Science.gov

Sample records for ant colony search

  1. Model Specification Searches Using Ant Colony Optimization Algorithms

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marcoulides, George A.; Drezner, Zvi

    2003-01-01

    Ant colony optimization is a recently proposed heuristic procedure inspired by the behavior of real ants. This article applies the procedure to model specification searches in structural equation modeling and reports the results. The results demonstrate the capabilities of ant colony optimization algorithms for conducting automated searches.

  2. An ant colony algorithm on continuous searching space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Jing; Cai, Chao

    2015-12-01

    Ant colony algorithm is heuristic, bionic and parallel. Because of it is property of positive feedback, parallelism and simplicity to cooperate with other method, it is widely adopted in planning on discrete space. But it is still not good at planning on continuous space. After a basic introduction to the basic ant colony algorithm, we will propose an ant colony algorithm on continuous space. Our method makes use of the following three tricks. We search for the next nodes of the route according to fixed-step to guarantee the continuity of solution. When storing pheromone, it discretizes field of pheromone, clusters states and sums up the values of pheromone of these states. When updating pheromone, it makes good resolutions measured in relative score functions leave more pheromone, so that ant colony algorithm can find a sub-optimal solution in shorter time. The simulated experiment shows that our ant colony algorithm can find sub-optimal solution in relatively shorter time.

  3. Economic investment by ant colonies in searches for better homes.

    PubMed

    Doran, Carolina; Pearce, Tom; Connor, Aaron; Schlegel, Thomas; Franklin, Elizabeth; Sendova-Franks, Ana B; Franks, Nigel R

    2013-10-23

    Organisms should invest more in gathering information when the pay-off from finding a profitable resource is likely to be greater. Here, we ask whether animal societies put more effort in scouting for a new nest when their current one is of low quality. We measured the scouting behaviour of Temnothorax albipennis ant colonies when they inhabit nest-sites with different combinations of desirable attributes. We show that the average probability of an ant scouting decreases significantly with an increase in the quality of the nest in which the colony currently resides. This means that the greater the potential gain from finding a new nest, the more effort a colony puts into gathering information regarding new nest-sites. Our results show, for the first time to our knowledge, the ability of animal societies to respond collectively to the quality of a resource they currently have at their disposal (e.g. current nest-site) and regulate appropriately their information gathering efforts for finding an alternative (e.g. a potentially better nest-site).

  4. Improved understanding of the searching behavior of ant colony optimization algorithms applied to the water distribution design problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zecchin, A. C.; Simpson, A. R.; Maier, H. R.; Marchi, A.; Nixon, J. B.

    2012-09-01

    Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) have been applied successfully to many water resource problems, such as system design, management decision formulation, and model calibration. The performance of an EA with respect to a particular problem type is dependent on how effectively its internal operators balance the exploitation/exploration trade-off to iteratively find solutions of an increasing quality. For a given problem, different algorithms are observed to produce a variety of different final performances, but there have been surprisingly few investigations into characterizing how the different internal mechanisms alter the algorithm's searching behavior, in both the objective and decision space, to arrive at this final performance. This paper presents metrics for analyzing the searching behavior of ant colony optimization algorithms, a particular type of EA, for the optimal water distribution system design problem, which is a classical NP-hard problem in civil engineering. Using the proposed metrics, behavior is characterized in terms of three different attributes: (1) the effectiveness of the search in improving its solution quality and entering into optimal or near-optimal regions of the search space, (2) the extent to which the algorithm explores as it converges to solutions, and (3) the searching behavior with respect to the feasible and infeasible regions. A range of case studies is considered, where a number of ant colony optimization variants are applied to a selection of water distribution system optimization problems. The results demonstrate the utility of the proposed metrics to give greater insight into how the internal operators affect each algorithm's searching behavior.

  5. Exploration adjustment by ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    How do animals in groups organize their work? Division of labour, i.e. the process by which individuals within a group choose which tasks to perform, has been extensively studied in social insects. Variability among individuals within a colony seems to underpin both the decision over which tasks to perform and the amount of effort to invest in a task. Studies have focused mainly on discrete tasks, i.e. tasks with a recognizable end. Here, we study the distribution of effort in nest seeking, in the absence of new nest sites. Hence, this task is open-ended and individuals have to decide when to stop searching, even though the task has not been completed. We show that collective search effort declines when colonies inhabit better homes, as a consequence of a reduction in the number of bouts (exploratory events). Furthermore, we show an increase in bout exploration time and a decrease in bout instantaneous speed for colonies inhabiting better homes. The effect of treatment on bout effort is very small; however, we suggest that the organization of work performed within nest searching is achieved both by a process of self-selection of the most hard-working ants and individual effort adjustment. PMID:26909180

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Facilitating the 3D Indoor Search and Rescue Problem: An Overview of the Problem and an Ant Colony Solution Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tashakkori, H.; Rajabifard, A.; Kalantari, M.

    2016-10-01

    Search and rescue procedures for indoor environments are quite complicated due to the fact that much of the indoor information is unavailable to rescuers before physical entrance to the incident scene. Thus, decision making regarding the number of crew required and the way they should be dispatched in the building considering the various access points and complexities in the buildings in order to cover the search area in minimum time is dependent on prior knowledge and experience of the emergency commanders. Hence, this paper introduces the Search and Rescue Problem (SRP) which aims at finding best search and rescue routes that minimize the overall search time in the buildings. 3D BIM-oriented indoor GIS is integrated in the indoor route graph to find accurate routes based on the building geometric and semantic information. An Ant Colony Based Algorithm is presented that finds the number of first responders required and their individual routes to search all rooms and points of interest inside the building to minimize the overall time spent by all rescuers inside the disaster area. The evaluation of the proposed model for a case study building shows a significant improve in search and rescue time which will lead to a higher chance of saving lives and less exposure of emergency crew to danger.

  10. 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.

  11. Spatial patterns in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Theraulaz, Guy; Bonabeau, Eric; Nicolis, Stamatios C; Solé, Ricard V; Fourcassié, Vincent; Blanco, Stéphane; Fournier, Richard; Joly, Jean-Louis; Fernández, Pau; Grimal, Anne; Dalle, Patrice; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis

    2002-07-23

    The origins of large-scale spatial patterns in biology have been an important source of theoretical speculation since the pioneering work by Turing (1952) on the chemical basis of morphogenesis. Knowing how these patterns emerge and their functional role is important to our understanding of the evolution of biocomplexity and the role played by self organization. However, so far, conclusive evidence for local activation-long-range inhibition mechanisms in real biological systems has been elusive. Here a well-defined experimental and theoretical analysis of the pattern formation dynamics exhibited by clustering behavior in ant colonies is presented. These experiments and a simple mathematical model show that these colonies do indeed use this type of mechanism. All microscopic variables have been measured and provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, for this type of self-organized behavior in complex biological systems, supporting early conjectures about its role in the organization of insect societies. PMID:12114538

  12. Evolutional Ant Colony Method Using PSO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morii, Nobuto; Aiyoshi, Eitarou

    The ant colony method is one of heuristic methods capable of solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP), in which a good tour is generated by the artificial ant's probabilistic behavior. However, the generated tour length depends on the parameter describing the ant's behavior, and the best parameters corresponding to the problem to be solved is unknown. In this technical note, the evolutional strategy is presented to find the best parameter of the ant colony by using Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) in the parameter space. Numerical simulations for benchmarks demonstrate effectiveness of the evolutional ant colony method.

  13. The hyper-cube framework for ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Blum, Christian; Dorigo, Marco

    2004-04-01

    Ant colony optimization is a metaheuristic approach belonging to the class of model-based search algorithms. In this paper, we propose a new framework for implementing ant colony optimization algorithms called the hyper-cube framework for ant colony optimization. In contrast to the usual way of implementing ant colony optimization algorithms, this framework limits the pheromone values to the interval [0,1]. This is obtained by introducing changes in the pheromone value update rule. These changes can in general be applied to any pheromone value update rule used in ant colony optimization. We discuss the benefits coming with this new framework. The benefits are twofold. On the theoretical side, the new framework allows us to prove that in Ant System, the ancestor of all ant colony optimization algorithms, the average quality of the solutions produced increases in expectation over time when applied to unconstrained problems. On the practical side, the new framework automatically handles the scaling of the objective function values. We experimentally show that this leads on average to a more robust behavior of ant colony optimization algorithms. PMID:15376861

  14. Do aphids actively search for ant partners?

    PubMed

    Fischer, Christophe Y; Vanderplanck, Maryse; Lognay, Georges C; Detrain, Claire; Verheggen, François J

    2015-04-01

    The aphid-ant mutualistic relationships are not necessarily obligate for neither partners but evidence is that such interactions provide them strong advantages in terms of global fitness. While it is largely assumed that ants actively search for their mutualistic partners namely using volatile cues; whether winged aphids (i.e., aphids' most mobile form) are able to select ant-frequented areas had not been investigated so far. Ant-frequented sites would indeed offer several advantages for these aphids including a lower predation pressure through ant presence and enhanced chances of establishing mutuaslistic interactions with neighbor ant colonies. In the field, aphid colonies are often observed in higher densities around ant nests, which is probably linked to a better survival ensured by ants' services. Nevertheless, this could also result from a preferential establishment of winged aphids in ant-frequented areas. We tested this last hypothesis through different ethological assays and show that the facultative myrmecophilous black bean aphid, Aphis fabae L., does not orientate its search for a host plant preferentially toward ant-frequented plants. However, our results suggest that ants reduce the number of winged aphids leaving the newly colonized plant. Thus, ants involved in facultative myrmecophilous interactions with aphids appear to contribute to structure aphid populations in the field by ensuring a better establishment and survival of newly established colonies rather than by inducing a deliberate plant selection by aphid partners based on the proximity of ant colonies.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Liqiang; Dai, Yuntao

    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

  18. Collecting live ant specimens (colony sampling).

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

    Because of the great diversity of ants, it is difficult to give a single protocol for the collection of live specimens. Ant body size can be very small or extremely large; the ants can be hard or soft, sting or spray toxic chemicals, live in the open or in hard-to-reach places; and colony size can range from tens of individuals to millions. Thus, collection techniques must be tailored to each particular species. In particular, caution must always be taken when dealing with stinging species, and symptoms and basic first-aid measures, especially for the treatment of anaphylactic shock, should be reviewed before beginning fieldwork. Nonetheless, many species are collectable as whole colonies. This protocol reviews some basic techniques for collecting ground-nesting species and describes how to collect whole live colonies (with queens), which are necessary for long-term laboratory studies and addressing questions of social organization and ecology. PMID:20147204

  19. Microtubules viewed as molecular ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Tabony, James

    2006-10-01

    Populations of ants and other social insects self-organize and develop 'emergent' properties through stigmergy in which individual ants communicate with one another via chemical trails of pheromones that attract or repulse other ants. In this way, sophisticated properties and functions develop. Under appropriate conditions, in vitro microtubule preparations, initially comprised of only tubulin and GTP, behave in a similar manner. They self-organize and develop other higher-level emergent phenomena by a process where individual microtubules are coupled together by the chemical trails they produce by their own reactive growing and shrinking. This behaviour is described and compared with the behaviour of ant colonies. Viewing microtubules as populations of molecular ants may provide new insights as to how the cytoskeleton may spontaneously develop high-level functions. It is plausible that such processes occur during the early stages of embryogenesis and in cells. PMID:16968217

  20. Modeling the dynamics of ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Merkle, Daniel; Middendorf, Martin

    2002-01-01

    The dynamics of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithms is studied using a deterministic model that assumes an average expected behavior of the algorithms. The ACO optimization metaheuristic is an iterative approach, where in every iteration, artificial ants construct solutions randomly but guided by pheromone information stemming from former ants that found good solutions. The behavior of ACO algorithms and the ACO model are analyzed for certain types of permutation problems. It is shown analytically that the decisions of an ant are influenced in an intriguing way by the use of the pheromone information and the properties of the pheromone matrix. This explains why ACO algorithms can show a complex dynamic behavior even when there is only one ant per iteration and no competition occurs. The ACO model is used to describe the algorithm behavior as a combination of situations with different degrees of competition between the ants. This helps to better understand the dynamics of the algorithm when there are several ants per iteration as is always the case when using ACO algorithms for optimization. Simulations are done to compare the behavior of the ACO model with the ACO algorithm. Results show that the deterministic model describes essential features of the dynamics of ACO algorithms quite accurately, while other aspects of the algorithms behavior cannot be found in the model. PMID:12227995

  1. A Hybrid Ant Colony Algorithm for Loading Pattern Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoareau, F.

    2014-06-01

    Electricité de France (EDF) operates 58 nuclear power plant (NPP), of the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) type. The loading pattern (LP) optimization of these NPP is currently done by EDF expert engineers. Within this framework, EDF R&D has developed automatic optimization tools that assist the experts. The latter can resort, for instance, to a loading pattern optimization software based on ant colony algorithm. This paper presents an analysis of the search space of a few realistic loading pattern optimization problems. This analysis leads us to introduce a hybrid algorithm based on ant colony and a local search method. We then show that this new algorithm is able to generate loading patterns of good quality.

  2. Ant Larval Demand Reduces Aphid Colony Growth Rates in an Ant-Aphid Interactio

    PubMed Central

    Oliver, Tom H.; Leather, Simon R.; Cook, James M.

    2012-01-01

    Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services. Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates. However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies. Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies (two separate colonies were used) and previous diet (sugar only or sugar and protein). We found that the presence of larvae in the ant colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates. Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest. Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes. PMID:26467951

  3. Ant colony optimization and stochastic gradient descent.

    PubMed

    Meuleau, Nicolas; Dorigo, Marco

    2002-01-01

    In this article, we study the relationship between the two techniques known as ant colony optimization (ACO) and stochastic gradient descent. More precisely, we show that some empirical ACO algorithms approximate stochastic gradient descent in the space of pheromones, and we propose an implementation of stochastic gradient descent that belongs to the family of ACO algorithms. We then use this insight to explore the mutual contributions of the two techniques. PMID:12171633

  4. Improved Clonal Selection Algorithm Combined with Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Shangce; Wang, Wei; Dai, Hongwei; Li, Fangjia; Tang, Zheng

    Both the clonal selection algorithm (CSA) and the ant colony optimization (ACO) are inspired by natural phenomena and are effective tools for solving complex problems. CSA can exploit and explore the solution space parallely and effectively. However, it can not use enough environment feedback information and thus has to do a large redundancy repeat during search. On the other hand, ACO is based on the concept of indirect cooperative foraging process via secreting pheromones. Its positive feedback ability is nice but its convergence speed is slow because of the little initial pheromones. In this paper, we propose a pheromone-linker to combine these two algorithms. The proposed hybrid clonal selection and ant colony optimization (CSA-ACO) reasonably utilizes the superiorities of both algorithms and also overcomes their inherent disadvantages. Simulation results based on the traveling salesman problems have demonstrated the merit of the proposed algorithm over some traditional techniques.

  5. Automated selection of appropriate pheromone representations in ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, James; Randall, Marcus; Hendtlass, Tim

    2005-01-01

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) is a constructive metaheuristic that uses an analogue of ant trail pheromones to learn about good features of solutions. Critically, the pheromone representation for a particular problem is usually chosen intuitively rather than by following any systematic process. In some representations, distinct solutions appear multiple times, increasing the effective size of the search space and potentially misleading ants as to the true learned value of those solutions. In this article, we present a novel system for automatically generating appropriate pheromone representations, based on the characteristics of the problem model that ensures unique pheromone representation of solutions. This is the first stage in the development of a generalized ACO system that could be applied to a wide range of problems with little or no modification. However, the system we propose may be used in the development of any problem-specific ACO algorithm. PMID:16053571

  6. Image feature extraction based multiple ant colonies cooperation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhilong; Yang, Weiping; Li, Jicheng

    2015-05-01

    This paper presents a novel image feature extraction algorithm based on multiple ant colonies cooperation. Firstly, a low resolution version of the input image is created using Gaussian pyramid algorithm, and two ant colonies are spread on the source image and low resolution image respectively. The ant colony on the low resolution image uses phase congruency as its inspiration information, while the ant colony on the source image uses gradient magnitude as its inspiration information. These two ant colonies cooperate to extract salient image features through sharing a same pheromone matrix. After the optimization process, image features are detected based on thresholding the pheromone matrix. Since gradient magnitude and phase congruency of the input image are used as inspiration information of the ant colonies, our algorithm shows higher intelligence and is capable of acquiring more complete and meaningful image features than other simpler edge detectors.

  7. Optic disc detection using ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dias, Marcy A.; Monteiro, Fernando C.

    2012-09-01

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

  8. Enhanced ant colony optimization for multiscale problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Nan; Fish, Jacob

    2016-03-01

    The present manuscript addresses the issue of computational complexity of optimizing nonlinear composite materials and structures at multiple scales. Several solutions are detailed to meet the enormous computational challenge of optimizing nonlinear structures at multiple scales including: (i) enhanced sampling procedure that provides superior performance of the well-known ant colony optimization algorithm, (ii) a mapping-based meshing of a representative volume element that unlike unstructured meshing permits sensitivity analysis on coarse meshes, and (iii) a multilevel optimization procedure that takes advantage of possible weak coupling of certain scales. We demonstrate the proposed optimization procedure on elastic and inelastic laminated plates involving three scales.

  9. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study.

    PubMed

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Ant colony clustering with fitness perception and pheromone diffusion for community detection in complex networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ji, Junzhong; Song, Xiangjing; Liu, Chunnian; Zhang, Xiuzhen

    2013-08-01

    Community structure detection in complex networks has been intensively investigated in recent years. In this paper, we propose an adaptive approach based on ant colony clustering to discover communities in a complex network. The focus of the method is the clustering process of an ant colony in a virtual grid, where each ant represents a node in the complex network. During the ant colony search, the method uses a new fitness function to percept local environment and employs a pheromone diffusion model as a global information feedback mechanism to realize information exchange among ants. A significant advantage of our method is that the locations in the grid environment and the connections of the complex network structure are simultaneously taken into account in ants moving. Experimental results on computer-generated and real-world networks show the capability of our method to successfully detect community structures.

  13. 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.

  14. Nest- and colony-mate recognition in polydomous colonies of meat ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus).

    PubMed

    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.

  15. Carbohydrate regulation in relation to colony growth in ants.

    PubMed

    Dussutour, A; Simpson, S J

    2008-07-01

    Ants and all social insects are faced with a nutritional challenge: the food entering the colony is brought by only a small number of its workers but is shared among all members of the colony. In this study, we investigated how ants maintain carbohydrates supply at both a collective and an individual level in response to changes in the concentration of available sucrose solution, colony demography and larval growth. We manipulated the concentration of sugar solutions available to ant colonies (dilute, medium and concentrated solutions) over extended periods and measured the capacity of colonies to maintain sugar supply through compensatory feeding. First, we demonstrated that ants regulated carbohydrate intake at a collective and individual level. Initially, ants consumed most and recruited fastest in response to more concentrated than to dilute sugar solutions, but over time this pattern reversed, such that the number of ants that fed and the volume ingested by each ant was a negative function of sugar concentration in the diet. Second, we found that ants became better at regulating their carbohydrate intake with the production of larvae in the nest. When the number of larvae was experimentally doubled, the ants regulated their consumption of carbohydrates more accurately than when the number of adult workers was doubled, suggesting that larvae play an important role in providing nutritional feedback to workers. Finally, we showed that ants defended a carbohydrate ;intake target' by allowing them to select among sugar solutions of different concentration.

  16. Obstacle avoidance planning of space manipulator end-effector based on improved ant colony algorithm.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Dongsheng; Wang, Lan; Zhang, Qiang

    2016-01-01

    With the development of aerospace engineering, the space on-orbit servicing has been brought more attention to many scholars. Obstacle avoidance planning of space manipulator end-effector also attracts increasing attention. This problem is complex due to the existence of obstacles. Therefore, it is essential to avoid obstacles in order to improve planning of space manipulator end-effector. In this paper, we proposed an improved ant colony algorithm to solve this problem, which is effective and simple. Firstly, the models were established respectively, including the kinematic model of space manipulator and expression of valid path in space environment. Secondly, we described an improved ant colony algorithm in detail, which can avoid trapping into local optimum. The search strategy, transfer rules, and pheromone update methods were all adjusted. Finally, the improved ant colony algorithm was compared with the classic ant colony algorithm through the experiments. The simulation results verify the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. PMID:27186473

  17. Ant system: optimization by a colony of cooperating agents.

    PubMed

    Dorigo, M; Maniezzo, V; Colorni, A

    1996-01-01

    An analogy with the way ant colonies function has suggested the definition of a new computational paradigm, which we call ant system (AS). We propose it as a viable new approach to stochastic combinatorial optimization. The main characteristics of this model are positive feedback, distributed computation, and the use of a constructive greedy heuristic. Positive feedback accounts for rapid discovery of good solutions, distributed computation avoids premature convergence, and the greedy heuristic helps find acceptable solutions in the early stages of the search process. We apply the proposed methodology to the classical traveling salesman problem (TSP), and report simulation results. We also discuss parameter selection and the early setups of the model, and compare it with tabu search and simulated annealing using TSP. To demonstrate the robustness of the approach, we show how the ant system (AS) can be applied to other optimization problems like the asymmetric traveling salesman, the quadratic assignment and the job-shop scheduling. Finally we discuss the salient characteristics-global data structure revision, distributed communication and probabilistic transitions of the AS.

  18. An adaptive ant colony system algorithm for continuous-space optimization problems.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan-jun; Wu, Tie-jun

    2003-01-01

    Ant colony algorithms comprise a novel category of evolutionary computation methods for optimization problems, especially for sequencing-type combinatorial optimization problems. An adaptive ant colony algorithm is proposed in this paper to tackle continuous-space optimization problems, using a new objective-function-based heuristic pheromone assignment approach for pheromone update to filtrate solution candidates. Global optimal solutions can be reached more rapidly by self-adjusting the path searching behaviors of the ants according to objective values. The performance of the proposed algorithm is compared with a basic ant colony algorithm and a Square Quadratic Programming approach in solving two benchmark problems with multiple extremes. The results indicated that the efficiency and reliability of the proposed algorithm were greatly improved. PMID:12656341

  19. Using Ant Colony Optimization for Routing in VLSI Chips

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arora, Tamanna; Moses, Melanie

    2009-04-01

    Rapid advances in VLSI technology have increased the number of transistors that fit on a single chip to about two billion. A frequent problem in the design of such high performance and high density VLSI layouts is that of routing wires that connect such large numbers of components. Most wire-routing problems are computationally hard. The quality of any routing algorithm is judged by the extent to which it satisfies routing constraints and design objectives. Some of the broader design objectives include minimizing total routed wire length, and minimizing total capacitance induced in the chip, both of which serve to minimize power consumed by the chip. Ant Colony Optimization algorithms (ACO) provide a multi-agent framework for combinatorial optimization by combining memory, stochastic decision and strategies of collective and distributed learning by ant-like agents. This paper applies ACO to the NP-hard problem of finding optimal routes for interconnect routing on VLSI chips. The constraints on interconnect routing are used by ants as heuristics which guide their search process. We found that ACO algorithms were able to successfully incorporate multiple constraints and route interconnects on suite of benchmark chips. On an average, the algorithm routed with total wire length 5.5% less than other established routing algorithms.

  20. Remarks of Elliptic Curves Derived from Ant Colony Routing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jung, Sangsu; Kim, Daeyeoul; Singh, Dhananjay

    2011-09-01

    We deal with an ant colony based routing model for wireless multi-hop networks. Our model adopts an elliptic curve equation, which is beneficial to design pheromone dynamics for load balancing and packet delivery robustness. Due to the attribute of an elliptic curve equation, our model prevents the over-utilization of a specific node, distinctively from conventional ant colony based schemes. Numerical simulations exhibit the characteristics of our model with respect to various parameters.

  1. 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

  2. An ant colony approach for image texture classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ye, Zhiwei; Zheng, Zhaobao; Ning, Xiaogang; Yu, Xin

    2005-10-01

    Ant colonies, and more generally social insect societies, are distributed systems that show a highly structured social organization in spite of the simplicity of their individuals. As a result of this swarm intelligence, ant colonies can accomplish complex tasks that far exceed the individual capacities of a single ant. As is well known that aerial image texture classification is a long-term difficult problem, which hasn't been fully solved. This paper presents an ant colony optimization methodology for image texture classification, which assigns N images into K type of clusters as clustering is viewed as a combinatorial optimization problem in the article. The algorithm has been tested on some real images and performance of this algorithm is superior to k-means algorithm. Computational simulations reveal very encouraging results in terms of the quality of solution found.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Colony life history and lifetime reproductive success of red harvester ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Krista K; Pilko, Anna; Heer, Jeffrey; Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-05-01

    1. We estimate colony reproductive success, in numbers of offspring colonies arising from a colony's daughter queens, of colonies of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. 2. A measure of lifetime reproductive success is essential to understand the relation of ecological factors, phenotype and fitness in a natural population. This was possible for the first time in a natural population of ant colonies using data from long-term study of a population of colonies in south-eastern Arizona, for which ages of all colonies are known from census data collected since 1985. 3. Parentage analyses of microsatellite data from 5 highly polymorphic loci were used to assign offspring colonies to maternal parent colonies in a population of about 265 colonies, ages 1-28 years, sampled in 2010. 4. The estimated population growth rate Ro was 1.69 and generation time was 7.8 years. There was considerable variation among colonies in reproductive success: of 199 possible parent colonies, only 49 (˜ 25%) had offspring colonies on the site. The mean number of offspring colonies per maternal parent colony was 2.94 and ranged from 1 to 8. A parent was identified for the queen of 146 of 247 offspring colonies. There was no evidence for reproductive senescence; fecundity was about the same throughout the 25-30 year lifespan of a colony. 5. There were no trends in the distance or direction of the dispersal of an offspring relative to its maternal parent colony. There was no relationship between the number of gynes produced by a colony in 1 year and the number of offspring colonies subsequently founded by its daughter reproductive females. The results provide the first estimate of a life table for a population of ant colonies and the first estimate of the female component of colony lifetime reproductive success. 6. The results suggest that commonly used measures of reproductive output may not be correlated with realized reproductive success. This is the starting point for future

  6. Nestmate and kin recognition in interspecific mixed colonies of ants.

    PubMed

    Carlin, N F; Hölldobler, B

    1983-12-01

    Recognition of nestmates and discrimination against aliens is the rule in the social insects. The principal mechanism of nestmate recognition in carpenter ants (Camponotus) appears to be odor labels or "discriminators" that originate from the queen and are distributed among, and learned by, all adult colony members. The acquired odor labels are sufficiently powerful to produce indiscriminate acceptance among workers of different species raised together in artificially mixed colonies and rejection of genetic sisters reared by different heterospecific queens.

  7. Nestmate and kin recognition in interspecific mixed colonies of ants.

    PubMed

    Carlin, N F; Hölldobler, B

    1983-12-01

    Recognition of nestmates and discrimination against aliens is the rule in the social insects. The principal mechanism of nestmate recognition in carpenter ants (Camponotus) appears to be odor labels or "discriminators" that originate from the queen and are distributed among, and learned by, all adult colony members. The acquired odor labels are sufficiently powerful to produce indiscriminate acceptance among workers of different species raised together in artificially mixed colonies and rejection of genetic sisters reared by different heterospecific queens. PMID:17776248

  8. Application of the dynamic ant colony algorithm on the optimal operation of cascade reservoirs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tong, X. X.; Xu, W. S.; Wang, Y. F.; Zhang, Y. W.; Zhang, P. C.

    2016-08-01

    Due to the lack of dynamic adjustments between global searches and local optimization, it is difficult to maintain high diversity and overcome local optimum problems for Ant Colony Algorithms (ACA). Therefore, this paper proposes an improved ACA, Dynamic Ant Colony Algorithm (DACA). DACA applies dynamic adjustments on heuristic factor changes to balance global searches and local optimization in ACA, which decreases cosines. At the same time, by utilizing the randomness and ergodicity of the chaotic search, DACA implements the chaos disturbance on the path found in each ACA iteration to improve the algorithm's ability to jump out of the local optimum and avoid premature convergence. We conducted a case study with DACA for optimal joint operation of the Dadu River cascade reservoirs. The simulation results were compared with the results of the gradual optimization method and the standard ACA, which demonstrated the advantages of DACA in speed and precision.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Ant colony optimization-based firewall anomaly mitigation engine.

    PubMed

    Penmatsa, Ravi Kiran Varma; Vatsavayi, Valli Kumari; Samayamantula, Srinivas Kumar

    2016-01-01

    A firewall is the most essential component of network perimeter security. Due to human error and the involvement of multiple administrators in configuring firewall rules, there exist common anomalies in firewall rulesets such as Shadowing, Generalization, Correlation, and Redundancy. There is a need for research on efficient ways of resolving such anomalies. The challenge is also to see that the reordered or resolved ruleset conforms to the organization's framed security policy. This study proposes an ant colony optimization (ACO)-based anomaly resolution and reordering of firewall rules called ACO-based firewall anomaly mitigation engine. Modified strategies are also introduced to automatically detect these anomalies and to minimize manual intervention of the administrator. Furthermore, an adaptive reordering strategy is proposed to aid faster reordering when a new rule is appended. The proposed approach was tested with different firewall policy sets. The results were found to be promising in terms of the number of conflicts resolved, with minimal availability loss and marginal security risk. This work demonstrated the application of a metaheuristic search technique, ACO, in improving the performance of a packet-filter firewall with respect to mitigating anomalies in the rules, and at the same time demonstrated conformance to the security policy. PMID:27441151

  12. Enhanced ant colony optimization for inventory routing problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, Lily; Moin, Noor Hasnah

    2015-10-01

    The inventory routing problem (IRP) integrates and coordinates two important components of supply chain management which are transportation and inventory management. We consider a one-to-many IRP network for a finite planning horizon. The demand for each product is deterministic and time varying as well as a fleet of capacitated homogeneous vehicles, housed at a depot/warehouse, delivers the products from the warehouse to meet the demand specified by the customers in each period. The inventory holding cost is product specific and is incurred at the customer sites. The objective is to determine the amount of inventory and to construct a delivery routing that minimizes both the total transportation and inventory holding cost while ensuring each customer's demand is met over the planning horizon. The problem is formulated as a mixed integer programming problem and is solved using CPLEX 12.4 to get the lower and upper bound (best integer) for each instance considered. We propose an enhanced ant colony optimization (ACO) to solve the problem and the built route is improved by using local search. The computational experiments demonstrating the effectiveness of our approach is presented.

  13. Ant-cuckoo colony optimization for feature selection in digital mammogram.

    PubMed

    Jona, J B; Nagaveni, N

    2014-01-15

    Digital mammogram is the only effective screening method to detect the breast cancer. Gray Level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM) textural features are extracted from the mammogram. All the features are not essential to detect the mammogram. Therefore identifying the relevant feature is the aim of this work. Feature selection improves the classification rate and accuracy of any classifier. In this study, a new hybrid metaheuristic named Ant-Cuckoo Colony Optimization a hybrid of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Cuckoo Search (CS) is proposed for feature selection in Digital Mammogram. ACO is a good metaheuristic optimization technique but the drawback of this algorithm is that the ant will walk through the path where the pheromone density is high which makes the whole process slow hence CS is employed to carry out the local search of ACO. Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier with Radial Basis Kernal Function (RBF) is done along with the ACO to classify the normal mammogram from the abnormal mammogram. Experiments are conducted in miniMIAS database. The performance of the new hybrid algorithm is compared with the ACO and PSO algorithm. The results show that the hybrid Ant-Cuckoo Colony Optimization algorithm is more accurate than the other techniques. PMID:24783812

  14. Ant-cuckoo colony optimization for feature selection in digital mammogram.

    PubMed

    Jona, J B; Nagaveni, N

    2014-01-15

    Digital mammogram is the only effective screening method to detect the breast cancer. Gray Level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM) textural features are extracted from the mammogram. All the features are not essential to detect the mammogram. Therefore identifying the relevant feature is the aim of this work. Feature selection improves the classification rate and accuracy of any classifier. In this study, a new hybrid metaheuristic named Ant-Cuckoo Colony Optimization a hybrid of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Cuckoo Search (CS) is proposed for feature selection in Digital Mammogram. ACO is a good metaheuristic optimization technique but the drawback of this algorithm is that the ant will walk through the path where the pheromone density is high which makes the whole process slow hence CS is employed to carry out the local search of ACO. Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier with Radial Basis Kernal Function (RBF) is done along with the ACO to classify the normal mammogram from the abnormal mammogram. Experiments are conducted in miniMIAS database. The performance of the new hybrid algorithm is compared with the ACO and PSO algorithm. The results show that the hybrid Ant-Cuckoo Colony Optimization algorithm is more accurate than the other techniques.

  15. An ant colony optimization based algorithm for identifying gene regulatory elements.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wei; Chen, Hanwu; Chen, Ling

    2013-08-01

    It is one of the most important tasks in bioinformatics to identify the regulatory elements in gene sequences. Most of the existing algorithms for identifying regulatory elements are inclined to converge into a local optimum, and have high time complexity. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a meta-heuristic method based on swarm intelligence and is derived from a model inspired by the collective foraging behavior of real ants. Taking advantage of the ACO in traits such as self-organization and robustness, this paper designs and implements an ACO based algorithm named ACRI (ant-colony-regulatory-identification) for identifying all possible binding sites of transcription factor from the upstream of co-expressed genes. To accelerate the ants' searching process, a strategy of local optimization is presented to adjust the ants' start positions on the searched sequences. By exploiting the powerful optimization ability of ACO, the algorithm ACRI can not only improve precision of the results, but also achieve a very high speed. Experimental results on real world datasets show that ACRI can outperform other traditional algorithms in the respects of speed and quality of solutions. PMID:23746735

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Modal parameters estimation using ant colony optimisation algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitarz, Piotr; Powałka, Bartosz

    2016-08-01

    The paper puts forward a new estimation method of modal parameters for dynamical systems. The problem of parameter estimation has been simplified to optimisation which is carried out using the ant colony system algorithm. The proposed method significantly constrains the solution space, determined on the basis of frequency plots of the receptance FRFs (frequency response functions) for objects presented in the frequency domain. The constantly growing computing power of readily accessible PCs makes this novel approach a viable solution. The combination of deterministic constraints of the solution space with modified ant colony system algorithms produced excellent results for systems in which mode shapes are defined by distinctly different natural frequencies and for those in which natural frequencies are similar. The proposed method is fully autonomous and the user does not need to select a model order. The last section of the paper gives estimation results for two sample frequency plots, conducted with the proposed method and the PolyMAX algorithm.

  20. Response Ant Colony Optimization of End Milling Surface Roughness

    PubMed Central

    Kadirgama, K.; Noor, M. M.; Abd Alla, Ahmed N.

    2010-01-01

    Metal cutting processes are important due to increased consumer demands for quality metal cutting related products (more precise tolerances and better product surface roughness) that has driven the metal cutting industry to continuously improve quality control of metal cutting processes. This paper presents optimum surface roughness by using milling mould aluminium alloys (AA6061-T6) with Response Ant Colony Optimization (RACO). The approach is based on Response Surface Method (RSM) and Ant Colony Optimization (ACO). The main objectives to find the optimized parameters and the most dominant variables (cutting speed, feedrate, axial depth and radial depth). The first order model indicates that the feedrate is the most significant factor affecting surface roughness. PMID:22294914

  1. Rationality in collective decision-making by ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Susan C; Pratt, Stephen C

    2009-10-22

    Economic models of animal behaviour assume that decision-makers are rational, meaning that they assess options according to intrinsic fitness value and not by comparison with available alternatives. This expectation is frequently violated, but the significance of irrational behaviour remains controversial. One possibility is that irrationality arises from cognitive constraints that necessitate short cuts like comparative evaluation. If so, the study of whether and when irrationality occurs can illuminate cognitive mechanisms. We applied this logic in a novel setting: the collective decisions of insect societies. We tested for irrationality in colonies of Temnothorax ants choosing between two nest sites that varied in multiple attributes, such that neither site was clearly superior. In similar situations, individual animals show irrational changes in preference when a third relatively unattractive option is introduced. In contrast, we found no such effect in colonies. We suggest that immunity to irrationality in this case may result from the ants' decentralized decision mechanism. A colony's choice does not depend on site comparison by individuals, but instead self-organizes from the interactions of multiple ants, most of which are aware of only a single site. This strategy may filter out comparative effects, preventing systematic errors that would otherwise arise from the cognitive limitations of individuals.

  2. Improved packing of protein side chains with parallel ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Introduction The accurate packing of protein side chains is important for many computational biology problems, such as ab initio protein structure prediction, homology modelling, and protein design and ligand docking applications. Many of existing solutions are modelled as a computational optimisation problem. As well as the design of search algorithms, most solutions suffer from an inaccurate energy function for judging whether a prediction is good or bad. Even if the search has found the lowest energy, there is no certainty of obtaining the protein structures with correct side chains. Methods We present a side-chain modelling method, pacoPacker, which uses a parallel ant colony optimisation strategy based on sharing a single pheromone matrix. This parallel approach combines different sources of energy functions and generates protein side-chain conformations with the lowest energies jointly determined by the various energy functions. We further optimised the selected rotamers to construct subrotamer by rotamer minimisation, which reasonably improved the discreteness of the rotamer library. Results We focused on improving the accuracy of side-chain conformation prediction. For a testing set of 442 proteins, 87.19% of X1 and 77.11% of X12 angles were predicted correctly within 40° of the X-ray positions. We compared the accuracy of pacoPacker with state-of-the-art methods, such as CIS-RR and SCWRL4. We analysed the results from different perspectives, in terms of protein chain and individual residues. In this comprehensive benchmark testing, 51.5% of proteins within a length of 400 amino acids predicted by pacoPacker were superior to the results of CIS-RR and SCWRL4 simultaneously. Finally, we also showed the advantage of using the subrotamers strategy. All results confirmed that our parallel approach is competitive to state-of-the-art solutions for packing side chains. Conclusions This parallel approach combines various sources of searching intelligence and energy

  3. Learning of colonial odor in the ant Cataglyphis niger (Hymenoptera; Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Nowbahari, Elise

    2007-05-01

    Ants learn the odors of members of their colony early in postnatal life, but their ability to learn to recognize noncolony conspecifics and heterospecifics has never been explored. We used a habituation-discrimination paradigm to assess individual recognition in adult Formicine ants, Cataglyphis niger. Pairs of workers from different colonies were placed together for repeated trials, and their ability to discriminate the ant that they encountered from another familiar or unfamiliar ant was observed. Some ants were isolated between encounters, and others were returned to their home colonies. Our results suggest for the first time in ants that C. niger adults learn about individual ants that they have encountered and recognize them in subsequent encounters. Ants are less aggressive toward non-nestmates after they are familiar with one another, but they are aggressive again when they encounter an unfamiliar individual. Learning about non-nestmates does not interfere with an ant's memory of members from its own colony. PMID:17688182

  4. Colony size predicts division of labour in attine ants.

    PubMed

    Ferguson-Gow, Henry; Sumner, Seirian; Bourke, Andrew F G; Jones, Kate E

    2014-10-22

    Division of labour is central to the ecological success of eusocial insects, yet the evolutionary factors driving increases in complexity in division of labour are little known. The size-complexity hypothesis proposes that, as larger colonies evolve, both non-reproductive and reproductive division of labour become more complex as workers and queens act to maximize inclusive fitness. Using a statistically robust phylogenetic comparative analysis of social and environmental traits of species within the ant tribe Attini, we show that colony size is positively related to both non-reproductive (worker size variation) and reproductive (queen-worker dimorphism) division of labour. The results also suggested that colony size acts on non-reproductive and reproductive division of labour in different ways. Environmental factors, including measures of variation in temperature and precipitation, had no significant effects on any division of labour measure or colony size. Overall, these results support the size-complexity hypothesis for the evolution of social complexity and division of labour in eusocial insects. Determining the evolutionary drivers of colony size may help contribute to our understanding of the evolution of social complexity.

  5. Variable selection for QSAR by artificial ant colony systems.

    PubMed

    Izrailev, S; Agrafiotis, D K

    2002-01-01

    Derivation of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) usually involves computational models that relate a set of input variables describing the structural properties of the molecules for which the activity has been measured to the output variable representing activity. Many of the input variables may be correlated, and it is therefore often desirable to select an optimal subset of the input variables that results in the most predictive model. In this paper we describe an optimization technique for variable selection based on artificial ant colony systems. The algorithm is inspired by the behavior of real ants, which are able to find the shortest path between a food source and their nest using deposits of pheromone as a communication agent. The underlying basic self-organizing principle is exploited for the construction of parsimonious QSAR models based on neural networks for several classical QSAR data sets. PMID:12184383

  6. Microsatellites reveal high genetic diversity within colonies of Camponotus ants.

    PubMed

    Gertsch, P; Pamilo, P; Varvio, S L

    1995-04-01

    In order to characterize the sociogenetic structure of colonies in the carpenter ants Camponotus herculeanus and C. ligniperda, we have developed microsatellite markers. The three loci studied were either fixed for different alleles in the two species or showed different patterns of polymorphisms. Genotyping of workers and males showed that the broods of C. ligniperda include several matrilines, a rare phenomenon in the genus. Five alleles from a locus polymorphic in both species were sequenced from the respective PCR-products. A part of the length variation appeared to be due to changes outside the repeat sequence, and some PCR products of an equal length had a different number of dinucleotide repeats.

  7. Ant colony optimization as a method for strategic genotype sampling.

    PubMed

    Spangler, M L; Robbins, K R; Bertrand, J K; Macneil, M; Rekaya, R

    2009-06-01

    A simulation study was carried out to develop an alternative method of selecting animals to be genotyped. Simulated pedigrees included 5000 animals, each assigned genotypes for a bi-allelic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based on assumed allelic frequencies of 0.7/0.3 and 0.5/0.5. In addition to simulated pedigrees, two beef cattle pedigrees, one from field data and the other from a research population, were used to test selected methods using simulated genotypes. The proposed method of ant colony optimization (ACO) was evaluated based on the number of alleles correctly assigned to ungenotyped animals (AK(P)), the probability of assigning true alleles (AK(G)) and the probability of correctly assigning genotypes (APTG). The proposed animal selection method of ant colony optimization was compared to selection using the diagonal elements of the inverse of the relationship matrix (A(-1)). Comparisons of these two methods showed that ACO yielded an increase in AK(P) ranging from 4.98% to 5.16% and an increase in APTG from 1.6% to 1.8% using simulated pedigrees. Gains in field data and research pedigrees were slightly lower. These results suggest that ACO can provide a better genotyping strategy, when compared to A(-1), with different pedigree sizes and structures. PMID:19220227

  8. Routing in Ad Hoc Network Using Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khanpara, Pimal; Valiveti, Sharada; Kotecha, K.

    The ad hoc networks have dynamic topology and are infrastructure less. So it is required to implement a new network protocol for providing efficient end to end communication based on TCP/IP structure. There is a need to re-define or modify the functions of each layer of TCP/IP model to provide end to end communication between nodes. The mobility of the nodes and the limited resources are the main reason for this change. The main challenge in ad hoc networks is routing. Due to the mobility of the nodes in the ad hoc networks, routing becomes very difficult. Ant based algorithms are suitable for routing in ad hoc networks due to its dynamic nature and adaptive behavior. There are number of routing algorithms based on the concept of ant colony optimizations. It is quite difficult to determine the best ant based algorithm for routing as these algorithms perform differently under various circumstances such as the traffic distribution and network topology. In this paper, the overview of such routing algorithms is given.

  9. A Stochastic Inversion Method for Potential Field Data: Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shuang; Hu, Xiangyun; Liu, Tianyou

    2014-07-01

    Simulating natural ants' foraging behavior, the ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm performs excellently in combinational optimization problems, for example the traveling salesman problem and the quadratic assignment problem. However, the ACO is seldom used to inverted for gravitational and magnetic data. On the basis of the continuous and multi-dimensional objective function for potential field data optimization inversion, we present the node partition strategy ACO (NP-ACO) algorithm for inversion of model variables of fixed shape and recovery of physical property distributions of complicated shape models. We divide the continuous variables into discrete nodes and ants directionally tour the nodes by use of transition probabilities. We update the pheromone trails by use of Gaussian mapping between the objective function value and the quantity of pheromone. It can analyze the search results in real time and promote the rate of convergence and precision of inversion. Traditional mapping, including the ant-cycle system, weaken the differences between ant individuals and lead to premature convergence. We tested our method by use of synthetic data and real data from scenarios involving gravity and magnetic anomalies. The inverted model variables and recovered physical property distributions were in good agreement with the true values. The ACO algorithm for binary representation imaging and full imaging can recover sharper physical property distributions than traditional linear inversion methods. The ACO has good optimization capability and some excellent characteristics, for example robustness, parallel implementation, and portability, compared with other stochastic metaheuristics.

  10. Improving the Interpretability of Classification Rules Discovered by an Ant Colony Algorithm: Extended Results.

    PubMed

    Otero, Fernando E B; Freitas, Alex A

    2016-01-01

    Most ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms for inducing classification rules use a ACO-based procedure to create a rule in a one-at-a-time fashion. An improved search strategy has been proposed in the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] algorithm, where an ACO-based procedure is used to create a complete list of rules (ordered rules), i.e., the ACO search is guided by the quality of a list of rules instead of an individual rule. In this paper we propose an extension of the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] algorithm to discover a set of rules (unordered rules). The main motivations for this work are to improve the interpretation of individual rules by discovering a set of rules and to evaluate the impact on the predictive accuracy of the algorithm. We also propose a new measure to evaluate the interpretability of the discovered rules to mitigate the fact that the commonly used model size measure ignores how the rules are used to make a class prediction. Comparisons with state-of-the-art rule induction algorithms, support vector machines, and the cAnt-Miner[Formula: see text] producing ordered rules are also presented.

  11. Population and colony structure of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

    Gadau, J; Heinze, J; Hölldobler, B; Schmid, M

    1996-12-01

    The colony and population structure of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, were investigated by multilocus DNA fingerprinting using simple repeat motifs as probes [e.g. (GATA)4]. The mating frequency of 15 queens was determined by comparing the fingerprint patterns of the queen and 17-33 of her progeny workers. C. floridanus queens are most probably singly mated, i.e. this species is monandrous and monogynous (one queen per colony). C. floridanus occurs in all counties of mainland Florida and also inhabits most of the Key islands in the southern part of Florida. We tested whether the two mainland populations and the island populations are genetically isolated. Wright's FST and Nei's D-value of genetic distance were calculated from intercolonial bandsharing-coefficients. The population of C. floridanus is substructured (FST = 0.19 +/- 0.09) and the highest degree of genetic distance was found between one of the mainland populations and the island populations (D = 0.35). Our fingerprinting technique could successfully be transferred to 12 other Camponotus species and here also revealed sufficient variability to analyse the genetic structure. In three of these species (C. ligniperdus, C. herculeanus and C. gigas) we could determine the mating frequency of the queen in one or two colonies, respectively.

  12. Population and colony structure of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus.

    PubMed

    Gadau, J; Heinze, J; Hölldobler, B; Schmid, M

    1996-12-01

    The colony and population structure of the carpenter ant, Camponotus floridanus, were investigated by multilocus DNA fingerprinting using simple repeat motifs as probes [e.g. (GATA)4]. The mating frequency of 15 queens was determined by comparing the fingerprint patterns of the queen and 17-33 of her progeny workers. C. floridanus queens are most probably singly mated, i.e. this species is monandrous and monogynous (one queen per colony). C. floridanus occurs in all counties of mainland Florida and also inhabits most of the Key islands in the southern part of Florida. We tested whether the two mainland populations and the island populations are genetically isolated. Wright's FST and Nei's D-value of genetic distance were calculated from intercolonial bandsharing-coefficients. The population of C. floridanus is substructured (FST = 0.19 +/- 0.09) and the highest degree of genetic distance was found between one of the mainland populations and the island populations (D = 0.35). Our fingerprinting technique could successfully be transferred to 12 other Camponotus species and here also revealed sufficient variability to analyse the genetic structure. In three of these species (C. ligniperdus, C. herculeanus and C. gigas) we could determine the mating frequency of the queen in one or two colonies, respectively. PMID:8981768

  13. Dose response of red imported fire ant colonies treated with Solenopsis invicta virus 3

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Baiting tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of increasing Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) doses on fire ant colonies. Actively growing, early stage, fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) laboratory colonies were pulse-exposed to six concentrations of SINV-3 in a 10% sucrose bait and monitored r...

  14. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-01

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

  16. [Classification of hyperspectral imagery based on ant colony compositely optimizing SVM in spatial and spectral features].

    PubMed

    Chen, Shan-Jing; Hu, Yi-Hua; Shi, Liang; Wang, Lei; Sun, Du-Juan; Xu, Shi-Long

    2013-08-01

    A novel classification algorithm of hyperspectral imagery based on ant colony compositely optimizing support vector machine in spatial and spectral features was proposed. Two types of virtual ants searched for the bands combination with the maximum class separation distance and heterogeneous samples in spatial and spectral features alternately. The optimal characteristic bands were extracted, and bands redundancy of hyperspectral imagery decreased. The heterogeneous samples were eliminated form the training samples, and the distribution of samples was optimized in feature space. The hyperspectral imagery and training samples which had been optimized were used in classification algorithm of support vector machine, so that the class separation distance was extended and the accuracy of classification was improved. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm, which acquires an overall accuracy 95.45% and Kappa coefficient 0.925 2, can obtain greater accuracy than traditional hyperspectral image classification algorithms.

  17. Aircraft technology portfolio optimization using ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villeneuve, Frederic J.; Mavris, Dimitri N.

    2012-11-01

    Technology portfolio selection is a combinatorial optimization problem often faced with a large number of combinations and technology incompatibilities. The main research question addressed in this article is to determine if Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is better suited than Genetic Algorithms (GAs) and Simulated Annealing (SA) for technology portfolio optimization when incompatibility constraints between technologies are present. Convergence rate, capability to find optima, and efficiency in handling of incompatibilities are the three criteria of comparison. The application problem consists of finding the best technology portfolio from 29 aircraft technologies. The results show that ACO and GAs converge faster and find optima more easily than SA, and that ACO can optimize portfolios with technology incompatibilities without using penalty functions. This latter finding paves the way for more use of ACO when the number of constraints increases, such as in the technology and concept selection for complex engineering systems.

  18. Microsatellites reveal high genetic diversity within colonies of Camponotus ants.

    PubMed

    Gertsch, P; Pamilo, P; Varvio, S L

    1995-04-01

    In order to characterize the sociogenetic structure of colonies in the carpenter ants Camponotus herculeanus and C. ligniperda, we have developed microsatellite markers. The three loci studied were either fixed for different alleles in the two species or showed different patterns of polymorphisms. Genotyping of workers and males showed that the broods of C. ligniperda include several matrilines, a rare phenomenon in the genus. Five alleles from a locus polymorphic in both species were sequenced from the respective PCR-products. A part of the length variation appeared to be due to changes outside the repeat sequence, and some PCR products of an equal length had a different number of dinucleotide repeats. PMID:7735528

  19. Reconstruction of phylogenetic trees using the ant colony optimization paradigm.

    PubMed

    Perretto, Mauricio; Lopes, Heitor Silvério

    2005-01-01

    We developed a new approach for the reconstruction of phylogenetic trees using ant colony optimization metaheuristics. A tree is constructed using a fully connected graph and the problem is approached similarly to the well-known traveling salesman problem. This methodology was used to develop an algorithm for constructing a phylogenetic tree using a pheromone matrix. Two data sets were tested with the algorithm: complete mitochondrial genomes from mammals and DNA sequences of the p53 gene from several eutherians. This new methodology was found to be superior to other well-known softwares, at least for this data set. These results are very promising and suggest more efforts for further developments. PMID:16342043

  20. Ant Colony Optimization for Markowitz Mean-Variance Portfolio Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deng, Guang-Feng; Lin, Woo-Tsong

    This work presents Ant Colony Optimization (ACO), which was initially developed to be a meta-heuristic for combinatorial optimization, for solving the cardinality constraints Markowitz mean-variance portfolio model (nonlinear mixed quadratic programming problem). To our knowledge, an efficient algorithmic solution for this problem has not been proposed until now. Using heuristic algorithms in this case is imperative. Numerical solutions are obtained for five analyses of weekly price data for the following indices for the period March, 1992 to September, 1997: Hang Seng 31 in Hong Kong, DAX 100 in Germany, FTSE 100 in UK, S&P 100 in USA and Nikkei 225 in Japan. The test results indicate that the ACO is much more robust and effective than Particle swarm optimization (PSO), especially for low-risk investment portfolios.

  1. Particle Swarm and Ant Colony Approaches in Multiobjective Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rao, S. S.

    2010-10-01

    The social behavior of groups of birds, ants, insects and fish has been used to develop evolutionary algorithms known as swarm intelligence techniques for solving optimization problems. This work presents the development of strategies for the application of two of the popular swarm intelligence techniques, namely the particle swarm and ant colony methods, for the solution of multiobjective optimization problems. In a multiobjective optimization problem, the objectives exhibit a conflicting nature and hence no design vector can minimize all the objectives simultaneously. The concept of Pareto-optimal solution is used in finding a compromise solution. A modified cooperative game theory approach, in which each objective is associated with a different player, is used in this work. The applicability and computational efficiencies of the proposed techniques are demonstrated through several illustrative examples involving unconstrained and constrained problems with single and multiple objectives and continuous and mixed design variables. The present methodologies are expected to be useful for the solution of a variety of practical continuous and mixed optimization problems involving single or multiple objectives with or without constraints.

  2. SamACO: variable sampling ant colony optimization algorithm for continuous optimization.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xiao-Min; Zhang, Jun; Chung, Henry Shu-Hung; Li, Yun; Liu, Ou

    2010-12-01

    An ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm offers algorithmic techniques for optimization by simulating the foraging behavior of a group of ants to perform incremental solution constructions and to realize a pheromone laying-and-following mechanism. Although ACO is first designed for solving discrete (combinatorial) optimization problems, the ACO procedure is also applicable to continuous optimization. This paper presents a new way of extending ACO to solving continuous optimization problems by focusing on continuous variable sampling as a key to transforming ACO from discrete optimization to continuous optimization. The proposed SamACO algorithm consists of three major steps, i.e., the generation of candidate variable values for selection, the ants' solution construction, and the pheromone update process. The distinct characteristics of SamACO are the cooperation of a novel sampling method for discretizing the continuous search space and an efficient incremental solution construction method based on the sampled values. The performance of SamACO is tested using continuous numerical functions with unimodal and multimodal features. Compared with some state-of-the-art algorithms, including traditional ant-based algorithms and representative computational intelligence algorithms for continuous optimization, the performance of SamACO is seen competitive and promising.

  3. Yeasts associated with the infrabuccal pocket and colonies of the carpenter ant Camponotus vicinus.

    PubMed

    Mankowski, M E; Morrell, J J

    2004-01-01

    After scanning electron microscopy indicated that the infrabuccal pockets of carpenter ants (Camponotus vicinus) contained numerous yeast-like cells, yeast associations were examined in six colonies of carpenter ants from two locations in Benton County in western Oregon. Samples from the infrabuccal-pocket contents and worker ant exoskeletons, interior galleries of each colony, and detritus and soil around the colonies were plated on yeast-extract/ malt-extract agar augmented with 1 M hydrochloric acid and incubated at 25 C. Yeasts were identified on the basis of morphological characteristics and physiological attributes with the BIOLOG(®) microbial identification system. Yeast populations from carpenter ant nest material and material surrounding the nest differed from those obtained from the infrabuccal pocket. Debaryomyces polymorphus was isolated more often from the infrabuccal pocket than from other material. This species has also been isolated from other ant species, but its role in colony nutrition is unknown.

  4. Yeasts associated with the infrabuccal pocket and colonies of the carpenter ant Camponotus vicinus.

    PubMed

    Mankowski, M E; Morrell, J J

    2004-01-01

    After scanning electron microscopy indicated that the infrabuccal pockets of carpenter ants (Camponotus vicinus) contained numerous yeast-like cells, yeast associations were examined in six colonies of carpenter ants from two locations in Benton County in western Oregon. Samples from the infrabuccal-pocket contents and worker ant exoskeletons, interior galleries of each colony, and detritus and soil around the colonies were plated on yeast-extract/ malt-extract agar augmented with 1 M hydrochloric acid and incubated at 25 C. Yeasts were identified on the basis of morphological characteristics and physiological attributes with the BIOLOG(®) microbial identification system. Yeast populations from carpenter ant nest material and material surrounding the nest differed from those obtained from the infrabuccal pocket. Debaryomyces polymorphus was isolated more often from the infrabuccal pocket than from other material. This species has also been isolated from other ant species, but its role in colony nutrition is unknown. PMID:21148849

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Individuals vary within a species in many ecologically important ways, but the causes and consequences of such variation are often poorly understood. Foraging behavior is among the most profitable and risky activities in which organisms engage and is expected to be under strong selection. Among social insects there is evidence that within-colony variation in traits such as foraging behavior can increase colony fitness, but variation between colonies and the potential consequences of such variation are poorly documented. In this study, we tested natural populations of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, for the existence of colony and regional variation in foraging behavior and tested the persistence of this variation over time and across foraging habitats. We also reared single-lineage colonies in standardized environments to explore the contribution of colony lineage. Fire ants from natural populations exhibited significant and persistent colony and regional-level variation in foraging behaviors such as extra-nest activity, exploration, and discovery of and recruitment to resources. Moreover, colony-level variation in extra-nest activity was significantly correlated with colony growth, suggesting that this variation has fitness consequences. Lineage of the colony had a significant effect on extra-nest activity and exploratory activity and explained approximately half of the variation observed in foraging behaviors, suggesting a heritable component to colony-level variation in behavior. PMID:26197456

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Individuals vary within a species in many ecologically important ways, but the causes and consequences of such variation are often poorly understood. Foraging behavior is among the most profitable and risky activities in which organisms engage and is expected to be under strong selection. Among social insects there is evidence that within-colony variation in traits such as foraging behavior can increase colony fitness, but variation between colonies and the potential consequences of such variation are poorly documented. In this study, we tested natural populations of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, for the existence of colony and regional variation in foraging behavior and tested the persistence of this variation over time and across foraging habitats. We also reared single-lineage colonies in standardized environments to explore the contribution of colony lineage. Fire ants from natural populations exhibited significant and persistent colony and regional-level variation in foraging behaviors such as extra-nest activity, exploration, and discovery of and recruitment to resources. Moreover, colony-level variation in extra-nest activity was significantly correlated with colony growth, suggesting that this variation has fitness consequences. Lineage of the colony had a significant effect on extra-nest activity and exploratory activity and explained approximately half of the variation observed in foraging behaviors, suggesting a heritable component to colony-level variation in behavior. PMID:26197456

  7. Strength in numbers: large and permanent colonies have higher queen oviposition rates in the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Mayr).

    PubMed

    Abril, Sílvia; Gómez, Crisanto

    2014-03-01

    Polydomy associated with unicoloniality is a common trait of invasive species. In the invasive Argentine ant, colonies are seasonally polydomous. Most follow a seasonal fission-fussion pattern: they disperse in the spring and summer and aggregate in the fall and winter. However, a small proportion of colonies do not migrate; instead, they inhabit permanent nesting sites. These colonies are large and highly polydomous. The aim of this study was to (1) search for differences in the fecundity of queens between mother colonies (large and permanent) and satellite colonies (small and temporal), (2) determine if queens in mother and satellite colonies have different diets to clarify if colony size influences social organization and queen feeding, and (3) examine if colony location relative to the invasion front results in differences in the queen's diet. Our results indicate that queens from mother nests are more fertile than queens from satellite nests and that colony location does not affect queen oviposition rate. Ovarian dissections suggest that differences in ovarian morphology are not responsible for the higher queen oviposition rate in mother vs. satellite nests, since there were no differences in the number and length of ovarioles in queens from the two types of colonies. In contrast, the higher δ(15)N values of queens from mother nests imply that greater carnivorous source intake accounts for the higher oviposition rates.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-01

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

  10. Hybrid real-code ant colony optimisation for constrained mechanical design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pholdee, Nantiwat; Bureerat, Sujin

    2016-01-01

    This paper proposes a hybrid meta-heuristic based on integrating a local search simplex downhill (SDH) method into the search procedure of real-code ant colony optimisation (ACOR). This hybridisation leads to five hybrid algorithms where a Monte Carlo technique, a Latin hypercube sampling technique (LHS) and a translational propagation Latin hypercube design (TPLHD) algorithm are used to generate an initial population. Also, two numerical schemes for selecting an initial simplex are investigated. The original ACOR and its hybrid versions along with a variety of established meta-heuristics are implemented to solve 17 constrained test problems where a fuzzy set theory penalty function technique is used to handle design constraints. The comparative results show that the hybrid algorithms are the top performers. Using the TPLHD technique gives better results than the other sampling techniques. The hybrid optimisers are a powerful design tool for constrained mechanical design problems.

  11. 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.

  12. Specialization and group size: brain and behavioural correlates of colony size in ants lacking morphological castes

    PubMed Central

    Amador-Vargas, Sabrina; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Wcislo, William T.; Mueller, Ulrich

    2015-01-01

    Group size in both multicellular organisms and animal societies can correlate with the degree of division of labour. For ants, the task specialization hypothesis (TSH) proposes that increased behavioural specialization enabled by larger group size corresponds to anatomical specialization of worker brains. Alternatively, the social brain hypothesis proposes that increased levels of social stimuli in larger colonies lead to enlarged brain regions in all workers, regardless of their task specialization. We tested these hypotheses in acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex spinicola), which exhibit behavioural but not morphological task specialization. In wild colonies, we marked, followed and tested ant workers involved in foraging tasks on the leaves (leaf-ants) and in defensive tasks on the host tree trunk (trunk-ants). Task specialization increased with colony size, especially in defensive tasks. The relationship between colony size and brain region volume was task-dependent, supporting the TSH. Specifically, as colony size increased, the relative size of regions within the mushroom bodies of the brain decreased in trunk-ants but increased in leaf-ants; those regions play important roles in learning and memory. Our findings suggest that workers specialized in defence may have reduced learning abilities relative to leaf-ants; these inferences remain to be tested. In societies with monomorphic workers, brain polymorphism enhanced by group size could be a mechanism by which division of labour is achieved. PMID:25567649

  13. Specialization and group size: brain and behavioural correlates of colony size in ants lacking morphological castes.

    PubMed

    Amador-Vargas, Sabrina; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Wcislo, William T; Mueller, Ulrich

    2015-02-22

    Group size in both multicellular organisms and animal societies can correlate with the degree of division of labour. For ants, the task specialization hypothesis (TSH) proposes that increased behavioural specialization enabled by larger group size corresponds to anatomical specialization of worker brains. Alternatively, the social brain hypothesis proposes that increased levels of social stimuli in larger colonies lead to enlarged brain regions in all workers, regardless of their task specialization. We tested these hypotheses in acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex spinicola), which exhibit behavioural but not morphological task specialization. In wild colonies, we marked, followed and tested ant workers involved in foraging tasks on the leaves (leaf-ants) and in defensive tasks on the host tree trunk (trunk-ants). Task specialization increased with colony size, especially in defensive tasks. The relationship between colony size and brain region volume was task-dependent, supporting the TSH. Specifically, as colony size increased, the relative size of regions within the mushroom bodies of the brain decreased in trunk-ants but increased in leaf-ants; those regions play important roles in learning and memory. Our findings suggest that workers specialized in defence may have reduced learning abilities relative to leaf-ants; these inferences remain to be tested. In societies with monomorphic workers, brain polymorphism enhanced by group size could be a mechanism by which division of labour is achieved.

  14. Queen movement during colony emigration in the facultatively polygynous ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pezon, Antoine; Denis, Damien; Cerdan, Philippe; Valenzuela, Jorge; Fresneau, Dominique

    2005-01-01

    In ants, nest relocations are frequent but nevertheless perilous, especially for the reproductive caste. During emigrations, queens are exposed to predation and face the risk of becoming lost. Therefore the optimal strategy should be to move the queen(s) swiftly to a better location, while maintaining maximum worker protection at all times in the new and old nests. The timing of that event is a crucial strategic issue for the colony and may depend on queen number. In monogynous colonies, the queen is vital for colony survival, whereas in polygynous colonies a queen is less essential, if not dispensable. We tested the null hypothesis that queen movement occurs at random within the sequence of emigration events in both monogynous and polygynous colonies of the ponerine ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis. Our study, based on 16 monogynous and 16 polygynous colony emigrations, demonstrates for the first time that regardless of the number of queens per colony, the emigration serial number of a queen occurs in the middle of all emigration events and adult ant emigration events, but not during brood transport events. It therefore appears that the number of workers in both nests plays an essential role in the timing of queen movement. Our results correspond to a robust colony-level strategy since queen emigration is related neither to colony size nor to queen number. Such an optimal strategy is characteristic of ant societies working as highly integrated units and represents a new instance of group-level adaptive behaviors in social insect colonies.

  15. CACONET: Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) Based Clustering Algorithm for VANET.

    PubMed

    Aadil, Farhan; Bajwa, Khalid Bashir; Khan, Salabat; Chaudary, Nadeem Majeed; Akram, Adeel

    2016-01-01

    A vehicular ad hoc network (VANET) is a wirelessly connected network of vehicular nodes. A number of techniques, such as message ferrying, data aggregation, and vehicular node clustering aim to improve communication efficiency in VANETs. Cluster heads (CHs), selected in the process of clustering, manage inter-cluster and intra-cluster communication. The lifetime of clusters and number of CHs determines the efficiency of network. In this paper a Clustering algorithm based on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) for VANETs (CACONET) is proposed. CACONET forms optimized clusters for robust communication. CACONET is compared empirically with state-of-the-art baseline techniques like Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization (MOPSO) and Comprehensive Learning Particle Swarm Optimization (CLPSO). Experiments varying the grid size of the network, the transmission range of nodes, and number of nodes in the network were performed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of these algorithms. For optimized clustering, the parameters considered are the transmission range, direction and speed of the nodes. The results indicate that CACONET significantly outperforms MOPSO and CLPSO. PMID:27149517

  16. antaRNA: ant colony-based RNA sequence design

    PubMed Central

    Kleinkauf, Robert; Mann, Martin; Backofen, Rolf

    2015-01-01

    Motivation: RNA sequence design is studied at least as long as the classical folding problem. Although for the latter the functional fold of an RNA molecule is to be found, inverse folding tries to identify RNA sequences that fold into a function-specific target structure. In combination with RNA-based biotechnology and synthetic biology, reliable RNA sequence design becomes a crucial step to generate novel biochemical components. Results: In this article, the computational tool antaRNA is presented. It is capable of compiling RNA sequences for a given structure that comply in addition with an adjustable full range objective GC-content distribution, specific sequence constraints and additional fuzzy structure constraints. antaRNA applies ant colony optimization meta-heuristics and its superior performance is shown on a biological datasets. Availability and implementation: http://www.bioinf.uni-freiburg.de/Software/antaRNA Contact: backofen@informatik.uni-freiburg.de Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. PMID:26023105

  17. CACONET: Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) Based Clustering Algorithm for VANET

    PubMed Central

    Bajwa, Khalid Bashir; Khan, Salabat; Chaudary, Nadeem Majeed; Akram, Adeel

    2016-01-01

    A vehicular ad hoc network (VANET) is a wirelessly connected network of vehicular nodes. A number of techniques, such as message ferrying, data aggregation, and vehicular node clustering aim to improve communication efficiency in VANETs. Cluster heads (CHs), selected in the process of clustering, manage inter-cluster and intra-cluster communication. The lifetime of clusters and number of CHs determines the efficiency of network. In this paper a Clustering algorithm based on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) for VANETs (CACONET) is proposed. CACONET forms optimized clusters for robust communication. CACONET is compared empirically with state-of-the-art baseline techniques like Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization (MOPSO) and Comprehensive Learning Particle Swarm Optimization (CLPSO). Experiments varying the grid size of the network, the transmission range of nodes, and number of nodes in the network were performed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of these algorithms. For optimized clustering, the parameters considered are the transmission range, direction and speed of the nodes. The results indicate that CACONET significantly outperforms MOPSO and CLPSO. PMID:27149517

  18. Adapting an Ant Colony Metaphor for Multi-Robot Chemical Plume Tracing

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Qing-Hao; Yang, Wei-Xing; Wang, Yang; Li, Fei; Zeng, Ming

    2012-01-01

    We consider chemical plume tracing (CPT) in time-varying airflow environments using multiple mobile robots. The purpose of CPT is to approach a gas source with a previously unknown location in a given area. Therefore, the CPT could be considered as a dynamic optimization problem in continuous domains. The traditional ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm has been successfully used for combinatorial optimization problems in discrete domains. To adapt the ant colony metaphor to the multi-robot CPT problem, the two-dimension continuous search area is discretized into grids and the virtual pheromone is updated according to both the gas concentration and wind information. To prevent the adapted ACO algorithm from being prematurely trapped in a local optimum, the upwind surge behavior is adopted by the robots with relatively higher gas concentration in order to explore more areas. The spiral surge (SS) algorithm is also examined for comparison. Experimental results using multiple real robots in two indoor natural ventilated airflow environments show that the proposed CPT method performs better than the SS algorithm. The simulation results for large-scale advection-diffusion plume environments show that the proposed method could also work in outdoor meandering plume environments. PMID:22666056

  19. Adaptive tracking and compensation of laser spot based on ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Lihong; Ke, Xizheng; Bai, Runbing; Hu, Qidi

    2009-05-01

    Because the effect of atmospheric scattering and atmospheric turbulence on laser signal of atmospheric absorption,laser spot twinkling, beam drift and spot split-up occur ,when laser signal transmits in the atmospheric channel. The phenomenon will be seriously affects the stability and the reliability of laser spot receiving system. In order to reduce the influence of atmospheric turbulence, we adopt optimum control thoughts in the field of artificial intelligence, propose a novel adaptive optical control technology-- model-free optimized adaptive control technology, analyze low-order pattern wave-front error theory, in which an -adaptive optical system is employed to adjust errors, and design its adaptive structure system. Ant colony algorithm is the control core algorithm, which is characteristic of positive feedback, distributed computing and greedy heuristic search. . The ant colony algorithm optimization of adaptive optical phase compensation is simulated. Simulation result shows that, the algorithm can effectively control laser energy distribution, improve laser light beam quality, and enhance signal-to-noise ratio of received signal.

  20. Global energy gradients and size in colonial organisms: worker mass and worker number in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael

    2005-04-01

    Body mass shapes processes from cell metabolism to community dynamics. Little is known, however, about how the average body mass of individuals varies among ecological communities. Ants alter colony mass by independently changing worker mass and/or worker number. In a survey of 49 ecosystems from tundra to tropical rainforest, average worker mass and worker number were uncorrelated (r(s) = 0.2, P > 0.14) and varied 100-fold. Data supported the hypothesis that higher mean monthly temperatures, T, reduce worker mass by increasing metabolic costs during worker development. In contrast, worker number was unimodal over a 1,000-fold gradient of net primary productivity (NPP, g of carbon per m2 per yr), a measure of organic carbon available to consumers. At the lowest levels of NPP colonies appeared to be carbon-limited; above 60 g of carbon per m2 per yr average worker number decreased to a global low. This decline in worker number with increasing NPP supports the hypothesis that abundant carbon ameliorates the Achilles heel of small taxa in competition with large taxa: their relatively high metabolic demands. Higher predation rates in resource-rich environments may also play a role in limiting worker number. In all, about half the global variation in worker mass and number was accounted for by gradients of NPP and T. Changes in global temperature and rainfall may thus mold gradients of ectotherm size, with consequences for the structure and function of the ecosystems.

  1. Effects of juvenile hormone analogs on new reproductives and colony growth of Pharaoh ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Lim, S P; Lee, C Y

    2005-12-01

    Two juvenile hormone analogs (JHAs), pyriproxyfen and S-methoprene, were impregnated into dried tuna fish and fed to colonies of Monomorium pharaonis (L.) at very low concentrations (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 microg/ml). Its effects on the production of sexuals and colonial growth were observed. Colonies treated with pyriproxyfen yielded sexuals with physical abnormalities. Both female and male sexuals developed bulbous wings, decreased melanization, and died shortly after emergence. Sexuals emerged from colonies treated with S-methoprene did not possess anomalous characteristics. Both pyriproxyfen and S-methoprene did not have significant effects on colonial growth because of the low concentrations of the baits. A commercial bait containing 0.3% S-methoprene (Bioprene-BM) also was evaluated for its efficacy on Pharaoh's ant colonies. Results showed that Pharaoh's ant colonies succumbed to the lethal effects of S-methoprene. Colony members were reduced significantly. Production of queens also decreased significantly in treated colonies and treated queens were unable to lay eggs. JHAs are slow acting and eliminate ant colonies at a relatively slow rate. At low concentrations, pyriproxyfen recorded baffling results, i.e., bulbous wings and demelanized exoskeleton, and it is vital that further studies are initiated to solidify these findings.

  2. Effect of time on colony odour stability in the ant Formica exsecta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, S. J.; Shemilt, S.; Drijfhout, F. P.

    2012-04-01

    Among social insects, maintaining a distinct colony profile allows individuals to distinguish easily between nest mates and non-nest mates. In ants, colony-specific profiles can be encoded within their cuticular hydrocarbons, and these are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Using nine monogynous Formica exsecta ant colonies, we studied the stability of their colony-specific profiles at eight time points over a 4-year period. We found no significant directional change in any colony profile, suggesting that genetic factors are maintaining this stability. However, there were significant short-term effects of season that affected all colony profiles in the same direction. Despite these temporal changes, no significant change in the profile variation within colonies was detected: each colony's profile responded in similar manner between seasons, with nest mates maintaining closely similar profiles, distinct from other colonies. These findings imply that genetic factors may help maintain the long-term stability of colony profile, but environmental factors can influence the profiles over shorter time periods. However, environmental factors do not contribute significantly to the maintenance of diversity among colonies, since all colonies were affected in a similar way.

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

    PubMed

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-06-01

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

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-29

    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.

  6. Parasitoids and competitors influence colony-level responses in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mehdiabadi, Natasha J.; Kawazoe, Elizabeth A.; Gilbert, Lawrence E.

    2004-11-01

    Social insect colonies respond to challenges set by a variable environment by reallocating work among colony members. In many social insects, such colony-level task allocation strategies are achieved through individual decisions that produce a self-organized adapting group. We investigated colony responses to parasitoids and native ant competitors in the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Parasitoid flies affected fire ants by decreasing the proportion of workers engaged in foraging. Competitors also altered colony-level behaviours by reducing the proportion of foraging ants and by increasing the proportion of roaming majors, whose role is colony defence. Interestingly, the presence of both parasitism and competition almost always had similar effects on task allocation in comparison to each of the biotic factors on its own. Thus, our study uniquely demonstrates that the interactive effect of both parasitism and competition is not necessarily additive, implying that these biotic factors alter colony behaviour in distinct ways. More generally, our work demonstrates the importance of studying the dynamics of species interactions in a broader context.

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

    PubMed

    Ellis, Samuel; Robinson, Elva J H

    2015-01-01

    A colony of red wood ants can inhabit more than one spatially separated nest, in a strategy called polydomy. Some nests within these polydomous colonies have no foraging trails to aphid colonies in the canopy. In this study we identify and investigate the possible roles of non-foraging nests in polydomous colonies of the wood ant Formica lugubris. To investigate the role of non-foraging nests we: (i) monitored colonies for three years; (ii) observed the resources being transported between non-foraging nests and the rest of the colony; (iii) measured the amount of extra-nest activity around non-foraging and foraging nests. We used these datasets to investigate the extent to which non-foraging nests within polydomous colonies are acting as: part of the colony expansion process; hunting and scavenging specialists; brood-development specialists; seasonal foragers; or a selfish strategy exploiting the foraging effort of the rest of the colony. We found that, rather than having a specialised role, non-foraging nests are part of the process of colony expansion. Polydomous colonies expand by founding new nests in the area surrounding the existing nests. Nests founded near food begin foraging and become part of the colony; other nests are not founded near food sources and do not initially forage. Some of these non-foraging nests eventually begin foraging; others do not and are abandoned. This is a method of colony growth not available to colonies inhabiting a single nest, and may be an important advantage of the polydomous nesting strategy, allowing the colony to expand into profitable areas. PMID:26465750

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

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Samuel; Robinson, Elva J. H.

    2015-01-01

    A colony of red wood ants can inhabit more than one spatially separated nest, in a strategy called polydomy. Some nests within these polydomous colonies have no foraging trails to aphid colonies in the canopy. In this study we identify and investigate the possible roles of non-foraging nests in polydomous colonies of the wood ant Formica lugubris. To investigate the role of non-foraging nests we: (i) monitored colonies for three years; (ii) observed the resources being transported between non-foraging nests and the rest of the colony; (iii) measured the amount of extra-nest activity around non-foraging and foraging nests. We used these datasets to investigate the extent to which non-foraging nests within polydomous colonies are acting as: part of the colony expansion process; hunting and scavenging specialists; brood-development specialists; seasonal foragers; or a selfish strategy exploiting the foraging effort of the rest of the colony. We found that, rather than having a specialised role, non-foraging nests are part of the process of colony expansion. Polydomous colonies expand by founding new nests in the area surrounding the existing nests. Nests founded near food begin foraging and become part of the colony; other nests are not founded near food sources and do not initially forage. Some of these non-foraging nests eventually begin foraging; others do not and are abandoned. This is a method of colony growth not available to colonies inhabiting a single nest, and may be an important advantage of the polydomous nesting strategy, allowing the colony to expand into profitable areas. PMID:26465750

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

    PubMed

    Ellis, Samuel; Robinson, Elva J H

    2015-01-01

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

  10. Eggs of Mallada desjardinsi (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) are protected by ants: the role of egg stalks in ant-tended aphid colonies.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Masayuki; Nomura, Masashi

    2014-08-01

    In ant-aphid mutualisms, ants usually attack and exclude enemies of aphids. However, larvae of the green lacewing Mallada desjardinsi (Navas) prey on ant-tended aphids without being excluded by ants; these larvae protect themselves from ants by carrying aphid carcasses on their backs. Eggs of M. desjardinsi laid at the tips of stalks have also been observed in ant-tended aphid colonies in the field. Here, we examined whether the egg stalks of M. desjardinsi protect the eggs from ants and predators. When exposed to ants, almost all eggs with intact stalks were untouched, whereas 50-80% of eggs in which stalks had been severed at their bases were destroyed by ants. In contrast, most eggs were preyed upon by larvae of the lacewing Chrysoperla nipponensis (Okamoto), an intraguild predator of M. desjardinsi, regardless of whether their stalks had been severed. These findings suggest that egg stalks provide protection from ants but not from C. nipponensis larvae. To test whether M. desjardinsi eggs are protected from predators by aphid-tending ants, we introduced C. nipponensis larvae onto plants colonized by ant-tended aphids. A significantly greater number of eggs survived in the presence of ants because aphid-tending ants excluded larvae of C. nipponensis. This finding indicates that M. desjardinsi eggs are indirectly protected from predators by ants in ant-tended aphid colonies.

  11. Effects of boric acid, fipronil, hydramethylnon, and diflubenzuron baits on colonies of ghost ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Ulloa-Chacón, Patricia; Jaramillo, Gloria Isabel

    2003-06-01

    Laboratory colonies of the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.) were administered sugar solution (10%) baits containing the insecticides boric acid, fipronil (REGENT), hydramethylnon (SIEGE), or diflubenzuron (DIMILN). Colonies were exposed to the baits for 21 d, and development of workers, queens, and brood (larvae and pupae) was observed for 4 wk. Fipronil (0.05%) caused 100% mortality in all colonies the first week. With boric acid (0.5%), 100% mortality of workers, queens, and brood was reached at the end of the third week. With hydramethylnon (2%), 83% of the colonies disappeared at the end of the fourth week, but some queens were still alive 9 wk after the trial started. Diflubenzuron (1%) behaved similarly to the control, although in some colonies, the brood production increased, whereas in other colonies, the queens disappeared. In the control colonies, workers, queens, and brood were always observed even up to 9 wk.

  12. Opportunistic brood theft in the context of colony relocation in an Indian queenless ant

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Bishwarup; Paul, Manabi; Annagiri, Sumana

    2016-01-01

    Brood is a very valuable part of an ant colony and behaviours increasing its number with minimum investment is expected to be favoured by natural selection. Brood theft has been well documented in ants belonging to the subfamilies Myrmicinae and Formicinae. In this study we report opportunistic brood theft in the context of nest relocation in Diacamma indicum, belonging to the primitively eusocial subfamily Ponerinae. Pupae was the preferred stolen item both in laboratory conditions and in natural habitat and a small percentage of the members of a colony acting as thieves stole about 12% of the brood of the victim colony. Stolen brood were not consumed but became slaves. We propose a new dimension to the risks of relocation in the form of brood theft by conspecific neighbours and speculate that examination of this phenomenon in other primitively eusocial species will help understand the origin of brood theft in ants. PMID:27796350

  13. Application of ant colony algorithm in plant leaves classification based on infrared spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, Tiantai; Hong, Bo; Kong, Ming; Zhao, Jun

    2014-04-01

    This paper proposes to use ant colony algorithm in the analysis of spectral data of plant leaves to achieve the best classification of different plants within a short time. Intelligent classification is realized according to different components of featured information included in near infrared spectrum data of plants. The near infrared diffusive emission spectrum curves of the leaves of Cinnamomum camphora and Acer saccharum Marsh are acquired, which have 75 leaves respectively, and are divided into two groups. Then, the acquired data are processed using ant colony algorithm and the same kind of leaves can be classified as a class by ant colony clustering algorithm. Finally, the two groups of data are classified into two classes. Experiment results show that the algorithm can distinguish different species up to the percentage of 100%. The classification of plant leaves has important application value in agricultural development, research of species invasion, floriculture etc.

  14. An ant colony based resilience approach to cascading failures in cluster supply network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yingcong; Xiao, Renbin

    2016-11-01

    Cluster supply chain network is a typical complex network and easily suffers cascading failures under disruption events, which is caused by the under-load of enterprises. Improving network resilience can increase the ability of recovery from cascading failures. Social resilience is found in ant colony and comes from ant's spatial fidelity zones (SFZ). Starting from the under-load failures, this paper proposes a resilience method to cascading failures in cluster supply chain network by leveraging on social resilience of ant colony. First, the mapping between ant colony SFZ and cluster supply chain network SFZ is presented. Second, a new cascading model for cluster supply chain network is constructed based on under-load failures. Then, the SFZ-based resilience method and index to cascading failures are developed according to ant colony's social resilience. Finally, a numerical simulation and a case study are used to verify the validity of the cascading model and the resilience method. Experimental results show that, the cluster supply chain network becomes resilient to cascading failures under the SFZ-based resilience method, and the cluster supply chain network resilience can be enhanced by improving the ability of enterprises to recover and adjust.

  15. Scalable Clustering of High-Dimensional Data Technique Using SPCM with Ant Colony Optimization Intelligence

    PubMed Central

    Srinivasan, Thenmozhi; Palanisamy, Balasubramanie

    2015-01-01

    Clusters of high-dimensional data techniques are emerging, according to data noisy and poor quality challenges. This paper has been developed to cluster data using high-dimensional similarity based PCM (SPCM), with ant colony optimization intelligence which is effective in clustering nonspatial data without getting knowledge about cluster number from the user. The PCM becomes similarity based by using mountain method with it. Though this is efficient clustering, it is checked for optimization using ant colony algorithm with swarm intelligence. Thus the scalable clustering technique is obtained and the evaluation results are checked with synthetic datasets. PMID:26495413

  16. MAS Equipped with Ant Colony Applied into Dynamic Job Shop Scheduling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kang, Kai; Zhang, Ren Feng; Yang, Yan Qing

    This paper presents a methodology adopting the new structure of MAS(multi-agent system) equipped with ACO(ant colony optimization) algorithm for a better schedule in dynamic job shop. In consideration of the dynamic events in the job shop arriving indefinitely schedules are generated based on tasks with ant colony algorithm. Meanwhile, the global objective is taken into account for the best solution in the actual manufacturing environment. The methodology is tested on a simulated job shop to determine the impact with the new structure.

  17. Disease in the Society: Infectious Cadavers Result in Collapse of Ant Sub-Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Loreto, Raquel G.; Hughes, David P.

    2016-01-01

    Despite the growing number of experimental studies on mechanisms of social immunity in ant societies, little is known about how social behavior relates to disease progression within the nests of ants. In fact, when empirically studying disease in ant societies, it is common to remove dead ants from experiments to confirm infection by the studied parasite. This unfortunately does not allow disease to progress within the nest as it may be assumed would happen under natural conditions. Therefore, the approach taken so far has resulted in a limited knowledge of diseases dynamics within the nest environment. Here we introduced a single infectious cadaver killed by the fungus Beauveria bassiana into small nests of the ant Camponotus castaneus. We then observed the natural progression of the disease by not removing the corpses of the ants that died following the first entry of the disease. Because some behaviors such as social isolation of sick individuals or the removal of cadavers by nestmates are considered social immune functions and thus adaptations at the colony level that reduce disease spread, we also experimentally confined some sub-colonies to one or two chamber nests to prevent the expression of such behaviors. Based on 51 small nests and survival studies in 1,003 ants we found that a single introduced infectious cadaver was able to transmit within the nest, and social immunity did not prevent the collapse of the small sub-colonies here tested. This was true whether ants did or did not have the option to remove the infectious cadaver. Therefore, we found no evidence that the typically studied social immunity behaviors can reduce disease spread in the conditions here tested. PMID:27529548

  18. Disease in the Society: Infectious Cadavers Result in Collapse of Ant Sub-Colonies.

    PubMed

    Loreto, Raquel G; Hughes, David P

    2016-01-01

    Despite the growing number of experimental studies on mechanisms of social immunity in ant societies, little is known about how social behavior relates to disease progression within the nests of ants. In fact, when empirically studying disease in ant societies, it is common to remove dead ants from experiments to confirm infection by the studied parasite. This unfortunately does not allow disease to progress within the nest as it may be assumed would happen under natural conditions. Therefore, the approach taken so far has resulted in a limited knowledge of diseases dynamics within the nest environment. Here we introduced a single infectious cadaver killed by the fungus Beauveria bassiana into small nests of the ant Camponotus castaneus. We then observed the natural progression of the disease by not removing the corpses of the ants that died following the first entry of the disease. Because some behaviors such as social isolation of sick individuals or the removal of cadavers by nestmates are considered social immune functions and thus adaptations at the colony level that reduce disease spread, we also experimentally confined some sub-colonies to one or two chamber nests to prevent the expression of such behaviors. Based on 51 small nests and survival studies in 1,003 ants we found that a single introduced infectious cadaver was able to transmit within the nest, and social immunity did not prevent the collapse of the small sub-colonies here tested. This was true whether ants did or did not have the option to remove the infectious cadaver. Therefore, we found no evidence that the typically studied social immunity behaviors can reduce disease spread in the conditions here tested. PMID:27529548

  19. Disease in the Society: Infectious Cadavers Result in Collapse of Ant Sub-Colonies.

    PubMed

    Loreto, Raquel G; Hughes, David P

    2016-01-01

    Despite the growing number of experimental studies on mechanisms of social immunity in ant societies, little is known about how social behavior relates to disease progression within the nests of ants. In fact, when empirically studying disease in ant societies, it is common to remove dead ants from experiments to confirm infection by the studied parasite. This unfortunately does not allow disease to progress within the nest as it may be assumed would happen under natural conditions. Therefore, the approach taken so far has resulted in a limited knowledge of diseases dynamics within the nest environment. Here we introduced a single infectious cadaver killed by the fungus Beauveria bassiana into small nests of the ant Camponotus castaneus. We then observed the natural progression of the disease by not removing the corpses of the ants that died following the first entry of the disease. Because some behaviors such as social isolation of sick individuals or the removal of cadavers by nestmates are considered social immune functions and thus adaptations at the colony level that reduce disease spread, we also experimentally confined some sub-colonies to one or two chamber nests to prevent the expression of such behaviors. Based on 51 small nests and survival studies in 1,003 ants we found that a single introduced infectious cadaver was able to transmit within the nest, and social immunity did not prevent the collapse of the small sub-colonies here tested. This was true whether ants did or did not have the option to remove the infectious cadaver. Therefore, we found no evidence that the typically studied social immunity behaviors can reduce disease spread in the conditions here tested.

  20. The Relationship between Canopy Cover and Colony Size of the Wood Ant Formica lugubris - Implications for the Thermal Effects on a Keystone Ant Species

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Yi-Huei; Robinson, Elva J. H.

    2014-01-01

    Climate change may affect ecosystems and biodiversity through the impacts of rising temperature on species’ body size. In terms of physiology and genetics, the colony is the unit of selection for ants so colony size can be considered the body size of a colony. For polydomous ant species, a colony is spread across several nests. This study aims to clarify how climate change may influence an ecologically significant ant species group by investigating thermal effects on wood ant colony size. The strong link between canopy cover and the local temperatures of wood ant’s nesting location provides a feasible approach for our study. Our results showed that nests were larger in shadier areas where the thermal environment was colder and more stable compared to open areas. Colonies (sum of nests in a polydomous colony) also tended to be larger in shadier areas than in open areas. In addition to temperature, our results supported that food resource availability may be an additional factor mediating the relationship between canopy cover and nest size. The effects of canopy cover on total colony size may act at the nest level because of the positive relationship between total colony size and mean nest size, rather than at the colony level due to lack of link between canopy cover and number of nests per colony. Causal relationships between the environment and the life-history characteristics may suggest possible future impacts of climate change on these species. PMID:25551636

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  2. Ant colony optimization analysis on overall stability of high arch dam basis of field monitoring.

    PubMed

    Lin, Peng; Liu, Xiaoli; Chen, Hong-Xin; Kim, Jinxie

    2014-01-01

    A dam ant colony optimization (D-ACO) analysis of the overall stability of high arch dams on complicated foundations is presented in this paper. A modified ant colony optimization (ACO) model is proposed for obtaining dam concrete and rock mechanical parameters. A typical dam parameter feedback problem is proposed for nonlinear back-analysis numerical model based on field monitoring deformation and ACO. The basic principle of the proposed model is the establishment of the objective function of optimizing real concrete and rock mechanical parameter. The feedback analysis is then implemented with a modified ant colony algorithm. The algorithm performance is satisfactory, and the accuracy is verified. The m groups of feedback parameters, used to run a nonlinear FEM code, and the displacement and stress distribution are discussed. A feedback analysis of the deformation of the Lijiaxia arch dam and based on the modified ant colony optimization method is also conducted. By considering various material parameters obtained using different analysis methods, comparative analyses were conducted on dam displacements, stress distribution characteristics, and overall dam stability. The comparison results show that the proposal model can effectively solve for feedback multiple parameters of dam concrete and rock material and basically satisfy assessment requirements for geotechnical structural engineering discipline.

  3. Biomantling and Bioturbation by Colonies of the Florida Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex badius

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2015-01-01

    In much of the world, soil-nesting ants are among the leading agents of biomantling and bioturbation, depositing excavated soil on the surface or in underground chambers. Colonies of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius excavate a new nest once a year on average, depositing 0.1 to 12 L (3 L average) of soil on the surface. Repeated surveys of a population of about 400 colonies yielded the frequency of moves (approximately once per year), the distance moved (mean 4 m), and the direction moved (random). The area of the soil disc correlated well with the volume and maximum depth of the nest, as determined by excavation and mapping of chambers. The population-wide frequency distribution of disc areas thus yielded the frequency distribution of nest volumes and maximum depths. For each surveyed colony, the volume of soil excavated from six specified depth ranges and deposited on the surface was estimated. These parameters were used in a simulation to estimate the amount of soil mantled over time by the observed population of P. badius colonies. Spread evenly, P. badius mantling would create a soil layer averaging 0.43 cm thick in a millennium, with 10–15% of the soil deriving from depths greater than 1 m. Biomantling by P. badius is discussed in the context of the ant community of which it is a part, and in relation to literature reports of ant biomantling. PMID:25794047

  4. Protein folding in hydrophobic-polar lattice model: a flexible ant-colony optimization approach.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xiao-Min; Zhang, Jun; Xiao, Jing; Li, Yun

    2008-01-01

    This paper proposes a flexible ant colony (FAC) algorithm for solving protein folding problems based on the hydrophobic-polar square lattice model. Collaborations of novel pheromone and heuristic strategies in the proposed algorithm make it more effective in predicting structures of proteins compared with other state-of-the-art algorithms. PMID:18537736

  5. Improved ant colony optimization for optimal crop and irrigation water allocation by incorporating domain knowledge

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An improved ant colony optimization (ACO) formulation for the allocation of crops and water to different irrigation areas is developed. The formulation enables dynamic adjustment of decision variable options and makes use of visibility factors (VFs, the domain knowledge that can be used to identify ...

  6. Ant colony optimization analysis on overall stability of high arch dam basis of field monitoring.

    PubMed

    Lin, Peng; Liu, Xiaoli; Chen, Hong-Xin; Kim, Jinxie

    2014-01-01

    A dam ant colony optimization (D-ACO) analysis of the overall stability of high arch dams on complicated foundations is presented in this paper. A modified ant colony optimization (ACO) model is proposed for obtaining dam concrete and rock mechanical parameters. A typical dam parameter feedback problem is proposed for nonlinear back-analysis numerical model based on field monitoring deformation and ACO. The basic principle of the proposed model is the establishment of the objective function of optimizing real concrete and rock mechanical parameter. The feedback analysis is then implemented with a modified ant colony algorithm. The algorithm performance is satisfactory, and the accuracy is verified. The m groups of feedback parameters, used to run a nonlinear FEM code, and the displacement and stress distribution are discussed. A feedback analysis of the deformation of the Lijiaxia arch dam and based on the modified ant colony optimization method is also conducted. By considering various material parameters obtained using different analysis methods, comparative analyses were conducted on dam displacements, stress distribution characteristics, and overall dam stability. The comparison results show that the proposal model can effectively solve for feedback multiple parameters of dam concrete and rock material and basically satisfy assessment requirements for geotechnical structural engineering discipline. PMID:25025089

  7. Item Selection for the Development of Short Forms of Scales Using an Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leite, Walter L.; Huang, I-Chan; Marcoulides, George A.

    2008-01-01

    This article presents the use of an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm for the development of short forms of scales. An example 22-item short form is developed for the Diabetes-39 scale, a quality-of-life scale for diabetes patients, using a sample of 265 diabetes patients. A simulation study comparing the performance of the ACO algorithm and…

  8. Biomantling and bioturbation by colonies of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2015-01-01

    In much of the world, soil-nesting ants are among the leading agents of biomantling and bioturbation, depositing excavated soil on the surface or in underground chambers. Colonies of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius excavate a new nest once a year on average, depositing 0.1 to 12 L (3 L average) of soil on the surface. Repeated surveys of a population of about 400 colonies yielded the frequency of moves (approximately once per year), the distance moved (mean 4 m), and the direction moved (random). The area of the soil disc correlated well with the volume and maximum depth of the nest, as determined by excavation and mapping of chambers. The population-wide frequency distribution of disc areas thus yielded the frequency distribution of nest volumes and maximum depths. For each surveyed colony, the volume of soil excavated from six specified depth ranges and deposited on the surface was estimated. These parameters were used in a simulation to estimate the amount of soil mantled over time by the observed population of P. badius colonies. Spread evenly, P. badius mantling would create a soil layer averaging 0.43 cm thick in a millennium, with 10-15% of the soil deriving from depths greater than 1 m. Biomantling by P. badius is discussed in the context of the ant community of which it is a part, and in relation to literature reports of ant biomantling.

  9. Ant Colony Optimization Analysis on Overall Stability of High Arch Dam Basis of Field Monitoring

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xiaoli; Chen, Hong-Xin; Kim, Jinxie

    2014-01-01

    A dam ant colony optimization (D-ACO) analysis of the overall stability of high arch dams on complicated foundations is presented in this paper. A modified ant colony optimization (ACO) model is proposed for obtaining dam concrete and rock mechanical parameters. A typical dam parameter feedback problem is proposed for nonlinear back-analysis numerical model based on field monitoring deformation and ACO. The basic principle of the proposed model is the establishment of the objective function of optimizing real concrete and rock mechanical parameter. The feedback analysis is then implemented with a modified ant colony algorithm. The algorithm performance is satisfactory, and the accuracy is verified. The m groups of feedback parameters, used to run a nonlinear FEM code, and the displacement and stress distribution are discussed. A feedback analysis of the deformation of the Lijiaxia arch dam and based on the modified ant colony optimization method is also conducted. By considering various material parameters obtained using different analysis methods, comparative analyses were conducted on dam displacements, stress distribution characteristics, and overall dam stability. The comparison results show that the proposal model can effectively solve for feedback multiple parameters of dam concrete and rock material and basically satisfy assessment requirements for geotechnical structural engineering discipline. PMID:25025089

  10. How an ant manages to display individual and colonial signals by using the same channel.

    PubMed

    Denis, Damien; Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Fresneau, Dominique

    2006-08-01

    Cuticular hydrocarbons are used by some ants to discriminate nestmates from nonnestmates. Every member of the colony bears the same pattern because they are continuously exchanged among nestmates. The postpharyngeal gland (PPG) stores the blend of hydrocarbons and is involved in the distribution of this common mixture. However, some individuals might display individual information on the cuticle (such as a chemical signal of fertility) that must not be mixed within the common pool. We investigated how this paradox is solved in the ant Pachycondyla goeldii by analyzing the nature and localization of colonial and fertility signals. Workers in a queenless condition showed a dominance hierarchy that was correlated with ovarian development. Hydrocarbons from the cuticle and the PPG analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and identified by GC-mass spectrometry showed a clear discrimination among colonies, supporting the involvement of the PPG in the colonial identity signal. We identified and selected 11 cuticular hydrocarbons that permitted us to discriminate ovarian development classes and that might function as a fertility signal. They allowed clear colony discrimination as well, which suggests that the two signals (the individual signal of fertility and the common signal of colony identity) can be conveyed by the same compounds. However, the hydrocarbons in the PPG did not discriminate among ovarian developmental classes, suggesting that the portion of variation in the cuticular hydrocarbons constituting the fertility signal is superimposed on the signal of colony identity. PMID:16871445

  11. Study on Increasing the Accuracy of Classification Based on Ant Colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, M.; Chen, D.-W.; Dai, C.-Y.; Li, Z.-L.

    2013-05-01

    The application for GIS advances the ability of data analysis on remote sensing image. The classification and distill of remote sensing image is the primary information source for GIS in LUCC application. How to increase the accuracy of classification is an important content of remote sensing research. Adding features and researching new classification methods are the ways to improve accuracy of classification. Ant colony algorithm based on mode framework defined, agents of the algorithms in nature-inspired computation field can show a kind of uniform intelligent computation mode. It is applied in remote sensing image classification is a new method of preliminary swarm intelligence. Studying the applicability of ant colony algorithm based on more features and exploring the advantages and performance of ant colony algorithm are provided with very important significance. The study takes the outskirts of Fuzhou with complicated land use in Fujian Province as study area. The multi-source database which contains the integration of spectral information (TM1-5, TM7, NDVI, NDBI) and topography characters (DEM, Slope, Aspect) and textural information (Mean, Variance, Homogeneity, Contrast, Dissimilarity, Entropy, Second Moment, Correlation) were built. Classification rules based different characters are discovered from the samples through ant colony algorithm and the classification test is performed based on these rules. At the same time, we compare with traditional maximum likelihood method, C4.5 algorithm and rough sets classifications for checking over the accuracies. The study showed that the accuracy of classification based on the ant colony algorithm is higher than other methods. In addition, the land use and cover changes in Fuzhou for the near term is studied and display the figures by using remote sensing technology based on ant colony algorithm. In addition, the land use and cover changes in Fuzhou for the near term is studied and display the figures by using

  12. A temporal ant colony optimization approach to the shortest path problem in dynamic scale-free networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Feng; Li, Yanjun; Wu, Tie-Jun

    2010-02-01

    A large number of networks in the real world have a scale-free structure, and the parameters of the networks change stochastically with time. Searching for the shortest paths in a scale-free dynamic and stochastic network is not only necessary for the estimation of the statistical characteristics such as the average shortest path length of the network, but also challenges the traditional concepts related to the “shortest path” of a network and the design of path searching strategies. In this paper, the concept of shortest path is defined on the basis of a scale-free dynamic and stochastic network model, and a temporal ant colony optimization (TACO) algorithm is proposed for searching for the shortest paths in the network. The convergence and the setup for some important parameters of the TACO algorithm are discussed through theoretical analysis and computer simulations, validating the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  13. ACOustic: A Nature-Inspired Exploration Indicator for Ant Colony Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Sagban, Rafid; Ku-Mahamud, Ku Ruhana; Abu Bakar, Muhamad Shahbani

    2015-01-01

    A statistical machine learning indicator, ACOustic, is proposed to evaluate the exploration behavior in the iterations of ant colony optimization algorithms. This idea is inspired by the behavior of some parasites in their mimicry to the queens' acoustics of their ant hosts. The parasites' reaction results from their ability to indicate the state of penetration. The proposed indicator solves the problem of robustness that results from the difference of magnitudes in the distance's matrix, especially when combinatorial optimization problems with rugged fitness landscape are applied. The performance of the proposed indicator is evaluated against the existing indicators in six variants of ant colony optimization algorithms. Instances for travelling salesman problem and quadratic assignment problem are used in the experimental evaluation. The analytical results showed that the proposed indicator is more informative and more robust. PMID:25954768

  14. An ant colony based algorithm for overlapping community detection in complex networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Xu; Liu, Yanheng; Zhang, Jindong; Liu, Tuming; Zhang, Di

    2015-06-01

    Community detection is of great importance to understand the structures and functions of networks. Overlap is a significant feature of networks and overlapping community detection has attracted an increasing attention. Many algorithms have been presented to detect overlapping communities. In this paper, we present an ant colony based overlapping community detection algorithm which mainly includes ants' location initialization, ants' movement and post processing phases. An ants' location initialization strategy is designed to identify initial location of ants and initialize label list stored in each node. During the ants' movement phase, the entire ants move according to the transition probability matrix, and a new heuristic information computation approach is redefined to measure similarity between two nodes. Every node keeps a label list through the cooperation made by ants until a termination criterion is reached. A post processing phase is executed on the label list to get final overlapping community structure naturally. We illustrate the capability of our algorithm by making experiments on both synthetic networks and real world networks. The results demonstrate that our algorithm will have better performance in finding overlapping communities and overlapping nodes in synthetic datasets and real world datasets comparing with state-of-the-art algorithms.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Collective behavior is produced by interactions among individuals. Differences among groups in individual response to interactions can lead to ecologically important variation among groups in collective behavior. Here we examine variation among colonies in the foraging behavior of the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Previous work shows how colonies regulate foraging in response to food availability and desiccation costs: the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest depends on the rate at which foragers return with food. To examine how colonies vary in response to humidity and in foraging rate, we performed field experiments that manipulated forager return rate in 94 trials with 17 colonies over 3 years. We found that the effect of returning foragers on the rate of outgoing foragers increases with humidity. There are consistent differences among colonies in foraging activity that persist from year to year. PMID:23717415

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. An Ant Colony Optimization Based Feature Selection for Web Page Classification

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    The increased popularity of the web has caused the inclusion of huge amount of information to the web, and as a result of this explosive information growth, automated web page classification systems are needed to improve search engines' performance. Web pages have a large number of features such as HTML/XML tags, URLs, hyperlinks, and text contents that should be considered during an automated classification process. The aim of this study is to reduce the number of features to be used to improve runtime and accuracy of the classification of web pages. In this study, we used an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm to select the best features, and then we applied the well-known C4.5, naive Bayes, and k nearest neighbor classifiers to assign class labels to web pages. We used the WebKB and Conference datasets in our experiments, and we showed that using the ACO for feature selection improves both accuracy and runtime performance of classification. We also showed that the proposed ACO based algorithm can select better features with respect to the well-known information gain and chi square feature selection methods. PMID:25136678

  19. A Multipath Routing Protocol Based on Clustering and Ant Colony Optimization for Wireless Sensor Networks

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Jing; Xu, Mai; Zhao, Wei; Xu, Baoguo

    2010-01-01

    For monitoring burst events in a kind of reactive wireless sensor networks (WSNs), a multipath routing protocol (MRP) based on dynamic clustering and ant colony optimization (ACO) is proposed. Such an approach can maximize the network lifetime and reduce the energy consumption. An important attribute of WSNs is their limited power supply, and therefore some metrics (such as energy consumption of communication among nodes, residual energy, path length) were considered as very important criteria while designing routing in the MRP. Firstly, a cluster head (CH) is selected among nodes located in the event area according to some parameters, such as residual energy. Secondly, an improved ACO algorithm is applied in the search for multiple paths between the CH and sink node. Finally, the CH dynamically chooses a route to transmit data with a probability that depends on many path metrics, such as energy consumption. The simulation results show that MRP can prolong the network lifetime, as well as balance of energy consumption among nodes and reduce the average energy consumption effectively. PMID:22399890

  20. Ant Colony Optimization for Mapping, Scheduling and Placing in Reconfigurable Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Ferrandi, Fabrizio; Lanzi, Pier Luca; Pilato, Christian; Sciuto, Donatella; Tumeo, Antonino

    2013-06-24

    Modern heterogeneous embedded platforms, com- posed of several digital signal, application specific and general purpose processors, also include reconfigurable devices support- ing partial dynamic reconfiguration. These devices can change the behavior of some of their parts during execution, allowing hardware acceleration of more sections of the applications. Never- theless, partial dynamic reconfiguration imposes severe overheads in terms of latency. For such systems, a critical part of the design phase is deciding on which processing elements (mapping) and when (scheduling) executing a task, but also how to place them on the reconfigurable device to guarantee the most efficient reuse of the programmable logic. In this paper we propose an algorithm based on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) that simultaneously executes the scheduling, the mapping and the linear placing of tasks, hiding reconfiguration overheads through prefetching. Our heuristic gradually constructs solutions and then searches around the best ones, cutting out non-promising areas of the design space. We show how to consider the partial dynamic reconfiguration constraints in the scheduling, placing and mapping problems and compare our formulation to other heuristics that address the same problems. We demonstrate that our proposal is more general and robust, and finds better solutions (16.5% in average) with respect to competing solutions.

  1. An ant colony optimization based feature selection for web page classification.

    PubMed

    Saraç, Esra; Özel, Selma Ayşe

    2014-01-01

    The increased popularity of the web has caused the inclusion of huge amount of information to the web, and as a result of this explosive information growth, automated web page classification systems are needed to improve search engines' performance. Web pages have a large number of features such as HTML/XML tags, URLs, hyperlinks, and text contents that should be considered during an automated classification process. The aim of this study is to reduce the number of features to be used to improve runtime and accuracy of the classification of web pages. In this study, we used an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm to select the best features, and then we applied the well-known C4.5, naive Bayes, and k nearest neighbor classifiers to assign class labels to web pages. We used the WebKB and Conference datasets in our experiments, and we showed that using the ACO for feature selection improves both accuracy and runtime performance of classification. We also showed that the proposed ACO based algorithm can select better features with respect to the well-known information gain and chi square feature selection methods.

  2. A modified ant colony optimization to solve multi products inventory routing problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, Lily; Moin, Noor Hasnah

    2014-07-01

    This study considers a one-to-many inventory routing problem (IRP) network consisting of a manufacturer that produces multi products to be transported to many geographically dispersed customers. We consider a finite horizon where a fleet of capacitated homogeneous vehicles, housed at a depot/warehouse, transport products from the warehouse to meet the demand specified by the customers in each period. The demand for each product is deterministic and time varying and each customer requests a distinct product. The inventory holding cost is product specific and is incurred at the customer sites. The objective is to determine the amount on inventory and to construct a delivery schedule that minimizes both the total transportation and inventory holding costs while ensuring each customer's demand is met over the planning horizon. The problem is formulated as a mixed integer programming problem and is solved using CPLEX 12.4 to get the lower and upper bound (best integer solution) for each problem considered. We propose a modified ant colony optimization (ACO) to solve the problem and the built route is improved by using local search. ACO performs better on large instances compared to the upper bound.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Search strategies of ants in landmark-rich habitats.

    PubMed

    Narendra, Ajay; Cheng, Ken; Sulikowski, Danielle; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2008-11-01

    Search is an important tool in an ant's navigational toolbox to relocate food sources and find the inconspicuous nest entrance. In habitats where landmark information is sparse, homing ants travel their entire home vector before searching systematically with ever increasing loops. Search strategies have not been previously investigated in ants that inhabit landmark-rich habitats where they typically establish stereotypical routes. Here we examine the search strategy in one such ant, Melophorus bagoti, by confining their foraging in one-dimensional channels to determine if their search pattern changes with experience, location of distant cues and altered distance on the homebound journey. Irrespective of conditions, we found ants exhibit a progressive search that drifted towards the fictive nest and beyond. Segments moving away from the start of the homeward journey were longer than segments heading back towards the start. The right tail distribution of segment lengths was well fitted by a power function, but slopes less than -3 on a log-log plot indicate that the process cannot be characterized as Lévy searches that have optimal slopes near -2. A double exponential function fits the distribution of segment lengths better, supporting another theoretically optimal search pattern, the composite Brownian walk.

  7. The Role of Colony Size on Tunnel Branching Morphogenesis in Ant Nests

    PubMed Central

    Gautrais, Jacques; Buhl, Jérôme; Valverde, Sergi; Kuntz, Pascale; Theraulaz, Guy

    2014-01-01

    Many ant species excavate nests that are made up of chambers and interconnecting tunnels. There is a general trend of an increase in nest complexity with increasing population size. This complexity reflects a higher ramification and anastomosis of tunnels that can be estimated by the meshedness coefficient of the tunnelling networks. It has long been observed that meshedness increases with colony size within and across species, but no explanation has been provided so far. Since colony size is a strong factor controlling collective digging, a high value of the meshedness could simply be a side effect of a larger number of workers. To test this hypothesis, we study the digging dynamics in different group size of ants Messor sancta. We build a model of collective digging that is calibrated from the experimental data. Model's predictions successfully reproduce the topological properties of tunnelling networks observed in experiments, including the increase of the meshedness with group size. We then use the model to investigate situations in which collective digging progresses outward from a centre corresponding to the way tunnelling behaviour occurs in field conditions. Our model predicts that, when all other parameters are kept constant, an increase of the number of workers leads to a higher value of the meshedness and a transition from tree-like structures to highly meshed networks. Therefore we conclude that colony size is a key factor determining tunnelling network complexity in ant colonies. PMID:25330080

  8. The role of colony size on tunnel branching morphogenesis in ant nests.

    PubMed

    Gautrais, Jacques; Buhl, Jérôme; Valverde, Sergi; Kuntz, Pascale; Theraulaz, Guy

    2014-01-01

    Many ant species excavate nests that are made up of chambers and interconnecting tunnels. There is a general trend of an increase in nest complexity with increasing population size. This complexity reflects a higher ramification and anastomosis of tunnels that can be estimated by the meshedness coefficient of the tunnelling networks. It has long been observed that meshedness increases with colony size within and across species, but no explanation has been provided so far. Since colony size is a strong factor controlling collective digging, a high value of the meshedness could simply be a side effect of a larger number of workers. To test this hypothesis, we study the digging dynamics in different group size of ants Messor sancta. We build a model of collective digging that is calibrated from the experimental data. Model's predictions successfully reproduce the topological properties of tunnelling networks observed in experiments, including the increase of the meshedness with group size. We then use the model to investigate situations in which collective digging progresses outward from a centre corresponding to the way tunnelling behaviour occurs in field conditions. Our model predicts that, when all other parameters are kept constant, an increase of the number of workers leads to a higher value of the meshedness and a transition from tree-like structures to highly meshed networks. Therefore we conclude that colony size is a key factor determining tunnelling network complexity in ant colonies. PMID:25330080

  9. The ecological benefits of larger colony size may promote polygyny in ants.

    PubMed

    Boulay, R; Arnan, X; Cerdá, X; Retana, J

    2014-12-01

    How polygyny evolved in social insect societies is a long-standing question. This phenomenon, which is functionally similar to communal breeding in vertebrates, occurs when several queens come together in the same nest to lay eggs that are raised by workers. As a consequence, polygyny drastically reduces genetic relatedness among nestmates. It has been suggested that the short-term benefits procured by group living may outweigh the costs of sharing the same nesting site and thus contribute to organisms rearing unrelated individuals. However, tests of this hypothesis are still limited. To examine the evolutionary emergence of polygyny, we reviewed the literature to build a data set containing life-history traits for 149 Palearctic ant species and combined this data set with a reconstructed phylogeny. We show that monogyny is the ancestral state and that polygyny has evolved secondarily and independently throughout the phylogenetic tree. The occurrence of polygyny is significantly correlated with larger colony size, dependent colony founding and ecological dominance. Although polydomy (when a colony simultaneously uses several connected nests) tends to occur more frequently in polygynous species, this trend is not significant when phylogenetic history is accounted for. Overall, our results indicate that polygyny may have evolved in ants in spite of the reduction in nestmate relatedness because large colony size provides immediate ecological advantages, such as the more efficient use of temporal food resources. We suggest that the competitive context of ant communities may have provided the conditions necessary for the evolution of polygyny in some clades.

  10. 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

  11. Research on Passive Optical Network Based on Ant Colony Algorithms for Bandwidth Distribution in Uplink Direction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Yanping; Ma, Yongsheng; Zheng, Dezhong; Zhao, Lulu; Han, Xu

    This article design PON with working vacation mechanism about bandwidth distribution in uplink direction, and optimize the serving rate of vacation and roving by ant colony algorithms (ACA), giving the objective function. The convergence speed can be improved by setting the threshold of objectives. More and more ants concentrate towards the optimal solution space in the result of the change of hormones with the objective function about the cost of system, and the optimal solution is found. The numerical experiments show that this method can allocate rational severing rate for every ONU with high speed of convergence.

  12. Gis-Based Route Finding Using ANT Colony Optimization and Urban Traffic Data from Different Sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davoodi, M.; Mesgari, M. S.

    2015-12-01

    Nowadays traffic data is obtained from multiple sources including GPS, Video Vehicle Detectors (VVD), Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), Floating Car Data (FCD), VANETs, etc. All such data can be used for route finding. This paper proposes a model for finding the optimum route based on the integration of traffic data from different sources. Ant Colony Optimization is applied in this paper because the concept of this method (movement of ants in a network) is similar to urban road network and movements of cars. The results indicate that this model is capable of incorporating data from different sources, which may even be inconsistent.

  13. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hart, Adam; Bot, A. N. M.; Brown, Mark

    2002-03-01

    Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta's garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural response. In A. colombica, garden waste is removed from within the colony and transported to the midden - an external waste dump - where it is processed by a group of midden workers. We found that colonies infected with Escovopsis have higher numbers of workers on the midden, where Escovopsis is deposited. Further, midden workers are highly effective in dispersing newly deposited waste away from the dumping site. Thus, the colony-level task allocation strategies of the Atta superorganism may change in response to the threat of disease to a third, essential party.

  14. 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

  15. Warring arthropod societies: Social spider colonies can delay annihilation by predatory ants via reduced apparency and increased group size.

    PubMed

    Keiser, Carl N; Wright, Colin M; Pruitt, Jonathan N

    2015-10-01

    Sociality provides individuals with benefits via collective foraging and anti-predator defense. One of the costs of living in large groups, however, is increased apparency to natural enemies. Here, we test how the individual-level and collective traits of spider societies can increase the risk of discovery and death by predatory ants. We transplanted colonies of the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola into a habitat dense with one of their top predators, the pugnacious ant Anoplolepis custodiens. With three different experiments, we test how colony-wide survivorship in a predator-dense habitat can be altered by colony apparency (i.e., the presence of a capture web), group size, and group composition (i.e., the proportion of bold and shy personality types present). We also test how spiders' social context (i.e., living solitarily vs. among conspecifics) modifies their behaviour toward ants in their capture web. Colonies with capture webs intact were discovered by predatory ants on average 25% faster than colonies with the capture web removed, and all discovered colonies eventually collapsed and succumbed to predation. However, the lag time from discovery by ants to colony collapse was greater for colonies containing more individuals. The composition of individual personality types in the group had no influence on survivorship. Spiders in a social group were more likely to approach ants caught in their web than were isolated spiders. Isolated spiders were more likely to attack a safe prey item (a moth) than they were to attack ants and were more likely to retreat from ants after contact than they were after contact with moths. Together, our data suggest that the physical structures produced by large animal societies can increase their apparency to natural enemies, though larger groups can facilitate a longer lag time between discovery and demise. Lastly, the interaction between spiders and predatory ants seems to depend on the social context in which spiders reside

  16. Warring arthropod societies: Social spider colonies can delay annihilation by predatory ants via reduced apparency and increased group size.

    PubMed

    Keiser, Carl N; Wright, Colin M; Pruitt, Jonathan N

    2015-10-01

    Sociality provides individuals with benefits via collective foraging and anti-predator defense. One of the costs of living in large groups, however, is increased apparency to natural enemies. Here, we test how the individual-level and collective traits of spider societies can increase the risk of discovery and death by predatory ants. We transplanted colonies of the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola into a habitat dense with one of their top predators, the pugnacious ant Anoplolepis custodiens. With three different experiments, we test how colony-wide survivorship in a predator-dense habitat can be altered by colony apparency (i.e., the presence of a capture web), group size, and group composition (i.e., the proportion of bold and shy personality types present). We also test how spiders' social context (i.e., living solitarily vs. among conspecifics) modifies their behaviour toward ants in their capture web. Colonies with capture webs intact were discovered by predatory ants on average 25% faster than colonies with the capture web removed, and all discovered colonies eventually collapsed and succumbed to predation. However, the lag time from discovery by ants to colony collapse was greater for colonies containing more individuals. The composition of individual personality types in the group had no influence on survivorship. Spiders in a social group were more likely to approach ants caught in their web than were isolated spiders. Isolated spiders were more likely to attack a safe prey item (a moth) than they were to attack ants and were more likely to retreat from ants after contact than they were after contact with moths. Together, our data suggest that the physical structures produced by large animal societies can increase their apparency to natural enemies, though larger groups can facilitate a longer lag time between discovery and demise. Lastly, the interaction between spiders and predatory ants seems to depend on the social context in which spiders reside.

  17. Successful transmission of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 to Solenopsis invicta fire ant colonies in oil, sugar, and cricket bait formulations.

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Porter, Sanford D; Choi, Man-Yeon; Oi, David H

    2013-07-01

    Tests were conducted to evaluate whether Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) could be delivered in various bait formulations to fire ant colonies and measure the corresponding colony health changes associated with virus infection in Solenopsis invicta. Three bait formulations (10% sugar solution, cricket paste, and soybean oil adsorbed to defatted corn grit) effectively transmitted SINV-3 infections to S. invicta colonies. Correspondingly, viral infection was shown to be detrimental to colony health and productivity. By day 32, all ant colonies exposed to a single 24h pulse treatment of SINV-3 became infected with the virus regardless of the bait formulation. However, the SINV-3 sugar and cricket bait-treated colonies became infected more rapidly than the oil-treated colonies. Sugar and cricket-treated colonies exhibited significant declines in their brood ratings compared with the untreated control and oil bait-treated colonies. Measures of colony health and productivity evaluated at the end of the study (day 47) showed a number of differences among the bait treatments and the control group. Statistically significant and similar patterns were exhibited among treatments for the quantity of live workers (lower), live brood (lower), total colony weight (lower), worker mortality (higher), proportion larvae (lower), and queen weight (lower). Significant changes were also observed in the number of eggs laid by queens (lower) and the corresponding ovary rating in SINV-3-treated colonies. The study provides the first successful demonstration of SINV-3 as a potential biopesticide against fire ants.

  18. A Graph-Based Ant Colony Optimization Approach for Process Planning

    PubMed Central

    Wang, JinFeng; Fan, XiaoLiang; Wan, Shuting

    2014-01-01

    The complex process planning problem is modeled as a combinatorial optimization problem with constraints in this paper. An ant colony optimization (ACO) approach has been developed to deal with process planning problem by simultaneously considering activities such as sequencing operations, selecting manufacturing resources, and determining setup plans to achieve the optimal process plan. A weighted directed graph is conducted to describe the operations, precedence constraints between operations, and the possible visited path between operation nodes. A representation of process plan is described based on the weighted directed graph. Ant colony goes through the necessary nodes on the graph to achieve the optimal solution with the objective of minimizing total production costs (TPC). Two cases have been carried out to study the influence of various parameters of ACO on the system performance. Extensive comparative experiments have been conducted to demonstrate the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed approach. PMID:24995355

  19. Detection Of Ventricular Late Potentials Using Wavelet Transform And ANT Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Subramanian, A. Sankara; Gurusamy, G.; Selvakumar, G.

    2010-10-01

    Ventricular late Potentials (VLPs) are low-level high frequency signals that are usually found with in the terminal part of the QRS complex from patients after Myocardial Infraction. Patients with VLPs are at risk of developing Ventricular Tachycardia, which is the major cause of death if patients suffering from heart disease. In this paper the Discrete Wavelet Transform was used to detect VLPs and then ANT colony optimization (ACO) was applied to classify subjects with and without VLPs. A set of Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) coefficients is selected from the wavelet decomposition. Three standard parameters of VLPs such as QRST, D40 and V40 are also established. After that a novel clustering algorithm based on Ant Colony Optimization is developed for classifying arrhythmia types. The wavelet decomposition enabled us to perform the task efficiently and produced reliable results.

  20. Structural link prediction based on ant colony approach in social networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sherkat, Ehsan; Rahgozar, Maseud; Asadpour, Masoud

    2015-02-01

    As the size and number of online social networks are increasing day by day, social network analysis has become a popular issue in many branches of science. The link prediction is one of the key rolling issues in the analysis of social network's evolution. As the size of social networks is increasing, the necessity for scalable link prediction algorithms is being felt more. The aim of this paper is to introduce a new unsupervised structural link prediction algorithm based on the ant colony approach. Recently, ant colony approach has been used for solving some graph problems. Different kinds of networks are used for testing the proposed approach. In some networks, the proposed scalable algorithm has the best result in comparison to other structural unsupervised link prediction algorithms. In order to evaluate the algorithm results, methods like the top- n precision, area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) and Precision-Recall curves are carried out on real-world networks.

  1. Multiple sequence alignment algorithm based on a dispersion graph and ant colony algorithm.

    PubMed

    Chen, Weiyang; Liao, Bo; Zhu, Wen; Xiang, Xuyu

    2009-10-01

    In this article, we describe a representation for the processes of multiple sequences alignment (MSA) and used it to solve the problem of MSA. By this representation, we took every possible aligning result into account by defining the representation of gap insertion, the value of heuristic information in every optional path and scoring rule. On the basis of the proposed multidimensional graph, we used the ant colony algorithm to find the better path that denotes a better aligning result. In our article, we proposed the instance of three-dimensional graph and four-dimensional graph and advanced a special ichnographic representation to analyze MSA. It is yet only an experimental software, and we gave an example for finding the best aligning result by three-dimensional graph and ant colony algorithm. Experimental results show that our method can improve the solution quality on MSA benchmarks. PMID:19130503

  2. Ant workers die young and colonies collapse when fed a high-protein diet

    PubMed Central

    Dussutour, A.; Simpson, S. J.

    2012-01-01

    A key determinant of the relationship between diet and longevity is the balance of protein and carbohydrate in the diet. Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary insects. Here, we investigated the link between high-protein diet and longevity, both at the level of individual ants and colonies in black garden ants, Lasius niger. We explored how lifespan was affected by the dietary protein-to-carbohydrate ratio and the duration of exposure to a high-protein diet. We show that (i) restriction to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets decreased worker lifespan by up to 10-fold; (ii) reduction in lifespan on such diets was mainly due to elevated intake of protein rather than lack of carbohydrate; and (iii) only one day of exposure to a high-protein diet had dire consequences for workers and the colony, reducing population size by more than 20 per cent. PMID:22357267

  3. Colony insularity through queen control on worker social motivation in ants.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Raphaël; Katzav-Gozansky, Tamar; Vander Meer, Robert K; Hefetz, Abraham

    2003-05-01

    We investigated the relative contribution of the queen and workers to colony nestmate recognition cues and on colony insularity in the Carpenter ant Camponotus fellah. Workers were either individually isolated, preventing contact with both queen and workers (colonial deprived, CD), kept in queenless groups, allowing only worker-worker interactions (queen deprived, QD) or in queenright (QR) groups. Two weeks post-separation QD and QR workers were amicable towards each other but both rejected their CD nestmates, which suggests that the queen does not measurably influence the colony recognition cues. By contrast, aggression between QD and QR workers from the same original colony was apparent only after six months of separation. This clearly demonstrates the power of the Gestalt and indicates that the queen is not a dominant contributor to the nestmate recognition cues in this species. Aggression between nestmates was correlated with a greater hydrocarbon (HC) profile divergence for CD than for QD and QR workers, supporting the importance of worker-worker interactions in maintaining the colony Gestalt odour. While the queen does not significantly influence nestmate recognition cues, she does influence colony insularity since within 3 days QD (queenless for six months) workers from different colony origins merged to form a single queenless colony. By contrast, the corresponding QR colonies maintained their territoriality and did not merge. The originally divergent cuticular and postpharyngeal gland HC profiles became congruent following the merger. Therefore, while workers supply and blend the recognition signal, the queen affects worker-worker interaction by reducing social motivation and tolerance of alien conspecifics.

  4. Colony insularity through queen control on worker social motivation in ants.

    PubMed

    Boulay, Raphaël; Katzav-Gozansky, Tamar; Vander Meer, Robert K; Hefetz, Abraham

    2003-05-01

    We investigated the relative contribution of the queen and workers to colony nestmate recognition cues and on colony insularity in the Carpenter ant Camponotus fellah. Workers were either individually isolated, preventing contact with both queen and workers (colonial deprived, CD), kept in queenless groups, allowing only worker-worker interactions (queen deprived, QD) or in queenright (QR) groups. Two weeks post-separation QD and QR workers were amicable towards each other but both rejected their CD nestmates, which suggests that the queen does not measurably influence the colony recognition cues. By contrast, aggression between QD and QR workers from the same original colony was apparent only after six months of separation. This clearly demonstrates the power of the Gestalt and indicates that the queen is not a dominant contributor to the nestmate recognition cues in this species. Aggression between nestmates was correlated with a greater hydrocarbon (HC) profile divergence for CD than for QD and QR workers, supporting the importance of worker-worker interactions in maintaining the colony Gestalt odour. While the queen does not significantly influence nestmate recognition cues, she does influence colony insularity since within 3 days QD (queenless for six months) workers from different colony origins merged to form a single queenless colony. By contrast, the corresponding QR colonies maintained their territoriality and did not merge. The originally divergent cuticular and postpharyngeal gland HC profiles became congruent following the merger. Therefore, while workers supply and blend the recognition signal, the queen affects worker-worker interaction by reducing social motivation and tolerance of alien conspecifics. PMID:12803913

  5. Ant colony optimization for biomarker identification from MALDI-TOF mass spectra.

    PubMed

    Ressom, Habtom W; Varghese, Rency S; Orvisky, Eduard; Drake, Steven K; Hortin, Glen L; Abdel-Hamid, Mohamed; Loffredo, Christopher A; Goldman, Radoslav

    2006-01-01

    We present a novel method that combines ant colony optimization with support vector machines (ACO-SVM) to select candidate biomarkers from MALDI-TOF serum profiles of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and matched controls. The method identified relevant mass points that achieve high sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing HCC patients from healthy individuals. The results indicate that the MALDI-TOF technology could provide the means to discover novel biomarkers for HCC. PMID:17946638

  6. Ant colony optimization for biomarker identification from MALDI-TOF mass spectra.

    PubMed

    Ressom, Habtom W; Varghese, Rency S; Orvisky, Eduard; Drake, Steven K; Hortin, Glen L; Abdel-Hamid, Mohamed; Loffredo, Christopher A; Goldman, Radoslav

    2006-01-01

    We present a novel method that combines ant colony optimization with support vector machines (ACO-SVM) to select candidate biomarkers from MALDI-TOF serum profiles of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and matched controls. The method identified relevant mass points that achieve high sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing HCC patients from healthy individuals. The results indicate that the MALDI-TOF technology could provide the means to discover novel biomarkers for HCC.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  8. Polygon star identification based on ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Baolin; Wu, Jie; Zhang, Hongbo

    2014-11-01

    In order to enhance the rate of star identification under different view fields and reduce memory storage, this paper presents a polygon star identification based on ACO algorithm .First, fast cluster analysis. Second, calculate argument for each guide star, using the advantages of ACO in fast path optimization to complete building feature polygon. Third, comparing optimization results and optimization data of guide database to realize match and identifying. Through the simulation shows that the above method can simplify searching process and structure of storage. It can promise the completeness of characteristic patterns of star image. The robustness and reliability are better than traditional triangle identification.

  9. Monomorphic ants undergo within-colony morphological changes along the metal-pollution gradient.

    PubMed

    Grześ, Irena M; Okrutniak, Mateusz; Woch, Marcin W

    2015-04-01

    In ants, intra and inter-colony variation in body size can be considerable, even in monomorphic species. It has been previously shown that size-related parameters can be environmentally sensitive. The shape of the body size distribution curve is, however, rarely investigated. In this study, we measured head widthes of the black garden ant Lasius niger workers using digital methods. The ants were sampled from 51 colonies originating from 19 sites located along a metal pollution gradient, established in a former mining area in Poland. Total zinc concentrations in random samples of small invertebrates were used as a measure of site pollution levels. We found that the skewness of head size distribution grows significantly in line with the pollution level of the site, ranging from values slightly below zero (about -0.5) in the least polluted site up to a positive value (about 1.5) in the most polluted site. This result indicates that the frequency of small ants grows as pollution levels increase. The coefficient of variation, as well as the measures of central tendency, was not related to the pollution level. Four hypotheses explaining the obtained results are proposed. The bias towards the higher frequency of small workers may result from energy limitation and/or metal toxicity, but may also have an adaptive function.

  10. Breeding system, colony structure, and genetic differentiation in the Camponotus festinatus species complex of carpenter ants.

    PubMed

    Goodisman, Michael A D; Hahn, Daniel A

    2005-10-01

    All social insects live in highly organized societies. However, different social insect species display striking variation in social structure. This variation can significantly affect the genetic structure within populations and, consequently, the divergence between species. The purpose of this study was to determine if variation in social structure was associated with species diversification in the Camponotus festinatus desert carpenter ant species complex. We used polymorphic DNA microsatellite markers to dissect the breeding system of these ants and to determine if distinct C. festinatus forms hybridized in their natural range. Our analysis of single-queen colonies established in the laboratory revealed that queens typically mated with only a single male. The genotypes of workers sampled from a field population suggested that multiple, related queens occasionally reproduced within colonies and that colonies inhabited multiple nests. Camponotus festinatus workers derived from colonies of the same form originating at different locales were strongly differentiated, suggesting that gene flow was geographically restricted. Overall, our data indicate that C. festinatus populations are highly structured. Distinct C. festinatus forms possess similar social systems but are genetically isolated. Consequently, our data suggest that diversification in the C. festinatus species complex is not necessarily associated with a shift in social structure.

  11. Breeding system, colony structure, and genetic differentiation in the Camponotus festinatus species complex of carpenter ants.

    PubMed

    Goodisman, Michael A D; Hahn, Daniel A

    2005-10-01

    All social insects live in highly organized societies. However, different social insect species display striking variation in social structure. This variation can significantly affect the genetic structure within populations and, consequently, the divergence between species. The purpose of this study was to determine if variation in social structure was associated with species diversification in the Camponotus festinatus desert carpenter ant species complex. We used polymorphic DNA microsatellite markers to dissect the breeding system of these ants and to determine if distinct C. festinatus forms hybridized in their natural range. Our analysis of single-queen colonies established in the laboratory revealed that queens typically mated with only a single male. The genotypes of workers sampled from a field population suggested that multiple, related queens occasionally reproduced within colonies and that colonies inhabited multiple nests. Camponotus festinatus workers derived from colonies of the same form originating at different locales were strongly differentiated, suggesting that gene flow was geographically restricted. Overall, our data indicate that C. festinatus populations are highly structured. Distinct C. festinatus forms possess similar social systems but are genetically isolated. Consequently, our data suggest that diversification in the C. festinatus species complex is not necessarily associated with a shift in social structure. PMID:16405162

  12. Colony structure and spatial partitioning of cavity dwelling ant species in nuts of eastern US forest floors

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nut-bearing trees create islands of high efficiency, low cost housing opportunities for ant colonies. Fallen nuts in leaf litter from previous seasons provide ready-made nest sites for cavity dwelling ant species, as well as affording protection from the elements. Suitable nuts for nests require an ...

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

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Lachaud, Gabriela; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Sociogenomics of Cooperation and Conflict during Colony Founding in the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Manfredini, Fabio; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Wurm, Yannick; Keller, Laurent; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Grozinger, Christina M.

    2013-01-01

    One of the fundamental questions in biology is how cooperative and altruistic behaviors evolved. The majority of studies seeking to identify the genes regulating these behaviors have been performed in systems where behavioral and physiological differences are relatively fixed, such as in the honey bee. During colony founding in the monogyne (one queen per colony) social form of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, newly-mated queens may start new colonies either individually (haplometrosis) or in groups (pleometrosis). However, only one queen (the “winner”) in pleometrotic associations survives and takes the lead of the young colony while the others (the “losers”) are executed. Thus, colony founding in fire ants provides an excellent system in which to examine the genes underpinning cooperative behavior and how the social environment shapes the expression of these genes. We developed a new whole genome microarray platform for S. invicta to characterize the gene expression patterns associated with colony founding behavior. First, we compared haplometrotic queens, pleometrotic winners and pleometrotic losers. Second, we manipulated pleometrotic couples in order to switch or maintain the social ranks of the two cofoundresses. Haplometrotic and pleometrotic queens differed in the expression of genes involved in stress response, aging, immunity, reproduction and lipid biosynthesis. Smaller sets of genes were differentially expressed between winners and losers. In the second experiment, switching social rank had a much greater impact on gene expression patterns than the initial/final rank. Expression differences for several candidate genes involved in key biological processes were confirmed using qRT-PCR. Our findings indicate that, in S. invicta, social environment plays a major role in the determination of the patterns of gene expression, while the queen's physiological state is secondary. These results highlight the powerful influence of social environment on

  15. Long-term efficacy of two cricket and two liver diets for rearing laboratory fire ant colonies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis Invicta)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Effective diets are necessary for many kinds of laboratory studies of ants. We conducted a year-long study of imported fire ant colonies reared on either chicken liver, beef liver, banded crickets, or domestic crickets all with a sugar water supplement. Fire ant colonies thrived on diets of sugar ...

  16. A universal optimization strategy for ant colony optimization algorithms based on the Physarum-inspired mathematical model.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zili; Gao, Chao; Liu, Yuxin; Qian, Tao

    2014-09-01

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms often fall into the local optimal solution and have lower search efficiency for solving the travelling salesman problem (TSP). According to these shortcomings, this paper proposes a universal optimization strategy for updating the pheromone matrix in the ACO algorithms. The new optimization strategy takes advantages of the unique feature of critical paths reserved in the process of evolving adaptive networks of the Physarum-inspired mathematical model (PMM). The optimized algorithms, denoted as PMACO algorithms, can enhance the amount of pheromone in the critical paths and promote the exploitation of the optimal solution. Experimental results in synthetic and real networks show that the PMACO algorithms are more efficient and robust than the traditional ACO algorithms, which are adaptable to solve the TSP with single or multiple objectives. Meanwhile, we further analyse the influence of parameters on the performance of the PMACO algorithms. Based on these analyses, the best values of these parameters are worked out for the TSP.

  17. Landmarks and ant search strategies after interrupted tandem runs.

    PubMed

    Basari, Norasmah; Bruendl, Aisha C; Hemingway, Charlotte E; Roberts, Nicholas W; Sendova-Franks, Ana B; Franks, Nigel R

    2014-03-15

    During a tandem run, a single leading ant recruits a single follower to an important resource such as a new nest. To examine this process, we used a motorized gantry, which has not previously been used in ant studies, to track tandem running ants accurately in a large arena and we compared their performance in the presence of different types of landmark. We interrupted tandem runs by taking away the leader and moved a large distant landmark behind the new nest just at the time of this separation. Our aim was to determine what information followers might have obtained from the incomplete tandem run they had followed, and how they behaved after the tandem run had been interrupted. Our results show that former followers search by using composite random strategies with elements of sub-diffusive and diffusive movements. Furthermore, when we provided more landmarks former followers searched for longer. However, when all landmarks were removed completely from the arena, the ants' search duration lasted up to four times longer. Hence, their search strategy changes in the presence or absence of landmarks. Even after extensive search of this kind, former followers headed back to their old nest but did not return along the path of the tandem run they had followed. The combination of the position to which the large distant landmark behind the new nest was moved and the presence or absence of additional landmarks influenced the orientation of the former followers' paths back to the old nest. We also found that these ants exhibit behavioural lateralization in which they possibly use their right eye more than their left eye to recognize landmarks for navigation. Our results suggest that former follower ants learn landmarks during tandem running and use this information to make strategic decisions. PMID:24198259

  18. Ant colony optimisation-direct cover: a hybrid ant colony direct cover technique for multi-level synthesis of multiple-valued logic functions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abd-El-Barr, Mostafa

    2010-12-01

    The use of non-binary (multiple-valued) logic in the synthesis of digital systems can lead to savings in chip area. Advances in very large scale integration (VLSI) technology have enabled the successful implementation of multiple-valued logic (MVL) circuits. A number of heuristic algorithms for the synthesis of (near) minimal sum-of products (two-level) realisation of MVL functions have been reported in the literature. The direct cover (DC) technique is one such algorithm. The ant colony optimisation (ACO) algorithm is a meta-heuristic that uses constructive greediness to explore a large solution space in finding (near) optimal solutions. The ACO algorithm mimics the ant's behaviour in the real world in using the shortest path to reach food sources. We have previously introduced an ACO-based heuristic for the synthesis of two-level MVL functions. In this article, we introduce the ACO-DC hybrid technique for the synthesis of multi-level MVL functions. The basic idea is to use an ant to decompose a given MVL function into a number of levels and then synthesise each sub-function using a DC-based technique. The results obtained using the proposed approach are compared to those obtained using existing techniques reported in the literature. A benchmark set consisting of 50,000 randomly generated 2-variable 4-valued functions is used in the comparison. The results obtained using the proposed ACO-DC technique are shown to produce efficient realisation in terms of the average number of gates (as a measure of chip area) needed for the synthesis of a given MVL function.

  19. Be meek or be bold? A colony-level behavioural syndrome in ants

    PubMed Central

    Bengston, S. E.; Dornhaus, A.

    2014-01-01

    Consistent individual variation in animal behaviour is nearly ubiquitous and has important ecological and evolutionary implications. Additionally, suites of behavioural traits are often correlated, forming behavioural syndromes in both humans and other species. Such syndromes are often described by testing for variation in traits across commonly described dimensions (e.g. aggression and neophobia), independent of whether this variation is ecologically relevant to the focal species. Here, we use a variety of ecologically relevant behavioural traits to test for a colony-level behavioural syndrome in rock ants (Temnothorax rugatulus). Specifically, we combine field and laboratory assays to measure foraging effort, how colonies respond to different types of resources, activity level, response to threat and aggression level. We find evidence for a colony level syndrome that suggests colonies consistently differ in coping style—some are more risk-prone, whereas others are more risk-averse. Additionally, by collecting data across the North American range of this species, we show that environmental variation may affect how different populations maintain consistent variation in colony behaviour. PMID:25100691

  20. Colony-Level Differences in the Scaling Rules Governing Wood Ant Compound Eye Structure

    PubMed Central

    Perl, Craig D.; Niven, Jeremy E.

    2016-01-01

    Differential organ growth during development is essential for adults to maintain the correct proportions and achieve their characteristic shape. Organs scale with body size, a process known as allometry that has been studied extensively in a range of organisms. Such scaling rules, typically studied from a limited sample, are assumed to apply to all members of a population and/or species. Here we study scaling in the compound eyes of workers of the wood ant, Formica rufa, from different colonies within a single population. Workers’ eye area increased with body size in all the colonies showing a negative allometry. However, both the slope and intercept of some allometric scaling relationships differed significantly among colonies. Moreover, though mean facet diameter and facet number increased with body size, some colonies primarily increased facet number whereas others increased facet diameter, showing that the cellular level processes underlying organ scaling differed among colonies. Thus, the rules that govern scaling at the organ and cellular levels can differ even within a single population. PMID:27068571

  1. Be meek or be bold? A colony-level behavioural syndrome in ants.

    PubMed

    Bengston, S E; Dornhaus, A

    2014-09-22

    Consistent individual variation in animal behaviour is nearly ubiquitous and has important ecological and evolutionary implications. Additionally, suites of behavioural traits are often correlated, forming behavioural syndromes in both humans and other species. Such syndromes are often described by testing for variation in traits across commonly described dimensions (e.g. aggression and neophobia), independent of whether this variation is ecologically relevant to the focal species. Here, we use a variety of ecologically relevant behavioural traits to test for a colony-level behavioural syndrome in rock ants (Temnothorax rugatulus). Specifically, we combine field and laboratory assays to measure foraging effort, how colonies respond to different types of resources, activity level, response to threat and aggression level. We find evidence for a colony level syndrome that suggests colonies consistently differ in coping style--some are more risk-prone, whereas others are more risk-averse. Additionally, by collecting data across the North American range of this species, we show that environmental variation may affect how different populations maintain consistent variation in colony behaviour.

  2. To b or not to b: a pheromone-binding protein regulates colony social organization in fire ants.

    PubMed

    Krieger, Michael J B

    2005-01-01

    A major distinction in the social organization of ant societies is the number of reproductive queens that reside in a single colony. The fire ant Solenopsis invicta exists in two distinct social forms, one with colonies headed by a single reproductive queen and the other containing several to hundreds of egg-laying queens. This variation in social organization has been shown to be associated with genotypes at the gene Gp-9. Specifically, single-queen colonies have only the B allelic variant of this gene, whereas multiple-queen colonies always have the b variant as well. Subsequent studies revealed that Gp-9 shares the highest sequence similarity with genes encoding pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs). In other insects, PBPs serve as central molecular components in the process of chemical recognition of conspecifics. Fire ant workers regulate the number of egg-laying queens in a colony by accepting queens that produce appropriate chemical signals and destroying those that do not. The likely role of GP-9 in chemoreception suggests that the essential distinction in colony queen number between the single and multiple-queen form originates from differences in workers' abilities to recognize queens. Other, closely related fire ant species seem to regulate colony social organization in a similar fashion. PMID:15612031

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Ant colonies are famous for using trail pheromones to make collective decisions. Trail pheromone systems are characterised by positive feedback, which results in rapid collective decision making. However, in an iconic experiment, ants were shown to become 'trapped' in exploiting a poor food source, if it was discovered earlier. This has conventionally been explained by the established pheromone trail becoming too strong for new trails to compete. However, many social insects have a well-developed memory, and private information often overrules conflicting social information. Thus, route memory could also explain this collective 'trapping' effect. Here, we disentangled the effects of social and private information in two 'trapping' experiments: one in which ants were presented with a good and a poor food source, and one in which ants were presented with a long and a short path to the same food source. We found that private information is sufficient to trigger trapping in selecting the poorer of two food sources, and may be sufficient to cause it altogether. Memories did not trigger trapping in the shortest path experiment, probably because sufficiently detailed memories did not form. The fact that collective decisions can be triggered by private information alone may require other collective patterns previously attributed solely to social information use to be reconsidered. PMID:26747911

  4. Social Transfer of Pathogenic Fungus Promotes Active Immunisation in Ant Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Konrad, Matthias; Vyleta, Meghan L.; Theis, Fabian J.; Stock, Miriam; Tragust, Simon; Klatt, Martina; Drescher, Verena; Marr, Carsten; Ugelvig, Line V.; Cremer, Sylvia

    2012-01-01

    Due to the omnipresent risk of epidemics, insect societies have evolved sophisticated disease defences at the individual and colony level. An intriguing yet little understood phenomenon is that social contact to pathogen-exposed individuals reduces susceptibility of previously naive nestmates to this pathogen. We tested whether such social immunisation in Lasius ants against the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae is based on active upregulation of the immune system of nestmates following contact to an infectious individual or passive protection via transfer of immune effectors among group members—that is, active versus passive immunisation. We found no evidence for involvement of passive immunisation via transfer of antimicrobials among colony members. Instead, intensive allogrooming behaviour between naive and pathogen-exposed ants before fungal conidia firmly attached to their cuticle suggested passage of the pathogen from the exposed individuals to their nestmates. By tracing fluorescence-labelled conidia we indeed detected frequent pathogen transfer to the nestmates, where they caused low-level infections as revealed by growth of small numbers of fungal colony forming units from their dissected body content. These infections rarely led to death, but instead promoted an enhanced ability to inhibit fungal growth and an active upregulation of immune genes involved in antifungal defences (defensin and prophenoloxidase, PPO). Contrarily, there was no upregulation of the gene cathepsin L, which is associated with antibacterial and antiviral defences, and we found no increased antibacterial activity of nestmates of fungus-exposed ants. This indicates that social immunisation after fungal exposure is specific, similar to recent findings for individual-level immune priming in invertebrates. Epidemiological modeling further suggests that active social immunisation is adaptive, as it leads to faster elimination of the disease and lower death rates than

  5. A modify ant colony optimization for the grid jobs scheduling problem with QoS requirements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pu, Xun; Lu, XianLiang

    2011-10-01

    Job scheduling with customers' quality of service (QoS) requirement is challenging in grid environment. In this paper, we present a modify Ant colony optimization (MACO) for the Job scheduling problem in grid. Instead of using the conventional construction approach to construct feasible schedules, the proposed algorithm employs a decomposition method to satisfy the customer's deadline and cost requirements. Besides, a new mechanism of service instances state updating is embedded to improve the convergence of MACO. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

  6. Mobility Robustness Optimization in Femtocell Networks Based on Ant Colony Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Haijun; Liu, Hui; Ma, Wenmin; Zheng, Wei; Wen, Xiangming; Jiang, Chunxiao

    Mobility Robustness Optimization (MRO) is one of the most important goals in LTE-Advanced Self-Organizing Networks (SON). Seamless handover in femtocell network is urgent and challenging, which has not been paid enough attention. Handover decision parameters, such as Time-To-Trigger (TTT), Hysteresis, Cell Individual Offset (CIO), have great effect on mobility performance, which may lead to Radio Link Failures (RLFs) and Unnecessary Handover. This letter proposes a handover parameters optimization approach based on Ant Colony Algorithm in the femtocell networks. The simulation result shows that the proposed scheme has a better performance than the fixed parameters method.

  7. Essential and alternative prey in a ponerine ant: variations according to the colony life cycle.

    PubMed

    Suzzoni, J P; Schatz, B; Dejean, A

    2000-11-01

    We studied the prey specialization of Plectroctena minor, a ponerine ant known to capture mostly millipedes. We compared the prey spectrum of the hunting workers from large colonies with that of the founding queens. The hunting workers captured all kinds of tested prey, but hunted mostly millipedes. Founding queens, which avoided relatively large prey, including the millipedes tested, captured mostly isopods under experimental conditions. We also verified that the presence of millipedes in the diet of the larvae of large colonies was necessary for the production of winged females and strongly enhanced the production of workers, permitting us to assert that P. minor is a predatory species specialized in the capture of millipedes. In contrast, the presence of millipedes had no impact on the production of males. We thus assert that millipedes constitute the 'essential prey' of P. minor, while other arthropod taxa are therefore 'alternative prey'. PMID:11144023

  8. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant.

    PubMed

    Hart, Adam G; Bot, A N M; Brown, Mark J F

    2002-06-01

    Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta's garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural response. In A. colombica, garden waste is removed from within the colony and transported to the midden--an external waste dump--where it is processed by a group of midden workers. We found that colonies infected with Escovopsis have higher numbers of workers on the midden, where Escovopsis is deposited. Further, midden workers are highly effective in dispersing newly deposited waste away from the dumping site. Thus, the colony-level task allocation strategies of the Atta superorganism may change in response to the threat of disease to a third, essential party. PMID:12146794

  9. Role of relative humidity in colony founding and queen survivorship in two carpenter ant species.

    PubMed

    Mankowski, Mark E; Morrell, J J

    2011-06-01

    Conditions necessary for optimal colony foundation in two carpenter ant species, Camponotus modoc Wheeler and Camponotus vicinus Mayr, were studied. Camponotus modoc and C. vicinus queens were placed in Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb. Franco) and Styrofoam blocks conditioned in sealed chambers at 70, 80, or 100% RH. Nanitic workers produced after 12 wk were used to assess the effects of substrate and moisture content on colony initiation. Queens of C. vicinus in Douglas-fir and Styrofoam produced worker numbers that did not differ significantly with moisture content; however, the number of colonies initiated by C. modoc differed significantly with moisture content. The results indicate that colony founding in C. vicinus is less sensitive to moisture content than C. modoc for Douglas-fir and Styrofoam. In another test, groups of queens of each species were exposed to 20, 50, 70, and 100% RH and the time until 50% mortality occurred was recorded for each species. C. vicinus lived significantly longer at each of the test humidities than C. modoc, suggesting that the former species is adapted to better survive under xeric conditions.

  10. Role of relative humidity in colony founding and queen survivorship in two carpenter ant species.

    PubMed

    Mankowski, Mark E; Morrell, J J

    2011-06-01

    Conditions necessary for optimal colony foundation in two carpenter ant species, Camponotus modoc Wheeler and Camponotus vicinus Mayr, were studied. Camponotus modoc and C. vicinus queens were placed in Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb. Franco) and Styrofoam blocks conditioned in sealed chambers at 70, 80, or 100% RH. Nanitic workers produced after 12 wk were used to assess the effects of substrate and moisture content on colony initiation. Queens of C. vicinus in Douglas-fir and Styrofoam produced worker numbers that did not differ significantly with moisture content; however, the number of colonies initiated by C. modoc differed significantly with moisture content. The results indicate that colony founding in C. vicinus is less sensitive to moisture content than C. modoc for Douglas-fir and Styrofoam. In another test, groups of queens of each species were exposed to 20, 50, 70, and 100% RH and the time until 50% mortality occurred was recorded for each species. C. vicinus lived significantly longer at each of the test humidities than C. modoc, suggesting that the former species is adapted to better survive under xeric conditions. PMID:21735888

  11. An Improved Ant Colony Optimization Approach for Optimization of Process Planning

    PubMed Central

    Wang, JinFeng; Fan, XiaoLiang; Ding, Haimin

    2014-01-01

    Computer-aided process planning (CAPP) is an important interface between computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) in computer-integrated manufacturing environments (CIMs). In this paper, process planning problem is described based on a weighted graph, and an ant colony optimization (ACO) approach is improved to deal with it effectively. The weighted graph consists of nodes, directed arcs, and undirected arcs, which denote operations, precedence constraints among operation, and the possible visited path among operations, respectively. Ant colony goes through the necessary nodes on the graph to achieve the optimal solution with the objective of minimizing total production costs (TPCs). A pheromone updating strategy proposed in this paper is incorporated in the standard ACO, which includes Global Update Rule and Local Update Rule. A simple method by controlling the repeated number of the same process plans is designed to avoid the local convergence. A case has been carried out to study the influence of various parameters of ACO on the system performance. Extensive comparative experiments have been carried out to validate the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed approach. PMID:25097874

  12. Abnormality detection in retinal images using ant colony optimization and artificial neural networks - biomed 2010.

    PubMed

    Kavitha, Ganesan; Ramakrishnan, Swaminathan

    2010-01-01

    Optic disc and retinal vasculature are important anatomical structures in the retina of the eye and any changes observed in these structures provide vital information on severity of various diseases. Digital retinal images are shown to provide a meaningful way of documenting and assessing some of the key elements inside the eye including the optic nerve and the tiny retinal blood vessels. In this work, an attempt has been made to detect and differentiate abnormalities of the retina using Digital image processing together with Optimization based segmentation and Artificial Neural Network methods. The retinal fundus images were recorded using standard protocols. Ant Colony Optimization is employed to extract the most significant objects namely the optic disc and blood vessel. The features related to these objects are obtained and corresponding indices are also derived. Further, these features are subjected to classification using Radial Basis Function Neural Networks and compared with conventional training algorithms. Results show that the Ant Colony Optimization is efficient in extracting useful information from retinal images. The features derived are effective for classification of normal and abnormal images using Radial basis function networks compared to other methods. As Optic disc and blood vessels are significant markers of abnormality in retinal images, the method proposed appears to be useful for mass screening. In this paper, the objectives of the study, methodology and significant observations are presented. PMID:20467104

  13. Ant pupae employ acoustics to communicate social status in their colony's hierarchy.

    PubMed

    Casacci, Luca P; Thomas, Jeremy A; Sala, Marco; Treanor, David; Bonelli, Simona; Balletto, Emilio; Schönrogge, Karsten

    2013-02-18

    The possession of an efficient communication system and an ability to distinguish between young stages are essential attributes that enable eusocial insects to live in complex integrated societies. Although ants communicate primarily via chemicals, it is increasingly clear that acoustical signals also convey important information, including status, between adults in many species. However, all immature stages were believed to be mute. We confirm that larvae and recently formed pupae of Myrmica ants are mute, yet once they are sclerotized, the pupae possess a fully functioning stridulatory organ. The sounds generated by worker pupae were similar to those of workers but were emitted as single pulses rather than in the long sequences characteristic of adults; both induced the same range and intensity of benevolent behaviors when played back to unstressed workers. Both white and sclerotized pupae have a higher social status than larvae within Myrmica colonies, but the latter's status fell significantly after they were made mute. Our results suggest that acoustical signals supplant semiochemicals as a means of identification in sclerotized pupae, perhaps because their hardened integuments block the secretion of brood pheromones or because their developing adult secretions initially differ from overall colony odors. PMID:23394832

  14. A new detection method for crosstalk delay faults in VLSI circuits using chaotic ant colony algorithms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Zhongliang; Chen, Ling; Zhang, Guangzhao

    2008-12-01

    In the current circuit design technology, due to increasing device density and operation speed, crosstalk effects are induced between circuit elements. A new method for the detection of crosstalk faults in digital circuits is presented in this paper, the method is based on both the energy function model of digital circuits and the chaotic ant colony algorithms. First of all, the energy function models of basic gate circuits are constructed, then the energy function corresponding to a digital circuit is built. The energy function of a circuit is the summation of all energy functions of the gates in the circuit. The test vectors of crosstalk delay faults in the circuit are produced by computing the minimal energy states of energy functions. Secondly, a chaotic ant colony algorithm is designed to compute the minimal energy states. Experimental results show the method proposed in this paper is able to produce the test vectors of crosstalk delay faults if there are the test vectors for the faults, therefore the high fault coverage can be obtained by the proposed method.

  15. Abnormality detection in retinal images using ant colony optimization and artificial neural networks - biomed 2010.

    PubMed

    Kavitha, Ganesan; Ramakrishnan, Swaminathan

    2010-01-01

    Optic disc and retinal vasculature are important anatomical structures in the retina of the eye and any changes observed in these structures provide vital information on severity of various diseases. Digital retinal images are shown to provide a meaningful way of documenting and assessing some of the key elements inside the eye including the optic nerve and the tiny retinal blood vessels. In this work, an attempt has been made to detect and differentiate abnormalities of the retina using Digital image processing together with Optimization based segmentation and Artificial Neural Network methods. The retinal fundus images were recorded using standard protocols. Ant Colony Optimization is employed to extract the most significant objects namely the optic disc and blood vessel. The features related to these objects are obtained and corresponding indices are also derived. Further, these features are subjected to classification using Radial Basis Function Neural Networks and compared with conventional training algorithms. Results show that the Ant Colony Optimization is efficient in extracting useful information from retinal images. The features derived are effective for classification of normal and abnormal images using Radial basis function networks compared to other methods. As Optic disc and blood vessels are significant markers of abnormality in retinal images, the method proposed appears to be useful for mass screening. In this paper, the objectives of the study, methodology and significant observations are presented.

  16. Displacement back analysis for underground engineering based on immunized continuous ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Wei

    2016-05-01

    The objective function of displacement back analysis for rock parameters in underground engineering is a very complicated nonlinear multiple hump function. The global optimization method can solve this problem very well. However, many numerical simulations must be performed during the optimization process, which is very time consuming. Therefore, it is important to improve the computational efficiency of optimization back analysis. To improve optimization back analysis, a new global optimization, immunized continuous ant colony optimization, is proposed. This is an improved continuous ant colony optimization using the basic principles of an artificial immune system and evolutionary algorithm. Based on this new global optimization, a new displacement optimization back analysis for rock parameters is proposed. The computational performance of the new back analysis is verified through a numerical example and a real engineering example. The results show that this new method can be used to obtain suitable parameters of rock mass with higher accuracy and less effort than previous methods. Moreover, the new back analysis is very robust.

  17. Effects of a juvenile hormone analogue pyriproxyfen on monogynous and polygynous colonies of the Pharaoh ant Monomorium pharaonis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Tay, J W; Lee, C Y

    2015-09-01

    To evaluate the effects of the juvenile hormone analogue pyriproxyfen on colonies of the Pharaoh ant Monomorium pharaonis (L.), peanut oil containing different concentrations (0.3, 0.6, or 0.9%) of pyriproxyfen was fed to monogynous (1 queen, 500 workers, and 0.1 g of brood) and polygynous (8 queens, 50 workers, and 0.1 g of brood) laboratory colonies of M. pharaonis. Due to its delayed activity, pyriproxyfen at all concentrations resulted in colony elimination. Significant reductions in brood volume were recorded at weeks 3 - 6, and complete brood mortality was observed at week 8 in all treated colonies. Brood mortality was attributed to the disruption of brood development and cessation of egg production by queens. All polygynous colonies exhibited significant reduction in the number of queens present at week 10 compared to week 1. Number of workers was significantly lower in all treated colonies compared to control colonies at week 8 due to old-age attrition of the workers without replacement. At least 98.67 ± 1.33% of workers were dead at week 10 in all treated colonies. Thus, treatment with slow acting pyriproxyfen at concentrations of 0.3 - 0.9% is an effective strategy for eliminating Pharaoh ant colonies.

  18. Multi-Objective Ant Colony Optimization Based on the Physarum-Inspired Mathematical Model for Bi-Objective Traveling Salesman Problems

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zili; Gao, Chao; Lu, Yuxiao; Liu, Yuxin; Liang, Mingxin

    2016-01-01

    Bi-objective Traveling Salesman Problem (bTSP) is an important field in the operations research, its solutions can be widely applied in the real world. Many researches of Multi-objective Ant Colony Optimization (MOACOs) have been proposed to solve bTSPs. However, most of MOACOs suffer premature convergence. This paper proposes an optimization strategy for MOACOs by optimizing the initialization of pheromone matrix with the prior knowledge of Physarum-inspired Mathematical Model (PMM). PMM can find the shortest route between two nodes based on the positive feedback mechanism. The optimized algorithms, named as iPM-MOACOs, can enhance the pheromone in the short paths and promote the search ability of ants. A series of experiments are conducted and experimental results show that the proposed strategy can achieve a better compromise solution than the original MOACOs for solving bTSPs. PMID:26751562

  19. Multi-Objective Ant Colony Optimization Based on the Physarum-Inspired Mathematical Model for Bi-Objective Traveling Salesman Problems.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zili; Gao, Chao; Lu, Yuxiao; Liu, Yuxin; Liang, Mingxin

    2016-01-01

    Bi-objective Traveling Salesman Problem (bTSP) is an important field in the operations research, its solutions can be widely applied in the real world. Many researches of Multi-objective Ant Colony Optimization (MOACOs) have been proposed to solve bTSPs. However, most of MOACOs suffer premature convergence. This paper proposes an optimization strategy for MOACOs by optimizing the initialization of pheromone matrix with the prior knowledge of Physarum-inspired Mathematical Model (PMM). PMM can find the shortest route between two nodes based on the positive feedback mechanism. The optimized algorithms, named as iPM-MOACOs, can enhance the pheromone in the short paths and promote the search ability of ants. A series of experiments are conducted and experimental results show that the proposed strategy can achieve a better compromise solution than the original MOACOs for solving bTSPs. PMID:26751562

  20. A new approach for modulation recognition based on ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shu; Wang, Hongyuan

    2007-11-01

    A New Approach based on ant colony algorithm for the automatic modulation recognition of communications signals is presented. This approach can discriminate between continuous wave (CW), Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency Modulation (FM), Frequency Shift Keying (FSK), Binary Phase Shift Keying (BPSK) and Quaternary Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) modulations. Requirements for a priori knowledge of the signals are minimized by the inclusion of an efficient carrier frequency estimator and low sensitivity to variations in the sampling epochs. Computer simulations indicate good performance on an AWGN channel, even at signal-to-noise ratios as low as 5 dB. This compares favorably with the performance obtained with most algorithms based on pattern recognition techniques.

  1. Virgin ant queens mate with their own sons to avoid failure at colony foundation.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Christine Vanessa; Frohschammer, Sabine; Schrempf, Alexandra; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Mother-son mating (oedipal mating) is practically non-existent in social Hymenoptera, as queens typically avoid inbreeding, mate only early in life and do not mate again after having begun to lay eggs. In the ant genus Cardiocondyla mating occurs among sib in the natal nests. Sex ratios are extremely female-biased and young queens face the risk of remaining without mating partners. Here, we show that virgin queens of Cardiocondyla argyrotricha produce sons from their own unfertilized eggs and later mate with them to produce female offspring from fertilized eggs. Oedipal mating may allow C. argyrotricha queens to found new colonies when no mating partners are available and thus maintains their unusual life history combining monogyny, mating in the nest, and low male production. Our result indicates that a trait that sporadically occurs in solitary haplodiploid animals may evolve also in social Hymenoptera under appropriate ecological and social conditions.

  2. An ant colony optimization heuristic for an integrated production and distribution scheduling problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Yung-Chia; Li, Vincent C.; Chiang, Chia-Ju

    2014-04-01

    Make-to-order or direct-order business models that require close interaction between production and distribution activities have been adopted by many enterprises in order to be competitive in demanding markets. This article considers an integrated production and distribution scheduling problem in which jobs are first processed by one of the unrelated parallel machines and then distributed to corresponding customers by capacitated vehicles without intermediate inventory. The objective is to find a joint production and distribution schedule so that the weighted sum of total weighted job delivery time and the total distribution cost is minimized. This article presents a mathematical model for describing the problem and designs an algorithm using ant colony optimization. Computational experiments illustrate that the algorithm developed is capable of generating near-optimal solutions. The computational results also demonstrate the value of integrating production and distribution in the model for the studied problem.

  3. Virgin ant queens mate with their own sons to avoid failure at colony foundation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Christine Vanessa; Frohschammer, Sabine; Schrempf, Alexandra; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Mother-son mating (oedipal mating) is practically non-existent in social Hymenoptera, as queens typically avoid inbreeding, mate only early in life and do not mate again after having begun to lay eggs. In the ant genus Cardiocondyla mating occurs among sib in the natal nests. Sex ratios are extremely female-biased and young queens face the risk of remaining without mating partners. Here, we show that virgin queens of Cardiocondyla argyrotricha produce sons from their own unfertilized eggs and later mate with them to produce female offspring from fertilized eggs. Oedipal mating may allow C. argyrotricha queens to found new colonies when no mating partners are available and thus maintains their unusual life history combining monogyny, mating in the nest, and low male production. Our result indicates that a trait that sporadically occurs in solitary haplodiploid animals may evolve also in social Hymenoptera under appropriate ecological and social conditions.

  4. Designing Daily Patrol Routes for Policing Based on ANT Colony Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, H.; Cheng, T.; Wise, S.

    2015-07-01

    In this paper, we address the problem of planning police patrol routes to regularly cover street segments of high crime density (hotspots) with limited police forces. A good patrolling strategy is required to minimise the average time lag between two consecutive visits to hotspots, as well as coordinating multiple patrollers and imparting unpredictability in patrol routes. Previous studies have designed different police patrol strategies for routing police patrol, but these strategies have difficulty in generalising to real patrolling and meeting various requirements. In this research we develop a new police patrolling strategy based on Bayesian method and ant colony algorithm. In this strategy, virtual marker (pheromone) is laid to mark the visiting history of each crime hotspot, and patrollers continuously decide which hotspot to patrol next based on pheromone level and other variables. Simulation results using real data testifies the effective, scalable, unpredictable and extensible nature of this strategy.

  5. 3D sensor placement strategy using the full-range pheromone ant colony system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shuo, Feng; Jingqing, Jia

    2016-07-01

    An optimized sensor placement strategy will be extremely beneficial to ensure the safety and cost reduction considerations of structural health monitoring (SHM) systems. The sensors must be placed such that important dynamic information is obtained and the number of sensors is minimized. The practice is to select individual sensor directions by several 1D sensor methods and the triaxial sensors are placed in these directions for monitoring. However, this may lead to non-optimal placement of many triaxial sensors. In this paper, a new method, called FRPACS, is proposed based on the ant colony system (ACS) to solve the optimal placement of triaxial sensors. The triaxial sensors are placed as single units in an optimal fashion. And then the new method is compared with other algorithms using Dalian North Bridge. The computational precision and iteration efficiency of the FRPACS has been greatly improved compared with the original ACS and EFI method.

  6. Gene order computation using Alzheimer's DNA microarray gene expression data and the Ant Colony Optimisation algorithm.

    PubMed

    Pang, Chaoyang; Jiang, Gang; Wang, Shipeng; Hu, Benqiong; Liu, Qingzhong; Deng, Youping; Huang, Xudong

    2012-01-01

    As Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, the study of AD-related genes via biocomputation is an important research topic. One method of studying AD-related gene is to cluster similar genes together into a gene order. Gene order is a good clustering method as the results can be optimal globally while other clustering methods are only optimal locally. Herein we use the Ant Colony Optimisation (ACO)-based algorithm to calculate the gene order from an Alzheimer's DNA microarray dataset. We test it with four distance measurements: Pearson distance, Spearmen distance, Euclidean distance, and squared Euclidean distance. Our computing results indicate: a different distance formula generated a different quality of gene order, the squared Euclidean distance approach produced the optimal AD-related gene order.

  7. A Novel Method of Failure Sample Selection for Electrical Systems Using Ant Colony Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Tian, Shulin; Yang, Chenglin; Liu, Cheng

    2016-01-01

    The influence of failure propagation is ignored in failure sample selection based on traditional testability demonstration experiment method. Traditional failure sample selection generally causes the omission of some failures during the selection and this phenomenon could lead to some fearful risks of usage because these failures will lead to serious propagation failures. This paper proposes a new failure sample selection method to solve the problem. First, the method uses a directed graph and ant colony optimization (ACO) to obtain a subsequent failure propagation set (SFPS) based on failure propagation model and then we propose a new failure sample selection method on the basis of the number of SFPS. Compared with traditional sampling plan, this method is able to improve the coverage of testing failure samples, increase the capacity of diagnosis, and decrease the risk of using. PMID:27738424

  8. Optic disc detection in color fundus images using ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Carla; Gonçalves, Luís; Ferreira, Manuel

    2013-03-01

    Diabetic retinopathy has been revealed as the most common cause of blindness among people of working age in developed countries. However, loss of vision could be prevented by an early detection of the disease and, therefore, by a regular screening program to detect retinopathy. Due to its characteristics, the digital color fundus photographs have been the easiest way to analyze the eye fundus. An important prerequisite for automation is the segmentation of the main anatomical features in the image, particularly the optic disc. Currently, there are many works reported in the literature with the purpose of detecting and segmenting this anatomical structure. Though, none of them performs as needed, especially when dealing with images presenting pathologies and a great variability. Ant colony optimization (ACO) is an optimization algorithm inspired by the foraging behavior of some ant species that has been applied in image processing with different purposes. In this paper, this algorithm preceded by anisotropic diffusion is used for optic disc detection in color fundus images. Experimental results demonstrate the good performance of the proposed approach as the optic disc was detected in most of all the images used, even in the images with great variability.

  9. 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.

  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. Patterns of split sex ratio in ants have multiple evolutionary causes based on different within-colony conflicts.

    PubMed

    Kümmerli, Rolf; Keller, Laurent

    2009-10-23

    Split sex ratio-a pattern where colonies within a population specialize in either male or queen production-is a widespread phenomenon in ants and other social Hymenoptera. It has often been attributed to variation in colony kin structure, which affects the degree of queen-worker conflict over optimal sex allocation. However, recent findings suggest that split sex ratio is a more diverse phenomenon, which can evolve for multiple reasons. Here, we provide an overview of the main conditions favouring split sex ratio. We show that each split sex-ratio type arises due to a different combination of factors determining colony kin structure, queen or worker control over sex ratio and the type of conflict between colony members.

  12. Direct, maternal, and sibsocial genetic effects on individual and colony traits in an ant.

    PubMed

    Linksvayer, Timothy A

    2006-12-01

    When social interactions occur, the phenotype of an individual is influenced directly by its own genes (direct genetic effects) but also indirectly by genes expressed in social partners (indirect genetic effects). Social insect colonies are characterized by extensive behavioral interactions among workers, brood, and queens so that indirect genetic effects are particularly relevant. I used a series of experimental manipulations to disentangle the contribution of direct effects, maternal (queen) effects, and sibsocial (worker) effects to variation for worker, gyne, and male mass; caste ratio; and sex ratio in the ant Temnothorax curvispinosus. The results indicate genetic variance for direct, maternal, and sibsocial effects for all traits, except for male mass there was no significant maternal variance, and for sex ratio the variance for direct effects was not separable from maternal variance for the primary sex ratio. Estimates of genetic correlations between direct, maternal, and sibsocial effects were generally negative, indicating that these effects may not evolve independently. These results have broad implications for social insect evolution. For example, the genetic architecture underlying social insect traits may constrain the realization of evolutionary conflicts between social partners.

  13. Evaluation of Anaerobic Biofilm Reactor Kinetic Parameters Using Ant Colony Optimization.

    PubMed

    Satya, Eswari Jujjavarapu; Venkateswarlu, Chimmiri

    2013-09-01

    Fixed bed reactors with naturally attached biofilms are increasingly used for anaerobic treatment of industry wastewaters due their effective treatment performance. The complex nature of biological reactions in biofilm processes often poses difficulty in analyzing them experimentally, and mathematical models could be very useful for their design and analysis. However, effective application of biofilm reactor models to practical problems suffers due to the lack of knowledge of accurate kinetic models and uncertainty in model parameters. In this work, an inverse modeling approach based on ant colony optimization is proposed and applied to estimate the kinetic and film thickness model parameters of wastewater treatment process in an anaerobic fixed bed biofilm reactor. Experimental data of pharmaceutical industry wastewater treatment process are used to determine the model parameters as a consequence of the solution of the rigorous mathematical models of the process. Results were evaluated for different modeling configurations derived from the combination of mathematical models, kinetic expressions, and optimization algorithms. Analysis of results showed that the two-dimensional mathematical model with Haldane kinetics better represents the pharmaceutical wastewater treatment in the biofilm reactor. The mathematical and kinetic modeling of this work forms a useful basis for the design and optimization of industry wastewater treating biofilm reactors.

  14. Monte Carlo simulation using the PENELOPE code with an ant colony algorithm to study MOSFET detectors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carvajal, M. A.; García-Pareja, S.; Guirado, D.; Vilches, M.; Anguiano, M.; Palma, A. J.; Lallena, A. M.

    2009-10-01

    In this work we have developed a simulation tool, based on the PENELOPE code, to study the response of MOSFET devices to irradiation with high-energy photons. The energy deposited in the extremely thin silicon dioxide layer has been calculated. To reduce the statistical uncertainties, an ant colony algorithm has been implemented to drive the application of splitting and Russian roulette as variance reduction techniques. In this way, the uncertainty has been reduced by a factor of ~5, while the efficiency is increased by a factor of above 20. As an application, we have studied the dependence of the response of the pMOS transistor 3N163, used as a dosimeter, with the incidence angle of the radiation for three common photons sources used in radiotherapy: a 60Co Theratron-780 and the 6 and 18 MV beams produced by a Mevatron KDS LINAC. Experimental and simulated results have been obtained for gantry angles of 0o, 15o, 30o, 45o, 60o and 75o. The agreement obtained has permitted validation of the simulation tool. We have studied how to reduce the angular dependence of the MOSFET response by using an additional encapsulation made of brass in the case of the two LINAC qualities considered.

  15. Optimal management of substrates in anaerobic co-digestion: An ant colony algorithm approach.

    PubMed

    Verdaguer, Marta; Molinos-Senante, María; Poch, Manel

    2016-04-01

    Sewage sludge (SWS) is inevitably produced in urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The treatment of SWS on site at small WWTPs is not economical; therefore, the SWS is typically transported to an alternative SWS treatment center. There is increased interest in the use of anaerobic digestion (AnD) with co-digestion as an SWS treatment alternative. Although the availability of different co-substrates has been ignored in most of the previous studies, it is an essential issue for the optimization of AnD co-digestion. In a pioneering approach, this paper applies an Ant-Colony-Optimization (ACO) algorithm that maximizes the generation of biogas through AnD co-digestion in order to optimize the discharge of organic waste from different waste sources in real-time. An empirical application is developed based on a virtual case study that involves organic waste from urban WWTPs and agrifood activities. The results illustrate the dominate role of toxicity levels in selecting contributions to the AnD input. The methodology and case study proposed in this paper demonstrate the usefulness of the ACO approach in supporting a decision process that contributes to improving the sustainability of organic waste and SWS management.

  16. Ant Colony Optimization Based Feature Selection Method for QEEG Data Classification

    PubMed Central

    Ozekes, Serhat; Gultekin, Selahattin; Tarhan, Nevzat

    2014-01-01

    Objective Many applications such as biomedical signals require selecting a subset of the input features in order to represent the whole set of features. A feature selection algorithm has recently been proposed as a new approach for feature subset selection. Methods Feature selection process using ant colony optimization (ACO) for 6 channel pre-treatment electroencephalogram (EEG) data from theta and delta frequency bands is combined with back propagation neural network (BPNN) classification method for 147 major depressive disorder (MDD) subjects. Results BPNN classified R subjects with 91.83% overall accuracy and 95.55% subjects detection sensitivity. Area under ROC curve (AUC) value after feature selection increased from 0.8531 to 0.911. The features selected by the optimization algorithm were Fp1, Fp2, F7, F8, F3 for theta frequency band and eliminated 7 features from 12 to 5 feature subset. Conclusion ACO feature selection algorithm improves the classification accuracy of BPNN. Using other feature selection algorithms or classifiers to compare the performance for each approach is important to underline the validity and versatility of the designed combination. PMID:25110496

  17. Monte Carlo simulation using the PENELOPE code with an ant colony algorithm to study MOSFET detectors.

    PubMed

    Carvajal, M A; García-Pareja, S; Guirado, D; Vilches, M; Anguiano, M; Palma, A J; Lallena, A M

    2009-10-21

    In this work we have developed a simulation tool, based on the PENELOPE code, to study the response of MOSFET devices to irradiation with high-energy photons. The energy deposited in the extremely thin silicon dioxide layer has been calculated. To reduce the statistical uncertainties, an ant colony algorithm has been implemented to drive the application of splitting and Russian roulette as variance reduction techniques. In this way, the uncertainty has been reduced by a factor of approximately 5, while the efficiency is increased by a factor of above 20. As an application, we have studied the dependence of the response of the pMOS transistor 3N163, used as a dosimeter, with the incidence angle of the radiation for three common photons sources used in radiotherapy: a (60)Co Theratron-780 and the 6 and 18 MV beams produced by a Mevatron KDS LINAC. Experimental and simulated results have been obtained for gantry angles of 0 degrees, 15 degrees, 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees and 75 degrees. The agreement obtained has permitted validation of the simulation tool. We have studied how to reduce the angular dependence of the MOSFET response by using an additional encapsulation made of brass in the case of the two LINAC qualities considered. PMID:19794247

  18. MATLAB Simulation of UPQC for Power Quality Mitigation Using an Ant Colony Based Fuzzy Control Technique.

    PubMed

    Kumarasabapathy, N; Manoharan, P S

    2015-01-01

    This paper proposes a fuzzy logic based new control scheme for the Unified Power Quality Conditioner (UPQC) for minimizing the voltage sag and total harmonic distortion in the distribution system consequently to improve the power quality. UPQC is a recent power electronic module which guarantees better power quality mitigation as it has both series-active and shunt-active power filters (APFs). The fuzzy logic controller has recently attracted a great deal of attention and possesses conceptually the quality of the simplicity by tackling complex systems with vagueness and ambiguity. In this research, the fuzzy logic controller is utilized for the generation of reference signal controlling the UPQC. To enable this, a systematic approach for creating the fuzzy membership functions is carried out by using an ant colony optimization technique for optimal fuzzy logic control. An exhaustive simulation study using the MATLAB/Simulink is carried out to investigate and demonstrate the performance of the proposed fuzzy logic controller and the simulation results are compared with the PI controller in terms of its performance in improving the power quality by minimizing the voltage sag and total harmonic distortion.

  19. Evaluation of Anaerobic Biofilm Reactor Kinetic Parameters Using Ant Colony Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Satya, Eswari Jujjavarapu; Venkateswarlu, Chimmiri

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Fixed bed reactors with naturally attached biofilms are increasingly used for anaerobic treatment of industry wastewaters due their effective treatment performance. The complex nature of biological reactions in biofilm processes often poses difficulty in analyzing them experimentally, and mathematical models could be very useful for their design and analysis. However, effective application of biofilm reactor models to practical problems suffers due to the lack of knowledge of accurate kinetic models and uncertainty in model parameters. In this work, an inverse modeling approach based on ant colony optimization is proposed and applied to estimate the kinetic and film thickness model parameters of wastewater treatment process in an anaerobic fixed bed biofilm reactor. Experimental data of pharmaceutical industry wastewater treatment process are used to determine the model parameters as a consequence of the solution of the rigorous mathematical models of the process. Results were evaluated for different modeling configurations derived from the combination of mathematical models, kinetic expressions, and optimization algorithms. Analysis of results showed that the two-dimensional mathematical model with Haldane kinetics better represents the pharmaceutical wastewater treatment in the biofilm reactor. The mathematical and kinetic modeling of this work forms a useful basis for the design and optimization of industry wastewater treating biofilm reactors. PMID:24065871

  20. Research on global path planning based on ant colony optimization for AUV

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Hong-Jian; Xiong, Wei

    2009-03-01

    Path planning is an important issue for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) traversing an unknown environment such as a sea floor, a jungle, or the outer celestial planets. For this paper, global path planning using large-scale chart data was studied, and the principles of ant colony optimization (ACO) were applied. This paper introduced the idea of a visibility graph based on the grid workspace model. It also brought a series of pheromone updating rules for the ACO planning algorithm. The operational steps of the ACO algorithm are proposed as a model for a global path planning method for AUV. To mimic the process of smoothing a planned path, a cutting operator and an insertion-point operator were designed. Simulation results demonstrated that the ACO algorithm is suitable for global path planning. The system has many advantages, including that the operating path of the AUV can be quickly optimized, and it is shorter, safer, and smoother. The prototype system successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the concept, proving it can be applied to surveys of unstructured unmanned environments.

  1. Fuzzy Random λ-Mean SAD Portfolio Selection Problem: An Ant Colony Optimization Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thakur, Gour Sundar Mitra; Bhattacharyya, Rupak; Mitra, Swapan Kumar

    2010-10-01

    To reach the investment goal, one has to select a combination of securities among different portfolios containing large number of securities. Only the past records of each security do not guarantee the future return. As there are many uncertain factors which directly or indirectly influence the stock market and there are also some newer stock markets which do not have enough historical data, experts' expectation and experience must be combined with the past records to generate an effective portfolio selection model. In this paper the return of security is assumed to be Fuzzy Random Variable Set (FRVS), where returns are set of random numbers which are in turn fuzzy numbers. A new λ-Mean Semi Absolute Deviation (λ-MSAD) portfolio selection model is developed. The subjective opinions of the investors to the rate of returns of each security are taken into consideration by introducing a pessimistic-optimistic parameter vector λ. λ-Mean Semi Absolute Deviation (λ-MSAD) model is preferred as it follows absolute deviation of the rate of returns of a portfolio instead of the variance as the measure of the risk. As this model can be reduced to Linear Programming Problem (LPP) it can be solved much faster than quadratic programming problems. Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is used for solving the portfolio selection problem. ACO is a paradigm for designing meta-heuristic algorithms for combinatorial optimization problem. Data from BSE is used for illustration.

  2. Optimal management of substrates in anaerobic co-digestion: An ant colony algorithm approach.

    PubMed

    Verdaguer, Marta; Molinos-Senante, María; Poch, Manel

    2016-04-01

    Sewage sludge (SWS) is inevitably produced in urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The treatment of SWS on site at small WWTPs is not economical; therefore, the SWS is typically transported to an alternative SWS treatment center. There is increased interest in the use of anaerobic digestion (AnD) with co-digestion as an SWS treatment alternative. Although the availability of different co-substrates has been ignored in most of the previous studies, it is an essential issue for the optimization of AnD co-digestion. In a pioneering approach, this paper applies an Ant-Colony-Optimization (ACO) algorithm that maximizes the generation of biogas through AnD co-digestion in order to optimize the discharge of organic waste from different waste sources in real-time. An empirical application is developed based on a virtual case study that involves organic waste from urban WWTPs and agrifood activities. The results illustrate the dominate role of toxicity levels in selecting contributions to the AnD input. The methodology and case study proposed in this paper demonstrate the usefulness of the ACO approach in supporting a decision process that contributes to improving the sustainability of organic waste and SWS management. PMID:26868846

  3. MATLAB Simulation of UPQC for Power Quality Mitigation Using an Ant Colony Based Fuzzy Control Technique

    PubMed Central

    Kumarasabapathy, N.; Manoharan, P. S.

    2015-01-01

    This paper proposes a fuzzy logic based new control scheme for the Unified Power Quality Conditioner (UPQC) for minimizing the voltage sag and total harmonic distortion in the distribution system consequently to improve the power quality. UPQC is a recent power electronic module which guarantees better power quality mitigation as it has both series-active and shunt-active power filters (APFs). The fuzzy logic controller has recently attracted a great deal of attention and possesses conceptually the quality of the simplicity by tackling complex systems with vagueness and ambiguity. In this research, the fuzzy logic controller is utilized for the generation of reference signal controlling the UPQC. To enable this, a systematic approach for creating the fuzzy membership functions is carried out by using an ant colony optimization technique for optimal fuzzy logic control. An exhaustive simulation study using the MATLAB/Simulink is carried out to investigate and demonstrate the performance of the proposed fuzzy logic controller and the simulation results are compared with the PI controller in terms of its performance in improving the power quality by minimizing the voltage sag and total harmonic distortion. PMID:26504895

  4. Integrating geological uncertainty in long-term open pit mine production planning by ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilani, Seyed-Omid; Sattarvand, Javad

    2016-02-01

    Meeting production targets in terms of ore quantity and quality is critical for a successful mining operation. In-situ grade uncertainty causes both deviations from production targets and general financial deficits. A new stochastic optimization algorithm based on ant colony optimization (ACO) approach is developed herein to integrate geological uncertainty described through a series of the simulated ore bodies. Two different strategies were developed based on a single predefined probability value (Prob) and multiple probability values (Pro bnt), respectively in order to improve the initial solutions that created by deterministic ACO procedure. Application at the Sungun copper mine in the northwest of Iran demonstrate the abilities of the stochastic approach to create a single schedule and control the risk of deviating from production targets over time and also increase the project value. A comparison between two strategies and traditional approach illustrates that the multiple probability strategy is able to produce better schedules, however, the single predefined probability is more practical in projects requiring of high flexibility degree.

  5. Ant colony method to control variance reduction techniques in the Monte Carlo simulation of clinical electron linear accelerators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Pareja, S.; Vilches, M.; Lallena, A. M.

    2007-09-01

    The ant colony method is used to control the application of variance reduction techniques to the simulation of clinical electron linear accelerators of use in cancer therapy. In particular, splitting and Russian roulette, two standard variance reduction methods, are considered. The approach can be applied to any accelerator in a straightforward way and permits, in addition, to investigate the "hot" regions of the accelerator, an information which is basic to develop a source model for this therapy tool.

  6. Improved ant algorithms for software testing cases generation.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shunkun; Man, Tianlong; Xu, Jiaqi

    2014-01-01

    Existing ant colony optimization (ACO) for software testing cases generation is a very popular domain in software testing engineering. However, the traditional ACO has flaws, as early search pheromone is relatively scarce, search efficiency is low, search model is too simple, positive feedback mechanism is easy to produce the phenomenon of stagnation and precocity. This paper introduces improved ACO for software testing cases generation: improved local pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization, improved pheromone volatilization coefficient for ant colony optimization (IPVACO), and improved the global path pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization (IGPACO). At last, we put forward a comprehensive improved ant colony optimization (ACIACO), which is based on all the above three methods. The proposed technique will be compared with random algorithm (RND) and genetic algorithm (GA) in terms of both efficiency and coverage. The results indicate that the improved method can effectively improve the search efficiency, restrain precocity, promote case coverage, and reduce the number of iterations.

  7. Improved Ant Algorithms for Software Testing Cases Generation

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Shunkun; Xu, Jiaqi

    2014-01-01

    Existing ant colony optimization (ACO) for software testing cases generation is a very popular domain in software testing engineering. However, the traditional ACO has flaws, as early search pheromone is relatively scarce, search efficiency is low, search model is too simple, positive feedback mechanism is easy to porduce the phenomenon of stagnation and precocity. This paper introduces improved ACO for software testing cases generation: improved local pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization, improved pheromone volatilization coefficient for ant colony optimization (IPVACO), and improved the global path pheromone update strategy for ant colony optimization (IGPACO). At last, we put forward a comprehensive improved ant colony optimization (ACIACO), which is based on all the above three methods. The proposed technique will be compared with random algorithm (RND) and genetic algorithm (GA) in terms of both efficiency and coverage. The results indicate that the improved method can effectively improve the search efficiency, restrain precocity, promote case coverage, and reduce the number of iterations. PMID:24883391

  8. Uncertainty about nest position influences systematic search strategies in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Merkle, Tobias; Knaden, Markus; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2006-09-01

    Foraging desert ants return to their starting point, the nest, by means of path integration. If the path-integration vector has been run off but the nest has not yet been reached, the ants engage in systematic search behavior. This behavior results in a system of search loops of ever increasing size and finally leads to a search density profile peaking at the location where the path integration system has been reset to zero. In this study we investigate whether this systematic search behavior is adapted to the uncertainty resulting from the preceding foraging run. We show first that the longer the distances of the foraging excursions, the larger the errors occurring during path integration, and second that the ants adapt their systematic search strategy to their increasing uncertainty by extending their search pattern. Hence, the density of the systematic search pattern is correlated with the ants' confidence in their path integrator. This confidence decreases with increasing foraging distances.

  9. Recursive Ant Colony Global Optimization: a new technique for the inversion of geophysical data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, D. K.; Gupta, J. P.; Arora, Y.; Singh, U. K.

    2011-12-01

    We present a new method called Recursive Ant Colony Global Optimization (RACO) technique, a modified form of general ACO, which can be used to find the best solutions to inversion problems in geophysics. RACO simulates the social behaviour of ants to find the best path between the nest and the food source. A new term depth has been introduced, which controls the extent of recursion. A selective number of cities get qualified for the successive depth. The results of one depth are used to construct the models for the next depth and the range of values for each of the parameters is reduced without any change to the number of models. The three additional steps performed after each depth, are the pheromone tracking, pheromone updating and city selection. One of the advantages of RACO over ACO is that if a problem has multiple solutions, then pheromone accumulation will take place at more than one city thereby leading to formation of multiple nested ACO loops within the ACO loop of the previous depth. Also, while the convergence of ACO is almost linear, RACO shows exponential convergence and hence is faster than the ACO. RACO proves better over some other global optimization techniques, as it does not require any initial values to be assigned to the parameters function. The method has been tested on some mathematical functions, synthetic self-potential (SP) and synthetic gravity data. The obtained results reveal the efficiency and practicability of the method. The method is found to be efficient enough to solve the problems of SP and gravity anomalies due to a horizontal cylinder, a sphere, an inclined sheet and multiple idealized bodies buried inside the earth. These anomalies with and without noise were inverted using the RACO algorithm. The obtained results were compared with those obtained from the conventional methods and it was found that RACO results are more accurate. Finally this optimization technique was applied to real field data collected over the Surda

  10. An ant colony optimisation algorithm for the 2D and 3D hydrophobic polar protein folding problem

    PubMed Central

    Shmygelska, Alena; Hoos, Holger H

    2005-01-01

    Background The protein folding problem is a fundamental problems in computational molecular biology and biochemical physics. Various optimisation methods have been applied to formulations of the ab-initio folding problem that are based on reduced models of protein structure, including Monte Carlo methods, Evolutionary Algorithms, Tabu Search and hybrid approaches. In our work, we have introduced an ant colony optimisation (ACO) algorithm to address the non-deterministic polynomial-time hard (NP-hard) combinatorial problem of predicting a protein's conformation from its amino acid sequence under a widely studied, conceptually simple model – the 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) hydrophobic-polar (HP) model. Results We present an improvement of our previous ACO algorithm for the 2D HP model and its extension to the 3D HP model. We show that this new algorithm, dubbed ACO-HPPFP-3, performs better than previous state-of-the-art algorithms on sequences whose native conformations do not contain structural nuclei (parts of the native fold that predominantly consist of local interactions) at the ends, but rather in the middle of the sequence, and that it generally finds a more diverse set of native conformations. Conclusions The application of ACO to this bioinformatics problem compares favourably with specialised, state-of-the-art methods for the 2D and 3D HP protein folding problem; our empirical results indicate that our rather simple ACO algorithm scales worse with sequence length but usually finds a more diverse ensemble of native states. Therefore the development of ACO algorithms for more complex and realistic models of protein structure holds significant promise. PMID:15710037

  11. Ant Colony Optimization detects anomalous aerosol variations associated with the Chile earthquake of 27 February 2010

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akhoondzadeh, M.

    2015-04-01

    This study attempts to acknowledge AOD (Aerosol Optical Depth) seismo-atmospheric anomalies around the time of the Chile earthquake of 27 February 2010. Since AOD precursor alone might not be useful as an accurate and stand alone criteria for the earthquake anomalies detection, therefore it would be more appropriate to use and integrate a variety of other precursors to reduce the uncertainty of potential detected seismic anomalies. To achieve this aim, eight other precursors including GPS-TEC (Total Electron Content), H+, He+, O+ densities (cm-3) and total ion density (cm-3) from IAP experiment, electron density (cm-3) and electron temperature (K) from ISL experiment and VLF electric field from ICE experiment have been surveyed to detect unusual variations around the time and location of the Chile earthquake. Moreover, three methods including Interquartile, ANN (Artificial Neural Network) and ACO (Ant Colony Optimization) have been implemented to observe the discord patterns in time series of the AOD precursor. All of the methods indicate a clear abnormal increase in time series of AOD data, 2 days prior to event. Also a striking anomaly is observed in time series of TEC data, 6 days preceding the earthquake. Using the analysis of ICE data, a prominent anomaly is detected in the VLF electric field measurement, 1 day before the earthquake. The time series of H+, He+, O+ densities (cm-3) and total ion density (cm-3) from IAP and also electron density (cm-3) and electron temperature (K) from ISL, illustrate the abnormal behaviors, 3 days before the event. It should be noted that the acknowledgment of the different lead times in outcomes of the implemented precursors strictly depend on the proper understanding of Lithosphere-Atmosphere-Ionosphere (LAI) coupling mechanism during seismic activities. It means that these different anomalies dates between LAI precursors can be a hint of truthfulness of multi-precursors analysis.

  12. Seasonal variation and the co-occurence of four pathogens and a group of parasites among monogyne and polygyne fire ant colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A year-long survey of was conducted to determine the seasonality and co-occurrence of four pathogens and a group of parasites in colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in north-central Florida. S. invicta colonies were sampled and examined for the presence of Pseudacteon spp. (P...

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

    PubMed

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2016-08-15

    Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid plants initially harvested if they prove to be harmful for their symbiotic fungus once incorporated into the nest. At this point, waste particles removed from the fungus garden are likely to contain cues originating from both the unsuitable plant and the damaged fungus. We investigated whether leaf-cutting ant foragers learn to avoid unsuitable plants solely through the colony waste. We fed subcolonies of Acromymex ambiguus privet leaves treated with a fungicide undetectable to the ants, then collected the produced waste, and placed it into the fungus chamber of naive subcolonies. In individual choice tests, naive foragers preferred privet leaves before waste was put into the fungus chamber, but avoided them afterwards. Evidence on the influence of olfactory cues from the waste on decision making by foragers was obtained by scenting and transferring waste particles from subcolonies that had been fed either fungicide-treated or untreated leaves. In choice experiments, foragers from subcolonies given scented waste originating from fungicide-treated leaves collected fewer sugared paper discs with that scent compared with foragers from subcolonies given scented waste from untreated leaves. The results indicate that foragers learn to avoid plants unsuitable for the fungus by associating plant odours and cues from the damaged fungus that are present in waste particles. It is argued that waste particles may contribute to spread information about noxious plants for the fungus within the colony. PMID:27284068

  14. Scaling of differentiation in networks: nervous systems, organisms, ant colonies, ecosystems, businesses, universities, cities, electronic circuits, and Legos.

    PubMed

    Changizi, M A; McDannald, M A; Widders, D

    2002-09-21

    Nodes in networks are often of different types, and in this sense networks are differentiated. Here we examine the relationship between network differentiation and network size in networks under economic or natural selective pressure, such as electronic circuits (networks of electronic components), Legos (networks of Lego pieces), businesses (networks of employees), universities (networks of faculty), organisms (networks of cells), ant colonies (networks of ants), and nervous systems (networks of neurons). For each of these we find that (i) differentiation increases with network size, and (ii) the relationship is consistent with a power law. These results are explained by a hypothesis that, because nodes are costly to build and maintain in such "selected networks", network size is optimized, and from this the power-law relationship may be derived. The scaling exponent depends on the particular kind of network, and is determined by the degree to which nodes are used in a combinatorial fashion to carry out network-level functions. We find that networks under natural selection (organisms, ant colonies, and nervous systems) have much higher combinatorial abilities than the networks for which human ingenuity is involved (electronic circuits, Legos, businesses, and universities). A distinct but related optimization hypothesis may be used to explain scaling of differentiation in competitive networks (networks where the nodes themselves, rather than the entire network, are under selective pressure) such as ecosystems (networks of organisms).

  15. Gas ultrasonic flow rate measurement through genetic-ant colony optimization based on the ultrasonic pulse received signal model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, Huirang; Zheng, Dandan; Nie, Laixiao

    2015-04-01

    For gas ultrasonic flowmeters, the signals received by ultrasonic sensors are susceptible to noise interference. If signals are mingled with noise, a large error in flow measurement can be caused by triggering mistakenly using the traditional double-threshold method. To solve this problem, genetic-ant colony optimization (GACO) based on the ultrasonic pulse received signal model is proposed. Furthermore, in consideration of the real-time performance of the flow measurement system, the improvement of processing only the first three cycles of the received signals rather than the whole signal is proposed. Simulation results show that the GACO algorithm has the best estimation accuracy and ant-noise ability compared with the genetic algorithm, ant colony optimization, double-threshold and enveloped zero-crossing. Local convergence doesn’t appear with the GACO algorithm until -10 dB. For the GACO algorithm, the converging accuracy and converging speed and the amount of computation are further improved when using the first three cycles (called GACO-3cycles). Experimental results involving actual received signals show that the accuracy of single-gas ultrasonic flow rate measurement can reach 0.5% with GACO-3 cycles, which is better than with the double-threshold method.

  16. Ant colonies outperform individuals when a sensory discrimination task is difficult but not when it is easy.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, Takao; Granovskiy, Boris; Mann, Richard P; Sumpter, David J T; Pratt, Stephen C

    2013-08-20

    "Collective intelligence" and "wisdom of crowds" refer to situations in which groups achieve more accurate perception and better decisions than solitary agents. Whether groups outperform individuals should depend on the kind of task and its difficulty, but the nature of this relationship remains unknown. Here we show that colonies of Temnothorax ants outperform individuals for a difficult perception task but that individuals do better than groups when the task is easy. Subjects were required to choose the better of two nest sites as the quality difference was varied. For small differences, colonies were more likely than isolated ants to choose the better site, but this relationship was reversed for large differences. We explain these results using a mathematical model, which shows that positive feedback between group members effectively integrates information and sharpens the discrimination of fine differences. When the task is easier the same positive feedback can lock the colony into a suboptimal choice. These results suggest the conditions under which crowds do or do not become wise. PMID:23898161

  17. The Effect of Symbiotic Ant Colonies on Plant Growth: A Test Using an Azteca-Cecropia System

    PubMed Central

    Oliveira, Karla N.; Coley, Phyllis D.; Kursar, Thomas A.; Kaminski, Lucas A.; Moreira, Marcelo Z.; Campos, Ricardo I.

    2015-01-01

    In studies of ant-plant mutualisms, the role that ants play in increasing the growth rates of their plant partners is potentially a key beneficial service. In the field, we measured the growth of Cecropia glaziovii saplings and compared individuals that were naturally colonized by Azteca muelleri ants with uncolonized plants in different seasons (wet and dry). We also measured light availability as well as attributes that could be influenced by the presence of Azteca colonies, such as herbivory, leaf nutrients (total nitrogen and δ15N), and investments in defense (total phenolics and leaf mass per area). We found that colonized plants grew faster than uncolonized plants and experienced a lower level of herbivory in both the wet and dry seasons. Colonized plants had higher nitrogen content than uncolonized plants, although the δ15N, light environment, total phenolics and leaf mass per area, did not differ between colonized and uncolonized plants. Since colonized and uncolonized plants did not differ in the direct defenses that we evaluated, yet herbivory was lower in colonized plants, we conclude that biotic defenses were the most effective protection against herbivores in our system. This result supports the hypothesis that protection provided by ants is an important factor promoting plant growth. Since C. glaziovii is widely distributed among a variety of forests and ecotones, and since we demonstrated a strong relationship with their ant partners, this system can be useful for comparative studies of ant-plant interactions in different habitats. Also, given this study was carried out near the transition to the subtropics, these results help generalize the geographic distribution of this mutualism and may shed light on the persistence of the interactions in the face of climate change. PMID:25811369

  18. The effect of symbiotic ant colonies on plant growth: a test using an Azteca-Cecropia system.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Karla N; Coley, Phyllis D; Kursar, Thomas A; Kaminski, Lucas A; Moreira, Marcelo Z; Campos, Ricardo I

    2015-01-01

    In studies of ant-plant mutualisms, the role that ants play in increasing the growth rates of their plant partners is potentially a key beneficial service. In the field, we measured the growth of Cecropia glaziovii saplings and compared individuals that were naturally colonized by Azteca muelleri ants with uncolonized plants in different seasons (wet and dry). We also measured light availability as well as attributes that could be influenced by the presence of Azteca colonies, such as herbivory, leaf nutrients (total nitrogen and δ(15)N), and investments in defense (total phenolics and leaf mass per area). We found that colonized plants grew faster than uncolonized plants and experienced a lower level of herbivory in both the wet and dry seasons. Colonized plants had higher nitrogen content than uncolonized plants, although the δ(15)N, light environment, total phenolics and leaf mass per area, did not differ between colonized and uncolonized plants. Since colonized and uncolonized plants did not differ in the direct defenses that we evaluated, yet herbivory was lower in colonized plants, we conclude that biotic defenses were the most effective protection against herbivores in our system. This result supports the hypothesis that protection provided by ants is an important factor promoting plant growth. Since C. glaziovii is widely distributed among a variety of forests and ecotones, and since we demonstrated a strong relationship with their ant partners, this system can be useful for comparative studies of ant-plant interactions in different habitats. Also, given this study was carried out near the transition to the subtropics, these results help generalize the geographic distribution of this mutualism and may shed light on the persistence of the interactions in the face of climate change. PMID:25811369

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. A multilevel ant colony optimization algorithm for classical and isothermic DNA sequencing by hybridization with multiplicity information available.

    PubMed

    Kwarciak, Kamil; Radom, Marcin; Formanowicz, Piotr

    2016-04-01

    The classical sequencing by hybridization takes into account a binary information about sequence composition. A given element from an oligonucleotide library is or is not a part of the target sequence. However, the DNA chip technology has been developed and it enables to receive a partial information about multiplicity of each oligonucleotide the analyzed sequence consist of. Currently, it is not possible to assess the exact data of such type but even partial information should be very useful. Two realistic multiplicity information models are taken into consideration in this paper. The first one, called "one and many" assumes that it is possible to obtain information if a given oligonucleotide occurs in a reconstructed sequence once or more than once. According to the second model, called "one, two and many", one is able to receive from biochemical experiment information if a given oligonucleotide is present in an analyzed sequence once, twice or at least three times. An ant colony optimization algorithm has been implemented to verify the above models and to compare with existing algorithms for sequencing by hybridization which utilize the additional information. The proposed algorithm solves the problem with any kind of hybridization errors. Computational experiment results confirm that using even the partial information about multiplicity leads to increased quality of reconstructed sequences. Moreover, they also show that the more precise model enables to obtain better solutions and the ant colony optimization algorithm outperforms the existing ones. Test data sets and the proposed ant colony optimization algorithm are available on: http://bioserver.cs.put.poznan.pl/download/ACO4mSBH.zip.

  2. An efficient variable selection method based on the use of external memory in ant colony optimization. Application to QSAR/QSPR studies.

    PubMed

    Shamsipur, Mojtaba; Zare-Shahabadi, Vali; Hemmateenejad, Bahram; Akhond, Morteza

    2009-07-30

    A novel approach for the use of external memory in ant colony optimization strategy for solving descriptor selection problem in quantitative structure-activity/property relationship studies is described. In this approach, several ant colony system algorithms are run to build an external memory containing a number of elite ants. In the next step, all of the elite ants in the external memory are allowed to update the pheromones. Then the external memory is emptied and the updated pheromones are used again, by several ant colony system algorithms to build a new external memory. These steps are iteratively run for certain number of iterations. At the end, the memory will be containing several top solutions to the problem. The proposed approach was applied to solving variable selection problem in quantitative structure-activity/property relationship studies of rate constants of o-methylation of 36 phenol derivatives and activities of 31 antifilarial antimycin compounds, for which the obtained results revealed that both the speed and the solution quality are improved compared to conventional ant colony system algorithms. PMID:19523554

  3. Tight knit under stress: colony resilience to the loss of tandem leaders during relocation in an Indian ant

    PubMed Central

    Kolay, Swetashree; Annagiri, Sumana

    2015-01-01

    The movement of colonies from one nest to another is a frequent event in the lives of many social insects and is important for their survival and propagation. This goal-oriented task is accomplished by means of tandem running in some ant species, such as Diacamma indicum. Tandem leaders are central to this process as they know the location of the new nest and lead colony members to it. Relocations involving targeted removal of leaders were compared with unmanipulated and random member removal relocations. Behavioural observations were integrated with network analysis to examine the differences in the pattern of task organization at the level of individuals and that of the colony. All colonies completed relocation successfully and leaders who substituted the removed tandem leaders conducted the task at a similar rate having redistributed the task in a less skewed manner. In terms of network structure, this resilience was due to significantly higher density and outcloseness indicating increased interaction between substitute leaders. By contrast, leader–follower interactions and random removal networks showed no discernible changes. Similar explorations of other goal-oriented tasks in other societies will possibly unveil new facets in the interplay between individuals that enable the group to respond effectively to stress. PMID:26473038

  4. Soil surface searching and transport of Euphorbia characias seeds by ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Espadaler, Xavier; Gómez, Crisanto

    The intensity of exploring the soil surface by ants was studied for the four species involved in the dispersal and predation of seeds of the West-Mediterranean myrmecochorous plant Euphorbia characias. During the dehiscence period (June) the whole soil surface is sccanned in 43 minutes. Not all ants that find a seed take it to the nest. For the four ant species studied ( Pheidole pallidula, Aphaenogaster senilis, Tapinoma nigerrimum, Messor barbarus) the proportion of ants that finally take the seed is 67.6%. In spite of this, the high level of soil surface searching explains the rather short time that seeds remain on the soil before being removed. The presence of an elaiosome is a key element in the outcome of the ant-seed interaction: a seed with elaiosome has a seven-fold increase in probability of being taken to the nest if found by a non-granivorous ant. The predator-avoidance hypothesis for myrmecochory is supported.

  5. Food searches and guiding structures in North African desert ants, Cataglyphis.

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wolf, Harald

    2015-06-01

    North African desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, use path integration as their primary means of navigation. The ants also use landmarks when these are available to improve navigation accuracy. Extended landmarks, such as walls and channels, may serve further functions, for example, local guidance or triggering of local vectors. The roles of such structures were usually examined in homing animals but not during food searches. When searching for familiar feeding sites, Cataglyphis may show intriguing deviations from expected search performances. These may result from the presence of extended landmarks, namely experimental channels. Here we scrutinise this hypothesis of landmark guidance in food searches. We prevented the ants from seeing the channel walls by covering their eyes, except the dorsal rim area. This experiment was repeated in the open test field with an alley of black cylinders to extend our findings to a more normal foraging environment. Ants with covered eyes did not deviate from expected search performances, whereas ants with normal eyes extended their searches along the axis of the leading structures by 15-20%, in both channels and landmark alleys. This demonstrates that Cataglyphis orients along extended landmarks when searching for familiar food sources and alters its search pattern accordingly.

  6. Correlation between virulence and genetic structure of Escovopsis strains from leaf-cutting ant colonies in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Wallace, Diego E Elizondo; Asensio, Juan G Vargas; Tomás, Adrián A Pinto

    2014-08-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (genera Atta and Acromyrmex) cultivate a specialized fungus for food in underground chambers employing cut plant material as substrate. Parasitism occurs in this agricultural system and plays an important role in colony fitness. The microfungi Escovopsis, a specialized mycoparasite of the fungal cultivar, is highly prevalent among colonies. In this study, we tested the antagonistic activity of several Escovopsis strains from different geographical areas in Costa Rica. We employed a combination of laboratory tests to evaluate virulence, including pure culture challenges, toxicity to fungus garden pieces and subcolony bioassays. We also performed a phylogenetic analysis of these strains in order to correlate their virulence with the genetic structure of this population. The bioassays yielded results consistent between each other and showed significant differences in antagonistic activity among the parasites evaluated. However, no significant differences were found when comparing the results of the bioassays according to the source of the ants' fungal cultivar. The phylogenetic analyses were consistent with these results: whilst the fungal cultivar phylogeny showed a single clade with limited molecular variation, the Escovopsis phylogeny yielded several clades with the most virulent isolates grouping in the same well-supported clade. These results indicate that there are Escovopsis strains better suited to establish their antagonistic effect, whilst the genetic homogeneity of the fungal cultivars limits their ability to modulate Escovopsis antagonism. These findings should be taken into consideration when evaluating the potential of Escovopsis isolates as biocontrol agents for this important agricultural pest in the Neotropics. PMID:24836623

  7. Application of ant colony optimization to image classification using a Markov model with non-stationary neighborhoods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Hégarat-Mascle, S.; Kallel, A.; Descombes, X.

    2005-10-01

    In global classifications using Markov Random Field (MRF) modelling, the neighbourhood form is generally considered as independent of its location in the image. Such an approach may lead to classification errors for pixels located at the segment borders. The solution proposed here consists in relaxing the assumption of fixed-form neighbourhood. However this non-stationary neighbourhood modelling is useful only if an efficient heuristic can be defined to perform the optimization. Ant colony optimization (ACO) is currently a popular algorithm. It models upon the behavior of social insects for computing strategies: the information gathered by simple autonomous mobile agents, called ants, is shared and exploited for problem solving. Here we propose to use the ACO and to exploit its ability of self-organization. The ants collect information through the image, from one pixel to the others. The choice of the path is a function of the pixel label, favouring paths within a same image segment. We show that this corresponds to an automatic adaptation of the neighbourhood to the segment form. Performance of this new approach is illustrated on a simulated image and on actual remote sensing images, SPOT4/HRV, representing agricultural areas. In the studied examples, we found that it outperforms the fixed-form neighbourhood used in classical MRF classifications. The advantage of having a neighborhood shape that automatically adapts to the image segment clearly appears in these cases of images containing fine elements, lanes or thin fields, but also complex natural landscape structures.

  8. Dynamic changes in host-virus interactions associated with colony founding and social environment in fire ant queens (Solenopsis invicta).

    PubMed

    Manfredini, Fabio; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Grozinger, Christina M

    2016-01-01

    The dynamics of host-parasite interactions can change dramatically over the course of a chronic infection as the internal (physiological) and external (environmental) conditions of the host change. When queens of social insects found a colony, they experience changes in both their physiological state (they develop their ovaries and begin laying eggs) and the social environment (they suddenly stop interacting with the other members of the mother colony), making this an excellent model system for examining how these factors interact with chronic infections. We investigated the dynamics of host-viral interactions in queens of Solenopsis invicta (fire ant) as they transition from mating to colony founding/brood rearing to the emergence of the first workers. We examined these dynamics in naturally infected queens in two different social environments, where queens either founded colonies as individuals or as pairs. We hypothesized that stress associated with colony founding plays an important role in the dynamics of host-parasite interactions. We also hypothesized that different viruses have different modalities of interaction with the host that can be quantified by physiological measures and genomic analysis of gene expression in the host. We found that the two most prevalent viruses, SINV-1 and SINV-2, are associated with different fitness costs that are mirrored by different patterns of gene expression in the host. In fact SINV-2, the virus that imposes the significant reduction of a queen's reproductive output is also associated with larger changes of global gene expression in the host. These results show the complexity of interactions between S. invicta and two viral parasites. Our findings also show that chronic infections by viral parasites in insects are dynamic processes that may pose different challenges in the host, laying the groundwork for interesting ecological and evolutionary considerations. PMID:26811788

  9. Comparative Study of Nest Architecture and Colony Structure of the Fungus-Growing Ants, Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii

    PubMed Central

    Rabeling, C.; Verhaagh, M.; Engels, W.

    2007-01-01

    Nest architecture and demography of the non leaf-cutting fungus-growing ant species Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii (Attini: Formicidae) were studied in an agroforest habitat near Manaus, Brazil during the excavation of 13 nests. Both species built their nests in two different ways. The first type possessed a “tree-like” architecture, in which a vertical tunnel led downwards and lateral tunnels branched off at 90° angles from the main tunnel, with a chamber at the end of each side branch. Alternatively, other nests displayed a “necklace-like” architecture, where the main tunnel also led down vertically, but entered each chamber from the top and exited it at the bottom, resulting in an architecture where chambers appeared like pearls on a necklace. The nest systems of M. goeldii and M. smithii consisted of 1–21 or 1–15 chambers, respectively. Of 199 excavated chambers, 57 % contained fungus-gardens. Chambers not containing fungus gardens were filled with organic matter from decaying fungus gardens or earthworm feces. Only M. smithii workers deposited loose soil in abandoned chambers during the construction of new nest chambers. Workers of M. smithii constructed significantly smaller chambers than those of M. goeldii. In both species, fungus garden-containing chambers were larger than non-garden chambers and were homogenously distributed in the soil between 17 cm and 105 cm depth. Neither fungus gardens nor abandoned chambers were encountered more frequently in deeper or shallower soil strata indicating that ants of both species did not abandon shallower versus deeper chambers, or move the colony to deeper soil layers with increasing colony age. Fungus gardens were suspended from the ceiling of the subterranean chambers and originated as small mycelial tufts. Through continual addition of organic debris, the tufts first grew vertically to strands before they expanded laterally until most of the chamber volume was filled with fungus garden curtains

  10. Comparative study of nest architecture and colony structure of the fungus-growing ants, Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii.

    PubMed

    Rabeling, C; Verhaagh, M; Engels, W

    2007-01-01

    Nest architecture and demography of the non leaf-cutting fungus-growing ant species Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithii (Attini: Formicidae) were studied in an agroforest habitat near Manaus, Brazil during the excavation of 13 nests. Both species built their nests in two different ways. The first type possessed a "tree-like" architecture, in which a vertical tunnel led downwards and lateral tunnels branched off at 90 degrees angles from the main tunnel, with a chamber at the end of each side branch. Alternatively, other nests displayed a "necklace-like" architecture, where the main tunnel also led down vertically, but entered each chamber from the top and exited it at the bottom, resulting in an architecture where chambers appeared like pearls on a necklace. The nest systems of M. goeldii and M. smithii consisted of 1-21 or 1-15 chambers, respectively. Of 199 excavated chambers, 57 % contained fungus-gardens. Chambers not containing fungus gardens were filled with organic matter from decaying fungus gardens or earthworm feces. Only M. smithii workers deposited loose soil in abandoned chambers during the construction of new nest chambers. Workers of M. smithii constructed significantly smaller chambers than those of M. goeldii. In both species, fungus garden-containing chambers were larger than non-garden chambers and were homogenously distributed in the soil between 17 cm and 105 cm depth. Neither fungus gardens nor abandoned chambers were encountered more frequently in deeper or shallower soil strata indicating that ants of both species did not abandon shallower versus deeper chambers, or move the colony to deeper soil layers with increasing colony age. Fungus gardens were suspended from the ceiling of the subterranean chambers and originated as small mycelial tufts. Through continual addition of organic debris, the tufts first grew vertically to strands before they expanded laterally until most of the chamber volume was filled with fungus garden curtains. New

  11. Application of ant colony optimization in development of models for prediction of anti-HIV-1 activity of HEPT derivatives.

    PubMed

    Zare-Shahabadi, Vali; Abbasitabar, Fatemeh

    2010-09-01

    Quantitative structure-activity relationship models were derived for 107 analogs of 1-[(2-hydroxyethoxy) methyl]-6-(phenylthio)thymine, a potent inhibitor of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. The activities of these compounds were investigated by means of multiple linear regression (MLR) technique. An ant colony optimization algorithm, called Memorized_ACS, was applied for selecting relevant descriptors and detecting outliers. This algorithm uses an external memory based upon knowledge incorporation from previous iterations. At first, the memory is empty, and then it is filled by running several ACS algorithms. In this respect, after each ACS run, the elite ant is stored in the memory and the process is continued to fill the memory. Here, pheromone updating is performed by all elite ants collected in the memory; this results in improvements in both exploration and exploitation behaviors of the ACS algorithm. The memory is then made empty and is filled again by performing several ACS algorithms using updated pheromone trails. This process is repeated for several iterations. At the end, the memory contains several top solutions for the problem. Number of appearance of each descriptor in the external memory is a good criterion for its importance. Finally, prediction is performed by the elitist ant, and interpretation is carried out by considering the importance of each descriptor. The best MLR model has a training error of 0.47 log (1/EC(50)) units (R(2) = 0.90) and a prediction error of 0.76 log (1/EC(50)) units (R(2) = 0.88). PMID:20575016

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

    PubMed

    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.

  13. Three-Dimensional Path Planning and Guidance of Leg Vascular Based on Improved Ant Colony Algorithm in Augmented Reality.

    PubMed

    Gao, Ming-ke; Chen, Yi-min; Liu, Quan; Huang, Chen; Li, Ze-yu; Zhang, Dian-hua

    2015-11-01

    Preoperative path planning plays a critical role in vascular access surgery. Vascular access surgery has superior difficulties and requires long training periods as well as precise operation. Yet doctors are on different leves, thus bulky size of blood vessels is usually chosen to undergo surgery and other possible optimal path is not considered. Moreover, patients and surgeons will suffer from X-ray radiation during the surgical procedure. The study proposed an improved ant colony algorithm to plan a vascular optimal three-dimensional path with overall consideration of factors such as catheter diameter, vascular length, diameter as well as the curvature and torsion. To protect the doctor and patient from exposing to X-ray long-term, the paper adopted augmented reality technology to register the reconstructed vascular model and physical model meanwhile, locate catheter by the electromagnetic tracking system and used Head Mounted Display to show the planning path in real time and monitor catheter push procedure. The experiment manifests reasonableness of preoperative path planning and proves the reliability of the algorithm. The augmented reality experiment real time and accurately displays the vascular phantom model, planning path and the catheter trajectory and proves the feasibility of this method. The paper presented a useful and feasible surgical scheme which was based on the improved ant colony algorithm to plan vascular three-dimensional path in augmented reality. The study possessed practical guiding significance in preoperative path planning, intraoperative catheter guiding and surgical training, which provided a theoretical method of path planning for vascular access surgery. It was a safe and reliable path planning approach and possessed practical reference value.

  14. Sting, Carry and Stock: How Corpse Availability Can Regulate De-Centralized Task Allocation in a Ponerine Ant Colony

    PubMed Central

    Schmickl, Thomas; Karsai, Istvan

    2014-01-01

    We develop a model to produce plausible patterns of task partitioning in the ponerine ant Ectatomma ruidum based on the availability of living prey and prey corpses. The model is based on the organizational capabilities of a “common stomach” through which the colony utilizes the availability of a natural (food) substance as a major communication channel to regulate the income and expenditure of the very same substance. This communication channel has also a central role in regulating task partitioning of collective hunting behavior in a supply&demand-driven manner. Our model shows that task partitioning of the collective hunting behavior in E. ruidum can be explained by regulation due to a common stomach system. The saturation of the common stomach provides accessible information to individual ants so that they can adjust their hunting behavior accordingly by engaging in or by abandoning from stinging or transporting tasks. The common stomach is able to establish and to keep stabilized an effective mix of workforce to exploit the prey population and to transport food into the nest. This system is also able to react to external perturbations in a de-centralized homeostatic way, such as to changes in the prey density or to accumulation of food in the nest. In case of stable conditions the system develops towards an equilibrium concerning colony size and prey density. Our model shows that organization of work through a common stomach system can allow Ectatomma ruidum to collectively forage for food in a robust, reactive and reliable way. The model is compared to previously published models that followed a different modeling approach. Based on our model analysis we also suggest a series of experiments for which our model gives plausible predictions. These predictions are used to formulate a set of testable hypotheses that should be investigated empirically in future experimentation. PMID:25493558

  15. Male fighting and ``territoriality'' within colonies of the ant Cardiocondyla venustula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frohschammer, Sabine; Heinze, Jürgen

    2009-01-01

    The ant genus Cardiocondyla is characterized by a bizarre male polymorphism with wingless fighter males and winged disperser males. Winged males have been lost convergently in several clades, and in at least one of them, wingless males have evolved mutual tolerance. To better understand the evolutionary pathways of reproductive tactics, we investigated Cardiocondyla venustula, a species, which in a phylogenetic analysis clusters with species with fighting and species with mutually tolerant, wingless males. Wingless males of C. venustula use their strong mandibles to kill freshly eclosed rival males and also engage in short fights with other adult males, but in addition show a novel behavior hitherto not reported from social insect males: they spread out in the natal nest and defend “territories” against other males. Ant males therefore show a much larger variety of reproductive tactics than previously assumed.

  16. Building optimal regression tree by ant colony system-genetic algorithm: application to modeling of melting points.

    PubMed

    Hemmateenejad, Bahram; Shamsipur, Mojtaba; Zare-Shahabadi, Vali; Akhond, Morteza

    2011-10-17

    The classification and regression trees (CART) possess the advantage of being able to handle large data sets and yield readily interpretable models. A conventional method of building a regression tree is recursive partitioning, which results in a good but not optimal tree. Ant colony system (ACS), which is a meta-heuristic algorithm and derived from the observation of real ants, can be used to overcome this problem. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of CART and its combination with ACS for modeling of melting points of a large variety of chemical compounds. Genetic algorithm (GA) operators (e.g., cross averring and mutation operators) were combined with ACS algorithm to select the best solution model. In addition, at each terminal node of the resulted tree, variable selection was done by ACS-GA algorithm to build an appropriate partial least squares (PLS) model. To test the ability of the resulted tree, a set of approximately 4173 structures and their melting points were used (3000 compounds as training set and 1173 as validation set). Further, an external test set containing of 277 drugs was used to validate the prediction ability of the tree. Comparison of the results obtained from both trees showed that the tree constructed by ACS-GA algorithm performs better than that produced by recursive partitioning procedure.

  17. Building optimal regression tree by ant colony system-genetic algorithm: application to modeling of melting points.

    PubMed

    Hemmateenejad, Bahram; Shamsipur, Mojtaba; Zare-Shahabadi, Vali; Akhond, Morteza

    2011-10-17

    The classification and regression trees (CART) possess the advantage of being able to handle large data sets and yield readily interpretable models. A conventional method of building a regression tree is recursive partitioning, which results in a good but not optimal tree. Ant colony system (ACS), which is a meta-heuristic algorithm and derived from the observation of real ants, can be used to overcome this problem. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of CART and its combination with ACS for modeling of melting points of a large variety of chemical compounds. Genetic algorithm (GA) operators (e.g., cross averring and mutation operators) were combined with ACS algorithm to select the best solution model. In addition, at each terminal node of the resulted tree, variable selection was done by ACS-GA algorithm to build an appropriate partial least squares (PLS) model. To test the ability of the resulted tree, a set of approximately 4173 structures and their melting points were used (3000 compounds as training set and 1173 as validation set). Further, an external test set containing of 277 drugs was used to validate the prediction ability of the tree. Comparison of the results obtained from both trees showed that the tree constructed by ACS-GA algorithm performs better than that produced by recursive partitioning procedure. PMID:21907021

  18. Calibration processes in desert ant navigation: vector courses and systematic search.

    PubMed

    Wehner, R; Gallizzi, K; Frei, C; Vesely, M

    2002-10-01

    This study investigates the ability of desert ants to adapt their path integration system to an "open-jaw" training paradigm, in which the point of arrival (from the nest) does not coincide with the point of departure (to the nest). Upon departure the ants first run off their home vector and then start a systematic search for the nest. Even if they are subjected to this training-around-a-circuit procedure for more than 50 times in succession, they never adopt straight homeward courses towards the nest. Their path integration vector gets slightly recalibrated (pointing a bit closer to the nest), and their search pattern gets asymmetric (with its search density peak shifted towards the nest), but the bipartite structure of the inbound trajectory invariably remains. These results suggest (1). that the ants cannot learn separate inbound and outbound vectors (i.e. vectors that are not 180 degrees reversals of each other), (2). that the recalibrated vector is dominated by the ant's outbound course, (3). that the recalibration of the vector and the modification of the search geometry are fast and flexible processes occurring whenever the ant experiences a mismatch between the stored and actual states of its path integrator.

  19. Effect of land cover, habitat fragmentation and ant colonies on the distribution and abundance of shrews in southern California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laakkonen, J.; Fisher, R.N.; Case, T.J.

    2001-01-01

    1. Because effects of habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic disturbance on native animals have been relatively little studied in arid areas and in insectivores, we investigated the roles of different land covers, habitat fragmentation and ant colonies on the distribution and abundance of shrews, Notiosorex crawfordi and Sorex ornatus, in southern California. 2. Notiosorex crawfordi was the numerically dominant species (trap-success rate 0.52) occurring in 21 of the 22 study sites in 85% of the 286 pitfall arrays used in this study. Sorex ornatus was captured in 14 of the sites, in 52% of the arrays with a total trap-success rate of 0.2. Neither of the species was found in one of the sites. 3. The population dynamics of the two shrew species were relatively synchronous during the 4-5-year study; the peak densities usually occurred during the spring. Precipitation had a significant positive effect, and maximum temperature a significant negative effect on the trap-success rate of S. ornatus. 4. Occurrence and abundance of shrews varied significantly between sites and years but the size of the landscape or the study site had no effect on the abundance of shrews. The amount of urban edge had no significant effect on the captures of shrews but increased edge allows invasion of the Argentine ants, which had a highly significant negative impact on the abundance of N. crawfordi. 5. At the trap array level, the percentage of coastal sage scrub flora had a significant positive, and the percentage of other flora had a significant negative effect on the abundance of N. crawfordi. The mean canopy height and the abundance of N. crawfordi had a significant positive effect on the occurrence of S. ornatus. 6. Our study suggests that the loss of native coastal sage scrub flora and increasing presence of Argentine ant colonies may significantly effect the distribution and abundance of N. crawfordi. The very low overall population densities of both shrew species in most study sites

  20. Effect of land cover, habitat fragmentation and ant colonies on the distribution and abundance of shrews in southern California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laakkonen, Juha; Fisher, Robert N.; Case, Ted J.

    2001-01-01

    Because effects of habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic disturbance on native animals have been relatively little studied in arid areas and in insectivores, we investigated the roles of different land covers, habitat fragmentation and ant colonies on the distribution and abundance of shrews, Notiosorex crawfordi and Sorex ornatus, in southern California.Notiosorex crawfordi was the numerically dominant species (trap-success rate 0·52) occurring in 21 of the 22 study sites in 85% of the 286 pitfall arrays used in this study.Sorex ornatus was captured in 14 of the sites, in 52% of the arrays with a total trap-success rate of 0·2. Neither of the species was found in one of the sites.The population dynamics of the two shrew species were relatively synchronous during the 4–5-year study; the peak densities usually occurred during the spring. Precipitation had a significant positive effect, and maximum temperature a significant negative effect on the trap-success rate of S. ornatus.Occurrence and abundance of shrews varied significantly between sites and years but the size of the landscape or the study site had no effect on the abundance of shrews. The amount of urban edge had no significant effect on the captures of shrews but increased edge allows invasion of the Argentine ants, which had a highly significant negative impact on the abundance of N. crawfordi.At the trap array level, the percentage of coastal sage scrub flora had a significant positive, and the percentage of other flora had a significant negative effect on the abundance of N. crawfordi. The mean canopy height and the abundance of N. crawfordi had a significant positive effect on the occurrence of S. ornatus.Our study suggests that the loss of native coastal sage scrub flora and increasing presence of Argentine ant colonies may significantly effect the distribution and abundance of N. crawfordi. The very low overall population densities of both shrew species in most study sites make both species

  1. Simultaneous feature selection and parameter optimisation using an artificial ant colony: case study of melting point prediction

    PubMed Central

    O'Boyle, Noel M; Palmer, David S; Nigsch, Florian; Mitchell, John BO

    2008-01-01

    Background We present a novel feature selection algorithm, Winnowing Artificial Ant Colony (WAAC), that performs simultaneous feature selection and model parameter optimisation for the development of predictive quantitative structure-property relationship (QSPR) models. The WAAC algorithm is an extension of the modified ant colony algorithm of Shen et al. (J Chem Inf Model 2005, 45: 1024–1029). We test the ability of the algorithm to develop a predictive partial least squares model for the Karthikeyan dataset (J Chem Inf Model 2005, 45: 581–590) of melting point values. We also test its ability to perform feature selection on a support vector machine model for the same dataset. Results Starting from an initial set of 203 descriptors, the WAAC algorithm selected a PLS model with 68 descriptors which has an RMSE on an external test set of 46.6°C and R2 of 0.51. The number of components chosen for the model was 49, which was close to optimal for this feature selection. The selected SVM model has 28 descriptors (cost of 5, ε of 0.21) and an RMSE of 45.1°C and R2 of 0.54. This model outperforms a kNN model (RMSE of 48.3°C, R2 of 0.47) for the same data and has similar performance to a Random Forest model (RMSE of 44.5°C, R2 of 0.55). However it is much less prone to bias at the extremes of the range of melting points as shown by the slope of the line through the residuals: -0.43 for WAAC/SVM, -0.53 for Random Forest. Conclusion With a careful choice of objective function, the WAAC algorithm can be used to optimise machine learning and regression models that suffer from overfitting. Where model parameters also need to be tuned, as is the case with support vector machine and partial least squares models, it can optimise these simultaneously. The moving probabilities used by the algorithm are easily interpreted in terms of the best and current models of the ants, and the winnowing procedure promotes the removal of irrelevant descriptors. PMID:18959785

  2. 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.

  3. Preimaginal learning as a basis of colony-brood recognition in the ant Cataglyphis cursor

    PubMed Central

    Isingrini, Michel; Lenoir, Alain; Jaisson, Pierre

    1985-01-01

    In most circumstances, social insects recognize their nestmates. They can discriminate against alien adults and also against alien larvae. Results presented here indicate that the mechanism of colony-brood recognition is acquired in large part during larval life and persists through the metamorphosis into the adult stage. During the first days after emergence of the adult, a weaker form of learning can also occur. These phenomena are discussed in relation to kinship theory. It appears that kin recognition is determined not so much by genetic relatedness as by spatial proximity of the individuals during the early stages of life. PMID:16593637

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

    PubMed

    Provecho, Yael; Josens, Roxana

    2009-10-01

    Camponotus mus ants can associate sucrose and odour at the source during successive foraging cycles and use this memory to locate the nectar in the absence of other cues. These ants perform conspicuous trophallactic behaviour during recruitment while foraging for nectar. In this work, we studied whether Camponotus mus ants are able to establish this odour-sucrose association in the social context of trophallaxis and we evaluated this memory in another context previously experienced by the ant, as a nectar source. After a single trophallaxis of a scented solution, the receiver ant was tested in a Y-maze without any reward, where two scents were presented: in one arm, the solution scent and in the other, a new scent. Ants consistently chose the arm with the solution scent and stayed longer therein. Trophallaxis duration had no effect on the arm choice or with the time spent in each arm. Workers are able to associate an odour (conditioned stimulus) with the sucrose (unconditioned stimulus) they receive through a social interaction and use this memory as choice criteria during food searching. PMID:19801426

  5. Framework for computationally efficient optimal irrigation scheduling using ant colony optimization

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A general optimization framework is introduced with the overall goal of reducing search space size and increasing the computational efficiency of evolutionary algorithm application for optimal irrigation scheduling. The framework achieves this goal by representing the problem in the form of a decisi...

  6. 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)

  7. Inverse estimation of the spheroidal particle size distribution using Ant Colony Optimization algorithms in multispectral extinction technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Zhenzong; Qi, Hong; Wang, Yuqing; Ruan, Liming

    2014-10-01

    Four improved Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithms, i.e. the probability density function based ACO (PDF-ACO) algorithm, the Region ACO (RACO) algorithm, Stochastic ACO (SACO) algorithm and Homogeneous ACO (HACO) algorithm, are employed to estimate the particle size distribution (PSD) of the spheroidal particles. The direct problems are solved by the extended Anomalous Diffraction Approximation (ADA) and the Lambert-Beer law. Three commonly used monomodal distribution functions i.e. the Rosin-Rammer (R-R) distribution function, the normal (N-N) distribution function, and the logarithmic normal (L-N) distribution function are estimated under dependent model. The influence of random measurement errors on the inverse results is also investigated. All the results reveal that the PDF-ACO algorithm is more accurate than the other three ACO algorithms and can be used as an effective technique to investigate the PSD of the spheroidal particles. Furthermore, the Johnson's SB (J-SB) function and the modified beta (M-β) function are employed as the general distribution functions to retrieve the PSD of spheroidal particles using PDF-ACO algorithm. The investigation shows a reasonable agreement between the original distribution function and the general distribution function when only considering the variety of the length of the rotational semi-axis.

  8. Combining support vector regression and ant colony optimization to reduce NOx emissions in coal-fired utility boilers

    SciTech Connect

    Ligang Zheng; Hao Zhou; Chunlin Wang; Kefa Cen

    2008-03-15

    Combustion optimization has recently demonstrated its potential to reduce NOx emissions in high capacity coal-fired utility boilers. In the present study, support vector regression (SVR), as well as artificial neural networks (ANN), was proposed to model the relationship between NOx emissions and operating parameters of a 300 MW coal-fired utility boiler. The predicted NOx emissions from the SVR model, by comparing with that of the ANN-based model, showed better agreement with the values obtained in the experimental tests on this boiler operated at different loads and various other operating parameters. The mean modeling error and the correlation factor were 1.58% and 0.94, respectively. Then, the combination of the SVR model with ant colony optimization (ACO) to reduce NOx emissions was presented in detail. The experimental results showed that the proposed approach can effectively reduce NOx emissions from the coal-fired utility boiler by about 18.69% (65 ppm). A time period of less than 6 min was required for NOx emissions modeling, and 2 min was required for a run of optimization under a PC system. The computing times are suitable for the online application of the proposed method to actual power plants. 37 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs.

  9. Multi-Sensor Data Fusion Using a Relevance Vector Machine Based on an Ant Colony for Gearbox Fault Detection.

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhiwen; Guo, Wei; Tang, Zhangchun; Chen, Yongqiang

    2015-08-31

    Sensors play an important role in the modern manufacturing and industrial processes. Their reliability is vital to ensure reliable and accurate information for condition based maintenance. For the gearbox, the critical machine component in the rotating machinery, the vibration signals collected by sensors are usually noisy. At the same time, the fault detection results based on the vibration signals from a single sensor may be unreliable and unstable. To solve this problem, this paper proposes an intelligent multi-sensor data fusion method using the relevance vector machine (RVM) based on an ant colony optimization algorithm (ACO-RVM) for gearboxes' fault detection. RVM is a sparse probability model based on support vector machine (SVM). RVM not only has higher detection accuracy, but also better real-time accuracy compared with SVM. The ACO algorithm is used to determine kernel parameters of RVM. Moreover, the ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) is applied to preprocess the raw vibration signals to eliminate the influence caused by noise and other unrelated signals. The distance evaluation technique (DET) is employed to select dominant features as input of the ACO-RVM, so that the redundancy and inference in a large amount of features can be removed. Two gearboxes are used to demonstrate the performance of the proposed method. The experimental results show that the ACO-RVM has higher fault detection accuracy than the RVM with normal the cross-validation (CV).

  10. Ant colony algorithm implementation in electron and photon Monte Carlo transport: Application to the commissioning of radiosurgery photon beams

    SciTech Connect

    Garcia-Pareja, S.; Galan, P.; Manzano, F.; Brualla, L.; Lallena, A. M.

    2010-07-15

    Purpose: In this work, the authors describe an approach which has been developed to drive the application of different variance-reduction techniques to the Monte Carlo simulation of photon and electron transport in clinical accelerators. Methods: The new approach considers the following techniques: Russian roulette, splitting, a modified version of the directional bremsstrahlung splitting, and the azimuthal particle redistribution. Their application is controlled by an ant colony algorithm based on an importance map. Results: The procedure has been applied to radiosurgery beams. Specifically, the authors have calculated depth-dose profiles, off-axis ratios, and output factors, quantities usually considered in the commissioning of these beams. The agreement between Monte Carlo results and the corresponding measurements is within {approx}3%/0.3 mm for the central axis percentage depth dose and the dose profiles. The importance map generated in the calculation can be used to discuss simulation details in the different parts of the geometry in a simple way. The simulation CPU times are comparable to those needed within other approaches common in this field. Conclusions: The new approach is competitive with those previously used in this kind of problems (PSF generation or source models) and has some practical advantages that make it to be a good tool to simulate the radiation transport in problems where the quantities of interest are difficult to obtain because of low statistics.

  11. Estimate of FDG excretion by means of compartmental analysis and ant colony optimization of nuclear medicine data.

    PubMed

    Garbarino, Sara; Caviglia, Giacomo; Brignone, Massimo; Massollo, Michela; Sambuceti, Gianmario; Piana, Michele

    2013-01-01

    [(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) is one of the most utilized tracers for positron emission tomography (PET) applications in oncology. FDG-PET relies on higher glycolytic activity in tumors compared to normal structures as the basis of image contrast. As a glucose analog, FDG is transported into malignant cells which typically exhibit an increased radioactivity. However, different from glucose, FDG is not reabsorbed by the renal system and is excreted to the bladder. The present paper describes a novel computational method for the quantitative assessment of this excretion process. The method is based on a compartmental analysis of FDG-PET data in which the excretion process is explicitly accounted for by the bladder compartment and on the application of an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm for the determination of the tracer coefficients describing the FDG transport effectiveness. The validation of this approach is performed by means of both synthetic data and real measurements acquired by a PET device for small animals (micro-PET). Possible oncological applications of the results are discussed in the final section. PMID:24191175

  12. A multiobjective ant colony optimization approach for scheduling environmental flow management alternatives with application to the River Murray, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szemis, J. M.; Dandy, G. C.; Maier, H. R.

    2013-10-01

    In regulated river systems, such as the River Murray in Australia, the efficient use of water to preserve and restore biota in the river, wetlands, and floodplains is of concern for water managers. Available management options include the timing of river flow releases and operation of wetland flow control structures. However, the optimal scheduling of these environmental flow management alternatives is a difficult task, since there are generally multiple wetlands and floodplains with a range of species, as well as a large number of management options that need to be considered. Consequently, this problem is a multiobjective optimization problem aimed at maximizing ecological benefit while minimizing water allocations within the infrastructure constraints of the system under consideration. This paper presents a multiobjective optimization framework, which is based on a multiobjective ant colony optimization approach, for developing optimal trade-offs between water allocation and ecological benefit. The framework is applied to a reach of the River Murray in South Australia. Two studies are formulated to assess the impact of (i) upstream system flow constraints and (ii) additional regulators on this trade-off. The results indicate that unless the system flow constraints are relaxed, there is limited additional ecological benefit as allocation increases. Furthermore the use of regulators can increase ecological benefits while using less water. The results illustrate the utility of the framework since the impact of flow control infrastructure on the trade-offs between water allocation and ecological benefit can be investigated, thereby providing valuable insight to managers.

  13. At-Least Version of the Generalized Minimum Spanning Tree Problem: Optimization Through Ant Colony System and Genetic Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Janich, Karl W.

    2005-01-01

    The At-Least version of the Generalized Minimum Spanning Tree Problem (L-GMST) is a problem in which the optimal solution connects all defined clusters of nodes in a given network at a minimum cost. The L-GMST is NPHard; therefore, metaheuristic algorithms have been used to find reasonable solutions to the problem as opposed to computationally feasible exact algorithms, which many believe do not exist for such a problem. One such metaheuristic uses a swarm-intelligent Ant Colony System (ACS) algorithm, in which agents converge on a solution through the weighing of local heuristics, such as the shortest available path and the number of agents that recently used a given path. However, in a network using a solution derived from the ACS algorithm, some nodes may move around to different clusters and cause small changes in the network makeup. Rerunning the algorithm from the start would be somewhat inefficient due to the significance of the changes, so a genetic algorithm based on the top few solutions found in the ACS algorithm is proposed to quickly and efficiently adapt the network to these small changes.

  14. Multi-Sensor Data Fusion Using a Relevance Vector Machine Based on an Ant Colony for Gearbox Fault Detection

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Zhiwen; Guo, Wei; Tang, Zhangchun; Chen, Yongqiang

    2015-01-01

    Sensors play an important role in the modern manufacturing and industrial processes. Their reliability is vital to ensure reliable and accurate information for condition based maintenance. For the gearbox, the critical machine component in the rotating machinery, the vibration signals collected by sensors are usually noisy. At the same time, the fault detection results based on the vibration signals from a single sensor may be unreliable and unstable. To solve this problem, this paper proposes an intelligent multi-sensor data fusion method using the relevance vector machine (RVM) based on an ant colony optimization algorithm (ACO-RVM) for gearboxes’ fault detection. RVM is a sparse probability model based on support vector machine (SVM). RVM not only has higher detection accuracy, but also better real-time accuracy compared with SVM. The ACO algorithm is used to determine kernel parameters of RVM. Moreover, the ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) is applied to preprocess the raw vibration signals to eliminate the influence caused by noise and other unrelated signals. The distance evaluation technique (DET) is employed to select dominant features as input of the ACO-RVM, so that the redundancy and inference in a large amount of features can be removed. Two gearboxes are used to demonstrate the performance of the proposed method. The experimental results show that the ACO-RVM has higher fault detection accuracy than the RVM with normal the cross-validation (CV). PMID:26334280

  15. 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.

  16. Increased genetic diversity as a defence against parasites is undermined by social parasites: Microdon mutabilis hoverflies infesting Formica lemani ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    Gardner, M.G; Schönrogge, K; Elmes, G.W; Thomas, J.A

    2006-01-01

    Genetic diversity can benefit social insects by providing variability in immune defences against parasites and pathogens. However, social parasites of ants infest colonies and not individuals, and for them a different relationship between genetic diversity and resistance may exist. Here, we investigate the genetic variation, assessed using up to 12 microsatellite loci, of workers in 91 Formica lemani colonies in relation to their infestation by the specialist social parasite Microdon mutabilis. At the main study site, workers in infested colonies exhibited lower relatedness and higher estimated queen numbers, on average, than uninfested ones. Additionally, estimated queen numbers were negatively correlated with estimated average numbers of mates per queen within infested colonies. At another site, infested colonies also exhibited significantly lower worker relatedness, and estimated queen numbers were comparable in trend. In contrast, in two populations of F. lemani where M. mutabilis was absent, relatedness within colonies was high (40 and 90% with R>0.6). While high genetic variation can benefit social insects by increasing their resistance to pathogens, there may be a cost in the increased likelihood of infiltration by social parasites owing to greater variation in nestmate recognition cues. This study provides the first empirical test of this hypothesis. PMID:17035169

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  18. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (Hymenoptera: formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti-x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites an

  19. Ant colony method to control variance reduction techniques in the Monte Carlo simulation of clinical electron linear accelerators of use in cancer therapy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Pareja, S.; Vilches, M.; Lallena, A. M.

    2010-01-01

    The Monte Carlo simulation of clinical electron linear accelerators requires large computation times to achieve the level of uncertainty required for radiotherapy. In this context, variance reduction techniques play a fundamental role in the reduction of this computational time. Here we describe the use of the ant colony method to control the application of two variance reduction techniques: Splitting and Russian roulette. The approach can be applied to any accelerator in a straightforward way and permits the increasing of the efficiency of the simulation by a factor larger than 50.

  20. Nectar intake rate is modulated by changes in sucking pump activity according to colony starvation in carpenter ants.

    PubMed

    Falibene, Agustina; Josens, Roxana

    2008-05-01

    Dynamics of fluid feeding has been deeply studied in insects. However, the ability to vary the nectar-intake rate depending only on the carbohydrate deprivation has been clearly demonstrated only in Camponotus mus ants. When insect morphometry and fluid properties remain constant, changes in intake rate could only be attributed to variations in sucking pump activity. Previous records of the electrical activity generated during feeding in C. mus have revealed two different signal patterns: the regular (RP, frequencies: 2-5 Hz) and the irregular (IP, frequencies: 7-12 Hz). This work studies the mechanism underlying food intake-rate modulation in ants by analysing whether these patterns are involved. Behaviour and electrical activity generated by ants at different starvation levels were analysed during feeding on sucrose solutions. Ants were able to modulate the intake rate for a variety of sucrose concentrations (10, 40 and 60%w/w). The IP only occurred for 60% of solutions and its presence did not affect the intake rate. However, during the RP generated under the starved state, we found frequencies up to 7.5 Hz. RP frequencies positively correlated with the intake-rate for all sucrose concentrations. Hence, intake-rate modulation according to sugar deprivation is mainly achieved by the ant's ability to vary the pumping frequency. PMID:18320196

  1. Nectar intake rate is modulated by changes in sucking pump activity according to colony starvation in carpenter ants.

    PubMed

    Falibene, Agustina; Josens, Roxana

    2008-05-01

    Dynamics of fluid feeding has been deeply studied in insects. However, the ability to vary the nectar-intake rate depending only on the carbohydrate deprivation has been clearly demonstrated only in Camponotus mus ants. When insect morphometry and fluid properties remain constant, changes in intake rate could only be attributed to variations in sucking pump activity. Previous records of the electrical activity generated during feeding in C. mus have revealed two different signal patterns: the regular (RP, frequencies: 2-5 Hz) and the irregular (IP, frequencies: 7-12 Hz). This work studies the mechanism underlying food intake-rate modulation in ants by analysing whether these patterns are involved. Behaviour and electrical activity generated by ants at different starvation levels were analysed during feeding on sucrose solutions. Ants were able to modulate the intake rate for a variety of sucrose concentrations (10, 40 and 60%w/w). The IP only occurred for 60% of solutions and its presence did not affect the intake rate. However, during the RP generated under the starved state, we found frequencies up to 7.5 Hz. RP frequencies positively correlated with the intake-rate for all sucrose concentrations. Hence, intake-rate modulation according to sugar deprivation is mainly achieved by the ant's ability to vary the pumping frequency.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Deborah M.; Greene, Michael; Kahler, John; Peteru, Swetha

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-31

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

  5. Classification of anti hepatitis peptides using Support Vector Machine with hybrid Ant Colony OptimizationThe Luxembourg database of trichothecene type B F. graminearum and F. culmorum producers.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Gunjan; Ananth, Vivek; Shelke, Kalpesh; Sehgal, Deepak; Deepak, Jayaraman

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis is an emerging global threat to public health due to associated mortality, morbidity, cancer and HIV co-infection. Available diagnostics and therapeutics are inadequate to intercept the course and transmission of the disease. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are widely studied and broad-spectrum host defense peptides are investigated as a targeted anti-viral. Therefore, it is of interest to describe the supervised identification of anti-hepatitis peptides. We used a hybrid Support Vector Machine (SVM) with Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm for simultaneous classification and domain feature selection. The described model shows a 10 fold cross-validation accuracy of 94 percent. This is a reliable and a useful tool for the prediction and identification of hepatitis specific drug activity. PMID:27212838

  6. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera:formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity. 19 references, 3 figures, 2 tables.

  7. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    SciTech Connect

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti x=/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity.

  8. 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...

  9. A hybrid of ant colony optimization and minimization of metabolic adjustment to improve the production of succinic acid in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Chong, Shiue Kee; Mohamad, Mohd Saberi; Mohamed Salleh, Abdul Hakim; Choon, Yee Wen; Chong, Chuii Khim; Deris, Safaai

    2014-06-01

    This paper presents a study on gene knockout strategies to identify candidate genes to be knocked out for improving the production of succinic acid in Escherichia coli. Succinic acid is widely used as a precursor for many chemicals, for example production of antibiotics, therapeutic proteins and food. However, the chemical syntheses of succinic acid using the traditional methods usually result in the production that is far below their theoretical maximums. In silico gene knockout strategies are commonly implemented to delete the gene in E. coli to overcome this problem. In this paper, a hybrid of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Minimization of Metabolic Adjustment (MoMA) is proposed to identify gene knockout strategies to improve the production of succinic acid in E. coli. As a result, the hybrid algorithm generated a list of knockout genes, succinic acid production rate and growth rate for E. coli after gene knockout. The results of the hybrid algorithm were compared with the previous methods, OptKnock and MOMAKnock. It was found that the hybrid algorithm performed better than OptKnock and MOMAKnock in terms of the production rate. The information from the results produced from the hybrid algorithm can be used in wet laboratory experiments to increase the production of succinic acid in E. coli. PMID:24763079

  10. Optimization of Spherical Roller Bearing Design Using Artificial Bee Colony Algorithm and Grid Search Method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiwari, Rajiv; Waghole, Vikas

    2015-07-01

    Bearing standards impose restrictions on the internal geometry of spherical roller bearings. Geometrical and strength constraints conditions have been formulated for the optimization of bearing design. The long fatigue life is one of the most important criteria in the optimum design of bearing. The life is directly proportional to the dynamic capacity; hence, the objective function has been chosen as the maximization of dynamic capacity. The effect of speed and static loads acting on the bearing are also taken into account. Design variables for the bearing include five geometrical parameters: the roller diameter, the roller length, the bearing pitch diameter, the number of rollers, and the contact angle. There are a few design constraint parameters which are also included in the optimization, the bounds of which are obtained by initial runs of the optimization. The optimization program is made to run for different values of these design constraint parameters and a range of the parameters is obtained for which the objective function has a higher value. The artificial bee colony algorithm (ABCA) has been used to solve the constrained optimized problem and the optimum design is compared with the one obtained from the grid search method (GSM), both operating independently. Both the ABCA and the GSM have been finally combined together to reach the global optimum point. A constraint violation study has also been carried out to give priority to the constraint having greater possibility of violations. Optimized bearing designs show a better performance parameter with those specified in bearing catalogs. The sensitivity analysis of bearing parameters has also been carried out to see the effect of manufacturing tolerance on the objective function.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. The Organization of Foraging in the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2011-01-01

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

  15. Enhancing artificial bee colony algorithm with self-adaptive searching strategy and artificial immune network operators for global optimization.

    PubMed

    Chen, Tinggui; Xiao, Renbin

    2014-01-01

    Artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm, inspired by the intelligent foraging behavior of honey bees, was proposed by Karaboga. It has been shown to be superior to some conventional intelligent algorithms such as genetic algorithm (GA), artificial colony optimization (ACO), and particle swarm optimization (PSO). However, the ABC still has some limitations. For example, ABC can easily get trapped in the local optimum when handing in functions that have a narrow curving valley, a high eccentric ellipse, or complex multimodal functions. As a result, we proposed an enhanced ABC algorithm called EABC by introducing self-adaptive searching strategy and artificial immune network operators to improve the exploitation and exploration. The simulation results tested on a suite of unimodal or multimodal benchmark functions illustrate that the EABC algorithm outperforms ACO, PSO, and the basic ABC in most of the experiments. PMID:24772023

  16. Enhancing Artificial Bee Colony Algorithm with Self-Adaptive Searching Strategy and Artificial Immune Network Operators for Global Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Tinggui; Xiao, Renbin

    2014-01-01

    Artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm, inspired by the intelligent foraging behavior of honey bees, was proposed by Karaboga. It has been shown to be superior to some conventional intelligent algorithms such as genetic algorithm (GA), artificial colony optimization (ACO), and particle swarm optimization (PSO). However, the ABC still has some limitations. For example, ABC can easily get trapped in the local optimum when handing in functions that have a narrow curving valley, a high eccentric ellipse, or complex multimodal functions. As a result, we proposed an enhanced ABC algorithm called EABC by introducing self-adaptive searching strategy and artificial immune network operators to improve the exploitation and exploration. The simulation results tested on a suite of unimodal or multimodal benchmark functions illustrate that the EABC algorithm outperforms ACO, PSO, and the basic ABC in most of the experiments. PMID:24772023

  17. Search for hidden messenger molecules: capa-gene expression in ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent genome analyses suggested the absence of a number of neuropeptide genes and corresponding receptor genes in ants. That absence raised questions about compensation of functions of these peptides in hymenopteran insects. One of the missing genes is the capa-gene. CAPA-peptides are known to regu...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

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

  4. Sick ants become unsociable.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

    Parasites represent a severe threat to social insects, which form high-density colonies of related individuals, and selection should favour host traits that reduce infection risk. Here, using a carpenter ant (Camponotus aethiops) and a generalist insect pathogenic fungus (Metarhizium brunneum), we show that infected ants radically change their behaviour over time to reduce the risk of colony infection. Infected individuals (i) performed less social interactions than their uninfected counterparts, (ii) did not interact with brood anymore and (iii) spent most of their time outside the nest from day 3 post-infection until death. Furthermore, infected ants displayed an increased aggressiveness towards non-nestmates. Finally, infected ants did not alter their cuticular chemical profile, suggesting that infected individuals do not signal their physiological status to nestmates. Our results provide evidence for the evolution of unsociability following pathogen infection in a social animal and suggest an important role of inclusive fitness in driving such evolution. PMID:22122288

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. Introduced fire ants can exclude native ants from critical mutualist-provided resources.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Barnum, Thomas R; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; Eubanks, Micky D

    2013-05-01

    Animals frequently experience resource imbalances in nature. For ants, one resource that may be particularly valuable for both introduced and native species is high-carbohydrate honeydew from hemipteran mutualists. We conducted field and laboratory experiments: (1) to test if red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) competed with native ants for access to mutualisms with aphids, and (2) to quantify the effects of aphid honeydew presence or absence on colony growth of native ants. We focused on native dolichoderine ants (Formicidae, Dolichoderinae) because they are abundant ants that have omnivorous diets that frequently include mutualist-provided carbohydrates. At two sites in the southeastern US, native dolichoderine ants were far less frequent, and fire ants more frequent, at carbohydrate baits than would be expected based on their frequency in pitfall traps. A field experiment confirmed that a native ant species, Dorymyrmex bureni, was only found tending aphids when populations of S. invicta were suppressed. In the laboratory, colonies of native dolichoderine ants with access to both honeydew and insect prey had twice as many workers and over twice as much brood compared to colonies fed only ad libitum insect prey. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that introduced ants compete for access to mutualist-provided carbohydrates with native ants and that these carbohydrates represent critical resources for both introduced and native ants. These results challenge traditional paradigms of arthropod and ant nutrition and contribute to growing evidence of the importance of nutrition in mediating ecological interactions.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Ant mimicry by an aphid parasitoid, Lysiphlebus fabarum.

    PubMed

    Rasekh, Arash; Michaud, J P; Kharazi-Pakdel, Aziz; Allahyari, Hossein

    2010-01-01

    In Iran, Lysiphlebus fabarum (Marshall) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) is a uniparental parasitoid of the black bean aphid, Aphis fabae Scopoli (Hemiptera: Aphididae), that possesses various highly evolved adaptations for foraging within ant-tended aphid colonies. Direct observations and video recordings were used to analyze the behavior of individual females foraging for A. fabae on bean leaf disks in open arenas in the laboratory. Females exploited aphids as hosts and as a source of food, allocating within-patch time as follows: resting - 10.4%, grooming - 8.2%, searching - 11.5%, antennation (host recognition) - 7.5%, antennation (honeydew solicitation mimicking ants) - 31.9%, abdominal bending (attack preparation) 19.7%, probing with the ovipositor (attack) - 10.8%. The mean handling time for each aphid encountered was 2.0 ± 0.5 min. Females encountered an average of 47.4 ± 6.4 aphids per hour, but laid only 1.2 eggs per hour. The ovipositor insertion time for parasitism ranged from 2 sec to longer than a minute, but most insertions did not result in an egg being laid. A. fabae defensive behaviors included kicking, raising and swiveling the body, and attempts to smear the attacker with cornicle secretions, sometimes with lethal results. Food deprivation for 4-6 h prior to testing increased the frequency of ant mimcry by L. fabarum. Females also used ant-like antennation to reduce A. fabae defensive behavior, e.g. the frequency of kicking. L. fabarum attacks primed A. fabae to be more responsive to subsequent honeydew solicitation, such that experienced females improved their feeding success by alternating between the roles of parasitoid and ant mimic. These results reveal the possibility for mutualisms to evolve between L. fabarum and the ant species that tend A. fabae, since L. fabarum receive ant protection for their progeny and may benefit the ants by improving A. fabae responsiveness to honeydew solicitation.

  11. Myrmecotrophy: Plants fed by ants.

    PubMed

    Beattie, A

    1989-06-01

    Two plant genera with tubers specialized for occupation by ants absorb nutrients from waste materials accumulated by the resident colonies. The mineral resources of these host plants are augmented by colony foraging which functions as a second root system. This mutualistic interaction has become known as myrmecotrophy. Many other kinds of plant structure are apparent adaptations to accommodate ant colonies; these include pouches on leaves or petioles and hollow twigs, stems or thorns. Sometimes the ant species residing in these structures are aggressive towards enemies of the host plant and are important for plant defence. Recent research provides some evidence that myrmecotrophy may have a wider role in plant nutrition, at least when subsidizing the costs of plant defence. PMID:21227344

  12. 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

  13. Do ants make direct comparisons?

    PubMed

    Robinson, Elva J H; Smith, Faith D; Sullivan, Kathryn M E; Franks, Nigel R

    2009-07-22

    Many individual decisions are informed by direct comparison of the alternatives. In collective decisions, however, only certain group members may have the opportunity to compare options. Emigrating ant colonies (Temnothorax albipennis) show sophisticated nest-site choice, selecting superior sites even when they are nine times further away than the alternative. How do they do this? We used radio-frequency identification-tagged ants to monitor individual behaviour. Here we show for the first time that switching between nests during the decision process can influence nest choice without requiring direct comparison of nests. Ants finding the poor nest were likely to switch and find the good nest, whereas ants finding the good nest were more likely to stay committed to that nest. When ants switched quickly between the two nests, colonies chose the good nest. Switching by ants that had the opportunity to compare nests had little effect on nest choice. We suggest a new mechanism of collective nest choice: individuals respond to nest quality by the decision either to commit or to seek alternatives. Previously proposed mechanisms, recruitment latency and nest comparison, can be explained as side effects of this simple rule. Colony-level comparison and choice can emerge, without direct comparison by individuals.

  14. Do ants make direct comparisons?

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Elva J.H.; Smith, Faith D.; Sullivan, Kathryn M.E.; Franks, Nigel R.

    2009-01-01

    Many individual decisions are informed by direct comparison of the alternatives. In collective decisions, however, only certain group members may have the opportunity to compare options. Emigrating ant colonies (Temnothorax albipennis) show sophisticated nest-site choice, selecting superior sites even when they are nine times further away than the alternative. How do they do this? We used radio-frequency identification-tagged ants to monitor individual behaviour. Here we show for the first time that switching between nests during the decision process can influence nest choice without requiring direct comparison of nests. Ants finding the poor nest were likely to switch and find the good nest, whereas ants finding the good nest were more likely to stay committed to that nest. When ants switched quickly between the two nests, colonies chose the good nest. Switching by ants that had the opportunity to compare nests had little effect on nest choice. We suggest a new mechanism of collective nest choice: individuals respond to nest quality by the decision either to commit or to seek alternatives. Previously proposed mechanisms, recruitment latency and nest comparison, can be explained as side effects of this simple rule. Colony-level comparison and choice can emerge, without direct comparison by individuals. PMID:19386652

  15. Timekeeping through social contacts: social synchronization of circadian locomotor activity rhythm in the carpenter ant Camponotus paria.

    PubMed

    Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Sharma, Vijay Kumar

    2011-12-01

    In ant colonies a large proportion of individuals remain inside nests for most of their lives and come out only when necessary. It is not clear how, in a nest of several thousand individuals, information about local time is communicated among members of the colony. Central to this seem to be circadian clocks, which have an intrinsic ability to keep track of local time by entraining to environmental light-dark, temperature, and social cycles. Here, the authors report the results of their study aimed at understanding the role of cyclic social interactions in circadian timekeeping of a day-active species of carpenter ant Camponotus paria. The authors found that daily social interactions with visitors (worker ants) was able to synchronize the circadian locomotor activity rhythm of host worker ants and queens, in one-on-one (pair-wise) and multi-individual (group-wise) interactions. Interestingly, the outcome of cyclic social interactions was context specific; when visitor workers socially interacted with host workers one-on-one, host workers considered the time of interaction as subjective day, but when visitor workers interacted with a group of workers and queens, the hosts considered the time of interaction as subjective night. These results can be taken to suggest that members of the ant species C. paria keep track of local time by socially interacting with workers (foragers) who shuttle in and out of the colony in search of food. (Author correspondence: vsharma@jncasr.ac.in ).

  16. Timekeeping through social contacts: social synchronization of circadian locomotor activity rhythm in the carpenter ant Camponotus paria.

    PubMed

    Lone, Shahnaz Rahman; Sharma, Vijay Kumar

    2011-12-01

    In ant colonies a large proportion of individuals remain inside nests for most of their lives and come out only when necessary. It is not clear how, in a nest of several thousand individuals, information about local time is communicated among members of the colony. Central to this seem to be circadian clocks, which have an intrinsic ability to keep track of local time by entraining to environmental light-dark, temperature, and social cycles. Here, the authors report the results of their study aimed at understanding the role of cyclic social interactions in circadian timekeeping of a day-active species of carpenter ant Camponotus paria. The authors found that daily social interactions with visitors (worker ants) was able to synchronize the circadian locomotor activity rhythm of host worker ants and queens, in one-on-one (pair-wise) and multi-individual (group-wise) interactions. Interestingly, the outcome of cyclic social interactions was context specific; when visitor workers socially interacted with host workers one-on-one, host workers considered the time of interaction as subjective day, but when visitor workers interacted with a group of workers and queens, the hosts considered the time of interaction as subjective night. These results can be taken to suggest that members of the ant species C. paria keep track of local time by socially interacting with workers (foragers) who shuttle in and out of the colony in search of food. (Author correspondence: vsharma@jncasr.ac.in ). PMID:22080731

  17. Communal nutrition in ants.

    PubMed

    Dussutour, Audrey; Simpson, Stephen J

    2009-05-12

    Studies on nonsocial insects have elucidated the regulatory strategies employed to meet nutritional demands [1-3]. However, how social insects maintain the supply of an appropriate balance of nutrients at both a collective and an individual level remains unknown. Sociality complicates nutritional regulatory strategies [4-6]. First, the food entering a colony is collected by a small number of workers, which need to adjust their harvesting strategy to the demands for nutrients among individuals within the colony [4-7]. Second, because carbohydrates are used by the workers and proteins consumed by the larvae [7-14], nutritional feedbacks emanating from both must exist and be integrated to determine food exploitation by foragers [4-6, 15, 16]. Here, we show that foraging ants can solve nutritional challenges for the colony by making intricate adjustments to their feeding behavior and nutrient processing, acting both as a collective mouth and gut. The amount and balance of nutrients collected and the precision of regulation depend on the presence of larvae in the colony. Ants improved the macronutrient balance of collected foods by extracting carbohydrates and ejecting proteins. Nevertheless, processing excess protein shortened life span--an effect that was greatly ameliorated in the presence of larvae.

  18. 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

  19. Ant Tower

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mlot, Nathan; Shinotsuka, Sho; Hu, David

    2010-11-01

    Ants walk via adhesive drops of fluid extruded by their feet. They also use these drops as mortar to build structures such as rafts, bridges and towers, each composed of thousands of ants linked together. We investigate experimentally the construction of triangular ant towers braced by hydrophobic walls. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between tower height and contact angle hysteresis of the wall. We rationalize tower height according to ant adhesion, and tower shape according to the constraints on a column of constant strength.

  20. Fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Weber, N A

    1966-08-01

    Fungus-growing ants (Attini) are in reality unique fungus-culturing insects.There are several hundred species in some dozen genera, of which Acromyrmex and Atta are the conspicuous leaf-cutters. The center of their activities is the fungus garden, which is also the site of the queen and brood. The garden, in most species, is made from fresh green leaves or other vegetal material. The ants forage for this, forming distinct trails to the vegetation that is being harvested. The cut leaves or other substrate are brought into the nest and prepared for the fungus. Fresh leaves and flowers are cut into pieces a millimeter or two in diameter; the ants form them into a pulpy mass by pinching them with the mandibles and adding saliva. Anal droplets are deposited on the pieces, which are then forced into place in the garden. Planting of the fungus is accomplished by an ant's picking up tufts of the adjacent mycelium and dotting the surface of the new substrate with it. The combination of salivary and anal secretions, together with the constant care given by the ants, facilitates the growth of the ant fungus only, despite constant possibilities for contamination. When the ants are removed, alien fungi and other organisms flourish. A mature nest of Atta Sexdens may consist of 2000 chambers, some temporarily empty, some with refuse, and the remainder with fungus gardens. Thousands of kilograms of fresh leaves will have been used. A young laboratory colony of Atta cephalotes will use 1 kilogram of fresh leaves for one garden. The attines are the chief agents for introducing organic matter into the soil in tropical rain forests; this matter becomes the nucleus for a host of other organisms, including nematodes and arthropods, after it is discarded by the ants. One ant species cultures a yeast; all others grow a mycelium. In the higher species the mycelium forms clusters of inflated hyphae. Mycologists accept as valid two names for confirmed fruiting stages: Leucocoprinus ( or

  1. Response of Argentine ants and red imported fire ants to permethrin-impregnated plastic strips: foraging rates, colonization of potted soil, and differential mortality.

    PubMed

    Costa, Heather S; Greenberg, Les; Klotz, John; Rust, Michael K

    2005-12-01

    This study investigated the effects of the permethrin-impregnated plastic on ant mortality and foraging rates, and tested its potential for preventing ants from colonizing potted soil. Direct exposure to the plastic for as short as 1 min caused significant mortality of both red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, and Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr); however, red imported fire ants were more susceptible than Argentine ants. Knockdown of virtually all ants initially occurred within 15 min after exposure. However, some moribund ants recovered from the effects within 24 h. For example, after 1 min of direct exposure to the permethrin-impregnated plastic, 70% of Argentine ants and 5% of red imported fire ants recovered from the treatment. In established colonies of Argentine ants, significantly fewer ants foraged for food up posts treated with the plastic compared with untreated posts. In addition, colonies responded to introduction of the treatment by significantly reducing their overall foraging rates, even on untreated posts. When pots filled with moistened soil were introduced into established ant colonies, 82% of Argentine ants and 99% of red imported fire ants moved into the soil. In contrast, when a 1-cm-wide coil of the plastic was placed under the pot, no ants moved into the soil. The potential for use of these materials in nursery production is discussed. PMID:16539136

  2. Signals Can Trump Rewards in Attracting Seed-Dispersing Ants

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Kyle M.; Frederickson, Megan E.

    2013-01-01

    Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes) of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds. PMID:23967257

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

    PubMed

    Turner, Kyle M; Frederickson, Megan E

    2013-01-01

    Both rewards and signals are important in mutualisms. In myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, the benefits to plants are relatively well studied, but less is known about why ants pick up and move seeds. We examined seed dispersal by the ant Aphaenogaster rudis of four co-occurring species of plants, and tested whether morphology, chemical signaling, or the nutritional quality of fatty seed appendages called elaiosomes influenced dispersal rates. In removal trials, ants quickly collected diaspores (seeds plus elaiosomes) of Asarum canadense, Trillium grandiflorum, and Sanguinaria canadensis, but largely neglected those of T. erectum. This discrepancy was not explained by differences in the bulk cost-benefit ratio, as assessed by the ratio of seed to elaiosome mass. We also provisioned colonies with diaspores from one of these four plant species or no diaspores as a control. Colonies performed best when fed S. canadensis diaspores, worst when fed T. grandiflorum, and intermediately when fed A. canadense, T. erectum, or no diaspores. Thus, the nutritional rewards in elaiosomes affected colony performance, but did not completely predict seed removal. Instead, high levels of oleic acid in T. grandiflorum elaiosomes may explain why ants disperse these diaspores even though they reduce ant colony performance. We show for the first time that different elaiosome-bearing plants provide rewards of different quality to ant colonies, but also that ants appear unable to accurately assess reward quality when encountering seeds. Instead, we suggest that signals can trump rewards as attractants of ants to seeds. PMID:23967257

  4. Colonial America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Web Feet K-8, 2001

    2001-01-01

    Presents resources for grades K-8, on the subject of Colonial America. Describes Web sites; CD-ROMs and software; videos; books; audios; magazines; and professional resources. Includes two articles, "Native Americans in the Colonies," and "The Golden Age of Pirates," which also highlight resources. Presents a Web activity focusing on daily life in…

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

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

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

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Eubanks, Micky D

    2010-04-23

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

  7. 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

  8. [Yeast Communities of Formica aquilonia Colonies].

    PubMed

    Maksimova, A; Glushakova, A M; Kachalkin, A V; Chernov, I Yu; Panteleeva, S N; Reznikova, Zh I

    2016-01-01

    Yeast abundance and species diversity in the colonies of Formica aquilonia ants in birch-pine forbs forest, Novosibirsk oblast, Russia, was studied. The average yeast number in the anthill material was 10³-10⁴CFU/g, reaching 10⁵ CFU/g in the hatching chambers. Typical litter species (Trichosporon monilfiforme and Cystofilobasidium capitatum) were predominant in soil and litter around the anthills. Apart from these species, ascomycete species of the family Debaryomycetaceae, Debaryomyces hansenii and Schwanniomyces vanrijiae, were predominant in the anthill material. Yeast population of the ants consisted exclusively of the members of these two species. Thus, highly specific yeast communities formed in the colonies of Formica aquilonia ants differ from the communities of surrounding soil. These differences are an instance of environment-forming activity of the ants. PMID:27301134

  9. Collective defence portfolios of ant hosts shift with social parasite pressure

    PubMed Central

    Jongepier, Evelien; Kleeberg, Isabelle; Job, Sylwester; Foitzik, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    Host defences become increasingly costly as parasites breach successive lines of defence. Because selection favours hosts that successfully resist parasitism at the lowest possible cost, escalating coevolutionary arms races are likely to drive host defence portfolios towards ever more expensive strategies. We investigated the interplay between host defence portfolios and social parasite pressure by comparing 17 populations of two Temnothorax ant species. When successful, collective aggression not only prevents parasitation but also spares host colonies the cost of searching for and moving to a new nest site. However, once parasites breach the host's nest defence, host colonies should resort to flight as the more beneficial resistance strategy. We show that under low parasite pressure, host colonies more likely responded to an intruding Protomognathus americanus slavemaker with collective aggression, which prevented the slavemaker from escaping and potentially recruiting nest-mates. However, as parasite pressure increased, ant colonies of both host species became more likely to flee rather than to fight. We conclude that host defence portfolios shift consistently with social parasite pressure, which is in accordance with the degeneration of frontline defences and the evolution of subsequent anti-parasite strategies often invoked in hosts of brood parasites. PMID:25100690

  10. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGES

    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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Ants (Formicidae): models for social complexity.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Dolezal, Adam; Eliyahu, Dorit; Holbrook, C Tate; Gadau, Jürgen

    2009-07-01

    The family Formicidae (ants) is composed of more than 12,000 described species that vary greatly in size, morphology, behavior, life history, ecology, and social organization. Ants occur in most terrestrial habitats and are the dominant animals in many of them. They have been used as models to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, behavior, and development. The literature on ants is extensive, and the natural history of many species is known in detail. Phylogenetic relationships for the family, as well as within many subfamilies, are known, enabling comparative studies. Their ease of sampling and ecological variation makes them attractive for studying populations and questions relating to communities. Their sociality and variation in social organization have contributed greatly to an understanding of complex systems, division of labor, and chemical communication. Ants occur in colonies composed of tens to millions of individuals that vary greatly in morphology, physiology, and behavior; this variation has been used to address proximate and ultimate mechanisms generating phenotypic plasticity. Relatedness asymmetries within colonies have been fundamental to the formulation and empirical testing of kin and group selection theories. Genomic resources have been developed for some species, and a whole-genome sequence for several species is likely to follow in the near future; comparative genomics in ants should provide new insights into the evolution of complexity and sociogenomics. Future studies using ants should help establish a more comprehensive understanding of social life, from molecules to colonies. PMID:20147200

  15. Ant-seed mutualisms: Can red imported fire ants sour the relationship?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zettler, J.A.; Spira, T.P.; Allen, C.R.

    2001-01-01

    Invasion by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has had negative impacts on individual animal and plant species, but little is known about how S. invicta affects complex mutualistic relationships. In some eastern forests of North America, 30% of herbaceous species have ant-dispersed seeds. We conducted experiments to determine if fire ants are attracted to seeds of these plant species and assessed the amount of scarification or damage that results from handling by fire ants. Fire ants removed nearly 100% of seeds of the ant-dispersed plants Trillium undulatum, T. discolor, T. catesbaei, Viola rotundifolia, and Sanguinaria canadensis. In recovered seeds fed to ant colonies, fire ants scarified 80% of S. canadensis seeds and destroyed 86% of V. rotundifolia seeds. Our study is the first to document that red imported fire ants are attracted to and remove seeds of species adapted for ant dispersal. Moreover, fire ants might damage these seeds and discard them in sites unfavorable for germination and seedling establishment. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Garden sharing and garden stealing in fungus-growing ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, Rachelle M. M.; Mueller, U. G.; Holloway, Alisha K.; Green, Abigail M.; Narozniak, Joanie

    Fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae) are passed on between generations by transfer from maternal to offspring nest (vertical transmission within ant species). However, recent phylogenetic analyses revealed that cultivars are occasionally also transferred between attine species. The reasons for such lateral cultivar transfers are unknown. To investigate whether garden loss may induce ants to obtain a replacement cultivar from a neighboring colony (lateral cultivar transfer), pairs of queenright colonies of two Cyphomyrmex species were set up in two conjoined chambers; the garden of one colony was then removed to simulate the total crop loss that occurs naturally when pathogens devastate gardens. Garden-deprived colonies regained cultivars through one of three mechanisms: joining of a neighboring colony and cooperation in a common garden; stealing of a neighbor's garden; or aggressive usurpation of a neighbor's garden. Because pathogens frequently devastate attine gardens under natural conditions, garden joining, stealing and usurpation emerge as critical behavioral adaptations to survive garden catastrophes.

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

    Jesus, Mariana Santos de; Rodrigues, William Costa; Barbosa, Glaucia; Trilles, Luciana; Wanke, Bodo; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos; Silva, Manuela da

    2012-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis) positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants) found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus. PMID:22666855

  19. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

    Jesus, Mariana Santos de; Rodrigues, William Costa; Barbosa, Glaucia; Trilles, Luciana; Wanke, Bodo; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos; Silva, Manuela da

    2012-06-01

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

  20. Regulation of ants' foraging to resource productivity.

    PubMed Central

    Mailleux, Anne-Catherine; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis; Detrain, Claire

    2003-01-01

    We investigate the behavioural rule used by ant societies to adjust their foraging response to the honeydew productivity of aphids. When a scout finds a single food source, the decision to lay a recruitment trail is an all-or-none response based on the opportunity for this scout to ingest a desired volume acting as a threshold. Here, we demonstrate, through experimental and theoretical approaches, the generic value of this recruitment rule that remains valid when ants have to forage on multiple small sugar feeders to reach their desired volume. Moreover, our experiments show that when ants decide to recruit nest-mates they lay trail marks of equal intensity, whatever the number of food sources visited. A model based on the 'desired volume' rule of recruitment as well as on experimentally validated parameter values was built to investigate how ant societies adjust their foraging response to the honeydew productivity profile of aphids. Simulations predict that, with such recruiting rules, the percentage of recruiting ants is directly related to the total production of honeydew. Moreover, an optimal number of foragers exists that maximizes the strength of recruitment, this number being linearly related to the total production of honeydew by the aphid colony. The 'desired volume' recruitment rule that should be generic for all ant species is enough to explain how ants optimize trail recruitment and select aphid colonies or other liquid food resources according to their productivity profile. PMID:12908982

  1. Regulation of ants' foraging to resource productivity.

    PubMed

    Mailleux, Anne-Catherine; Deneubourg, Jean-Louis; Detrain, Claire

    2003-08-01

    We investigate the behavioural rule used by ant societies to adjust their foraging response to the honeydew productivity of aphids. When a scout finds a single food source, the decision to lay a recruitment trail is an all-or-none response based on the opportunity for this scout to ingest a desired volume acting as a threshold. Here, we demonstrate, through experimental and theoretical approaches, the generic value of this recruitment rule that remains valid when ants have to forage on multiple small sugar feeders to reach their desired volume. Moreover, our experiments show that when ants decide to recruit nest-mates they lay trail marks of equal intensity, whatever the number of food sources visited. A model based on the 'desired volume' rule of recruitment as well as on experimentally validated parameter values was built to investigate how ant societies adjust their foraging response to the honeydew productivity profile of aphids. Simulations predict that, with such recruiting rules, the percentage of recruiting ants is directly related to the total production of honeydew. Moreover, an optimal number of foragers exists that maximizes the strength of recruitment, this number being linearly related to the total production of honeydew by the aphid colony. The 'desired volume' recruitment rule that should be generic for all ant species is enough to explain how ants optimize trail recruitment and select aphid colonies or other liquid food resources according to their productivity profile.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Search for endogenous liver colony-forming units in F344 rats given a two-thirds hepatectomy during short-term feeding of 2-acetylaminofluorene.

    PubMed

    Laishes, B A; Rolfe, P B

    1981-05-01

    To search for endogenous liver colony-forming units in livers of male F344 rats, three cell selection regimens were used. Rats were given a two-thirds hepatectomy (PH) on Day 7 of a 14-day dietary administration of the hepatocarcinogen 2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF), given at a concentration of 0.02, 0.04, or 0.06% (AAF-PH regimens). Rats were sacrificed at intervals up to Day 21. Although extensive liver cell proliferation was induced by the AAF-PH regimens, a total of only four endogenous liver colony-forming units were detected in standard liver sections prepared from 46 AAF-PH-treated rats; the liver colony-forming units appeared in two rats sampled on Day 21. Liver cell hyperplasia was induced by the AAF-PH regimens and was reflected by an increase in the liver weight/body weight ratio, an increase in standard liver section area, and an increase in specific activity of [3H]DNA extracted from the livers of rats receiving [3H]thymidine during the AAF-PH regimen. The characteristic peak of DNA synthesis, observed at 24 hr post-PH in the livers of controls rats, was absent in AAF-PH-treated rats, but DNA-specific activity began to increase at three days post-PH, peaked at seven to ten days post-PH, and was greater with higher concentrations of AAF. The acinar distribution of liver cells proliferating during the AAF-PH regimen was evaluated in standard liver sections by microscopic determinations of cell densities and autoradiographic determinations of nuclear incorporation of [3H]thymidine as an estimate of the DNA synthesis index. At Day 14, the AAF-PH regimens induced approximately three-fold greater cell densities, compared with controls, and a DNA synthesis index in the range of 15 to 45% within 85 micrometer of the terminal portal venule in Zone 1 of Rappaport, with a gradual decrease to control levels at about 255 micrometer from the terminal portal venule. Morphologically, most of the proliferating cells in Zone 1 resembled bile duct epithelial cells with a

  5. ANTS AS BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS FOR MONITORING CHANGES IN ARID ENVIRONMENTS: LESSONS FOR MONITORING PROTECTED AREAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The responses of ant communities to structural change (removal of an invasive
    were studied in a replicated experiment in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. The
    results from sampling of ant communities by pit-fall trapping were validated by
    mapping ant colonies on the expe...

  6. ANTS AS BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS FOR MONITORING CHANGES IN ARID ENVIRONMENTS: LESSONS FOR MONITORING PROTECTED AREAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The responses of ant communities to structural change (removal of an invasive were studied in a replicated experiment in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. The results from sampling of ant communities by pit-fall trapping were validated by mapping ant colonies on the experimental plo...

  7. The interplay between scent trails and group-mass recruitment systems in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

    Large ant colonies invariably use effective scent trails to guide copious ant numbers to food sources. The success of mass recruitment hinges on the involvement of many colony members to lay powerful trails. However, many ant colonies start off as single queens. How do these same colonies forage efficiently when small, thereby overcoming the hurdles to grow large? In this paper, we study the case of combined group and mass recruitment displayed by some ant species. Using mathematical models, we explore to what extent early group recruitment may aid deployment of scent trails, making such trails available at much smaller colony sizes. We show that a competition between group and mass recruitment may cause oscillatory behaviour mediated by scent trails. This results in a further reduction of colony size to establish trails successfully. PMID:23925728

  8. Color polymorphism in an aphid is maintained by attending ants

    PubMed Central

    Watanabe, Saori; Murakami, Taiga; Yoshimura, Jin; Hasegawa, Eisuke

    2016-01-01

    The study of polymorphisms is particularly informative for enhancing our understanding of phenotypic and genetic diversity. The persistence of polymorphism in a population is generally explained by balancing selection. Color polymorphisms that are often found in many insects and arthropods are prime examples of the maintenance of polymorphisms via balancing selection. In some aphids, color morphs are maintained through frequency-dependent predation by two predatory insects. However, the presence of color polymorphism in ant-attended aphids cannot be explained by traditional balancing selection because these aphids are free from predation. We examined the selective advantages of the existence of two color (red and green) morphs in the ant-attended aphid, Macrosiphoniella yomogicola, in fields. We measured the degree of ant attendance on aphid colonies with different proportions of color morphs. The results show that the ants strongly favor aphid colonies with intermediate proportions of the two color morphs. The relationship between the degree of ant attendance and the proportion of color morphs in the field is convex when aphid colony size and ant colony size are controlled. This function has a peak of approximately 65% of green morphs in a colony. This system represents the first case of a balancing polymorphism that is not maintained by opposing factors but by a symbiotic relationship.

  9. Color polymorphism in an aphid is maintained by attending ants

    PubMed Central

    Watanabe, Saori; Murakami, Taiga; Yoshimura, Jin; Hasegawa, Eisuke

    2016-01-01

    The study of polymorphisms is particularly informative for enhancing our understanding of phenotypic and genetic diversity. The persistence of polymorphism in a population is generally explained by balancing selection. Color polymorphisms that are often found in many insects and arthropods are prime examples of the maintenance of polymorphisms via balancing selection. In some aphids, color morphs are maintained through frequency-dependent predation by two predatory insects. However, the presence of color polymorphism in ant-attended aphids cannot be explained by traditional balancing selection because these aphids are free from predation. We examined the selective advantages of the existence of two color (red and green) morphs in the ant-attended aphid, Macrosiphoniella yomogicola, in fields. We measured the degree of ant attendance on aphid colonies with different proportions of color morphs. The results show that the ants strongly favor aphid colonies with intermediate proportions of the two color morphs. The relationship between the degree of ant attendance and the proportion of color morphs in the field is convex when aphid colony size and ant colony size are controlled. This function has a peak of approximately 65% of green morphs in a colony. This system represents the first case of a balancing polymorphism that is not maintained by opposing factors but by a symbiotic relationship. PMID:27617289

  10. Color polymorphism in an aphid is maintained by attending ants.

    PubMed

    Watanabe, Saori; Murakami, Taiga; Yoshimura, Jin; Hasegawa, Eisuke

    2016-09-01

    The study of polymorphisms is particularly informative for enhancing our understanding of phenotypic and genetic diversity. The persistence of polymorphism in a population is generally explained by balancing selection. Color polymorphisms that are often found in many insects and arthropods are prime examples of the maintenance of polymorphisms via balancing selection. In some aphids, color morphs are maintained through frequency-dependent predation by two predatory insects. However, the presence of color polymorphism in ant-attended aphids cannot be explained by traditional balancing selection because these aphids are free from predation. We examined the selective advantages of the existence of two color (red and green) morphs in the ant-attended aphid, Macrosiphoniella yomogicola, in fields. We measured the degree of ant attendance on aphid colonies with different proportions of color morphs. The results show that the ants strongly favor aphid colonies with intermediate proportions of the two color morphs. The relationship between the degree of ant attendance and the proportion of color morphs in the field is convex when aphid colony size and ant colony size are controlled. This function has a peak of approximately 65% of green morphs in a colony. This system represents the first case of a balancing polymorphism that is not maintained by opposing factors but by a symbiotic relationship. PMID:27617289

  11. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

    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.

  12. 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

  13. Influence of task switching costs on colony homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Jeanson, Raphaël; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2015-06-01

    In social insects, division of labour allows colonies to optimise the allocation of workers across all available tasks to satisfy colony requirements. The maintenance of stable conditions within colonies (homeostasis) requires that some individuals move inside the nest to monitor colony needs and execute unattended tasks. We developed a simple theoretical model to explore how worker mobility inside the nest and task switching costs influence the maintenance of stable levels of task-associated stimuli. Our results indicate that worker mobility in large colonies generates important task switching costs and is detrimental to colony homeostasis. Our study suggests that the balance between benefits and costs associated with the mobility of workers patrolling inside the nest depends on colony size. We propose that several species of ants with diverse life-history traits should be appropriate to test the prediction that the proportion of mobile workers should vary during colony ontogeny. PMID:26040241

  14. Influence of task switching costs on colony homeostasis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeanson, Raphaël; Lachaud, Jean-Paul

    2015-06-01

    In social insects, division of labour allows colonies to optimise the allocation of workers across all available tasks to satisfy colony requirements. The maintenance of stable conditions within colonies (homeostasis) requires that some individuals move inside the nest to monitor colony needs and execute unattended tasks. We developed a simple theoretical model to explore how worker mobility inside the nest and task switching costs influence the maintenance of stable levels of task-associated stimuli. Our results indicate that worker mobility in large colonies generates important task switching costs and is detrimental to colony homeostasis. Our study suggests that the balance between benefits and costs associated with the mobility of workers patrolling inside the nest depends on colony size. We propose that several species of ants with diverse life-history traits should be appropriate to test the prediction that the proportion of mobile workers should vary during colony ontogeny.

  15. Survey of invasive ants at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peck, Robert W.; Banko, Paul C.

    2011-01-01

    We conducted a survey for invasive ants at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai‘i Island, during 2009–2010 to evaluate potential threats to native arthropod communities and food webs. The focal area of the survey was the upper portion of the Hakalau Unit of the refuge, where native forest was being restored in abandoned cattle pastures. This area, between 1575 and 1940 m elevations, contained much alien kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), but koa (Acacia koa) trees and other native species that were planted in the past 20 years were rapidly filling in the pasture. We surveyed for ants at predetermined points along roads, fences, and corridors of planted koa. Sampling methods primarily consisted of hand searching and pitfall traps, but bait cards were used additionally in some instances. Our results indicated that a single species, Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi, was widespread across the upper portion of the refuge. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi seemed absent, or at least rare, in areas of tall, dense grass. Due to the undulating topography of the area, however, the dense grass cover was interspersed with outcroppings of exposed, gravelly soil. Presumably due to warming by the sun, many of the outcropped habitats supported colonies of C. kagutsuchi. We did not detect ants in the old-growth forest below the abandoned pastures, presumably because microhabitat conditions under the forest canopy were unsuitable. Although ecological impacts of C. kagutsuchi have not been reported, they may be limited by the small size of the ant, the relatively small size of colonies, and the apparent preference of the ant for disturbed areas that are dominated by alien species. Notably, our survey of Keanakolu-Mana Road between the Observatory Road (John A. Burns Way) and the town of Waimea detected a population of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) approximately 5.1 km north of the Maulua Section of the refuge. We also surveyed for ants on the Kona Forest Unit of the refuge

  16. Mutualistic ants as an indirect defence against leaf pathogens.

    PubMed

    González-Teuber, Marcia; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Boland, Wilhelm

    2014-04-01

    Mutualistic ants are commonly considered as an efficient indirect defence against herbivores. Nevertheless, their indirect protective role against plant pathogens has been scarcely investigated. We compared the protective role against pathogens of two different ant partners, a mutualistic and a parasitic ant, on the host plant Acacia hindsii (Fabaceae). The epiphytic bacterial community on leaves was evaluated in the presence and absence of both ant partners by cultivation and by 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Pathogen-inflicted leaf damage, epiphytic bacterial abundance (colony-forming units) and number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly higher in plants inhabited by parasitic ants than in plants inhabited by mutualistic ants. Unifrac unweighted and weighted principal component analyses showed that the bacterial community composition on leaves changed significantly when mutualistic ants were removed from plants or when plants were inhabited by parasitic ants. Direct mechanisms provided by ant-associated bacteria would contribute to the protective role against pathogens. The results suggest that the indirect defence of mutualistic ants also covers the protection from bacterial plant pathogens. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bacterial partners in ant-plant defensive mutualisms, which can contribute significantly to ant-mediated protection from plant pathogens.

  17. Extreme Morphogenesis and Ecological Specialization among Cretaceous Basal Ants.

    PubMed

    Perrichot, Vincent; Wang, Bo; Engel, Michael S

    2016-06-01

    Ants comprise one lineage of the triumvirate of eusocial insects and experienced their early diversification within the Cretaceous [1-9]. Their ecological success is generally attributed to their remarkable social behavior. Not all ants cooperate in social hunting, however, and some of the most effective predatory ants are solitary hunters with powerful trap jaws [10]. Recent evolutionary studies predict that the early branching lineages of extant ants formed small colonies of ground-dwelling, solitary specialist predators [2, 5, 7, 11, 12], while some Cretaceous fossils suggest group recruitment and socially advanced behavior among stem-group ants [9]. We describe a trap-jaw ant from 99 million-year-old Burmese amber with head structures that presumably functioned as a highly specialized trap for large-bodied prey. These are a cephalic horn resulting from an extreme modification of the clypeus hitherto unseen among living and extinct ants and scythe-like mandibles that extend high above the head, both demonstrating the presence of exaggerated morphogenesis early among stem-group ants. The new ant belongs to the Haidomyrmecini, possibly the earliest ant lineage [9], and together these trap-jaw ants suggest that at least some of the earliest Formicidae were solitary specialist predators. With their peculiar adaptations, haidomyrmecines had a refined ecology shortly following the advent of ants. PMID:27238278

  18. 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

  19. Visual navigation in the Neotropical ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae), a predominantly nocturnal, canopy-dwelling predator of the Atlantic rainforest.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Pedro A P; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2014-11-01

    The arboreal ant Odontomachus hastatus nests among roots of epiphytic bromeliads in the sandy forest at Cardoso Island (Brazil). Crepuscular and nocturnal foragers travel up to 8m to search for arthropod prey in the canopy, where silhouettes of leaves and branches potentially provide directional information. We investigated the relevance of visual cues (canopy, horizon patterns) during navigation in O. hastatus. Laboratory experiments using a captive ant colony and a round foraging arena revealed that an artificial canopy pattern above the ants and horizon visual marks are effective orientation cues for homing O. hastatus. On the other hand, foragers that were only given a tridimensional landmark (cylinder) or chemical marks were unable to home correctly. Navigation by visual cues in O. hastatus is in accordance with other diurnal arboreal ants. Nocturnal luminosity (moon, stars) is apparently sufficient to produce contrasting silhouettes from the canopy and surrounding vegetation, thus providing orientation cues. Contrary to the plain floor of the round arena, chemical cues may be important for marking bifurcated arboreal routes. This experimental demonstration of the use of visual cues by a predominantly nocturnal arboreal ant provides important information for comparative studies on the evolution of spatial orientation behavior in ants. "This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neotropical Behaviour". PMID:24969268

  20. Visual navigation in the Neotropical ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae), a predominantly nocturnal, canopy-dwelling predator of the Atlantic rainforest.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Pedro A P; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2014-11-01

    The arboreal ant Odontomachus hastatus nests among roots of epiphytic bromeliads in the sandy forest at Cardoso Island (Brazil). Crepuscular and nocturnal foragers travel up to 8m to search for arthropod prey in the canopy, where silhouettes of leaves and branches potentially provide directional information. We investigated the relevance of visual cues (canopy, horizon patterns) during navigation in O. hastatus. Laboratory experiments using a captive ant colony and a round foraging arena revealed that an artificial canopy pattern above the ants and horizon visual marks are effective orientation cues for homing O. hastatus. On the other hand, foragers that were only given a tridimensional landmark (cylinder) or chemical marks were unable to home correctly. Navigation by visual cues in O. hastatus is in accordance with other diurnal arboreal ants. Nocturnal luminosity (moon, stars) is apparently sufficient to produce contrasting silhouettes from the canopy and surrounding vegetation, thus providing orientation cues. Contrary to the plain floor of the round arena, chemical cues may be important for marking bifurcated arboreal routes. This experimental demonstration of the use of visual cues by a predominantly nocturnal arboreal ant provides important information for comparative studies on the evolution of spatial orientation behavior in ants. "This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neotropical Behaviour".

  1. Recurrent evolution of dependent colony foundation across eusocial insects.

    PubMed

    Cronin, Adam L; Molet, Mathieu; Doums, Claudie; Monnin, Thibaud; Peeters, Christian

    2013-01-01

    The spectacular success of eusocial insects can be attributed to their sophisticated cooperation, yet cooperation is conspicuously absent during colony foundation when queens are alone. Selection against this solitary stage has led to a dramatically different strategy in thousands of eusocial insect species in which colonies are started by groups of nestmates and the benefits of sociality are retained continuously. Dependent colony foundation (DCF) evolved recurrently multiple times across the ants, bees, and wasps, though its prevalence in termites remains unclear. We review adaptations at both the colony level (reproductive investment shifts from sexuals to workers) and the individual level (wingless queens evolve in ants), and other consequences for life history (invasiveness, parasite transmission). Although few studies have focused on DCF, the accumulated data from anecdotal reports, supported by indirect information including morphology, population genetics, and colony demographics, make it clear that this strategy is more diverse and widespread than is usually recognized.

  2. Landmark guidance and vector navigation in outbound desert ants.

    PubMed

    Merkle, Tobias; Wehner, Rüdiger

    2008-11-01

    This study deals with the influence landmark information has on the foraging behaviour of the desert ant, Cataglyphis fortis, especially with the interaction of such landmark information with the ants' path integration system. We show in the first experiment that desert ants that are captured immediately after leaving their nest and then transferred to a remote test area search for the nest rather than activate their previous path integration vector. In a second experiment, the ants had been trained to a landmark corridor on their way to the feeder. In the critical test situation, they were again captured immediately after they had left the nest and transferred to a test field where they faced one of the following three situations: (1) the same landmark corridor as used during the training phase, (2) no landmarks at all and (3) a landmark corridor rotated by 90 deg. as compared with the training situation. Nearly all ants in test situation (1) eventually followed the landmark corridor but most of them never reached the fictive feeder. In situation (2), the ants searched around the nest entrance. In situation (3), approximately one half of the ants searched for the nest, whereas most of the other ants followed the landmark corridor, i.e. headed in a completely wrong direction. Hence, familiar landmarks do not only influence the foraging behaviour of desert ants, e.g. in making the ants start their foraging runs but can even out-compete the ants' path integration system.

  3. Ultraviolet radiation as an ant repellent

    SciTech Connect

    Thorvilson, H.G.; Russell, S.A.; Green, B.; Gransberg, D.

    1996-12-31

    In an effort to repel red imported fire ants (RIFA) from electrical devices, such as transformers, ultraviolet (UV) light was tested. Initial tests determined if RIFA`s tolerate a UV-irradiated environment when given a choice between UV-irradiated and non-irradiated. All replications in this test indicated that RIFA`s are intolerant of UV-irradiation and sought to escape it. RIFA`s moved to shaded environments and transported their brood out its well. A second test sought to determine if long-term UV-irradiation of the entire colonies cause increased RIFA mortality. Queenright colonies were exposed to UV irradiation of 254nm constantly for 115 days and colonies had a higher mortality rate than did a control colony. RIFA`s attempted to escape UV light and had increased rate when exposed to UV (254nm), but a practical application of this technique may be detrimental to insulation on electrical wiring.

  4. Chimpanzees detect ant-inhabited dead branches and stems: a study of the utilization of plant-ant relationships in the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Fuse, Mieko

    2013-10-01

    Chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania consume several species of stem- and branch-inhabiting ants throughout the year, without tools. Those ants are cryptic species, and it was unknown how to find them constantly. There has been little research on how the chimpanzees locate these ants. In this study, I use behavioral observations of the chimpanzee predators and surveys of the ant fauna and plants across different habitats to test the hypothesis that chimpanzees use plant species as a cue to efficiently locate ant colonies in litter units (dead parts of the plant). Ants were found to be associated with live plants and with spaces within litter units which provide nesting places. Such ant-plant litter relationships were not necessarily as strong as the mutualism often observed between live plants and ants. The proportion of available litter units inhabited by ants was 20 %, and litter units of three plant species (Vernonia subligera, Dracaena usambarensis, and Senna spectabilis) were well occupied by ants in the home range of the chimpanzees. The ant-inhabited ratio in chimpanzee-foraged litter units was higher than that in the available units in the home range. Chimpanzees fed more often on Crematogaster spp. than on other resident ants and at a higher rate than expected from their occurrence in the litter units. Above three plant species were well occupied by Crematogaster sp. 3 or C. sp. 18. It is concluded that chimpanzees locate ants by selecting litter units of plant species inhabited by ants.

  5. 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

  6. Ecology: 'Devil's gardens' bedevilled by ants.

    PubMed

    Frederickson, Megan E; Greene, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2005-09-22

    'Devil's gardens' are large stands of trees in the Amazonian rainforest that consist almost entirely of a single species, Duroia hirsuta, and, according to local legend, are cultivated by an evil forest spirit. Here we show that the ant Myrmelachista schumanni, which nests in D. hirsuta stems, creates devil's gardens by poisoning all plants except its host plants with formic acid. By killing these other plants, M. schumanni provides its colonies with abundant nest sites--a long-lasting benefit as colonies can live for 800 years.

  7. Hybrid Ant Algorithm and Applications for Vehicle Routing Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiao, Zhang; Jiang-qing, Wang

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) is a metaheuristic method that inspired by the behavior of real ant colonies. ACO has been successfully applied to several combinatorial optimization problems, but it has some short-comings like its slow computing speed and local-convergence. For solving Vehicle Routing Problem, we proposed Hybrid Ant Algorithm (HAA) in order to improve both the performance of the algorithm and the quality of solutions. The proposed algorithm took the advantages of Nearest Neighbor (NN) heuristic and ACO for solving VRP, it also expanded the scope of solution space and improves the global ability of the algorithm through importing mutation operation, combining 2-opt heuristics and adjusting the configuration of parameters dynamically. Computational results indicate that the hybrid ant algorithm can get optimal resolution of VRP effectively.

  8. Disease Dynamics in a Specialized Parasite of Ant Societies

    PubMed Central

    Andersen, Sandra B.; Ferrari, Matthew; Evans, Harry C.; Elliot, Simon L.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Hughes, David P.

    2012-01-01

    Coevolution between ant colonies and their rare specialized parasites are intriguing, because lethal infections of workers may correspond to tolerable chronic diseases of colonies, but the parasite adaptations that allow stable coexistence with ants are virtually unknown. We explore the trade-offs experienced by Ophiocordyceps parasites manipulating ants into dying in nearby graveyards. We used field data from Brazil and Thailand to parameterize and fit a model for the growth rate of graveyards. We show that parasite pressure is much lower than the abundance of ant cadavers suggests and that hyperparasites often castrate Ophiocordyceps. However, once fruiting bodies become sexually mature they appear robust. Such parasite life-history traits are consistent with iteroparity– a reproductive strategy rarely considered in fungi. We discuss how tropical habitats with high biodiversity of hyperparasites and high spore mortality has likely been crucial for the evolution and maintenance of iteroparity in parasites with low dispersal potential. PMID:22567151

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, G.; Williams, L.

    2001-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J

    2014-11-01

    Ant foraging is an important model system in the study of adaptive complex systems. Many ants use trail pheromones to recruit nestmates to resources. Differential recruitment depending on resource quality coupled with positive feedback allows ant colonies to make rapid and accurate collective decisions about how best to allocate their work-force. However, ant colonies can become trapped in sub-optimal foraging decisions if recruitment to a poor resource becomes too strong before a better resource is discovered. Genetic algorithms and Ant Colony Optimisation heuristics can also suffer from being trapped in such local optima. Recently, two negative feedback effects were described, in which an increase in crowding (crowding negative feedback-CNF) or trail pheromones (pheromone negative feedback-PNF) caused a decrease in subsequent pheromone deposition. Using agent based simulations with realistic parameters I test whether these negative feedback effects can prevent simulated ant colonies from becoming trapped in sub-optimal foraging decisions. Colonies are presented with two food sources of different qualities, and these qualities switch part way through the experiment. When either no negative feedback effects are implemented or only PNF is implemented colonies are completely unable to refocus their foraging effort to the high quality feeder. However, when CNF alone is implemented at a realistic level 97% of colonies successfully refocus their foraging effort. This ability to refocus colony foraging efforts is due to the strong reduction of pheromone deposition caused by CNF. This suggests that CNF is an important behaviour enabling ant colonies to maintain foraging flexibility. However, CNF comes at a slight cost to colonies when making their initial foraging decision. PMID:25034339

  12. Long-Term Disease Dynamics for a Specialized Parasite of Ant Societies: A Field Study

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100% prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census – at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a “terminal host model of transmission” that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection. PMID:25133749

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

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

  14. Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies: a field study.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100% prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census--at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a "terminal host model of transmission" that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection.

  15. Ant fat extraction with a Soxhlet extractor.

    PubMed

    Smith, Chris R; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-07-01

    Stored fat can be informative about the relative age of an ant, its nutritional status, and the nutritional status of the colony. Several methods are available for the quantification of stored fat. Before starting a project involving fat extraction, investigators should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different methods in order to choose the one that is best suited to the question being addressed. This protocol, although not as accurate as some alternatives, facilitates the rapid quantification of many individuals. PMID:20147208

  16. 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

  17. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help

    PubMed Central

    Miler, Krzysztof

    2016-01-01

    When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim’s nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed. PMID:26986741

  18. Moribund Ants Do Not Call for Help.

    PubMed

    Miler, Krzysztof

    2016-01-01

    When an antlion captures a foraging ant, the victim's nestmates may display rescue behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that the expression of rescue behaviour depends on the life expectancy of the captured ant. This hypothesis predicts that the expression of rescue behaviour will be less frequent when the captured ant has a lower life expectancy than when it has a higher life expectancy because such a response would be adaptive at the colony level. Indeed, significant differences were found in the frequency of rescue behaviours in response to antlion victims with differing life expectancies. In agreement with prediction, victims with lower life expectancies were rescued less frequently, and those rescues had a longer latency and shorter duration. There was also a qualitative difference in the behaviour of rescuers to victims from the low and high life expectancy groups. Several explanations for these findings are proposed. PMID:26986741

  19. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre.

    PubMed

    Tofolo, Viviane C; Giannotti, Edilberto; Neves, Erika F; Andrade, Luis H C; Lima, Sandro M; Súarez, Yzel R; Antonialli-Junior, William F

    2014-01-01

    Tropical ants commonly exhibit a hyper-dispersed pattern of spatial distribution of nests. In polydomous species, nests may be satellites, that is, secondary structures of the main nest, where the queen is found. In order to evaluate whether the ant Ectatomma opaciventre Roger (Formicidae: Ectatomminae) uses the strategy of building polydomous nests, the spatial distribution pattern of 33 nests in a 1,800 m(2) degraded area located in Rio Claro, SP, Brazil, were investigated using the nearest neighbor method. To complement the results of this investigation, the cuticular chemical profile of eight colonies was analyzed using Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The nests of E. opaciventre presented a hyper-dispersed or regular distribution, which is the most common in ants. The analysis of the cuticular hydrocarbons apparently con-firmed the hypothesis that this species is polydomous, since the chemical profiles of all studied colonies with nests at different sites were very similar to the chemical signature of the single found queen and were also different from those of colonies used as control. PMID:25373168

  20. Polydomy in the ant Ectatomma opaciventre

    PubMed Central

    Tofolo, Viviane C.; Giannotti, Edilberto; Neves, Erika F.; Andrade, Luis H. C.; Lima, Sandro M.; Súarez, Yzel R.; Antonialli-Junior, William F.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical ants commonly exhibit a hyper-dispersed pattern of spatial distribution of nests. In polydomous species, nests may be satellites, that is, secondary structures of the main nest, where the queen is found. In order to evaluate whether the ant Ectatomma opaciventre Roger (Formicidae: Ectatomminae) uses the strategy of building polydomous nests, the spatial distribution pattern of 33 nests in a 1,800 m2 degraded area located in Rio Claro, SP, Brazil, were investigated using the nearest neighbor method. To complement the results of this investigation, the cuticular chemical profile of eight colonies was analyzed using Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). The nests of E. opaciventre presented a hyper-dispersed or regular distribution, which is the most common in ants. The analysis of the cuticular hydrocarbons apparently confirmed the hypothesis that this species is polydomous, since the chemical profiles of all studied colonies with nests at different sites were very similar to the chemical signature of the single found queen and were also different from those of colonies used as control. PMID:25373168

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Recognition of Social Identity in Ants

    PubMed Central

    Bos, Nick; d’Ettorre, Patrizia

    2012-01-01

    Recognizing the identity of others, from the individual to the group level, is a hallmark of society. Ants, and other social insects, have evolved advanced societies characterized by efficient social recognition systems. Colony identity is mediated by colony specific signature mixtures, a blend of hydrocarbons present on the cuticle of every individual (the “label”). Recognition occurs when an ant encounters another individual, and compares the label it perceives to an internal representation of its own colony odor (the “template”). A mismatch between label and template leads to rejection of the encountered individual. Although advances have been made in our understanding of how the label is produced and acquired, contradictory evidence exists about information processing of recognition cues. Here, we review the literature on template acquisition in ants and address how and when the template is formed, where in the nervous system it is localized, and the possible role of learning. We combine seemingly contradictory evidence in to a novel, parsimonious theory for the information processing of nestmate recognition cues. PMID:22461777

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2005-02-01

    Leaf-cutting ants rear clonal fungi for food and transmit the fungi from mother to daughter colonies so that symbiont mixing and conflict, which result from competition between genetically different clones, are avoided. Here we show that despite millions of years of predominantly vertical transmission, the domesticated fungi actively reject mycelial fragments from neighboring colonies, and that the strength of these reactions are in proportion to the overall genetic difference between these symbionts. Fungal incompatibility compounds remain intact during ant digestion, so that fecal droplets, which are used for manuring newly grown fungus, elicit similar hostile reactions when applied to symbionts from other colonies. Symbiont control over new mycelial growth by manurial imprinting prevents the rearing of multiple crops in fungus gardens belonging to the same colony. PMID:15692054

  9. Self-Adaptive Stepsize Search Applied to Optimal Structural Design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolle, L.; Bland, J. A.

    Structural engineering often involves the design of space frames that are required to resist predefined external forces without exhibiting plastic deformation. The weight of the structure and hence the weight of its constituent members has to be as low as possible for economical reasons without violating any of the load constraints. Design spaces are usually vast and the computational costs for analyzing a single design are usually high. Therefore, not every possible design can be evaluated for real-world problems. In this work, a standard structural design problem, the 25-bar problem, has been solved using self-adaptive stepsize search (SASS), a relatively new search heuristic. This algorithm has only one control parameter and therefore overcomes the drawback of modern search heuristics, i.e. the need to first find a set of optimum control parameter settings for the problem at hand. In this work, SASS outperforms simulated-annealing, genetic algorithms, tabu search and ant colony optimization.

  10. Insect navigation: do ants live in the now?

    PubMed

    Graham, Paul; Mangan, Michael

    2015-03-01

    Visual navigation is a critical behaviour for many animals, and it has been particularly well studied in ants. Decades of ant navigation research have uncovered many ways in which efficient navigation can be implemented in small brains. For example, ants show us how visual information can drive navigation via procedural rather than map-like instructions. Two recent behavioural observations highlight interesting adaptive ways in which ants implement visual guidance. Firstly, it has been shown that the systematic nest searches of ants can be biased by recent experience of familiar scenes. Secondly, ants have been observed to show temporary periods of confusion when asked to repeat a route segment, even if that route segment is very familiar. Taken together, these results indicate that the navigational decisions of ants take into account their recent experiences as well as the currently perceived environment.

  11. Revolutionizing Remote Exploration with ANTS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-05-01

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

  12. Colony size as a buffer against seasonality: Bergmann's rule in social insects

    SciTech Connect

    Kaspari, M.; Vargo, E. )

    1994-06-01

    In eusocial species, the size of the superorganism is the summed sizes of its component individuals. Bergmann's rule, the cline of decreasing size with decreasing latitude, applies to colony size in ants. Using data from the literature and our own collections, we show that colony sizes of tropical ant species are on average 1/10th the size of temperate species. The patterns holds for 5 of 6 subfamilies and 15 of 16 genera tested. What causes this trend Larger colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, are better able to protect the queen (the colony's reproductive tissue) against food shortage, likely by sacrificing workers (it's somatic tissue). Days of queen survival follows the allometry M[sup 0.25]. We propose that the shorter growing seasons in temperate latitudes cull small-colony species through over-wintering starvation.

  13. Nonrelatives inherit colony resources in a primitive termite.

    PubMed

    Johns, Philip M; Howard, Kenneth J; Breisch, Nancy L; Rivera, Anahi; Thorne, Barbara L

    2009-10-13

    The evolution of eusociality, especially how selection would favor sterility or subfertility of most individuals within a highly social colony, is an unresolved paradox. Eusociality evolved independently in diverse taxa, including insects (all ants and termites; some bees, wasps, thrips, and beetles), snapping shrimp, and naked mole rats. Termites have received comparatively less focus than the haplodiploid Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps); however, they are the only diploid group with highly complex colonies and an extraordinary diversity of castes. In this study we staged encounters between unrelated colonies of primitive dampwood termites, Zootermopsis nevadensis, mimicking natural meetings that occur under bark. During encounters, kings and/or queens were killed and surviving members merged into one colony. After encounters, members of both unrelated colonies cooperated as a single social unit. We determined the colony of origin of replacement reproductives that emerged after death of kings and/or queens. Here, we document that replacement reproductives developed from workers in either or both original colonies, inherited the merged resources of the colony, and sometimes interbred. Because this species shares many characteristics with ancestral termites, these findings demonstrate how ecological factors could have promoted the evolution of eusociality by accelerating and enhancing direct fitness opportunities of helper offspring, rendering relatedness favoring kin selection less critical. PMID:19805058

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

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    De La Riva, Deborah G; Trumble, John T

    2016-06-01

    Competitive ability and numerical dominance are important factors contributing to the ability of invasive ant species to establish and expand their ranges in new habitats. However, few studies have investigated the impact of environmental contamination on competitive behavior in ants as a potential factor influencing dynamics between invasive and native ant species. Here we investigated the widespread contaminant selenium to investigate its potential influence on invasion by the exotic Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, through effects on reproduction and competitive behavior. For the fecundity experiment, treatments were provided to Argentine ant colonies via to sugar water solutions containing one of three concentrations of selenium (0, 5 and 10 μg Se mL(-1)) that fall within the range found in soil and plants growing in contaminated areas. Competition experiments included both the Argentine ant and the native Dorymyrmex bicolor to determine the impact of selenium exposure (0 or 15 μg Se mL(-1)) on exploitation- and interference-competition between ant species. The results of the fecundity experiment revealed that selenium negatively impacted queen survival and brood production of Argentine ants. Viability of the developing brood was also affected in that offspring reached adulthood only in colonies that were not given selenium, whereas those in treated colonies died in their larval stages. Selenium exposure did not alter direct competitive behaviors for either species, but selenium exposure contributed to an increased bait discovery time for D. bicolor. Our results suggest that environmental toxins may not only pose problems for native ant species, but may also serve as a potential obstacle for establishment among exotic species. PMID:27038576

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

    PubMed

    Inui, Yoko; Shimizu-Kaya, Usun; Okubo, Tadahiro; Yamsaki, Eri; Itioka, Takao

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Various Chemical Strategies to Deceive Ants in Three Arhopala Species (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) Exploiting Macaranga Myrmecophytes

    PubMed Central

    Inui, Yoko; Shimizu-kaya, Usun; Okubo, Tadahiro; Yamsaki, Eri; Itioka, Takao

    2015-01-01

    Macaranga myrmecophytes (ant-plants) are generally well protected from herbivore attacks by their symbiotic ants (plant-ants). However, larvae of Arhopala (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) species survive and develop on specific Macaranga ant-plant species without being attacked by the plant-ants of their host species. We hypothesized that Arhopala larvae chemically mimic or camouflage themselves with the ants on their host plant so that the larvae are accepted by the plant-ant species of their host. Chemical analyses of cuticular hydrocarbons showed that chemical congruency varied among Arhopala species; A. dajagaka matched well the host plant-ants, A. amphimuta did not match, and unexpectedly, A. zylda lacked hydrocarbons. Behaviorally, the larvae and dummies coated with cuticular chemicals of A. dajagaka were well attended by the plant-ants, especially by those of the host. A. amphimuta was often attacked by all plant-ants except for the host plant-ants toward the larvae, and those of A. zylda were ignored by all plant-ants. Our results suggested that conspicuous variations exist in the chemical strategies used by the myrmecophilous butterflies that allow them to avoid ant attack and be accepted by the plant-ant colonies. PMID:25853675

  18. 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

  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.

  20. Clonal structure affects the assembling behavior in the Japanese queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishide, Yudai; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Hiraoka, Tuyosi; Obara, Yoshiaki; Iwabuchi, Kikuo

    2007-10-01

    The queenless ant Pristomyrmex punctatus (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae) has a unique society that differs from those of other typical ants. This species does not have a queen, and the workers lay eggs and produce their clones parthenogenetically. However, a colony of these ants does not always comprise members derived from a single clonal line. In this study, we examined whether P. punctatus changes its “assembling behavior” based on colony genetic structure. We prepared two subcolonies—a larger one comprising 200 individuals and a smaller one comprising 100 individuals; these subcolonies were established from a single stock colony. We investigated whether these subcolonies assemble into a single nest. The genetically monomorphic subcolonies (single clonal line) always fused into a single nest; however, the genetically polymorphic subcolonies (multiple clonal lines) did not tend to form a single colony. The present study is the first to demonstrate that the colony genetic structure significantly affects social viscosity in social insects.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Leaf endophyte load and fungal garden development in leaf-cutting ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Previous work has shown that leaf-cutting ants prefer to cut leaf material that is relatively low in fungal endophyte content. Such a 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 thei...

  5. Predation by ants controls swallow bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Oeciacus vicarius) infestations.

    PubMed

    Brown, Charles R; Page, Catherine E; Robison, Grant A; O'Brien, Valerie A; Booth, Warren

    2015-06-01

    The swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) is the only known vector for Buggy Creek virus (BCRV), an alphavirus that circulates in cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in North America. We discovered ants (Crematogaster lineolata and Formica spp.) preying on swallow bugs at cliff swallow colonies in western Nebraska, U.S.A. Ants reduced the numbers of visible bugs on active swallow nests by 74-90%, relative to nests in the same colony without ants. Ant predation on bugs had no effect on the reproductive success of cliff swallows inhabiting the nests where ants foraged. Ants represent an effective and presumably benign way of controlling swallow bugs at nests in some colonies. They may constitute an alternative to insecticide use at sites where ecologists wish to remove the effects of swallow bugs on cliff swallows or house sparrows. By reducing bug numbers, ant presence may also lessen BCRV transmission at the spatial foci (bird colony sites) where epizootics occur. The effect of ants on swallow bugs should be accounted for in studying variation among sites in vector abundance.

  6. 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...

  7. Infection characteristics of Solenopsis invicta virus-2 in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Solenopsis invicta virus-2 (SINV-2) is the second virus identified from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, Buren. SINV-2 is unique among positive—strand RNA viruses from insects by possessing four cistrons in a monopartite genome. Fire ant colonies testing positive for SINV-2 by RT-PCR did not exhi...

  8. Multi-phase defense by the big-headed ant, Pheidole obtusospinosa, against raiding army ants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Ming H

    2010-01-01

    Army ants are well known for their destructive raids of other ant colonies. Some known defensive strategies include nest evacuation, modification of nest architecture, blockade of nest entrances using rocks or debris, and direct combat outside the nest. Since army ants highly prefer Pheidole ants as prey in desert habitats, there may be strong selective pressure on Pheidole to evolve defensive strategies to better survive raids. In the case of P. obtusospinosa Pergande (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), the worker caste system includes super majors in addition to smaller majors and minor workers. Interestingly, P. obtusospinosa and the six other New World Pheidole species described to have polymorphic major workers are all found in the desert southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico, all co-occurring with various species of Neivamyrmex army ants. Pheidole obtusospinosa used a multi-phase defensive strategy against army ant raids that involved their largest major workers. During army ant attacks, these super majors were involved in blocking the nest entrance with their enlarged heads. This is the first description of defensive head-blocking by an ant species that lacks highly modified head morphology, such as a truncated or disc-shaped head. P. obtusospinosa super majors switched effectively between passive headblocking at the nest entrance and aggressive combat outside the nest. If this multi-phase strategy is found to be used by other Pheidole species with polymorphic majors in future studies, it is possible that selective pressure by army ant raids may have been partially responsible for the convergent evolution of this extra worker caste.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant–plant mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Pringle, Elizabeth G.

    2014-01-01

    In horizontally transmitted mutualisms, mutualists disperse separately and reassemble in each generation with partners genetically unrelated to those in the previous generation. Because of this, there should be no selection on either partner to enhance the other's reproductive output directly. In symbiotic ant–plant mutualisms, myrmecophytic plants host defensive ant colonies, and ants defend the plants from herbivores. Plants and ants disperse separately, and, although ant defence can indirectly increase plant reproduction by reducing folivory, it is unclear whether ants can also directly increase plant reproduction by defending seeds. The neotropical tree Cordia alliodora hosts colonies of Azteca pittieri ants. The trees produce domatia where ants nest at stem nodes and also at the node between the peduncle and the rachides of the infloresence. Unlike the stem domatia, these reproductive domatia senesce after the tree fruits each year. In this study, I show that the tree's resident ant colony moves into these ephemeral reproductive domatia, where they tend honeydew-producing scale insects and patrol the nearby developing fruits. The presence of ants significantly reduced pre-dispersal seed predation by Amblycerus bruchid beetles, thereby directly increasing plant reproductive output. PMID:24807259

  13. Wood-nesting ants and their parasites in forests and coffee agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    De La Mora, Aldo; Philpott, Stacy M

    2010-10-01

    Agricultural intensification is linked to reduced species richness and may limit the effectiveness of predators in agricultural systems. We studied the abundance, diversity, and species composition of wood-nesting ants and frequency of parasitism of poneromorph ants in coffee agroeco systems and a forest fragment in Chiapas, Mexico. In three farms differing in shade management and in a nearby forest fragment, we surveyed ants nesting in rotten wood. We collected pupae of all poneromorph ants encountered, and incubated pupae for 15 d to recover emerging ant parasites. If no parasites emerged, we dissected pupae to examine for parasitism. Overall, we found 63 ant morphospecies, 29 genera, and 7 subfamilies from 520 colonies. There were no significant differences in ant richness or abundance between the different sites. However, there were significant differences in the species composition of ants sampled in the four different sites. The parasitism rates of ants differed according to site; in the forest 77.7% of species were parasitized, and this number declined with increasing intensification in traditional polyculture (40%),commercial polyculture (25%), and shade monoculture (16.6%). For three of four poneromorph species found in >1 habitat, parasitism rates were higher in the more vegetatively complex sites. The result that both ant species composition and ant parasitism differed among by site indicates that coffee management intensification affects wood-nesting ant communities. Further, coffee intensification may significantly alter interactions between ants and their parasites, with possible implications for biological control in coffee agroecosystems. PMID:22546442

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

  15. 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

  16. Seed harvester ants (Polonomyrmex rugosus) as "pulse" predators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Seed harvesting ants, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, collected grass cicadas at a high rate (>5 min-1 taken into the nest) at one location where cicada emergence exceeded 3m-2. Dry conditions in the winter-spring resulted in no annual plants in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. P. rugosus colonies were inactiv...

  17. An Improved Artificial Bee Colony-Based Approach for Zoning Protected Ecological Areas

    PubMed Central

    Shao, Jing; Yang, Lina; Peng, Ling; Chi, Tianhe; Wang, Xiaomeng

    2015-01-01

    China is facing ecological and environmental challenges as its urban growth rate continues to rise, and zoning protected ecological areas is recognized as an effective response measure. Zoning inherently involves both site attributes and aggregation attributes, and the combination of mathematical models and heuristic algorithms have proven advantageous. In this article, an improved artificial bee colony (IABC)-based approach is proposed for zoning protected ecological areas at a regional scale. Three main improvements were made: the first is the use of multiple strategies to generate the initial bee population of a specific quality and diversity, the second is an exploitation search procedure to generate neighbor solutions combining “replace” and “alter” operations, and the third is a “swap” strategy to enable a local search for the iterative optimal solution. The IABC algorithm was verified using simulated data. Then it was applied to define an optimum scheme of protected ecological areas of Sanya (in the Hainan province of China), and a reasonable solution was obtained. Finally, a comparison experiment with other methods (agent-based land allocation model, ant colony optimization, and density slicing) was conducted and demonstrated that the IABC algorithm was more effective and efficient than the other methods. Through this study, we aimed to provide a scientifically sound, practical approach for zoning procedures. PMID:26394148

  18. Discrete artificial bee colony algorithm for lot-streaming flowshop with total flowtime minimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sang, Hongyan; Gao, Liang; Pan, Quanke

    2012-09-01

    Unlike a traditional flowshop problem where a job is assumed to be indivisible, in the lot-streaming flowshop problem, a job is allowed to overlap its operations between successive machines by splitting it into a number of smaller sub-lots and moving the completed portion of the sub-lots to downstream machine. In this way, the production is accelerated. This paper presents a discrete artificial bee colony (DABC) algorithm for a lot-streaming flowshop scheduling problem with total flowtime criterion. Unlike the basic ABC algorithm, the proposed DABC algorithm represents a solution as a discrete job permutation. An efficient initialization scheme based on the extended Nawaz-Enscore-Ham heuristic is utilized to produce an initial population with a certain level of quality and diversity. Employed and onlooker bees generate new solutions in their neighborhood, whereas scout bees generate new solutions by performing insert operator and swap operator to the best solution found so far. Moreover, a simple but effective local search is embedded in the algorithm to enhance local exploitation capability. A comparative experiment is carried out with the existing discrete particle swarm optimization, hybrid genetic algorithm, threshold accepting, simulated annealing and ant colony optimization algorithms based on a total of 160 randomly generated instances. The experimental results show that the proposed DABC algorithm is quite effective for the lot-streaming flowshop with total flowtime criterion in terms of searching quality, robustness and effectiveness. This research provides the references to the optimization research on lot-streaming flowshop.

  19. An Improved Artificial Bee Colony-Based Approach for Zoning Protected Ecological Areas.

    PubMed

    Shao, Jing; Yang, Lina; Peng, Ling; Chi, Tianhe; Wang, Xiaomeng

    2015-01-01

    China is facing ecological and environmental challenges as its urban growth rate continues to rise, and zoning protected ecological areas is recognized as an effective response measure. Zoning inherently involves both site attributes and aggregation attributes, and the combination of mathematical models and heuristic algorithms have proven advantageous. In this article, an improved artificial bee colony (IABC)-based approach is proposed for zoning protected ecological areas at a regional scale. Three main improvements were made: the first is the use of multiple strategies to generate the initial bee population of a specific quality and diversity, the second is an exploitation search procedure to generate neighbor solutions combining "replace" and "alter" operations, and the third is a "swap" strategy to enable a local search for the iterative optimal solution. The IABC algorithm was verified using simulated data. Then it was applied to define an optimum scheme of protected ecological areas of Sanya (in the Hainan province of China), and a reasonable solution was obtained. Finally, a comparison experiment with other methods (agent-based land allocation model, ant colony optimization, and density slicing) was conducted and demonstrated that the IABC algorithm was more effective and efficient than the other methods. Through this study, we aimed to provide a scientifically sound, practical approach for zoning procedures. PMID:26394148

  20. 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.

  1. The Amana Colonies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lilja, Marilyn

    Designed for use in Iowa elementary schools, this unit introduces students to Iowa's Amana Colonies. Four lessons cover the history and cultural heritage of the colonies, daily life in historical times, daily life in modern times, and the colonies as a corporate museum. Throughout the lessons, emphasis is placed on the values and organization of…

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-10

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

  3. Transgenerational effects and the cost of ant tending in aphids.

    PubMed

    Tegelaar, Karolina; Glinwood, Robert; Pettersson, Jan; Leimar, Olof

    2013-11-01

    In mutualistic interactions, partners obtain a net benefit, but there may also be costs associated with the provision of benefits for a partner. The question of whether aphids suffer such costs when attended by ants has been raised in previous work. Transgenerational effects, where offspring phenotypes are adjusted based on maternal influences, could be important in the mutualistic interaction between aphids and ants, in particular because aphids have telescoping generations where two offspring generations can be present in a mature aphid. We investigated the immediate and transgenerational influence of ant tending on aphid life history and reproduction by observing the interaction between the facultative myrmecophile Aphis fabae and the ant Lasius niger over 13 aphid generations in the laboratory. We found that the effect of ant tending changes dynamically over successive aphid generations after the start of tending. Initially, total aphid colony weight, aphid adult weight and aphid embryo size decreased compared with untended aphids, consistent with a cost of ant association, but these differences disappeared within four generations of interaction. We conclude that transgenerational effects are important in the aphid-ant interactions and that the costs for aphids of being tended by ants can vary over generations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-10

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

    Modulation of liquid feeding-rate would allow insects to ingest more food in the same time when this was required. Ants can vary nectar intake rate by increasing sucking pump frequency according to colony requirements. We analysed electrical signals generated by sucking pump activity of ants during drinking solutions of different sucrose concentrations and under different carbohydrate-deprivation levels. Our aim was to define parameters that characterize the recordings and analyse their relationship with feeding behaviour. Signals showed that the initial and final frequencies of sucking pump activity, as well as the difference between them were higher in sugar-deprived ants. However, these parameters were not influenced by sucrose solution concentration, which affected the number of pump contractions and the volume per contraction. Unexpectedly, we found two different responses in feeding behaviour of starved and non-starved ants depending on concentration. Starved ants drank dilute solutions for the same length of time as non-starved ants but ingested higher volumes. While drinking the concentrated solutions, starved ants drank the same volume, but did so in a shorter time than the non-starved ones. Despite these differences, for each analysed concentration the total number of pump contractions remained constant independently of sugar-deprivation level. These results are discussed in the frame of feeding regulation and decision making in ant foraging behaviour. PMID:19217950

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

  8. Japanese queenless ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus, prefer the traces of both nestmates and strangers in nest selection.

    PubMed

    Satow, Show; Saitow, Yuka; Yamaki, Shōtarō; Hirota, Tadao

    2013-07-01

    Conspecific avoidance may influence the spatial distribution of colonies in some ants. House-hunting ants (Temnothorax albipennis) avoid nesting in areas where non-nestmates have nested previously. However, no reports are available on conspecific avoidance during nest selection in other ants. In the present study, we investigated nest selection in another nomadic species, the Japanese queenless ant, Pristomyrmex punctatus. Two-choice tests revealed that, similar to house-hunting ants, P. punctatus preferred nests soiled by nestmates to clean nests. However, unlike house-hunting ants, P. punctatus also preferred nests soiled by non-nestmates to a clean nest. Given the choice between a nest soiled by nestmates and one soiled by strangers, P. punctatus, unlike house-haunting ants, showed no significant preference. Thus, conspecific avoidance in nest selection was not observed in P. punctatus. Interspecific differences in ecological factors may drive the evolution of different nest selection strategies. PMID:23829211

  9. Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis.

    PubMed

    Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks.

  10. Nutrition and interference competition have interactive effects on the behavior and performance of Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Kay, Adam D; Zumbusch, Taylor; Heinen, Justa L; Marsh, Tom C; Holway, David A

    2010-01-01

    Food availability often influences competitive outcomes through effects on consumer growth. Although it has received less attention, food availability may also affect competition through nutritional effects on behavior. One hypothesis linking nutrition and competition in ants posits that increased access to carbohydrates favors greater investment in worker traits that underlie behavioral dominance. We tested this hypothesis by varying dietary protein:carbohydrate (P:C) ratios and levels of interspecific interference for Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), a widespread invasive species. As predicted, colonies facing interference increased patrolling more when reared on low P:C diets; this result is the first demonstration of an interactive effect of nutrition and interference on ant colonies. Several results suggest that this dietary effect on patrolling was due primarily to changes in colony size rather than worker behavior. Colonies on lower P:C diets had lower worker mortality and larger final colony sizes. Diet had little effect on per capita patrolling, and worker behavior in performance assays depended more on previous exposure to interference than on diet. Our findings indicate that dietary P:C ratios can influence Argentine ant performance in a competitive environment and suggest a mechanism by which monopolization of carbohydrate-rich resources can help invasive ants displace native ant competitors.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Garden sharing and garden stealing in fungus-growing ants.

    PubMed

    Adams, R M; Mueller, U G; Holloway, A K; Green, A M; Narozniak, J

    2000-11-01

    Fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae) are passed on between generations by transfer from maternal to offspring nest (vertical transmission within ant species). However, recent phylogenetic analyses revealed that cultivars are occasionally also transferred between attine species. The reasons for such lateral cultivar transfers are unknown. To investigate whether garden loss may induce ants to obtain a replacement cultivar from a neighboring colony (lateral cultivar transfer), pairs of queenright colonies of two Cyphomyrmex species were set up in two conjoined chambers; the garden of one colony was then removed to simulate the total crop loss that occurs naturally when pathogens devastate gardens. Garden-deprived colonies regained cultivars through one of three mechanisms: joining of a neighboring colony and cooperation in a common garden; stealing of a neighbor's garden; or aggressive usurpation of a neighbor's garden. Because pathogens frequently devastate attine gardens under natural conditions, garden joining, stealing and usurpation emerge as critical behavioral adaptations to survive garden catastrophes. PMID:11151668

  14. The evolution of extreme polyandry in social insects: insights from army ants.

    PubMed

    Barth, Matthias Benjamin; Moritz, Robin Frederik Alexander; Kraus, Frank Bernhard

    2014-01-01

    The unique nomadic life-history pattern of army ants (army ant adaptive syndrome), including obligate colony fission and strongly male-biased sex-ratios, makes army ants prone to heavily reduced effective population sizes (Ne). Excessive multiple mating by queens (polyandry) has been suggested to compensate these negative effects by increasing genetic variance in colonies and populations. However, the combined effects and evolutionary consequences of polyandry and army ant life history on genetic colony and population structure have only been studied in a few selected species. Here we provide new genetic data on paternity frequencies, colony structure and paternity skew for the five Neotropical army ants Eciton mexicanum, E. vagans, Labidus coecus, L. praedator and Nomamyrmex esenbeckii; and compare those data among a total of nine army ant species (including literature data). The number of effective matings per queen ranged from about 6 up to 25 in our tested species, and we show that such extreme polyandry is in two ways highly adaptive. First, given the detected low intracolonial relatedness and population differentiation extreme polyandry may counteract inbreeding and low Ne. Second, as indicated by a negative correlation of paternity frequency and paternity skew, queens maximize intracolonial genotypic variance by increasingly equalizing paternity shares with higher numbers of sires. Thus, extreme polyandry is not only an integral part of the army ant syndrome, but generally adaptive in social insects by improving genetic variance, even at the high end spectrum of mating frequencies.

  15. Social facilitation of eclosion in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Lamon, B; Topoff, H

    1985-09-01

    In colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, eclosion is facilitated by adult workers which strip away and consume the pupal cuticle. This stage-specific social interaction involves chemical stimuli which are present at the onset of eclosion, concurrent with the initiation of gross movements and separation of the pupal cuticle. Fire ant workers retrieved inanimate objects treated with an extract of eclosing pupae and placed them in the colony brood chamber with the appropriate age group where they were tended by several workers. The facilitation of eclosion by adult colony members appears to be an obligatory process in the development of this species; pupae denied the aid of adult workers during eclosion are unable to remove the pupal cuticle and rapidly succumb. PMID:4065426

  16. Indirect benefits of symbiotic coccoids for an ant-defended myrmecophytic tree.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M

    2011-01-01

    The net benefits of mutualism depend directly on the costs and effectiveness of mutualistic services and indirectly on the interactions that affect those services. We examined interactions among Cordia alliodora myrmecophytic trees, their symbiotic ants Azteca pittieri, coccoid hemipterans, and foliar herbivores in two Neotropical dry forests. The tree makes two investments in symbiotic ants: it supplies nesting space, as domatia, and it provides phloem to coccoids, which then produce honeydew that is consumed by ants. Although higher densities of coccoids should have higher direct costs for trees, we asked whether higher densities of coccoids can also have higher indirect benefits for trees by increasing the effectiveness of ant defense against foliar herbivores. We found that trees benefited from ant defense against herbivores. Ants defended trees effectively only when colonies reached high densities within trees, and ant and coccoid densities within trees were strongly positively correlated. The benefits of reduced foliar herbivory by larger ant colonies were therefore indirectly controlled by the number of coccoids. Coccoid honeydew supply also affected per capita ant aggression against tree herbivores. Ants experimentally fed a carbohydrate-rich diet, analogous to sugar obtained from coccoids, were more aggressive against caterpillars per capita than ants fed a carbohydrate-poor diet. Ant defense was more effective on more valuable and vulnerable young leaves than on older leaves. Young domatia, associated with young leaves, contained higher coccoid densities than older domatia, which suggests that coccoids may also drive spatially favorable ant defense of the tree. If higher investments by one mutualistic partner are tied to higher benefits received from the other, there may be positive feedback between partners that will stabilize the mutualism. These results suggest that higher investment by trees in coccoids leads to more effective defense by ants against

  17. Prudent Protomognathus and despotic Leptothorax duloticus: differential costs of ant slavery.

    PubMed

    Hare, J F; Alloway, T M

    2001-10-01

    The concept of ant slavery rests on the untested assumption that slave-making ants impose fitness costs on colonies of the species they raid. We tested that assumption by comparing the summertime seasonal productivity of Leptothorax spp. colonies in field exclosures without slavemakers, with a colony of the obligatory slave-making ant Protomognathus americanus, or with a colony of the obligatory slavemaker Leptothorax duloticus. Leptothorax longispinosus colonies placed in exclosures with P. americanus colonies did not differ significantly in any demographic attribute from colonies in exclosures without slavemakers. By contrast, Leptothorax curvispinosus colonies exposed to L. duloticus experienced significant reductions in dealate queens, workers, and larvae relative to control colonies exclosed without slavemakers. The pronounced difference in the impact of these slavemakers on their host-species populations correlates with differences in the behavior of the slavemakers observed in the laboratory and likely explains why P. americanus is more abundant than L. duloticus in nature. It seems that more advanced social parasites, like anatomical parasites, evolve to minimize their impact on their hosts, and thus can be regarded as "prudent social parasites."

  18. Density-Dependent Benefits in Ant-Hemipteran Mutualism? The Case of the Ghost Ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the Invasive Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Aiming; Kuang, Beiqing; Gao, Yingrui; Liang, Guangwen

    2015-01-01

    Although density-dependent benefits to hemipterans from ant tending have been measured many times, few studies have focused on integrated effects such as interactions between ant tending, natural enemy density, and hemipteran density. In this study, we tested whether the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis is affected by tending by ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), the presence of parasitoids, mealybug density, parasitoid density and interactions among these factors. Our results showed that mealybug colony growth rate and percentage parasitism were significantly affected by ant tending, parasitoid presence, and initial mealybug density separately. However, there were no interactions among the independent factors. There were also no significant interactions between ant tending and parasitoid density on either mealybug colony growth rate or percentage parasitism. Mealybug colony growth rate showed a negative linear relationship with initial mealybug density but a positive linear relationship with the level of ant tending. These results suggest that benefits to mealybugs are density-independent and are affected by ant tending level. PMID:25886510

  19. Population-Based Ant Colony Optimization for Multivariate Microaggregation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Aksut, Ann Ahu

    2013-01-01

    Numerous organizations collect and distribute non-aggregate personal data for a variety of different purposes, including demographic and public health research. In these situations, the data distributor is responsible with the protection of the anonymity and personal information of individuals. Microaggregation is one of the most commonly used…

  20. Adaptable Learning Pathway Generation with Ant Colony Optimization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wong, Lung-Hsiang; Looi, Chee-Kit

    2009-01-01

    One of the new major directions in research on web-based educational systems is the notion of adaptability: the educational system adapts itself to the learning profile, preferences and ability of the student. In this paper, we look into the issues of providing adaptability with respect to learning pathways. We explore the state of the art with…

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Modelling foraging ants in a dynamic and confined environment.

    PubMed

    Bandeira de Melo, Elton B; Araújo, Aluízio F R

    2011-04-01

    In social insects, the superposition of simple individual behavioral rules leads to the emergence of complex collective patterns and helps solve difficult problems inherent to surviving in hostile habitats. Modelling ant colony foraging reveals strategies arising from the insects' self-organization and helps develop of new computational strategies in order to solve complex problems. This paper presents advances in modelling ants' behavior when foraging in a confined and dynamic environment, based on experiments with the Argentine ant Linepithema humile in a relatively complex artificial network. We propose a model which overcomes the problem of stagnation observed in earlier models by taking into account additional biological aspects, by using non-linear functions for the deposit, perception and evaporation of pheromone, and by introducing new mechanisms to represent randomness and the exploratory behavior of the ants. PMID:21236313

  4. The statistical physics of decision-making in insect colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hogan, Patrick M.; Schlegel, Thomas; Franks, Nigel R.; Marshall, James A. R.

    2011-03-01

    We apply the stochastic methods of statistical physics to analyse collective-decision making in social insect colonies, allowing us to derive the colony-level behaviour from an individual-level model. This contrasts with the traditional approach where a differential equation model, with or without arbitrary noise terms, is assumed. Social insect colonies vary in size from on the order 100 to 10,000,000 individuals, and such a statistical physics approach allows us explicitly to derive equations for both the average behaviour and the noise in the system, across this entire scale. We develop such a framework by building upon an existing stochastic model of opinion formation to model the decision-making processes in emigrating ant colonies. This new model is both driven by and evaluated against results from experiments with rock ants. This allows us to elucidate rigorously the role played by the individual-level phenomena of direct switching in the colony-level decision-making process, which optimality theory has predicted to be of crucial importance, and which we compare with our experimental results. This illustrates the power of the stochastic methods of statistical physics for understanding social insect colonies as complex systems.

  5. Positive interactions between desert granivores: localized facilitation of harvester ants by kangaroo rats.

    PubMed

    Edelman, Andrew J

    2012-01-01

    Facilitation, when one species enhances the environment or performance of another species, can be highly localized in space. While facilitation in plant communities has been intensely studied, the role of facilitation in shaping animal communities is less well understood. In the Chihuahuan Desert, both kangaroo rats and harvester ants depend on the abundant seeds of annual plants. Kangaroo rats, however, are hypothesized to facilitate harvester ants through soil disturbance and selective seed predation rather than competing with them. I used a spatially explicit approach to examine whether a positive or negative interaction exists between banner-tailed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys spectabilis) mounds and rough harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) colonies. The presence of a scale-dependent interaction between mounds and colonies was tested by comparing fitted spatial point process models with and without interspecific effects. Also, the effect of proximity to a mound on colony mortality and spatial patterns of surviving colonies was examined. The spatial pattern of kangaroo rat mounds and harvester ant colonies was consistent with a positive interspecific interaction at small scales (<10 m). Mortality risk of vulnerable, recently founded harvester ant colonies was lower when located close to a kangaroo rat mound and proximity to a mound partly predicted the spatial pattern of surviving colonies. My findings support localized facilitation of harvester ants by kangaroo rats, likely mediated through ecosystem engineering and foraging effects on plant cover and composition. The scale-dependent effect of kangaroo rats on abiotic and biotic factors appears to result in greater founding and survivorship of young colonies near mounds. These results suggest that soil disturbance and foraging by rodents can have subtle impacts on the distribution and demography of other species.

  6. Serotonin depresses feeding behaviour in ants.

    PubMed

    Falibene, Agustina; Rössler, Wolfgang; Josens, Roxana

    2012-01-01

    Feeding behaviour is a complex functional system that relies on external signals and the physiological state of the animal. This is also the case in ants as they vary their feeding behaviour according to food characteristics, environmental conditions and - as they are social insects - to the colony's requirements. The biogenic amine serotonin (5-HT) was shown to be involved in the control and modulation of many actions and processes related to feeding in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In this study, we investigated whether 5-HT affects nectar feeding in ants by analysing its effect on the sucking-pump activity. Furthermore, we studied 5-HT association with tissues and neuronal ganglia involved in feeding regulation. Our results show that 5-HT promotes a dose-dependent depression of sucrose feeding in Camponotus mus ants. Orally administered 5-HT diminished the intake rate by mainly decreasing the volume of solution taken per pump contraction, without modifying the sucrose acceptance threshold. Immunohistochemical studies all along the alimentary canal revealed 5-HT-like immunoreactive processes on the foregut (oesophagus, crop and proventriculus), while the midgut and hindgut lacked 5-HT innervation. Although the frontal and suboesophageal ganglia contained 5-HT immunoreactive cell bodies, serotonergic innervation in the sucking-pump muscles was absent. The results are discussed in the frame of a role of 5-HT in feeding control in ants.

  7. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

  8. Ants recognize foes and not friends.

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2007-03-15

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

  10. Raiders from the sky: slavemaker founding queens select for aggressive host colonies

    PubMed Central

    Pamminger, Tobias; Modlmeier, Andreas P.; Suette, Stefan; Pennings, Pleuni S.; Foitzik, Susanne

    2012-01-01

    Reciprocal selection pressures in host–parasite systems drive coevolutionary arms races that lead to advanced adaptations in both opponents. In the interactions between social parasites and their hosts, aggression is one of the major behavioural traits under selection. In a field manipulation, we aimed to disentangle the impact of slavemaking ants and nest density on aggression of Temnothorax longispinosus ants. An early slavemaker mating flight provided us with the unique opportunity to study the influence of host aggression and demography on founding decisions and success. We discovered that parasite queens avoided colony foundation in parasitized areas and were able to capture more brood from less aggressive host colonies. Host colony aggression remained consistent over the two-month experiment, but did not respond to our manipulation. However, as one-fifth of all host colonies were successfully invaded by parasite queens, slavemaker nest foundation acts as a strong selection event selecting for high aggression in host colonies. PMID:22809720

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Establishing food site vectors in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wittlinger, Matthias; Wolf, Harald

    2012-02-15

    When returning to the site of a successful previous forage, where does one search for the goodies? Should one rely on experience from the previous homebound journey, or should one consider the outbound journey as well, or even exclusively? Desert ants are particularly well suited for pursuing this question because of their primary reliance on path integration in open and featureless desert habitats. Path integration has been studied particularly with regard to homing after lengthy foraging trips. The ants also use path integration to return to plentiful feeding sites, but what is memorised for revisiting the feeder remains controversial. Here, we demonstrate that desert ants consider, and indeed linearly average, both outbound and inbound travel for their return to a familiar feeder. This may be interpreted as a strategy to reduce navigation errors.

  17. Do additional sugar sources affect the degree of attendance of Dysmicoccus brevipes by the fire ant Solenopsis geminata?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mutualistic interactions between ants and Hemiptera are mediated to large extent by the amount and quality of sugar-rich honeydew produced. Throughout the neotropics, the fire ant Solenopsis geminata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is found in association with colonies of the pineapple mealybug Dysmi...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Haemolymph sugar levels in a nectar-feeding ant: dependence on metabolic expenditure and carbohydrate deprivation.

    PubMed

    Schilman, Pablo E; Roces, Flavio

    2008-02-01

    In nectar-feeding insects, sugars are an important source of fuel and energy storage. Here, we analyzed the haemolymph sugar levels in foragers of the ant Camponotus rufipes trained to collect nectar from an artificial feeder, and their dependence on the metabolic rate during feeding. The main sugar found was trehalose, followed by glucose and traces of fructose and sucrose. In foragers, trehalose level was independent of their activity and metabolic rate while feeding. Carbohydrate deprivation of the colony had a strong effect on the haemolymph sugar levels of workers, with a significant decrease in trehalose and glucose with increasing starvation. We also found a correlation between haemolymph sugar levels and behavioral states, with immobile workers having higher trehalose and fructose levels than active ones. It is suggested that under food deprivation, inside-nest workers initially stay completely immobile as a strategy to save energy, and only become active and start to search for food when the trehalose levels decrease even more. Based on a conservative estimation, well-fed ants could travel up to 500 m, or spend more than 20 h inactive at 25 degrees C, using only the energy provided by the haemolymph trehalose, before reaching the levels found in starved nest-mates.

  3. The first mesozoic ants.

    PubMed

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

    1967-09-01

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

  4. Decahydroquinolines from the venom of a formicinae ant, Oecophylla smaragdina.

    PubMed

    Das, Priya; Dileepkumar, R; Anaswara Krishnan, S; Nair, Achuthsankar S; Dhar, Pawan K; Oommen, Oommen V

    2014-12-15

    Ecologically significant species in controlling pests, Oecophylla smaragdina uses its venom to paralyze their prey and to communicate with their colony mates. But no significant analysis of the ant's venom gland secretions has been carried out hitherto. This study describes the identification of venom constituents of Oecophylla smaragdina using coupled gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis. The results indicate the anticipated presence of a neurotoxin i.e., 2, 5 dipropyl decahydroquinoline and phenol, 2, 4-bis (1, 1 dimethylethyl). This is the first report on presence of decahydroquinolines in the venom of formicinae ant species of genera Oecophylla. PMID:25286394

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Fürst, Matthias A; Durey, Maëlle; Nash, David R

    2012-02-01

    Social insect colonies are like fortresses, well protected and rich in shared stored resources. This makes them ideal targets for exploitation by predators, parasites and competitors. Colonies of Myrmica rubra ants are sometimes exploited by the parasitic butterfly Maculinea alcon. Maculinea alcon gains access to the ants' nests by mimicking their cuticular hydrocarbon recognition cues, which allows the parasites to blend in with their host ants. Myrmica rubra may be particularly susceptible to exploitation in this fashion as it has large, polydomous colonies with many queens and a very viscous population structure. We studied the mutual aggressive behaviour of My. rubra colonies based on predictions for recognition effectiveness. Three hypotheses were tested: first, that aggression increases with distance (geographical, genetic and chemical); second, that the more queens present in a colony and therefore the less-related workers within a colony, the less aggressively they will behave; and that colonies facing parasitism will be more aggressive than colonies experiencing less parasite pressure. Our results confirm all these predictions, supporting flexible aggression behaviour in Myrmica ants depending on context.

  11. The Molecular Clockwork of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Ingram, Krista K.; Kutowoi, Alexander; Wurm, Yannick; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Meier, Rudolf; Bloch, Guy

    2012-01-01

    The circadian clock is a core molecular mechanism that allows organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes and adapt the timing of behaviors to maximize efficiency. In social insects, the ability to maintain the appropriate temporal order is thought to improve colony efficiency and fitness. We used the newly sequenced fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) genome to characterize the first ant circadian clock. Our results reveal that the fire ant clock is similar to the clock of the honeybee, a social insect with an independent evolutionary origin of sociality. Gene trees for the eight core clock genes, period, cycle, clock, cryptochrome-m, timeout, vrille, par domain protein 1 & clockwork orange, show ant species grouping closely with honeybees and Nasonia wasps as an outgroup to the social Hymenoptera. Expression patterns for these genes suggest that the ant clock functions similar to the honeybee clock, with period and cry-m mRNA levels increasing during the night and cycle and clockwork orange mRNAs cycling approximately anti-phase to period. Gene models for five of these genes also parallel honeybee models. In particular, the single ant cryptochrome is an ortholog of the mammalian-type (cry-m), rather than Drosophila-like protein (cry-d). Additionally, we find a conserved VPIFAL C-tail region in clockwork orange shared by insects but absent in vertebrates. Overall, our characterization of the ant clock demonstrates that two social insect lineages, ants and bees, share a similar, mammalian-like circadian clock. This study represents the first characterization of clock genes in an ant and is a key step towards understanding socially-regulated plasticity in circadian rhythms by facilitating comparative studies on the organization of circadian clockwork. PMID:23152747

  12. 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 ...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Masiulionis, Virginia E; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-03-01

    Fungus-growing ants associate with multiple symbiotic microbes, including Actinobacteria for production of antibiotics. The best studied of these bacteria are within the genus Pseudonocardia, which in most fungus-growing ants are conspicuously visible on the external cuticle of workers. However, given that fungus-growing ants in the genus Atta do not carry visible Actinobacteria on their cuticle, it is unclear if this genus engages in the symbiosis with Pseudonocardia. Here we explore whether improving culturing techniques can allow for successful isolation of Pseudonocardia from Atta cephalotes leaf-cutting ants. We obtained Pseudonocardia from 9 of 11 isolation method/colony component combinations from all 5 colonies intensively sampled. The most efficient technique was bead-beating workers in phosphate buffer solution, then plating the suspension on carboxymethylcellulose medium. Placing these strains in a fungus-growing ant-associated Pseudonocardia phylogeny revealed that while some strains grouped with clades of Pseudonocardia associated with other genera of fungus-growing ants, a large portion of the isolates fell into two novel phylogenetic clades previously not identified from this ant-microbe symbiosis. Our findings suggest that Pseudonocardia may be associated with Atta fungus-growing ants, potentially internalized, and that localizing the symbiont and exploring its role is necessary to shed further light on the association.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Dissecting ant recognition systems in the age of genomics.

    PubMed

    Tsutsui, Neil D

    2013-01-01

    Hamilton is probably best known for his seminal work demonstrating the role of kin selection in social evolution. His work made it clear that, for individuals to direct their altruistic behaviours towards appropriate recipients (kin), mechanisms must exist for kin recognition. In the social insects, colonies are typically comprised of kin, and colony recognition cues are used as proxies for kinship cues. Recent years have brought rapid advances in our understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms that are used for this process. Here, I review some of the most notable advances, particularly the contributions from recent ant genome sequences and molecular biology. PMID:24132093

  20. Ecological Conditions Favoring Budding in Colonial Organisms under Environmental Disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Nakamaru, Mayuko; Takada, Takenori; Ohtsuki, Akiko; Suzuki, Sayaki U.; Miura, Kanan; Tsuji, Kazuki

    2014-01-01

    Dispersal is a topic of great interest in ecology. Many organisms adopt one of two distinct dispersal tactics at reproduction: the production of small offspring that can disperse over long distances (such as seeds and spawned eggs), or budding. The latter is observed in some colonial organisms, such as clonal plants, corals and ants, in which (super)organisms split their body into components of relatively large size that disperse to a short distance. Contrary to the common dispersal viewpoint, short-dispersal colonial organisms often flourish even in environments with frequent disturbances. In this paper, we investigate the conditions that favor budding over long-distance dispersal of small offspring, focusing on the life history of the colony growth and the colony division ratio. These conditions are the relatively high mortality of very small colonies, logistic growth, the ability of dispersers to peacefully seek and settle unoccupied spaces, and small spatial scale of environmental disturbance. If these conditions hold, budding is advantageous even when environmental disturbance is frequent. These results suggest that the demography or life history of the colony underlies the behaviors of the colonial organisms. PMID:24621824

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Colonisation and competition dynamics can explain incomplete sterilisation parasitism in ant-plant symbioses.

    PubMed

    Tarnita, Corina E; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2014-10-01

    Sterilisation of parasites prevents host reproduction, thereby diverting host resources to their own benefit. Previous theory predicts that parasites should evolve maximum virulence, yet hosts are often incompletely sterilised. Whereas prior attempts to resolve this paradox have sought evolutionary explanations, we present theory and experiments showing that incomplete sterilisation can arise from ecologically driven fluctuations in parasite load. The African ant-plant Acacia drepanolobium reproduced more when occupied by small colonies of the sterilising symbiont Crematogaster nigriceps. In nature, small colonies result from interference competition between ant colonies; these territorial conflicts thus provide intermittent windows of opportunity for host reproduction. Our mean-field model shows that numerical insufficiency of parasites can produce partial sterilisation of host populations, creating the appearance of reduced virulence even if ants have evolved to sterilise completely. This general framework helps explain both the apparent ubiquity of partial sterilisation parasitism and the ability of these symbiotic associations to persist.

  4. Keep the nest clean: survival advantages of corpse removal in ants

    PubMed Central

    Diez, Lise; Lejeune, Philippe; Detrain, Claire

    2014-01-01

    Sociality increases exposure to pathogens. Therefore, social insects have developed a wide range of behavioural defences, known as ‘social immunity’. However, the benefits of these behaviours in terms of colony survival have been scarcely investigated. We tested the survival advantage of prophylaxis, i.e. corpse removal, in ants. Over 50 days, we compared the survival of ants in colonies that were free to remove corpses with those that were restricted in their corpse removal. From Day 8 onwards, the survival of adult workers was significantly higher in colonies that were allowed to remove corpses normally. Overall, larvae survived better than adults, but were slightly affected by the presence of corpses in the nest. When removal was restricted, ants removed as many corpses as they could and moved the remaining corpses away from brood, typically to the nest corners. These results show the importance of nest maintenance and prophylactic behaviour in social insects. PMID:25009241

  5. Keep the nest clean: survival advantages of corpse removal in ants.

    PubMed

    Diez, Lise; Lejeune, Philippe; Detrain, Claire

    2014-07-01

    Sociality increases exposure to pathogens. Therefore, social insects have developed a wide range of behavioural defences, known as 'social immunity'. However, the benefits of these behaviours in terms of colony survival have been scarcely investigated. We tested the survival advantage of prophylaxis, i.e. corpse removal, in ants. Over 50 days, we compared the survival of ants in colonies that were free to remove corpses with those that were restricted in their corpse removal. From Day 8 onwards, the survival of adult workers was significantly higher in colonies that were allowed to remove corpses normally. Overall, larvae survived better than adults, but were slightly affected by the presence of corpses in the nest. When removal was restricted, ants removed as many corpses as they could and moved the remaining corpses away from brood, typically to the nest corners. These results show the importance of nest maintenance and prophylactic behaviour in social insects.

  6. Trophallaxis and prophylaxis: social immunity in the carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Casey; Lejeune, Brian T; Rosengaus, Rebeca B

    2011-02-23

    In social insects, group behaviour can increase disease resistance among nest-mates and generate social prophylaxis. Stomodeal trophallaxis, or mutual feeding through regurgitation, may boost colony-level immunocompetence. We provide evidence for increased trophallactic behaviour among immunized workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus, which, together with increased antimicrobial activity of the regurgitate droplet, help explain the improved survival of droplet recipient ants relative to controls following an immune challenge. We have identified a protein related to cathepsin D, a lysosomal protease, as a potential contributor to the antimicrobial activity. The combined behavioural and immunological responses to infection in these ants probably represent an effective mechanism underlying the social facilitation of disease resistance, which could potentially produce socially mediated colony-wide prophylaxis. The externalization and sharing of an individual's immune responses via trophallaxis could be an important component of social immunity, allowing insect colonies to thrive under high pathogenic pressures.

  7. Trophallaxis and prophylaxis: social immunity in the carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Casey; Lejeune, Brian T; Rosengaus, Rebeca B

    2011-02-23

    In social insects, group behaviour can increase disease resistance among nest-mates and generate social prophylaxis. Stomodeal trophallaxis, or mutual feeding through regurgitation, may boost colony-level immunocompetence. We provide evidence for increased trophallactic behaviour among immunized workers of the carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus, which, together with increased antimicrobial activity of the regurgitate droplet, help explain the improved survival of droplet recipient ants relative to controls following an immune challenge. We have identified a protein related to cathepsin D, a lysosomal protease, as a potential contributor to the antimicrobial activity. The combined behavioural and immunological responses to infection in these ants probably represent an effective mechanism underlying the social facilitation of disease resistance, which could potentially produce socially mediated colony-wide prophylaxis. The externalization and sharing of an individual's immune responses via trophallaxis could be an important component of social immunity, allowing insect colonies to thrive under high pathogenic pressures. PMID:20591850

  8. 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

  9. Profiling and Metabolism of Sterols in the Weaver Ant Genus Oecophylla.

    PubMed

    Vidkjær, Nanna H; Jensen, Karl-Martin V; Gislum, René; Fomsgaard, Inge S

    2016-01-01

    Sterols are essential to insects because they are vital for many biochemical processes, nevertheless insects cannot synthesize sterols but have to acquire them through their diet. Studies of sterols in ants are sparse and here the sterols of the weaver ant genus Oecophylla are identified for the first time. The sterol profile and the dietary sterols provided to a laboratory Oecophylla longinoda colony were analyzed. Most sterols originated from the diet, except one, which was probably formed via dealkylation in the ants and two sterols of fungal origin, which likely originate from hitherto unidentified endosymbionts responsible for supplying these two compounds. The sterol profile of a wild Oecophylla smaragdina colony was also investigated. Remarkable qualitative similarities were established between the two species despite the differences in diet, species, and origin. This may reflect a common sterol need/aversion in the weaver ants. Additionally, each individual caste of both species displayed unique sterol profiles.

  10. The seasonal natural history of the ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida.

    PubMed

    Laskis, Kristina O; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-01-01

    Dolichoderus mariae Forel, (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is an uncommon, monomorphic but locally abundant, reddish-brown ant of peculiar nesting habits, whose range includes most of the eastern USA. In north Florida the ant excavates soil under wiregrass clumps or other plants with fibrous roots to form a single, large, shallow, conical or ovoid chamber broadly open to the surface around the plant base. Colonies are highly polygyne and, during the warm season, inhabit multiple nests connected only by above ground trails, over which nests exchange workers. Although monomorphic, worker size may differ significantly between colonies. The colony cycle is dominated by strong seasonal polydomy. From one or two over-wintering nests, the colonies expanded to occupy up to 60 nests by late summer, then retract once more to one or two nests by mid-winter. The worker-to-queen ratio changed greatly during this cycle, with over two thousand workers per queen during fall and winter, dropping to a low of about 300 during midsummer. Most of these summer queens probably die during the fall. Colonies reoccupy roughly the same area year to year even though they contract down to one or two nests in winter. Observation of fights in the contact zone between colonies suggested that the colonies are territorial. The ants subsist by tending aphids and scale insects for honeydew and scavenging for dead insects within their territories.

  11. Distributed representation of social odors indicates parallel processing in the antennal lobe of ants.

    PubMed

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2011-11-01

    In colonies of eusocial Hymenoptera cooperation is organized through social odors, and particularly ants rely on a sophisticated odor communication system. Neuronal information about odors is represented in spatial activity patterns in the primary olfactory neuropile of the insect brain, the antennal lobe (AL), which is analog to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. The olfactory system is characterized by neuroanatomical compartmentalization, yet the functional significance of this organization is unclear. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we investigated the neuronal representation of multicomponent colony odors, which the ants assess to discriminate friends (nestmates) from foes (nonnestmates). In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, colony odors elicited spatial activity patterns distributed across different AL compartments. Activity patterns in response to nestmate and nonnestmate colony odors were overlapping. This was expected since both consist of the same components at differing ratios. Colony odors change over time and the nervous system has to constantly adjust for this (template reformation). Measured activity patterns were variable, and variability was higher in response to repeated nestmate than to repeated nonnestmate colony odor stimulation. Variable activity patterns may indicate neuronal plasticity within the olfactory system, which is necessary for template reformation. Our results indicate that information about colony odors is processed in parallel in different neuroanatomical compartments, using the computational power of the whole AL network. Parallel processing might be advantageous, allowing reliable discrimination of highly complex social odors.

  12. Larval memory affects adult nest-mate recognition in the ant Aphaenogaster senilis

    PubMed Central

    Signorotti, Lisa; Jaisson, Pierre; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2014-01-01

    Prenatal olfactory learning has been demonstrated in a wide variety of animals, where it affects development and behaviour. Young ants learn the chemical signature of their colony. This cue-learning process allows the formation of a template used for nest-mate recognition in order to distinguish alien individuals from nest-mates, thus ensuring that cooperation is directed towards group members and aliens are kept outside the colony. To date, no study has investigated the possible effect of cue learning during early developmental stages on adult nest-mate recognition. Here, we show that odour familiarization during preimaginal life affects recognition abilities of adult Aphaenogaster senilis ants, particularly when the familiarization process occurs during the first larval stages. Ants eclosed from larvae exposed to the odour of an adoptive colony showed reduced aggression towards familiar, adoptive individuals belonging to this colony compared with alien individuals (true unfamiliar), but they remained non-aggressive towards adult individuals of their natal colony. Moreover, we found that the chemical similarity between the colony of origin and the adoptive colony does not influence the degree of aggression, meaning that the observed effect is likely to be due only to preimaginal learning experience. These results help understanding the developmental processes underlying efficient recognition systems. PMID:24258719

  13. Distributed representation of social odors indicates parallel processing in the antennal lobe of ants.

    PubMed

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2011-11-01

    In colonies of eusocial Hymenoptera cooperation is organized through social odors, and particularly ants rely on a sophisticated odor communication system. Neuronal information about odors is represented in spatial activity patterns in the primary olfactory neuropile of the insect brain, the antennal lobe (AL), which is analog to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. The olfactory system is characterized by neuroanatomical compartmentalization, yet the functional significance of this organization is unclear. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we investigated the neuronal representation of multicomponent colony odors, which the ants assess to discriminate friends (nestmates) from foes (nonnestmates). In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, colony odors elicited spatial activity patterns distributed across different AL compartments. Activity patterns in response to nestmate and nonnestmate colony odors were overlapping. This was expected since both consist of the same components at differing ratios. Colony odors change over time and the nervous system has to constantly adjust for this (template reformation). Measured activity patterns were variable, and variability was higher in response to repeated nestmate than to repeated nonnestmate colony odor stimulation. Variable activity patterns may indicate neuronal plasticity within the olfactory system, which is necessary for template reformation. Our results indicate that information about colony odors is processed in parallel in different neuroanatomical compartments, using the computational power of the whole AL network. Parallel processing might be advantageous, allowing reliable discrimination of highly complex social odors. PMID:21849606

  14. The seasonal natural history of the ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida.

    PubMed

    Laskis, Kristina O; Tschinkel, Walter R

    2009-01-01

    Dolichoderus mariae Forel, (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is an uncommon, monomorphic but locally abundant, reddish-brown ant of peculiar nesting habits, whose range includes most of the eastern USA. In north Florida the ant excavates soil under wiregrass clumps or other plants with fibrous roots to form a single, large, shallow, conical or ovoid chamber broadly open to the surface around the plant base. Colonies are highly polygyne and, during the warm season, inhabit multiple nests connected only by above ground trails, over which nests exchange workers. Although monomorphic, worker size may differ significantly between colonies. The colony cycle is dominated by strong seasonal polydomy. From one or two over-wintering nests, the colonies expanded to occupy up to 60 nests by late summer, then retract once more to one or two nests by mid-winter. The worker-to-queen ratio changed greatly during this cycle, with over two thousand workers per queen during fall and winter, dropping to a low of about 300 during midsummer. Most of these summer queens probably die during the fall. Colonies reoccupy roughly the same area year to year even though they contract down to one or two nests in winter. Observation of fights in the contact zone between colonies suggested that the colonies are territorial. The ants subsist by tending aphids and scale insects for honeydew and scavenging for dead insects within their territories. PMID:19611227

    </