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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. An ant colony algorithm on continuous searching space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Jing; Cai, Chao

    2015-12-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Edwards, Susan C; Pratt, Stephen C

    2009-10-22

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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).

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Extreme queen-mating frequency and colony fission in African army ants.

    PubMed

    Kronauer, Daniel J C; Schoning, Caspar; Pedersen, Jes S; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Gadau, Jurgen

    2004-08-01

    Army ants have long been suspected to represent an independent origin of multiple queen-mating in the social Hymenoptera. Using microsatellite markers, we show that queens of the African army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus have the highest absolute (17.3) and effective (17.5) queen-mating frequencies reported so far for ants. This confirms that obligate multiple queen-mating in social insects is associated with large colony size and advanced social organization, but also raises several novel questions. First, these high estimates place army ants in the range of mating frequencies of honeybees, which have so far been regarded as odd exceptions within the social Hymenoptera. Army ants and honeybees are fundamentally different in morphology and life history, but are the only social insects known that combine obligate multiple mating with reproduction by colony fission and extremely male-biased sex ratios. This implies that the very high numbers of matings in both groups may be due partly to the relatively low costs of additional matings. Second, we were able to trace recent events of colony fission in four of the investigated colonies, where the genotypes of the two queens were only compatible with a mother-daughter relationship. A direct comparison of male production between colonies with offspring from one and two queens, respectively, suggested strongly that new queens do not produce a sexual brood until all workers of the old queen have died, which is consistent with kin selection theory.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Parallelizing Ant Colony Optimization via Area of Expertise Learning

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-09-13

    Intelligent Robots and Systems [IROS]. Beijing, China, Oct. 2006. 2. Applegate, David L., Robert E. Bixby, Vasek Chvatal, and William Cook. The...Traveling Salesman Problem: A Computational Study. Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey, USA, 08540-5237, 2007. 3. Arabshahi...ManBirStuDor2006ants.pdf. 24. Michalewicz, Z. and D. Fogel . How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics. Springer, Verlag, Berlin, second edition, 2004. 102

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Loreto, Raquel G; Hughes, David P

    2016-01-01

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

  20. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  2. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  4. 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

  5. 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…

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  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. 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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Janich, Karl W.

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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).

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1983-11-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1983-11-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  12. Usefulness of fire ant genetics in insecticide efficacy trials

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Corbara, Bruno

    2014-11-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

    ... please enable JavaScript. Fire ants are red-colored insects. A sting from a fire ant delivers a ... poison control. Those who have an allergy to insect bites or stings should carry a bee sting ...

  10. 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 ).

  11. 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.

  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. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 ...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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 Carlos; Veblen, Kari E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2017-03-08

    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-year-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 year 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 decreasing

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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".

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant.

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  19. 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.

  20. Does exogenic food benefit both partners in an ant-plant mutualism? The case of Cecropia obtusa and its guest Azteca plant-ants.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Petitclerc, Frédéric; Roux, Olivier; Orivel, Jérôme; Leroy, Céline

    2012-03-01

    In the mutualisms involving the myrmecophyte Cecropia obtusa and Azteca ovaticeps or A. alfari, both predatory, the ants defend their host trees from enemies and provide them with nutrients (myrmecotrophy). A. ovaticeps provisioned with prey and then (15)N-enriched food produced more individuals than did control colonies (not artificially provisioned). This was not true for A. alfari colonies, possibly due to differences in the degree of maturity of the colonies for the chosen range of host tree sizes (less than 3m in height). Myrmecotrophy was demonstrated for both Azteca species as provisioning the ants with (15)N-enriched food translated into higher δ(15)N values in host plant tissues, indicating that nitrogen passed from the food to the plant. Thus, the predatory activity of their guest ants benefits the Cecropia trees not only because the ants protect them from defoliators since most prey are phytophagous insects but also because the plant absorbs nutrients.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  7. 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…

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  9. How patrollers set foraging direction in harvester ants.

    PubMed

    Greene, Michael J; Gordon, Deborah M

    2007-12-01

    Recruitment to food or nest sites is well known in ants; the recruiting ants lay a chemical trail that other ants follow to the target site, or they walk with other ants to the target site. Here we report that a different process determines foraging direction in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Each day, the colony chooses from among up to eight distinct foraging trails; colonies use different trails on different days. Here we show that the patrollers regulate the direction taken by foragers each day by depositing Dufour's secretions onto a sector of the nest mound about 20 cm long and leading to the beginning of a foraging trail. The patrollers do not recruit foragers all the way to food sources, which may be up to 20 m away. Fewer foragers traveled along a trail if patrollers had no access to the sector of the nest mound leading to that trail. Adding Dufour's gland extract to patroller-free sectors of the nest mound rescued foraging in that direction, while poison gland extract did not. We also found that in the absence of patrollers, most foragers used the direction they had used on the previous day. Thus, the colony's 30-50 patrollers act as gatekeepers for thousands of foragers and choose a foraging direction, but they do not recruit and lead foragers all the way to a food source.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Fire Ant Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... be wary of these systemic reactions. They are: serum sickness, seizures, mononeuritis, nephrotic syndrome, and worsening of preexisting cardiopulmonary disease. When you first identify the fire ant you ...

  14. Scaling Ant Colony Optimization with Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning Partitioning

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-09-01

    ACO domain and traveling salesman problem ( TSP ). To apply HRL to ACO , a hierarchy must be created for the TSP . A data cluster- ing algorithm creates...methodologies to the ACO domain and the TSP to demonstrate a decomposition of the TSP increases the speed of the algorithm with little to no significant loss in...the use of HRL techniques in the ACO domain and the TSP . 3 II. Backgound This chapter introduces the foundations used in this thesis. Reinforcement

  15. Population-Based Ant Colony Optimization for Multivariate Microaggregation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Aksut, Ann Ahu

    2013-01-01

    Numerous organizations collect and distribute non-aggregate personal data for a variety of different purposes, including demographic and public health research. In these situations, the data distributor is responsible with the protection of the anonymity and personal information of individuals. Microaggregation is one of the most commonly used…

  16. Adaptable Learning Pathway Generation with Ant Colony Optimization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wong, Lung-Hsiang; Looi, Chee-Kit

    2009-01-01

    One of the new major directions in research on web-based educational systems is the notion of adaptability: the educational system adapts itself to the learning profile, preferences and ability of the student. In this paper, we look into the issues of providing adaptability with respect to learning pathways. We explore the state of the art with…

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A simulation study was carried out to develop an alternative method of selecting animals to be genotyped. Simulated pedigrees included 5000 animals, each assigned genotypes for a bi-allelic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based on assumed allelic frequencies of 0.7/ 0.3 and 0.5/0.5. In addition...

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-10

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

  1. Nutrition and interference competition have interactive effects on the behavior and performance of Argentine ants.

    PubMed

    Kay, Adam D; Zumbusch, Taylor; Heinen, Justa L; Marsh, Tom C; Holway, David A

    2010-01-01

    Food availability often influences competitive outcomes through effects on consumer growth. Although it has received less attention, food availability may also affect competition through nutritional effects on behavior. One hypothesis linking nutrition and competition in ants posits that increased access to carbohydrates favors greater investment in worker traits that underlie behavioral dominance. We tested this hypothesis by varying dietary protein:carbohydrate (P:C) ratios and levels of interspecific interference for Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), a widespread invasive species. As predicted, colonies facing interference increased patrolling more when reared on low P:C diets; this result is the first demonstration of an interactive effect of nutrition and interference on ant colonies. Several results suggest that this dietary effect on patrolling was due primarily to changes in colony size rather than worker behavior. Colonies on lower P:C diets had lower worker mortality and larger final colony sizes. Diet had little effect on per capita patrolling, and worker behavior in performance assays depended more on previous exposure to interference than on diet. Our findings indicate that dietary P:C ratios can influence Argentine ant performance in a competitive environment and suggest a mechanism by which monopolization of carbohydrate-rich resources can help invasive ants displace native ant competitors.

  2. The evolution of extreme polyandry in social insects: insights from army ants.

    PubMed

    Barth, Matthias Benjamin; Moritz, Robin Frederik Alexander; Kraus, Frank Bernhard

    2014-01-01

    The unique nomadic life-history pattern of army ants (army ant adaptive syndrome), including obligate colony fission and strongly male-biased sex-ratios, makes army ants prone to heavily reduced effective population sizes (Ne). Excessive multiple mating by queens (polyandry) has been suggested to compensate these negative effects by increasing genetic variance in colonies and populations. However, the combined effects and evolutionary consequences of polyandry and army ant life history on genetic colony and population structure have only been studied in a few selected species. Here we provide new genetic data on paternity frequencies, colony structure and paternity skew for the five Neotropical army ants Eciton mexicanum, E. vagans, Labidus coecus, L. praedator and Nomamyrmex esenbeckii; and compare those data among a total of nine army ant species (including literature data). The number of effective matings per queen ranged from about 6 up to 25 in our tested species, and we show that such extreme polyandry is in two ways highly adaptive. First, given the detected low intracolonial relatedness and population differentiation extreme polyandry may counteract inbreeding and low Ne. Second, as indicated by a negative correlation of paternity frequency and paternity skew, queens maximize intracolonial genotypic variance by increasingly equalizing paternity shares with higher numbers of sires. Thus, extreme polyandry is not only an integral part of the army ant syndrome, but generally adaptive in social insects by improving genetic variance, even at the high end spectrum of mating frequencies.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Japanese queenless ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus, prefer the traces of both nestmates and strangers in nest selection.

    PubMed

    Satow, Show; Saitow, Yuka; Yamaki, Shōtarō; Hirota, Tadao

    2013-07-01

    Conspecific avoidance may influence the spatial distribution of colonies in some ants. House-hunting ants (Temnothorax albipennis) avoid nesting in areas where non-nestmates have nested previously. However, no reports are available on conspecific avoidance during nest selection in other ants. In the present study, we investigated nest selection in another nomadic species, the Japanese queenless ant, Pristomyrmex punctatus. Two-choice tests revealed that, similar to house-hunting ants, P. punctatus preferred nests soiled by nestmates to clean nests. However, unlike house-hunting ants, P. punctatus also preferred nests soiled by non-nestmates to a clean nest. Given the choice between a nest soiled by nestmates and one soiled by strangers, P. punctatus, unlike house-haunting ants, showed no significant preference. Thus, conspecific avoidance in nest selection was not observed in P. punctatus. Interspecific differences in ecological factors may drive the evolution of different nest selection strategies.

  5. Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis.

    PubMed

    Ivens, Aniek B F; von Beeren, Christoph; Blüthgen, Nico; Kronauer, Daniel J C

    2016-01-01

    Ant colonies provide well-protected and resource-rich environments for a plethora of symbionts. Historically, most studies of ants and their symbionts have had a narrow taxonomic scope, often focusing on a single ant or symbiont species. Here we discuss the prospects of studying these assemblies in a community ecology context using the framework of ecological network analysis. We introduce three basic network metrics that we consider particularly relevant for improving our knowledge of ant-symbiont communities: interaction specificity, network modularity, and phylogenetic signal. We then discuss army ant symbionts as examples of large and primarily parasitic communities, and symbiotic sternorrhynchans as examples of generally smaller and primarily mutualistic communities in the context of these network analyses. We argue that this approach will provide new and complementary insights into the evolutionary and ecological dynamics between ants and their many associates, and will facilitate comparisons across different ant-symbiont assemblages as well as across different types of ecological networks.

  6. Prudent Protomognathus and despotic Leptothorax duloticus: differential costs of ant slavery.

    PubMed

    Hare, J F; Alloway, T M

    2001-10-09

    The concept of ant slavery rests on the untested assumption that slave-making ants impose fitness costs on colonies of the species they raid. We tested that assumption by comparing the summertime seasonal productivity of Leptothorax spp. colonies in field exclosures without slavemakers, with a colony of the obligatory slave-making ant Protomognathus americanus, or with a colony of the obligatory slavemaker Leptothorax duloticus. Leptothorax longispinosus colonies placed in exclosures with P. americanus colonies did not differ significantly in any demographic attribute from colonies in exclosures without slavemakers. By contrast, Leptothorax curvispinosus colonies exposed to L. duloticus experienced significant reductions in dealate queens, workers, and larvae relative to control colonies exclosed without slavemakers. The pronounced difference in the impact of these slavemakers on their host-species populations correlates with differences in the behavior of the slavemakers observed in the laboratory and likely explains why P. americanus is more abundant than L. duloticus in nature. It seems that more advanced social parasites, like anatomical parasites, evolve to minimize their impact on their hosts, and thus can be regarded as "prudent social parasites."

  7. Serotonin depresses feeding behaviour in ants.

    PubMed

    Falibene, Agustina; Rössler, Wolfgang; Josens, Roxana

    2012-01-01

    Feeding behaviour is a complex functional system that relies on external signals and the physiological state of the animal. This is also the case in ants as they vary their feeding behaviour according to food characteristics, environmental conditions and - as they are social insects - to the colony's requirements. The biogenic amine serotonin (5-HT) was shown to be involved in the control and modulation of many actions and processes related to feeding in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In this study, we investigated whether 5-HT affects nectar feeding in ants by analysing its effect on the sucking-pump activity. Furthermore, we studied 5-HT association with tissues and neuronal ganglia involved in feeding regulation. Our results show that 5-HT promotes a dose-dependent depression of sucrose feeding in Camponotus mus ants. Orally administered 5-HT diminished the intake rate by mainly decreasing the volume of solution taken per pump contraction, without modifying the sucrose acceptance threshold. Immunohistochemical studies all along the alimentary canal revealed 5-HT-like immunoreactive processes on the foregut (oesophagus, crop and proventriculus), while the midgut and hindgut lacked 5-HT innervation. Although the frontal and suboesophageal ganglia contained 5-HT immunoreactive cell bodies, serotonergic innervation in the sucking-pump muscles was absent. The results are discussed in the frame of a role of 5-HT in feeding control in ants.

  8. Density-Dependent Benefits in Ant-Hemipteran Mutualism? The Case of the Ghost Ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the Invasive Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Although density-dependent benefits to hemipterans from ant tending have been measured many times, few studies have focused on integrated effects such as interactions between ant tending, natural enemy density, and hemipteran density. In this study, we tested whether the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis is affected by tending by ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), the presence of parasitoids, mealybug density, parasitoid density and interactions among these factors. Our results showed that mealybug colony growth rate and percentage parasitism were significantly affected by ant tending, parasitoid presence, and initial mealybug density separately. However, there were no interactions among the independent factors. There were also no significant interactions between ant tending and parasitoid density on either mealybug colony growth rate or percentage parasitism. Mealybug colony growth rate showed a negative linear relationship with initial mealybug density but a positive linear relationship with the level of ant tending. These results suggest that benefits to mealybugs are density-independent and are affected by ant tending level. PMID:25886510

  9. Ant and termite mound coinhabitants in the wetlands of Santo Antonio da Patrulha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Diehl, E; Junqueira, L K; Berti-Filho, E

    2005-08-01

    This paper reports on ant and termite species inhabiting the mounds (murundus) found in three wetland sites in Santo Antonio da Patrulha. Ants and termites were found in 100% of the mounds of two sites and in 20% of those in the third site. Colonies of Camponotus fastigatus were found inhabiting all the mounds, while colonies of Brachymyrmex sp., Linepithema sp., Pheidole sp., and/or Solenopsis sp. were collected in less than 30% of the mounds. In the mounds of the three sites, colonies of Anoplotermes sp. and/or Aparatermes sp. termites were found together with the ant colonies. Another cohabiting termite species, Cortaritermes sp., was found only in the mounds of one site. The results suggest that C. fastigatus is the species building the mounds, with the other species, whether ants or termites, being the inquilines.

  10. Bat aggregation mediates the functional structure of ant assemblages.

    PubMed

    Dejean, Alain; Groc, Sarah; Hérault, Bruno; Rodriguez-Pérez, Héctor; Touchard, Axel; Céréghino, Régis; Delabie, Jacques H C; Corbara, Bruno

    2015-10-01

    In the Guianese rainforest, we examined the impact of the presence of guano in and around a bat roosting site (a cave). We used ant communities as an indicator to evaluate this impact because they occupy a central place in the functioning of tropical rainforest ecosystems and they play different roles in the food web as they can be herbivores, generalists, scavengers or predators. The ant species richness around the cave did not differ from a control sample situated 500m away. Yet, the comparison of functional groups resulted in significantly greater numbers of detritivorous fungus-growing and predatory ant colonies around the cave compared to the control, the contrary being true for nectar and honeydew feeders. The role of bats, through their guano, was shown using stable isotope analyses as we noted significantly greater δ(15)N values for the ant species captured in and around the cave compared to controls.

  11. Positive interactions between desert granivores: localized facilitation of harvester ants by kangaroo rats.

    PubMed

    Edelman, Andrew J

    2012-01-01

    Facilitation, when one species enhances the environment or performance of another species, can be highly localized in space. While facilitation in plant communities has been intensely studied, the role of facilitation in shaping animal communities is less well understood. In the Chihuahuan Desert, both kangaroo rats and harvester ants depend on the abundant seeds of annual plants. Kangaroo rats, however, are hypothesized to facilitate harvester ants through soil disturbance and selective seed predation rather than competing with them. I used a spatially explicit approach to examine whether a positive or negative interaction exists between banner-tailed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys spectabilis) mounds and rough harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) colonies. The presence of a scale-dependent interaction between mounds and colonies was tested by comparing fitted spatial point process models with and without interspecific effects. Also, the effect of proximity to a mound on colony mortality and spatial patterns of surviving colonies was examined. The spatial pattern of kangaroo rat mounds and harvester ant colonies was consistent with a positive interspecific interaction at small scales (<10 m). Mortality risk of vulnerable, recently founded harvester ant colonies was lower when located close to a kangaroo rat mound and proximity to a mound partly predicted the spatial pattern of surviving colonies. My findings support localized facilitation of harvester ants by kangaroo rats, likely mediated through ecosystem engineering and foraging effects on plant cover and composition. The scale-dependent effect of kangaroo rats on abiotic and biotic factors appears to result in greater founding and survivorship of young colonies near mounds. These results suggest that soil disturbance and foraging by rodents can have subtle impacts on the distribution and demography of other species.

  12. Pseudacteon decapitating flies: Potential vectors of a fire ant virus?

    SciTech Connect

    Valles, S.M.; Porter, S.D.

    2007-03-15

    Solenopsis invicta virus (SINV-1) is a positive-stranded RNA virus recently found to infect all stages of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV-1 and a second genotype have been tentatively assigned to the Dicistroviridae (Mayo 2002). Infected individuals or colonies did not exhibit any immediate, discernible symptoms in the field. However, under stress from introduction into the laboratory, brood death was often observed among infected colonies, ultimately leading to the death of the entire colony (Valles et al. 2004). These characteristics are consistent with other insect-infecting positive-stranded RNA viruses. They often persist as inapparent, asymptomatic infections that, under certain conditions, induce replication within the host, resulting in observable symptoms and often death (Christian and Scotti 1998; Fernandez et al. 2002). The SINV infection rate among colonies was reported to be around 25% in Gainesville, Florida (Valles et al. 2004; Valles and Strong 2005). SINV vertical and horizontal transmission were inferred based on RT-PCR detection of virus genome in eggs and successful colony to colony transfer under lab conditions (Valles et al. 2004). However, the exact mechanisms by which the virus is spread from nest to nest in the field are unknown. Our results indicate that SINV does not replicate within Pseudacteon decapitating flies that parasitize S. invicta. Flies appeared to develop normally from SINV-infected S. invicta workers. Mechanical transmission of SINV to uninfected ants by oviposition appears unlikely.

  13. Establishing food site vectors in desert ants.

    PubMed

    Bolek, Siegfried; Wittlinger, Matthias; Wolf, Harald

    2012-02-15

    When returning to the site of a successful previous forage, where does one search for the goodies? Should one rely on experience from the previous homebound journey, or should one consider the outbound journey as well, or even exclusively? Desert ants are particularly well suited for pursuing this question because of their primary reliance on path integration in open and featureless desert habitats. Path integration has been studied particularly with regard to homing after lengthy foraging trips. The ants also use path integration to return to plentiful feeding sites, but what is memorised for revisiting the feeder remains controversial. Here, we demonstrate that desert ants consider, and indeed linearly average, both outbound and inbound travel for their return to a familiar feeder. This may be interpreted as a strategy to reduce navigation errors.

  14. A hybrid approach using chaotic dynamics and global search algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Igeta, Hideki; Hasegawa, Mikio

    Chaotic dynamics have been effectively applied to improve various heuristic algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems in many studies. Currently, the most used chaotic optimization scheme is to drive heuristic solution search algorithms applicable to large-scale problems by chaotic neurodynamics including the tabu effect of the tabu search. Alternatively, meta-heuristic algorithms are used for combinatorial optimization by combining a neighboring solution search algorithm, such as tabu, gradient, or other search method, with a global search algorithm, such as genetic algorithms (GA), ant colony optimization (ACO), or others. In these hybrid approaches, the ACO has effectively optimized the solution of many benchmark problems in the quadratic assignment problem library. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid method that combines the effective chaotic search algorithm that has better performance than the tabu search and global search algorithms such as ACO and GA. Our results show that the proposed chaotic hybrid algorithm has better performance than the conventional chaotic search and conventional hybrid algorithms. In addition, we show that chaotic search algorithm combined with ACO has better performance than when combined with GA.

  15. Flexible task allocation and the organization of work in ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Flexibility in task performance is essential for a robust system of division of labour. We investigated what factors determine which social insect workers respond to colony-level changes in task demand. We used radio-frequency identification technology to compare the roles of corpulence, age, spatial location and previous activity (intra-nest/extra-nest) in determining whether worker ants (Temnothorax albipennis) respond to an increase in demand for foraging or brood care. The less corpulent ants took on the extra foraging, irrespective of their age, previous activity or location in the nest, supporting a physiological threshold model. We found no relationship between ants that tended the extra brood and corpulence, age, spatial location or previous activity, but ants that transported the extra brood to the main brood pile were less corpulent and had high previous intra-nest activity. This supports spatial task-encounter and physiological threshold models for brood transport. Our data suggest a flexible task-allocation system allowing the colony to respond rapidly to changing needs, using a simple task-encounter system for generalized tasks, combined with physiologically based response thresholds for more specialized tasks. This could provide a social insect colony with a robust division of labour, flexibly allocating the workforce in response to current needs. PMID:19776072

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Geographical Distribution Patterns and Niche Modeling of the Iconic Leafcutter Ant Acromyrmex striatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Simões-Gomes, Flávia Carolina; Cardoso, Danon Clemes; Cristiano, Maykon Passos

    2017-01-01

    Ants are considered one of the most successful groups in the planet's evolutionary history. Among them highlights the fungus-farming ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex that occur throughout most of the Americas. Within the Acromyrmex genus, the species A. striatus distinguishes from other Acromyrmex species as its morphology and karyotype differ from its congeners. This species is found in open environments of dry climate in the southern States of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay; however, little is known about the current distribution of the species. This article aimed to investigate the current distribution of the species by compiling its known distribution and discussing its distributional range. To achieve this, published and unpublished data obtained through a literature search and active collections in various locations were compiled. Published and unpublished data revealed that 386 colonies were recorded, distributed across four countries where its occurrence is known. Environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, soil type and vegetation, as well as historical geological and climate events that have modified Earth's surface may have influenced species distribution patterns. In the Neotropics, the environmental factors that most impacted the distribution of species were the glaciation periods that occurred in the Quaternary, leading to a great migratory process. These factors may have contributed to the current geographical distribution of A. striatus.

  18. Chemical warfare: Leaf-cutting ants defend themselves and their gardens against parasite attack by deploying antibiotic secreting bacteria.

    PubMed

    Samuels, Richard Ian; Mattoso, Thalles Cardoso; Moreira, Denise D O

    2013-03-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are well known for their highly complex social organization, which provides them with a strong defense against parasites invading their colonies. Besides this attribute, these insects have morphological, physiological and structural characteristics further reinforcing the defense of their colonies. With the discovery of symbiotic bacteria present on the integument of leaf-cutting ants, a new line of defense was proposed and considered to be specific for the control of a specialized fungal parasite of the ants' fungus gardens (Escovopsis). However, recent studies have questioned the specificity of the integumental bacteria, as they were also found to inhibit a range of fungi, including entomopathogens. The microbiota associated with the leaf-cutting ant gardens has also been proposed as another level of chemical defense, protecting the garden from parasite invasion. Here we review the chemical defense weaponry deployed by leaf-cutting ants against parasites of their fungus gardens and of the ants themselves.

  19. The interaction between Cistaceae and a highly specific seed-harvester ant in a Mediterranean scrubland.

    PubMed

    Bastida, F; Talavera, S; Ortiz, P L; Arista, M

    2009-01-01

    We studied the interaction between the ant Goniomma kugleri and Cistaceae in a Cistus ladanifer-dominated scrubland, in southwestern Spain. We monitored seed harvesting, and studied ant preferences among Cistaceae seeds and their capture efficiencies for preferred seeds. For the stand of C. ladanifer, we estimated seed losses due to the ants. Harvesting was restricted to two seasons: mid-autumn to late winter, and late spring. Ant diet relied on Cistaceae seeds: during autumn and winter 90% of seeds returned to nests were of C. ladanifer, and the remaining fraction also comprised Cistaceae seeds. At this time, the ants harvested seeds directly from the plants. In late spring, the ant diet consisted of Tuberaria guttata s.l. seeds. Goniomma kugleri selectively collected Cistaceae seeds. For preferred species, seed removal rates at the colony level and seed capture times invested by individual workers were correlated with seed size. Because of shorter capture time and higher success frequency, capture efficiency in terms of number of seeds captured per unit time was higher for small-seeded species. Although each ant colony collected large numbers (up to 10(5)) of C. ladanifer seeds over the autumn-winter season, the impact of ant removal on the annual seed output was moderate, at around 20%. It is likely that, in C. ladanifer, the staggered seed release period, and the pulsed exposure of seed clumps in capsules through progressive locule dehiscence, effectively minimise seed losses to the ants.

  20. A Specialist Herbivore Uses Chemical Camouflage to Overcome the Defenses of an Ant-Plant Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Susan R.; Reid, Ellen; Sapp, Joseph; Poveda, Katja; Royer, Anne M.; Posto, Amanda L.; Kessler, André

    2014-01-01

    Many plants and ants engage in mutualisms where plants provide food and shelter to the ants in exchange for protection against herbivores and competitors. Although several species of herbivores thwart ant defenses and extract resources from the plants, the mechanisms that allow these herbivores to avoid attack are poorly understood. The specialist insect herbivore, Piezogaster reclusus (Hemiptera: Coreidae), feeds on Neotropical bull-horn acacias (Vachellia collinsii) despite the presence of Pseudomyrmex spinicola ants that nest in and aggressively defend the trees. We tested three hypotheses for how P. reclusus feeds on V. collinsii while avoiding ant attack: (1) chemical camouflage via cuticular surface compounds, (2) chemical deterrence via metathoracic defense glands, and (3) behavioral traits that reduce ant detection or attack. Our results showed that compounds from both P. reclusus cuticles and metathoracic glands reduce the number of ant attacks, but only cuticular compounds appear to be essential in allowing P. reclusus to feed on bull-horn acacia trees undisturbed. In addition, we found that ant attack rates to P. reclusus increased significantly when individuals were transferred between P. spinicola ant colonies. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that chemical mimicry of colony-specific ant or host plant odors plays a key role in allowing P. reclusus to circumvent ant defenses and gain access to important resources, including food and possibly enemy-free space. This interaction between ants, acacias, and their herbivores provides an excellent example of the ability of herbivores to adapt to ant defenses of plants and suggests that herbivores may play an important role in the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. PMID:25047551

  1. Social Studies; Colonial America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hanson, Paul S.

    Students in grades seven through nine will examine and analyze the political organization, social structure, economic life, and values of the American Colonial period in this quinmester arranged American Studies course. Since the thirteen English Colonies effected the United States development, many of our nations foundations in government,…

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-08-31

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

  3. Do additional sugar sources affect the degree of attendance of Dysmicoccus brevipes by the fire ant Solenopsis geminata?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Mutualistic interactions between ants and Hemiptera are mediated to large extent by the amount and quality of sugar-rich honeydew produced. Throughout the neotropics, the fire ant Solenopsis geminata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is found in association with colonies of the pineapple mealybug Dysmi...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  5. Fire Ant Allergy

    MedlinePlus

    ... Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI Fire ants are a stinging insect typically found in the South/Southeast areas of ... specialized training and skills to test for stinging insect allergy and develop a plan to manage allergies. ...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

  12. Current and potential ant impacts in the Pacific region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, Lloyd L.; Krushelnycky, Paul D.

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. Procedures to mititgate the impact of Solenopsis invicta Virus 3 in fire ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) rearing facilities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During the initial characterization of Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), virus-infected fire ant colonies were retrieved from the field and maintained in the laboratory rearing facility at the USDA, Gainesville, FL. During this time, all S. invicta colonies housed in the facility contracted SINV...

  16. The ecological role of ants in two Mexican agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Risch, Stephen J; Carroll, C Ronald

    1982-10-01

    The development of the ant communities and their foraging dynamics were studied in two annual agroecosystems of the Mexican tropical lowlands: a "forest milpa" of corn, beans, and squash made by cutting and buring 40-year-old forest, and a "field milpa" of corn, beans, and squash made by plowing 1-year-old second growth. The ant community was sampled using tuna fish baits 26, 52, 110 and 353 days after planting. Although immediately after planting the same number of ant species occurred in each milpa type, thereafter the ant faunas diverged. The field milpa became completely dominated by the native fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, while the number of ant species in the forest milpa gradually increased over time, reaching eight species 110 days after planting and 14 species by 353 days. Initially S. geminata dominated the ant fauna in the forest milpa (occurring on 90% of the baits), but by 353 days planting it was found on only 26% of the occupied baits. Ant foraging efficiency, as measured by proportion of tuna baits occupied and the removal rates of dead Drosophila fly baits, was much higher (by a factor of 2 to 3) in the field than the forest milpa. This was caused by the extremely high density of S. geminata colonies in the field milpa. The simple Solenopsis-dominated community of the field milpa may be much more effective in biological control than the more diverse community of the forest milpa. Although S. geminata has potential negative impacts in annual agroecosystems (it stings, eats corn seeds, and guards homopterams), its overall impact appears to be beneficial. As forested areas of the lowland wet tropics are increasingly cut and converted to annual agriculture, the primary ant inhabitant of these highly disturbed environments, S. geminata, will necessarily play a much more significant ecological role in agroecosystems.

  17. Colonisation and competition dynamics can explain incomplete sterilisation parasitism in ant-plant symbioses.

    PubMed

    Tarnita, Corina E; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2014-10-01

    Sterilisation of parasites prevents host reproduction, thereby diverting host resources to their own benefit. Previous theory predicts that parasites should evolve maximum virulence, yet hosts are often incompletely sterilised. Whereas prior attempts to resolve this paradox have sought evolutionary explanations, we present theory and experiments showing that incomplete sterilisation can arise from ecologically driven fluctuations in parasite load. The African ant-plant Acacia drepanolobium reproduced more when occupied by small colonies of the sterilising symbiont Crematogaster nigriceps. In nature, small colonies result from interference competition between ant colonies; these territorial conflicts thus provide intermittent windows of opportunity for host reproduction. Our mean-field model shows that numerical insufficiency of parasites can produce partial sterilisation of host populations, creating the appearance of reduced virulence even if ants have evolved to sterilise completely. This general framework helps explain both the apparent ubiquity of partial sterilisation parasitism and the ability of these symbiotic associations to persist.

  18. Distributed representation of social odors indicates parallel processing in the antennal lobe of ants.

    PubMed

    Brandstaetter, Andreas Simon; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2011-11-01

    In colonies of eusocial Hymenoptera cooperation is organized through social odors, and particularly ants rely on a sophisticated odor communication system. Neuronal information about odors is represented in spatial activity patterns in the primary olfactory neuropile of the insect brain, the antennal lobe (AL), which is analog to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. The olfactory system is characterized by neuroanatomical compartmentalization, yet the functional significance of this organization is unclear. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we investigated the neuronal representation of multicomponent colony odors, which the ants assess to discriminate friends (nestmates) from foes (nonnestmates). In the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, colony odors elicited spatial activity patterns distributed across different AL compartments. Activity patterns in response to nestmate and nonnestmate colony odors were overlapping. This was expected since both consist of the same components at differing ratios. Colony odors change over time and the nervous system has to constantly adjust for this (template reformation). Measured activity patterns were variable, and variability was higher in response to repeated nestmate than to repeated nonnestmate colony odor stimulation. Variable activity patterns may indicate neuronal plasticity within the olfactory system, which is necessary for template reformation. Our results indicate that information about colony odors is processed in parallel in different neuroanatomical compartments, using the computational power of the whole AL network. Parallel processing might be advantageous, allowing reliable discrimination of highly complex social odors.

  19. The Seasonal Natural History of the Ant, Dolichoderus mariae, in Northern Florida

    PubMed Central

    Laskis, Kristina O.; Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2009-01-01

    Dolichoderus mariae Forel, (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is an uncommon, monomorphic but locally abundant, reddish-brown ant of peculiar nesting habits, whose range includes most of the eastern USA. In north Florida the ant excavates soil under wiregrass clumps or other plants with fibrous roots to form a single, large, shallow, conical or ovoid chamber broadly open to the surface around the plant base. Colonies are highly polygyne and, during the warm season, inhabit multiple nests connected only by above ground trails, over which nests exchange workers. Although monomorphic, worker size may differ significantly between colonies. The colony cycle is dominated by strong seasonal polydomy. From one or two over-wintering nests, the colonies expanded to occupy up to 60 nests by late summer, then retract once more to one or two nests by mid-winter. The worker-to-queen ratio changed greatly during this cycle, with over two thousand workers per queen during fall and winter, dropping to a low of about 300 during midsummer. Most of these summer queens probably die during the fall. Colonies reoccupy roughly the same area year to year even though they contract down to one or two nests in winter. Observation of fights in the contact zone between colonies suggested that the colonies are territorial. The ants subsist by tending aphids and scale insects for honeydew and scavenging for dead insects within their territories. PMID:19611227

  20. When the Lowest Energy Does Not Induce Native Structures: Parallel Minimization of Multi-Energy Values by Hybridizing Searching Intelligences

    PubMed Central

    Lü, Qiang; Xia, Xiao-Yan; Chen, Rong; Miao, Da-Jun; Chen, Sha-Sha; Quan, Li-Jun; Li, Hai-Ou

    2012-01-01

    Background Protein structure prediction (PSP), which is usually modeled as a computational optimization problem, remains one of the biggest challenges in computational biology. PSP encounters two difficult obstacles: the inaccurate energy function problem and the searching problem. Even if the lowest energy has been luckily found by the searching procedure, the correct protein structures are not guaranteed to obtain. Results A general parallel metaheuristic approach is presented to tackle the above two problems. Multi-energy functions are employed to simultaneously guide the parallel searching threads. Searching trajectories are in fact controlled by the parameters of heuristic algorithms. The parallel approach allows the parameters to be perturbed during the searching threads are running in parallel, while each thread is searching the lowest energy value determined by an individual energy function. By hybridizing the intelligences of parallel ant colonies and Monte Carlo Metropolis search, this paper demonstrates an implementation of our parallel approach for PSP. 16 classical instances were tested to show that the parallel approach is competitive for solving PSP problem. Conclusions This parallel approach combines various sources of both searching intelligences and energy functions, and thus predicts protein conformations with good quality jointly determined by all the parallel searching threads and energy functions. It provides a framework to combine different searching intelligence embedded in heuristic algorithms. It also constructs a container to hybridize different not-so-accurate objective functions which are usually derived from the domain expertise. PMID:23028708

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

    PubMed

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Masiulionis, Virginia E; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-03-01

    Fungus-growing ants associate with multiple symbiotic microbes, including Actinobacteria for production of antibiotics. The best studied of these bacteria are within the genus Pseudonocardia, which in most fungus-growing ants are conspicuously visible on the external cuticle of workers. However, given that fungus-growing ants in the genus Atta do not carry visible Actinobacteria on their cuticle, it is unclear if this genus engages in the symbiosis with Pseudonocardia. Here we explore whether improving culturing techniques can allow for successful isolation of Pseudonocardia from Atta cephalotes leaf-cutting ants. We obtained Pseudonocardia from 9 of 11 isolation method/colony component combinations from all 5 colonies intensively sampled. The most efficient technique was bead-beating workers in phosphate buffer solution, then plating the suspension on carboxymethylcellulose medium. Placing these strains in a fungus-growing ant-associated Pseudonocardia phylogeny revealed that while some strains grouped with clades of Pseudonocardia associated with other genera of fungus-growing ants, a large portion of the isolates fell into two novel phylogenetic clades previously not identified from this ant-microbe symbiosis. Our findings suggest that Pseudonocardia may be associated with Atta fungus-growing ants, potentially internalized, and that localizing the symbiont and exploring its role is necessary to shed further light on the association.

  2. Symbiont recognition of mutualistic bacteria by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Mingzi M; Poulsen, Michael; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-08-01

    Symbiont choice has been proposed to play an important role in shaping many symbiotic relationships, including the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism. Over millions of years, fungus-growing ants have defended their fungus gardens from specialized parasites with antibiotics produced by an actinomycete bacterial mutualist (genus Pseudonocardia). Despite the potential of being infected by phylogenetically diverse strains of parasites, each ant colony maintains only a single Pseudonocardia symbiont strain, which is primarily vertically transmitted between colonies by the founding queens. In this study, we show that Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants are able to differentiate between their native actinomycete strain and a variety of foreign strains isolated from sympatric and allopatric Acromyrmex species, in addition to strains originating from other fungus-growing ant genera. The recognition mechanism is sufficiently sensitive for the ants to discriminate between closely related symbiont strains. Our findings suggest that symbiont recognition may play a crucial role in the fungus-growing ant-bacterium mutualism, likely allowing the ants to retain ecological flexibility necessary for defending their garden from diverse parasites and, at the same time, resolve potential conflict that can arise from rearing competing symbiont strains.

  3. Individual and collective choice: parallel prospecting and mining in ants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aleksiev, Antony S.; Longdon, Ben; Christmas, Matthew J.; Sendova-Franks, Ana B.; Franks, Nigel R.

    2008-04-01

    Decision making is of crucial importance in the lives of both animals and humans. How decisions of group members scale up to group decisions is of great interest. Accordingly, we gave homeless ant colonies ( n = 67) in three experiments a choice between two nest sites (with small, big or mixed sand grains), each of which had to be excavated to be habitable. Among the colonies that chose only one of the new nest sites, all preferred the ones that could be excavated most easily and quickly. There are interesting parallels between the collective choice of mining sites and the ability of certain ants to select short cuts; both involve positive feedback. However, in this paper, we discuss a mechanism whereby collective co-ordination in the production of social infrastructure can occur in the absence of signalling.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-07

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

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

    PubMed

    Meisel, Joe E

    2006-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  11. Termites: a Retinex implementation based on a colony of agents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simone, Gabriele; Audino, Giuseppe; Farup, Ivar; Rizzi, Alessandro

    2012-01-01

    This paper describes a novel implementation of the Retinex algorithm with the exploration of the image done by an ant swarm. In this case the purpose of the ant colony is not the optimization of some constraints but is an alternative way to explore the image content as diffused as possible, with the possibility of tuning the exploration parameters to the image content trying to better approach the Human Visual System behavior. For this reason, we used "termites", instead of ants, to underline the idea of the eager exploration of the image. The paper presents the spatial characteristics of locality and discusses differences in path exploration with other Retinex implementations. Furthermore a psychophysical experiment has been carried out on eight images with 20 observers and results indicate that a termite swarm should investigate a particular region of an image to find the local reference white.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  15. PsANT, the adenine nucleotide translocase of Puccinia striiformis, promotes cell death and fungal growth

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Chunlei; Wei, Jinping; Han, Qingmei; Liu, Rui; Duan, Xiaoyuan; Fu, Yanping; Huang, Xueling; Wang, Xiaojie; Kang, Zhensheng

    2015-01-01

    Adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT) is a constitutive mitochondrial component that is involved in ADP/ATP exchange and mitochondrion-mediated apoptosis in yeast and mammals. However, little is known about the function of ANT in pathogenic fungi. In this study, we identified an ANT gene of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), designated PsANT. The PsANT protein contains three typical conserved mitochondrion-carrier-protein (mito-carr) domains and shares more than 70% identity with its orthologs from other fungi, suggesting that ANT is conserved in fungi. Immuno-cytochemical localization confirmed the mitochondrial localization of PsANT in normal Pst hyphal cells or collapsed cells. Over-expression of PsANT indicated that PsANT promotes cell death in tobacco, wheat and fission yeast cells. Further study showed that the three mito-carr domains are all needed to induce cell death. qRT-PCR analyses revealed an in-planta induced expression of PsANT during infection. Knockdown of PsANT using a host-induced gene silencing system (HIGS) attenuated the growth and development of virulent Pst at the early infection stage but not enough to alter its pathogenicity. These results provide new insight into the function of PsANT in fungal cell death and growth and might be useful in the search for and design of novel disease control strategies. PMID:26058921

  16. Experience influences aggressive behaviour in the Argentine ant

    PubMed Central

    Van Wilgenburg, Ellen; Clémencet, Johanna; Tsutsui, Neil D.

    2010-01-01

    All animals interact with conspecifics during their life, and nearly all also display some form of aggression. An enduring challenge, however, is to understand how the experiences of an individual animal influence its later behaviours. Several studies have shown that prior winning experience increases the probability of initiating fights in later encounters. Using behavioural assays in the laboratory, we provide evidence that, in Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), the mere exposure to an opponent, without the encounter escalating to a fight, also increases the probability that it will display aggression in later encounters. Argentine ant workers differ in their propensity to attack non-colonymates, with some ants repeatedly aggressive and others consistently more docile. Although 78 per cent of the workers were consistent in their behaviour from one encounter to the next, workers that did change their behaviour after an encounter with a non-colonymate more often changed from non-aggressive to aggressive, rather than the reverse. Surprisingly, a single encounter with a non-colonymate increased a worker's propensity to fight in encounters up to a week later. An encounter with a non-colonymate also increased the probability that a worker would attack ants from a colony that it had not previously encountered. Thus, these interactions lowered the overall aggression threshold, rather than stimulating a specific aggressive response to a particular foreign colony. Finally, our data suggest that aggression towards non-colonymates increases with age. PMID:19793741

  17. Army ants: an evolutionary bestseller?

    PubMed

    Berghoff, Stefanie M

    2003-09-02

    Army ants are characterized by a complex combination of behavioral and morphological traits. Molecular data now indicate that army ant behavior has a unique evolutionary origin and has been conserved for over more than 100 million years.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  19. The Antsy Social Network: Determinants of Nest Structure and Arrangement in Asian Weaver Ants

    PubMed Central

    Devarajan, Kadambari

    2016-01-01

    Asian weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) are arboreal ants that are known to form mutualistic complexes with their host trees. They are eusocial ants that build elaborate nests in the canopy in tropical areas. A colony comprises of multiple nests, usually on multiple trees, and the boundaries of the colony may be difficult to identify. However, they provide the ideal model for studying group living in invertebrates since there are a definite number of nests for a given substrate, the tree. Here, we briefly examine the structure of the nests and the processes involved in the construction and maintenance of these nests. We have described the spatial arrangement of weaver ant nests on trees in two distinct tropical clusters, a few hundred kilometres apart in India. Measurements were made for 13 trees with a total of 71 nests in the two field sites. We have considered a host of biotic and abiotic factors that may be crucial in determining the location of the nesting site by Asian weaver ants. Our results indicate that tree characteristics and architecture followed by leaf features help determine nest location in Asian weaver ants. While environmental factors may not be as influential to nest arrangement, they seem to be important determinants of nest structure. The parameters that may be considered in establishing the nests could be crucial in picking the evolutionary drivers for colonial living in social organisms. PMID:27271037

  20. Tiny, Powerful, Awesome Ants!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tate, Kathleen

    2007-01-01

    Peering through a thematic science lens--elementary students embarked on a one-week study of ants during a month-long summer school program. This integrated unit addressed reading and writing skills while developing the science-process skills of observation, inferring, and communicating in a motivating and authentic way. Pre- and post-assessments…

  1. Ants: the supreme soil manipulators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  2. The Natural History of the Arboreal Ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.

    2002-01-01

    The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm2 in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations. Founding queens containabout 50% fat and lose about half of their dry weight during the claustral period, converting approximately half of this lost weight into progeny. The claustral period is about 40 to 50 days at 27°C. Mature colonies contain several tens of thousands of workers (est. up to 80,000), and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Each colony occupies an entire tree, and sometimes two trees if they are close together. Within a colony, there is a single queen capable of laying up to

  3. The natural history of the arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R

    2002-01-01

    The arboreal ant, Crematogaster ashmeadi Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is the most dominant arboreal ant in the pine forests of the coastal plain of northern Florida. The majority of pine trees harbor a colony of these ants. The colonies inhabit multiple chambers abandoned by bark-mining caterpillars, especially those of the family Cossidae, in the outer bark of living pines. They also inhabit ground level termite galleries in the bark, often locating the queen in galleries. The density of chambers and ants is highest in the base of the tree and drops sharply with height on the trunk. Because chambers are formed in the inner layer of bark, they gradually move outward as more bark layers are laid down, eventually sloughing off the tree's outer surface. Chambers have a mean lifetime of about 25 yr. The abundant chambers in pine bark are excavated by a small population of caterpillars and accumulate over decades. Ant colonies also inhabit abandoned galleries of woodboring beetles in dead branches in the crowns of pines. Because newly mated queens found colonies in abandoned woodboring beetle galleries in the first dead branches that form on pine saplings, C. ashmeadi is dependent on cavities made by other insects throughout its life cycle, and does little if any excavation of its own. Mature colonies nest preferentially in chambers greater than 10 cm(2) in area, a relatively rare chamber size. In natural pine forests, this does not seem to limit the ant's populations. Founding queens contain about 50% fat and lose about half of their dry weight during the claustral period, converting approximately half of this lost weight into progeny. The claustral period is about 40 to 50 days at 27 degrees C. Mature colonies contain several tens of thousands of workers (est. up to 80,000), and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Each colony occupies an entire tree, and sometimes two trees if they are close together. Within a colony, there is a single queen capable of

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

    PubMed

    Potiwat, Rutcharin; Sitcharungsi, Raweerat

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-01

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

  6. Natal Dispersal, Mating Patterns, and Inbreeding in the Ant Formica exsecta.

    PubMed

    Vitikainen, Emma I K; Haag-Liautard, Cathy; Sundström, Liselotte

    2015-12-01

    Sex-biased dispersal and multiple mating may prevent or alleviate inbreeding and its outcome, inbreeding depression, but studies demonstrating this in the wild are scarce. Perennial ant colonies offer a unique system to investigate the relationships between natal dispersal behavior and inbreeding. Due to the sedentary life of ant colonies and lifetime sperm storage by queens, measures of dispersal distance and mating strategy are easier to obtain than in most taxa. We used a suite of molecular markers to infer the natal colonies of queens and males in a wild population of the ant Formica exsecta. Dispersal was male biased, with median male dispersal distances (∼140 m) twice those of queens (∼60 m). The results also showed that the population was inbred and that inbreeding avoidance behaviors--sex-biased dispersal, queen dispersal distance, and multiple mating--were all ineffective in reducing homozygosity among colony workers. Queen homozygosity did not affect dispersal behavior, but more homozygous queens had lower colony-founding success and were more incestuously mated themselves, with potentially accumulating effects on colony fitness. We also provide independent evidence that dispersal is sex biased and show that our estimate corresponds well with dispersal estimates derived from population-genetic estimates.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

  8. Survival of transplanted nests of the red wood ant Formica aquilonia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): the effects of intraspecific competition and forest clear-cutting.

    PubMed

    Sorvari, Jouni; Huhta, Esa; Hakkarainen, Harri

    2014-08-01

    The fitness and survival of ant colonies depend on the resources near their nests. These resources may be limited due to poor habitat quality or by intra- and interspecific competitions, which in extreme cases may cause the ant colony to perish. We tested the effect of intraspecific competition and habitat degradation (forest clear-cutting) on colony survival by transplanting 26 nests of the red wood ant (Formica aquilonia Yarrow, 1955) in 26 different forest areas that contained 0-11 conspecific alien nests per hectare. F. aquilonia is highly dependent on canopy-dwelling aphids, thus the removal of trees should cause food limitation. During the course of the 4-year experiment, 9 of the forests were partially clear-cut. We found that while forest clear-cutting significantly decreased the colonies' survival, intraspecific competition did not. As a highly polygynous and polydomous species, F. aquilonia seems to tolerate the presence of alien conspecific colonies to a certain extent.

  9. Experimental modulation of external microbiome affects nestmate recognition in harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus)

    PubMed Central

    Bahet, Nassim; Gordon, Deborah M.

    2016-01-01

    Social insects use odors as cues for a variety of behavioral responses, including nestmate recognition. Past research on nestmate recognition indicates cuticular hydrocarbons are important nestmate discriminators for social insects, but other factors are likely to contribute to colony-specific odors. Here we experimentally tested whether external microbes contribute to nestmate recognition in red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus). We changed the external microbiome of ants through topical application of either antibiotics or microbial cultures. We then observed behavior of nestmates when treated ants were returned to the nest. Ants whose external microbiome was augmented with microbial cultures were much more likely to be rejected than controls, but ants treated with antibiotics were not. This result is consistent with the possibility that external microbes are used for nestmate recognition. PMID:26855857

  10. Not everything that counts can be counted: ants use multiple metrics for a single nest trait

    PubMed Central

    Franks, Nigel R; Dornhaus, Anna; Metherell, Bonnie G; Nelson, Toby R; Lanfear, Sophie A.J; Symes, William S

    2005-01-01

    There are claims in the literature that certain insects can count. We question the generality of these claims and suggest that summation rather than counting (sensu stricto) is a more likely explanation. We show that Temnothorax albipennis ant colonies can discriminate between potential nest sites with different numbers of entrances. However, our experiments suggest that the ants use ambient light levels within the nest cavity to assess the abundance of nest entrances rather than counting per se. Intriguingly, Weber's Law cannot explain the ants' inaccuracy. The ants also use a second metric, independent of light, to assess and discriminate against wide entrances. Thus, these ants use at least two metrics to evaluate one nest trait: the configuration of the portals to their potential homes. PMID:16555783

  11. The Evolutionary Innovation of Nutritional Symbioses in Leaf-Cutter Ants.

    PubMed

    Aylward, Frank O; Currie, Cameron R; Suen, Garret

    2012-01-06

    Fungus-growing ants gain access to nutrients stored in plant biomass through their association with a mutualistic fungus they grow for food. This 50 million-year-old obligate mutualism likely facilitated some of these species becoming dominant Neotropical herbivores that can achieve immense colony sizes. Recent culture-independent investigations have shed light on the conversion of plant biomass into nutrients within ant fungus gardens, revealing that this process involves both the fungal cultivar and a symbiotic community of bacteria including Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Pantoea species. Moreover, the genome sequences of the leaf-cutter ants Atta cephalotes and Acromyrmex echinatior have provided key insights into how this symbiosis has shaped the evolution of these ants at a genetic level. Here we summarize the findings of recent research on the microbial community dynamics within fungus-growing ant fungus gardens and discuss their implications for this ancient symbiosis.

  12. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the fungus gardens of leaf-cutter ants.

    PubMed

    Pinto-Tomás, Adrián A; Anderson, Mark A; Suen, Garret; Stevenson, David M; Chu, Fiona S T; Cleland, W Wallace; Weimer, Paul J; Currie, Cameron R

    2009-11-20

    Bacteria-mediated acquisition of atmospheric N2 serves as a critical source of nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems. Here we reveal that symbiotic nitrogen fixation facilitates the cultivation of specialized fungal crops by leaf-cutter ants. By using acetylene reduction and stable isotope experiments, we demonstrated that N2 fixation occurred in the fungus gardens of eight leaf-cutter ant species and, further, that this fixed nitrogen was incorporated into ant biomass. Symbiotic N2-fixing bacteria were consistently isolated from the fungus gardens of 80 leaf-cutter ant colonies collected in Argentina, Costa Rica, and Panama. The discovery of N2 fixation within the leaf-cutter ant-microbe symbiosis reveals a previously unrecognized nitrogen source in neotropical ecosystems.

  13. Symmetry breaking on density in escaping ants: experiment and alarm pheromone model.

    PubMed

    Li, Geng; Huan, Di; Roehner, Bertrand; Xu, Yijuan; Zeng, Ling; Di, Zengru; Han, Zhangang

    2014-01-01

    The symmetry breaking observed in nature is fascinating. This symmetry breaking is observed in both human crowds and ant colonies. In such cases, when escaping from a closed space with two symmetrically located exits, one exit is used more often than the other. Group size and density have been reported as having no significant impact on symmetry breaking, and the alignment rule has been used to model symmetry breaking. Density usually plays important roles in collective behavior. However, density is not well-studied in symmetry breaking, which forms the major basis of this paper. The experiment described in this paper on an ant colony displays an increase then decrease of symmetry breaking versus ant density. This result suggests that a Vicsek-like model with an alignment rule may not be the correct model for escaping ants. Based on biological facts that ants use pheromones to communicate, rather than seeing how other individuals move, we propose a simple yet effective alarm pheromone model. The model results agree well with the experimental outcomes. As a measure, this paper redefines symmetry breaking as the collective asymmetry by deducing the random fluctuations. This research indicates that ants deposit and respond to the alarm pheromone, and the accumulation of this biased information sharing leads to symmetry breaking, which suggests true fundamental rules of collective escape behavior in ants.

  14. Host-ant specificity of endangered large blue butterflies (Phengaris spp., Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) in Japan.

    PubMed

    Ueda, Shouhei; Komatsu, Takashi; Itino, Takao; Arai, Ryusuke; Sakamoto, Hironori

    2016-11-03

    Large blue butterflies, Phengaris (Maculinea), are an important focus of endangered-species conservation in Eurasia. Later-instar Phengaris caterpillars live in Myrmica ant nests and exploit the ant colony's resources, and they are specialized to specific host-ant species. For example, local extinction of P. arion in the U. K. is thought to have been due to the replacement of its host-ant species with a less-suitable congener, as a result of changes in habitat. In Japan, Myrmica kotokui hosts P. teleius and P. arionides caterpillars. We recently showed, however, that the morphological species M. kotokui actually comprises four genetic clades. Therefore, to determine to which group of ants the hosts of these two Japanese Phengaris species belong, we used mitochondrial COI-barcoding of M. kotokui specimens from colonies in the habitats of P. teleius and P. arionides to identify the ant clade actually parasitized by the caterpillars of each species. We found that these two butterfly species parasitize different ant clades within M. kotokui.

  15. Behavioral Plasticity in Ant Queens: Environmental Manipulation Induces Aggression among Normally Peaceful Queens in the Socially Polymorphic Ant Leptothorax acervorum

    PubMed Central

    Trettin, Jürgen; Seyferth, Thomas; Heinze, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Collective Response of Leaf-Cutting Ants to the Effects of Wind on Foraging Activity.

    PubMed

    Alma, Andrea Marina; Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Elizalde, Luciana

    2016-11-01

    One advantage of sociality is to mitigate environmental restrictions through collective behavior. Here we document a colony-level response of leaf-cutting ants to wind, an environmental factor that impedes foraging. Given that larger ants adhere more strongly to the substrate, increasing forager size in windy conditions should reduce the negative effect of wind. We tested this idea for Acromyrmex lobicornis in windy regions of Patagonia. We examined (1) whether the fraction of larger ants versus smaller ants increased in windy conditions and (2) whether the effect of wind on the ants' movement was lower for larger ants. The size-frequency distribution of foragers was skewed more toward larger ants in nature under more windy conditions. Under windy conditions in the field, the mobility of smaller ants was more reduced than that of larger ants. The change toward larger foragers in windy conditions reduced the negative effect of wind by 32%, illustrating how a social organism can collectively mitigate the adverse effects of the environment.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  18. Post-Glacial Ant Generated Desert Pavements in Southeastern Oregon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, K. C.

    2001-12-01

    Desert pavements typically require thousands to tens of thousands of years to reach a high level of development. In a pluvial lake valley in Southeastern Oregon I have observed harvester ants creating desert pavement-like features in less than two months. The summer lake basin is a fairly simple sedimentary system. In the eastern half of the basin, the basaltic bedrock is buried under tens of meters of alluvial deposits which lie beneath an approximately ten meter thick dune sheet. The dune sands are noticably different in grainsize and chemistry than the fine component of the alluvial deposits. The dunes began to form at the end of the last pluvial interval (Allison 1980) and continue to be active today. Roughly one fourth of the total area of the dune sheet is mantled with desert pavement, consisting of very coarse sand and fine pebbles (1-8 mm diameter). The dune sand is very fine grained with a considerable amount of silt and minimal clay. It forms thin (2-20 cm thick) well developed Av horizons beneath the desert pavement. Owyhee harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex owyheei) in the area use pebbles of the same size and petrology as the desert pavements to construct their hills. For the ants the closest source of these pebbles is often the alluvium, ten meters below the anthill, rather than in a desert pavement deposit at some distance away overland. An experiment conducted between June and August 1999 demonstrated that the ants rebuild their hills with newly excavated pebbles. When the colonies die off after 5-25 years, the pebbles are stranded at the surface. Processes such as those described by Haff and Werner (1996), where jackrabbits and birds were observed kicking desert pavement clasts aross the ground serve to redistribute the pebbles across the surface of the sand dunes. The sand dunes have been forming over an 8000 year period. Based on anthill-regrowth measurements, the lifespan of an individual colony of harvester ants leads to the excavation of only enough

  19. Colony Collapse Disorder

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    In CCD, the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for remaining immature bees and the queen. EPA and USDA are working to understand and resolve this problem.

  20. [Visiting the Amana Colonies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ohrn, Deborah Gore, Ed.

    1992-01-01

    This issue of "The Goldfinch: Iowa History for Young People" focuses upon the Amana Colonies, which were home to many German immigrants in the 19th century, and which retain much of their ethnic heritage today. The articles and activities included in this issue are "Amana Today"; "No Black Buggies in Amana";…

  1. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  2. Enough is enough: the effects of symbiotic ant abundance on herbivory, growth, and reproduction in an African acacia.

    PubMed

    Palmer, Todd M; Brody, Alison K

    2013-03-01

    Understanding how cooperative interactions evolve and persist remains a central challenge in biology. Many mutualisms are thought to be maintained by "partner fidelity feedback," in which each partner bases their investment on the benefits they receive. Yet, we know little about how benefits change as mutualists vary their investment, which is critical to understanding the balance between mutualism and antagonism in any given partnership. Using an obligate ant-plant mutualism, we manipulated the density of symbiotic acacia ants (Crematogaster mimosae) and examined how the costs and benefits to Acacia drepanolobium trees scaled with ant abundance. Benefits of ants to plants saturated with increasing ant abundance for protection from branch browsing by elephants and attack by branch galling midges, while varying linearly for protection from cerambycid beetles. In addition, the risk of catastrophic whole-tree herbivory by elephants was highest for trees with very low ant abundance. However, there was no relationship between ant abundance and herbivory by leaf-feeding invertebrates, nor by vertebrate browsers such as giraffe, steinbuck, and Grant's gazelle. Ant abundance did not significantly influence rates of branch growth on acacias, but there was a significant negative relationship between ant abundance and the number of fruits produced by host plants, suggesting that maintaining high-density ant colonies is costly. Because benefits to plants largely saturated with increasing colony size, while costs to plant reproduction increased, we suggest that ant colonies may achieve abundances that are higher than optimal for host plants. Our results highlight the conflicts of interest inherent in many mutualisms, and demonstrate the value of examining the shape of curves relating costs and benefits within these globally important interactions.

  3. The structured diversity of specialized gut symbionts of the New World army ants.

    PubMed

    Łukasik, Piotr; Newton, Justin A; Sanders, Jon G; Hu, Yi; Moreau, Corrie S; Kronauer, Daniel J C; O'Donnell, Sean; Koga, Ryuichi; Russell, Jacob A

    2017-04-10

    Symbiotic bacteria play important roles in the biology of their arthropod hosts. Yet the microbiota of many diverse and influential groups remain understudied, resulting in a paucity of information on the fidelities and histories of these associations. Motivated by prior findings from a smaller scale, 16S rRNA-based study, we conducted a broad phylogenetic and geographical survey of microbial communities in the ecologically dominant New World army ants (Formicidae: Dorylinae). Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene across 28 species spanning the five New World genera showed that the microbial communities of army ants consist of very few common and abundant bacterial species. The two most abundant microbes, referred to as Unclassified Firmicutes and Unclassified Entomoplasmatales, appear to be specialized army ant associates that dominate microbial communities in the gut lumen of three host genera, Eciton, Labidus, and Nomamyrmex. Both are present in other army ant genera, including those from the Old World, suggesting that army ant symbioses date back to the Cretaceous. Extensive sequencing of bacterial protein-coding genes revealed multiple strains of these symbionts co-existing within colonies, but seldom within the same individual ant. Bacterial strains formed multiple host species-specific lineages on phylogenies, which often grouped strains from distant geographic locations. These patterns deviate from those seen in other social insects and raise intriguing questions about the influence of army ant colony swarm-founding and within-colony genetic diversity on strain co-existence, and the effects of hosting a diverse suite of symbiont strains on colony ecology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  5. Specialized myrmecophily at the ecological dawn of modern ants.

    PubMed

    Parker, Joseph; Grimaldi, David A

    2014-10-20

    Myrmecophiles--species that depend on ant societies--include some of the most morphologically and behaviorally specialized animals known. Remarkable adaptive characters enable these creatures to bypass fortress-like security, integrate into colony life, and exploit abundant resources and protection inside ant nests. Such innovations must result from intimate coevolution with hosts, but a scarcity of definitive fossil myrmecophiles obscures when and how this lifestyle arose. Here, we report the earliest known morphologically specialized and apparently obligate myrmecophile, in Early Eocene (∼ 52 million years old) Cambay amber from India. Protoclaviger trichodens gen. et sp. nov. is a stem-group member of Clavigeritae, a speciose supertribe of pselaphine rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) heavily modified for myrmecophily via reduced mouthparts for trophallaxis with worker ants, brush-like trichomes that exude appeasement compounds, and fusions of many body and antennal segments. Protoclaviger captures a transitional stage in the evolutionary development of this novel body plan, most evident in its still-distinct abdominal tergites. The Cambay paleobiota marks one of the first occurrences in the fossil record of a significant presence of modern ants. Protoclaviger reveals that sophisticated social parasites were nest intruders throughout, and probably before, the ascent of ants to ecological dominance, with ancient groups such as Clavigeritae primed to radiate as their hosts became increasingly ubiquitous.

  6. The Frugal Cosmic Ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-09-01

    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its unique ability to see small details, astronomers have uncovered a flat, nearly edge-on disc of silicates in the heart of the magnificent Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape. ESO PR Photo 42/07 ESO PR Photo 42/07 A Disc in the Ant Nebula The Ant Nebula is one of the most striking planetary nebulae known. Planetary nebulae - whose name arises because most are spherical and looked like planets when they were first discovered through older, less powerful telescopes - are glowing structures of gas cast off by solar-like stars at the ends of their lives. The morphology of the Ant Nebula - a bright core, three nested pairs of bipolar lobes and a ring-like outflow - is so unique that it was nicknamed the 'Chamber of Horrors' of planetary nebulae in the late 1950s. But how can a spherical star produce such complex structures? The answer, many astronomers think, requires understanding of the discs surrounding the central star. By their nature, these discs bear witness to the phenomena that lead to the asymmetrical structures of planetary nebulae. "The challenge is to actually detect these discs," explains team leader Olivier Chesneau, from the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France. "Most astronomical instruments do not have a sharp enough view to find, let alone study them. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer however, with its exceptionally high spatial resolution, is a powerful disc-hunter." The disc of the Ant Nebula, which cannot be detected with a single 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescope, was uncovered in the interferometric mode where two 8.2-m Unit Telescopes were used to combine light, through the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI). The observations reveal a flat, nearly edge-on disc whose major axis is perpendicular to the axis of the bipolar lobes. The disc extends from about 9 times the mean distance between the Earth and the

  7. Parabiotic associations between tropical ants: equal partnership or parasitic exploitation?

    PubMed

    Menzel, F; Blüthgen, N

    2010-01-01

    1. The huge diversity of symbiotic associations among animals and/or plants comprises both mutualisms and parasitisms. Most symbioses between social insect species, however, involve social parasites, while mutual benefits have been only suspected for some parabiotic associations - two colonies that share a nest. 2. In the rainforest of Borneo, we studied parabiotic associations between the ants Crematogaster modiglianii and Camponotus rufifemur. Parabiotic nests were regularly found inside hollow tree trunks, most likely initiated by Cr. modiglianii. This species frequently nested without its partner, whereas we never found non-parabiotic Ca. rufifemur nests. We experimentally investigated potential benefits, potential interference competition for food (as a probable cost), and foraging niches of both species. 3. The two species never showed aggressive interactions and amicably shared food resources. However, Cr. modiglianii had a wider temporal and spatial foraging range than Ca. rufifemur, always found baits before Ca. rufifemur and recruited more efficiently. Camponotus rufifemur probably benefited from following pheromone trails of Cr. modiglianii. In turn, Ca. rufifemur was significantly more successful in defending the nest against alien ants. Crematogaster modiglianii hence may profit from its partner's defensive abilities. 4. In neotropical parabioses, epiphytes grown in 'ant-gardens' play a crucial role in the association, e.g. by stabilization of nests. Hemiepiphytic Poikilospermum cordifolium (Cecropiaceae) seedlings and saplings frequently grew in the entrances of parabiotic nests in Borneo, obviously dispersed by the ants. In cafeteria experiments, both parabiotic ants carried its elaiosome-bearing seeds into the nest. However, P. cordifolium does not provide additional nest space, contrasting with neotropical ant-gardens. 5. The parabiotic association appears beneficial for both ant species, the main benefits being nest initiation by Cr. modiglianii

  8. Feeding and Stocking Up: Radio-Labelled Food Reveals Exchange Patterns in Ants

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Food sharing is vital for a large number of species, either solitary or social, and is of particular importance within highly integrated societies, such as in colonial organisms and in social insects. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that govern the distribution of food inside a complex organizational system remain unknown. Using scintigraphy, a method developed for medical imaging, we were able to describe the dynamics of food-flow inside an ant colony. We monitored the sharing process of a radio-labelled sucrose solution inside a nest of Formica fusca. Our results show that, from the very first load that enters the nest, food present within the colony acts as negative feedback to entering food. After one hour of the experiments, 70% of the final harvest has already entered the nest. The total foraged quantity is almost four times smaller than the expected storage capacity. A finer study of the spatial distribution of food shows that although all ants have been fed rapidly (within 30 minutes), a small area representing on average 8% of the radioactive surface holds more than 25% of the stored food. Even in rather homogeneous nests, we observed a strong concentration of food in few workers. Examining the position of these workers inside the nest, we found heavily loaded ants in the centre of the aggregate. The position of the centre of this high-intensity radioactive surface remained stable for the three consecutive hours of the experiments. We demonstrate that the colony simultaneously managed to rapidly feed all workers (200 ants fed within 30 minutes) and build up food stocks to prevent food shortage, something that occurs rather often in changing environments. Though we expected the colony to forage to its maximum capacity, the flow of food entering the colony is finely tuned to the colony's needs. Indeed the food-flow decreases proportionally to the food that has already been harvested, liberating the work-force for other tasks. PMID:19536275

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

    PubMed

    Bologna, Audrey; Detrain, Claire

    2015-01-01

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

  10. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

    PubMed Central

    den Boer, Susanne P. A.; Baer, Boris; Dreier, Stephanie; Aron, Serge; Nash, David R.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2009-01-01

    In many species, females store sperm between copulation and egg fertilization, but the consequences of sperm storage and patterns of sperm use for female life history and reproductive success have not been investigated in great detail. In hymenopteran insect societies (ants, bees, wasps), reproduction is usually monopolized by one or relatively few queens, who mate only during a brief period early in life and store sperm for later use. The queens of some ants are particularly long-lived and have the potential to produce millions of offspring during their life. To do so, queens store many sperm cells, and this sperm must remain viable throughout the years of storage. Queens should also be under strong selection to use stored sperm prudently when fertilizing eggs. We used the leaf-cutter ant Atta colombica to investigate the dynamics of sperm use during egg fertilization. We show that queens are able to fertilize close to 100 per cent of the eggs and that the average sperm use per egg is very low, but increases with queen age. The robustness of stored sperm was found to decrease with years of storage, signifying that senescence affects sperm either directly or indirectly via the declining glandular secretions or deteriorating sperm-storage organs. We evaluate our findings with a heuristic model, which suggests that the average queen has sperm for almost 9 years of normal colony development. We discuss the extent to which leaf-cutter ant queens have been able to optimize their sperm expenditure and infer that our observed averages of sperm number, sperm robustness and sperm use are consistent with sperm depletion being a significant cause of mortality of mature colonies of Atta leaf-cutter ants. PMID:19710057

  11. Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens.

    PubMed

    den Boer, Susanne P A; Baer, Boris; Dreier, Stephanie; Aron, Serge; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2009-11-22

    In many species, females store sperm between copulation and egg fertilization, but the consequences of sperm storage and patterns of sperm use for female life history and reproductive success have not been investigated in great detail. In hymenopteran insect societies (ants, bees, wasps), reproduction is usually monopolized by one or relatively few queens, who mate only during a brief period early in life and store sperm for later use. The queens of some ants are particularly long-lived and have the potential to produce millions of offspring during their life. To do so, queens store many sperm cells, and this sperm must remain viable throughout the years of storage. Queens should also be under strong selection to use stored sperm prudently when fertilizing eggs. We used the leaf-cutter ant Atta colombica to investigate the dynamics of sperm use during egg fertilization. We show that queens are able to fertilize close to 100 per cent of the eggs and that the average sperm use per egg is very low, but increases with queen age. The robustness of stored sperm was found to decrease with years of storage, signifying that senescence affects sperm either directly or indirectly via the declining glandular secretions or deteriorating sperm-storage organs. We evaluate our findings with a heuristic model, which suggests that the average queen has sperm for almost 9 years of normal colony development. We discuss the extent to which leaf-cutter ant queens have been able to optimize their sperm expenditure and infer that our observed averages of sperm number, sperm robustness and sperm use are consistent with sperm depletion being a significant cause of mortality of mature colonies of Atta leaf-cutter ants.

  12. Use of a Colony of Cooperating Agents and MAPLE To Solve the Traveling Salesman Problem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Guerrieri, Bruno

    This paper reviews an approach for finding optimal solutions to the traveling salesman problem, a well-known problem in combinational optimization, and describes implementing the approach using the MAPLE computer algebra system. The method employed in this approach to the problem is similar to the way ant colonies manage to establish shortest…

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-10-01

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

  14. Antimicrobial properties of nest volatiles in red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In social insects, antimicrobial secretions are often used collectively for the benefit of the whole colony, which is an important component in social immunity. Many ant species build nests in which air circulation can be controlled. Volatile antimicrobial agents would be ideal in implementing socia...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  17. Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) use adaptable transportation networks to track changes in resource quality.

    PubMed

    Latty, Tanya; Holmes, Michael J; Makinson, James C; Beekman, Madeleine

    2017-02-15

    Transportation networks play a crucial role in human and animal societies. For a transportation network to be efficient, it must have adequate capacity to meet traffic demand. Network design becomes increasingly difficult in situations where traffic demand can change unexpectedly. In humans, network design is often constrained by path dependency because it is difficult to move a road once it is built. A similar issue theoretically faces pheromone-trail-laying social insects; once a trail has been laid, positive feedback makes re-routing difficult because new trails cannot compete with continually reinforced pre-existing trails. In the present study, we examined the response of Argentine ant colonies and their trail networks to variable environments where resources differ in quality and change unexpectedly. We found that Argentine ant colonies effectively tracked changes in food quality such that colonies allocated the highest proportion of foragers to the most rewarding feeder. Ant colonies maximised access to high concentration feeders by building additional trails and routes connecting the nest to the feeder. Trail networks appeared to form via a pruning process in which lower traffic trails were gradually removed from the network. At the same time, we observed several instances where new trails appear to have been built to accommodate a surge in demand. The combination of trail building when traffic demand is high and trail pruning when traffic demand is low results in a demand-driven network formation system that allows ants to monopolise multiple dynamic resources.

  18. Testing sodium limitation of fire ants in the field and laboratory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1) Sodium is an essential dietary element and preferential foraging for high concentrations of sodium by inland herbivorous and omnivorous ants suggests it may be limiting. If so, increased sodium availability through altered deposition and anthropogenic sources may lead to increased colony growth a...

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-11-21

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-10-01

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

  2. Antagonistic Bacterial Interactions Help Shape Host-Symbiont Dynamics within the Fungus-Growing Ant-Microbe Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Poulsen, Michael; Erhardt, Daniel P.; Molinaro, Daniel J.; Lin, Ting-Li; Currie, Cameron R.

    2007-01-01

    Conflict within mutually beneficial associations is predicted to destabilize relationships, and theoretical and empirical work exploring this has provided significant insight into the dynamics of cooperative interactions. Within mutualistic associations, the expression and regulation of conflict is likely more complex than in intraspecific cooperative relationship, because of the potential presence of: i) multiple genotypes of microbial species associated with individual hosts, ii) multiple species of symbiotic lineages forming cooperative partner pairings, and iii) additional symbiont lineages. Here we explore complexity of conflict expression within the ancient and coevolved mutualistic association between attine ants, their fungal cultivar, and actinomycetous bacteria (Pseudonocardia). Specifically, we examine conflict between the ants and their Pseudonocardia symbionts maintained to derive antibiotics against parasitic microfungi (Escovopsis) infecting the ants' fungus garden. Symbiont assays pairing isolates of Pseudonocardia spp. associated with fungus-growing ants spanning the phylogenetic diversity of the mutualism revealed that antagonism between strains is common. In contrast, antagonism was substantially less common between more closely related bacteria associated with Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. In both experiments, the observed variation in antagonism across pairings was primarily due to the inhibitory capabilities and susceptibility of individual strains, but also the phylogenetic relationships between the ant host of the symbionts, as well as the pair-wise genetic distances between strains. The presence of antagonism throughout the phylogenetic diversity of Pseudonocardia symbionts indicates that these reactions likely have shaped the symbiosis from its origin. Antagonism is expected to prevent novel strains from invading colonies, enforcing single-strain rearing within individual ant colonies. While this may align ant-actinomycete interests in the

  3. Antagonistic bacterial interactions help shape host-symbiont dynamics within the fungus-growing ant-microbe mutualism.

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Michael; Erhardt, Daniel P; Molinaro, Daniel J; Lin, Ting-Li; Currie, Cameron R

    2007-09-26

    Conflict within mutually beneficial associations is predicted to destabilize relationships, and theoretical and empirical work exploring this has provided significant insight into the dynamics of cooperative interactions. Within mutualistic associations, the expression and regulation of conflict is likely more complex than in intraspecific cooperative relationship, because of the potential presence of: i) multiple genotypes of microbial species associated with individual hosts, ii) multiple species of symbiotic lineages forming cooperative partner pairings, and iii) additional symbiont lineages. Here we explore complexity of conflict expression within the ancient and coevolved mutualistic association between attine ants, their fungal cultivar, and actinomycetous bacteria (Pseudonocardia). Specifically, we examine conflict between the ants and their Pseudonocardia symbionts maintained to derive antibiotics against parasitic microfungi (Escovopsis) infecting the ants' fungus garden. Symbiont assays pairing isolates of Pseudonocardia spp. associated with fungus-growing ants spanning the phylogenetic diversity of the mutualism revealed that antagonism between strains is common. In contrast, antagonism was substantially less common between more closely related bacteria associated with Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants. In both experiments, the observed variation in antagonism across pairings was primarily due to the inhibitory capabilities and susceptibility of individual strains, but also the phylogenetic relationships between the ant host of the symbionts, as well as the pair-wise genetic distances between strains. The presence of antagonism throughout the phylogenetic diversity of Pseudonocardia symbionts indicates that these reactions likely have shaped the symbiosis from its origin. Antagonism is expected to prevent novel strains from invading colonies, enforcing single-strain rearing within individual ant colonies. While this may align ant-actinomycete interests in the

  4. Characterization of recruitment through tandem running in an Indian queenless ant Diacamma indicum

    PubMed Central

    Kaur, Rajbir; Joseph, Joby; Anoop, Karunakaran

    2017-01-01

    Tandem running is a primitive recruitment method employed by many ant genera. This study characterizes this behaviour during the recruitment of colony mates to a new nest in an Indian ant Diacamma indicum. Tandem leaders who have knowledge of the new nest lead a single follower at a time, to the destination by maintaining physical contact. In order to characterize tandem running, we captured and analysed 621 invitations, 217 paths and 226 termination events. Remarkably, not a single colony member was lost. While invitations were stereotypic in behaviour, termination was not. Analysis of speed revealed that the average transport speed was 4.2 cm s−1. Coupled adult-brood transport was slower than other transports but was more efficient than individual trips. Comparing tandem running with other popular recruitment methods in ants allows us to postulate that even though tandem running is primitive it is probably just another means to achieve the same end. PMID:28280548

  5. Ant brood function as life preservers during floods.

    PubMed

    Purcell, Jessica; Avril, Amaury; Jaffuel, Geoffrey; Bates, Sarah; Chapuisat, Michel

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Bioturbation by the Fungus-Gardening Ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

    PubMed Central

    Tschinkel, Walter R.; Seal, Jon N.

    2016-01-01

    Soil invertebrates such as ants are thought to be important manipulators of soils in temperate and tropical ecosystems. The fungus gardening ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, is an important agent of biomantling, that is, of depositing soil excavated from below onto the surface, and has been suggested as an agent of bioturbation (moving soil below ground) as well. The amount of bioturbation by this ant was quantified by planting queenright colonies in sand columns consisting of 5 layers of different colored sand. The amount of each color of sand deposited on the surface was determined from April to November 2015. In November, colonies were excavated and the color and amount of sand deposited below ground (mostly as backfill in chambers) was determined. Extrapolated to one ha, T. septentrionalis deposited 800 kg of sand per annum on the surface, and an additional 200 kg (17% of the total excavated) below ground. On average, this mixes 1.3% of the sand from other layers within the top meter of soil per millennium, but this mixing is unlikely to be homogeneous, and probably occurs as "hotspots" in both horizontal and vertical space. Such mixing is discussed as a challenge to sediment dating by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). PMID:27391485

  7. Improving the channeler ant model for lung CT analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cerello, Piergiorgio; Lopez Torres, Ernesto; Fiorina, Elisa; Oppedisano, Chiara; Peroni, Cristiana; Arteche Diaz, Raul; Bellotti, Roberto; Bosco, Paolo; Camarlinghi, Niccolo; Massafra, Andrea

    2011-03-01

    The Channeler Ant Model (CAM) is an algorithm based on virtual ant colonies, conceived for the segmentation of complex structures with different shapes and intensity in a 3D environment. It exploits the natural capabilities of virtual ant colonies to modify the environment and communicate with each other by pheromone deposition. When applied to lung CTs, the CAM can be turned into a Computer Aided Detection (CAD) method for the identification of pulmonary nodules and the support to radiologists in the identification of early-stage pathological objects. The CAM has been validated with the segmentation of 3D artificial objects and it has already been successfully applied to the lung nodules detection in Computed Tomography images within the ANODE09 challenge. The model improvements for the segmentation of nodules attached to the pleura and to the vessel tree are discussed, as well as a method to enhance the detection of low-intensity nodules. The results on five datasets annotated with different criteria show that the analytical modules (i.e. up to the filtering stage) provide a sensitivity in the 80 - 90% range with a number of FP/scan of the order of 20. The classification module, although not yet optimised, keeps the sensitivity in the 70 - 85% range at about 10 FP/scan, in spite of the fact that the annotation criteria for the training and the validation samples are different.

  8. Bioturbation by the Fungus-Gardening Ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis.

    PubMed

    Tschinkel, Walter R; Seal, Jon N

    2016-01-01

    Soil invertebrates such as ants are thought to be important manipulators of soils in temperate and tropical ecosystems. The fungus gardening ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, is an important agent of biomantling, that is, of depositing soil excavated from below onto the surface, and has been suggested as an agent of bioturbation (moving soil below ground) as well. The amount of bioturbation by this ant was quantified by planting queenright colonies in sand columns consisting of 5 layers of different colored sand. The amount of each color of sand deposited on the surface was determined from April to November 2015. In November, colonies were excavated and the color and amount of sand deposited below ground (mostly as backfill in chambers) was determined. Extrapolated to one ha, T. septentrionalis deposited 800 kg of sand per annum on the surface, and an additional 200 kg (17% of the total excavated) below ground. On average, this mixes 1.3% of the sand from other layers within the top meter of soil per millennium, but this mixing is unlikely to be homogeneous, and probably occurs as "hotspots" in both horizontal and vertical space. Such mixing is discussed as a challenge to sediment dating by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL).

  9. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants: a cross-fostering approach.

    PubMed

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Broch, Jens F; Marín, Hermogenes Fernández; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-06-01

    To ameliorate the impact of disease, social insects combine individual innate immune defenses with collective social defenses. This implies that there are different levels of selection acting on investment in immunity, each with their own trade-offs. We present the results of a cross-fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced both individual innate immunity (constitutive antibacterial activity) and the size of the metapleural gland, which secretes antimicrobial compounds and functions in individual and social defense, indicating multiple mating could have important consequences for both defense types. However, the primarily social defense, a Pseudonocardia bacteria that helps to control pathogens in the ants' fungus garden, showed a significant colony of origin by rearing environment interaction, whereby ants that acquired the bacteria of a foster colony obtained a less abundant cover of bacteria: one explanation for this pattern would be co-adaptation between host colonies and their vertically transmitted mutualist. These results illustrate the complexity of the selection pressures that affect the expression of multilevel immune defenses.

  10. Undertaking specialization in the desert leaf-cutter ant Acromyrmex versicolor.

    PubMed

    Julian; Cahan

    1999-08-01

    We investigated undertaking behaviour in the desert leaf-cutter ant to determine whether colonies show undertaking specialization, how task specialization is regulated and the consequences of specialization on colony performance. Task specialization has been hypothesized to be a result of internal physiological or genetic factors that govern worker behaviour. On the other hand, it has been suggested that task specialization could be a result of spatial structuring of workers allowing only a subset to have the opportunity to perform certain tasks. To test between these two hypotheses, we experimentally introduced dead ants into laboratory colonies with individually marked workers, and recorded all encounters and undertaking behaviours. Workers demonstrated individual specialization, in that some workers removed the dead ant more frequently than expected from encounter rate. Although individual workers differed in their opportunity to perform undertaking, this did not account for the specialization. These results suggest that undertaking specialization is governed by internal differences among workers. In addition, undertaking specialists removed corpses more successfully, and in the largest colony, more quickly, than nonspecialist workers, indicating that internally governed specialization is an important part of overall colony efficiency. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

  11. A novel type of nutritional ant-plant interaction: ant partners of carnivorous pitcher plants prevent nutrient export by dipteran pitcher infauna.

    PubMed

    Scharmann, Mathias; Thornham, Daniel G; Grafe, T Ulmar; Federle, Walter

    2013-01-01

    Many plants combat herbivore and pathogen attack indirectly by attracting predators of their herbivores. Here we describe a novel type of insect-plant interaction where a carnivorous plant uses such an indirect defence to prevent nutrient loss to kleptoparasites. The ant Camponotus schmitzi is an obligate inhabitant of the carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata in Borneo. It has recently been suggested that this ant-plant interaction is a nutritional mutualism, but the detailed mechanisms and the origin of the ant-derived nutrient supply have remained unexplained. We confirm that N. bicalcarata host plant leaves naturally have an elevated (15)N/(14)N stable isotope abundance ratio (δ(15)N) when colonised by C. schmitzi. This indicates that a higher proportion of the plants' nitrogen is insect-derived when C. schmitzi ants are present (ca. 100%, vs. 77% in uncolonised plants) and that more nitrogen is available to them. We demonstrated direct flux of nutrients from the ants to the host plant in a (15)N pulse-chase experiment. As C. schmitzi ants only feed on nectar and pitcher contents of their host, the elevated foliar δ(15)N cannot be explained by classic ant-feeding (myrmecotrophy) but must originate from a higher efficiency of the pitcher traps. We discovered that C. schmitzi ants not only increase the pitchers' capture efficiency by keeping the pitchers' trapping surfaces clean, but they also reduce nutrient loss from the pitchers by predating dipteran pitcher inhabitants (infauna). Consequently, nutrients the pitchers would have otherwise lost via emerging flies become available as ant colony waste. The plants' prey is therefore conserved by the ants. The interaction between C. schmitzi, N. bicalcarata and dipteran pitcher infauna represents a new type of mutualism where animals mitigate the damage by nutrient thieves to a plant.

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

    PubMed

    Dornhaus, Anna

    2008-11-18

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

  13. Behavioral Strategies of Phorid Parasitoids and Responses of Their Hosts, the Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Elizalde, Luciana; Folgarait, Patricia Julia

    2012-01-01

    Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Attini), host-related behavioral strategies (i.e., host searching and oviposition) for 13 phorid species, and host defensive responses (i.e., hitchhikers and particular body postures) for 11 ant species, were studied. Data was collected at 14 localities, one of them characterized by its high species richness for this host-parasitoid system. Phorid species showed both great variation and specificity in attacking behaviors. Some chose their hosts using either an ambush or an actively searching strategy, while some species attacked ants on different body parts, and specialized on ants performing different tasks, such as when ants were foraging, removing wastes to refuse piles, or repairing the nest. Combining all the behaviors recorded, most phorid species differed in performance in at least one, making it possible to recognize species in the field through their behavior. Phorid species that attacked hosts with greater activity levels showed overall higher attack rates, although there was no significant correlation between attack rates by most phorid species and ant activity outside the nest while parasitoids were attacking. The presence of phorids was a significant determinant for the presence of defensive behaviors by the ants. Although ant species varied in the incidence levels of these defensive behaviors, most ant species reacted against different phorids by utilizing similar behaviors, in contrast to what parasitoids do. General features of the observed phorid-ant interactions were parasitoid specialization and corresponding high interspecific variation in their behaviors, while their hosts showed generalized responses to attacks

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

  15. Exploiting a mutualism: parasite specialization on cultivars within the fungus-growing ant symbiosis.

    PubMed Central

    Gerardo, Nicole M.; Mueller, Ulrich G.; Price, Shauna L.; Currie, Cameron R.

    2004-01-01

    Fungus-growing ants, their cultivated fungi and the cultivar-attacking parasite Escovopsis coevolve as a complex community. Higher-level phylogenetic congruence of the symbionts suggests specialized long-term associations of host-parasite clades but reveals little about parasite specificity at finer scales of species-species and genotype-genotype interactions. By coupling sequence and amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping analyses with experimental evidence, we examine (i) the host specificity of Escovopsis strains infecting colonies of three closely related ant species in the genus Cyphomyrmex, and (ii) potential mechanisms constraining the Escovopsis host range. Incongruence of cultivar and ant relationships across the three focal Cyphomyrmex spp. allows us to test whether Escovopsis strains track their cultivar or the ant hosts. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that the Escovopsis phylogeny matches the cultivar phylogeny but not the ant phylogeny, indicating that the parasites are cultivar specific. Cross-infection experiments establish that ant gardens can be infected by parasite strains with which they are not typically associated in the field, but that infection is more likely when gardens are inoculated with their typical parasite strains. Thus, Escovopsis specialization is shaped by the parasite's ability to overcome only a narrow range of garden-specific defences, but specialization is probably additionally constrained by ecological factors, including the other symbionts (i.e. ants and their antibiotic-producing bacteria) within the coevolved fungus-growing ant symbiosis. PMID:15315894

  16. The dynamics of plant cell-wall polysaccharide decomposition in leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens.

    PubMed

    Moller, Isabel E; De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Harholt, Jesper; Willats, William G T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-03-10

    The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus degrades cellulose have hampered our understanding of the selection forces that induced large scale herbivory and of the ensuing ecological footprint of these ants. Here we use a recently established technique, based on polysaccharide microarrays probed with antibodies and carbohydrate binding modules, to map the occurrence of cell wall polymers in consecutive sections of the fungus garden of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We show that pectin, xyloglucan and some xylan epitopes are degraded, whereas more highly substituted xylan and cellulose epitopes remain as residuals in the waste material that the ants remove from their fungus garden. These results demonstrate that biomass entering leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens is only partially utilized and explain why disproportionally large amounts of plant material are needed to sustain colony growth. They also explain why substantial communities of microbial and invertebrate symbionts have evolved associations with the dump material from leaf-cutting ant nests, to exploit decomposition niches that the ant garden-fungus does not utilize. Our approach thus provides detailed insight into the nutritional benefits and shortcomings associated with fungus-farming in ants.

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

    PubMed

    Czaczkes, Tomer J; Heinze, Jürgen

    2015-07-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kadochová, Štěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2014-01-01

    Temperature influences every aspect of ant biology, especially metabolic rate, growth and development. Maintenance of high inner nest temperature increases the rate of sexual brood development and thereby increases the colony fitness. Insect societies can achieve better thermoregulation than solitary insects due to the former’s ability to build large and elaborated nests and display complex behaviour. In ants and termites the upper part of the nest, the mound, often works as a solar collector and can also have an efficient ventilation system. Two thermoregulatory strategies could be applied. Firstly the ants use an increased thermal gradient available in the mound for brood relocation. Nurse workers move the brood according to the thermal gradients to ensure the ideal conditions for development. A precise perception of temperature and evolution of temperature preferences are needed to make the correct choices. A second thermoregulatory strategy used by mound nesting ants is keeping a high temperature inside large nests. The unique thermal and insulation properties of the nest material help to maintain stable conditions, which is the case of the Wood ant genus Formica. Ants can regulate thermal loss by moving nest aggregation and alternating nest ventilation. Metabolic heat produced by ant workers or associated micro organisms is an important additional source of heat which helps to maintain thermal homeostasis in the nest. PMID:24715967

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

    PubMed

    Kadochová, Stěpánka; Frouz, Jan

    2013-01-01

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

  20. Colony image acquisition and genetic segmentation algorithm and colony analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, W. X.

    2012-01-01

    Colony anaysis is used in a large number of engineerings such as food, dairy, beverages, hygiene, environmental monitoring, water, toxicology, sterility testing. In order to reduce laboring and increase analysis acuracy, many researchers and developers have made efforts for image analysis systems. The main problems in the systems are image acquisition, image segmentation and image analysis. In this paper, to acquire colony images with good quality, an illumination box was constructed. In the box, the distances between lights and dishe, camra lens and lights, and camera lens and dishe are adjusted optimally. In image segmentation, It is based on a genetic approach that allow one to consider the segmentation problem as a global optimization,. After image pre-processing and image segmentation, the colony analyses are perfomed. The colony image analysis consists of (1) basic colony parameter measurements; (2) colony size analysis; (3) colony shape analysis; and (4) colony surface measurements. All the above visual colony parameters can be selected and combined together, used to make a new engineeing parameters. The colony analysis can be applied into different applications.

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

    PubMed

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

    Ant foraging on foliage can substantially affect how phytophagous insects use host plants and represents a high predation risk for caterpillars, which are important folivores. Ant-plant-herbivore interactions are especially pervasive in cerrado savanna due to continuous ant visitation to liquid food sources on foliage (extrafloral nectaries, insect honeydew). While searching for liquid rewards on plants, aggressive ants frequently attack or kill insect herbivores, decreasing their numbers. Because ants vary in diet and aggressiveness, their effect on herbivores also varies. Additionally, the differential occurrence of ant attractants (plant and insect exudates) on foliage produces variable levels of ant foraging within local floras and among localities. Here, we investigate how variation of ant communities and of traits among host plant species (presence or absence of ant attractants) can change the effect of carnivores (predatory ants) on herbivore communities (caterpillars) in a cerrado savanna landscape. We sampled caterpillars and foliage-foraging ants in four cerrado localities (70-460 km apart). We found that: (i) caterpillar infestation was negatively related with ant visitation to plants; (ii) this relationship depended on local ant abundance and species composition, and on local preference by ants for plants with liquid attractants; (iii) this was not related to local plant richness or plant size; (iv) the relationship between the presence of ant attractants and caterpillar abundance varied among sites from negative to neutral; and (v) caterpillars feeding on plants with ant attractants are more resistant to ant predation than those feeding on plants lacking attractants. Liquid food on foliage mediates host plant quality for lepidopterans by promoting generalized ant-caterpillar antagonism. Our study in cerrado shows that the negative effects of generalist predatory ants on herbivores are detectable at a community level, affecting patterns of abundance and

  2. Life-history evolution in ants: the case of Cardiocondyla.

    PubMed

    Heinze, Jürgen

    2017-03-15

    Ants are important components of most terrestrial habitats, and a better knowledge of the diversity of their life histories is essential to understand many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The myrmicine genus Cardiocondyla shows a wide range of colony structures, reproductive behaviours, queen and male lifespans, and habitat use. Reconstructing the evolutionary pathways of individual and social phenotypic traits suggests that the ancestral life history of Cardiocondyla was characterized by the presence of multiple, short-lived queens in small-sized colonies and a male polyphenism with winged dispersers and wingless fighters, which engage in lethal combat over female sexuals within their natal nests. Single queening, queen polyphenism, the loss of winged males and tolerance among wingless males appear to be derived traits that evolved with changes in nesting habits, colony size and the spread from tropical to seasonal environments. The aim of this review is to bring together the information on life-history evolution in Cardiocondyla and to highlight the suitability of this genus for functional genomic studies of adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, senescence, invasiveness and other key life-history traits of ants.

  3. Life-history evolution in ants: the case of Cardiocondyla

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Ants are important components of most terrestrial habitats, and a better knowledge of the diversity of their life histories is essential to understand many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The myrmicine genus Cardiocondyla shows a wide range of colony structures, reproductive behaviours, queen and male lifespans, and habitat use. Reconstructing the evolutionary pathways of individual and social phenotypic traits suggests that the ancestral life history of Cardiocondyla was characterized by the presence of multiple, short-lived queens in small-sized colonies and a male polyphenism with winged dispersers and wingless fighters, which engage in lethal combat over female sexuals within their natal nests. Single queening, queen polyphenism, the loss of winged males and tolerance among wingless males appear to be derived traits that evolved with changes in nesting habits, colony size and the spread from tropical to seasonal environments. The aim of this review is to bring together the information on life-history evolution in Cardiocondyla and to highlight the suitability of this genus for functional genomic studies of adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, senescence, invasiveness and other key life-history traits of ants. PMID:28298341

  4. Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies.

    PubMed

    Jongepier, Evelien; Foitzik, Susanne

    2016-01-13

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

  5. Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies

    PubMed Central

    Jongepier, Evelien; Foitzik, Susanne

    2016-01-01

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

  6. Migration control: a distance compensation strategy in ants.

    PubMed

    O'Shea-Wheller, Thomas A; Sendova-Franks, Ana B; Franks, Nigel R

    2016-08-01

    Migratory behaviour forms an intrinsic part of the life histories of many organisms but is often a high-risk process. Consequently, varied strategies have evolved to negate such risks, but empirical data relating to their functioning are limited. In this study, we use the model system of the house-hunting ant Temnothorax albipennis to demonstrate a key strategy that can shorten migration exposure times in a group of social insects. Colonies of these ants frequently migrate to new nest sites, and due to the nature of their habitat, the distances over which they do so are variable, leading to fluctuating potential costs dependent on migration parameters. We show that colonies of this species facultatively alter the dynamics of a migration and so compensate for the distance over which a given migration occurs. Specifically, they achieve this by modulating the rate of 'tandem running', in which workers teach each other the route to a new nest site. Using this method, colonies are able to engage a larger number of individuals in the migration process when the distance to be traversed is greater, and furthermore, the system appears to be based on perceived encounter rate at the individual level. This form of decentralised control highlights the adaptive nature of a behaviour of ecological importance, and indicates that the key to its robustness lies in the use of simple rules. Additionally, our results suggest that such coordinated group reactions are central to achieving the high levels of ecological success seen in many eusocial organisms.

  7. Thelytokous Parthenogenesis in the Ant Myrmecina nipponica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Masuko, Keiichi

    2014-09-01

    Myrmecina nipponica Wheeler is a terrestrial ant nesting chiefly in the soil in forest. It is a specialized predator of oribatid mites, but also scavenges on a broad spectrum of other arthropods. In the studied population at Cape Manazuru in central Japan, M. nipponica colonies are typically monogynous, and previous dissections of queens suggested that these individuals were not inseminated, thus suggesting these ants can reproduce via thelytokous parthenogenesis. To test for thelytokous parthenogenesis in M. nipponica the spermathecae of queens (dealate gynes) from worker-containing colonies were histologically examined in detail. All specimens examined (n=5) had no spermatozoa in the spermatheca. In addition, a total of four colony-founding queens were reared in isolation in the laboratory to test whether non-inseminated females were capable of egg laying and to test whether female offspring emerged from this brood. In all of four culture replicates, only new workers were produced from the eggs those queens had laid and male offspring was absent. After the breeding experiment, the queens' spermathecae were histologically examined and no sperm were detected in their spermathecae. These results reveal that M. nipponica queens of the Manazuru population are capable of producing female offspring thelytokously. Sexual reproduction by typical gynes and also by intermorphs has been known from other local populations of M. nipponica; therefore, this species shows geographical polymorphism in sexuality.

  8. Hybridogenesis through thelytokous parthenogenesis in two Cataglyphis desert ants.

    PubMed

    Eyer, P A; Leniaud, L; Darras, H; Aron, S

    2013-02-01

    Hybridogenesis is a sexual reproductive system, whereby parents from different genetic origin hybridize. Both the maternal and paternal genomes are expressed in somatic tissues, but the paternal genome is systematically excluded from the germ line, which is therefore purely maternal. Recently, a unique case of hybridogenesis at a social level was reported in the desert ant Cataglyphis hispanica. All workers are sexually produced hybridogens, whereas sexual forms (new queens and males) are produced by queens through parthenogenesis. Thus, only maternal genes are perpetuated across generations. Here, we show that such an unusual reproductive strategy also evolved in two other species of Cataglyphis belonging to the same phylogenetic group, Cataglyphis velox and Cataglyphis mauritanica. In both species, queens mate exclusively with males originating from a different genetic lineage than their own to produce hybrid workers, while they use parthenogenesis to produce the male and female reproductive castes. In contrast to single-queen colonies of C. hispanica, colonies of C. velox and C. mauritanica are headed by several queens. Most queens within colonies share the same multilocus genotype and never transmit their mates' alleles to the reproductive castes. Social hybridogenesis in the desert ants has direct consequences on the genetic variability of populations and on caste determination. We also discuss the maintenance of this reproductive strategy within the genus Cataglyphis.

  9. Host plant use by competing acacia-ants: mutualists monopolize while parasites share hosts.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  10. Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and...

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Myrmecochorous diaspores bear a nutrient-rich appendage, the elaiosome, attractive to ant workers that retrieve them into the nest, detach the elaiosome and reject the seed intact. While this interaction is beneficial for the plant partner by ensuring its seed dispersal, elaiosome consumption has various effects −positive, negative or none − on ants’ demography and survival, depending on both the ant/plant species involved. In this context, the contribution of ants to seed dispersal strongly varies according to the ant/plant pairs considered. In this paper, we investigate whether the dynamics of myrmecochory also vary on a temporal scale, for a given pair of partners: Myrmica rubra ants and Viola odorata seeds. During their first encounter with seeds, ants collect all the diaspores and eat the majority of elaiosomes. Both the harvesting effort and the elaiosome consumption decline when seeds are offered on the next week and completely cease for the following weeks. This is related to a decrease in the number of foragers reaching the food source, as well as to a reduced probability for an ant contacting a seed to retrieve it. Seed retrieval is not reactivated after seven weeks without any encounter with V. odorata seeds. By contrast, naive ant colonies only fed with fruit flies do not show a decline of prey harvesting of which the speed of retrieval even increases over the successive weeks. Myrmecochory may thus be labile at the scale of a fruiting season due to the ability of ants to steeply tune and cease for several months the harvesting of these seemingly poorly rewarding items and to maintain cessation of seed exploitation. The present study emphasizes the importance of a long-lasting follow up of the myrmecochory process, to assess the stability of this ant-plant partnership and to identify mechanisms of adaptive harvesting in ants. PMID:26414161

  12. Characterization of actinobacteria associated with three ant-plant mutualisms.

    PubMed

    Hanshew, Alissa S; McDonald, Bradon R; Díaz Díaz, Carol; Djiéto-Lordon, Champlain; Blatrix, Rumsaïs; Currie, Cameron R

    2015-01-01

    Ant-plant mutualisms are conspicuous and ecologically important components of tropical ecosystems that remain largely unexplored in terms of insect-associated microbial communities. Recent work has revealed that ants in some ant-plant systems cultivate fungi (Chaetothyriales) within their domatia, which are fed to larvae. Using Pseudomyrmex penetrator/Tachigali sp. from French Guiana and Petalomyrmex phylax/Leonardoxa africana and Crematogaster margaritae/Keetia hispida, both from Cameroon, as models, we tested the hypothesis that ant-plant-fungus mutualisms co-occur with culturable Actinobacteria. Using selective media, we isolated 861 putative Actinobacteria from the three systems. All C. margaritae/K. hispida samples had culturable Actinobacteria with a mean of 10.0 colony forming units (CFUs) per sample, while 26 % of P. penetrator/Tachigali samples (mean CFUs 1.3) and 67 % of P. phylax/L. africana samples (mean CFUs 3.6) yielded Actinobacteria. The largest number of CFUs was obtained from P. penetrator workers, P. phylax alates, and C. margaritae pupae. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of four main clades of Streptomyces and one clade of Nocardioides within these three ant-plant mutualisms. Streptomyces with antifungal properties were isolated from all three systems, suggesting that they could serve as protective symbionts, as found in other insects. In addition, a number of isolates from a clade of Streptomyces associated with P. phylax/L. africana and C. margaritae/K. hispida were capable of degrading cellulose, suggesting that Streptomyces in these systems may serve a nutritional role. Repeated isolation of particular clades of Actinobacteria from two geographically distant locations supports these isolates as residents in ant-plant-fungi niches.

  13. Uninformed and probabilistic distributed agent combinatorial searches for the unary NP-complete disassembly line balancing problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGovern, Seamus M.; Gupta, Surendra M.

    2005-11-01

    Disassembly takes place in remanufacturing, recycling, and disposal, with a line being the best choice for automation. The disassembly line balancing problem seeks a sequence which: is feasible, minimizes workstations, and ensures similar idle times, as well as other end-of-life specific concerns. Finding the optimal balance is computationally intensive due to exponential growth. Combinatorial optimization methods hold promise for providing solutions to the disassembly line balancing problem, which is proven here to belong to the class of unary NP-complete problems. Probabilistic (ant colony optimization) and uninformed (H-K) search methods are presented and compared. Numerical results are obtained using a recent case study to illustrate the search implementations and compare their performance. Conclusions drawn include the consistent generation of near-optimal solutions, the ability to preserve precedence, the speed of the techniques, and their practicality due to ease of implementation.

  14. Development of parasitic Maculinea teleius (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) larvae in laboratory nests of four Myrmica ant host species.

    PubMed

    Witek, M; Skórka, P; Sliwińska, E B; Nowicki, P; Moroń, D; Settele, J; Woyciechowski, M

    2011-08-01

    Maculinea butterflies are social parasites of Myrmica ants. Methods to study the strength of host ant specificity in the Maculinea-Myrmica association include research on chemical and acoustic mimicry as well as experiments on ant adoption and rearing behaviour of Maculinea larvae. Here we present results of laboratory experiments on adoption, survival, development and integration of M. teleius larvae within the nests of different Myrmica host species, with the objective of quantifying the degree of specialization of this Maculinea species. In the laboratory, a total of 94 nests of four Myrmica species: M. scabrinodis, M. rubra, M.ruginodis and M. rugulosa were used. Nests of M. rubra and M. rugulosa adopted M. teleius larvae more readily and quickly than M. ruginodis colonies. No significant differences were found in the survival rates of M. teleius larvae reared by different ant species. Early larval growth of M. teleius larvae differed slightly among nests of four Myrmica host species. Larvae reared by colonies of M. rugulosa which were the heaviest at the beginning of larval development had the lowest mean larval body mass after 18 weeks compared to those reared by other Myrmica species. None of the M.teleius larvae was carried by M. scabrinodis or M. rubra workers after ant nests were destroyed, which suggests a lack of integration with host colonies. Results indicate that Myrmica species coming from the same site differ in their ability to adopt and rear M. teleius larvae but there was no obvious adaptation of this butterfly species to one of the host ant species. This may explain why, under natural conditions, all four ants can be used as hosts of this butterfly species. Slight advantages of particular Myrmica species as hosts at certain points in butterfly larval development can be explained by the ant species biology and colony structure rather than by specialization of M. teleius.

  15. Fever in honeybee colonies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Starks, P. T.; Blackie, Caroline A.; Seeley, Thomas D.

    Honeybees, Apis spp., maintain elevated temperatures inside their nests to accelerate brood development and to facilitate defense against predators. We present an additional defensive function of elevating nest temperature: honeybees generate a brood-comb fever in response to colonial infection by the heat-sensitive pathogen Ascosphaera apis. This response occurs before larvae are killed, suggesting that either honeybee workers detect the infection before symptoms are visible, or that larvae communicate the ingestion of the pathogen. This response is a striking example of convergent evolution between this "superorganism" and other fever-producing animals.

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

    PubMed

    Buczkowski, Grzegorz; Roper, Elray; Chin, Darren

    2014-04-01

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

  17. Temperature: Human Regulating, Ants Conforming

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clopton, Joe R.

    2007-01-01

    Biological processes speed up as temperature rises. Procedures for demonstrating this with ants traveling on trails, and data gathered by students on the Argentine ant ("Linepithema humile") are presented. The concepts of temperature regulation and conformity are detailed with a focus on the processes rather than on terms that label the organisms.

  18. Evolutionary transitions in enzyme activity of ant fungus gardens.

    PubMed

    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Schiøtt, Morten; Mueller, Ulrich G; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2010-07-01

    Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens are targeted primarily toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency.

  19. Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  20. Changes in monoterpene emission rates of Quercus ilex infested by aphids tended by native or invasive Lasius ant species.

    PubMed

    Paris, Carolina I; Llusia, Joan; Peñuelas, Josep

    2010-07-01

    The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) depends on temperature and light. Other factors such as insect herbivory also may modify VOC emission. In particular, aphid feeding promotes the release of new compounds and changes the composition of plant volatile blends. Given that some aphids are tended by ants, we investigated whether ants change the emission of VOCs indirectly through attendance on aphids. The effect of Lachnus roboris aphids and two different tending ant species on terpene emission rates of 4-year-old holm oak (Quercus ilex) saplings was investigated during a field experiment. There were five treatments: saplings alone (T1), saplings infested with L. roboris aphids (T2), saplings infested with aphids tended by the local ant Lasius grandis (T3), those tended by small colonies of the invasive ant Lasius neglectus (T4), and those tended by large colonies of the same invasive ant species (T5). The infestation by L. roboris elicited the emission of Delta(3)-carene and increased the emission of myrcene and gamma-terpinene. Terpene emissions were modified depending on the tending ant species. Attendance by the local ant L. grandis increased alpha and beta-pinene and sabinene. Attendance by the invasive ant L. neglectus only decreased significantly the emission of myrcene, one of the major compounds of the Q. ilex blend. Aphid abundance decreased with time for all treatments, but there was no difference in aphid abundance among treatments. Total terpene emission rates were not correlated with aphid abundance. These results highlight that aphids and tending ants may change terpene emission rates, depending on the ant species.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-07-01

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

  2. Global invasion history of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Ascunce, Marina S; Yang, Chin-Cheng; Oakey, Jane; Calcaterra, Luis; Wu, Wen-Jer; Shih, Cheng-Jen; Goudet, Jérôme; Ross, Kenneth G; Shoemaker, DeWayne

    2011-02-25

    The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a significant pest that was inadvertently introduced into the southern United States almost a century ago and more recently into California and other regions of the world. An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecular markers in 2144 fire ant colonies from 75 geographic sites worldwide revealed that at least nine separate introductions of S. invicta have occurred into newly invaded areas and that the main southern U.S. population is probably the source of all but one of these introductions. The sole exception involves a putative serial invasion from the southern United States to California to Taiwan. These results illustrate in stark fashion a severe negative consequence of an increasingly massive and interconnected global trade and travel system.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-07-01

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

  4. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-05-22

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens.

  5. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R.; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S.; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens. PMID:25925100

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Social parasitism is an important selective pressure for social insect species. It is particularly the case for the hosts of dulotic (so called slave-making) ants, which pillage the brood of host colonies to increase the worker force of their own colony. Such raids can have an important impact on the fitness of the host nest. An arms race which can lead to geographic variation in host defenses is thus expected between hosts and parasites. In this study we tested whether the presence of a social parasite (the dulotic ant Myrmoxenus ravouxi) within an ant community correlated with a specific behavioral defense strategy of local host or non-host populations of Temnothorax ants. Social recognition often leads to more or less pronounced agonistic interactions between non-nestmates ants. Here, we monitored agonistic behaviors to assess whether ants discriminate social parasites from other ants. It is now well-known that ants essentially rely on cuticular hydrocarbons to discriminate nestmates from aliens. If host species have evolved a specific recognition mechanism for their parasite, we hypothesize that the differences in behavioral responses would not be fully explained simply by quantitative dissimilarity in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, but should also involve a qualitative response due to the detection of particular compounds. We scaled the behavioral results according to the quantitative chemical distance between host and parasite colonies to test this hypothesis. Results Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles were distinct between species, but host species did not show a clearly higher aggression rate towards the parasite than toward non-parasite intruders, unless the degree of response was scaled by the chemical distance between intruders and recipient colonies. By doing so, we show that workers of the host and of a non-host species in the parasitized site displayed more agonistic behaviors (bites and ejections) towards parasite than toward non

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  8. Reciprocal protection from natural enemies in an ant-wasp association.

    PubMed

    Le Guen, Roger; Corbara, Bruno; Rossi, Vivien; Azémar, Frédéric; Dejean, Alain

    2015-04-01

    We show that in French Guiana the large carton nests of Azteca chartifex, a territorially-dominant arboreal dolichoderine ant, are protected from bird attacks when this ant lives in association with Polybia rejecta, an epiponine social wasp. Because A. chartifex colonies are well known for their ability to divert army ant raids from the base of their host tree so that they protect their associated wasps from these raids, there is a reciprocal benefit for these two partners, permitting us to call this association a mutualism. We also show that P. rejecta nests are significantly less often attacked by birds than are those of two compared epiponine social wasp species. Furthermore, experimentation using a standardized protocol demonstrated the significantly higher aggressiveness of P. rejecta compared to seven other wasp species. We conclude that the efficacious protection of its associated ant nests is likely due to the extreme aggressiveness of P. rejecta.

  9. Foraging and leaf-cutting of the desert gardening ant Acromyrmex versicolor versicolor (Pergande) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

    PubMed

    Gamboa, George J

    1975-03-01

    Four colonies of the desert leaf-cutter ant Acromyrmex versicolor versicolor (Pergande) located 30 miles N.E. of Tempe, Arizona were observed over a 7 month period. The ants utilized trails in foraging, a characteristic of higher attines, as well as foraging singly, a typical pattern among the more primitive gardeners. The ants cut and collected both dry and green vegetation with dry grasses comprising the bulk of the forage. The ants increased their cutting of green vegetation after significant rainfall but collected dry grasses almost exclusively during dry periods. Detailed macro-motion picture analysis of leaf-cutting revealed that the desert gardener utilized a unique technique for cutting compound desert leaves.

  10. Rapid anti-pathogen response in ant societies relies on high genetic diversity

    PubMed Central

    Ugelvig, Line V.; Kronauer, Daniel J. C.; Schrempf, Alexandra; Heinze, Jürgen; Cremer, Sylvia

    2010-01-01

    Social organisms are constantly exposed to infectious agents via physical contact with conspecifics. While previous work has shown that disease susceptibility at the individual and group level is influenced by genetic diversity within and between group members, it remains poorly understood how group-level resistance to pathogens relates directly to individual physiology, defence behaviour and social interactions. We investigated the effects of high versus low genetic diversity on both the individual and collective disease defences in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. We compared the antiseptic behaviours (grooming and hygienic behaviour) of workers from genetically homogeneous and diverse colonies after exposure of their brood to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. While workers from diverse colonies performed intensive allogrooming and quickly removed larvae covered with live fungal spores from the nest, workers from homogeneous colonies only removed sick larvae late after infection. This difference was not caused by a reduced repertoire of antiseptic behaviours or a generally decreased brood care activity in ants from homogeneous colonies. Our data instead suggest that reduced genetic diversity compromises the ability of Cardiocondyla colonies to quickly detect or react to the presence of pathogenic fungal spores before an infection is established, thereby affecting the dynamics of social immunity in the colony. PMID:20444720

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-05-01

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

  12. Colony image acquisition and segmentation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, W. X.

    2007-12-01

    For counting of both colonies and plaques, there is a large number of applications including food, dairy, beverages, hygiene, environmental monitoring, water, toxicology, sterility testing, AMES testing, pharmaceuticals, paints, sterile fluids and fungal contamination. Recently, many researchers and developers have made efforts for this kind of systems. By investigation, some existing systems have some problems. The main problems are image acquisition and image segmentation. In order to acquire colony images with good quality, an illumination box was constructed as: the box includes front lightning and back lightning, which can be selected by users based on properties of colony dishes. With the illumination box, lightning can be uniform; colony dish can be put in the same place every time, which make image processing easy. The developed colony image segmentation algorithm consists of the sub-algorithms: (1) image classification; (2) image processing; and (3) colony delineation. The colony delineation algorithm main contain: the procedures based on grey level similarity, on boundary tracing, on shape information and colony excluding. In addition, a number of algorithms are developed for colony analysis. The system has been tested and satisfactory.

  13. Effects of overwintering temperature on the survival of the black garden ant (Lasius niger).

    PubMed

    Haatanen, Marja-Katariina; van Ooik, Tapio; Sorvari, Jouni

    2015-01-01

    The overwintering temperatures of ants might well be elevated due to climate change. We studied whether the overwintering temperature affects the survival of the queens and whole colonies of the black garden ant, Lasius niger (Linnaeus, 1758). In two consecutive years (2009, 2010) we collected mated, colony founding queens (n = 280) from the urban area of Turku, Finland. Half of the queens overwintered in +7 to +8 °C and the other half in +2 °C. After the overwintering period, we determined their survival rate and measured the body fat content, body size and immune defence (encapsulation rate) of overwintering queens. Using the same setup, we studied the survival of 1-year-old L. niger colonies (queen & workers). Overwintering at a lower temperature (+2 °C) decreased the survival of workers. The survival of colony founding queens differed between years, but unlike with workers, the overwintering temperature did not affect their survival: neither in the colony experiment nor in the single queen experiment. All of the surviving queens managed to produce their worker offspring at the same rate. The relative amount of body fat of queens was higher for those who overwintered at a lower temperature, which is likely a result of lower energy consumption. We did not detect differences in the encapsulation rate between the temperature treatment groups. The ability of colony founding queens to tolerate wide overwintering temperature variations present in urban environments may explain the success of the colony in urban areas. As the colony grows, the overwintering chambers may extend more deeply into the ground. Thus, workers may not have to cope with such cold conditions as colony founding queens.

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

    PubMed

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2015-10-01

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

  15. Nest architecture shapes the collective behaviour of harvester ants

    PubMed Central

    Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2015-01-01

    Structures influence how individuals interact and, therefore, shape the collective behaviours that emerge from these interactions. Here I show that the structure of a nest influences the collective behaviour of harvester ant colonies. Using network analysis, I quantify nest architecture and find that as chamber connectivity and redundancy of connections among chambers increase, so does a colony's speed of recruitment to food. Interestingly, the