactions and amicably shared food resources. However, Cr. modiglianii had a wider temporal and spatial foraging range than Ca. rufifemur, always found baits before Ca. rufifemur and recruited more efficiently. Camponotus rufifemur probably benefited from following pheromone trails of Cr. modiglianii. In turn, Ca. rufifemur was significantly more successful in defending the nest against alien ants. Crematogaster modiglianii hence may profit from its partner's defensive abilities. 4. In neotropical parabioses, epiphytes grown in 'ant-gardens' play a crucial role in the association, e.g. by stabilization of nests. Hemiepiphytic Poikilospermum cordifolium (Cecropiaceae) seedlings and saplings frequently grew in the entrances of parabiotic nests in Borneo, obviously dispersed by the ants. In cafeteria experiments, both parabiotic ants carried its elaiosome-bearing seeds into the nest. However, P. cordifolium does not provide additional nest space, contrasting with neotropical ant-gardens. 5. The parabiotic association appears beneficial for both ant species, the main benefits being nest initiation by Cr. modiglianii

  13. Circadian consequences of social organization in the ant species Camponotus compressus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, Vijay Kumar; Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Goel, Anubhuthi; Chandrashekaran, M. K.

    The locomotor activity rhythm of different castes of the ant species Camponotus compressus was monitored individually under laboratory light/dark (LD) cycles, and under continuous darkness (DD). The colony of this ant species comprises two sexual castes, the queens and the males, and three worker castes, namely the major, media, and minor workers. The virgin males and virgin queens display rhythmic activity patterns, but the mated queens were arrhythmic while laying eggs, with the rhythmicity resuming soon after egg-laying. Under the LD regime, major workers showed nocturnal patterns, while about 75% of the media workers displayed nocturnal patterns and about 25% showed diurnal patterns. Under the DD regime, most major workers exhibited circadian rhythm of activity with a single steady state, whereas media workers displayed two types of activity patterns, with activity patterns changing after 6-9 days in DD (turn-arounds). The pre-turn-around τ of the ants that showed nocturnal activity patterns during LD entrainment was <24 h after release into DD, which then became >24 h, after 6-9 days. On the other hand, the pre-turn-around τ of those ants that exhibited diurnal patterns during LD entrainment was first >24 h after release into DD, and then became <24 h, after 6-9 days. The activity of the minor workers neither entrained to LD cycles nor showed any sign of free-run in DD. It appears that the circadian clocks of the ant species C. compressus are flexible, and may perhaps depend upon the tasks assigned to them in the colony.

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

    PubMed

    Rowles, Alexei D; Silverman, Jules

    2009-08-01

    The ability of species to invade new habitats is often limited by various biotic and physical factors or interactions between the two. Invasive ants, frequently associated with human activities, flourish in disturbed urban and agricultural environments. However, their ability to invade and establish in natural habitats is more variable. This is particularly so for the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). While biotic resistance and low soil moisture limits their invasion of natural habitats in some instances, the effect of food availability has been poorly explored. We conducted field experiments to determine if resource availability limits the spread and persistence of Argentine ants in remnant natural forest in North Carolina. Replicated transects paired with and without sucrose solution feeding stations were run from invaded urban edges into forest remnants and compared over time using baits and direct counts at feeding stations. Repeated under different timing regimes in 2006 and 2007, access to sucrose increased local Argentine ant abundances (1.6-2.5 fold) and facilitated their progression into the forest up to 73 +/- 21% of 50-m transects. Resource removal caused an expected decrease in Argentine ant densities in 2006, in conjunction with their retreat to the urban/forest boundary. However, in 2007, Argentine ant numbers unexpectedly continued to increase in the absence of sugar stations, possibly through access to alternative resources or conditions not available the previous year such as honeydew-excreting Hemiptera. Our results showed that supplementing carbohydrate supply facilitates invasion of natural habitat by Argentine ants. This is particularly evident where Argentine ants continued to thrive following sugar station removal. PMID:19452171

  15. Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and...

  16. Pseudacteon calderensis, a new fly species (Diptera:Phoridae) attacking the fire ant Solenopsis interrupta (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) in northwestern Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A new species of Pseudacteon phorid fly Pseudacteon calderis (Diptera: Phoridae) is described from females attacking worker ants of Solenopsis interrupta Santschi in Salta and Jujuy provinces, northwestern Argentina. Pseudacteon calderis differs from almost all other South American Pseudacteon speci...

  17. The role of extrafloral nectar amino acids for the preferences of facultative and obligate ant mutualists.

    PubMed

    González-Teuber, Marcia; Heil, Martin

    2009-04-01

    Plants in some 300 genera produce extrafloral nectar (EFN) to attract ants as a means of indirect defence. Among Mesoamerican Acacia species, obligate myrmecophytes produce EFN constitutively to nourish symbiotic ant mutualists, while non-myrmecophytes induce EFN secretion in response to herbivore damage to attract non-symbiotic ants. Since symbiotic Acacia ants entirely depend on the host-derived food rewards while non-symbiotic ants need to be attracted to EFN, this system allows comparative analyses of the function of EFN components in ant nutrition and attraction. We investigated sugar and amino acid (AA) composition in EFN of two myrmecophytes (Acacia cornigera and Acacia hindsii) and two related non-myrmecophyte species (Acacia farnesiana and Prosopis juliflora). AA composition allowed a grouping of myrmecophytes vs. non-myrmecophytes. Behavioural assays with obligate Acacia inhabitants (Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus) and non-symbiotic ants showed that AA composition affected ant preferences at high but not at low AA/sugar ratios. Most interestingly, behavioural responses differed between the two types of ants tested: Symbiotic ants showed a clear preference for higher AA concentrations and preferred nectar mimics with those four AAs that most significantly characterised the specific nectar of their Acacia host plant. In contrast, non-symbiotic ants distinguished among nectars containing different sugars and between solutions with and without AAs but neither among nectars with different AA/sugar ratios nor among mimics containing different numbers of AAs. Our results confirm that both AAs and sugars contribute to the taste and attractiveness of nectars and demonstrate that the responses of ants to specific nectar components depend on their life style. AAs are a chemical EFN component that likely can shape the structure of ant-plant mutualisms. PMID:19370376

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:21061981

  19. Effects of colony composition and food type on nutrient distribution in colonies of Monomorium orientale (Hymenoptera: formicidae).

    PubMed

    Loke, Pooi-Yen; Lee, Chow-Yang

    2006-02-01

    Monomorium orientale Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is a common structure- and food-infesting ant in Asia. There is only limited information on the biology and habits of this species, especially on the preferred foods and distribution of nutrients in colonies. We conducted a laboratory study on the distribution of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, which were represented by respective food sources, in M. orientale colonies. Three colony conditions were applied: normal, with a balanced ratio of castes, queenless (only workers and brood), and broodless (only queens and workers). Food sources were stained to track the flow of the respective food in the colonies. Results revealed that carbohydrates had rapid distribution, with > 60% of the colony indicated in 24 h, in all colony conditions. Queens in all colonies did not feed on protein. Protein showed a more delayed distribution in the brood in all colony conditions; < 10% of the colony fed on protein by 24 h. Only queens in broodless colonies showed signs of feeding on lipid, with < 10% indicated in 24 h. Workers in all colonies fed on lipid as soon as it was delivered, whereas the brood only began to reveal feeding response after 24 h. PMID:16573333

  20. Variation in butterfly larval acoustics as a strategy to infiltrate and exploit host ant colony resources.

    PubMed

    Sala, Marco; Casacci, Luca Pietro; Balletto, Emilio; Bonelli, Simona; Barbero, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    About 10,000 arthropods live as ants' social parasites and have evolved a number of mechanisms allowing them to penetrate and survive inside the ant nests. Many of them can intercept and manipulate their host communication systems. This is particularly important for butterflies of the genus Maculinea, which spend the majority of their lifecycle inside Myrmica ant nests. Once in the colony, caterpillars of Maculinea "predatory species" directly feed on the ant larvae, while those of "cuckoo species" are fed primarily by attendance workers, by trophallaxis. It has been shown that Maculinea cuckoo larvae are able to reach a higher social status within the colony's hierarchy by mimicking the acoustic signals of their host queen ants. In this research we tested if, when and how myrmecophilous butterflies may change sound emissions depending on their integration level and on stages of their life cycle. We studied how a Maculinea predatory species (M. teleius) can acoustically interact with their host ants and highlighted differences with respect to a cuckoo species (M. alcon). We recorded sounds emitted by Maculinea larvae as well as by their Myrmica hosts, and performed playback experiments to assess the parasites' capacity to interfere with the host acoustic communication system. We found that, although varying between and within butterfly species, the larval acoustic emissions are more similar to queens' than to workers' stridulations. Nevertheless playback experiments showed that ant workers responded most strongly to the sounds emitted by the integrated (i.e. post-adoption) larvae of the cuckoo species, as well as by those of predatory species recorded before any contact with the host ants (i.e. in pre-adoption), thereby revealing the role of acoustic signals both in parasite integration and in adoption rituals. We discuss our findings in the broader context of parasite adaptations, comparing effects of acoustical and chemical mimicry. PMID:24718496

  1. Pseudacteon decapitating flies (Diptera: Phoridae): Are they potential vectors of the fire ant pathogens Kneallhazia(=Thelohania)solenopsae (Microsporidia: Thelohaniidae)and Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae)?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire ant decapitating flies in the genus Pseudacteon were tested for their potential as hosts or vectors of two microsporidian pathogens of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Decapitating flies which attacked or were reared from S. invicta workers infected by Kneallhazia (=Thelohania)...

  2. Managerial practices regarding workers working while ill.

    PubMed

    Norton, D M; Brown, L G; Frick, R; Carpenter, L R; Green, A L; Tobin-D'Angelo, M; Reimann, D W; Blade, H; Nicholas, D C; Egan, J S; Everstine, K

    2015-01-01

    Surveillance data indicate that handling of food by an ill worker is a cause of almost half of all restaurant-related outbreaks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code contains recommendations for food service establishments, including restaurants, aimed at reducing the frequency with which food workers work while ill. However, few data exist on the extent to which restaurants have implemented FDA recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) conducted a study on the topic of ill food workers in restaurants. We interviewed restaurant managers (n = 426) in nine EHS-Net sites. We found that many restaurant policies concerning ill food workers do not follow FDA recommendations. For example, one-third of the restaurants' policies did not specifically address the circumstances under which ill food workers should be excluded from work (i.e., not be allowed to work). We also found that, in many restaurants, managers are not actively involved in decisions about whether ill food workers should work. Additionally, almost 70% of managers said they had worked while ill; 10% said they had worked while having nausea or "stomach flu," possible symptoms of foodborne illness. When asked why they had worked when ill, a third of the managers said they felt obligated to work or their strong work ethic compelled them to work. Other reasons cited were that the restaurant was understaffed or no one was available to replace them (26%), they felt that their symptoms were mild or not contagious (19%), they had special managerial responsibilities that no one else could fulfill (11%), there was non-food handling work they could do (7%), and they would not get paid if they did not work or the restaurant had no sick leave policy (5%). Data from this study can inform future research and help policy makers target interventions designed to reduce the frequency with which food workers work while ill. PMID:25581195

  3. Shape transition during nest digging in ants

    PubMed Central

    Toffin, Etienne; Di Paolo, David; Campo, Alexandre; Detrain, Claire; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2009-01-01

    Nest building in social insects is among the collective processes that show highly conservative features such as basic modules (chambers and galleries) or homeostatic properties. Although ant nests share common characteristics, they exhibit a high structural variability, of which morphogenesis and underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We conducted two-dimensional nest-digging experiments under homogeneous laboratory conditions to investigate the shape diversity that emerges only from digging dynamics and without the influence of any environmental heterogeneity. These experiments revealed that, during the excavation, a morphological transition occurs because the primary circular cavity evolves into a ramified structure through a branching process. Such a transition is observed, whatever the number of ants involved, but occurs more frequently for a larger number of workers. A stochastic model highlights the central role of density effects in shape transition. These results indicate that nest digging shares similar properties with various physical, chemical, and biological systems. Moreover, our model of morphogenesis provides an explanatory framework for shape transitions in decentralized growing structures in group-living animals. PMID:19846774

  4. Evolution of Fire Ant Control

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The imported fire ants that entered the United States over 70 years ago have spread within the country to over 129.5 million ha. Efforts to stop the expansion and suppress fire ant populations have resulted in changing methods of control. Initial efforts focused on treating individual nests with h...

  5. Ant navigation: reading geometrical signposts.

    PubMed

    Collett, Thomas S; Waxman, David

    2005-03-01

    Ants often travel along complex pheromone trail systems between their nest and foraging areas. A new and surprising discovery is that Pharaoh's ants can work out from the geometry of individual branch points on the trail whether they are heading towards or away from the nest. PMID:15753029

  6. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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. Autonomy in ants and humans.

    PubMed

    Carpendale, Jeremy I M; Frayn, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Drawing lessons regarding the consequences of ultrasociality in ants and humans depends crucially on recognizing differences as well as similarities in the way that species are social. We focus on Gowdy & Krall's use of the concept of autonomy to explicate essential differences in the ways in which ants and humans are social. PMID:27562193

  8. The ant genus Carebara Westwood in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

    PubMed Central

    Sharaf, Mostafa R.; Aldawood, Abdulrahman S.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The ant genus Carebara of the Arabian Peninsula is revised. Carebara abuhurayri Sharaf & Aldawood, 2011 is synonymized under Carebara arabica Collingwood & van Harten, 2001. Carebara arabica is redescribed and a Neotype is fixed based on a specimen collected from southwestern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A new species, C. fayrouzae sp. n. is described from Saudi Arabia based on queens, major and minor workers. Keys to major and minor workers of the two Arabian Carebara species are given. PMID:24363580

  9. AntR-mediated bidirectional activation of antA and antR, anthranilate degradative genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    PubMed

    Kim, Soo-Kyoung; Im, Su-Jin; Yeom, Doo-Hwan; Lee, Joon-Hee

    2012-08-15

    Bidirectional activation of transcription is a peculiar regulation mode of gene expression. In this study, we show that genes involved in the metabolism of anthranilate, a precursor of biosynthesis of tryptophan and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) are regulated by this bidirectional activation of transcription. Anthranilate is degraded by anthranilate dioxygenase complex encoded by antABC operon, and AntR, a LysR-type regulator encoded by antR activates the transcription of antABC operon in the presence of anthranilate. In P. aeruginosa, antABC and antR are divergently located and AntR binds to the intergenic region between antA and antR to activate the antABC transcription. In this study, we determined the transcriptional start site of the antA promoter (antA(p)) and AntR-responsive elements (AREs) in P. aeruginosa. The upstream deletion analysis of antA(p) and in vitro gel shift assay with purified AntR showed that there are two AREs at -194 to -148 and -88 to -47 regions. We also found that AntR activates antR promoter (antR(p)) in the opposite direction and both AREs are important in the bidirectional activation of antA(p) and antR(p). Two AREs have different binding affinities to AntR and the strength of transcriptional activation was dramatically asymmetric depending on the direction. We suggest that the different affinities of two AREs may explain the asymmetry of the bidirectional activation by AntR. PMID:22609066

  10. Comparing electroantennogram and behavioral responses of two Pseudacteon phorid fly species to body extracts of Black, Red and Hybrid imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp.

    PubMed

    Chen, Li; Ochieng, Samuel A; He, Xiaofang; Fadamiro, Henry Y

    2012-10-01

    Several phorid fly species were introduced to the southern United States for biological control of the invasive imported fire ants, Solenopsis richteri (Black), Solenopsis invicta (Red), and their Hybrid S. richteri×S. invicta (Hybrid). It has been previously reported that the Jaguariuna biotype of Pseudacteon tricuspis and the Formosan biotype of Pseudacteon curvatus could distinguish among the three fire ant species with greater preference for Hybrid and Red fire ants. We hypothesized that phorid flies might use host derived chemical cues to differentiate ant species. To determine possible differential olfactory sensitivity of phorid fly species to different fire ant species, we compared electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral responses of both sexes of P. tricuspis and P. curvatus to body extracts of Black, Red and Hybrid fire ants. As worker sizes of Black and Hybrid fire ants used in this study were much larger than that of Red fire ant (the average weight for Black, Red and Hybrid workers was 1.707, 0.863, 1.223mg per ants, respectively), at doses of 0.01, 0.1, 1 worker equivalent, body extracts of Black and Hybrid fire ant elicited significantly greater EAG response in both sexes of P. tricuspis than that of Red fire ant. Similarly, the EAG response in female P. curvatus to body extract of Black fire ant was significantly greater than to body extract of Red fire ant. To eliminate worker size influence on EAG response in phorid flies, we conducted a second EAG study using a dose of 1mg ant equivalent (body extract from 1mg of worker). No difference in EAG responses was recorded to body extract obtained from the same amount of workers among the three fire ant species (we consider viable Hybrid fire ant as a species in this paper), suggesting that worker size differences contributed to difference in EAG response in the first EAG study. In both EAG studies, male P. tricuspis showed significantly greater EAG responses than male P. curvatus to all three fire ant

  11. Leaf-cutting ant fungi produce cell wall degrading pectinase complexes reminiscent of phytopathogenic fungi

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Leaf-cutting (attine) ants use their own fecal material to manure fungus gardens, which consist of leaf material overgrown by hyphal threads of the basidiomycete fungus Leucocoprinus gongylophorus that lives in symbiosis with the ants. Previous studies have suggested that the fecal droplets contain proteins that are produced by the fungal symbiont to pass unharmed through the digestive system of the ants, so they can enhance new fungus garden growth. Results We tested this hypothesis by using proteomics methods to determine the gene sequences of fecal proteins in Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants. Seven (21%) of the 33 identified proteins were pectinolytic enzymes that originated from the fungal symbiont and which were still active in the fecal droplets produced by the ants. We show that these enzymes are found in the fecal material only when the ants had access to fungus garden food, and we used quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis to show that the expression of six of these enzyme genes was substantially upregulated in the fungal gongylidia. These unique structures serve as food for the ants and are produced only by the evolutionarily advanced garden symbionts of higher attine ants, but not by the fungi reared by the basal lineages of this ant clade. Conclusions Pectinolytic enzymes produced in the gongylidia of the fungal symbiont are ingested but not digested by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants so that they end up in the fecal fluid and become mixed with new garden substrate. Substantial quantities of pectinolytic enzymes are typically found in pathogenic fungi that attack live plant tissue, where they are known to breach the cell walls to allow the fungal mycelium access to the cell contents. As the leaf-cutting ant symbionts are derived from fungal clades that decompose dead plant material, our results suggest that their pectinolytic enzymes represent secondarily evolved adaptations that are convergent to those normally found in

  12. Differences in Forage-Acquisition and Fungal Enzyme Activity Contribute to Niche Segregation in Panamanian Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Kooij, Pepijn W.; Liberti, Joanito; Giampoudakis, Konstantinos; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24718261

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

    PubMed

    Kooij, Pepijn W; Liberti, Joanito; Giampoudakis, Konstantinos; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24718261

  14. Simple and rapid CE-UV method for the assessment of trail pheromone compounds of leaf-cutting ants' venom glands.

    PubMed

    Leitão, Amanda Araujo; Miranda, Paulo Cesar Muniz de Lacerda; Simionato, Ana Valéria Colnaghi

    2011-04-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cause large losses in several crops around the world. In the ant species Atta sexdens, each colony comprises up to 5 million individuals. In order to keep a close connection among such a large number of individuals, an efficient chemical communication system is necessary. Among other different substances, these animals use alkylpyrazines to mark their trails and to guide ant workers from the nest to their sources of food. In this study, CE-UV was used to apply a method for qualitative analysis of venom gland components of leaf-cutting ants. Mobility of these compounds proved to be a function of the ionization capability of these bases as well as their volumes. Migration order was thoroughly explained in terms of such parameters. The best analysis conditions were achieved with a BGE composed by 0.8% formic acid plus 20% methanol in water, hydrodynamic injection, and application of external pressure. Such analysis conditions may be easily applied in CE-MS analyses as well. CE-UV analyses proved to be as adequate as GC to analyze such compounds due to system detectability (LD ≅ 0.005 mmol/L), separation efficiency (from 5.07×10(4) to 1.23×10(5) theoretical plates), and resolution (minimum of 2.35). In addition, analysis time was ca. 15  min, which shows another advantage of CE analysis when compared with GC. Although the analytes are found in concentrations as low as 50  ng/venom glands, four putative pyrazine ring moiety substances could be detected in real samples, due to sample stacking and use of a capillary with extended detection cell. PMID:21462224

  15. Assessor Judgements and Everyday Worker Performance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Timma, Hilary

    2005-01-01

    The subjective nature of assessment focuses attention on the prior perceptions that workplace assessors can bring to formal assessment activities, regarding the competence of workers. This paper draws on a study into workplace learning and assessment practices and the construction of worker identities, which was conducted at three food production…

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    How strong is selection for cheating in mutualisms? The answer depends on the type and magnitude of the costs of the mutualism. Here we investigated the direct and ecological costs of plant defense by ants in the association between Cordia nodosa, a myrmecophytic plant, and Allomerus octoarticulatus, a phytoecious ant. Cordia nodosa trees produce food and housing to reward ants that protect them against herbivores. For nearly 1 year, we manipulated the presence of A. octoarticulatus ants and most insect herbivores on C. nodosa in a full-factorial experiment. Ants increased plant growth when herbivores were present but decreased plant growth when herbivores were absent, indicating that hosting ants can be costly to plants. However, we did not detect a cost to ant colonies of defending host plants against herbivores. Although this asymmetry in costs suggests that the plants may be under stronger selection than the ants to cheat by withholding investment in their partner, the costs to C. nodosa are probably at least partly ecological, arising because ants tend scale insects on their host plants. We argue that ecological costs should favor resistance or traits other than cheating and thus that neither partner may face much temptation to cheat. PMID:22617264

  17. Mechanisms of competitive displacement of native ant fauna by invading Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) populations.

    PubMed

    Garnas, Jeffrey; Groden, Eleanor; Drummond, Francis A

    2014-12-01

    Exotic ants have become invasive in many regions around the world, with variable ecological impacts. Postinvasion, native ant communities are often found to be depauperate, though the causes of this apparent lack of coexistence are rarely well known. Myrmica rubra (L.), a Palearctic Myrmecine ant, is currently expanding its range as an invasive in North America. This aggressive ant forms dense, patchy local infestations and appears to aggressively displace native ant fauna. We measured behavioral interactions and rates of recruitment in experimental field assays pitting native foragers against captive colonies of M. rubra at tuna-jelly or aphid baits in uninfested areas of Mt. Desert Island, ME. Behavioral interactions were idiosyncratic with respect to the native opponent, but M. rubra generally showed significantly higher levels of recruitment, aggression, and displacement of native foragers. As with other invasive ant species shown to have broken the "dominance-discovery trade-off," M. rubra was consistently faster to discover baits and disproportionately displaced native foragers, providing a plausible proximate mechanism for native ant exclusion. Finally, we surveyed ant recruitment at baits for 24 h in August 2004 at four sites with varying M. rubra abundance but found little evidence of temporal niche partitioning. Taken together, these results indicate competitive superiority by M. rubra with respect to native ant communities of the northeastern North America and suggest direct aggression and competitive exclusion at food resources can lead to local native displacement. PMID:25268214

  18. Species-Specific Seed Dispersal in an Obligate Ant-Plant Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Baca, Jeniffer Alvarez; Osborne, Jason; Schal, Coby

    2009-01-01

    Throughout lowland Amazonia, arboreal ants collect seeds of specific plants and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming diverse yet obligate and species-specific symbioses called Neotropical ant-gardens (AGs). The ants depend on their symbiotic plants for nest stability, and the plants depend on AGs for substrate and nutrients. Although the AGs are limited to specific participants, it is unknown at what stage specificity arises, and seed fate pathways in AG epiphytes are undocumented. Here we examine the specificity of the ant-seed interaction by comparing the ant community observed at general food baits to ants attracted to and removing seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya. We also compare seed removal rates under treatments that excluded vertebrates, arthropods, or both. In the bait study, only three of 70 ant species collected P. macrostachya seeds, and 84% of observed seed removal by ants was attributed to the AG ant Camponotus femoratus. In the exclusion experiment, arthropod exclusion significantly reduced seed removal rates, but vertebrate exclusion did not. We provide the most extensive empirical evidence of species specificity in the AG mutualism and begin to quantify factors that affect seed fate in order to understand conditions that favor its departure from the typical diffuse model of plant-animal mutualism. PMID:19194502

  19. Species-specific seed dispersal in an obligate ant-plant mutualism.

    PubMed

    Youngsteadt, Elsa; Baca, Jeniffer Alvarez; Osborne, Jason; Schal, Coby

    2009-01-01

    Throughout lowland Amazonia, arboreal ants collect seeds of specific plants and cultivate them in nutrient-rich nests, forming diverse yet obligate and species-specific symbioses called Neotropical ant-gardens (AGs). The ants depend on their symbiotic plants for nest stability, and the plants depend on AGs for substrate and nutrients. Although the AGs are limited to specific participants, it is unknown at what stage specificity arises, and seed fate pathways in AG epiphytes are undocumented. Here we examine the specificity of the ant-seed interaction by comparing the ant community observed at general food baits to ants attracted to and removing seeds of the AG plant Peperomia macrostachya. We also compare seed removal rates under treatments that excluded vertebrates, arthropods, or both. In the bait study, only three of 70 ant species collected P. macrostachya seeds, and 84% of observed seed removal by ants was attributed to the AG ant Camponotus femoratus. In the exclusion experiment, arthropod exclusion significantly reduced seed removal rates, but vertebrate exclusion did not. We provide the most extensive empirical evidence of species specificity in the AG mutualism and begin to quantify factors that affect seed fate in order to understand conditions that favor its departure from the typical diffuse model of plant-animal mutualism. PMID:19194502

  20. Characterization of actinobacteria associated with three ant-plant mutualisms.

    PubMed

    Hanshew, Alissa S; McDonald, Bradon R; Díaz Díaz, Carol; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Currie, Cameron R

    2015-01-01

    Ant-plant mutualisms are conspicuous and ecologically important components of tropical ecosystems that remain largely unexplored in terms of insect-associated microbial communities. Recent work has revealed that ants in some ant-plant systems cultivate fungi (Chaetothyriales) within their domatia, which are fed to larvae. Using Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. from French Guiana and Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana and Crematogaster margaritae/Keetia hispida, both from Cameroon, as models, we tested the hypothesis that ant-plant-fungus mutualisms co-occur with culturable Actinobacteria. Using selective media, we isolated 861 putative Actinobacteria from the three systems. All C. margaritae/K. hispida samples had culturable Actinobacteria with a mean of 10.0 colony forming units (CFUs) per sample, while 26 % of P. penetrator/Tachigali samples (mean CFUs 1.3) and 67 % of P. phylax/L. africana samples (mean CFUs 3.6) yielded Actinobacteria. The largest number of CFUs was obtained from P. penetrator workers, P. phylax alates, and C. margaritae pupae. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of four main clades of Streptomyces and one clade of Nocardioides within these three ant-plant mutualisms. Streptomyces with antifungal properties were isolated from all three systems, suggesting that they could serve as protective symbionts, as found in other insects. In addition, a number of isolates from a clade of Streptomyces associated with P. phylax/L. africana and C. margaritae/K. hispida were capable of degrading cellulose, suggesting that Streptomyces in these systems may serve a nutritional role. Repeated isolation of particular clades of Actinobacteria from two geographically distant locations supports these isolates as residents in ant-plant-fungi niches. PMID:25096989

  1. Repellent Effect of Formic Acid Against the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A Field Study.

    PubMed

    Wang, Cai; Henderson, Gregg

    2016-04-01

    Previous studies showed that the formic acid secreted by tawny crazy ants not only has fumigation toxicity to the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Chen et al. 2013), but also can detoxify fire ant venom (LeBrun et al. 2014). These lead us to a field study to determine if low concentrations of formic acid might be useful in repelling S. invicta. Filter paper discs treated with 1.3% or 5% formic acid (v: v) or distilled water (control) were placed on each of the 46 S. invicta mounds and a disturbance was created. For a minute or less, there were significantly more defending ants on the control discs than that on the paper discs treated with formic acid. After food was added and for the next 40 min, there were significantly more foraging ants on the control discs compared to the treated discs. At 50 min into the test, the number of foraging ants on the control and 1.3% formic acid-treated discs was similar, but both were significantly higher than that on the 5% formic acid-treated discs. In addition, the active foraging (≥10 ants stayed on or around the food) and burying behavior (soil particles were deposited around the food) continued to be inhibited by 5% formic acid. The potential application and ecological significant of this repellent effect is discussed. PMID:26700488

  2. A cuckoo-like parasitic moth leads African weaver ant colonies to their ruin

    PubMed Central

    Dejean, Alain; Orivel, Jérôme; Azémar, Frédéric; Hérault, Bruno; Corbara, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    In myrmecophilous Lepidoptera, mostly lycaenids and riodinids, caterpillars trick ants into transporting them to the ant nest where they feed on the brood or, in the more derived “cuckoo strategy”, trigger regurgitations (trophallaxis) from the ants and obtain trophic eggs. We show for the first time that the caterpillars of a moth (Eublemma albifascia; Noctuidae; Acontiinae) also use this strategy to obtain regurgitations and trophic eggs from ants (Oecophylla longinoda). Females short-circuit the adoption process by laying eggs directly on the ant nests, and workers carry just-hatched caterpillars inside. Parasitized colonies sheltered 44 to 359 caterpillars, each receiving more trophallaxis and trophic eggs than control queens. The thus-starved queens lose weight, stop laying eggs (which transport the pheromones that induce infertility in the workers) and die. Consequently, the workers lay male-destined eggs before and after the queen’s death, allowing the colony to invest its remaining resources in male production before it vanishes. PMID:27021621

  3. Chemical communication of queen supergene status in an ant.

    PubMed

    Trible, W; Ross, K G

    2016-03-01

    Traits of interest to evolutionary biologists often have complex genetic architectures, the nature of which can confound traditional experimental study at single levels of analysis. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the presence of a Mendelian 'supergene' is both necessary and sufficient to induce a shift in a fundamental property of social organization, from single-queen (monogyne) to multiple-queen (polygyne) colonies. This selfish genetic element, termed the Social b (Sb) supergene, contains > 600 genes that collectively promote its fitness by inducing the characteristic polygyne syndrome, in part by causing polygyne workers to accept only queens bearing the Sb element (a behaviour termed 'worker Sb discrimination'). Here, we employ a newly developed behavioural assay to reveal that polygyne workers, many of which bear the Sb element, employ chemical cues on the cuticle of queens to achieve worker Sb discrimination, but we found no evidence for such pheromonally mediated worker Sb discrimination in monogyne workers, which universally lack the Sb element. This polygyne worker Sb discrimination was then verified through a 'green beard' effect previously described in this system. We thus have demonstrated that the Sb element is required both for production of relevant chemical cues of queens and for expression of the behaviours of workers that collectively result in worker Sb discrimination. This information fills a critical gap in the map between genotype and complex phenotype in S. invicta by restricting the search for candidate genes and molecules involved in producing this complex social trait to factors associated with the Sb element itself. PMID:26644320

  4. Social prophylaxis: group interaction promotes collective immunity in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Ugelvig, Line V; Cremer, Sylvia

    2007-11-20

    Life in a social group increases the risk of disease transmission. To counteract this threat, social insects have evolved manifold antiparasite defenses, ranging from social exclusion of infected group members to intensive care. It is generally assumed that individuals performing hygienic behaviors risk infecting themselves, suggesting a high direct cost of helping. Our work instead indicates the opposite for garden ants. Social contact with individual workers, which were experimentally exposed to a fungal parasite, provided a clear survival benefit to nontreated, naive group members upon later challenge with the same parasite. This first demonstration of contact immunity in Social Hymenoptera and complementary results from other animal groups and plants suggest its general importance in both antiparasite and antiherbivore defense. In addition to this physiological prophylaxis of adult ants, infection of the brood was prevented in our experiment by behavioral changes of treated and naive workers. Parasite-treated ants stayed away from the brood chamber, whereas their naive nestmates increased brood-care activities. Our findings reveal a direct benefit for individuals to perform hygienic behaviors toward others, and this might explain the widely observed maintenance of social cohesion under parasite attack in insect societies. PMID:17980590

  5. Widespread Chemical Detoxification of Alkaloid Venom by Formicine Ants.

    PubMed

    LeBrun, Edward G; Diebold, Peter J; Orr, Matthew R; Gilbert, Lawrence E

    2015-10-01

    The ability to detoxify defensive compounds of competitors provides key ecological advantages that can influence community-level processes. Although common in plants and bacteria, this type of detoxification interaction is extremely rare in animals. Here, using laboratory behavioral assays and analyses of videotaped interactions in South America, we report widespread venom detoxification among ants in the subfamily Formicinae. Across both data sets, nine formicine species, representing all major clades, used a stereotyped grooming behavior to self-apply formic acid (acidopore grooming) in response to fire ant (Solenopsis invicta and S. saevissima) venom exposure. In laboratory assays, this behavior increased the survivorship of species following exposure to S. invicta venom. Species expressed the behavior when exposed to additional alkaloid venoms, including both compositionally similar piperidine venom of an additional fire ant species and the pyrrolidine/pyrroline alkaloid venom of a Monomorium species. In addition, species expressed the behavior following exposure to the uncharacterized venom of a Crematogaster species. However, species did not express acidopore grooming when confronted with protein-based ant venoms or when exposed to monoterpenoid-based venom. This pattern, combined with the specific chemistry of the reaction of formic acid with venom alkaloids, indicates that alkaloid venoms are targets of detoxification grooming. Solenopsis thief ants, and Monomorium species stand out as brood-predators of formicine ants that produce piperidine, pyrrolidine, and pyrroline venom, providing an important ecological context for the use of detoxification behavior. Detoxification behavior also represents a mechanism that can influence the order of assemblage dominance hierarchies surrounding food competition. Thus, this behavior likely influences ant-assemblages through a variety of ecological pathways. PMID:26385230

  6. Daughters inherit colonies from mothers in the 'living-fossil' ant Nothomyrmecia macrops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanetra, Matthias; Crozier, Ross H.

    2002-02-01

    Newly mated queens of monogynous (single queen) ants usually found their colonies independently, without the assistance of workers. In polygynous (multiple queen) species queens are often adopted back into their natal nest and new colonies are established by budding. We report that the Australian 'living-fossil' ant, Nothomyrmecia macrops, is exceptional in that its single queen can be replaced by one of the colony's daughters. This type of colony founding is an interesting alternative reproductive strategy in monogynous ants, which maximizes fitness under kin selection. Successive queen replacement results in a series of reproductives over time (serial polygyny), making these colonies potentially immortal. Workers raise nieces and nephews (relatedness ≤ 0.375) the year after queen replacement. Although N. macrops is 'primitive' in many other respects, colony inheritance is likely to be a derived specialization resulting from ecological constraints on solitary founding.

  7. Harvester ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) discriminate among artificial seeds with different protein contents

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Workers of colonies of the western harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, were recruited to patches of artificial seed of the same caloric value but different protein content. Rates of forager returns with artificial seeds containing five percent protein were nearly twice those of zero percent pr...

  8. Piperideine Alkaloids from the Poison Gland of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    It is well known that the major chemical components in the venom of the red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, are 2-methyl-6-alkyl or alkenyl piperidines. After isolating the extracts of poison glands and whole worker bodies with a column chromatography, we have obtained fractions conta...

  9. Intergenerational effect of juvenile hormone on offspring in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Parents can influence the phenotypes of their offspring via a number of mechanisms. In harvester ants, whether female progeny develop into workers or daughter queens is strongly influenced by the age and temperature conditions experienced by their mother, which is associated with variation in mater...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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. STUDIES ON ATTRACTIVENESS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF AN ARTIFICIAL ENTOMOPHAGE DIET FED TO HYBRID IMPORTED FIRE ANTS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An artificial entomophage diet (Cohen, U. S. Patent # 5,834,177. November 10, 1998) was offered to Solenopsis invicta Buren x Solenopsis richteri Forel (hybrid imported fire ant) in a series of choice tests. Foraging workers collected approx. 27 times more reconstituted diet than freeze-dried diet...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Toxic bait systems are widely used for control of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, one of the most aggressive and invasive species in the world. We prepared the trail pheromone Z,E-a-farnesene (91% purity) from isomerised apple extracts and tested disruption of worker trail orientation using an aer...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  14. Trail geometry gives polarity to ant foraging networks.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Duncan E; Holcombe, Mike; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2004-12-16

    Pheromone trails are used by many ants to guide foragers between nest and food. But how does a forager that has become displaced from a trail know which way to go on rejoining the trail? A laden forager, for example, should walk towards the nest. Polarized trails would enable ants to choose the appropriate direction, thereby saving time and reducing predation risk. However, previous research has found no evidence that ants can detect polarity from the pheromone trail alone. Pharaoh's ants (Monomorium pharaonis) produce elaborate trail networks throughout their foraging environment. Here we show that by using information from the geometry of trail bifurcations within this network, foragers joining a trail can adaptively reorientate themselves if they initially walk in the wrong direction. The frequency of correct reorientations is maximized when the trail bifurcation angle is approximately 60 degrees, as found in natural networks. These are the first data to demonstrate how ant trails can themselves provide polarity information. They also demonstrate previously unsuspected sophistication in the organization and information content of networks in insect societies. PMID:15602563

  15. Dynamics of fire ant aggregations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tennenbaum, Michael; Hu, David; Fernandez-Nieves, Alberto

    Fire ant aggregations are an inherently active system. Each ant harvests its own energy and can convert it into motion. The motion of individual ants contributes non-trivially to the bulk material properties of the aggregation. We have measured some of these properties using plate-plate rheology, where the response to an applied external force or deformation is measured. In this talk, we will present data pertaining to the aggregation behavior in the absence of any external force. We quantify the aggregation dynamics by monitoring the rotation of the top plate and by measuring the normal force. We then compare the results with visualizations of 2D aggregations.

  16. MANAGING IMPORTED FIRE ANTS IN URBAN AREAS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The two species of imported fire ants (red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri) and their sexually reproducing hybrid are invasive insects whose stings can cause serious medical problems. Imported fire ants interfere with outdoor activities and ha...

  17. Biological Control of Imported Fire Ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Since 1998, the Alabama Fire Ant Management Program has been releasing natural enemies of imported fire ants. These natural enemies are being studied to determine their impact on fire ants. It is hoped that eventually the overall number of fire ants in Alabama can be reduced through biological cont...

  18. A Pilot Study for Gainful Employment in Home Economics. Final Report. Volume IV, A Suggested Curriculum Guide for Preparing Food Service Workers for Entry Level Jobs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cozine, June; And Others

    Curriculum guidelines for teacher use in organizing and teaching a course to prepare 11th and 12th grade students for entry level food service occupations were developed as part of a pilot study which is reported in VT 006 870. The 1-year program requires 2 hours daily plus 10 hours per week on-the-job work experience. Content areas are: (1)…

  19. Red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) control with a corn grit bait of fenoxycarb without soybean oil.

    PubMed

    Williams, D F; Banks, W A; Vander Meer, R K; Lofgren, C S

    1991-06-01

    The standard fenoxycarb fire ant bait formulation (Logic), composed of pregel defatted corn grits and soybean oil toxicant, was modified by eliminating the soybean oil. This formulation without soybean oil contained greater than 2 times more fenoxycarb and was as effective as the standard bait formulation against laboratory colonies of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. In field tests, the modified and standard baits were equally effective in controlling fire ants after 6, 12, and 18 wk. Individual worker ants obtained from plots treated with fenoxycarb baits without soybean oil had greater than 47 times less fenoxycarb than did workers from the plots treated with the standard fenoxycarb baits containing soybean oil. PMID:1885843

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

    PubMed

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

    Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants, and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial, increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Hölldobler's concept of "dynastic succession." PMID:26877084

  1. Actinomycetes inhibit filamentous fungi from the cuticle of Acromyrmex leafcutter ants.

    PubMed

    Dângelo, Rômulo Augusto Cotta; de Souza, Danival José; Mendes, Thais Demarchi; Couceiro, Joel da Cruz; Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro Della

    2016-03-01

    Actinomycetes bacteria associated with leafcutter ants produce secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties against Escovopsis, a fungus specialized in attacking the gardens of fungus-growing ants, which denies the ants their food source. Because previous studies have used fungi isolated from fungus gardens but not from ant integument, the aims of the present study were to isolate actinomycetes associated with the cuticle of the Acromyrmex spp. and to quantify their inhibition abilities against the filamentous fungal species carried by these ants. The results demonstrated that actinomycetes had varied strain-dependent effects on several filamentous fungal species in addition to antagonistic activity against Escovopsis. The strain isolated from Acromyrmex balzani was identified as a Streptomyces species, whereas the remaining isolates were identified as different strains belonging to the genus Pseudonocardia. These findings corroborate the hypothesis that actinomycetes do not act specifically against Escovopsis mycoparasites and may have the ability to inhibit other species of pathogenic fungi. PMID:26805489

  2. The Evolutionary Innovation of Nutritional Symbioses in Leaf-Cutter Ants

    PubMed Central

    Aylward, Frank O.; Currie, Cameron R.; Suen, Garret

    2012-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass through their association with a mutualistic fungus they grow for food. This 50 million-year-old obligate mutualism likely facilitated some of these species becoming dominant Neotropical herbivores that can achieve immense colony sizes. Recent culture-independent investigations have shed light on the conversion of plant biomass into nutrients within ant fungus gardens, revealing that this process involves both the fungal cultivar and a symbiotic community of bacteria including Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea species. Moreover, the genome sequences of the leaf-cutter ants Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior have provided key insights into how this symbiosis has shaped the evolution of these ants at a genetic level. Here we summarize the findings of recent research on the microbial community dynamics within fungus-growing ant fungus gardens and discuss their implications for this ancient symbiosis. PMID:26467948

  3. Ants mediate the structure of phytotelm communities in an ant-garden bromeliad.

    PubMed

    Céréghino, Régis; Leroy, Céline; Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2010-05-01

    The main theories explaining the biological diversity of rain forests often confer a limited understanding of the contribution of interspecific interactions to the observed patterns. We show how two-species mutualisms can affect much larger segments of the invertebrate community in tropical rain forests. Aechmea mertensii (Bromeliaceae) is both a phytotelm (plant-held water) and an ant-garden epiphyte. We studied the influence of its associated ant species (Pachycondyla goeldii and Camponotus femoratus) on the physical characteristics of the plants, and, subsequently, on the diversity of the invertebrate communities that inhabit their tanks. As dispersal agents for the bromeliads, P. goeldii and C. femoratus influence the shape and size of the bromeliad by determining the location of the seedling, from exposed to partially shaded areas. By coexisting on a local scale, the two ant species generate a gradient of habitat conditions in terms of available resources (space and food) for aquatic invertebrates, the diversity of the invertebrate communities increasing with greater volumes of water and fine detritus. Two-species mutualisms are widespread in nature, but their influence on the diversity of entire communities remains largely unexplored. Because macroinvertebrates constitute an important part of animal production in all ecosystem types, further investigations should address the functional implications of such indirect effects. PMID:20503886

  4. How many gamergates is an ant queen worth?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monnin, Thibaud; Peeters, Christian

    2008-02-01

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

  5. Ultrastructure of the mandibular gland of the ant Myrmoteras iriodum.

    PubMed

    Billen, Johan; Hashim, Rosli; Ito, Fuminori

    2016-07-01

    The mandibular gland in workers of the formicine ant Myrmoteras iriodum differs from other ants both in its general morphology and ultrastructural organization. The secretory cells appear in a pseudo-epithelial arrangement that gives them a clear polarity. At their apical side, the cells are characterized by a large cup-like extension of the reservoir, from which a bulbous invagination connects to a branched end apparatus. At the basal side, the cells show a labyrinth of basal invaginations, while the lateral cell contacts show clear interdigitations. The cytoplasmic composition reveals the presence of numerous round or elongate inclusions that contain crystalline material. Microtubules are abundant, and locally fibrillar regions are found. The function of the mandibular gland in M. iriodum has not yet been documented, and should be studied using gland extracts and behavioural observations. PMID:27130260

  6. The Morphometry of Solenopsis Fire Ants

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2013-01-01

    Size-related changes of body shape were explored in 15 polymorphic species of Solenopsis fire ants by analyzing body weight along with linear measurements of 24 body parts. Log regression slopes were used to detect changes of shape with increasing size. Within species, the largest workers weighed from about 5 to 30-fold as much as the smallest. The range of within-species body lengths varied from 1.6 mm to 4 mm. As worker size increased, the gaster tended to make up a larger proportion of body length, usually at the cost of the petiole, and rarely at the cost of head length or mesosoma length. In most, the relative volume of the gaster increased and that of the head and mesosoma decreased. Most also showed an increasingly “humped” mesosoma. For all species, head shape changed from barrel-shaped to heart-shaped as worker size increased. Antennae became relatively shorter as the relative size of the club decreased. Shape changes of the legs were more variable. S. geminata was exceptional in the extreme nature of its head shape change, and was the only species in which relative head volume increased and gaster volume decreased with increasing body size. With the exception of S. geminata, the allometric rules governing shape are remarkably similar across species, suggesting a genus-level developmental scheme that is not easily modified by evolution. It also suggests that the evolution of shape is highly constrained by these conserved growth rules, and that it acts primarily (perhaps only) through allometric growth. The results are discussed in light of the growth of imaginal discs in a resource-limited body (the pupa). The substantial variation of allometries within species and across localities is also discussed in relation to using allometric patterns to identify species or to construct phylogenies. PMID:24260250

  7. Differential gene expression in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants after challenges with two fungal pathogens.

    PubMed

    Yek, Sze H; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Schiøtt, Morten

    2013-04-01

    Social insects in general and leaf-cutting ants in particular have increased selection pressures on their innate immune system due to their social lifestyle and monoclonality of the symbiotic fungal cultivar. As this symbiosis is obligate for both parties, prophylactic behavioural defences against infections are expected to increase either ant survival or fungus-garden survival, but also to possibly trade off when specific infections differ in potential danger. We examined the effectiveness of prophylactic behaviours and modulations of innate immune defences by a combination of inoculation bioassays and genome-wide transcriptomic studies (RNA-Seq), using an ant pathogen (Metarhizium brunneum) and a fungus-garden pathogen (Escovopsis weberi) and administering inoculations both directly and indirectly (via the symbiotic partner). Upon detection of pathogen conidia, ant workers responded by increasing both general activity and the frequency of specific defence behaviours (self-grooming, allo-grooming, garden-grooming) independent of the pathogen encountered. This trend was also evident in the patterns of gene expression change. Both direct and indirect (via fungus garden) inoculations with Metarhizium induced a general up-regulation of gene expression, including a number of well-known immune-related genes. In contrast, direct inoculation of the fungus garden by Escovopsis induced an overall down-regulation of ant gene expression, whereas indirect inoculation (via the ants) did not, suggesting that increased activity of ants to remove this fungus-garden pathogen is costly and involves trade-offs with the activation of other physiological pathways. PMID:23480581

  8. Active use of the metapleural glands by ants in controlling fungal infection

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Zimmerman, Jess K; Rehner, Stephen A; Wcislo, William T

    2006-01-01

    Insect societies face constant challenges from disease agents. Ants deploy diverse antimicrobial compounds against pathogens and the key sources are metapleural glands (MGs). Are MG products passively secreted and used indiscriminately or are they selectively used when ants are challenged by pathogens? In 26 species from five subfamilies, ants use foreleg movements to precisely groom the MG opening. In the absence of experimental infection, MG grooming rates are low and workers groom themselves after contacting the MGs. The derived leaf-cutter ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) also groom their fungal gardens, substrata (leaves), queens and nest-mates after MG grooming. Atta respond to a challenge by fungal conidia by increasing the rate of MG grooming, but do not do so when an inert powder is applied. This increase occurs in the first hour after a potential infection, after which it returns to baseline levels. Ants with open MGs produce more infrabuccal pellets (IP) than ants with sealed MGs and conidia within pellets from the former are less likely to germinate. Thus, ants selectively groom their MGs when disease agents are present, suggesting that they also selectively use their MG secretions, which has important implications for understanding the evolution of hygienic behaviour in social groups. PMID:16769642

  9. Habitat contrasts reveal a shift in the trophic position of ant assemblages.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Heloise; Cunningham, Saul A

    2011-01-01

    1. Trophic structure within a guild can be influenced by factors such as resource availability and competition. While ants occupy a wide range of positions in food webs, and ant community composition changes with habitat, it is not well understood if ant genera tend to maintain their position in the trophic structure, or if trophic position varies across habitats. 2. We used ratios of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to test for differences in the trophic structure and position of assemblages of ants among habitat types. We tested for differences between assemblages in replicate sites of the land use categories: (i) pastures with old large trees; (ii) recently revegetated pastures with small young trees; and (iii) remnant woodlands. Known insect herbivores and predatory spiders provided baselines for herbivorous and predaceous arthropods. Soil samples were used to correct for the base level of isotopic enrichment at each site. 3. We found no significant interactions between land use and ant genus for isotope enrichment, indicating that trophic structure is conserved across land use categories. The fixed relative positions of genera in the trophic structure might be re-enforced by competition or some other factor. However, the entire ant assemblage had significantly lower δ(15) N values in revegetated sites, suggesting that ants feed lower down in the food chain i.e. they are more 'herbivorous' in revegetated sites. This may be a result of the high availability of plant sugars, honeydew and herbivorous arthropod prey. 4. Surprisingly, ants in remnants and pastures with trees displayed similar isotopic compositions. Interactions within ant assemblages are thus likely to be resilient to changes in land use, but ant diets in early successional habitats may reflect the simplicity of communities, which may have comparatively lower rates of saprophagy and predation. PMID:20831728

  10. Neuroretinitis following bull ant sting.

    PubMed

    Ullrich, Katja; Saha, Niladri; Lake, Stewart

    2012-01-01

    Cat scratch disease causes the majority of cases of neuroretinitis. Neuroretinitis is characterised by clinical features of papillitis, macular oedema and macular star. We report a case study of infection with Bartonella henselae most likely transmitted by a bull ant sting. The patient presented with blurred vision and reduced visual acuity after being stung by an ant in her garden some 7 days earlier. Further testing revealed positive serology to B henselae and the patient improved with appropriate treatment. PMID:22865803

  11. Nestmate recognition in ants is possible without tactile interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Endler, Annett; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2008-07-01

    Ants of the genus Camponotus are able to discriminate recognition cues of colony members (nestmates) from recognition cues of workers of a different colony (non-nestmates) from a distance of 1 cm. Free moving, individual Camponotus floridanus workers encountered differently treated dummies on a T-bar and their behavior was recorded. Aggressive behavior was scored as mandibular threat towards dummies. Dummies were treated with hexane extracts of postpharyngeal glands (PPGs) from nestmates or non-nestmates which contain long-chain hydrocarbons in ratios comparable to what is found on the cuticle. The cuticular hydrocarbon profile bears cues which are essential for nestmate recognition. Although workers were prevented from antennating the dummies, they showed significantly less aggressive behavior towards dummies treated with nestmate PPG extracts than towards dummies treated with non-nestmate PPG extracts. In an additional experiment, we show that cis-9-tricosene, an alkene naturally not found in C. floridanus’ cuticular profile, is behaviorally active and can interfere with nestmate recognition when presented together with a nestmate PPG extract. Our study demonstrates for the first time that the complex multi-component recognition cues can be perceived and discriminated by ants at close range. We conclude that contact chemosensilla are not crucial for nestmate recognition since tactile interaction is not necessary.

  12. How to find home backwards? Navigation during rearward homing of Cataglyphis fortis desert ants.

    PubMed

    Pfeffer, Sarah E; Wittlinger, Matthias

    2016-07-15

    Cataglyphis ants are renowned for their impressive navigation skills, which have been studied in numerous experiments during forward locomotion. However, the ants' navigational performance during backward homing when dragging large food loads has not been investigated until now. During backward locomotion, the odometer has to deal with unsteady motion and irregularities in inter-leg coordination. The legs' sensory feedback during backward walking is not just a simple reversal of the forward stepping movements: compared with forward homing, ants are facing towards the opposite direction during backward dragging. Hence, the compass system has to cope with a flipped celestial view (in terms of the polarization pattern and the position of the sun) and an inverted retinotopic image of the visual panorama and landmark environment. The same is true for wind and olfactory cues. In this study we analyze for the first time backward-homing ants and evaluate their navigational performance in channel and open field experiments. Backward-homing Cataglyphis fortis desert ants show remarkable similarities in the performance of homing compared with forward-walking ants. Despite the numerous challenges emerging for the navigational system during backward walking, we show that ants perform quite well in our experiments. Direction and distance gauging was comparable to that of the forward-walking control groups. Interestingly, we found that backward-homing ants often put down the food item and performed foodless search loops around the left food item. These search loops were mainly centred around the drop-off position (and not around the nest position), and increased in length the closer the ants came to their fictive nest site. PMID:27445399

  13. Macronutrient regulation in the Rasberry crazy ant (Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Animals grow and optimize performance when they collect foods in amounts and ratios that best meet their species-specific nutritional requirements. For eusocial organisms like ants, where only a small fraction of the colony members collect food, increasing evidence demonstrates that strong macronut...

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

    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. PMID:23261398

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

    PubMed Central

    Ješovnik, Ana; González, Vanessa L.; Schultz, Ted R.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Ješovnik, Ana; González, Vanessa L; Schultz, Ted R

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Measuring activity in ant colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noda, C.; Fernández, J.; Pérez-Penichet, C.; Altshuler, E.

    2006-12-01

    Ants, as paradigm of social insects, have become a recurrent example of efficient problem solvers via self-organization. In spite of the simple behavior of each individual, the colony as a whole displays "swarm intelligence:" the organization of ant trails for foraging is a typical output of it. But conventional techniques of observation can hardly record the amount of data needed to get a detailed understanding of self-organization of ant swarms in the wild. Here we are presenting a measurement system intended to monitor ant activity in the field comprising massive data acquisition and high sensitivity. A central role is played by an infrared sensor devised specifically to monitor relevant parameters to the activity of ants through the exits of the nest, although other sensors detecting temperature and luminosity are added to the system. We study the characteristics of the activity sensor and its performance in the field. Finally, we present massive data measured at one exit of a nest of Atta insularis, an ant endemic to Cuba, to illustrate the potential of our system.

  18. Trap-mulching Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Silverman, Jules; Sorenson, Clyde E; Waldvogel, Michael G

    2006-10-01

    Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), management is constrained, in large part, by polydomy where nestmates are distributed extensively across urban landscapes, particularly within mulch. Management with trap-mulching is a novel approach derived from trap-cropping where ants are repelled from a broad domain of nest sites to smaller defined areas, which are subsequently treated with insecticide. This concept was field-tested with mulch surrounding ornamental trees replaced with a narrow band of pine (Pinus spp.) needle mulch (trap) within a much larger patch of repellent aromatic cedar (Juniperus spp.) mulch. After ants reestablished around the trees, the pine needle mulch band was treated with 0.06% fipronil (Termidor). Poor results were obtained when the trap extended from the tree trunk to the edge of the mulched area. When the trap was applied as a circular band around the tree trunk reductions in the number of foraging ants were recorded through 14 d compared with an untreated mulch control, but not for longer periods. Reductions in the number of ant nests within mulch were no different between the trap mulch and any of the other treatments. We conclude that trap-mulching offers limited benefits, and that successful management of Argentine ants will require implementation of complementary or perhaps alternative strategies. PMID:17066809

  19. Effect of broadcast baiting on abundance patterns of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and key local ant genera at long-term monitoring sites in Brisbane, Australia.

    PubMed

    McNaught, Melinda K; Wylie, F Ross; Harris, Evan J; Alston, Clair L; Burwell, Chris J; Jennings, Craig

    2014-08-01

    In 2001, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) was identified in Brisbane, Australia. An eradication program involving broadcast bait treatment with two insect growth regulators and a metabolic inhibitor began in September of that year and is currently ongoing. To gauge the impacts of these treatments on local ant populations, we examined long-term monitoring data and quantified abundance patterns of S. invicta and common local ant genera using a linear mixed-effects model. For S. invicta, presence in pitfalls reduced over time to zero on every site. Significantly higher numbers of S. invicta workers were collected on high-density polygyne sites, which took longer to disinfest compared with monogyne and low-density polygyne sites. For local ants, nine genus groups of the 10 most common genera analyzed either increased in abundance or showed no significant trend. Five of these genus groups were significantly less abundant at the start of monitoring on high-density polygyne sites compared with monogyne and low-density polygyne sites. The genus Pheidole significantly reduced in abundance over time, suggesting that it was affected by treatment efforts. These results demonstrate that the treatment regime used at the time successfully removed S. invicta from these sites in Brisbane, and that most local ant genera were not seriously impacted by the treatment. These results have important implications for current and future prophylactic treatment efforts, and suggest that native ants remain in treated areas to provide some biological resistance to S. invicta. PMID:25195416

  20. Cuticular hydrocarbons provide reliable cues of fertility in the ant Gnamptogenys striatula.

    PubMed

    Lommelen, E; Johnson, C A; Drijfhout, F P; Billen, J; Wenseleers, T; Gobin, B

    2006-09-01

    In ca. 150 species of queenless ants, a specialized queen caste is rare or absent, and mated workers take over the role of the queen in some or all of the colonies. Previously, it has been shown that reproduction in queenless ants is regulated by a combination of dominance behavior and chemical fertility signaling. It is unknown, however, whether chemical signals alone can sufficiently regulate reproduction. To investigate this possibility, we studied reproductive regulation in the facultatively queenless ant Gnamptogenys striatula, a species where dominance behavior is rare or absent. Active egg layers and infertile workers showed qualitative and quantitative differences in their cuticular hydrocarbon profile. Five long-chain methyl alkanes, 3,13- and 3,15-dimethyl pentriacontane, 3,13- and 3,15-dimethyl heptentriacontane, and 3,11,15-trimethyl heptentriacontane occurred only on the cuticles of virgin and mated egg layers. Pronounced quantitative differences were found in a further 27 alkenes; alkanes; and mono-, di-, and trimethyl alkanes. Workers that had recently stopped laying eggs had profiles similar to infertile workers, and mating status did not affect this chemical pattern. We conclude that the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of G. striatula workers provide reliable information about their current fertility. In the interest of colony productivity, this allows reproduction to be regulated without the use of aggression. PMID:16902821

  1. Forest clearing and sex ratio in forest-dwelling wood ant Formica aquilonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sorvari, Jouni; Hakkarainen, Harri

    2007-05-01

    Sex ratios of ants have been shown to vary with food resource levels in several studies, but it is not known whether forest clear-cutting has any effect on sex ratio of aphid-tending forest-dwelling ants. We investigated whether the offspring sex ratio of the forest dwelling ant Formica aquilonia varied as a response to clear-cutting. We found that the proportion of males was smaller in clear-cuts than in adjacent forests. Our results are among the first showing that anthropogenic changes in forest structures may have a potential to modify sex ratios of social insects and other forest-dwelling animals.

  2. Sham nepotism as a result of intrinsic differences in brood viability in ants.

    PubMed

    Holzer, Barbara; Kümmerli, Rolf; Keller, Laurent; Chapuisat, Michel

    2006-08-22

    In animal societies, cooperation for the common wealth and latent conflicts due to the selfish interests of individuals are in delicate balance. In many ant species, colonies contain multiple breeders and workers interact with nestmates of varying degrees of relatedness. Therefore, workers could increase their inclusive fitness by preferentially caring for their closest relatives, yet evidence for nepotism in insect societies remains scarce and controversial. We experimentally demonstrate that workers of the ant Formica exsecta do not discriminate between highly related and unrelated brood, but that brood viability differs between queens. We further show that differences in brood viability are sufficient to explain a relatedness pattern that has previously been interpreted as evidence for nepotism. Hence, our findings support the view that nepotism remains elusive in social insects and emphasize the need for further controlled experiments. PMID:16846912

  3. Field evaluations of the efficacy of Distance Plus on invasive ant species in northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Webb, Garry A; Hoffmann, Benjamin D

    2013-08-01

    The efficacy of Distance Plus Ant Bait, containing the insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen, was tested in the field against two invasive ant species in northern Australia: African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala (F.)) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes (Fr. Smith)). Results were also gained for a third pest species, Singapore ant (Monomorium destructor (Jerdon)), from one trial focused primarily on P. megacephala. Five studies were conducted throughout northern Australia, each with different protocols, but common to all was the broad-scale dispersal of Distance Plus, coupled with long-term monitoring of ant population levels. Additionally, a laboratory trial was conducted to assess if there was a direct toxic effect by the bait on A. gracilipes workers, and ant community data were collected at some sites in the A. gracilipes trial to assess nontarget impacts and subsequent ecological recovery. All three species were greatly affected by the treatments. The abundance of P. megacephala declined dramatically in all trials, and by the final assessment for each study, very few ants remained, with those remaining being attributable to edge effects from neighboring untreated properties. At both sites that it occurred, M. destructor was initially at least codominant with P. megacephala, but by the final assessment, only three M. destructor individuals were present at one lure at one site, and only a single individual at the other site. Abundance of A. gracilipes fell, on average, to 31% of control levels by 91 d and then slowly recovered, with subsequent treatments only providing slightly greater control. No direct toxic effect on workers was found in the laboratory trial, indicating that population declines of A. gracilipes were typical bait-related declines resulting from reduced worker replacement. Nontarget impacts of the bait could not be distinguished from the negative competitive impacts ofA. gracilipes, but there was a noticeable absence of some key

  4. Foster carers influence brood pathogen resistance in ants.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-10-01

    Social organisms face a high risk of epidemics, and respond to this threat by combining efficient individual and collective defences against pathogens. An intriguing and little studied feature of social animals is that individual pathogen resistance may depend not only on genetic or maternal factors, but also on the social environment during development. Here, we used a cross-fostering experiment to investigate whether the pathogen resistance of individual ant workers was shaped by their own colony of origin or by the colony of origin of their carers. The origin of care-giving workers significantly influenced the ability of newly eclosed cross-fostered Formica selysi workers to resist the fungal entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana. In particular, carers that were more resistant to the fungal entomopathogen reared more resistant workers. This effect occurred in the absence of post-infection social interactions, such as trophallaxis and allogrooming. The colony of origin of eggs significantly influenced the survival of the resulting individuals in both control and pathogen treatments. There was no significant effect of the social organization (i.e. whether colonies contain a single or multiple queens) of the colony of origin of either carers or eggs. Our experiment reveals that social interactions during development play a central role in moulding the resistance of emerging workers. PMID:25143036

  5. Bug City: Ants [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    1998

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

  6. Local and global navigational coordinate systems in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Collett, Matthew; Collett, Thomas S

    2009-04-01

    While foraging, the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis keeps track of its position with respect to its nest through a process of path integration (PI). Once it finds food, it can then follow a direct home vector to its nest. Furthermore, it remembers the coordinates of a food site, and uses these coordinates to return to the site. Previous studies suggest, however, that it does not associate any coordinates remembered from previous trips with familiar views such that it can produce a home vector when displaced to a familiar site. We ask here whether a desert ant uses any association between PI coordinates and familiar views to ensure consistent PI coordinates as it travels along a habitual route. We describe an experiment in which we manipulated the PI coordinates an ant has when reaching a distinctive point along a habitual route on the way to a feeder. The subsequent home vectors of the manipulated ants, when displaced from the food-site to a test ground, show that also when a route memory is evoked at a significant point on the way to a food site, C. fortis does not reset its PI coordinates to those it normally has at that point. We use this result to argue that local vector memories, which encode the metric properties of a segment of a habitual route, must be encoded in a route-based coordinate system that is separate from the nest-based global coordinates. We propose a model for PI-based guidance that can account for several puzzling observations, and that naturally produces the route-based coordinate system required for learning and following local vectors. PMID:19282486

  7. A multidimensional functional trait analysis of resource exploitation in European ants.

    PubMed

    Retana, Javier; Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim

    2015-10-01

    The major factors explaining ecological variation in plants have been widely discussed over the last decade thanks to numerous studies that have examined the covariation that exists between pairs of traits. However, multivariate relationships among traits remain poorly characterized in animals. In this study, we aimed to identify the main multivariate trait dimensions that explain variance in important functional traits related to resource exploitation in ants. To this end, we created a large ant trait database. This database includes information on 11 traits that are important in ant resource exploitation; data were obtained for 150 European species found in different biomes. First, we examined the pairwise correlations between the traits included in the database. Second, we used multivariate analyses to identify potential trait dimensions. Our study shows that, to a great extent, resource exploitation strategies align along two main trait dimensions. The first dimension emerged in both the overall and group-specific analyses, where it accounted for the same pairwise trait correlations. The second dimension was more variable, as species were grouped by levels of taxonomy, habitat, and climate. These two dimensions included most of the significant pairwise trait correlations, thus highlighting that complementarity, but also redundancy, exists among different pairs of traits. The first dimension was associated with behavioral dominance: dominance was associated with large colony size, presence of multiple nests per colony, worker polymorphism, and a collective foraging 'strategy. The second dimension was associated with resource partitioning along dietary and microhabitat lines: it ranged from species that consume liquid foods, engage in group foraging, and mainly nest in the vegetation to species that consume insects and seeds, engage in individual foraging, and demonstrate strictly diurnal activity. Our findings establish a proficient ecological trait-based animal

  8. Foliar Substrate Affects Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profiles and Intraspecific Aggression in the Leafcutter Ant Atta sexdens

    PubMed Central

    Valadares, Lohan; Nascimento, Daniela; Nascimento, Fabio S.

    2015-01-01

    Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are traditionally considered to be one of the most important chemical cues used in the nestmate recognition process of social hymenopterans. However, it has been suggested that in the leafcutter ant genus Atta, it is not the CHCs, but the alarm pheromone that is involved in the nestmate recognition process. In this study we used a laboratory population of Atta sexdens to explore the association between their CHC profile variation and intraspecific aggression. In the first part of the experiment, four colonies were divided into two groups with distinct diets to stimulate differentiation of their CHC profiles. In the second part of the experiment, all colonies received the same diet to examine resemblance of chemical profiles. At the end of each part of the experiment we extracted the CHCs from workers. The results demonstrated that colonies that shared the same food resource had similar cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Furthermore, colonies were significantly more aggressive towards conspecifics that used a different foliar substrate and consequently had greater differences in their cuticular chemical composition. This study suggests that the CHC profiles of A. sexdens can be affected by the foliar substrates used, and that the CHCs are used in the nestmate recognition process of this species. PMID:26463072

  9. Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies

    PubMed Central

    Hasegawa, Eisuke; Ishii, Yasunori; Tada, Koichiro; Kobayashi, Kazuya; Yoshimura, Jin

    2016-01-01

    Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli. Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection? Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity. PMID:26880339

  10. Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies.

    PubMed

    Hasegawa, Eisuke; Ishii, Yasunori; Tada, Koichiro; Kobayashi, Kazuya; Yoshimura, Jin

    2016-01-01

    Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli. Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection? Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity. PMID:26880339

  11. Macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses: Pseudomyrmex ants and their ant-housing plants in the Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Chomicki, Guillaume; Ward, Philip S; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-11-22

    Symbioses include some of the clearest cases of coevolution, but their origin, loss or reassembly with different partners can rarely be inferred. Here we use ant/plant symbioses involving three plant clades to investigate the evolution of symbioses. We generated phylogenies for the big-eyed arboreal ants (Pseudomyrmecinae), including 72% of their 286 species, as well as for five of their plant host groups, in each case sampling more than 61% of the species. We show that the ant-housing Vachellia (Mimosoideae) clade and its ants co-diversified for the past 5 Ma, with some species additionally colonized by younger plant-nesting ant species, some parasitic. An apparent co-radiation of ants and Tachigali (Caesalpinioideae) was followed by waves of colonization by the same ant clade, and subsequent occupation by a younger ant group. Wide crown and stem age differences between the ant-housing genus Triplaris (Polygonaceae) and its obligate ant inhabitants, and stochastic trait mapping, indicate that its domatium evolved earlier than the ants now occupying it, suggesting previous symbioses that dissolved. Parasitic ant species evolved from generalists, not from mutualists, and are younger than the mutualistic systems they parasitize. Our study illuminates the macroevolutionary assembly of ant/plant symbioses, which has been highly dynamic, even in very specialized systems. PMID:26582029

  12. Stable isotope and elemental analysis in ants.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tillberg, Chadwick V

    2009-07-01

    Over the past 20 yr, the use of stable isotopes to infer feeding ecology and the examination of how energetic and elemental exchanges are affected by and affect life (ecological stoichiometry) have gained momentum. The ecological diversity of ants makes them interesting models to explore dietary ecology and their role in food webs. Moreover, their ecological dominance in most habitats facilitates sampling. The protocol described here will produce samples adequate for submission to most labs that specialize in high-throughput analysis of stable isotopes; one should check with any particular lab for specific submission instructions. Note, however, that this protocol is designed specifically for the quantification of the natural abundance of stable isotopes; it does not cover the preparation of trace samples. PMID:20147207

  13. Purpureocillium lilacinum, potential agent for biological control of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex lundii.

    PubMed

    Goffré, D; Folgarait, P J

    2015-09-01

    Many leaf-cutter ant species are well known pests in Latin America, including species of the genera Acromyrmex and Atta. An environmentally friendly strategy to reduce the number of leafcutter ants and avoid indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides is biological control. In this work we evaluated the effectiveness of a strain of the entomopathogen Purpureocillium lilacinum, against worker ants from six Acromyrmex lundii field colonies, after immersions in pure suspensions at a concentration of 1×10(6)conidiaml(-1). Survival of ants treated with P. lilacinum was significantly lower than that recorded in controls, and median lethal time (LT50) was 6-7days. P. lilacinum was responsible for 85.6% (80.6-89.7) of the mortality in inoculated ants, in which we found that the percentage of other entomopathogens that naturally infected ants decreased also, suggesting a good competitive capability of the fungus. Horizontal transmission to non-inoculated ants was also evidenced, given that 58.5% (41.9-64.2) of them died because of P. lilacinum. Moreover, we tested pathogenicity for three concentrations of this strain (1.0×10(4), 10(6) and 10(8)conidiaml(-1)) and found a significantly faster mortality of ants and greater median percentage of infection at 10(8)conidiaml(-1) of P. lilacinum. CL50 value was 2.8×10(5)conidiaml(-1). We thus propose the use of P. lilacinum as a biological control agent of leafcutter ants in crops and plantations. PMID:26205173

  14. Catalpa bignonioides alters extrafloral nectar production after herbivory and attracts