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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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Ant colony optimization: Introduction and recent trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blum, Christian

    2005-12-01

    Ant colony optimization is a technique for optimization that was introduced in the early 1990's. The inspiring source of ant colony optimization is the foraging behavior of real ant colonies. This behavior is exploited in artificial ant colonies for the search of approximate solutions to discrete optimization problems, to continuous optimization problems, and to important problems in telecommunications, such as routing and load balancing. First, we deal with the biological inspiration of ant colony optimization algorithms. We show how this biological inspiration can be transfered into an algorithm for discrete optimization. Then, we outline ant colony optimization in more general terms in the context of discrete optimization, and present some of the nowadays best-performing ant colony optimization variants. After summarizing some important theoretical results, we demonstrate how ant colony optimization can be applied to continuous optimization problems. Finally, we provide examples of an interesting recent research direction: The hybridization with more classical techniques from artificial intelligence and operations research.

  5. An element search ant colony technique for solving virtual machine placement problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Srija, J.; Rani John, Rose; Kanaga, Grace Mary, Dr.

    2017-09-01

    The data centres in the cloud environment play a key role in providing infrastructure for ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, mobile computing etc. This computing technique tries to utilize the available resources in order to provide services. Hence maintaining the resource utilization without wastage of power consumption has become a challenging task for the researchers. In this paper we propose the direct guidance ant colony system for effective mapping of virtual machines to the physical machine with maximal resource utilization and minimal power consumption. The proposed algorithm has been compared with the existing ant colony approach which is involved in solving virtual machine placement problem and thus the proposed algorithm proves to provide better result than the existing technique.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Exploration versus exploitation in polydomous ant colonies.

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-21

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

  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. Polydomy enhances foraging performance in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Stroeymeyt, N; Joye, P; Keller, L

    2017-04-26

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

  12. 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.

  13. Ant Colony Optimization with Cunning Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsutsui, Shigeyoshi

    In this paper, we propose the cAS, a new ACO algorithm, and evaluate the performance using TSP instances available at TSPLIB. The results show that cAS works well on the test instances and has performance that may be one of the most promising ACO algorithms. We also evaluate cAS when it is combined with LK local search heuristic using larger sized TSP instances. The results also show promising performance. cAS introduced two important schemes. One is to use the colony model divided into units, which has a stronger exploitation feature while maintaining a certain degree of diversity among units. The other is to use a scheme, we call cunning, when constructing new solutions, which can prevent premature stagnation by reducing strong positive feedback to the trail density.

  14. Protein structure optimization with a "Lamarckian" ant colony algorithm.

    PubMed

    Oakley, Mark T; Richardson, E Grace; Carr, Harriet; Johnston, Roy L

    2013-01-01

    We describe the LamarckiAnt algorithm: a search algorithm that combines the features of a "Lamarckian" genetic algorithm and ant colony optimization. We have implemented this algorithm for the optimization of BLN model proteins, which have frustrated energy landscapes and represent a challenge for global optimization algorithms. We demonstrate that LamarckiAnt performs competitively with other state-of-the-art optimization algorithms.

  15. The Regulation of Ant Colony Foraging Activity without Spatial Information

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Many dynamical networks, such as the ones that produce the collective behavior of social insects, operate without any central control, instead arising from local interactions among individuals. A well-studied example is the formation of recruitment trails in ant colonies, but many ant species do not use pheromone trails. We present a model of the regulation of foraging by harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) colonies. This species forages for scattered seeds that one ant can retrieve on its own, so there is no need for spatial information such as pheromone trails that lead ants to specific locations. Previous work shows that colony foraging activity, the rate at which ants go out to search individually for seeds, is regulated in response to current food availability throughout the colony's foraging area. Ants use the rate of brief antennal contacts inside the nest between foragers returning with food and outgoing foragers available to leave the nest on the next foraging trip. Here we present a feedback-based algorithm that captures the main features of data from field experiments in which the rate of returning foragers was manipulated. The algorithm draws on our finding that the distribution of intervals between successive ants returning to the nest is a Poisson process. We fitted the parameter that estimates the effect of each returning forager on the rate at which outgoing foragers leave the nest. We found that correlations between observed rates of returning foragers and simulated rates of outgoing foragers, using our model, were similar to those in the data. Our simple stochastic model shows how the regulation of ant colony foraging can operate without spatial information, describing a process at the level of individual ants that predicts the overall foraging activity of the colony. PMID:22927811

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  17. Improved ant colony algorithm and its simulation study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zongjiang

    2013-03-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Improved Robustness through Population Variance in Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matthews, David C.; Sutton, Andrew M.; Hains, Doug; Whitley, L. Darrell

    Ant Colony Optimization algorithms are population-based Stochastic Local Search algorithms that mimic the behavior of ants, simulating pheromone trails to search for solutions to combinatorial optimization problems. This paper introduces Population Variance, a novel approach to ACO algorithms that allows parameters to vary across the population over time, leading to solution construction differences that are not strictly stochastic. The increased exploration appears to help the search escape from local optima, significantly improving the robustness of the algorithm with respect to suboptimal parameter settings.

  1. Improved ant colony algorithm for global path planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Pengfei; Wang, Hongbo; Li, Xiaogang

    2017-03-01

    The ant colony algorithm has many advantages compared with other algorithms in path planning, but its shortcomings still cannot be ignored. For example, the convergence speed is very low at initial stage, it is easy to fall into the local optimal solution, and the solution speed is slow and so on. In order to solve these problems and reduce the search time, this paper firstly makes the assignment of the main parameters of α, β, M and ρ in the ant colony algorithm through a large number of experimental data analysis. Then an improved ant colony algorithm based on dynamic parameters and new pheromone updating mechanism is proposed in this paper. Simulation results show that the improved ant colony algorithm can not only greatly shorten the algorithm running time, but also has greater probability to get the global optimal solution, and the convergence rate of algorithm is better than traditional ant colony algorithm. It is very advantageous for solving large-scale optimization problems.

  2. 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.

  3. Annealing Ant Colony Optimization with Mutation Operator for Solving TSP

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) has been successfully applied to solve a wide range of combinatorial optimization problems such as minimum spanning tree, traveling salesman problem, and quadratic assignment problem. Basic ACO has drawbacks of trapping into local minimum and low convergence rate. Simulated annealing (SA) and mutation operator have the jumping ability and global convergence; and local search has the ability to speed up the convergence. Therefore, this paper proposed a hybrid ACO algorithm integrating the advantages of ACO, SA, mutation operator, and local search procedure to solve the traveling salesman problem. The core of algorithm is based on the ACO. SA and mutation operator were used to increase the ants population diversity from time to time and the local search was used to exploit the current search area efficiently. The comparative experiments, using 24 TSP instances from TSPLIB, show that the proposed algorithm outperformed some well-known algorithms in the literature in terms of solution quality. PMID:27999590

  4. Annealing Ant Colony Optimization with Mutation Operator for Solving TSP.

    PubMed

    Mohsen, Abdulqader M

    2016-01-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) has been successfully applied to solve a wide range of combinatorial optimization problems such as minimum spanning tree, traveling salesman problem, and quadratic assignment problem. Basic ACO has drawbacks of trapping into local minimum and low convergence rate. Simulated annealing (SA) and mutation operator have the jumping ability and global convergence; and local search has the ability to speed up the convergence. Therefore, this paper proposed a hybrid ACO algorithm integrating the advantages of ACO, SA, mutation operator, and local search procedure to solve the traveling salesman problem. The core of algorithm is based on the ACO. SA and mutation operator were used to increase the ants population diversity from time to time and the local search was used to exploit the current search area efficiently. The comparative experiments, using 24 TSP instances from TSPLIB, show that the proposed algorithm outperformed some well-known algorithms in the literature in terms of solution quality.

  5. Parallelizing Ant Colony Optimization via Area of Expertise Learning

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-09-13

    ACS-TSP, is well-established and commonly used throughout the academic community. ACS-GRIDWORLD, on the other hand, represents a brand -new ant colony...van der Zwaan, S. and C. Marques . “Ant Colony Optimisation for Job Shop Scheduling”, 1999. URL citeseer.ist.psu.edu/vanderzwaan99ant.html. 103

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Ant Colony Optimization with Memory and Its Application to Traveling Salesman Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Rong-Long; Zhao, Li-Qing; Zhou, Xiao-Fan

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is one of the most recent techniques for solving combinatorial optimization problems, and has been unexpectedly successful. Therefore, many improvements have been proposed to improve the performance of the ACO algorithm. In this paper an ant colony optimization with memory is proposed, which is applied to the classical traveling salesman problem (TSP). In the proposed algorithm, each ant searches the solution not only according to the pheromone and heuristic information but also based on the memory which is from the solution of the last iteration. A large number of simulation runs are performed, and simulation results illustrate that the proposed algorithm performs better than the compared algorithms.

  17. 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.

  18. The adaptive significance of phasic colony cycles in army ants.

    PubMed

    Garnier, Simon; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2017-09-07

    Army ants are top arthropod predators in tropical forests around the world. The colonies of many army ant species undergo stereotypical behavioral and reproductive cycles, alternating between brood care and reproductive phases. In the brood care phase, colonies contain a cohort of larvae that are synchronized in their development and have to be fed. In the reproductive phase larvae are absent and oviposition takes place. Despite these colony cycles being a striking feature of army ant biology, their adaptive significance is unclear. Here we use a modeling approach to show that cyclic reproduction is favored under conditions where per capita foraging costs decrease with the number of larvae in a colony ("High Cost of Entry" scenario), while continuous reproduction is favored under conditions where per capita foraging costs increase with the number of larvae ("Resource Exhaustion" scenario). We argue that the former scenario specifically applies to army ants, because large raiding parties are required to overpower prey colonies. However, once raiding is successful it provides abundant food for a large cohort of larvae. The latter scenario, on the other hand, will apply to non-army ants, because in those species local resource depletion will force workers to forage over larger distances to feed large larval cohorts. Our model provides a quantitative framework for understanding the adaptive value of phasic colony cycles in ants. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Strong Combination of Ant Colony Optimization with Constraint Programming Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khichane, Madjid; Albert, Patrick; Solnon, Christine

    We introduce an approach which combines ACO (Ant Colony Optimization) and IBM ILOG CP Optimizer for solving COPs (Combinatorial Optimization Problems). The problem is modeled using the CP Optimizer modeling API. Then, it is solved in a generic way by a two-phase algorithm. The first phase aims at creating a hot start for the second: it samples the solution space and applies reinforcement learning techniques as implemented in ACO to create pheromone trails. During the second phase, CP Optimizer performs a complete tree search guided by the pheromone trails previously accumulated. The first experimental results on knapsack, quadratic assignment and maximum independent set problems show that this new algorithm enhances the performance of CP Optimizer alone.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-08-01

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

  2. Ant colonies prefer infected over uninfected nest sites.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Improving Emergency Management by Modeling Ant Colonies

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-03-01

    Charles D. Michener and Mary H. Michener, “American Social Insects: A Book About Bees, Ants, Wasps, and Termites ” (New York: D Van Nostrand, 1951...no. 2 (1978): 183–216. Michener, Charles D. and Mary H. Michener. American Social Insects: A Book About Bees, Ants, Wasps, and Termites . New York

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinze, J.

    2008-08-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Marking individual ants for behavioral sampling in a laboratory colony.

    PubMed

    Holbrook, C Tate

    2009-07-01

    Ant societies are tractable and malleable, two features that make them ideal models for probing the organization of complex biological systems. The ability to identify specific individuals while they function as part of a colony permits an integrative analysis of social complexity, including self-organizational processes (i.e., how individual-level properties and social interactions give rise to emergent, colony-level attributes such as division of labor and collective decision making). Effects of genotype, nutrition, and physiology on individual behavior and the organization of work also can be investigated in this manner, through correlative and manipulative approaches. Moreover, aspects of colony demography (e.g., colony size, and age and size distributions of workers) can be altered experimentally to examine colony development and regulatory mechanisms underlying colony homeostasis and resiliency. This protocol describes how to sample the behavior of ants living in a colony under laboratory conditions. Specifically, it outlines how to identify and observe individuals within a colony, an approach that can be used to quantify individual- and colony-level patterns of behavior. When a lower-resolution measure of overall group behavior is desired, individual identities might not be required. Given the diversity of ants and their study, this protocol provides a very general methodology; the details can be modified according to the body size, colony size, and ecology of the focal species, as well as to specific research aims. These basic techniques can also be extended to more advanced experimental designs such as manipulation of colony demography and hormone treatment.

  7. Research on the ant colony algorithm in robot path planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yong; Ma, Jianming; Wang, Ying

    2017-05-01

    Using the A* algorithm principle proposed adaptive adjustment heuristic function, to reduce the degree of divergence algorithm; The state transition of the next ant improvement strategies, to improve the diversity of path planning solution; Control the change of the pheromone, to avoid algorithm trapped in local optimal solution; The improved ant colony algorithm makes the robot along an optimal or suboptimal path to arrive at the target.

  8. Improved Modeling of Intelligent Tutoring Systems Using Ant Colony Optimization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rastegarmoghadam, Mahin; Ziarati, Koorush

    2017-01-01

    Swarm intelligence approaches, such as ant colony optimization (ACO), are used in adaptive e-learning systems and provide an effective method for finding optimal learning paths based on self-organization. The aim of this paper is to develop an improved modeling of adaptive tutoring systems using ACO. In this model, the learning object is…

  9. 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.

  10. Plant defense, herbivory, and the growth of Cordia alliodora trees and their symbiotic Azteca ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-11-01

    The effects of herbivory on plant fitness are integrated over a plant's lifetime, mediated by ontogenetic changes in plant defense, tolerance, and herbivore pressure. In symbiotic ant-plant mutualisms, plants provide nesting space and food for ants, and ants defend plants against herbivores. The benefit to the plant of sustaining the growth of symbiotic ant colonies depends on whether defense by the growing ant colony outpaces the plant's growth in defendable area and associated herbivore pressure. These relationships were investigated in the symbiotic mutualism between Cordia alliodora trees and Azteca pittieri ants in a Mexican tropical dry forest. As ant colonies grew, worker production remained constant relative to ant-colony size. As trees grew, leaf production increased relative to tree size. Moreover, larger trees hosted lower densities of ants, suggesting that ant-colony growth did not keep pace with tree growth. On leaves with ants experimentally excluded, herbivory per unit leaf area increased exponentially with tree size, indicating that larger trees experienced higher herbivore pressure per leaf area than smaller trees. Even with ant defense, herbivory increased with tree size. Therefore, although larger trees had larger ant colonies, ant density was lower in larger trees, and the ant colonies did not provide sufficient defense to compensate for the higher herbivore pressure in larger trees. These results suggest that in this system the tree can decrease herbivory by promoting ant-colony growth, i.e., sustaining space and food investment in ants, as long as the tree continues to grow.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. On the problem of solving the optimization for continuous space based on information distribution function of ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Min, Huang; Na, Cai

    2017-06-01

    These years, ant colony algorithm has been widely used in solving the domain of discrete space optimization, while the research on solving the continuous space optimization was relatively little. Based on the original optimization for continuous space, the article proposes the improved ant colony algorithm which is used to Solve the optimization for continuous space, so as to overcome the ant colony algorithm’s disadvantages of searching for a long time in continuous space. The article improves the solving way for the total amount of information of each interval and the due number of ants. The article also introduces a function of changes with the increase of the number of iterations in order to enhance the convergence rate of the improved ant colony algorithm. The simulation results show that compared with the result in literature[5], the suggested improved ant colony algorithm that based on the information distribution function has a better convergence performance. Thus, the article provides a new feasible and effective method for ant colony algorithm to solve this kind of problem.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Task scheduling based on ant colony optimization in cloud environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, Qiang

    2017-04-01

    In order to optimize the task scheduling strategy in cloud environment, we propose a cloud computing task scheduling algorithm based on ant colony algorithm. The main goal of this algorithm is to minimize the makespan and the total cost of the tasks, while making the system load more balanced. In this paper, we establish the objective function of the makespan and costs of the tasks, define the load balance function. Meanwhile, we also improve the initialization of the pheromone, the heuristic function and the pheromone update method in the ant colony algorithm. Then, some experiments were carried out on the Cloudsim platform, and the results were compared with algorithms of ACO and Min-Min. The results shows that the algorithm is more efficient than the other two algorithms in makespan, costs and system load balancing.

  1. Coupling ant colony optimization and the extended great deluge algorithm for the discrete facility layout problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nourelfath, M.; Nahas, N.; Montreuil, B.

    2007-12-01

    This article uses a hybrid optimization approach to solve the discrete facility layout problem (FLP), modelled as a quadratic assignment problem (QAP). The idea of this approach design is inspired by the ant colony meta-heuristic optimization method, combined with the extended great deluge (EGD) local search technique. Comparative computational experiments are carried out on benchmarks taken from the QAP-library and from real life problems. The performance of the proposed algorithm is compared to construction and improvement heuristics such as H63, HC63-66, CRAFT and Bubble Search, as well as other existing meta-heuristics developed in the literature based on simulated annealing (SA), tabu search and genetic algorithms (GAs). This algorithm is compared also to other ant colony implementations for QAP. The experimental results show that the proposed ant colony optimization/extended great deluge (ACO/EGD) performs significantly better than the existing construction and improvement algorithms. The experimental results indicate also that the ACO/EGD heuristic methodology offers advantages over other algorithms based on meta-heuristics in terms of solution quality.

  2. Predicting Flood in Perlis Using Ant Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nadia Sabri, Syaidatul; Saian, Rizauddin

    2017-06-01

    Flood forecasting is widely being studied in order to reduce the effect of flood such as loss of property, loss of life and contamination of water supply. Usually flood occurs due to continuous heavy rainfall. This study used a variant of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm named the Ant-Miner to develop the classification prediction model to predict flood. However, since Ant-Miner only accept discrete data, while rainfall data is a time series data, a pre-processing steps is needed to discretize the rainfall data initially. This study used a technique called the Symbolic Aggregate Approximation (SAX) to convert the rainfall time series data into discrete data. As an addition, Simple K-Means algorithm was used to cluster the data produced by SAX. The findings show that the predictive accuracy of the classification prediction model is more than 80%.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    Quan, Lijun; Lü, Qiang; Li, Haiou; Xia, Xiaoyan; Wu, Hongjie

    2014-01-01

    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. 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. 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. This parallel approach combines various sources of searching intelligence and energy functions to pack protein side chains

  5. 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.

  6. Random walk models of worker sorting in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Sendova-Franks, Ana B; Van Lent, Jan

    2002-07-21

    Sorting can be an important mechanism for the transfer of information from one level of biological organization to another. Here we study the algorithm underlying worker sorting in Leptothorax ant colonies. Worker sorting is related to task allocation and therefore to the adaptive advantages associated with an efficient system for the division of labour in ant colonies. We considered four spatially explicit individual-based models founded on two-dimensional correlated random walk. Our aim was to establish whether sorting at the level of the worker population could occur with minimal assumptions about the behavioural algorithm of individual workers. The behaviour of an individual worker in the models could be summarized by the rule "move if you can, turn always". We assume that the turning angle of a worker is individually specific and negatively dependent on the magnitude of an internal parameter micro which could be regarded as a measure of individual experience or task specialization. All four models attained a level of worker sortedness that was compatible with results from experiments onLeptothorax ant colonies. We found that the presence of a sorting pivot, such as the nest wall or an attraction force towards the centre of the worker population, was crucial for sorting. We make a distinction between such pivots and templates and discuss the biological implications of their difference.

  7. Quantifying the Effect of Colony Size and Food Distribution on Harvester Ant Foraging

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Desert seed-harvester ants, genus Pogonomyrmex, are central place foragers that search for resources collectively. We quantify how seed harvesters exploit the spatial distribution of seeds to improve their rate of seed collection. We find that foraging rates are significantly influenced by the clumpiness of experimental seed baits. Colonies collected seeds from larger piles faster than randomly distributed seeds. We developed a method to compare foraging rates on clumped versus random seeds across three Pogonomyrmex species that differ substantially in forager population size. The increase in foraging rate when food was clumped in larger piles was indistinguishable across the three species, suggesting that species with larger colonies are no better than species with smaller colonies at collecting clumped seeds. These findings contradict the theoretical expectation that larger groups are more efficient at exploiting clumped resources, thus contributing to our understanding of the importance of the spatial distribution of food sources and colony size for communication and organization in social insects. PMID:22808035

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Colony size predicts division of labour in attine ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25165765

  10. Rationality in collective decision-making by ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Susan C.; Pratt, Stephen C.

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19625319

  11. Colony disassociation following diet partitioning in a unicolonial ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silverman, J.; Liang, D.

    2001-01-01

    Discriminating nestmates from alien conspecifics via chemical cues is recognized as a critical element in maintaining the integrity of insect societies. We determined, in laboratory experiments, that nestmate recognition in an introduced population of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is modified by hydrocarbons acquired from insect prey, and that workers from spatially isolated colony fragments, each provided with prey that possessed distinct cuticular hydrocarbons, displayed aggressive behavior towards their former nestmates. Isolation for 28 days or more between colony fragments fed different prey was sufficient to prevent re-establishment of inter-nest communication for at least an additional 28 days through the introduction of a bridge between the nests. Ants possessed intrinsic cuticular hydrocarbons plus only those hydrocarbons from the prey they received during the isolation period. Colony fragments which were isolated for less than 28 days reunited with workers possessing both prey hydrocarbons. Therefore, L. humile nestmate recognition may be dynamic, being in part dependent on the spatio-temporal distribution of prey, along with physical factors permitting or restricting access of subcolony units to those prey.

  12. Ancient village fire escape path planning based on improved ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, Wei; Cao, Kang; Hu, QianChuan

    2017-06-01

    The roadways are narrow and perplexing in ancient villages, it brings challenges and difficulties for people to choose route to escape when a fire occurs. In this paper, a fire escape path planning method based on ant colony algorithm is presented according to the problem. The factors in the fire environment which influence the escape speed is introduced to improve the heuristic function of the algorithm, optimal transfer strategy, and adjustment pheromone volatile factor to improve pheromone update strategy adaptively, improve its dynamic search ability and search speed. Through simulation, the dynamic adjustment of the optimal escape path is obtained, and the method is proved to be feasible.

  13. Textural defect detect using a revised ant colony clustering algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zou, Chao; Xiao, Li; Wang, Bingwen

    2007-11-01

    We propose a totally novel method based on a revised ant colony clustering algorithm (ACCA) to explore the topic of textural defect detection. In this algorithm, our efforts are mainly made on the definition of local irregularity measurement and the implementation of the revised ACCA. The local irregular measurement defined evaluates the local textural inconsistency of each pixel against their mini-environment. In our revised ACCA, the behaviors of each ant are divided into two steps: release pheromone and act. The quantity of pheromone released is proportional to the irregularity measurement; the actions of the ants to act next are chosen independently of each other in a stochastic way according to some evaluated heuristic knowledge. The independency of ants implies the inherent parallel computation architecture of this algorithm. We apply the proposed method in some typical textural images with defects. From the series of pheromone distribution map (PDM), it can be clearly seen that the pheromone distribution approaches the textual defects gradually. By some post-processing, the final distribution of pheromone can demonstrate the shape and area of the defects well.

  14. 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.

  15. Blind noisy image quality evaluation using a deformable ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Li; Huang, Xiaotong; Tian, Jing; Fu, Xiaowei

    2014-04-01

    The objective of blind noisy image quality assessment is to evaluate the quality of the degraded noisy image without the knowledge of the ground truth image. Its performance relies on the accuracy of the noise statistics estimated from homogenous blocks. The major challenge of block-based approaches lies in the block size selection, as it affects the local noise derivation. To tackle this challenge, a deformable ant colony optimization (DACO) approach is proposed in this paper to adaptively adjust the ant size for image block selection. The proposed DACO approach considers that the size of the ant is adjustable during foraging. For the smooth image blocks, more pheromone is deposited, and then the size of ant is increased. Therefore, this strategy enables the ants to have dynamic food-search capability, leading to more accurate selection of homogeneous blocks. Furthermore, the regression analysis is used to obtain image quality score by exploiting the above-estimated noise statistics. Experimental results are provided to justify that the proposed approach outperforms conventional approaches to provide more accurate noise statistics estimation and achieve a consistent image quality evaluation performance for both the artificially generated and real-world noisy images.

  16. 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.

  17. Application of ant colony algorithm in path planning of the data center room robot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yong; Ma, Jianming; Wang, Ying

    2017-05-01

    According to the Internet Data Center (IDC) room patrol robot as the background, the robot in the search path of autonomous obstacle avoidance and path planning ability, worked out in advance of the robot room patrol mission. The simulation experimental results show that the improved ant colony algorithm for IDC room patrol robot obstacle avoidance planning, makes the robot along an optimal or suboptimal and safe obstacle avoidance path to reach the target point to complete the task. To prove the feasibility of the method.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  20. Colony-structure variation and interspecific competitive ability in the invasive Argentine ant.

    PubMed

    Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V

    2004-01-01

    The success of some invasive species may depend on phenotypic changes that occur following introduction. In Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) introduced populations typically lack intraspecific aggression, but native populations display such behavior commonly. We employ three approaches to examine how this behavioral shift might influence interspecific competitive ability. In a laboratory experiment, we reared colonies of Forelius mccooki with pairs of Argentine ant colonies that either did or did not exhibit intraspecific aggression. F. mccooki reared with intraspecifically non-aggressive pairs of Argentine ants produced fewer eggs, foraged less actively, and supported fewer living workers than those reared with intraspecifically aggressive pairs. At natural contact zones between competing colonies of L. humile and F. mccooki, the introduction of experimental Argentine ant colonies that fought with conspecific field colonies caused L. humile to abandon baits in the presence of F. mccooki, whereas the introduction of colonies that did not fight with field colonies of Argentine ants resulted in L. humile retaining possession of baits. Additional evidence for the potential importance of colony- structure variation comes from the Argentine ant's native range. At a site along the Rio de la Plata in Argentina, we found an inverse relationship between ant richness and density of L. humile (apparently a function of local differences in colony structure) in two different years of sampling.

  1. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vlachos, D. S.

    2008-11-01

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

  3. Solving optimum operation of single pump unit problem with ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Y.; Liu, C.

    2012-11-01

    For pumping stations, the effective scheduling of daily pump operations from solutions to the optimum design operation problem is one of the greatest potential areas for energy cost-savings, there are some difficulties in solving this problem with traditional optimization methods due to the multimodality of the solution region. In this case, an ACO model for optimum operation of pumping unit is proposed and the solution method by ants searching is presented by rationally setting the object function and constrained conditions. A weighted directed graph was constructed and feasible solutions may be found by iteratively searching of artificial ants, and then the optimal solution can be obtained by applying the rule of state transition and the pheromone updating. An example calculation was conducted and the minimum cost was found as 4.9979. The result of ant colony algorithm was compared with the result from dynamic programming or evolutionary solving method in commercial software under the same discrete condition. The result of ACO is better and the computing time is shorter which indicates that ACO algorithm can provide a high application value to the field of optimal operation of pumping stations and related fields.

  4. 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.

  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. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. The interplay between maze complexity, colony size, learning and memory in ants while solving a maze: A test at the colony level.

    PubMed

    Saar, Maya; Gilad, Tomer; Kilon-Kallner, Tal; Rosenfeld, Adar; Subach, Aziz; Scharf, Inon

    2017-01-01

    Central-place foragers need to explore their immediate habitat in order to reach food. We let colonies of the individually foraging desert ant Cataglyphis niger search for a food reward in a maze. We did so for three tests per day over two successive days and an additional test after a time interval of 4-20 days (seven tests in total). We examined whether the colonies reached the food reward faster, consumed more food and changed the number of workers searching over time, within and between days. Colonies' food-discovery time shortened within and between days, indicating that some workers learnt and became more efficient in moving through the maze. Such workers, however, also forgot and deteriorated in their food-discovery time, leveling off back to initial performance after about two weeks. We used mazes of increasing complexity levels, differing in the potential number of wrong turns. The number of workers searching increased with colony size. Food-discovery time also increased with colony size in complex mazes but not in simple ones, perhaps due to the more frequent interactions among workers in large colonies having to move through narrow routes. Finally, the motivation to solve the maze was probably not only the food reward, because food consumption did not change over time.

  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. A dynamic ant colony optimization for load balancing in MRN/MLN

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Le; Huang, Shanguo; Gu, Wanyi

    2011-12-01

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a popular research field these years. Ants choose paths where pheromone concentration is higher and modify the environment they visited. However, in the context of multi-service in multi-level and multi-domain optical network, the capacity of inter-domain links is limited. Congestion may be occurred at inter-domain links. In this paper, ant colony optimization algorithm based on load balancing is proposed. Ants follow paths not just depend on pheromone alone, we also take available resources on the link as a factor too. Simulations show the proposed method could reduce the traffic blocking probability, and realize load balancing within the network.

  10. Improved multi-objective ant colony optimization algorithm and its application in complex reasoning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xinqing; Zhao, Yang; Wang, Dong; Zhu, Huijie; Zhang, Qing

    2013-09-01

    The problem of fault reasoning has aroused great concern in scientific and engineering fields. However, fault investigation and reasoning of complex system is not a simple reasoning decision-making problem. It has become a typical multi-constraint and multi-objective reticulate optimization decision-making problem under many influencing factors and constraints. So far, little research has been carried out in this field. This paper transforms the fault reasoning problem of complex system into a paths-searching problem starting from known symptoms to fault causes. Three optimization objectives are considered simultaneously: maximum probability of average fault, maximum average importance, and minimum average complexity of test. Under the constraints of both known symptoms and the causal relationship among different components, a multi-objective optimization mathematical model is set up, taking minimizing cost of fault reasoning as the target function. Since the problem is non-deterministic polynomial-hard(NP-hard), a modified multi-objective ant colony algorithm is proposed, in which a reachability matrix is set up to constrain the feasible search nodes of the ants and a new pseudo-random-proportional rule and a pheromone adjustment mechinism are constructed to balance conflicts between the optimization objectives. At last, a Pareto optimal set is acquired. Evaluation functions based on validity and tendency of reasoning paths are defined to optimize noninferior set, through which the final fault causes can be identified according to decision-making demands, thus realize fault reasoning of the multi-constraint and multi-objective complex system. Reasoning results demonstrate that the improved multi-objective ant colony optimization(IMACO) can realize reasoning and locating fault positions precisely by solving the multi-objective fault diagnosis model, which provides a new method to solve the problem of multi-constraint and multi-objective fault diagnosis and

  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. Software Piracy Detection Model Using Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astiqah Omar, Nor; Zakuan, Zeti Zuryani Mohd; Saian, Rizauddin

    2017-06-01

    Internet enables information to be accessible anytime and anywhere. This scenario creates an environment whereby information can be easily copied. Easy access to the internet is one of the factors which contribute towards piracy in Malaysia as well as the rest of the world. According to a survey conducted by Compliance Gap BSA Global Software Survey in 2013 on software piracy, found out that 43 percent of the software installed on PCs around the world was not properly licensed, the commercial value of the unlicensed installations worldwide was reported to be 62.7 billion. Piracy can happen anywhere including universities. Malaysia as well as other countries in the world is faced with issues of piracy committed by the students in universities. Piracy in universities concern about acts of stealing intellectual property. It can be in the form of software piracy, music piracy, movies piracy and piracy of intellectual materials such as books, articles and journals. This scenario affected the owner of intellectual property as their property is in jeopardy. This study has developed a classification model for detecting software piracy. The model was developed using a swarm intelligence algorithm called the Ant Colony Optimization algorithm. The data for training was collected by a study conducted in Universiti Teknologi MARA (Perlis). Experimental results show that the model detection accuracy rate is better as compared to J48 algorithm.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Ant colony optimization for solving university facility layout problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mohd Jani, Nurul Hafiza; Mohd Radzi, Nor Haizan; Ngadiman, Mohd Salihin

    2013-04-01

    Quadratic Assignment Problems (QAP) is classified as the NP hard problem. It has been used to model a lot of problem in several areas such as operational research, combinatorial data analysis and also parallel and distributed computing, optimization problem such as graph portioning and Travel Salesman Problem (TSP). In the literature, researcher use exact algorithm, heuristics algorithm and metaheuristic approaches to solve QAP problem. QAP is largely applied in facility layout problem (FLP). In this paper we used QAP to model university facility layout problem. There are 8 facilities that need to be assigned to 8 locations. Hence we have modeled a QAP problem with n ≤ 10 and developed an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm to solve the university facility layout problem. The objective is to assign n facilities to n locations such that the minimum product of flows and distances is obtained. Flow is the movement from one to another facility, whereas distance is the distance between one locations of a facility to other facilities locations. The objective of the QAP is to obtain minimum total walking (flow) of lecturers from one destination to another (distance).

  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. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Adapting an ant colony metaphor for multi-robot chemical plume tracing.

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael

    2005-04-05

    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.

  2. A Multiple Ant Colony Metahuristic for the Air Refueling Tanker Assignment Problem

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-03-01

    allocation for AMC in 1999. Written in Visual Basic for Applications ( VBA ) macros, the Quick Look Tool’s goal was to determine the number of tankers needed...4 `` A MULTIPLE ANT COLONY METAHEURISTIC FOR THE AIR REFUELING TANKER ASSIGNMENT PROBLEM THESIS RonJon Annaballi...to) July 2001 - March 2002 Title and Subtitle A Multiple Ant Colony Optimization Metahuristic for the Air Refueling Tanker Assignment Problem

  3. Application of ant colony optimization to optimal foragaing theory: comparison of simulation and field results

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) refers to the family of algorithms inspired by the behavior of real ants and used to solve combinatorial problems such as the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP).Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT) is an evolutionary principle wherein foraging organisms or insect parasites seek ...

  4. Information cascade, Kirman's ant colony model, and kinetic Ising model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hisakado, Masato; Mori, Shintaro

    2015-01-01

    In this paper, we discuss a voting model in which voters can obtain information from a finite number of previous voters. There exist three groups of voters: (i) digital herders and independent voters, (ii) analog herders and independent voters, and (iii) tanh-type herders. In our previous paper Hisakado and Mori (2011), we used the mean field approximation for case (i). In that study, if the reference number r is above three, phase transition occurs and the solution converges to one of the equilibria. However, the conclusion is different from mean field approximation. In this paper, we show that the solution oscillates between the two states. A good (bad) equilibrium is where a majority of r select the correct (wrong) candidate. In this paper, we show that there is no phase transition when r is finite. If the annealing schedule is adequately slow from finite r to infinite r, the voting rate converges only to the good equilibrium. In case (ii), the state of reference votes is equivalent to that of Kirman's ant colony model, and it follows beta binomial distribution. In case (iii), we show that the model is equivalent to the finite-size kinetic Ising model. If the voters are rational, a simple herding experiment of information cascade is conducted. Information cascade results from the quenching of the kinetic Ising model. As case (i) is the limit of case (iii) when tanh function becomes a step function, the phase transition can be observed in infinite size limit. We can confirm that there is no phase transition when the reference number r is finite.

  5. 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.

  6. Colony fusion in Argentine ants is guided by worker and queen cuticular hydrocarbon profile similarity.

    PubMed

    Vásquez, Gissella M; Schal, Coby; Silverman, Jules

    2009-08-01

    Introduced populations of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, have experienced moderate to severe losses of genetic diversity, which may have affected nestmate recognition to various degrees. We hypothesized that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) serve as nestmate recognition cues, and facilitate colony fusion of unrelated L. humile colonies that share similar CHC profiles. In this study, we paired six southeastern U.S. L. humile colonies in a 6-month laboratory fusion assay, and determined if worker and queen CHC profile similarity between colonies was associated with colony fusion and intercolony genetic similarity. We also compared worker and queen CHC profiles between fused colony pairs and unpaired controls to determine if worker and queen chemical profiles changed after fusion. We found that colony fusion correlated with the CHC similarity of workers and queens, with the frequency of fusion increasing with greater CHC profile similarity between colonies. Worker and queen CHC profile similarity between colonies also was associated with genetic similarity between colonies. Queen CHC profiles in fused colonies appeared to be a mix of the two colony phenotypes. In contrast, when only one of the paired colonies survived, the CHC profile of the surviving queens did not diverge from that of the colony of origin. Similarly, workers in non-fused colonies maintained their colony-specific CHC, whereas in fused colonies the worker CHC profiles were intermediate between those of the two colonies. These results suggest a role for CHC in regulating interactions among mutually aggressive L. humile colonies, and demonstrate that colony fusion correlates with both genetic and CHC similarities. Further, changes in worker and queen chemical profiles in fused colonies suggest that CHC plasticity may sustain the cohesion of unrelated L. humile colonies that had fused.

  7. Targeted Removal of Ant Colonies in Ecological Experiments, Using Hot Water

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; King, Joshua R.

    2007-01-01

    Ecological experiments on fire ants cannot, or should not, use poison baits to eliminate the fire ants because such baits are not specific to fire ants, or even to ants. Hot water is an extremely effective and specific killing agent for fire ant colonies, but producing large amounts of hot water in the field, and making the production apparatus mobile have been problematical. The construction and use of a charcoal-fired kiln made from a 55-gal. oil drum lined with a sand-fireclay mixture is described. An automobile heater fan powered from a 12-v battery provided a draft. Dual bilge pumps pumped water from a large tank through a long coil of copper tubing within the kiln to produce 4 to 5 l. of hot water per min. The hot water was collected in 20 l. buckets and poured into fire ant nests previously opened by piercing with a stick. The entire assembly was transported in and operated from the back of a pickup truck. Five experimental plots containing 32 to 38 colonies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were treated with hot water over a period of two years. All colonies on the treatment plots were treated twice with hot water early in 2004, reducing their numbers to zero. However new colonies were formed, and mature colonies expanded into the plots. A third treatment was made in the spring of 2005, after which fire ant populations were suppressed for over a year. Whereas the 5 control plots contained a total of 166 mostly large colonies, the 5 treatment plots contained no live colonies at all. Averaged over a two-year period, a 70% reduction in total number of colonies was achieved (P < 0.001) on the treatment plots, and a 93% reduction of large, mature colonies. Over this same time span, the number of colonies in control plots remained stable. The reduction in colony numbers on the treatment plots was reflected in the pitfall trap samples that recorded a 60% reduction in fire ants. PMID:20233079

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

    PubMed

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2013-06-06

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossi, Louis

    2005-11-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. The scent of supercolonies: the discovery, synthesis and behavioural verification of ant colony recognition cues

    PubMed Central

    Brandt, Miriam; van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Sulc, Robert; Shea, Kenneth J; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2009-01-01

    Background Ants form highly social and cooperative colonies that compete, and often fight, against other such colonies, both intra- and interspecifically. Some invasive ants take sociality to an extreme, forming geographically massive 'supercolonies' across thousands of kilometres. The success of social insects generally, as well as invasive ants in particular, stems from the sophisticated mechanisms used to accurately and precisely distinguish colonymates from non-colonymates. Surprisingly, however, the specific chemicals used for this recognition are virtually undescribed. Results Here, we report the discovery, chemical synthesis and behavioural testing of the colonymate recognition cues used by the widespread and invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). By synthesizing pure versions of these chemicals in the laboratory and testing them in behavioural assays, we show that these compounds trigger aggression among normally amicable nestmates, but control hydrocarbons do not. Furthermore, behavioural testing across multiple different supercolonies reveals that the reaction to individual compounds varies from colony to colony -- the expected reaction to true colony recognition labels. Our results also show that both quantitative and qualitative changes to cuticular hydrocarbon profiles can trigger aggression among nestmates. These data point the way for the development of new environmentally-friendly control strategies based on the species-specific manipulation of aggressive behaviour. Conclusion Overall, our findings reveal the identity of specific chemicals used for colonymate recognition by the invasive Argentine ants. Although the particular chemicals used by other ants may differ, the patterns reported here are likely to be true for ants generally. As almost all invasive ants display widespread unicoloniality in their introduced ranges, our findings are particularly relevant for our understanding of the biology of these damaging invaders. PMID:19863781

  15. 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.

  16. Dose response of red imported fire ant colonies to Solenopsis invicta virus 3.

    PubMed

    Valles, Steven M; Porter, Sanford D

    2015-10-01

    Baiting tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of increasing Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) dose on fire ant colonies. Actively growing early-stage fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) laboratory colonies were pulse-exposed for 24 hours to six concentrations of SINV-3 (10(1), 10(3), 10(5), 10(7), 10(9) genome equivalents/μl) in 1 ml of a 10 % sucrose bait and monitored regularly for two months. SINV-3 concentration had a significant effect on colony health. Brood rating (proportion of brood to worker ants) began to depart from the control group at 19 days for the 10(9) concentration and 26 days for the 10(7) concentration. At 60 days, brood rating was significantly lower among colonies treated with 10(9), 10(7), and 10(5) SINV-3 concentrations. The intermediate concentration, 10(5), appeared to cause a chronic, low-level infection with one colony (n = 9) supporting virus replication. Newly synthesized virus was not detected in any fire ant colonies treated at the 10(1) concentration, indicating that active infections failed to be established at this level of exposure. The highest bait concentration chosen, 10(9), appeared most effective from a control aspect; mean colony brood rating at this concentration (1.1 ± 0.9 at the 60 day time point) indicated poor colony health with minimal brood production. No clear relationship was observed between the quantity of plus genome strand detected and brood rating. Conversely, there was a strong relationship between the presence of the replicative genome strand and declining brood rating, which may serve as a predictor of disease severity. Recommendations for field treatment levels to control fire ants with SINV-3 are discussed.

  17. 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

  18. Mechanisms of social regulation change across colony development in an ant

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Mutual policing is an important mechanism for reducing conflict in cooperative groups. In societies of ants, bees, and wasps, mutual policing of worker reproduction can evolve when workers are more closely related to the queen's sons than to the sons of workers or when the costs of worker reproduction lower the inclusive fitness of workers. During colony growth, relatedness within the colony remains the same, but the costs of worker reproduction may change. The costs of worker reproduction are predicted to be greatest in incipient colonies. If the costs associated with worker reproduction outweigh the individual direct benefits to workers, policing mechanisms as found in larger colonies may be absent in incipient colonies. Results We investigated policing behaviour across colony growth in the ant Camponotus floridanus. In large colonies of this species, worker reproduction is policed by the destruction of worker-laid eggs. We found workers from incipient colonies do not exhibit policing behaviour, and instead tolerate all conspecific eggs. The change in policing behaviour is consistent with changes in egg surface hydrocarbons, which provide the informational basis for policing; eggs laid by queens from incipient colonies lack the characteristic hydrocarbons on the surface of eggs laid by queens from large colonies, making them chemically indistinguishable from worker-laid eggs. We also tested the response to fertility information in the context of queen tolerance. Workers from incipient colonies attacked foreign queens from large colonies; whereas workers from large colonies tolerated such queens. Workers from both incipient and large colonies attacked foreign queens from incipient colonies. Conclusions Our results provide novel insights into the regulation of worker reproduction in social insects at both the proximate and ultimate levels. At the proximate level, our results show that mechanisms of social regulation, such as the response to fertility

  19. 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.

  20. Ants regulate colony spatial organization using multiple chemical road-signs

    PubMed Central

    Heyman, Yael; Shental, Noam; Brandis, Alexander; Hefetz, Abraham; Feinerman, Ofer

    2017-01-01

    Communication provides the basis for social life. In ant colonies, the prevalence of local, often chemically mediated, interactions introduces strong links between communication networks and the spatial distribution of ants. It is, however, unknown how ants identify and maintain nest chambers with distinct functions. Here, we combine individual tracking, chemical analysis and machine learning to decipher the chemical signatures present on multiple nest surfaces. We present evidence for several distinct chemical ‘road-signs' that guide the ants' movements within the dark nest. These chemical signatures can be used to classify nest chambers with different functional roles. Using behavioural manipulations, we demonstrate that at least three of these chemical signatures are functionally meaningful and allow ants from different task groups to identify their specific nest destinations, thus facilitating colony coordination and stabilization. The use of multiple chemicals that assist spatiotemporal guidance, segregation and pattern formation is abundant in multi-cellular organisms. Here, we provide a rare example for the use of these principles in the ant colony. PMID:28569746

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that altruism is only evolutionarily stable if it is preferentially directed towards relatives, so that any such behaviour towards seemingly unrelated individuals requires scrutiny. Queenless army ant colonies, which have anecdotally been reported to fuse with queenright foreign colonies, are such an enigmatic case. Here we combine experimental queen removal with population genetics and cuticular chemistry analyses to show that colonies of the African army ant Dorylus molestus frequently merge with neighbouring colonies after queen loss. Merging colonies often have no direct co-ancestry, but are on average probably distantly related because of overall population viscosity. The alternative of male production by orphaned workers appears to be so inefficient that residual inclusive fitness of orphaned workers might be maximized by indiscriminately merging with neighbouring colonies to increase their reproductive success. We show that worker chemical recognition profiles remain similar after queen loss, but rapidly change into a mixed colony Gestalt odour after fusion, consistent with indiscriminate acceptance of alien workers that are no longer aggressive. We hypothesize that colony fusion after queen loss might be more widespread, especially in spatially structured populations of social insects where worker reproduction is not profitable. PMID:19889701

  3. Characterizing the Collective Personality of Ant Societies: Aggressive Colonies Do Not Abandon Their Home

    PubMed Central

    Fries, Stephan; Tirard, Claire; Foitzik, Susanne

    2012-01-01

    Animal groups can show consistent behaviors or personalities just like solitary animals. We studied the collective behavior of Temnothorax nylanderi ant colonies, including consistency in behavior and correlations between different behavioral traits. We focused on four collective behaviors (aggression against intruders, nest relocation, removal of infected corpses and nest reconstruction) and also tested for links to the immune defense level of a colony and a fitness component (per-capita productivity). Behaviors leading to an increased exposure of ants to micro-parasites were expected to be positively associated with immune defense measures and indeed colonies that often relocated to other nest sites showed increased immune defense levels. Besides, colonies that responded with low aggression to intruders or failed to remove infected corpses, showed a higher likelihood to move to a new nest site. This resembles the trade-off between aggression and relocation often observed in solitary animals. Finally, one of the behaviors, nest reconstruction, was positively linked to per-capita productivity, whereas other colony-level behaviors, such as aggression against intruders, showed no association, albeit all behaviors were expected to be important for fitness under field conditions. In summary, our study shows that ant societies exhibit complex personalities that can be associated to the physiology and fitness of the colony. Some of these behaviors are linked in suites of correlated behaviors, similar to personalities of solitary animals. PMID:22457751

  4. Differentiating causality and correlation in allometric scaling: ant colony size drives metabolic hypometry.

    PubMed

    Waters, James S; Ochs, Alison; Fewell, Jennifer H; Harrison, Jon F

    2017-02-22

    Metabolic rates of individual animals and social insect colonies generally scale hypometrically, with mass-specific metabolic rates decreasing with increasing size. Although this allometry has wide ranging effects on social behaviour, ecology and evolution, its causes remain controversial. Because it is difficult to experimentally manipulate body size of organisms, most studies of metabolic scaling depend on correlative data, limiting their ability to determine causation. To overcome this limitation, we experimentally reduced the size of harvester ant colonies (Pogonomyrmex californicus) and quantified the consequent increase in mass-specific metabolic rates. Our results clearly demonstrate a causal relationship between colony size and hypometric changes in metabolic rate that could not be explained by changes in physical density. These findings provide evidence against prominent models arguing that the hypometric scaling of metabolic rate is primarily driven by constraints on resource delivery or surface area/volume ratios, because colonies were provided with excess food and colony size does not affect individual oxygen or nutrient transport. We found that larger colonies had lower median walking speeds and relatively more stationary ants and including walking speed as a variable in the mass-scaling allometry greatly reduced the amount of residual variation in the model, reinforcing the role of behaviour in metabolic allometry. Following the experimental size reduction, however, the proportion of stationary ants increased, demonstrating that variation in locomotory activity cannot solely explain hypometric scaling of metabolic rates in these colonies. Based on prior studies of this species, the increase in metabolic rate in size-reduced colonies could be due to increased anabolic processes associated with brood care and colony growth.

  5. Modeling temperature-mediated fluctuation in colony size in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Asano, Erika; Cassill, Deby L

    2012-07-21

    In the social insects, colony size is central to the survival of the queen. Two endogenous factors, worker longevity and queen's daily egg production, are known to determine maximum colony size. A third endogenous factor, duration of worker development from egg to adult, regulates the rate of colony growth. In this paper, we report findings from a simulation quantifying the effects of temperature on colony size in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The monthly average temperature over a six year period for the panhandle of north Florida was interpolated to determine the effects of daily temperature on a queen's egg production, worker developmental time and worker longevity. Additional daily temperatures were simulated: 7°C higher and 7°C lower than daily temperatures for north Florida. As expected, colony size was the largest when annual temperatures were the highest across seasons, ranging from 57,000 to 187,000. Colony size at intermediate daily temperatures ranged from 14,000 to 103,000; small colonies recovered rapidly as temperatures warmed. Colony size at lower daily temperatures ranged from 14,000 to 21,000. Extended worker longevity at lower temperatures compensated for low egg production and longer developmental time. And vice versa, the queen's high rate of egg production and the shorter developmental time compensated for shorter worker longevity at high temperatures. Because the fire ant nest consists of a heat-collecting dome in which to incubate brood during cold weather, and deep chambers in which to cool workers during hot weather, colony size is likely to be higher and more stable than our simulation showed. The extended longevity of workers and queens at low temperatures, and perhaps their ability to hibernate below the permafrost, might explain the ability of ants to colonize habitats worldwide. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Adaptive Edge Detection Using Adjusted ANT Colony Optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davoodianidaliki, M.; Abedini, A.; Shankayi, M.

    2013-09-01

    Edges contain important information in image and edge detection can be considered a low level process in image processing. Among different methods developed for this purpose traditional methods are simple and rather efficient. In Swarm Intelligent methods developed in last decade, ACO is more capable in this process. This paper uses traditional edge detection operators such as Sobel and Canny as input to ACO and turns overall process adaptive to application. Magnitude matrix or edge image can be used for initial pheromone and ant distribution. Image size reduction is proposed as an efficient smoothing method. A few parameters such as area and diameter of travelled path by ants are converted into rules in pheromone update process. All rules are normalized and final value is acquired by averaging.

  9. 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

  10. Social prophylaxis: group interaction promotes collective immunity in ant colonies.

    PubMed

    Ugelvig, Line V; Cremer, Sylvia

    2007-11-20

    Life in a social group increases the risk of disease transmission. To counteract this threat, social insects have evolved manifold antiparasite defenses, ranging from social exclusion of infected group members to intensive care. It is generally assumed that individuals performing hygienic behaviors risk infecting themselves, suggesting a high direct cost of helping. Our work instead indicates the opposite for garden ants. Social contact with individual workers, which were experimentally exposed to a fungal parasite, provided a clear survival benefit to nontreated, naive group members upon later challenge with the same parasite. This first demonstration of contact immunity in Social Hymenoptera and complementary results from other animal groups and plants suggest its general importance in both antiparasite and antiherbivore defense. In addition to this physiological prophylaxis of adult ants, infection of the brood was prevented in our experiment by behavioral changes of treated and naive workers. Parasite-treated ants stayed away from the brood chamber, whereas their naive nestmates increased brood-care activities. Our findings reveal a direct benefit for individuals to perform hygienic behaviors toward others, and this might explain the widely observed maintenance of social cohesion under parasite attack in insect societies.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  12. Sociogenomics of cooperation and conflict during colony foundation in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The genomic state of an individual results from the interplay between its internal condition and the external environment, which may include the social environment. The link between genes and social environment is clearly visible during the process of colony founding in the fire ant Solenopsis invic...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Assessment Guidelines for Ant Colony Algorithms when Solving Quadratic Assignment Problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    See, Phen Chiak; Yew Wong, Kuan; Komarudin, Komarudin

    2009-08-01

    To date, no consensus exists on how to evaluate the performance of a new Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm when solving Quadratic Assignment Problems (QAPs). Different performance measures and problems sets are used by researchers to evaluate their algorithms. This paper is aimed to provide a recapitulation of the relevant issues and suggest some guidelines for assessing the performance of new ACO algorithms.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Dynamics of an ant-ant Obligate Mutualism: Colony Growth, Density Dependence and Frequency Dependence

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    In insect societies, worker versus queen development (reproductive caste) is typically governed by environmental factors, but many Pogonomyrmex seed-harvester ants exhibit strict genetic caste determination, resulting in an obligate mutualism between two reproductively isolated lineages. Same-linea...

  7. Foraging pattern, colony distribution, and foraging range of the Florida harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius

    SciTech Connect

    Harrison, J.S.; Gentry, J.B.

    1981-12-01

    This report describes the foraging pattern of the Florida harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius in a high-density population of colonies. The foraging pattern has both promoted and been influenced by the colony distribution. Pogonomyrmex badius forages from short trails which extend into a surrounding foraging range. Direction of foraging trails is influenced by the location of a colony's near neighbors. Seasonal nest relocations always occur along a foraging trail, usually the main trail. Foraging ranges are not actively defended, but are used almost exclusively by foragers from a single colony. Foraging ranges will be extended into an area abondoned by neighboring foragers, indicating that forager presence may define each colony's range. Colony distribution has remained essentially the same for several years, despite seasonal nest relocations and addition of new colonies. Establishment of trails and exclusive foraging ranges by each colony minimizes encounters with neighboring foragers and guarantees access to available resources; this pattern also pomotes maintenance of the existing colony distribution and partitioning of resources.

  8. Foraging pattern, colony distribution, and foraging range of the Florida harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius

    SciTech Connect

    Harrison, J.S.; Gentry, J.B.; Aiken, S.C.

    1981-12-01

    This report describes the foraging pattern of the Florida harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius in a high-density population of colonies. The foraging pattern has both promoted and been influenced by the colony distribution. Pogonomyrmex badius forages from short trails which extend into a surrounding foraging range. Direction of foraging trails is influenced by the location of a colony's near neighbors. Seasonal nest relocations always occur along a foraging trail, usually the main trail. Foraging ranges are not actively defended, but are used almost exclusively by foragers from a single colony. Foraging ranges will be extended into an area abandoned by neighboring foragers, indicating that forager presence may define each colony's range. Colony distribution has remained essentially the same for several years, despite seasonal nest relocations and addition of new colonies. Establishment of trails and exclusive foraging ranges by each colony minimizes encounters with neighboring foragers and guarantees access to available resources; this pattern also promotes maintenance of the existing colony distribution and partitioning of resources.

  9. A star recognition method based on the Adaptive Ant Colony algorithm for star sensors.

    PubMed

    Quan, Wei; Fang, Jiancheng

    2010-01-01

    A new star recognition method based on the Adaptive Ant Colony (AAC) algorithm has been developed to increase the star recognition speed and success rate for star sensors. This method draws circles, with the center of each one being a bright star point and the radius being a special angular distance, and uses the parallel processing ability of the AAC algorithm to calculate the angular distance of any pair of star points in the circle. The angular distance of two star points in the circle is solved as the path of the AAC algorithm, and the path optimization feature of the AAC is employed to search for the optimal (shortest) path in the circle. This optimal path is used to recognize the stellar map and enhance the recognition success rate and speed. The experimental results show that when the position error is about 50″, the identification success rate of this method is 98% while the Delaunay identification method is only 94%. The identification time of this method is up to 50 ms.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. A Star Recognition Method Based on the Adaptive Ant Colony Algorithm for Star Sensors

    PubMed Central

    Quan, Wei; Fang, Jiancheng

    2010-01-01

    A new star recognition method based on the Adaptive Ant Colony (AAC) algorithm has been developed to increase the star recognition speed and success rate for star sensors. This method draws circles, with the center of each one being a bright star point and the radius being a special angular distance, and uses the parallel processing ability of the AAC algorithm to calculate the angular distance of any pair of star points in the circle. The angular distance of two star points in the circle is solved as the path of the AAC algorithm, and the path optimization feature of the AAC is employed to search for the optimal (shortest) path in the circle. This optimal path is used to recognize the stellar map and enhance the recognition success rate and speed. The experimental results show that when the position error is about 50″, the identification success rate of this method is 98% while the Delaunay identification method is only 94%. The identification time of this method is up to 50 ms. PMID:22294908

  14. 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

  15. Semivariogram Estimation Using Ant Colony Optimization and Ensemble Kriging Accounting for Parameter Uncertainty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardiff, M. A.; Kitanidis, P. K.

    2005-12-01

    In this presentation we revisit the problem of semivariogram estimation and present a modular, reusable, and encapsulated set of MATLAB programs that use a hybrid Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) heuristic to solve the "optimal fit" problem. Though the ACO heuristic involves a stochastic component, advantages of the heuristic over traditional gradient-search methods, like the Gauss-Newton method, include the ability to estimate model semivariogram parameters accurately without initial guesses input by the user. The ACO heuristic is also superiorly suited for strongly nonlinear optimization over spaces that may contain several local minima. The presentation will focus on the application of ACO to existing weighted least squares and restricted maximum likelihood estimation methods with a comparison of results. The presentation will also discuss parameter uncertainty, particularly in the context of restricted maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. We compare the local linearized parameter estimates (or Cramer-Rao lower bounds) with modern Monte Carlo methods, such as acceptance-rejection. Finally, we present ensemble kriging in which conditional realizations are generated in a way that uncertainty in semi-variogram parameters is fully accounted for. Results for a variety of sample problems will be presented along with a discussion of solution accuracy and computational efficiency.

  16. 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.

  17. Variation in Butterfly Larval Acoustics as a Strategy to Infiltrate and Exploit Host Ant Colony Resources

    PubMed Central

    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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

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

  20. Mechanism of leaf-cutting ant colony suppression by fipronil used in attractive toxic baits.

    PubMed

    Gandra, Lailla C; Amaral, Karina D; Couceiro, Joel C; Della Lucia, Terezinha Mc; Guedes, Raul Nc

    2016-08-01

    Attractive toxic baits are the prevailing method for managing leaf-cutting ants in the eucalypt forests planted for the production of pulp, paper, timber and charcoal. For successful use in these baits, the insecticidal compounds need to circumvent the typical defences of the eusocial leaf-cutting ants. The challenge is to have an insecticide in the bait that will not directly harm and/or compromise foraging workers, but that will eventually suppress the colony. These underlying mechanisms are poorly known, and here the potential mechanism of fipronil activity in toxic baits for leaf-cutting ants was assessed using colonies of the representative Neotropical Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus (Forel, 1893). Although forager activity was not directly impaired by fipronil, the insecticide affected forager nestmate interactions (auto- and allogrooming) and waste removal and, more importantly, greatly affected the minor workers, impairing their activities of fungus garden cultivation and progeny handling. The fast decay of the fungus garden compromised the sustainability of the colonies, ultimately leading to their demise within 8 days. The behavioural effects of sublethal insecticide exposure towards minor workers are the main determinants of insecticide activity as ant baits and should be targeted in developing such compounds. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

  1. Polymorphic growth in larvae of the butterfly Maculinea rebeli, a social parasite of Myrmica ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, J. A.; Elmes, G. W.; Wardlaw, J. C.

    1998-01-01

    Caterpillars of Maculinea rebeli have two growth strategies for living underground as social parasites of Myrmica ant colonies. Laboratory experiments and field data show that 25% of caterpillars live ten months with ants before pupating, whereas 75% grow slowly, parasitizing their hosts for 22 months. Both types of caterpillar form apparently identical similar-sized pupae. This may be the first description in the animal kingdom of polymorphic growth rates spanning different years within the same population, yet without resulting (as in salmonid fish) in two morphologically distinct adult types with obvious differences in behaviour. We suggest that a balanced polymorphism has evolved in M. rebeli growth rates, representing the most efficient way of exploiting the limited, yet steady, daily supply of food available to cuckoo-feeding parasites of long-lived ant societies. Bet-hedging benefits would also accrue to adult butterflies producing a mixture of annual and biennial offspring. Despite ergonomic and other benefits, partial biennialism is unlikely to evolve unless slow-growing individuals have enhanced survival and can remain attached to their mobile hosts. We show that caterpillars become so closely protected by, and integrated with, their host colonies that slow growers experience no greater mortality over two years than fast growers over one, and are transported in preference to the ants' own larvae when the host colony moves nest site.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Presence of multiparasite infections within individual colonies of leaf-cutter ants.

    PubMed

    Taerum, S J; Cafaro, M J; Currie, C R

    2010-02-01

    Host-parasite dynamics can be altered when a host is infected by multiple parasite genotypes. The different strains of parasite are expected to compete for the limited host resources, potentially affecting the survival and reproduction of the host as well as the infecting parasites. Fungus-growing ants, including the well-known leaf-cutters, are an emerging model system for studying the evolution and ecology of symbiosis and host-parasite dynamics. We examine whether the fungus gardens of leaf-cutter ants can be simultaneously infected by multiple strains of the fungal pathogen Escovopsis. Intensive sampling of Escovopsis was conducted from individual gardens, as well as between different garden chambers within individual colonies of leaf-cutting ants. Isolates obtained were genotyped by DNA sequencing. We found that, minimally, 67% of the individual colonies of the leaf-cutter ant genera Atta and Acromyrmex and 50% of the At. colombica garden chambers studied were simultaneously infected by multiple distinct Escovopsis strains. Experimental challenges showed that different Escovopsis strains do not exhibit obvious antagonism toward each other, suggesting that coinfecting strains of the parasite do not engage in interference competition, although interactions were not studied at the cellular level. Further research is needed to understand interparasite interactions between coinfecting Escovopsis strains and to understand the impact of multiparasite infections on the survival of leaf-cutter ant gardens.

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

    PubMed

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; VanWeelden, Matthew

    2010-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. High recombination frequency creates genotypic diversity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior.

    PubMed

    Sirviö, A; Gadau, J; Rueppell, O; Lamatsch, D; Boomsma, J J; Pamilo, P; Page, R E

    2006-09-01

    Honeybees are known to have genetically diverse colonies because queens mate with many males and the recombination rate is extremely high. Genetic diversity among social insect workers has been hypothesized to improve general performance of large and complex colonies, but this idea has not been tested in other social insects. Here, we present a linkage map and an estimate of the recombination rate for Acromyrmex echinatior, a leaf-cutting ant that resembles the honeybee in having multiple mating of queens and colonies of approximately the same size. A map of 145 AFLP markers in 22 linkage groups yielded a total recombinational size of 2076 cM and an inferred recombination rate of 161 kb cM(-1) (or 6.2 cM Mb(-1)). This estimate is lower than in the honeybee but, as far as the mapping criteria can be compared, higher than in any other insect mapped so far. Earlier studies on A. echinatior have demonstrated that variation in division of labour and pathogen resistance has a genetic component and that genotypic diversity among workers may thus give colonies of this leaf-cutting ant a functional advantage. The present result is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that complex social life can select for an increased recombination rate through effects on genotypic diversity and colony performance.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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. Copyright 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Routing in Wireless Sensor Networks Using an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) Router Chip.

    PubMed

    Okdem, Selcuk; Karaboga, Dervis

    2009-01-01

    Wireless Sensor Networks consisting of nodes with limited power are deployed to gather useful information from the field. In WSNs it is critical to collect the information in an energy efficient manner. Ant Colony Optimization, a swarm intelligence based optimization technique, is widely used in network routing. A novel routing approach using an Ant Colony Optimization algorithm is proposed for Wireless Sensor Networks consisting of stable nodes. Illustrative examples, detailed descriptions and comparative performance test results of the proposed approach are included. The approach is also implemented to a small sized hardware component as a router chip. Simulation results show that proposed algorithm provides promising solutions allowing node designers to efficiently operate routing tasks.

  15. Routing in Wireless Sensor Networks Using an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) Router Chip

    PubMed Central

    Okdem, Selcuk; Karaboga, Dervis

    2009-01-01

    Wireless Sensor Networks consisting of nodes with limited power are deployed to gather useful information from the field. In WSNs it is critical to collect the information in an energy efficient manner. Ant Colony Optimization, a swarm intelligence based optimization technique, is widely used in network routing. A novel routing approach using an Ant Colony Optimization algorithm is proposed for Wireless Sensor Networks consisting of stable nodes. Illustrative examples, detailed descriptions and comparative performance test results of the proposed approach are included. The approach is also implemented to a small sized hardware component as a router chip. Simulation results show that proposed algorithm provides promising solutions allowing node designers to efficiently operate routing tasks. PMID:22399947

  16. A graph-based ant colony optimization approach for process planning.

    PubMed

    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.

  17. Multi-Robot Dynamic Task Allocation Using Modified Ant Colony System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Zhenzhen; Xia, Feng; Zhang, Xianchao

    This paper presents a dynamic task allocation algorithm for multiple robots to visit multiple targets. This algorithm is specifically designed for the environment where robots have dissimilar starting and ending locations. And the constraint of balancing the number of targets visited by each robot is considered. More importantly, this paper takes into account the dynamicity of multi-robot system and the obstacles in the environment. This problem is modeled as a constrained MTSP which can not be transformed to TSP and can not be solved by classical Ant Colony System (ACS). The Modified Ant Colony System (MACS) is presented to solve this problem and the unvisited targets are allocated to appropriate robots dynamically. The simulation results show that the output of the proposed algorithm can satisfy the constraints and dynamicity for the problem of multi-robot task allocation.

  18. [The queen technic for ant control. I. The effect of tepa on laboratory colonies of the pharaoh ant].

    PubMed

    Berndt, K P; Nitschmann, J

    1977-02-01

    The present paper discussed at the example of Tepa [Tris (1-aziridinyl) phosphine oxide] in which manner the control of pharaoh's ant in the sense of the "queen technique" with chemosterilants is possible; which points of view must be considered and which condition an acceptable substance should be fulfilled. The application of Tepa is ralized according to various techniques (e.g. dipping, baiting, tarsal contact), in the course of which the baiting technique is preferred. The influence of different concentrations in various baits on the brood, workers and queens are described. In baits with 1% of the substance a permanent sterilization could be achieved. In combination with other population depressing factors (larval and worker mortality) resulted in eradication of the colonies. The action extended also to the larvae of the sexuals, so that the queenless colonies failed in the production of new queens and males. Histological investigations showed in the females at higher concentrations distinct pathological alterations (pycnosis, vacuolizations, proliferation in the follicles epithelium); whereas the spermatogenesis in the males is decreased but not entirely suppressed. At lower concentrations only the fertility but not the fecundity was influenced. A handing-over of recessive lethal mutations to the progeny does not take place. The practical points of view for the use of chemosterilants in the control of pharaoh's ant are discussed. Whereas the low biological stability of Tepa does not exclude an introduction in the practice, the high mutagenic activity prevents an application in the field.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

  20. Ant Colony Optimization with Genetic Operation and Its Application to Traveling Salesman Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Rong-Long; Zhou, Xiao-Fan; Okazaki, Kozo

    Ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms are a recently developed, population-based approach which has been successfully applied to optimization problems. However, in the ACO algorithms it is difficult to adjust the balance between intensification and diversification and thus the performance is not always very well. In this work, we propose an improved ACO algorithm in which some of ants can evolve by performing genetic operation, and the balance between intensification and diversification can be adjusted by numbers of ants which perform genetic operation. The proposed algorithm is tested by simulating the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). Experimental studies show that the proposed ACO algorithm with genetic operation has superior performance when compared to other existing ACO algorithms.

  1. ACC-FMD: ant colony clustering for functional module detection in protein-protein interaction networks.

    PubMed

    Ji, Junzhong; Liu, Hongxin; Zhang, Aidong; Liu, Zhijun; Liu, Chunnian

    2015-01-01

    Mining functional modules in Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) networks is a very important research for revealing the structure-functionality relationships in biological processes. More recently, some swarm intelligence algorithms have been successfully applied in the field. This paper presents a new nature-inspired approach, ACC-FMD, which is based on ant colony clustering to detect functional modules. First, some proteins with the higher clustering coefficients are, respectively, selected as ant seed nodes. And then, the picking and dropping operations based on ant probabilistic models are developed and employed to assign proteins into the corresponding clusters represented by seeds. Finally, the best clustering result in each generation is used to perform the information transmission by updating the similarly function. Experimental results on some benchmarked datasets show that ACC-FMD outperforms the CFinder and MCODE algorithms and has comparative performance with the MINE, COACH, DPClus and Core algorithms in terms of the general evaluation metrics.

  2. Efficacy of simulated barrier treatments against laboratory colonies of Pharaoh ant.

    PubMed

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

    2005-04-01

    Five selected insecticides were applied to four substrates and evaluated in laboratory studies for repellency and toxicity against the Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis (L.). We tested both repellent and nonrepellent formulations on outdoor (concrete and mulch) and indoor (ceramic and vinyl) substrates. Repellency was evaluated using a behavioral bioassay in which colonies were given a choice to leave the treated zone and move into empty nests provided in the untreated zone. We used a novel experimental design whereby ants walked on a Slinky coil suspended from a metal support frame, thus permitting a long foraging distance with a minimum use of space and resources. Cypermethrin, a repellent pyrethroid insecticide, resulted in colony budding, although the response was delayed. Toxicity of insecticides was evaluated as worker, queen, and brood mortality. The most effective treatment was fipronil, which provided 100% reduction in pretreatment activity by 2 d posttreatment on both concrete and mulch. Chlorfenapyr was highly effective on both outdoor and indoor substrates. Significant substrate effects were observed with insecticides applied to nonabsorbent substrates (ceramic tile), which performed better than insecticides applied to absorbent substrates (vinyl tile). Other highly absorbent materials (mulch and concrete), however, did not reduce insecticide efficacy. This is because ants relocated nests into and/or under these attractive nesting materials, thus increasing their exposure to toxic insecticide residues. Our results demonstrate efficacy of nonrepellent liquid insecticides as indoor treatments for the control of Pharaoh ants and possibly as exterior perimeter treatments.

  3. 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.

  4. Blending of heritable recognition cues among ant nestmates creates distinct colony gestalt odours but prevents within-colony nepotism.

    PubMed

    van Zweden, J S; Brask, J B; Christensen, J H; Boomsma, J J; Linksvayer, T A; d'Ettorre, P

    2010-07-01

    The evolution of sociality is facilitated by the recognition of close kin, but if kin recognition is too accurate, nepotistic behaviour within societies can dissolve social cohesion. In social insects, cuticular hydrocarbons act as nestmate recognition cues and are usually mixed among colony members to create a Gestalt odour. Although earlier studies have established that hydrocarbon profiles are influenced by heritable factors, transfer among nestmates and additional environmental factors, no studies have quantified these relative contributions for separate compounds. Here, we use the ant Formica rufibarbis in a cross-fostering design to test the degree to which hydrocarbons are heritably synthesized by young workers and transferred by their foster workers. Bioassays show that nestmate recognition has a significant heritable component. Multivariate quantitative analyses based on 38 hydrocarbons reveal that a subset of branched alkanes are heritably synthesized, but that these are also extensively transferred among nestmates. In contrast, especially linear alkanes are less heritable and little transferred; these are therefore unlikely to act as cues that allow within-colony nepotistic discrimination or as nestmate recognition cues. These results indicate that heritable compounds are suitable for establishing a genetic Gestalt for efficient nestmate recognition, but that recognition cues within colonies are insufficiently distinct to allow nepotistic kin discrimination.

  5. Laboratory Fire Ant colonies (Solenopsis invicta) fail to grow with Bhatkar Diet and three other artificial diets

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Various artificial diets have been used for rearing imported fire ants; however most of these diets include insect supplements. This study was designed to examine growth of red imported fire ant colonies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis invicta Buren) on four artificial diets: a chemically unde...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  7. 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

  8. Sociogenomics of cooperation and conflict during colony founding in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    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 regulation

  9. 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

  10. Experimental manipulation of queen number affects colony sex ratio investment in the highly polygynous ant Formica exsecta

    PubMed Central

    Kümmerli, Rolf; Helms, Ken R; Keller, Laurent

    2005-01-01

    In polygynous (multiple queens per nest) ants, queen dispersal is often limited with young queens being recruited within the parental colony. This mode of dispersal leads to local resource competition between nestmate queens and is frequently associated with extremely male-biased sex ratios at the population level. The queen-replenishment hypothesis has been recently proposed to explain colony sex ratio investment under such conditions. It predicts that colonies containing many queens (subject to high local resource competition) should only produce males, whereas colonies hosting few queens (reduced or no local resource competition) should produce new queens in addition to males. We experimentally tested this hypothesis in the ant Formica exsecta by manipulating queen number over three consecutive years in 120 colonies of a highly polygynous population. Queens were transferred from 40 colonies into another 40 colonies while queen number was not manipulated in 40 control colonies. Genetic analyses of worker offspring revealed that our treatment significantly changed the number of reproductive queens. The sex ratio of colonies was significantly different between treatments in the third breeding season following the experiment initiation. We found that, as predicted by the queen-replenishment hypothesis, queen removal resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of colonies that produced new queens. These results provide the first experimental evidence for the queen-replenishment hypothesis, which might account for sex ratio specialization in many highly polygynous ant species. PMID:16096090

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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, c...

  13. 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.

  14. A hybrid gene selection approach for microarray data classification using cellular learning automata and ant colony optimization.

    PubMed

    Vafaee Sharbaf, Fatemeh; Mosafer, Sara; Moattar, Mohammad Hossein

    2016-06-01

    This paper proposes an approach for gene selection in microarray data. The proposed approach consists of a primary filter approach using Fisher criterion which reduces the initial genes and hence the search space and time complexity. Then, a wrapper approach which is based on cellular learning automata (CLA) optimized with ant colony method (ACO) is used to find the set of features which improve the classification accuracy. CLA is applied due to its capability to learn and model complicated relationships. The selected features from the last phase are evaluated using ROC curve and the most effective while smallest feature subset is determined. The classifiers which are evaluated in the proposed framework are K-nearest neighbor; support vector machine and naïve Bayes. The proposed approach is evaluated on 4 microarray datasets. The evaluations confirm that the proposed approach can find the smallest subset of genes while approaching the maximum accuracy.

  15. A Global Approach to the Optimal Trajectory Based on an Improved Ant Colony Algorithm for Cold Spray

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cai, Zhenhua; Chen, Tingyang; Zeng, Chunnian; Guo, Xueping; Lian, Huijuan; Zheng, You; Wei, Xiaoxu

    2016-12-01

    This paper is concerned with finding a global approach to obtain the shortest complete coverage trajectory on complex surfaces for cold spray applications. A slicing algorithm is employed to decompose the free-form complex surface into several small pieces of simple topological type. The problem of finding the optimal arrangement of the pieces is translated into a generalized traveling salesman problem (GTSP). Owing to its high searching capability and convergence performance, an improved ant colony algorithm is then used to solve the GTSP. Through off-line simulation, a robot trajectory is generated based on the optimized result. The approach is applied to coat real components with a complex surface by using the cold spray system with copper as the spraying material.

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-10-01

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

  19. Flood risk zoning using a rule mining based on ant colony algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lai, Chengguang; Shao, Quanxi; Chen, Xiaohong; Wang, Zhaoli; Zhou, Xiaowen; Yang, Bing; Zhang, Lilan

    2016-11-01

    Risk assessment is a preliminary step in flood management and mitigation, and risk zoning provides a quantitative measure of flood risk. The difficulty in flood risk zoning is to deal with the complicated non-linear relationship among indices and risk levels. To solve this problem, the ant colony algorithm based on rule mining (Ant-Miner) is promoted in this paper to map the regional flood risk at grid scale. For the case study in the Dongjiang River Basin in Southern China, 11 and 14 indices (without and with the socio-economic indices considered) are respectively chosen to construct the zoning model based on Ant-Miner. The results show that Ant-Miner exhibits higher accuracy and more simple rules that can be used to generate flood risk zoning map quickly and easily than decision tree method (DT); compared to random forest (RF) and fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE), Ant-Miner has significant advantages both in implementation step-reducing and computing time-saving. Although the comprehensive measure and natural hazard measure of flood risk distributed similarly over the entire region, the former one which considered the socio-economic indices is more reasonable in term of real impact to natural and socio-economy. The areas with high-risk level obtained in this paper matched well with the integrated risk zoning map and the inundation areas of historical floods, suggesting that the proposed Ant-Miner method is capable of zoning the flood risk at grid scale. This study shows the potential to provide a novel and successful approach to flood risk zoning. Evaluation results provide a reference for flood risk management, prevention, and reduction of natural disasters in the study basin.

  20. Pharaoh ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) colony development after consumption of pyriproxyfen baits.

    PubMed

    Vail, K M; Williams, D F

    1995-12-01

    Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis (L.), colonies were effectively controlled following ingestion of pyriproxyfen formulated in peanut butter oil. Pyriproxyfen, a juvenile hormone analog, reduced egg production in the queens, decreased the amount of brood due to delayed death in the eggs and larvae, caused death of pupae about 3 wk after treatment, and decreased the number of workers due to attrition and toxic effects. Queens, which continued to produce a small amount of eggs, eventually died. Queen death may have been caused by lack of workers required to tend them, old age or toxic effects. At concentrations of 0.25, 0.5 and 1%, pyriproxyfen was more effective than the once commercially available bait, Pharorid (methoprene) for the control of the Pharaoh ant.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-09-13

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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

  3. 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

  4. An Approach to Feature Selection Based on Ant Colony Optimization and Rough Set

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Junyun; Qiu, Taorong; Wang, Lu; Huang, Haiquan

    Feature selection plays an important role in many fields. This paper proposes a method for feature selection which combined the rough set method and ant colony optimization algorithm. The algorithm used the attribute dependence and the attribute importance as the inspiration factor which applied to the transfer rules. For further, the quality of classification based on rough set method and the length of the feature subset were used to build the pheromone update strategy. Through the test of data set, results show that the proposed method is feasible.

  5. Ant colony system algorithm for the optimization of beer fermentation control.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Jie; Zhou, Ze-Kui; Zhang, Guang-Xin

    2004-12-01

    Beer fermentation is a dynamic process that must be guided along a temperature profile to obtain the desired results. Ant colony system algorithm was applied to optimize the kinetic model of this process. During a fixed period of fermentation time, a series of different temperature profiles of the mixture were constructed. An optimal one was chosen at last. Optimal temperature profile maximized the final ethanol production and minimized the byproducts concentration and spoilage risk. The satisfactory results obtained did not require much computation effort.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Incomplete homogenization of chemical recognition labels between Formica sanguinea and Formica rufa ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) living in a mixed colony.

    PubMed

    Włodarczyk, Tomasz; Szczepaniak, Lech

    2014-01-01

    Formica sanguinea Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is a slave-making species, i.e., it raids colonies of host species and pillages pupae, which are taken to develop into adult workers in a parasite colony. However, it has been unclear if the coexistence of F. sanguinea with slave workers requires uniformity of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), among which those other than n-alkanes are believed to be the principal nestmate recognition cues utilized by ants. In this study, a mixed colony (MC) of F. sanguinea and Formica rufa L. as a slave species was used to test the hypothesis that CHCs are exchanged between the species. Chemical analysis of hexane extracts from ants' body surfaces provided evidence for interspecific exchange of alkenes and methyl-branched alkanes. This result was confirmed by behavioral tests during which ants exhibited hostility toward conspecific individuals from the MC but not toward ones from homospecific colonies of their own species. However, it seems that species-specific differences in chemical recognition labels were not eliminated completely because ants from the MC were treated differently depending on whether they were con- or allospecific to the individuals whose behavioral reactions were tested. These findings are discussed in the context of mechanisms of colony's odor formation and effective integration of slaves into parasite colony. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.

  9. Solving NP-Hard Problems with Physarum-Based Ant Colony System.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yuxin; Gao, Chao; Zhang, Zili; Lu, Yuxiao; Chen, Shi; Liang, Mingxin; Tao, Li

    2017-01-01

    NP-hard problems exist in many real world applications. Ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms can provide approximate solutions for those NP-hard problems, but the performance of ACO algorithms is significantly reduced due to premature convergence and weak robustness, etc. With these observations in mind, this paper proposes a Physarum-based pheromone matrix optimization strategy in ant colony system (ACS) for solving NP-hard problems such as traveling salesman problem (TSP) and 0/1 knapsack problem (0/1 KP). In the Physarum-inspired mathematical model, one of the unique characteristics is that critical tubes can be reserved in the process of network evolution. The optimized updating strategy employs the unique feature and accelerates the positive feedback process in ACS, which contributes to the quick convergence of the optimal solution. Some experiments were conducted using both benchmark and real datasets. The experimental results show that the optimized ACS outperforms other meta-heuristic algorithms in accuracy and robustness for solving TSPs. Meanwhile, the convergence rate and robustness for solving 0/1 KPs are better than those of classical ACS.

  10. An improved ant colony optimization algorithm with fault tolerance for job scheduling in grid computing systems

    PubMed Central

    Idris, Hajara; Junaidu, Sahalu B.; Adewumi, Aderemi O.

    2017-01-01

    The Grid scheduler, schedules user jobs on the best available resource in terms of resource characteristics by optimizing job execution time. Resource failure in Grid is no longer an exception but a regular occurring event as resources are increasingly being used by the scientific community to solve computationally intensive problems which typically run for days or even months. It is therefore absolutely essential that these long-running applications are able to tolerate failures and avoid re-computations from scratch after resource failure has occurred, to satisfy the user’s Quality of Service (QoS) requirement. Job Scheduling with Fault Tolerance in Grid Computing using Ant Colony Optimization is proposed to ensure that jobs are executed successfully even when resource failure has occurred. The technique employed in this paper, is the use of resource failure rate, as well as checkpoint-based roll back recovery strategy. Check-pointing aims at reducing the amount of work that is lost upon failure of the system by immediately saving the state of the system. A comparison of the proposed approach with an existing Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm is discussed. The experimental results of the implemented Fault Tolerance scheduling algorithm show that there is an improvement in the user’s QoS requirement over the existing ACO algorithm, which has no fault tolerance integrated in it. The performance evaluation of the two algorithms was measured in terms of the three main scheduling performance metrics: makespan, throughput and average turnaround time. PMID:28545075

  11. 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.

  12. An improved ant colony optimization approach for optimization of process planning.

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. A New Method for Distinguishing Colony Social Forms of the Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta

    PubMed Central

    Shoemaker, DeWayne; Ascunce, Marina S.

    2010-01-01

    Two distinct forms of colony social organization occur in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): colonies of the monogyne social form are headed by a single egg-laying queen, whereas those of the polygyne social form contain multiple egg-laying queens. This major difference in social organization is associated with genetic variation at a single gene (Gp-9) whereby all polygyne queens possess at least one b-like allele, while monogyne queens lack such b-like alleles and instead harbor B-like alleles only. Further, a recent study of native populations revealed that all b-like alleles in polygyne queens consistently contain three diagnostic amino acid residues: possession of only one or two of these critical residues is not sufficient for polygyny. TaqMan® allelic discrimination assays were developed to survey the variable nucleotide sites associated with these three critical amino acid residues. The assays were validated by surveying nests of known social form from the species' introduced in the USA and from native South American ranges, as well as by comparing the results to Gp-9 sequence data from a subset of samples. The results demonstrate these new molecular assays consistently and accurately identify the variable nucleotides at all three sites characteristic of the B-like and b-like Gp-9 allele classes, allowing for accurate determination of colony social form. PMID:20673191

  15. A new method for distinguishing colony social forms of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, DeWayne; Ascunce, Marina S

    2010-01-01

    Two distinct forms of colony social organization occur in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): colonies of the monogyne social form are headed by a single egg-laying queen, whereas those of the polygyne social form contain multiple egg-laying queens. This major difference in social organization is associated with genetic variation at a single gene (Gp-9) whereby all polygyne queens possess at least one b-like allele, while monogyne queens lack such b-like alleles and instead harbor B-like alleles only. Further, a recent study of native populations revealed that all b-like alleles in polygyne queens consistently contain three diagnostic amino acid residues: possession of only one or two of these critical residues is not sufficient for polygyny. TaqMan allelic discrimination assays were developed to survey the variable nucleotide sites associated with these three critical amino acid residues. The assays were validated by surveying nests of known social form from the species' introduced in the USA and from native South American ranges, as well as by comparing the results to Gp-9 sequence data from a subset of samples. The results demonstrate these new molecular assays consistently and accurately identify the variable nucleotides at all three sites characteristic of the B-like and b-like Gp-9 allele classes, allowing for accurate determination of colony social form.

  16. Friends and Foes from an Ant Brain's Point of View – Neuronal Correlates of Colony Odors in a Social Insect

    PubMed Central

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Rössler, Wolfgang; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2011-01-01

    Background Successful cooperation depends on reliable identification of friends and foes. Social insects discriminate colony members (nestmates/friends) from foreign workers (non-nestmates/foes) by colony-specific, multi-component colony odors. Traditionally, complex processing in the brain has been regarded as crucial for colony recognition. Odor information is represented as spatial patterns of activity and processed in the primary olfactory neuropile, the antennal lobe (AL) of insects, which is analogous to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. Correlative evidence indicates that the spatial activity patterns reflect odor-quality, i.e., how an odor is perceived. For colony odors, alternatively, a sensory filter in the peripheral nervous system was suggested, causing specific anosmia to nestmate colony odors. Here, we investigate neuronal correlates of colony odors in the brain of a social insect to directly test whether they are anosmic to nestmate colony odors and whether spatial activity patterns in the AL can predict how odor qualities like “friend” and “foe” are attributed to colony odors. Methodology/Principal Findings Using ant dummies that mimic natural conditions, we presented colony odors and investigated their neuronal representation in the ant Camponotus floridanus. Nestmate and non-nestmate colony odors elicited neuronal activity: In the periphery, we recorded sensory responses of olfactory receptor neurons (electroantennography), and in the brain, we measured colony odor specific spatial activity patterns in the AL (calcium imaging). Surprisingly, upon repeated stimulation with the same colony odor, spatial activity patterns were variable, and as variable as activity patterns elicited by different colony odors. Conclusions Ants are not anosmic to nestmate colony odors. However, spatial activity patterns in the AL alone do not provide sufficient information for colony odor discrimination and this finding challenges the current notion of how odor

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

    PubMed

    Schmolke, Amelie

    2009-06-01

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

  18. Ant colony optimization with selective evaluation for feature selection in character recognition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oh, Il-Seok; Lee, Jin-Seon

    2010-01-01

    This paper analyzes the size characteristics of character recognition domain with the aim of developing a feature selection algorithm adequate for the domain. Based on the results, we further analyze the timing requirements of three popular feature selection algorithms, greedy algorithm, genetic algorithm, and ant colony optimization. For a rigorous timing analysis, we adopt the concept of atomic operation. We propose a novel scheme called selective evaluation to improve convergence of ACO. The scheme cut down the computational load by excluding the evaluation of unnecessary or less promising candidate solutions. The scheme is realizable in ACO due to the valuable information, pheromone trail which helps identify those solutions. Experimental results showed that the ACO with selective evaluation was promising both in timing requirement and recognition performance.

  19. A convenient and robust edge detection method based on ant colony optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Xiaochen; Fang, Suping

    2015-10-01

    Edge detection is usually used as a preprocessing operation in many machine vision industrial applications. Recently, ant colony optimization (ACO) as a relatively new meta-heuristic approach has been used to tackle the edge detection problem. In this work, a convenient and robust method for edge detection based on ACO is proposed, which employs a new heuristic function, adopts a user-defined threshold in pheromone update process and provides a group of suitable parameter values. Experimental results clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed method, and at the same time, in the presence of noise, the proposed approach outperforms other two ACO-based edge detection techniques and four conventional edge detectors.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    Altruism in social insects has evolved between closely related full-siblings. It is therefore of considerable interest why some groups have secondarily evolved low within-colony relatedness, which in turn affects the relatedness incentives of within-colony cooperation and conflict. The highest queen mating frequencies, and therefore among the lowest degrees of colony relatedness, occur in Apis honeybees and army ants of the subfamilies Aenictinae, Ecitoninae, and Dorylinae, suggesting that common life history features such as reproduction by colony fission and male biased numerical sex-ratios have convergently shaped these mating systems. Here we show that ponerine army ants of the genus Simopelta, which are distantly related but similar in general biology to other army ants, have strictly monandrous queens. Preliminary data suggest that workers reproduce in queenright colonies, which is in sharp contrast to other army ants. We hypothesize that differences in mature colony size and social complexity may explain these striking discrepancies. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  8. 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.

  9. Routing and spectrum assignment based on ant colony optimization of minimum consecutiveness loss in elastic optical networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Fu; Liu, Bo; Zhang, Lijia; Xin, Xiangjun; Tian, Qinghua; Zhang, Qi; Rao, Lan; Tian, Feng; Luo, Biao; Liu, Yingjun; Tang, Bao

    2016-10-01

    Elastic Optical Networks are considered to be a promising technology for future high-speed network. In this paper, we propose a RSA algorithm based on the ant colony optimization of minimum consecutiveness loss (ACO-MCL). Based on the effect of the spectrum consecutiveness loss on the pheromone in the ant colony optimization, the path and spectrum of the minimal impact on the network are selected for the service request. When an ant arrives at the destination node from the source node along a path, we assume that this path is selected for the request. We calculate the consecutiveness loss of candidate-neighbor link pairs along this path after the routing and spectrum assignment. Then, the networks update the pheromone according to the value of the consecutiveness loss. We save the path with the smallest value. After multiple iterations of the ant colony optimization, the final selection of the path is assigned for the request. The algorithms are simulated in different networks. The results show that ACO-MCL algorithm performs better in blocking probability and spectrum efficiency than other algorithms. Moreover, the ACO-MCL algorithm can effectively decrease spectrum fragmentation and enhance available spectrum consecutiveness. Compared with other algorithms, the ACO-MCL algorithm can reduce the blocking rate by at least 5.9% in heavy load.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-21

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

  11. Meta-Heuristics in Short Scale Construction: Ant Colony Optimization and Genetic Algorithm.

    PubMed

    Schroeders, Ulrich; Wilhelm, Oliver; Olaru, Gabriel

    2016-01-01

    The advent of large-scale assessment, but also the more frequent use of longitudinal and multivariate approaches to measurement in psychological, educational, and sociological research, caused an increased demand for psychometrically sound short scales. Shortening scales economizes on valuable administration time, but might result in inadequate measures because reducing an item set could: a) change the internal structure of the measure, b) result in poorer reliability and measurement precision, c) deliver measures that cannot effectively discriminate between persons on the intended ability spectrum, and d) reduce test-criterion relations. Different approaches to abbreviate measures fare differently with respect to the above-mentioned problems. Therefore, we compare the quality and efficiency of three item selection strategies to derive short scales from an existing long version: a Stepwise COnfirmatory Factor Analytical approach (SCOFA) that maximizes factor loadings and two metaheuristics, specifically an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) with a tailored user-defined optimization function and a Genetic Algorithm (GA) with an unspecific cost-reduction function. SCOFA compiled short versions were highly reliable, but had poor validity. In contrast, both metaheuristics outperformed SCOFA and produced efficient and psychometrically sound short versions (unidimensional, reliable, sensitive, and valid). We discuss under which circumstances ACO and GA produce equivalent results and provide recommendations for conditions in which it is advisable to use a metaheuristic with an unspecific out-of-the-box optimization function.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Meta-Heuristics in Short Scale Construction: Ant Colony Optimization and Genetic Algorithm

    PubMed Central

    Schroeders, Ulrich; Wilhelm, Oliver; Olaru, Gabriel

    2016-01-01

    The advent of large-scale assessment, but also the more frequent use of longitudinal and multivariate approaches to measurement in psychological, educational, and sociological research, caused an increased demand for psychometrically sound short scales. Shortening scales economizes on valuable administration time, but might result in inadequate measures because reducing an item set could: a) change the internal structure of the measure, b) result in poorer reliability and measurement precision, c) deliver measures that cannot effectively discriminate between persons on the intended ability spectrum, and d) reduce test-criterion relations. Different approaches to abbreviate measures fare differently with respect to the above-mentioned problems. Therefore, we compare the quality and efficiency of three item selection strategies to derive short scales from an existing long version: a Stepwise COnfirmatory Factor Analytical approach (SCOFA) that maximizes factor loadings and two metaheuristics, specifically an Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) with a tailored user-defined optimization function and a Genetic Algorithm (GA) with an unspecific cost-reduction function. SCOFA compiled short versions were highly reliable, but had poor validity. In contrast, both metaheuristics outperformed SCOFA and produced efficient and psychometrically sound short versions (unidimensional, reliable, sensitive, and valid). We discuss under which circumstances ACO and GA produce equivalent results and provide recommendations for conditions in which it is advisable to use a metaheuristic with an unspecific out-of-the-box optimization function. PMID:27893845

  17. A Pareto Ant Colony Algorithm Applied to the Class Integration and Test Order Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    da Veiga Cabral, Rafael; Pozo, Aurora; Vergilio, Silvia Regina

    In the context of Object-Oriented software, many works have investigated the Class Integration and Test Order (CITO) problem, proposing solutions to determine test orders for the integration test of the program classes. The existing approaches based on graphs can generate solutions that are sub-optimal, and do not consider the different factors and measures that can affect the stubbing process. To overcome this limitation, solutions based on Genetic Algorithms (GA) have presented promising results. However, the determination of a cost function, which is able to generate the best solutions, is not always a trivial task, mainly for complex systems with a great number of measures. Therefore, we introduce, in this paper, a multi-objective optimization approach to better represent the CITO problem. The approach generates a set of good solutions that achieve a balanced compromise between the different measures (objectives). It was implemented by a Pareto Ant Colony (P-ACO) algorithm, which is described in detail. The algorithm was used in a set of real programs and the obtained results are compared to the GA results. The results allow discussing the difference between single and multi-objective approaches especially for complex systems with a greater number of dependencies among the classes.

  18. A multiple classifier system based on Ant-Colony Optimization for Hyperspectral image classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Ke; Xie, Li; Li, Guangyao

    2017-01-01

    Hyperspectral images which hold a large quantity of land information enables image classification. Traditional classification methods usually works on multispectral images. However, the high dimensionality in feature space influences the accuracy while using these classification algorithms, such as statistical classifiers or decision trees. This paper proposes a multiple classifier system (MCS) based on ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm to improve the classification ability. ACO method has been implemented on multispectral images in researches, but seldom to hyperspectral images. In order to overcome the limitation of ACO method on dealing with high dimensionality, MCS is introduced to combine the outputs of each single ACO classifier based on the credibility of rules. Mutual information is applied to discretizing features from the data set and provides the criterion of band selection and band grouping algorithms. The performance of the proposed method is validated with ROSIS Pavia data set, and compared to k-nearest neighbour (KNN) algorithm. Experimental results prove that the proposed method is feasible to classify hyperspectral images.

  19. 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.

  20. Intelligent Method for Diagnosing Structural Faults of Rotating Machinery Using Ant Colony Optimization

    PubMed Central

    Li, Ke; Chen, Peng

    2011-01-01

    Structural faults, such as unbalance, misalignment and looseness, etc., often occur in the shafts of rotating machinery. These faults may cause serious machine accidents and lead to great production losses. This paper proposes an intelligent method for diagnosing structural faults of rotating machinery using ant colony optimization (ACO) and relative ratio symptom parameters (RRSPs) in order to detect faults and distinguish fault types at an early stage. New symptom parameters called “relative ratio symptom parameters” are defined for reflecting the features of vibration signals measured in each state. Synthetic detection index (SDI) using statistical theory has also been defined to evaluate the applicability of the RRSPs. The SDI can be used to indicate the fitness of a RRSP for ACO. Lastly, this paper also compares the proposed method with the conventional neural networks (NN) method. Practical examples of fault diagnosis for a centrifugal fan are provided to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. The verification results show that the structural faults often occurring in the centrifugal fan, such as unbalance, misalignment and looseness states are effectively identified by the proposed method, while these faults are difficult to detect using conventional neural networks. PMID:22163833

  1. 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

  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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. Applying genetic programming and ant colony optimisation to improve the geometric design of a reflector

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hsu, Chih-Ming

    2012-05-01

    The lighting performance of an LED (light-emitting diode) flash is significantly influenced by the geometric form of a reflector. Previously, design engineers have usually determined the geometric design of a reflector according to the principles of optics and their own experience. Some real reflectors have then been created to verify the feasibility and performance of a certain geometric design. This, however, is a costly and time-consuming procedure. Furthermore, the geometric design of a reflector cannot be proven to be actually optimal. This study proposes a systematic approach based on genetic programming (GP) and ant colony optimisation (ACO), called the GP-ACO procedure, to improve the geometric design of a reflector. A case study is used to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed optimisation procedure. The results show that all the crucial quality characteristics of an LED flash fulfil the required specifications; thus, the optimal geometric parameter settings of the reflector obtained can be directly applied to mass production. Consequently, the proposed GP-ACO procedure can be considered an effective method for resolving general multi-response parameter design problems.

  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. Putting the waste out: a proposed mechanism for transmission of the mycoparasite Escovopsis between leafcutter ant colonies

    PubMed Central

    Augustin, Juliana O.; Simões, Talitta G.; Dijksterhuis, Jan; Evans, Harry C.

    2017-01-01

    The attine ant system is a remarkable example of symbiosis. An antagonistic partner within this system is the fungal parasite Escovopsis, a genus specific to the fungal gardens of the Attini. Escovopsis parasitizes the Leucoagaricus symbiont that leaf-cutting ants (Acromyrmex, Atta) have been farming over the past 8–12 Myr. However, it has been a puzzle how Escovopsis reaches its host. During a seasonal survey of nests of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus in Atlantic rainforest in Brazil, Escovopsis was detected in all the sampled fungal garden waste tips or middens (n = 111). Middens were built strategically; always below the nest entrances. Here, we report the first evidence of a putative mechanism for horizontal transmission of Escovopsis between attine colonies. It is posited that leaf-cutting ants pick up the spores from soil and litter during foraging and vector the mycoparasite between attine colonies. Field and laboratory experiments, using At. laevigata and Ac. subterraneus subterraneus, confirm that Escovopsis spores are phoretic, and have an inbuilt dormancy, broken by the presence of their Leucoagaricus host. However, in the coevolutionary arms race, Atta ants may lose out—despite most species in the genus investing in a more advanced waste disposal system—due to the insanitary habits of their Acromyrmex neighbours. PMID:28572992

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. PinaColada: peptide-inhibitor ant colony ad-hoc design algorithm.

    PubMed

    Zaidman, Daniel; Wolfson, Haim J

    2016-08-01

    Design of protein-protein interaction (PPI) inhibitors is a major challenge in Structural Bioinformatics. Peptides, especially short ones (5-15 amino acid long), are natural candidates for inhibition of protein-protein complexes due to several attractive features such as high structural compatibility with the protein binding site (mimicking the surface of one of the proteins), small size and the ability to form strong hotspot binding connections with the protein surface. Efficient rational peptide design is still a major challenge in computer aided drug design, due to the huge space of possible sequences, which is exponential in the length of the peptide, and the high flexibility of peptide conformations. In this article we present PinaColada, a novel computational method for the design of peptide inhibitors for protein-protein interactions. We employ a version of the ant colony optimization heuristic, which is used to explore the exponential space ([Formula: see text]) of length n peptide sequences, in combination with our fast robotics motivated PepCrawler algorithm, which explores the conformational space for each candidate sequence. PinaColada is being run in parallel, on a DELL PowerEdge 2.8 GHZ computer with 20 cores and 256 GB memory, and takes up to 24 h to design a peptide of 5-15 amino acids length. An online server available at: http://bioinfo3d.cs.tau.ac.il/PinaColada/. danielza@post.tau.ac.il; wolfson@tau.ac.il. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  16. 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).

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Conserved Microsatellites in Ants Enable Population Genetic and Colony Pedigree Studies across a Wide Range of Species

    PubMed Central

    Butler, Ian A.; Siletti, Kimberly; Oxley, Peter R.; Kronauer, Daniel J. C.

    2014-01-01

    Broadly applicable polymorphic genetic markers are essential tools for population genetics, and different types of markers have been developed for this purpose. Microsatellites have been employed as particularly polymorphic markers for over 20 years. However, PCR primers for microsatellite loci are often not useful outside the species for which they were designed. This implies that a new set of loci has to be identified and primers developed for every new study species. To overcome this constraint, we identified 45 conserved microsatellite loci based on the eight currently available ant genomes and designed primers for PCR amplification. Among these loci, we chose 24 for in-depth study in six species covering six different ant subfamilies. On average, 11.16 of these 24 loci were polymorphic and in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in any given species. The average number of alleles for these polymorphic loci within single populations of the different species was 4.59. This set of genetic markers will thus be useful for population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of ant species, supplementing the markers available for previously studied species and greatly facilitating the study of the many ant species lacking genetic markers. Our study shows that it is possible to develop microsatellite loci that are both conserved over a broad range of taxa, yet polymorphic within species. This should encourage researchers to develop similar tools for other large taxonomic groups. PMID:25244681

  2. Conserved microsatellites in ants enable population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of species.

    PubMed

    Butler, Ian A; Siletti, Kimberly; Oxley, Peter R; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2014-01-01

    Broadly applicable polymorphic genetic markers are essential tools for population genetics, and different types of markers have been developed for this purpose. Microsatellites have been employed as particularly polymorphic markers for over 20 years. However, PCR primers for microsatellite loci are often not useful outside the species for which they were designed. This implies that a new set of loci has to be identified and primers developed for every new study species. To overcome this constraint, we identified 45 conserved microsatellite loci based on the eight currently available ant genomes and designed primers for PCR amplification. Among these loci, we chose 24 for in-depth study in six species covering six different ant subfamilies. On average, 11.16 of these 24 loci were polymorphic and in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in any given species. The average number of alleles for these polymorphic loci within single populations of the different species was 4.59. This set of genetic markers will thus be useful for population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of ant species, supplementing the markers available for previously studied species and greatly facilitating the study of the many ant species lacking genetic markers. Our study shows that it is possible to develop microsatellite loci that are both conserved over a broad range of taxa, yet polymorphic within species. This should encourage researchers to develop similar tools for other large taxonomic groups.

  3. Performance evaluation of ant colony optimization-based solution strategies on the mixed-model assembly line balancing problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akpinar, Sener; Mirac Bayhan, G.

    2014-06-01

    The aim of this article is to compare the performances of iterative ant colony optimization (ACO)-based solution strategies on a mixed-model assembly line balancing problem of type II (MMALBP-II) by addressing some particular features of real-world assembly line balancing problems such as parallel workstations and zoning constraints. To solve the problem, where the objective is to minimize the cycle time (i.e. maximize the production rate) for a predefined number of workstations in an existing assembly line, two ACO-based approaches which differ in the mission assigned to artificial ants are used. Furthermore, each ACO-based approach is conducted with two different pheromone release strategies: global and local pheromone updating rules. The four ACO-based approaches are used for solving 20 representative MMALBP-II to compare their performance in terms of computational time and solution quality. Detailed comparison results are presented.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

    Kolay, Swetashree; Annagiri, Sumana

    2015-09-01

    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.

  6. Research on remote sensing image segmentation based on ant colony algorithm: take the land cover classification of middle Qinling Mountains for example

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mei, Xin; Wang, Qian; Wang, Quanfang; Lin, Wenfang

    2009-10-01

    Remote sensing image based on the complexity of the background features, has a wealth of spatial information, how to extract huge amounts of data in the region of interest is a serious problem. Image segmentation refers to certain provisions in accordance with the characteristics of the image into different regions, and it is the key of remote sensing image recognition and information extraction. Reasonably fast image segmentation algorithm is the base of image processing; traditional segmentation methods have a lot of the limitations. Traditional threshold segmentation method in essence is an ergodic process, the low efficiency impacts on its application. The ant colony algorithm is a populationbased evolutionary algorithm heuristic biomimetic, since proposed, it has been successfully applied to the TSP, job-shop scheduling problem, network routing problem, vehicle routing problem, as well as other cluster analysis. Ant colony optimization algorithm is a fast heuristic optimization algorithm, easily integrates with other methods, and it is robust. Improved ant colony algorithm can greatly enhance the speed of image segmentation, while reducing the noise on the image. The research background of this paper is land cover classification experiments according to the SPOT images of Qinling area. The image segmentation based on ant colony algorithm is carried out and compared with traditional methods. Experimental results show that improved the ant colony algorithm can quickly and accurately segment target, and it is an effective method of image segmentation, it also has laid a good foundation of image classification for the follow-up work.

  7. Application of Ant-Colony-Optimization algorithm for improved management of first flush effects in urban wastewater systems.

    PubMed

    Verdaguer, M; Clara, N; Gutiérrez, O; Poch, M

    2014-07-01

    The first flush effect in combined sewer systems during storm events often causes overflows and overloads of the sewage treatment, which reduces the efficiency of the sewage treatment and decreases the quality of the receiving waters due to the pollutants that are contributed. The use of retention tanks constitutes a widely used way to mitigate this effect. However, the management of the pollutant loads encounters difficulties when the retention tanks are emptied. A new approach is proposed to solve this problem by fulfilling the treatment requirements in real time, focussing on the characteristics of the wastewater. The method is based on the execution of an Ant Colony Optimisation algorithm to obtain a satisfactory sequence for the discharge of the retention tanks. The discharge sequence considers the volume of stormwater and its concentration of pollutants including Suspended Solids, Biological Oxygen Demand and Chemical Oxygen Demand, Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus. The Ant Colony Optimisation algorithm was applied successfully to a case study with overall reduction of pollutant loads stored in retention tanks. The algorithm can be adapted in a simple way to the different scenarios, infrastructures and controllers of sewer systems.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Population genetics and colony structure of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) in its native and introduced ranges.

    PubMed

    Tsutsui, N D; Case, T J

    2001-05-01

    Introduced species often possess low levels of genetic diversity relative to source populations as a consequence of the small population sizes associated with founder events. Additionally, native and introduced populations of the same species can possess divergent genetic structuring at both large and small geographic scales. Thus, genetic systems that have evolved in the context of high diversity may function quite differently in genetically homogeneous introduced populations. Here we conduct a genetic analysis of native and introduced populations of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) in which we show that the population-level changes that have occurred during introduction have produced marked changes in the social structure of this species. Native populations of the Argentine ant are characterized by a pattern of genetic isolation by distance, whereas this pattern is absent in introduced populations. These differences appear to arise both from the effects of recent range expansion in the introduced range as well as from differences in gene flow within each range. Relatedness within nests and colonies is lower in the introduced range than in the native range as a consequence of the widespread genetic similarity that typifies introduced populations. In contrast, nestmates and colony-mates in the native range are more closely related, and local genetic differentiation is evident. Our results shed light on the problem posed for kin selection theory by the low levels of relatedness that are characteristic of many unicolonial species and suggest that the loss of genetic variation may be a common mechanism for the transition to a unicolonial colony structure.

  11. Partially constrained ant colony optimization algorithm for the solution of constrained optimization problems: Application to storm water network design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Afshar, M. H.

    2007-04-01

    This paper exploits the unique feature of the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm (ACOA), namely incremental solution building mechanism, to develop partially constraint ACO algorithms for the solution of optimization problems with explicit constraints. The method is based on the provision of a tabu list for each ant at each decision point of the problem so that some constraints of the problem are satisfied. The application of the method to the problem of storm water network design is formulated and presented. The network nodes are considered as the decision points and the nodal elevations of the network are used as the decision variables of the optimization problem. Two partially constrained ACO algorithms are formulated and applied to a benchmark example of storm water network design and the results are compared with those of the original unconstrained algorithm and existing methods. In the first algorithm the positive slope constraints are satisfied explicitly and the rest are satisfied by using the penalty method while in the second one the satisfaction of constraints regarding the maximum ratio of flow depth to the diameter are also achieved explicitly via the tabu list. The method is shown to be very effective and efficient in locating the optimal solutions and in terms of the convergence characteristics of the resulting ACO algorithms. The proposed algorithms are also shown to be relatively insensitive to the initial colony used compared to the original algorithm. Furthermore, the method proves itself capable of finding an optimal or near-optimal solution, independent of the discretisation level and the size of the colony used.

  12. 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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

  14. Detection and Length Estimation of Linear Scratch on Solid Surfaces Using an Angle Constrained Ant Colony Technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pal, Siddharth; Basak, Aniruddha; Das, Swagatam

    In many manufacturing areas the detection of surface defects is one of the most important processes in quality control. Currently in order to detect small scratches on solid surfaces most of the industries working on material manufacturing rely on visual inspection primarily. In this article we propose a hybrid computational intelligence technique to automatically detect a linear scratch from a solid surface and estimate its length (in pixel unit) simultaneously. The approach is based on a swarm intelligence algorithm called Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and image preprocessing with Wiener and Sobel filters as well as the Canny edge detector. The ACO algorithm is mostly used to compensate for the broken parts of the scratch. Our experimental results confirm that the proposed technique can be used for detecting scratches from noisy and degraded images, even when it is very difficult for conventional image processing to distinguish the scratch area from its background.

  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. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Re-visiting of plentiful food sources and food search strategies in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Wolf, Harald; Wittlinger, Matthias; Bolek, Siegfried

    2012-01-01

    North African desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, are established model organisms in animal navigation research. Cataglyphis re-visit plentiful feeding sites, but their decision to return to a feeder and the organization of food searches has been little studied. Here we provide a review of recent advances regarding this topic. At least two parameters determine the ants' assessment of site quality, namely, amount of food available and reliability of food encounter on subsequent visits. The amount of food appears to be judged by the concentration of items at the food uptake site. Initially the amount of food in a feeder dominates the foragers' decision to return, whereas learning about reliability takes precedence in the course of a few visits. The location of a worthwhile site is determined by the animals' path integration system. In particular, the distance of the feeding site is memorized as the arithmetic average of the distances covered during the previous outbound and homebound journeys. Feeding sites that are small and inconspicuous cannot be approached directly with sufficient certainty, due to inevitable inaccuracies of the path integrator. Instead, desert ants steer downwind of the goal to encounter the odor plume emanating from the food and they follow this plume to the feeder. The angle steered downwind reflects the animals' maximal navigation error and is adjusted according to experience. In summary, food searches of desert ants provide an unexpected wealth of features that may advance our understanding of search, navigation, and decision strategies. There are several aspects that warrant further scrutiny.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Isingrini, M; Lenoir, A; Jaisson, P

    1985-12-01

    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.

  3. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  5. Plant resources and colony growth in an invasive ant: the importance of honeydew-producing Hemiptera in carbohydrate transfer across trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Helms, Ken R; Vinson, S Bradleigh

    2008-04-01

    Studies have suggested that plant-based nutritional resources are important in promoting high densities of omnivorous and invasive ants, but there have been no direct tests of the effects of these resources on colony productivity. We conducted an experiment designed to determine the relative importance of plants and honeydew-producing insects feeding on plants to the growth of colonies of the invasive ant Solenopsis invicta (Buren). We found that colonies of S. invicta grew substantially when they only had access to unlimited insect prey; however, colonies that also had access to plants colonized by honeydew-producing Hemiptera grew significantly and substantially ( approximately 50%) larger. Our experiment also showed that S. invicta was unable to acquire significant nutritional resources directly from the Hemiptera host plant but acquired them indirectly from honeydew. Honeydew alone is unlikely to be sufficient for colony growth, however, and both carbohydrates abundant in plants and proteins abundant in animals are likely to be necessary for optimal growth. Our experiment provides important insight into the effects of a common tritrophic interaction among an invasive mealybug, Antonina graminis (Maskell), an invasive host grass, Cynodon dactylon L. Pers., and S. invicta in the southeastern United States, suggesting that interactions among these species can be important in promoting extremely high population densities of S. invicta.

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wang, John; Wurm, Yannick; Nipitwattanaphon, Mingkwan; Riba-Grognuz, Oksana; Huang, Yu-Ching; Shoemaker, DeWayne; Keller, Laurent

    2013-01-31

    Intraspecific variability in social organization is common, yet the underlying causes are rarely known. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the existence of two divergent forms of social organization is under the control of a single Mendelian genomic element marked by two variants of an odorant-binding protein gene. Here we characterize the genomic region responsible for this important social polymorphism, and show that it is part of a pair of heteromorphic chromosomes that have many of the key properties of sex chromosomes. The two variants, hereafter referred to as the social B and social b (SB and Sb) chromosomes, are characterized by a large region of approximately 13 megabases (55% of the chromosome) in which recombination is completely suppressed between SB and Sb. Recombination seems to occur normally between the SB chromosomes but not between Sb chromosomes because Sb/Sb individuals are non-viable. Genomic comparisons revealed limited differentiation between SB and Sb, and the vast majority of the 616 genes identified in the non-recombining region are present in the two variants. The lack of recombination over more than half of the two heteromorphic social chromosomes can be explained by at least one large inversion of around 9 megabases, and this absence of recombination has led to the accumulation of deleterious mutations, including repetitive elements in the non-recombining region of Sb compared with the homologous region of SB. Importantly, most of the genes with demonstrated expression differences between individuals of the two social forms reside in the non-recombining region. These findings highlight how genomic rearrangements can maintain divergent adaptive social phenotypes involving many genes acting together by locally limiting recombination.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Optimal angle of polycrystalline silicon solar panels placed in a building using the ant colony optimization algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saouane, I.; Chaker, A.; Zaidi, B.; Shekhar, C.

    2017-03-01

    This paper describes the mathematical model used to determine the amount of solar radiation received on an inclined solar photovoltaic panel. The optimum slope angles for each month, season, and year have also been calculated for a solar photovoltaic panel. The optimization of the procedure to maximize the solar energy collected by the solar panel by varying the tilt angle is also presented. As a first step, the global solar radiation on the horizontal surface of a thermal photovoltaic panel during clear sky is estimated. Thereafter, the Muneer model, which provides the most accurate estimation of the total solar radiation at a given geographical point has been used to determine the optimum collector slope. Also, the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm was applied to obtain the optimum tilt angle settings for PV collector to improve the PV collector efficiency. The results show good agreement between calculated and predicted results. Additionally, this paper presents studies carried out on the polycrystalline silicon solar panels for electrical energy generation in the city of Ghardaia. The electrical energy generation has been studied as a function of amount of irradiation received and the angle of optimum orientation of the solar panels.

  11. 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.

  12. Bus Stops Location and Bus Route Planning Using Mean Shift Clustering and Ant Colony in West Jakarta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Supangat, Kenny; Eko Soelistio, Yustinus

    2017-03-01

    Traffic Jam has been a daily problem for people in Jakarta which is one of the busiest city in Indonesia up until now. Even though the official government has tried to reduce the impact of traffic issues by developing a new public transportation which takes up a lot of resources and time, it failed to diminish the problem. The actual concern to this problem actually lies in how people move between places in Jakarta where they always using their own vehicle like cars, and motorcycles that fill most of the street in Jakarta. Among much other public transportations that roams the street of Jakarta, Buses is believed to be an efficient transportation that can move many people at once. However, the location of the bus stop is now have moved to the middle of the main road, and its too far for the nearby residence to access to it. This paper proposes an optimal location of optimal bus stops in West Jakarta that is experimentally proven to have a maximal distance of 350 m. The optimal location is estimated by means of mean shift clustering method while the optimal routes are calculated using Ant Colony algorithm. The bus stops locations rate of error is 0.07% with overall route area of 32 km. Based on our experiments, we believe our proposed bus stop plan can be an interesting alternative to reduce traffic congestion in West Jakarta.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. 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)

  17. The Ants Have It!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Daugherty, Belinda

    2001-01-01

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

  18. Propagule pressure and colony social organization are associated with the successful invasion and rapid range expansion of fire ants in China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chin-Cheng; Ascunce, Marina S; Luo, Li-Zhi; Shao, Jing-Guo; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2012-02-01

    We characterized patterns of genetic variation in populations of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in China using mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite loci to test predictions as to how propagule pressure and subsequent dispersal following establishment jointly shape the invasion success of this ant in this recently invaded area. Fire ants in Wuchuan (Guangdong Province) are genetically differentiated from those found in other large infested areas of China. The immediate source of ants in Wuchuan appears to be somewhere near Texas, which ranks first among the southern USA infested states in the exportation of goods to China. Most colonies from spatially distant, outlying areas in China are genetically similar to one another and appear to share a common source (Wuchuan, Guangdong Province), suggesting that long-distance jump dispersal has been a prevalent means of recent spread of fire ants in China. Furthermore, most colonies at outlier sites are of the polygyne social form (featuring multiple egg-laying queens per nest), reinforcing the important role of this social form in the successful invasion of new areas and subsequent range expansion following invasion. Several analyses consistently revealed characteristic signatures of genetic bottlenecks for S. invicta populations in China. The results of this study highlight the invasive potential of this pest ant, suggest that the magnitude of international trade may serve as a predictor of propagule pressure and indicate that rates and patterns of subsequent range expansion are partly determined by the interplay between species traits and the trade and transportation networks. © Published 2011. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  19. What counts for ants? How return behaviour and food search of Cataglyphis ants are modified by variations in food quantity and experience.

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wittlinger, Matthias; Wolf, Harald

    2012-09-15

    When finding more food than one is able to carry home, should one come back to the site to exploit it further? This question is crucial for central place foragers that provide for a home place with brood or nest mates. The benefit of returning has to be weighed against the chance of finding food elsewhere and the resources available. Desert ants Cataglyphis fortis are well-studied examples when it comes to navigating back and forth between their nest and a foraging area, due to their primary reliance on path integration in the open and featureless desert habitat. The ants use path integration not only for a safe return from their foraging trips but also for future returns to plentiful feeding sites. The direction from the nest that has previously yielded food items is preferred for future foraging trips, a phenomenon termed sector fidelity. What prompts the ants to return to a particular site, and how faithfully they search for that place, has not been well studied. We examine the evaluation of food sources in channel experiments by varying both the number of food items in a feeder and the number of visits to the feeder before testing search distances of foragers returning to the feeding site. Ants exhibited more focused searches for plentiful food sources than for sources with only few food items upon their first return visit. After several successful visits, the ants always searched thoroughly for the food source, independent of the amount of food offered. Thus, desert ants consider both food abundance and reliability of food encounter, with corroborative learning of reliability gradually overriding the initial preference for plentiful feeders. The density of food items appears to be used by the ants as a proxy for food abundance. On the level of our analysis, the searches performed in the experimental channels are indistinguishable from those performed in the open desert terrain. The present results not only demonstrate how otherwise well-studied desert ants

  20. Visual cue learning and odometry in guiding the search behavior of desert ants, Melophorus bagoti, in artificial channels.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, Sebastian; Schultheiss, Patrick; Cheng, Ken

    2012-11-01

    Terrestrial panoramic cues, path integration and search behavior are the main navigational strategies used by ants to locate food and find their way back to the nest. Searching becomes important when the other navigational cues are either not available or cannot provide sufficient information to pinpoint the goal. When searching in one-dimensional channels Melophorus bagoti ants exhibit a systematic drift in the starting-point-to-goal direction as they turn back and forth, sometimes past the goal location (Narendra et al., 2008). Here we show that this drift in channels is not a stereotypical part of the search behavior in these ants. It rather depends on the conditions of training. In experiments in which the nest entrance is located not at the end but at the side of the channel, forward drift is not always part of the nest search. Experiments on food searches showed that with the food source at the end of the channel, ants performed a linear drift in the starting-point-to-food direction. With food at the side of the channel, they showed a less pronounced drift toward the food source. In this constrained environment, especially with the goal at the end of the channel, ants seem to learn a routine such as 'run along the channel', and mix this routine with their usual strategy of turning back and forth in search. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Using ant colony optimization on the quadratic assignment problem to achieve low energy cost in geo-distributed data centers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osei, Richard

    There are many problems associated with operating a data center. Some of these problems include data security, system performance, increasing infrastructure complexity, increasing storage utilization, keeping up with data growth, and increasing energy costs. Energy cost differs by location, and at most locations fluctuates over time. The rising cost of energy makes it harder for data centers to function properly and provide a good quality of service. With reduced energy cost, data centers will have longer lasting servers/equipment, higher availability of resources, better quality of service, a greener environment, and reduced service and software costs for consumers. Some of the ways that data centers have tried to using to reduce energy costs include dynamically switching on and off servers based on the number of users and some predefined conditions, the use of environmental monitoring sensors, and the use of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), which enables processors to run at different combinations of frequencies with voltages to reduce energy cost. This thesis presents another method by which energy cost at data centers could be reduced. This method involves the use of Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) on a Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP) in assigning user request to servers in geo-distributed data centers. In this paper, an effort to reduce data center energy cost involves the use of front portals, which handle users' requests, were used as ants to find cost effective ways to assign users requests to a server in heterogeneous geo-distributed data centers. The simulation results indicate that the ACO for Optimal Server Activation and Task Placement algorithm reduces energy cost on a small and large number of users' requests in a geo-distributed data center and its performance increases as the input data grows. In a simulation with 3 geo-distributed data centers, and user's resource request ranging from 25,000 to 25,000,000, the ACO algorithm was able

  2. Optimization on Paddy Crops in Central Java (with Solver, SVD on Least Square and ACO (Ant Colony Algorithm))

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parhusip, H. A.; Trihandaru, S.; Susanto, B.; Prasetyo, S. Y. J.; Agus, Y. H.; Simanjuntak, B. H.

    2017-03-01

    Several algorithms and objective functions on paddy crops have been studied to get optimal paddy crops in Central Java based on the data given from Surakarta and Boyolali. The algorithms are linear solver, least square and Ant Colony Algorithms (ACO) to develop optimization procedures on paddy crops modelled with Modified GSTAR (Generalized Space-Time Autoregressive) and nonlinear models where the nonlinear models are quadratic and power functions. The studied data contain paddy crops from Surakarta and Boyolali determining the best period of planting in the year 1992-2012 for Surakarta where 3 periods for planting are known and the optimal amount of paddy crops in Boyolali in the year 2008-2013. Having these analyses may guide the local agriculture government to give a decision on rice sustainability in its region. The best period for planting in Surakarta is observed, i.e. the best period is in September-December based on the data 1992-2012 by considering the planting area, the cropping area, and the paddy crops are the most important factors to be taken into account. As a result, we can refer the paddy crops in this best period (about 60.4 thousand tons per year) as the optimal results in 1992-2012 where the used objective function is quadratic. According to the research, the optimal paddy crops in Boyolali about 280 thousand tons per year where the studied factors are the amount of rainfalls, the harvested area and the paddy crops in 2008-2013. In this case, linear and power functions are studied to be the objective functions. Compared to all studied algorithms, the linear solver is still recommended to be an optimization tool for a local agriculture government to predict paddy crops in future.

  3. Feature selection using ant colony optimization with tandem-run recruitment to diagnose bronchitis from CT scan images.

    PubMed

    Sweetlin, J Dhalia; Nehemiah, H Khanna; Kannan, A

    2017-07-01

    Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) plays a vital role in the routine clinical activity for the detection of lung disorders using computed tomography (CT) images. It serves as a source of second opinion that radiologists may consider in order to interpret CT images. In this work, the purpose of CAD is to improve the diagnostic accuracy of pulmonary bronchitis from CT images of the lung. Left and right lung fields are segmented using optimal thresholding from the lung CT images. Texture and shape features are extracted from the pathology bearing regions. A hybrid feature selection approach based on ant colony optimization (ACO) combining cosine similarity and support vector machine (SVM) classifier is used to select relevant features. Additionally, tandem run recruitment strategy is included in the selection activity to choose the promising features. The SVM classifier is trained using the selected features and the performance of the trained classifier is evaluated using trivial performance evaluation measures. The training and testing datasets used in building the classifier model are disjoint and contains 200 CT slices affected with bronchitis, 50 normal slices and 300 slices with cancer. Out of 100 features extracted from each CT slice, a subset of 60 features is used for classification. ACO with tandem run strategy yielded 81.66% of accuracy whereas ACO without tandem run yielded an accuracy of 77.52%. When all the features are used for classifier training without feature selection algorithm, an accuracy of 75.14% is achieved. From the results, it is inferred that identifying relevant features to train the classifier has a definite impact on the classifier performance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. A novel artificial bee colony algorithm based on modified search equation and orthogonal learning.

    PubMed

    Gao, Wei-feng; Liu, San-yang; Huang, Ling-ling

    2013-06-01

    The artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm is a relatively new optimization technique which has been shown to be competitive to other population-based algorithms. However, ABC has an insufficiency regarding its solution search equation, which is good at exploration but poor at exploitation. To address this concerning issue, we first propose an improved ABC method called as CABC where a modified search equation is applied to generate a candidate solution to improve the search ability of ABC. Furthermore, we use the orthogonal experimental design (OED) to form an orthogonal learning (OL) strategy for variant ABCs to discover more useful information from the search experiences. Owing to OED's good character of sampling a small number of well representative combinations for testing, the OL strategy can construct a more promising and efficient candidate solution. In this paper, the OL strategy is applied to three versions of ABC, i.e., the standard ABC, global-best-guided ABC (GABC), and CABC, which yields OABC, OGABC, and OCABC, respectively. The experimental results on a set of 22 benchmark functions demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the modified search equation and the OL strategy. The comparisons with some other ABCs and several state-of-the-art algorithms show that the proposed algorithms significantly improve the performance of ABC. Moreover, OCABC offers the highest solution quality, fastest global convergence, and strongest robustness among all the contenders on almost all the test functions.

  7. A World of Ants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    1992-01-01

    Presents a discussion of interesting aspects of ants that was launched by the author's reading of "The Ants" by Holldobler and Wilson (1990). Describes how the study of the early history of ant taxonomy could be viewed as "entertaining." Their huge numbers and segregation into colonial social systems makes ants good research organisms. (PR)

  8. 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.

  9. Does the Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti approximate a Lévy search by an intrinsic bi-modal walk?

    PubMed

    Reynolds, Andy M; Schultheiss, Patrick; Cheng, Ken

    2014-01-07

    We suggest that the Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti approximates a Lévy search pattern by using an intrinsic bi-exponential walk and does so when a Lévy search pattern is advantageous. When attempting to locate its nest, M. bagoti adopt a stereotypical search pattern. These searches begin at the location where the ant expects to find the nest, and comprise loops that start and end at this location, and are directed in different azimuthal directions. Loop lengths are exponentially distributed when searches are in visually familiar surroundings and are well described by a mixture of two exponentials when searches are in unfamiliar landscapes. The latter approximates a power-law distribution, the hallmark of a Lévy search. With the aid of a simple analytically tractable theory, we show that an exponential loop-length distribution is advantageous when the distance to the nest can be estimated with some certainty and that a bi-exponential distribution is advantageous when there is considerable uncertainty regarding the nest location. The best bi-exponential search patterns are shown to be those that come closest to approximating advantageous Lévy looping searches. The bi-exponential search patterns of M. bagoti are found to approximate advantageous Lévy search patterns. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-01

    Eusociality has been recognized as a strong driver of lifespan evolution. While queens show extraordinary lifespans of 20years and more, worker lifespan is short and variable. A recent comparative study found that in eusocial species with larger average colony sizes the disparities in the lifespans of the queen and the worker are also greater, which suggests that lifespan might be an evolved trait. Here, we tested whether the same pattern holds during colony establishment: as colonies grow larger, worker lifespan should decrease. We studied the mortality of lab-reared Lasius niger workers from colonies at two different developmental stages (small and intermediate-sized) in a common garden experiment. Workers were kept in artificial cohorts that differed only with respect to the stage of the colony they were born in. We found that the stage of the birth colony affected the body size and the survival probability of the workers. The workers that had emerged from early stage colonies were smaller and had lower mortality during the first 400days of their life than the workers born in colonies at a later stage. Our results suggest that early stage colonies produce small workers with an increased survival probability. These workers are gradually augmented by larger workers with a decreased survival probability that serve as a redundant workforce with easily replaceable individuals. We doubt that the observed differences in lifespan are driven by differences in body size. Rather, we suspect that physiological mechanisms are the basis for the observed differences in lifespan. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. The fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) pathogen, Vairimorpha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae), not detected in Florida

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Surveys were conducted to search specifically for the microsporidian pathogen Vairimorpha. invictae in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, in the U.S. This pathogen is associated with colony decline and reductions in fire ant populations in S. America and is considered to be a promising bio...

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. The problem of searching for morphopatterns in bacterial-like biosignatures in Martian rocks: lessons from "Escherichia coli" colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez-Gómez, José María; Hochberg, David; Rodríguez Manfredi, José Antonio

    2004-03-01

    The bacterium Escherichia coli is one the most widely known and studied living organisms. Here we report the discovery of hitherto unknown colonial and multicolonial patterns of E. coli strain MG1655 observed in multiple colonies grown in shared nutritional and identical environmental conditions. Bacterial growth in shared environments gives rise to a wealth of beautiful patterns of high symmetry and geometric regularity. We also document here the dramatic effect that glucose has on the emergent colony morphology. The colonial and muticolonial growth patterns are typically on the order of centimeters (cm), and thus suggest that bacterial life may leave "imprints" at a scale greater than those now being considered. This is of prime relevance for current search programs.

  16. An Ant Colony Optimization algorithm for solving the fixed destination multi-depot multiple traveling salesman problem with non-random parameters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramadhani, T.; Hertono, G. F.; Handari, B. D.

    2017-07-01

    The Multiple Traveling Salesman Problem (MTSP) is the extension of the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) in which the shortest routes of m salesmen all of which start and finish in a single city (depot) will be determined. If there is more than one depot and salesmen start from and return to the same depot, then the problem is called Fixed Destination Multi-depot Multiple Traveling Salesman Problem (MMTSP). In this paper, MMTSP will be solved using the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm. ACO is a metaheuristic optimization algorithm which is derived from the behavior of ants in finding the shortest route(s) from the anthill to a form of nourishment. In solving the MMTSP, the algorithm is observed with respect to different chosen cities as depots and non-randomly three parameters of MMTSP: m, K, L, those represents the number of salesmen, the fewest cities that must be visited by a salesman, and the most number of cities that can be visited by a salesman, respectively. The implementation is observed with four dataset from TSPLIB. The results show that the different chosen cities as depots and the three parameters of MMTSP, in which m is the most important parameter, affect the solution.

  17. 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.

  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 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. Town ants: the beginning of John Moser’s remarkable search for knowledge

    Treesearch

    J.P. Barnett; D.A. Streett; S.R. Blomquist

    2016-01-01

    John C. Moser’s career spans over 50 years, and his research has focused on understanding the biology of town ants (Atta texana) and phoretic mites and other associates of ants and pine bark beetles. His approach to developing methods for the control of these pests has been to understand more completely the biology of these organisms. This research...

  20. 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.

  1. Ultrasound intima-media thickness measurement of the carotid artery using ant colony optimization combined with a curvelet-based orientation-selective filter.

    PubMed

    Li, Hao; Zhang, Shijie; Ma, Rui; Chen, Huiren; Xi, Shui; Zhang, Jue; Fang, Jing

    2016-04-01

    Automatic measurement of the intima-media thickness (IMT) from ultrasound carotid images is an important task in clinical diagnosis. Many computer-based techniques for IMT measurement have been proposed to overcome the limits of manual segmentation. However, the robustness of the algorithms would be influenced by the inherent speckle noise of ultrasound image. This paper proposed a curvelet guided ant colony optimization (CGACO) strategy that could achieve satisfied accuracy for IMT measurement with improved robustness to noise. The curvelet-based orientation-selective (CBOS) filter was first introduced for speckle removal and edge enhancement. Different from conventional methods, CBOS filter processes the curvelet coefficients by orientations rather than by magnitude. Then, a specially designed two-leg ant colony optimization technique, combined with Otsu thresholding and Sobel edge detector, was proposed as a novel segmentation method to extract the media-adventitia (MA) and the lumen-intima (LI) boundaries. Finally, a coupled snake model was employed to further smooth the contours of MA and LI. In addition to 224 carotid artery images acquired from 34 participants, simulated speckled images with nine levels of noise were also included in the database. The mean absolute distance errors of CGACO for LI interface tracings, MA interface tracings, and IMT measurements were 0.030 ± 0.027, 0.039 ± 0.036, and 0.041 ± 0.036 mm, respectively. Besides, CGACO had a correlation coefficient as high as 0.992 and a bias as low as -0.008. All these measures were comparable to or better than a previous technique and the manual segmentation. On the other hand, CGACO had the highest success rate of 98.7% in the segmentation of real data. It also maintained a much higher success rate in the segmentation of simulated images with different levels of speckle noise. The proposed technique showed accurate IMT measurement results. Furthermore, benefiting from the CBOS filter, the

  2. Dynamic routing and spectrum assignment based on multilayer virtual topology and ant colony optimization in elastic software-defined optical networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Fu; Liu, Bo; Zhang, Lijia; Zhang, Qi; Tian, Qinghua; Tian, Feng; Rao, Lan; Xin, Xiangjun

    2017-07-01

    Elastic software-defined optical networks greatly improve the flexibility of the optical switching network while it has brought challenges to the routing and spectrum assignment (RSA). A multilayer virtual topology model is proposed to solve RSA problems. Two RSA algorithms based on the virtual topology are proposed, which are the ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm of minimum consecutiveness loss and the ACO algorithm of maximum spectrum consecutiveness. Due to the computing power of the control layer in the software-defined network, the routing algorithm avoids the frequent link-state information between routers. Based on the effect of the spectrum consecutiveness loss on the pheromone in the ACO, the path and spectrum of the minimal impact on the network are selected for the service request. The proposed algorithms have been compared with other algorithms. The results show that the proposed algorithms can reduce the blocking rate by at least 5% and perform better in spectrum efficiency. Moreover, the proposed algorithms can effectively decrease spectrum fragmentation and enhance available spectrum consecutiveness.

  3. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Usefulness of fire ant genetics in insecticide efficacy trials

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  5. 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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  7. Apes finding ants: Predator-prey dynamics in a chimpanzee habitat in Nigeria.

    PubMed

    Pascual-Garrido, Alejandra; Umaru, Buba; Allon, Oliver; Sommer, Volker

    2013-12-01

    Some chimpanzee populations prey upon army ants, usually with stick tools. However, how their prey's subterranean nesting and nomadic lifestyle influence the apes' harvesting success is still poorly understood. This is particularly true for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti) at Gashaka/Nigeria, which consume army ants (Dorylus rubellus) with much higher frequency than at other sites. We assessed various harvesting and search options theoretically available to the apes. For this, we reconstructed annual consumption patterns from feces and compared the physical characteristics of exploited ant nests with those that were not targeted. Repeated exploitation of a discovered nest is viable only in the short term, as disturbed colonies soon moved to a new site. Moreover, monitoring previously occupied nest cavities is uneconomical, as ants hardly ever re-used them. Thus, the apes have to detect new nests regularly, although colony density is relatively low (1 colony/1.3 ha). Surprisingly, visual search cues seem to be of limited importance because the probability of a nest being exploited was independent of its conspicuousness (presence of excavated soil piles, concealing leaf-litter or vegetation). However, chimpanzees preferentially targeted nests in forests or at the base of food trees, that is, where the apes spend relatively more time and/or where ant colony density is highest. Taken together, our findings suggest that, instead of employing a search strategy based on visual cues or spatial memory, chimpanzee predation on army ants contains a considerable opportunistic element.

  8. Distributed nestmate recognition in ants.

    PubMed

    Esponda, Fernando; Gordon, Deborah M

    2015-05-07

    We propose a distributed model of nestmate recognition, analogous to the one used by the vertebrate immune system, in which colony response results from the diverse reactions of many ants. The model describes how individual behaviour produces colony response to non-nestmates. No single ant knows the odour identity of the colony. Instead, colony identity is defined collectively by all the ants in the colony. Each ant responds to the odour of other ants by reference to its own unique decision boundary, which is a result of its experience of encounters with other ants. Each ant thus recognizes a particular set of chemical profiles as being those of non-nestmates. This model predicts, as experimental results have shown, that the outcome of behavioural assays is likely to be variable, that it depends on the number of ants tested, that response to non-nestmates changes over time and that it changes in response to the experience of individual ants. A distributed system allows a colony to identify non-nestmates without requiring that all individuals have the same complete information and helps to facilitate the tracking of changes in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, because only a subset of ants must respond to provide an adequate response.

  9. 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

  10. Avoidance of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus in leaf-cutting ants: Learning can take place entirely at the colony dump

    PubMed Central

    Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    Plants initially accepted by foraging leaf-cutting ants are later avoided if they prove unsuitable for their symbiotic fungus. Plant avoidance is mediated by the waste produced in the fungus garden soon after the incorporation of the unsuitable leaves, as foragers can learn plant odors and cues from the damaged fungus that are both present in the recently produced waste particles. We asked whether avoidance learning of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus can take place entirely at the colony dump. In order to investigate whether cues available in the waste chamber induce plant avoidance in naïve subcolonies, we exchanged the waste produced by subcolonies fed either fungicide-treated privet leaves or untreated leaves and measured the acceptance of untreated privet leaves before and after the exchange of waste. Second, we evaluated whether foragers could perceive the avoidance cues directly at the dump by quantifying the visits of labeled foragers to the waste chamber. Finally, we asked whether foragers learn to specifically avoid untreated leaves of a plant after a confinement over 3 hours in the dump of subcolonies that were previously fed fungicide-treated leaves of that species. After the exchange of the waste chambers, workers from subcolonies that had access to waste from fungicide-treated privet leaves learned to avoid that plant. One-third of the labeled foragers visited the dump. Furthermore, naïve foragers learned to avoid a specific, previously unsuitable plant if exposed solely to cues of the dump during confinement. We suggest that cues at the dump enable foragers to predict the unsuitable effects of plants even if they had never been experienced in the fungus garden. PMID:28273083

  11. Avoidance of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus in leaf-cutting ants: Learning can take place entirely at the colony dump.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2017-01-01

    Plants initially accepted by foraging leaf-cutting ants are later avoided if they prove unsuitable for their symbiotic fungus. Plant avoidance is mediated by the waste produced in the fungus garden soon after the incorporation of the unsuitable leaves, as foragers can learn plant odors and cues from the damaged fungus that are both present in the recently produced waste particles. We asked whether avoidance learning of plants unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus can take place entirely at the colony dump. In order to investigate whether cues available in the waste chamber induce plant avoidance in naïve subcolonies, we exchanged the waste produced by subcolonies fed either fungicide-treated privet leaves or untreated leaves and measured the acceptance of untreated privet leaves before and after the exchange of waste. Second, we evaluated whether foragers could perceive the avoidance cues directly at the dump by quantifying the visits of labeled foragers to the waste chamber. Finally, we asked whether foragers learn to specifically avoid untreated leaves of a plant after a confinement over 3 hours in the dump of subcolonies that were previously fed fungicide-treated leaves of that species. After the exchange of the waste chambers, workers from subcolonies that had access to waste from fungicide-treated privet leaves learned to avoid that plant. One-third of the labeled foragers visited the dump. Furthermore, naïve foragers learned to avoid a specific, previously unsuitable plant if exposed solely to cues of the dump during confinement. We suggest that cues at the dump enable foragers to predict the unsuitable effects of plants even if they had never been experienced in the fungus garden.

  12. Prediction of acute toxicity of emerging contaminants on the water flea Daphnia magna by Ant Colony Optimization-Support Vector Machine QSTR models.

    PubMed

    Aalizadeh, Reza; von der Ohe, Peter C; Thomaidis, Nikolaos S

    2017-03-22

    According to the European REACH Directive, the acute toxicity towards Daphnia magna should be assessed for any industrial chemical with a market volume of more than 1 t/a. Therefore, it is highly recommended to determine the toxicity at a certain confidence level, either experimentally or by applying reliable prediction models. To this end, a large dataset was compiled, with the experimental acute toxicity values (pLC50) of 1353 compounds in Daphnia magna after 48 h of exposure. A novel quantitative structure-toxicity relationship (QSTR) model was developed, using Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) to select the most relevant set of molecular descriptors, and Support Vector Machine (SVM) to correlate the selected descriptors with the toxicity data. The proposed model showed high performance (QLOO(2) = 0.695, Rfitting(2) = 0.920 and Rtest(2) = 0.831) with low root mean square errors of 0.498 and 0.707 for the training and test set, respectively. It was found that, in addition to hydrophobicity, polarizability and summation of solute-hydrogen bond basicity affected toxicity positively, while minimum atom-type E-state of -OH influenced toxicity values in Daphnia magna inversely. The applicability domain of the proposed model was carefully studied, considering the effect of chemical structure and prediction error in terms of leverage values and standardized residuals. In addition, a new method was proposed to define the chemical space failure for a compound with unknown toxicity to avoid using these prediction results. The resulting ACO-SVM model was successfully applied on an additional evaluation set and the prediction results were found to be very accurate for those compounds that fall inside the defined applicability domain. In fact, compounds commonly found to be difficult to predict, such as quaternary ammonium compounds or organotin compounds were outside the applicability domain, while five representative homologues of LAS (non-ionic surfactants) were, on average

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

    PubMed

    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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Ants defend aphids against lethal disease

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Exploitation and interference competition between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant species.

    PubMed

    Human, Kathleen G; Gordon, Deborah M

    1996-02-01

    Interactions between the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, and native ant species were studied in a 450-ha biological reserve in northern California. Along the edges of the invasion, the presence of Argentine ants significantly reduced the foraging success of native ant species, and vice versa. Argentine ants were consistently better than native ants at exploiting food sources: Argentine ants found and recruited to bait more consistently and in higher numbers than native ant species, and they foraged for longer periods throughout the day. Native ants and Argentine ants frequently fought when they recruited to the same bait, and native ant species were displaced from bait during 60% of these encounters. In introduction experiments, Argentine ants interfered with the foraging of native ant species, and prevented the establishment of new colonies of native ant species by preying upon winged native ant queens. The Argentine ants' range within the preserve expanded by 12 ha between May 1993 and May 1994, and 13 between September 1993 and September 1994, with a corresponding reduction of the range of native ant species. Although some native ants persist locally at the edges of the invasion of Argentine ants, most eventually disappear from invaded areas. Both interference and exploitation competition appear to be important in the displacement of native ant species from areas invaded by Argentine ants.

  2. 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)

  3. 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)

  4. Ant species diversity in the 'Grands Causses' (Aveyron, France): In search of sampling methods adapted to temperate climates.

    PubMed

    Groc, Sarah; Delabie, Jacques H C; Céréghino, Régis; Orivel, Jérôme; Jaladeau, Frédéric; Grangier, Julien; Mariano, Cléa S F; Dejean, Alain

    2007-12-01

    This study aimed at showing the applicability of using a combination of four sampling methods (i.e., Winkler extractors, pitfall traps, baiting and manual collection), something most often conducted in the tropics, to create an inventory of ant species diversity in temperate environments. We recorded a total of 33 ant species in the Grands Causses by comparing three vegetal formations: a steppic lawn ('causse' sensu stricto), which was the most species-rich (29 species), followed by an oak grove (22 species) and a pine forest (17 species). No sampling method alone is efficient enough to provide an adequate sampling, but their combination permits one to make a suitable inventory of the myrmecofauna and to obtain information on the ecology of these ant species.

  5. 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.

  6. Army Ants as Research and Collection Tools

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Adrian A.; Haight, Kevin L.

    2008-01-01

    Ants that fall prey to the raids of army ants commonly respond by evacuating their nests. This documented behavior has been underexploited by researchers as an efficient research tool. This study focuses on the evacuation response of the southwestern desert ant Aphaenogaster cockerelli André (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to the army ant Newamyrmex nigrescens Cresson. It is shown that army ants can be used to collect mature colonies of ants. The applicability of this tool to ecologically meaningful areas of research is discussed. PMID:20302457

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-07

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

  8. Are ant-aphid associations a tritrophic interaction? Oleander aphids and Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Bristow, C M

    1991-09-01

    Oleander aphids, (Aphis nerii), which are sporadically tended by ants, were used as a moded system to examine whether host plant factors associated with feeding site influenced the formation of ant-aphid associations. Seasonal patterns of host plant utilization and association with attendant ants were examined through bi-weekly censuses of the aphid population feeding on thirty ornamental oleander plands (Nerium oleander) in northern California in 1985 and 1986. Colonies occurred on both developing and senescing plant terminals, including leaf tips, floral structures, and pods. Aphids preferentially colonized leaf terminals early in the season, but showed no preference for feeding site during later periods. Argentine ants (Iridomyrmex humilis) occasionally tended aphid colonies. Colonies on floral tips were three to four times more likely to attract ants than colonies on leaf tips, even though the latter frequently contained more aphids. Ants showed a positive recruitment response to colonies on floral tips, with a significant correlation between colony size and number of ants. There was no recruitment response to colonies on leaf tips. These patterns were reproducible over two years despite large fluctuations in both aphid population density and ant activity. In a laboratory bioassay of aphid palatability, the generalist predator,Hippodamia convergens, took significantly more aphids reared on floral tips compared to those reared on leaf tips. The patterns reported here support the hypothesis that tritrophic factors may be important in modifying higher level arthropod mutualisms.

  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 Central

    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. PMID:20879920

  11. 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 ).

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

    Lanan, M C; Bronstein, J L

    2013-07-01

    Ant protection of extrafloral nectar (EFN)-secreting plants is a common form of mutualism found in most habitats around the world. However, very few studies have considered these mutualisms from the ant, rather than the plant, perspective. In particular, a whole-colony perspective that takes into account the spatial structure and nest arrangement of the ant colonies that visit these plants has been lacking, obscuring when and how colony-level foraging decisions might affect tending rates on individual plants. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that recruitment of Crematogaster opuntiae (Buren) ant workers to the EFN-secreting cactus Ferocactus wislizeni (Englem) is not independent between plants up to 5 m apart. Colony territories of C. opuntiae are large, covering areas of up to 5,000 m(2), and workers visit between five and 34 EFN-secreting barrel cacti within the territories. These ants are highly polydomous, with up to 20 nest entrances dispersed throughout the territory and interconnected by trail networks. Our study demonstrates that worker recruitment is not independent within large polydomous ant colonies, highlighting the importance of considering colonies rather than individual workers as the relevant study unit within ant/plant protection mutualisms.

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

    PubMed

    Gordon, Deborah M

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pringle, Elizabeth G

    2014-06-22

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

  16. 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.

  17. Dynamic Network Formation Using Ant Colony Optimization

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-03-01

    global solver into a distributed solver where each network node independently assigned their network links. 1.3 Methodology Previous research into...the solution to the network topology is generated at the node level 10 and then consolidated and evaluated at a global level to properly evaluate...application. The specific MILP tool was XPRESS -MP which employs the dual simplex, primal simplex, or the Newton Barrier method to solve the relaxed linear

  18. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges.

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-01

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

  19. Ant-lepidopteran associations along African forest edges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-02-01

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

  20. Variation in thermal tolerance of North American ants.

    PubMed

    Verble-Pearson, Robin M; Gifford, Matthew E; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2015-02-01

    Changing climates are predicted to alter the distribution of thermal niches. Small ectotherms such as ants may be particularly vulnerable to heat injury and death. We quantified the critical thermal maxima of 92 ant colonies representing 14 common temperate ant species. The mean CTmax for all measured ants was 47.8 °C (±0.27; range=40.2-51.2 °C), and within-colony variation was lower than among-colony variation. Critical thermal maxima differed among species and were negatively correlated with body size. Results of this study illustrate the importance of accounting for mass, among and within colony variation, and interspecific differences in diel activity patterns, which are often neglected in studies of ant thermal physiology. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. Effects of aromatic cedar mulch on the Argentine ant and the odorous house ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Meissner, H E; Silverman, J

    2001-12-01

    In laboratory studies, the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), and the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile (Say), avoided aromatic cedar mulch as a nesting substrate. Both ant species were killed when confined with fresh aromatic cedar mulch in sealed containers. However, when confined with cedar mulch that had been aged outdoors for up to 140 d, mortality of L. humile was complete regardless of mulch age, whereas T. sessile mortality declined significantly over the mulch-aging period. Argentine ant susceptibility to aromatic cedar mulch was also greater than that of the odorous house ant when colonies were restricted to mulch in open trays. In addition, commercial aromatic cedar oil was lethal to both ant species. Our results suggest that aromatic cedar mulch may serve as an effective component of a comprehensive urban ant management program.

  5. Stinging ants.

    PubMed

    Rhoades, R

    2001-08-01

    Ants belong to the order Hymenoptera, along with bees, wasps, yellow jackets, etc., they are the most successful animal genera in this world. It is their selfless social structure which accounts for their huge impact. Their effect on man ranges from the parasol ant, which makes plant cultivation untenable in certain parts of South America, to Solenopsis Invicta in the southeastern United States of America, which kill ground dwelling birds and small animals, harass livestock, and renders farmland unusable. With the exception of the Bulldog Ant of Australia (which is the size of a medium cockroach) direct toxic effects are not a lethal threat to man. Human fatalities and morbidity are related to secondary infections of excoriated stings or allergic anaphylaxis. This article reviews history and recent developments regarding stinging ants around the world.

  6. Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wilder, Shawn M.; Eubanks, Micky D.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:19864270

  9. 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.

  10. Distribution, abundance and persistence of Orasema spp. (Hym:Eucharitidae) parasitic on fire ants in South America

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Parasitoid wasps of the genus Orasema Cameron have been considered as potential candidates for biological control of imported fire ants in the United States. Surveys were conducted for their occurrence in fire ant colonies across southern South America. In Argentina, 443 ant colonies were excavated ...

  11. The evolution of multiple mating in army ants.

    PubMed

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Johnson, Robert A; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2007-02-01

    The evolution of mating systems in eusocial Hymenoptera is constrained because females mate only during a brief period early in life, whereas inseminated queens and their stored sperm may live for decades. Considerable research effort during recent years has firmly established that obligate multiple mating has evolved only a few times: in Apis honeybees, Vespula wasps, Pogonomyrmex harvester ants, Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, the ant Cataglyphis cursor, and in at least some army ants. Here we provide estimates of queen-mating frequency for New World Neivamyrmex and Old World Aenictus species, which, compared to other army ants, have relatively small colonies and little size polymorphism among workers. To provide the first overall comparative analysis of the evolution of army ant mating systems, we combine these new results with previous estimates for African Dorylus and New World Eciton army ants, which have very large colonies and considerable worker polymorphism. We show that queens of Neivamyrmex and Aenictus mate with the same high numbers of males (usually ca. 10-20) as do queens of army ant species with very large colony sizes. We infer that multiple queen mating is ancestral in army ants and has evolved over 100 million years ago as part of the army ant adaptive syndrome. A comparison of army ants and honeybees suggests that mating systems in these two distantly related groups may have been convergently shaped by strikingly similar selective pressures.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-22

    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.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    Araújo, Arrilton; Rodrigues, Zenilde

    2006-01-01

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

  15. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    DOE PAGES

    Hooper-Bui, L. M.; Kwok, E S.C.; Buchholz, B. A.; ...

    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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Trophallaxis between individual worker ants and the toxicant load in dead and live Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) in colonies exposed to fipronil and hydramethylnon experimental baits were examined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). About 50% of the content of the crop containing trace levels of 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. PMID:26504258

  19. Insecticide Transfer Efficiency and Lethal Load in Argentine Ants.

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-15

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

  20. Ratio-dependent quantity discrimination in quorum sensing ants.

    PubMed

    Cronin, Adam L

    2014-11-01

    To optimise behaviour, organisms require information on the quantity of various components of their environment, and the ability of animals to discriminate quantity has been a subject of considerable recent interest. This body of research hints at generalised mechanisms of quantity discrimination in vertebrates, but data on invertebrates are still relatively scarce. In this study, I present data on the quantification abilities of an invertebrate in a novel context: quorum sensing. Quorum sensing generates a behavioural response in group-living animals once a threshold number of individuals, a 'quorum', is detected performing some key action. This process forms the basis for consensus decision-making in many species and allows group-living organisms to decide among mutually exclusive alternatives without compromising group integrity. To determine when a quorum is achieved, individuals must assess the number of group members performing the key action. Social insects employ quorum decisions to decide among potential nest sites when searching for a new home. In the Japanese ant, Myrmecina nipponica, quorum thresholds increase with colony size, providing an opportunity to assess the accuracy of quantity discrimination at different stimulus magnitudes. In this study, I demonstrate that the variation in individual quorum thresholds around the mean increases with increasing colony size. This indicates that the quantity discrimination ability of ants decreases with stimulus magnitude, and thus exhibits ratio dependence in the manner of Weber's Law. This may have implications for the accuracy of consensus decision-making and other collective actions in a range of group-living organisms.

  1. The Dynamics of Foraging Trails in the Tropical Arboreal Ant Cephalotes goniodontus

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Deborah M.

    2012-01-01

    The foraging behavior of the arboreal turtle ant, Cephalotes goniodontus, was studied in the tropical dry forest of western Mexico. The ants collected mostly plant-derived food, including nectar and fluids collected from the edges of wounds on leaves, as well as caterpillar frass and lichen. Foraging trails are on small pieces of ephemeral vegetation, and persist in exactly the same place for 4–8 days, indicating that food sources may be used until they are depleted. The species is polydomous, occupying many nests which are abandoned cavities or ends of broken branches in dead wood. Foraging trails extend from trees with nests to trees with food sources. Observations of marked individuals show that each trail is travelled by a distinct group of foragers. This makes the entire foraging circuit more resilient if a path becomes impassable, since foraging in one trail can continue while a different group of ants forms a new trail. The colony’s trails move around the forest from month to month; from one year to the next, only one colony out of five was found in the same location. There is continual searching in the vicinity of trails: ants recruited to bait within 3 bifurcations of a main foraging trail within 4 hours. When bait was offered on one trail, to which ants recruited, foraging activity increased on a different trail, with no bait, connected to the same nest. This suggests that the allocation of foragers to different trails is regulated by interactions at the nest. PMID:23209749

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Discriminatory abilities of facultative slave-making ants and their slaves.

    PubMed

    Włodarczyk, T

    2016-01-01

    Intra-colony odor variability can disturb ants' ability to discriminate against intruders. The evolutionary relevance of this phenomenon can be revealed by studies on colonies of slave-making ants in which the parasite, and not the host, is subject to selection pressures associated with living in a mixed colony. We examined how the European facultative slave-making species Formica sanguinea and its F. fusca slaves perform in discriminating ants from alien colonies. Results of behavioral assays showed that slave-maker ants respond with hostility to conspecific individuals from alien colonies but are relatively tolerant to alien slaves. Furthermore, the behavior of slaves indicated a limited ability to discriminate ants from alien parasitic colonies. The subdivision of colony fragments into mixed and species-separated groups demonstrated that contact with the parasite is necessary for F. fusca slaves to be re-accepted by former nestmates after a period of separation from the stock colony. The results presented in this paper are consistent with the following hypotheses: (1) F. sanguinea ants, as opposed to their slaves, are adapted to discriminate alien individuals in the conditions of odor variability found in a mixed-species colony, (2) the recognition of slaves by F. sanguinea ants involves a dedicated adaptive mechanism that prevents aggression toward them, (3) the odor of slaves is strongly influenced by the parasite with beneficial effect on the colony integrity.

  5. 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.

  6. Food webs in the litter: effects of food and nest addition on ant communities in coffee agroecosystems and forest.

    PubMed

    Murnen, Cody J; Gonthier, David J; Philpott, Stacy M

    2013-08-01

    Community assembly is driven by multiple factors, including resource availability and habitat requirements. Litter nesting ants respond to food and nest site availability, and adding food and nests may increase ant species richness and abundance. However, litter decomposers share food resources with ants, and increasing food availability may speed decomposition processes, eliminating twigs and seeds in which litter ants nest. We manipulated ant food and nest resources in three habitat types (forest, high-shade coffee, and low-shade coffee) to determine ant community responses after 1 and 2 mo. We examined changes in numbers of ant species, colonies, workers, brood, colony growth rate, and ant species composition. Habitat type strongly affected ant communities, influencing ant species richness, numbers of colonies and workers, and ant species composition. However, food addition and nest addition did not affect these community characteristics. Colony growth rate did not differ with food addition but was greater in forest and low-shade coffee compared with high-shade coffee. Habitat differences in colony growth may be because of presence of an aggressive species (Wasmannia auropunctata Roger) in high-shade coffee plots or naturally low arthropod densities during a time when ant colonization was low. Thus, in coffee landscapes, habitat type impacts litter nesting ant community structure, composition, and colony growth rate; however, food and nest addition had small impacts.

  7. 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.

  8. Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant-plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species.

    PubMed

    Sensenig, Ryan L; Kimuyu, Duncan K; Ruiz Guajardo, Juan C; Veblen, Kari E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2017-05-01

    Although disturbance theory has been recognized as a useful framework in examining the stability of ant-plant mutualisms, very few studies have examined the effects of fire disturbance on these mutualisms. In myrmecophyte-dominated savannas, fire and herbivory are key drivers that could influence ant-plant mutualisms by causing complete colony mortality and/or decreasing colony size, which potentially could alter dominance hierarchies if subordinate species are more fire resilient. We used a large-scale, replicated fire experiment to examine long-term effects of fire on acacia-ant community composition. To determine if fire shifted ant occupancy from a competitive dominant to a subordinate ant species, we surveyed the acacia-ant community in 6-7 yr old burn sites and examined how the spatial scale of these burns influenced ant community responses. We then used two short-term fire experiments to explore possible mechanisms for the shifts in community patterns observed. Because survival of ant colonies is largely dependent on their ability to detect and escape an approaching fire, we first tested the evacuation response of all four ant species when exposed to smoke (fire signal). Then to better understand how fire and its interaction with large mammal herbivory affect the density of ants per tree, we quantified ant worker density in small prescribed burns within herbivore exclusion plots. We found clear evidence suggesting that fire disturbance favored the subordinate ant Crematogaster nigriceps more than the dominant and strong mutualist ant C. mimosae, whereby C. nigriceps (1) was the only species to occupy a greater proportion of trees in 6-7 yr old burn sites compared to unburned sites, (2) had higher burn/unburn tree ratios with increasing burn size, and (3) evacuated significantly faster than C. mimosae in the presence of smoke. Fire and herbivory had opposite effects on ant density per meter of branch for both C. nigriceps and C. mimosae, with fire

  9. The agricultural pathology of ant fungus gardens

    PubMed Central

    Currie, Cameron R.; Mueller, Ulrich G.; Malloch, David

    1999-01-01

    Gardens of fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Attini) traditionally have been thought to be free of microbial parasites, with the fungal mutualist maintained in nearly pure “monocultures.” We conducted extensive isolations of “alien” (nonmutualistic) fungi from ant gardens of a phylogenetically representative collection of attine ants. Contrary to the long-standing assumption that gardens are maintained free of microbial pathogens and parasites, they are in fact host to specialized parasites that are only known from attine gardens and that are found in most attine nests. These specialized garden parasites, belonging to the microfungus genus Escovopsis (Ascomycota: anamorphic Hypocreales), are horizontally transmitted between colonies. Consistent with theory of virulence evolution under this mode of pathogen transmission, Escovopsis is highly virulent and has the potential for rapid devastation of ant gardens, leading to colony mortality. The specialized parasite Escovopsis is more prevalent in gardens of the more derived ant lineages than in gardens of the more “primitive” (basal) ant lineages. Because fungal cultivars of derived attine lineages are asexual clones of apparently ancient origin whereas cultivars of primitive ant lineages were domesticated relatively recently from free-living sexual stocks, the increased virulence of pathogens associated with ancient asexual cultivars suggests an evolutionary cost to cultivar clonality, perhaps resulting from slower evolutionary rates of cultivars in the coevolutionary race with their pathogens. PMID:10393936

  10. 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.

  11. The cavity-nest ant Temnothorax crassispinus prefers larger nests.

    PubMed

    Mitrus, S

    Colonies of the ant Temnothorax crassispinus inhabit mostly cavities in wood and hollow acorns. Typically in the field, nest sites that can be used by the ant are a limited resource. In a field experiment, it was investigated whether the ants prefer a specific size of nest, when different ones are available. In July 2011, a total of 160 artificial nests were placed in a beech-pine forest. Four artificial nests (pieces of wood with volume cavities, ca 415, 605, 730, and 980 mm(3), respectively) were located on each square meter of the experimental plot. One year later, shortly before the emergence of new sexuals, the nests were collected. In July 2012, colonies inhabited more frequently bigger nests. Among queenright colonies, the ones which inhabited bigger nests had more workers. However, there was no relationship between volume of nest and number of workers for queenless colonies. Queenright colonies from bigger nests produced more sexual individuals, but there was no correlation between number of workers and sex allocation ratio, or between volume of nest and sex allocation ratio. In a laboratory experiment where ant colonies were kept in 470 and 860 mm(3) nests, larger colonies allocated more energy to produce sexual individuals. The results of this study show the selectivity of T. crassispinus ants regarding the size of nest cavity, and that the nest volume has an impact on life history parameters.

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. Skull removal in MR images using a modified artificial bee colony optimization algorithm.

    PubMed

    Taherdangkoo, Mohammad

    2014-01-01

    Removal of the skull from brain Magnetic Resonance (MR) images is an important preprocessing step required for other image analysis techniques such as brain tissue segmentation. In this paper, we propose a new algorithm based on the Artificial Bee Colony (ABC) optimization algorithm to remove the skull region from brain MR images. We modify the ABC algorithm using a different strategy for initializing the coordinates of scout bees and their direction of search. Moreover, we impose an additional constraint to the ABC algorithm to avoid the creation of discontinuous regions. We found that our algorithm successfully removed all bony skull from a sample of de-identified MR brain images acquired from different model scanners. The obtained results of the proposed algorithm compared with those of previously introduced well known optimization algorithms such as Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) demonstrate the superior results and computational performance of our algorithm, suggesting its potential for clinical applications.

  17. Kin-informative recognition cues in ants.

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-07

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Fürst, Matthias A.; Nash, David R.

    2010-01-01

    Parasitic Maculinea alcon butterflies can only develop in nests of a subset of available Myrmica ant species, so female butterflies have been hypothesized to preferentially lay eggs on plants close to colonies of the correct host ants. Previous correlational investigations of host-ant-dependent oviposition in this and other Maculinea species have, however, shown equivocal results, leading to a long-term controversy over support for this hypothesis. We therefore conducted a controlled field experiment to study the egg-laying behaviour of M. alcon. Matched potted Gentiana plants were set out close to host-ant nests and non-host-ant nests, and the number and position of eggs attached were assessed. Our results show no evidence for host-ant-based oviposition in M. alcon, but support an oviposition strategy based on plant characteristics. This suggests that careful management of host-ant distribution is necessary for conservation of this endangered butterfly. PMID:19864269

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Ant nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

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

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

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

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

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Consultant-Guided Search Algorithms for the Quadratic Assignment Problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iordache, Serban

    Consultant-Guided Search (CGS) is a recent swarm intelligence metaheuristic for combinatorial optimization problems, inspired by the way real people make decisions based on advice received from consultants. Until now, CGS has been successfully applied to the Traveling Salesman Problem. Because a good metaheuristic should be able to tackle efficiently a large variety of problems, it is important to see how CGS behaves when applied to other classes of problems. In this paper, we propose an algorithm for the Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP), which hybridizes CGS with a local search procedure. Our experimental results show that CGS is able to compete in terms of solution quality with one of the best Ant Colony Optimization algorithms, the MAX-MIN Ant System.

  6. Ecosystem engineering and predation: the multi-trophic impact of two ant species.

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; van Veen, F J Frank

    2011-05-01

    1. Ants are ubiquitous ecosystem engineers and generalist predators and are able to affect ecological communities via both pathways. They are likely to influence any other terrestrial arthropod group either directly or indirectly caused by their high abundance and territoriality. 2. We studied the impact of two ant species common in Central Europe, Myrmica rubra and Lasius niger, on an arthropod community. Colony presence and density of these two ant species were manipulated in a field experiment from the start of ant activity in spring to late summer. 3. The experiment revealed a positive influence of the presence of one ant colony on densities of decomposers, herbivores and parasitoids. However, in the case of herbivores and parasitoids, this effect was reversed in the presence of two colonies. 4. Generally, effects of the two ant species were similar with the exception of their effect on Braconidae parasitoid densities that responded positively to one colony of M. rubra but not of L. niger. 5. Spider density was not affected by ant colony manipulation, but species richness of spiders responded positively to ant presence. This effect was independent of ant colony density, but where two colonies were present, spider richness was significantly greater in plots with two M. rubra colonies than in plots with one colony of each ant species. 6. To test whether the positive ecosystem engineering effects were purely caused by modified properties of the soil, we added in an additional experiment (i) the soil from ant nests (without ants) or (ii) unmodified soil or (iii) ant nests (including ants) to experimental plots. Ant nest soil on its own did not have a significant impact on densities of decomposers, herbivores or predators, which were significantly, and positively, affected by the addition of an intact nest. 7. The results suggest an important role of both ant species in the grassland food web, strongly affecting the densities of decomposers, herbivores and higher

  7. 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".

  8. The role of habitat in the persistence of fire ant populations.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R; King, Joshua R

    2013-01-01

    The association of the exotic fire ant, Solenopsis invicta with man-modified habitats has been amply demonstrated, but the fate of such populations if ecological succession proceeds has rarely been investigated. Resurvey of a fire ant population in a longleaf pine plantation after 25 years showed that the recovery of the site from habitat disturbance was associated with a large fire ant population decline. Most of the persisting colonies were associated with the disturbance caused by vehicle tracks. In a second study, mature monogyne fire ant colonies that had been planted in experimental plots in native groundcover of the north Florida longleaf pine forest had mostly vanished six years later. These observations and experiments show that S. invicta colonies rarely persist in the native habitat of these pine forests, probably because they are not replaced when they die. A single site harbored a modest population of polygyne fire ants whose persistence was probably facilitated by reproduction through colony fission.

  9. The Role of Habitat in the Persistence of Fire Ant Populations

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; King, Joshua R.

    2013-01-01

    The association of the exotic fire ant, Solenopsis invicta with man-modified habitats has been amply demonstrated, but the fate of such populations if ecological succession proceeds has rarely been investigated. Resurvey of a fire ant population in a longleaf pine plantation after 25 years showed that the recovery of the site from habitat disturbance was associated with a large fire ant population decline. Most of the persisting colonies were associated with the disturbance caused by vehicle tracks. In a second study, mature monogyne fire ant colonies that had been planted in experimental plots in native groundcover of the north Florida longleaf pine forest had mostly vanished six years later. These observations and experiments show that S. invicta colonies rarely persist in the native habitat of these pine forests, probably because they are not replaced when they die. A single site harbored a modest population of polygyne fire ants whose persistence was probably facilitated by reproduction through colony fission. PMID:24205272

  10. Analysis of acoustic communication by ants.

    PubMed

    Hickling, R; Brown, R L

    2000-10-01

    An analysis is presented of acoustic communication by ants, based on near-field theory and on data obtained from the black imported fire ant Solenopsis richteri and other sources. Generally ant stridulatory sounds are barely audible, but they occur continuously in ant colonies. Because ants appear unresponsive to airborne sound, myrmecologists have concluded that stridulatory signals are transmitted through the substrate. However, transmission through the substrate is unlikely, for reasons given in the paper. Apparently ants communicate mainly through the air, and the acoustic receptors are hairlike sensilla on the antennae that respond to particle sound velocity. This may seem inconsistent with the fact that ants are unresponsive to airborne sound (on a scale of meters), but the inconsistency can be resolved if acoustic communication occurs within the near field, on a scale of about 100 mm. In the near field, the particle sound velocity is significantly enhanced and has a steep gradient. These features can be used to exclude extraneous sound, and to determine the direction and distance of a near-field source. Additionally, we observed that the tracheal air sacs of S. richteri can expand within the gaster, possibly amplifying the radiation of stridulatory sound.

  11. 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.

  12. Experimental Study of the Dynamics of Foraging Ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

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

  13. An improved harmony search algorithm for emergency inspection scheduling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, Nikos A.; Lagaros, Nikos D.; Karlaftis, Matthew G.

    2014-11-01

    The ability of nature-inspired search algorithms to efficiently handle combinatorial problems, and their successful implementation in many fields of engineering and applied sciences, have led to the development of new, improved algorithms. In this work, an improved harmony search (IHS) algorithm is presented, while a holistic approach for solving the problem of post-disaster infrastructure management is also proposed. The efficiency of IHS is compared with that of the algorithms of particle swarm optimization, differential evolution, basic harmony search and the pure random search procedure, when solving the districting problem that is the first part of post-disaster infrastructure management. The ant colony optimization algorithm is employed for solving the associated routing problem that constitutes the second part. The comparison is based on the quality of the results obtained, the computational demands and the sensitivity on the algorithmic parameters.

  14. 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.

  15. Variation in spatial scale of competing polydomous twig-nesting ants in coffee agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mathis, Kaitlyn A; Philpott, Stacy M; Ramirez, Santiago R

    2016-08-01

    Arboreal ants are both highly diverse and ecologically dominant in the tropics. This ecologically important group is particularly useful in ongoing efforts to understand processes that regulate species diversity and coexistence. Our study addresses how polydomy can influence patterns of nest occupation in competing arboreal ants. We examined the spatial structure of nest occupation (nest distance, abundance and density) in three polydomous co-occurring twig-nesting ant species (Pseudomyrmex simplex, P. ejectus and P. PSW-53) by mapping twigs occupied by ants from each species within plots in our study site. We then used two colony structure estimators (intraspecific aggression and cuticular hydrocarbon variation) to determine the relative degree of polydomy for each species. All work was conducted in coffee agroforests in Chiapas, Mexico. Our results revealed that the two species with highest abundance and nest density were also highly polydomous, where both species had either single or multiple non-aggressive colonies occupying nests on a large spatial scale (greater than the hectare level). Our results also indicate that the species with the lowest abundance and density is less polydomous, occupying several overlapping and territorial colonies at the hectare level in which multiple colonies never co-occur on the same host plant. These results contribute evidence that successful coexistence and highly polydomous colony structure may allow ants, through reduced intraspecific aggression, to successfully occupy more nests more densely than ant species that have multiple territorial colonies. Furthermore our study highlights the importance of considering intraspecific interactions when examining community assembly of ants.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J

    2014-11-07

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies are distributed systems that are regulated in a non-hierarchical manner. Without a central authority, individuals inform their decisions by comparing information in local cues to a set of inherent behavioral rules. Individual behavioral decisions collectively change colony behavior and lead to self-organization capable of solving complex problems such as the decision to engage in aggressive societal conflicts with neighbors. Despite the relevance to colony fitness, the mechanisms that drive individual decisions leading to cooperative behavior are not well understood. Here we show how sensory information, both tactile and chemical, and social context—isolation, nestmate interaction, or fighting non-nestmates—affects brain monoamine levels in pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum). Our results provide evidence that changes in octopamine and serotonin in the brains of individuals are sufficient to alter the decision by pavement ants to be aggressive towards non-nestmate ants whereas increased brain levels of dopamine correlate to physical fighting. We propose a model in which the changes in brain states of many workers collectively lead to the self-organization of societal aggression between neighboring colonies of pavement ants. PMID:27846261

  2. Neuromodulation of Nestmate Recognition Decisions by Pavement Ants.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Lanan, Michele

    2014-01-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. An invasive ant species able to counterattack marabunta raids.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Azémar, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    In the Neotropics where it was introduced, the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala counterattacked raids by the army ants Eciton burchellii or E. hamatum. The Eciton workers that returned to their bivouac were attacked and spread-eagled and most of them killed by their outgoing colony mates. Little by little the zone where returning and outgoing Eciton workers encountered one another moved away from the Pheidole nest which was no longer attacked, so that most of the colony was spared. Using a water-based technique rounded out by bioassays, we show that Pheidole compounds were transferred onto the Eciton cuticle during the counterattacks, so that outgoing workers do not recognize returning colony mates, likely perceived as potential prey. Because P. megacephala is an introduced African species, this kind of protection, which cannot be the result of coevolutive processes, corresponds to a kind of by-product due to its aggressiveness during colony defence.

  15. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... Serious Reaction For people with fire ant allergy, stings may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis ( ... Fire ants bite with their jaws while they sting. This allows them to pull the stinger out, ...

  16. Effects of substrate, ant and fungal species on plant fiber degradation in a fungus-gardening ant symbiosis.

    PubMed

    DeMilto, Alexandria M; Rouquette, Monte; Mueller, Ulrich G; Kellner, Katrin; Seal, Jon N

    2017-02-11

    Fungus-gardening or attine ants have outsourced most of their digestive function to a symbiotic fungus. The ants feed their fungus - essentially an external digestive organ - a variety of substrates of botanical origin, including fresh and dried flowers, leaves and insect frass (processed leaves). Although plant tissues are rich in fibers (lignocelluloses, hemicelluloses, pectins and starches) and the symbiotic fungus possesses the genetic and enzymatic machinery to metabolize these compounds, the highly derived attines, the leaf-cutters (Atta and Acromyrmex), are known to produce fiber-rich waste. While leaf-cutting ants are important consumers of primary plant tissue, there have been fewer studies on physiological activity of fungi grown by closely related ant species in the genus Trachymyrmex, which generally grow related species of fungi, have smaller colonies and consume a wider variety of fungal substrates in addition to fresh leaves and flowers. In this study, we measured the cellulase activity of the fungus-gardening ants Atta texana, Trachymyrmex arizonensis and T. septentrionalis. We then quantified fiber consumption of the fungus-gardening ants Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Trachymyrmex arizonensis by comparing the amounts and percentages present in their food and in fungus garden refuse during a controlled feeding experiment over the span of several months. Finally, we compared waste composition of T. arizonensis colonies growing different fungal strains, because this species is known to cultivate multiple strains of Leucoagaricus in its native range. The leaf-cutting ant A. texana was found to have lower cellulytic activity than T. arizonensis or T. septentrionalis. Total lignocellulose and hemicellulose amounts were significantly lower in refuse piles than in the substrates fed to the Trachymyrmex colonies, thus these fibers were consumed by the fungal symbionts of these ant species. Although lignocellulose utilization was similar in two distinct

  17. 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.

  18. Nonrelatives inherit colony resources in a primitive termite

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Shaken, not stirred: a serendipitous study of ants and earthquakes.

    PubMed

    Lighton, John R B; Duncan, Frances D

    2005-08-01

    There is anecdotal evidence for profound behavioral changes prior to and during earthquakes in many organisms, including arthropods such as ants. Behavioral or physiological analysis has often, in light of these reports, been proposed as a means of earthquake prediction. We report here a serendipitous study of the effect of the powerful Landers earthquake in the Mojave Desert, USA (Richter magnitude 7.4) on ant trail dynamics and aerobic catabolism in the desert harvester ant Messor pergandei. We monitored trail traffic rates to and from the colony, trail speed, worker mass distributions, rates of aerobic catabolism and temperature at ant height before and during the earthquake, and for 3 days after the earthquake. Contrary to anecdotal reports of earthquake effects on ant behavior, the Landers earthquake had no effect on any measured aspect of the physiology or behavior of M. pergandei. We conclude that anecdotal accounts of the effects of earthquakes or their precursors on insect behavior should be interpreted with caution.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Low levels of nestmate discrimination despite high genetic differentiation in the invasive pharaoh ant.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Anna M; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Pedersen, Jes S

    2010-06-30

    Ants typically distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates based on the perception of colony-specific chemicals, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons present on the surface of the ants' exoskeleton. These recognition cues are believed to play an important role in the formation of vast so-called supercolonies that have been described for some invasive ant species, but general conclusions about the role of these cues are hampered by only few species being studied. Here we use data on cuticular hydrocarbons, aggression and microsatellite genetic markers to investigate the interdependence of chemical recognition cues, genetic distance and nestmate discrimination in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), a widespread pest species, and ask whether introduced populations of this species are genetically differentiated and exhibit intraspecific aggression. Microsatellite analyses of a total of 35 colonies from four continents revealed extremely high levels of genetic differentiation between almost all colonies (FST = 0.751 +/- 0.006 SE) and very low within-colony diversity. This implies that at least 34 and likely hundreds more independent lineages of this ant have spread worldwide. Aggression tests involving workers from 14 different colonies showed only low levels of aggression, even between colonies that were geographically and/or genetically very distant. Chemical analyses of groups of worker ants showed that all colonies had the same cuticular compounds, which varied only quantitatively among colonies. There was a positive correlation between geographical and genetic distance, but no other significant relationships were detected between aggression, chemical profile, genetic distance and geographical distance. The pharaoh ant has a global invasion history of numerous independent introductions resulting in genetically highly differentiated colonies typically displaying surprisingly low levels of intraspecific aggression, a behaviour that may have evolved in the native range

  7. Low levels of nestmate discrimination despite high genetic differentiation in the invasive pharaoh ant

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Ants typically distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates based on the perception of colony-specific chemicals, particularly cuticular hydrocarbons present on the surface of the ants' exoskeleton. These recognition cues are believed to play an important role in the formation of vast so-called supercolonies that have been described for some invasive ant species, but general conclusions about the role of these cues are hampered by only few species being studied. Here we use data on cuticular hydrocarbons, aggression and microsatellite genetic markers to investigate the interdependence of chemical recognition cues, genetic distance and nestmate discrimination in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), a widespread pest species, and ask whether introduced populations of this species are genetically differentiated and exhibit intraspecific aggression. Results Microsatellite analyses of a total of 35 colonies from four continents revealed extremely high levels of genetic differentiation between almost all colonies (FST = 0.751 ± 0.006 SE) and very low within-colony diversity. This implies that at least 34 and likely hundreds more independent lineages of this ant have spread worldwide. Aggression tests involving workers from 14 different colonies showed only low levels of aggression, even between colonies that were geographically and/or genetically very distant. Chemical analyses of groups of worker ants showed that all colonies had the same cuticular compounds, which varied only quantitatively among colonies. There was a positive correlation between geographical and genetic distance, but no other significant relationships were detected between aggression, chemical profile, genetic distance and geographical distance. Conclusions The pharaoh ant has a global invasion history of numerous independent introductions resulting in genetically highly differentiated colonies typically displaying surprisingly low levels of intraspecific aggression, a behaviour that may

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  10. Multi-Phase Defense by the Big-Headed Ant, Pheidole obtusospinosa, Against Raiding Army Ants

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:20569122

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

    PubMed

    Bujan, Jelena; Kaspari, Michael

    2017-10-01

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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-15

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. The ant's estimation of distance travelled: experiments with desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis.

    PubMed

    Sommer, S; Wehner, R

    2004-01-01

    Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, monitor their position relative to the nest by path integration. They continually update the direction and distance to the nest by employing a celestial compass and an odometer. In the present account we addressed the question of how the precision of the ant's estimate of its homing distance depends on the distance travelled. We trained ants to forage at different distances in linear channels comprising a nest entrance and a feeder. For testing we caught ants at the feeder and released them in a parallel channel. The results show that ants tend to underestimate their distances travelled. This underestimation is the more pronounced, the larger the foraging distance gets. The quantitative relationship between training distance and the ant's estimate of this distance can be described by a logarithmic and an exponential model. The ant's odometric undershooting could be adaptive during natural foraging trips insofar as it leads the homing ant to concentrate the major part of its nest-search behaviour on the base of its individual foraging sector, i.e. on its familiar landmark corridor.

  19. 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

  20. Host specificity and colony impacts of Solenopsis invicta virus 3

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    A thorough understanding of host specificity is essential before pathogens can be used as biopesticides or self-sustaining biocontrol agents. In order to define the host range of the recently discovered Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), we exposed colonies of 19 species of ants in 14 different g...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. The global expansion of a single ant supercolony

    PubMed Central

    Van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Torres, Candice W; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2010-01-01

    Ants are among the most damaging invasive species, and their success frequently arises from the widespread cooperation displayed by introduced populations, often across hundreds of kilometers. Previous studies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) have shown that introduced populations on different continents each contain a single, vast supercolony and, occasionally, smaller secondary colonies. Here, we perform inter-continental behavioral analyses among supercolonies in North America, Europe, Asia, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia and show that these far-flung supercolonies also recognize and accept each other as if members of a single, globally distributed supercolony. Furthermore, populations also possess similar genetic and chemical profiles. However, these ants do show aggression toward ants from South Africa and the smaller secondary colonies that occur in Hawaii and California. Thus, the largest and most dominant introduced populations are likely descended from the same ancestral colony and, despite having been established more than 100 years ago, have diverged very little. This apparent evolutionary stasis is surprising because, in other species, some of the most rapid rates of evolutionary change have occurred in introduced populations. Given the spatial extent of the Argentine ant society we report here, there can be little doubt that this intercontinental supercolony represents the most populous known animal society. PMID:25567914

  5. The global expansion of a single ant supercolony.

    PubMed

    Van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Torres, Candice W; Tsutsui, Neil D

    2010-03-01

    Ants are among the most damaging invasive species, and their success frequently arises from the widespread cooperation displayed by introduced populations, often across hundreds of kilometers. Previous studies of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) have shown that introduced populations on different continents each contain a single, vast supercolony and, occasionally, smaller secondary colonies. Here, we perform inter-continental behavioral analyses among supercolonies in North America, Europe, Asia, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia and show that these far-flung supercolonies also recognize and accept each other as if members of a single, globally distributed supercolony. Furthermore, populations also possess similar genetic and chemical profiles. However, these ants do show aggression toward ants from South Africa and the smaller secondary colonies that occur in Hawaii and California. Thus, the largest and most dominant introduced populations are likely descended from the same ancestral colony and, despite having been established more than 100 years ago, have diverged very little. This apparent evolutionary stasis is surprising because, in other species, some of the most rapid rates of evolutionary change have occurred in introduced populations. Given the spatial extent of the Argentine ant society we report here, there can be little doubt that this intercontinental supercolony represents the most populous known animal society.

  6. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  8. Multiple functions of fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, mandibular gland products

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    : Alarm pheromones are an essential part of a complex of pheromone interactions that contribute to the maintenance of colony integrity and sociality in social insects. Recently, we identified 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine as an alarm pheromone component of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. We continu...

  9. Multiple virus infections occur in individual polygyne and monogyne Solenopsis invicta ants

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Concurrent infections of Solenopsis invicta colonies with Solenopsis invicta virus 1 to 3 (SINV-1, SINV-2 and SINV-3) has been reported. However, whether individual ants were capable of supporting multiple virus infections simultaneously was not known, nor whether the social form of the colony (pol...

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. Long-term persistence of a neotropical ant-plant population in the absence of obligate plant-ants.

    PubMed

    Moraes, Sinara C; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L

    2009-09-01

    Interactions between ants and ant-plants are considered classic examples of obligate mutualisms. Previous studies have indicated that for many ant-plants the loss of ant colonies results in severe defoliation or mortality. Although individual plants can persist for some period of time without their mutualistic partners, to date populations of ant-free plants have only been recorded at high altitudes or on remote islands where herbivores are also scarce. We studied the interaction between ants, herbivores, and the ant-plant Tococa guianensis in the Cerrado region of central Brazil. Using a survey conducted across a large geographic region, we show that there is interpopulation variation in ant occupancy across sites and habitats. At most sites surveyed, plants were inhabited by Allomerus octoarticulatus, an obligate plant-ant. Plants with obligate ants had significantly lower standing levels of herbivore damage than plants with opportunistic ants and plants with no ant occupants. Furthermore, experimental removal of A. octoarticulatus resulted in increased levels of damage in both young and mature leaves. Despite the protection provided by obligate ants, populations of T. guianensis were found to persist without these ants in some areas. Plants without A. octoarticulatus had significantly greater leaf toughness and trichome density than those with A. octoarticulatus. Furthermore, trichome density in plants with A. octoarticulatus increased after ants were removed, probably as a response induced by increased levels of herbivore damage. To our knowledge, this is the first record of the occurrence of native myrmecophyte populations without their mutualistic ants in mainland low-elevation sites. Several factors may help to explain the long-term persistence of T. guianensis populations without plant-ants in some areas of the Brazilian Cerrado, including its potential for induced morphological defenses against insect herbivores and selection for increased levels of

  16. Information Certainty Determines Social and Private Information Use in Ants

    PubMed Central

    Stroeymeyt, Nathalie; Giurfa, Martin; Franks, Nigel R.

    2017-01-01

    Decision-making in uncertain environments requires animals to evaluate, contrast and integrate various information sources to choose appropriate actions. In consensus-making groups, quorum responses are commonly used to combine private and social information, leading to both robust and flexible decisions. Here we show that in house-hunting ant colonies, individuals fine-tune the parameters of their quorum responses depending on their private knowledge: informed ants evaluating a familiar new nest rely relatively more on social than private information when the certainty of their private information is low, and vice versa. This indicates that the ants follow a highly sophisticated ‘copy-when-uncertain’ social learning strategy similar to that observed in a few vertebrate species. Using simulations, we further show that this strategy improves colony performance during emigrations and confers well-informed individuals more weight in the decision process, thus representing a novel mechanism for the emergence of leadership in collective decision-making.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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